James Conca, scientist in the field of earth and environmental sciences. Contributor to Forbes: China now has more wind and solar energy than the rest of the world - combined. But transmission bottlenecks, coal’s undue influence, and market set-up have prevented large amounts of renewable electricity from reaching the Chinese grid. Renewables are increasing faster than the infrastructure to support them. So it’s not surprising that China would keep building huge hydro plants as well as tripling their nuclear power over the next decade. The largest power plants are nearly all hydro dams and nuclear.
James Conca, science writer for Forbes on energy, Thomas Hafera, consulting engineer: Twenty-one prominent scientists issued a sharp critique to one of their own. Mark Jacobson of Stanford said America could easily become 100% renewable by mid-century, but refused to acknowledge sound scientific principles in his research and address major errors pointed out by the scientific community. Jacobson’s claim is at complete odds with serious analyses and assessments, including those performed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the International Energy Agency, and most of academia.
James Conca, Geochemist: New reactor designs are pretty advanced and ready to be rolled out. Whether they’re variations on the traditional light-water reactor (NuScale), new molten salt designs (IMSR), air-cooled, liquid metal, or advanced fast-reactors that burn everything from spent fuel from old reactors to Iraqi tank armor (TerraPower; General Atomics), SMRs like the Xe-100 build on the successful experience of previous designs and the redundant safety systems developed over the last 60 years.
James Conca, Geochemist: We used to think about Peak Oil like this – the reserves are finite, we know where they are and how long they will last, and we will start running out soon. But with recent technological innovations, we keep finding new oil deposits that are now recoverable and a peak won’t happen for a century or more.