By Andy May
A key question to think about, do renewable fuels decrease fossil fuel use, or do they increase it?
What are the costs of using renewable energy? The sun and wind are free, does that make wind and solar power free? Biofuels require power to plant crops, make fertilizer and spread it, harvest the plants, make and transport the ethanol. Solar and wind require power to produce, transport and install the equipment. All renewable energy sources require lots of land per megawatt of electricity produced. We will not be able to determine a cost for renewable power in this essay, but we can discuss the components of the calculation and provide some context.
The energy return on investment (EROI)
Energy used to make a fuel, like a biofuel, has to be much less than the energy output for the fuel to be useful. The metric commonly used is…
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