LsFarm wrote:And neither wind or solar will provide electricity on a cold calm night..
How about spending that additional funding on burning coal such that the CO2 is captured ?? Oh,, that makes too much sense I guess.
Today it's true that solar cannot provide electricity without sun, but in the future it will. The earth is always, day or night, being radiated with energy. It's an enormous amount of energy. To harvest it, devices are needed to transform the radiant energy into electrons. Much of the basic solar cell research is focused on capturing more of the energy, not just the visible sunlight wavelengths our eyes can see but other wavelengths, infrared, ultraviolet, etc. Most of these wavelengths are always present, not in the greatest amounts at night but still there. In a generation or two man will learn how to do it. Right now the practical goal is to make solar cells like a sandwich, multiple layers each sensitive to a different wavelength. This has the potential to double or triple the solar cells efficiency.
What to do to solve our immediate energy problem is so complex and interwoven with politics and special interests I don't see much but the status quo. Domination by the big energy companies. Residential burning of coal for heating makes a whole lot of sense because it's so energy efficient. You just don't have all the energy conversion losses when you use coal to make electricity. That thought has missed the powers to be. In my opinion because in the US engineers and scientists are not politically active and loath politics. The engineering and scientific professional societies need to come to the table and influence policy.