Energy Geek Week (2): Greens Need to Take Their Brown Lumps

I sometimes wonder what would happen to Hollywood if their political inclinations were actually put into practice.  Not many people would be able to drive to the theater to take in their latest films.  How would that work out for them?  This speculation was prompted by our pal Tom Pyle at the Institute for Energy Research, who writes this morning at RealClearEnergy about the colossally dishonest Gasland II, Josh Fox’s new film attacking natural gas production:

According to Fox’s narrative, shale gas drilling stands accused of methane contamination. But in April, Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection concluded that naturally occurring shallow gas was responsible for contaminating well water of the three private homes in question. It’s almost enough to make you feel sorry for poor Josh.

In addition, another recent study from Duke University’s highly regarded Nicholas School of Environmental Studies concluded there was no groundwater contamination to be found from gas fracking in Arkansas.  I thought we were supposed to follow “science” on these matters? Meanwhile, in today’s Energy Geek Week installment, let’s have a little fun with the greenie enthusiasm for renewable energy, which, we’re endlessly told, is growing by leaps and bounds.  According to the latest data from the just released BP Statistical Review of World Energy, non-hydro renewables (the environmentally correct kind, since dams are yucky, which means solar, wind, and biomass chiefly) experienced 180 percent growth in total output from 2005 – 2012. (It helps to have all those subsidies.)  Coal output only grew 27 percent during this time.

But this is of course fun with numbers and bases.  If you ask the question: which source of energy saw the most absolute growth in energy output from 2005 – 2012, the answer is: coal.  The figure below shows the increase in absolute energy output (measured in the common unit of Million Tons of Oil Equivalent, or MTOE) of non-hydro renewables and coal, and you can see how coal trounced renewables by a factor of four.  (Oil and gas are growing, too; tomorrow I’ll look at those figures.)

Click to Embiggen

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