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'Renewables' are not shackled by lack of innovation, they are shackled by the math.

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Perhaps the way to understand the significance of Einstein’s equation is to compare it to another equation, the formula for kinetic energy:



Kinetic energy is the energy of moving objects, “E” once again standing for energy, “m” indicating mass and “v” representing the velocity of the moving object. If you throw a baseball across a room, for example, its energy is calculated by multiplying the mass of the ball times the square of its velocity – perhaps 50 miles per hour.

The two formulas are essentially identical. When brought into juxtaposition, two things emerge:
  1. For any given amount of energy, mass and velocity are inverselyrelated. For an identical amount of energy, the higher velocity goes, the less mass is required and vice versa.
  2. When compared to the velocities of moving objects in nature – wind and water, for instance – the co-efficient in Einstein’s equation is fifteen orders of magnitude larger – the same factor of one quadrillion.
How is this manifested in everyday life? Most of what we are calling “renewable energy” is actually the kinetic flows of matter in nature. Wind and water are matter in motion that we harness to produce energy. Therefore they are measured by the formula for kinetic energy.

Let’s start with hydroelectricity. Water falling off a high dam reaches a speed of about 60 miles per hour or 80 feet per second. Raising the height of the dam by 80 or more feet cannot increase the velocity by more than 20 miles per hour. The only way to increase the energy output is to increase the mass, meaning we must use more water.

The largest dams – Hoover and Glen Canyon on the Colorado River -stand 800 feet tall and back up a reservoir of 250 square miles. This produces 1000 megawatts, the standard candle for an electrical generating station. (Lake Powell, behind Glen Canyon, has silted up somewhat and now produces only 800 MW.)


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Understanding E = mc2 - Energy TribuneEnergy Tribune