Robert Bryce in Quillette:
Last year, according to data from the BP Statistical Review of World Energy, in both the US, and the world as a whole, the growth in hydrocarbons—oil, natural gas, and coal—far exceeded the growth of wind and solar by huge margins.
Renewable energy’s inability to displace hydrocarbons isn’t due to a lack of money. According to Statista, between 2004 and 2019, spending on renewables in the US was some $577 billion. Meanwhile, over that same time frame, the rest of the world spent another $1.5 trillion on renewables. But the BP numbers show that despite all that spending, wind and solar are not making a significant dent in our insatiable thirst for oil, gas, and coal. The reasons for that are many, including the gargantuan scale of global energy use, and the limits on the availability of neodymium, steel, aluminum, copper, and myriad other commodities that will be needed by the gigaton to make any large-scale move away from hydrocarbons.