The Problem with Percentages Errata

An Error Caught by the Skeptical Science Peer-Review Process

In a recent post (read here) I compared electricity generated from fossil fuels and renewable energy, and incorrectly compared energy into fossil-fueled power plants with energy out of renewable-energy electric plants. I should have compared electricity generated by both fossil-fueled plants and renewable-energy sources. I will explain the effect of this incorrect comparison in the next section.

Skeptical Science is committed to the highest-quality science communication, and leans heavily on sources from respected peer-reviewed sources. The error in my post is a good example of how the peer-review process functions on this site to bring you high-quality science communication. The commenters to my post quickly pointed out my error. Not only are the authors at Skeptical Science professionals in their respective fields, but so are many of the readers and commenters. Between the articles and the comments, Skeptical Science provides information you can trust, even if some mistakes periodically slip through the cracks.

How is the Renewable-Energy Revolution Going?

In my post I incorrectly stated that renewable energy is currently only making up about 30% of the near-term increased electricity demand. In fact, growth in the nuclear plus renewable-energy sector is making up almost all of the growth in electricity demand (read here and here). The International Energy Agency states,

Renewables and nuclear energy will dominate the growth of global electricity supply over the next three years, together meeting on average more than 90% of the additional demand.

This is good news, but means that we are still only supplementing the fossil-fuel industry, and not supplanting it. We may be on the verge of turning the corner and meeting the need for more electricity generation with renewables plus nuclear, but we need increased pressure to more than cover the electricity demand growth.

Remember this when making decisions about how to power your home, car, and other parts of your life. Remember this when you vote. We may have made a turning point in our quest to supplant fossil-fuel use by halting the growth of fossil-fuel power plants, but now we need to begin retiring fossil-fuel plants in service.

Posted by Evan on Wednesday, 22 February, 2023

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