Matthew's blog

Exponential growth: From optimism to absurdity

In the last article, I made the claim that economic growth is necessarily finite, and that an economic system that requires continuous growth is, over the long term, impossible. This is obvious; unchecked growth with finite resources is impossible. It is instructive, nevertheless, to quantify this. What does, say, 2.5% annual growth mean in tangible terms? And, more importantly, how close are we to hitting- or overshooting- the limits?

Let's build more pumped storage

Solar power is great as long as the sun is shining. Wind's just fine until it's calm. If we're going to use renewable sources like these as the basis of our next-generation power grid, how will we handle the times when they aren't producing?

We need a way to store that energy, for a few hours to a few days, so that we can damp out the mismatched timing between generation and demand. Pumped storage is probably the best currently available technology for that.


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