Wired.com has a really interesting piece (here) about the energy crisis in Venezuela. Government incompetence has caused massive blackouts all across the country, but the piece argues that over-reliance on hydropower (now suffering from a huge drought) and other intermittent renewable energy sources have contributed:
The Venezuelan catastrophe is an extreme, worst case scenario of intermittency. The United States is unlikely to experience anything like it. Even so, renewables are too unreliable to support its economy. At least, not without substantial changes to the way Americans transmit and store electricity.
This is along the lines of the issue I raised in this post yesterday, concerning the drawbacks of New England’s increasing solar power. Replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy has to be done, and done fast, to keep the changing climate from devastating the world’s economies, but it’s going to be really, really hard. All the more reason to get going now.