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On Top 5 Solar Infographics

Hi Schalk,

We appreciate your comment and share your desire for to be a place of reasoned and thoughtful analysis of the key issues facing the energy sector. 

However, in this case, I think your worries may be a bit unwarranted. As you know, we publish a wide range of views, opinions, and analysis on this site, from everyone from the Natural Resources Defense Council to solar industry professionals to nuclear engineers to the American Petroleum Institute. We're committed to this diversity of views, as we believe it is key to fostering a rich, informative discussion for our readers on the full spectrum of energy-related topics.

In this case, you clearly disagree with the content or implications of these infographics. Like all infographics, they present a particular set of information, much of which is informative, but at a level of abstraction that clearly cannot convey the full story. Luckily, our readers, including you and Nathan, are well equipped to add a richer discussion to the comments on these posts. 

That said, I see only one factual error in these infographics: the comparison of 10 GW of solar to 12.5 coal plants on an "energy generation equivalent." Clearly the graphic's creators must have meant on a capacity equivalent, not an annual energy generation equivalent, which is more like 2-4 coal plants worth as you note, after accounting for capacity factors.

Most of the other issues you raise are either differences of opinion or further details and nuances not captured in the article. That's exactly what the comments section here is for, and you've successfully started a great conversation about the full picture on solar energy. 

Thanks for your contributions to the Energy Collective. All the best,

Jesse Jenkins
Digital Strategy Consultant

December 10, 2013    View Comment    

On Energy Risk: Radiation Superstition

David Ropeik writes on the mismatch between radiation risks and public fears today in the NY Times. Nice related article. Cheers,


October 21, 2013    View Comment    

On Solving Energy Poverty With Solar Light Bulbs: Nokero Product Review

This is a nice review Silvio. But "solving" energy poverty is a bit of a stretch! As Robert notes, it takes a lot more than a light bulb to truly solve energy poverty. Cheers,


October 20, 2013    View Comment    

On Solar Deployment: Are There Limits as Costs Come Down?

Great post Adam. Thanks!

September 27, 2013    View Comment    

On Natural Gas, the Media, and New EPA Pollution Rules

Hi Brad,

Thanks for your comment. On behalf of The Energy Collective team, I just wanted to clarify a few things.

First, we rarely commission or set writing priorities for our contributors. This site features dozens of contributors writing on topics that interest them and about which they have particular insights or knowledge. Of the many contributions we get daily, we select the 6-8 best for publication. 

So if you see an oversight in the coverage of topics at TEC, it is because of a lack of articles on that topic coming in from our contributors. Perhaps you'd like to write on this topic yourself, or could suggest to us other writers who cover this topic that we could invite to contribute?

Second, while biogas may not be a frequently covered topic here, it is hardly ignored. Where appropriate, biogas appears in a number of stories on our site. Here's a couple of recent examples here and here. It's also a frequent topic of conversation in the comments on our articles, which is where a lot of ongoing discussion and additional information and value added for our readers is generated. 

So keep commenting and adding value and information in the comments. And let us know if you have ideas for new contributors.


Jesse Jenkins
Digital Community Strategist

September 24, 2013    View Comment    

On My Summer Adventures in Demand Response

This is really interesting Veronique! Thanks for taking us inside your first-hand experience with a Demand Response program. Cheers,


September 17, 2013    View Comment    

On Trash, Trees, and Taxes: The Cost of Germany's Energiewende

Josh, please refrain from baseless accusations, particularly of the "guilt-by-association" kind, and focus on the substance of the article. As Max notes, the funders of the Breakthrough Institute are clearly and publiclly listed on their website, as you could find by checking their About page.

Furthermore, this site features a wide variety of views, including articles that actually are written by those who are part of the natural gas industry. We prefer to host a diversity of informed perspectives and discuss the merits and content of individual articles, with the author's affiliations clearly displayed, rather than to dismiss the views of individuals simply because of their affiliations -- pro gas or anti gas, pro renewables or anti renewables or otherwise. Thanks for staying on topic in the future.

Jesse Jenkins
Digital Community Strategist

September 16, 2013    View Comment    

On Rethinking the Role of Carbon Prices in Climate Change Policy

Thanks for the comment Janne. Sounds like our thinking is along the same lines. If you'd like to, email me some of your research. I'd love to take a look. Cheers,


September 6, 2013    View Comment    

On Mind The Carbon Gap

An excellent post and data visualization effort Lindsay! Thanks for contributing.


September 5, 2013    View Comment    

On Renewable Energy in Germany: Growing Slower Than You Think

Warren, I think you've made your points RE biomass and biogas, and I encourage you to keep more on topic in the comments thread for this post. If you'd like to write more about biomass in a focused post or series, please consider contributing an article of your own to the Energy Collective. But let's let this comment thread move on to other subjects ok? Thanks,

Jesse Jenkins
Digital Community Strategist

September 3, 2013    View Comment    

On Renewable Energy in Germany: Growing Slower Than You Think

Thomas, please refrain from making accusations about the motives of other commenters or implying that they are using "oil company numbers" to suite their uses. The BP statistical review is a widely cited data set and isn't invalidated simply because it was published by an oil and gas company. That would be similar to invalidating any data you've cited in your articles from renewable energy companies or trade groups, simply because they were renewable energy companies. Data is data. Please keep comments substantive and focused on the numbers. If there are errors in the numbers, focus there. As I said elsewhere, this kind of "guilty-by-association" line of argument isn't acceptable at the Energy Collective.

Perhaps its time for both you and Robert to take a breather from this conversation and focus your energy elsewhere -- say to your next columns, where each of you can explore these issues in more substantive detail. Thanks,

Jesse Jenkins
Digital Community Strategist

August 30, 2013    View Comment    

On Renewable Energy in Germany: Growing Slower Than You Think

Thomas, I really don't understand your repeated comments regarding the use of the BP data set. You want Robert to use a final energy consumption based analysis. He used a primary energy consumption based analysis. Clearly both are quite valid means of analysis. If you want to repeat his analysis using a different data set, and see how it changes (or if it changes) his conclusions, please do so in another article. We would love to publish that at TEC.

However, its a perfectly valid method to convert energy sources to primary energy equivalents, so as to compare BTUs on a roughly equal basis. A BTU of potential energy locked up in a carbon-carbon bond is clearly less valuable than a BTU of heat, which in turn is less valuable than a BTU of electricity or a horsepower of motive force, which in turn is less valuable than a BTU of focused energy in a laser, etc. Second law of thermodynamics and all that. So analysis that compares BTUs on a final enery consumption basis in essence treats a BTU of electricity as equal to a BTU of high pressure steam as equal to a BTU of low-grade heat etc. This is fine for some purposes, but there are clear reasons why an analyst might prefer to take a different approach in other cases: e.g. to convert all values back to primary energy terms, which means accounting for conversion efficiencies etc. The trick then is how to deal with things like nuclear and renewables, which don't consume carbon-carbon bonds like most other fuels. In this case, many analysts will convert a BTU of final energy as renewable electricity to an equivalent BTUs of carbon-based combustion energy at a typical combustion efficiency level. This is clearly an approximation, but its a well accepted effort to get things into apples to apples terms.

So please, if you want to focus on different analytic methods, go ahead and show us why one method versus another really matters, rather than insinuate that BP's statistical review -- a widely cited data source -- is bogus or nefariously trying to make one fuel look better than another, simply because it is published by an oil and gas company. At the Energy Collective, you've got to go beyond making guilty-by-association type arguments like that.


Jesse Jenkins
Digital Community Strategist

August 30, 2013    View Comment