My attempt at resolving this complex matter is summarised below.
Utilisation of electrical energy extracts, converts into electricity and then wastes as heat transferred to the environment, all of the chemical enthalpy in a fossil fuel, which is not replaced because it would be conserved on Earth by the First Law of Thermodynamics, as entropy, unusable energy. For an equal quantity of electricity, from solar, wind or hydro energy, it would be converted, used and wasted in the same way, but its enthalpy would have to be replaced to restore the Earth-Sun dynamic radiative equilibrium.
To maintain on Earth systems of wind, precipitation and solar energy for renewable energy technologies, the enthalpy taken and used has to be replaced from higher temperature sources, not entropy. The Second Law of Thermodynamics, allows heat to move only from warmer systems to cooler systems. Solar, wind and hydro enthalpies taken on Earth must be restored ultimately from the Sun’s higher temperature. To argue that Earth’s climate system energy would not be affected by renewable technologies because their amount is lesser is a priori, a fallacy and unsound.
Therefore, supposing that solar, wind and hydro technologies could equal the thermal efficiency of fossil fuel technologies, the renewable technologies would bring more solar energy to the Earth. The amount of heat trapped by carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels could be offset by restoration of solar, wind and hydro energy taken by renewable technologies.
Further explanation is in my book Animal Farm 2 on Amazon and posted on my blog.
Animal Farm 2 is a fiction novel that sequels and updates George Orwell’s Animal Farm. The animals’ commune continues under totalitarian pig rule. The animals are employed to mine coal discovered on the farm for a power station. The animals learn climate science when global warming is associated with pollution and they discover that heat and water emissions from all sources are more culpable than carbon dioxide from their coal.
Guided by logic and science they plan to liberate their farm from pig and human control. The story is a satire that satirizes politics and some theories of climate science.
What is an energy supply?
Energy is the capacity to do work. Your supply will do work for you when it supplies you with electrical energy.
What is electrical energy?
It is caused by the movement of electrons from one place to another and is the work done by the moving streams of the electrons or charges. The commercial or practical unit of energy is the kilowatt-hour (kWh).
How is electrical energy supplied?
- objects: hot, moving, charged, sprung, radioactive
- fossil fuels: heat engines; turbogenerators
- renewable energy technologies
How well do different technologies convert input energy to electricity?