Renewable Energy’s Inconvenient Truth

The energy needs of the world’s economy seem to be easy to model. Energy consumption is measured in a variety of different ways including kilowatt-hours, barrels of oil equivalent, British thermal units, kilocalories and joules. Two types of energy are equivalent if they produce the same number of units of energy, right? For example, xkcd’s modeler Randall Munroe explains the benefit of renewable energy in this video. He tells us that based on his model, solar, if scaled up to ridiculous levels, can provide enough renewable energy for…