On Wednesday, the American Enterprise Institute will be holding a little pep rally for nuclear power. In the event description, they make the following standard disparaging remark about renewables, suggesting that nuclear is the option that can scale:
Yet renewable energy sources--often touted by policymakers as the panacea for resource scarcity and global warming--currently provide only 3 percent of the energy Americans consume. The role of nuclear power as a source of emissions-free electricity is often ignored.
What I find interesting about this typical analysis in the AEI energy pitch is that they deride renewables as being only a small percentage of total U.S. energy consumption and tout nuclear power as the solution; but if you compare all renewables including hydro to all nuclear as a percent of total energy consumption, renewables equals 7.3% compared to a whopping total of 8.5% for nuclear. And needless to say renewables is a much higher percentage of NEW energy supplies than is nuclear these days.
Check out this very nice graphic from EIA Annual Energy Review 2008: