Ross Konigstein and David Fork, both Stanford PhDs (aerospace engineering; applied physics) were employed on a Google research project which sought to enhance renewable technology to the point where it could produce energy more cheaply than coal. But after four years, the project was closed down. In this post at IEEE Spectrum they tell us why.
We came to the conclusion that even if Google and others had led the way toward a wholesale adoption of renewable energy, that switch would not have resulted in significant reductions of carbon dioxide emissions. Trying to combat climate change exclusively with today’s renewable energy technologies simply won’t work; we need a fundamentally different approach.
Why is renewable energy such a total fail? Because, as Lewis Page explains here, it's so ludicrously inefficient and impossibly expensive that if ever we were so foolish as to try rolling it out on a scale beyond its current boutique levels, it would necessitate bankrupting the global economy.