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This expense, for example, is smaller than the sum every consumer has to pay for the future atomic waste-management. Public acceptance for the feed-in-law is very high because consumers, in general, acknowledge that renewables have to be promoted to put an end to the perverse situation that energies that are harmful to human health and the natural environment are cheaper than those that help avoid these damages.
About costs and prices and the current energy system
The level of the German electricity rates is determined by the supply monopolies of the few big suppliers of conventional power--they are the major profiteers. This leads to the inherent flaw in Khosla's concept: All he is talking about is technology and its costs as if these costs would play the dominant role when energy suppliers all over the world define their prices. It is naive to equate costs with prices and to assume that the conventional energy sector is offering only cost-covering prices.
The same goes for huge concentrated solar power (also known as CSP or solar thermal) plants in the North African desert, proposed to supply Western Europe with energy. The ambition behind such strategies is to keep the existing supply monopolies in the hands of a few big international power players and out of the reach of the democratic control of our societies and the market. That is why we are faced with a green washing of black energies. Even if the costs for this kind of power generation were lower than for conventional energies, the established energy system would see to it that there would be no lower prices but rather higher profits. That is why off-grid or island-supply solutions are that attractive. They avoid dependence on energy-supply companies and allow for energy autonomy.
Khosla's argumentation becomes even more questionable when taking into account the needs of the developing countries. Khosla is frequently addressing the problems of India and China, but he seems completely unaware of several World Bank studies showing that a decentralized energy supply is desirable for those developing countries that have until now no national grid. Most of them are unable (and will most likely be so in the future) to shoulder the expenses for a grid connecting the 2 billion people worldwide still living without access to electricity. Thinking that the necessary seminal change in the current world energy system could be achieved within the existing energy structures is a myth that some still seem to adhere to.
No change within the existing world energy system
The current energy debate is not only about climate change and CO2. The problem lies deeper: The conventional world energy system would not be faultless if climate change was not looming at the horizon. On the contrary, there are a host of unsolved problems, inequalities und injustices that are waiting to be tackled: atomic waste; reactor accidents; the large amounts of foreign currency spent on importation--especially hard to afford for developing countries; the damages to the environment and to human health; the long energy chains from the places of mining and extraction to the customers that result in huge energy losses; the increasing need to protect the globalized power lines against attacks; and the high water consumption for mining, extracting and for the cooling of steam powered nuclear plants.
These problems cannot be solved with the approach Khosla favors because it aims at conserving the existing conventional energy structures. Khosla's approach is part of the problem--not the solution.
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