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This essay by Robert Bryce is a good primer on why the push for "renewable energy" and the denigration of coal power is economically illiterate bullshit that ignores the realities of power consumption here in the U.S. As Ace and Neo-neocon noted, this is pretty much building on what Steven Den Beste was saying back in 2002: it won't work. Solar and wind power are just too unreliable to provide baseload electricity for the nation, and they don't scale up very well. Which is to say, if you want a coal plant or a nuclear reactor plant to generate an extra couple of megawatts, you make it a little bigger. Try that with a field of wind turbines, and you need a hell of a lot more wind turbines. As for solar, quite aside from the lack of sun at night, it too takes up an assload of space because the energy density is so low.

We could, of course, put solar power satellites in orbit and beam the power back to the surface, but I'm sure the Greens would have problems with that, too. *shrug* Anyway, this is important information to be aware of, and it can't be repeated too often.