Thursday, 13 August 2015

The origin of the term renewable energy and what it really means

The term "renewable energy" goes way back at least to the mid-1970s when Amory Lovins used it. I tried to trace its origin, using the OED. Although the word renewable dates back to 1727, it does not seem to have been used with energy, as in "renewable energy", prior to 1971 when it was first used in Scientific American. [OED, 2e, vol. XIII, 1989, pg. 613]
2. Of a source of energy: not depleted by its utilization.
1971 Sci. Amer. Sept. 43/2 (caption) Continuous, or renewable, energy supply can be divided into two categories: solar and non-solar.
I think it's no coincidence that the origin of this term dates back to the beginning of the organized anti-nuclear power movement. The first single issue anti-nuclear power organization was founded in 1969 when Friends of the Earth began. Nor a coincidence that it was Scientific American who first used the term. They's been pushing renewable energy at us for a long time, and continue to this day.

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