Solar can already generate more energy than oil, says major scientific review
Nafeez Ahmed

Solar and wind power would boast a much greater EROI margin over oil and coal if the same criteria used to evaluate solar and wind were used to evaluate oil and coal.

For oil and coal it seems like EROI is defined the energy expended to acquire the fuel verses the energy recovered when the fuel is burned in a power plant or automobile engine. The energy cost to build and maintain the power plants and engines does not seem to be considered.

If the same criteria were applied to solar and wind, EROI would be infinite since no energy need be expended for the sun to shine or the wind to blow. Instead, the energy cost to build and maintain renewable power plants (i.e., solar panels and windmills) is factored against how much energy the panels and windmills can produce in an arbitrary time frame after which they are written off (even though still functional and/or easily recycled).

If the energy cost of building and maintaining oil/coal burning power plants and automobile/ truck engines were factored into the EROI for fossil fuels as it is for solar and wind, then the EROI for coal and oil would be much lower.

For nuclear power, EROI would be abysmally low if the energy cost to build, maintain, and decommission reactors, not to mention the energy costs to store spent fuel and cool nuclear fuel rods for centuries were included in the math.

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