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# In response to the increasing cost of producing energy through traditi

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mm007 wrote:
In response to the increasing cost of producing energy through traditional means, such as combustion, many utility companies have begun investing in renewable energy sources, chiefly wind and solar power, hoping someday to rely on them completely and thus lower energy costs. The utility companies claim that although these sources require significant initial capital investment, they will provide stable energy supplies at low cost. As a result, these sources will be less risky for the utilities than nonrenewable sources, such as gas, oil, and coal, whose prices can fluctuate dramatically according to availability.

The claim of the utility companies presupposes which of the following?

(A) The public will embrace the development of wind and solar power.

(B) No new deposits of gas, oil, and coal will be discovered in the near future.

(C) Weather patterns are consistent and predictable.

(D) The necessary technology for conversion to wind and solar power is not more expensive than the technology needed to create energy through combustion.

(E) Obtaining energy from nonrenewable sources, such as gas, oil and coal, cannot be made less risky.

This question is part of the GMAT Club Critical Reasoning : Assumption" Revision Project.

OFFICIAL EXPLANATION

The conclusion of the argument is that renewable sources of energy, chiefly solar and wind, will be less risky for certain utilities than nonrenewable sources, such as oil and gas. The basis for this claim is that the renewable sources will provide stable, low-cost supplies of energy, whereas the prices for nonrenewable sources will fluctuate according to availability. We are asked to find an assumption underlying this argument. In order for this argument to be valid, it must in fact be true that these renewable sources of energy will provide stable, low-cost supplies.

(A) The utility companies' claim has to do with the supply risk of the new energy sources, not with how these sources are received by the public.

(B) If no new supplies of traditional energy sources are found, then it is true that perhaps these nonrenewable supplies will continue to fluctuate in price in a risky manner. However, the argument does not depend upon any assumption about the future discovery of oil and gas supplies.

(C) CORRECT. If we assume that weather patterns are consistent and predictable, then with the stated premises, we can conclude that solar and wind power will be less risky than oil and gas. If, on the other hand, weather patterns are not consistent and predictable, then solar and wind power are not reliable and thus will not provide "stable energy supplies at low cost." Thus, the argument's conclusion directly depends on this assumption.

(D) To reach the required conclusion, it is not necessary to assume that the conversion technology for new sources is not more expensive than the present technology.

(E) This choice does not directly affect the argument. Whether or not energy produced through combustion can be made less risky, the new energy sources might still be less risky than the older sources.
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Re: In response to the increasing cost of producing energy through traditi [#permalink]
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Just now I got why my answer B is incorrect and C is correct. Hint-reread the question again, it doesnt ask what is the assumption of the argument, rather question is what utility companies assume. In that context C is the best answer.

I freq noticed that many times in the CR, to create tough/tricky question test makers changes the frame of the question from the argument prespective to some third party prespective. Such as-

Head of neigbourhood watch: values of the houses are declines since the opening of the bus stand near the community. People are increasingly unwilling to buy house in the community near to the bus stand.

head of transportation: Values are declining not due to bus stand but due to increasing crime rate in the community. So police should be more active in the community area.

Question.. head of neigbourhood watch must reply which of the following to counter the response of the head of the trasportation?

A> Crime rates are increasing since the opening of the bus stand, specially in the night.
B> Many people are unwilling to buy houses near to the bus stand, reason bus stand often makes more noises in the night.

Hope this will help for people like me, who often misread questions..
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Re: In response to the increasing cost of producing energy through traditi [#permalink]
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Did you find D more attractive? Lets look at claim-
"The utility companies claim that although these sources require significant initial capital investment, they will provide stable energy supplies at low cost."

Conclusion - As a result, these sources will be less risky for the utilities than nonrenewable sources, such as gas, oil, and coal, whose prices can fluctuate dramatically according to availability.

Two examples are cited in the arg -
traditional resources -> example is combustion
renewable energy resources -> example is chiefly wind and solar power

I dont think above two examples even represent the broad scope of "traditional" Vs "renewable energy resources". I mean comparing "just" these will not help unless you compare the whole. I think the utility companies scope is broader hence D cannot support the argument. However C is what we need for "stable" supply of energy. And if the weather patterns cannot be predicted, the argument collapses - the prices now will fluctuate for the renewable resources. Hence C.
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Re: In response to the increasing cost of producing energy through traditi [#permalink]
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I think the "negate the assumption" technique solves this one.

A) If the public does not embrace the project, utility companies can still keep their project.
B) If deposits of gas, oil or coal are found, the companies can still use renewable energy.
C) If weather patterns are not consistent and predictable, a month without wind and sun would undermine their project.
D) If the technology is expensive but they want to invest, there is no problem. They will lose money but will be able to achieve their goal, which is to rely completely on renewable energy sources.
E) Again, if obtaining energy from those sources can be made less risky, the companies can still complete their project.

The only necessary assumption is C.
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Re: In response to the increasing cost of producing energy through traditi [#permalink]
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Let me give you my 2 cents

We identify this to be an assumption question because of the word presupposes. This means that we find out an answer choice that links the argument's conclusion and premise or in simple terms supports the claim in this case.

Claim : The renewable energy sources will provide a STABLE energy source because the Non Renewable energy sources will fluctuate based on availability.

The assumption therefore could be that the renewable energy sources such as water WILL BE AVAILABLE always thereby providing a STABLE source of power.

Let's look at the Options now.

A - Nothing can be assumed about the Public's reaction.

B - This could be the assumption - However this option only talks about the near future.

C - This option provides support for the contention that water will always be available and therefore will make a stable source.

D - Nothing about technology.

E - Nothing about risk

Hence OA : C

Thanks,

Saikiran Dudyala
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This question is part of the GMAT Club Critical Reasoning : Assumption" Revision Project.
• The public will embrace the development of wind and solar power.
We should not assume anything about the public. They are not even in consideration.

• No new deposits of gas, oil, and coal will be discovered in the near future.
The pre-assumption to this assumption is that new deposits of gas, oil, and coal will stabilize prices. Those are two leaps in logic that we need to make here, which isn't a bad thing but there may be a better option further below.

• Weather patterns are consistent and predictable.
If weather patterns are not consistent and predictable, it means that they are not providing a constant source of energy, which leads to a collapse of the claim they are trying to make. This claim is directly tied to the problem with no pre-assumptions.

• The necessary technology for conversion to wind and solar power is not more expensive than the technology needed to create energy through combustion.
I believe this is addressed to some extent "sources require significant initial capital investment..."

• Obtaining energy from nonrenewable sources, such as gas, oil and coal, cannot be made less risky.
It's not obtaining the renewable sources that's risky, it's the continuous production of energy that is considered risky
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Re: *700* In response to the increasing cost [#permalink]
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C is indeed the correct response. To get there, we must figure out exactly what the utilities companies claim -

Renewable sources --> Stable energy at low cost (this claim is mentioned in the penultimate sentence of the argument).

A - Not relevant. Whether the public embraces these renewable sources has no impact on the companies' claim - stable energy at low cost. The claim talks about the supply side of things, whereas this answer option deals with the demand.
B - This has no impact on the claim that 'renewable sources will be able to provide stable energy at low cost'.
C - Correct answer. Try negating this - weather patterns will not be consistent. This destroys the claim that renewable energy will be a stable source of energy.
D - This option provides no new information. We already know that initial investment (that would involve the cost of conversion) is significantly high. Assumptions must be unstated. We can also try negating this -- conversion technology is more expensive than technology used to create energy through combustion. How much more expensive? If it is expensive only by 0.1% then certainly the claim will not be weakened.
E - this has no bearing on the claim that - 'renewable sources will be able to provide stable energy at low cost'.
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Re: CR Revision: In response to the increasing cost of producing energy [#permalink]
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Here is additional explanation for C:
I initially thought that it was wrong because companies might still be able to have reliable supply of energy from renewable sources even though the sources are unstable. If this was the case, situation described in C would be of no importance. However, we are given a clue that reliability of energy source matters for the supply of electricity:
Quote:
As a result, these sources will be less risky for the utilities than nonrenewable sources, such as gas, oil, and coal, whose prices can fluctuate dramatically according to availability.

If it is the case for energy made from non-renewable sources, it should also be the case for energy gained from renewable sources.
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Re: In response to the increasing cost of producing energy through traditi [#permalink]
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mm007 wrote:
In response to the increasing cost of producing energy through traditional means, such as combustion, many utility companies have begun investing in renewable energy sources, chiefly wind and solar power, hoping someday to rely on them completely and thus lower energy costs. The utility companies claim that although these sources require significant initial capital investment, they will provide stable energy supplies at low cost. As a result, these sources will be less risky for the utilities than nonrenewable sources, such as gas, oil, and coal, whose prices can fluctuate dramatically according to availability.

The claim of the utility companies presupposes which of the following?

(A) The public will embrace the development of wind and solar power.
(B) No new deposits of gas, oil, and coal will be discovered in the near future.
(C) Weather patterns are consistent and predictable.
(D) The necessary technology for conversion to wind and solar power is not more expensive than the technology needed to create energy through combustion.
(E) Obtaining energy from nonrenewable sources, such as gas, oil and coal, cannot be made less risky.

PREMISE: Many investing in renewables (to save \$)
PREMISE: Renewables need big investment, but energy is stable/cheap
CONCLUSION: Renewables less risky

Let's apply the NEGATION TECHNIQUE to see which answer choice, when negated, destroys the conclusion

(A) The public will NOT embrace the development of wind and solar power.
Does this destroy the conclusion that Renewables less risky?
Not really. The conclusion is all about the ides that Renewables are less risky.
ELIMINATE A

(B) New deposits of gas, oil, and coal WILL be discovered in the near future.
Does this destroy the conclusion that Renewables less risky?
No. The argument states that it's the fluctuation of gas, oil, and coal prices that makes renewables more attractive.
ELIMINATE B

(C) Weather patterns are NOT consistent and predictable.
Does this destroy the conclusion that Renewables less risky?
YES!
If wind and sunlight are not consistent and predictable, then the energy will not be consistent and predictable.
This destroys the conclusion.
KEEP C

(D) The necessary technology for conversion to wind and solar power IS more expensive than the technology needed to create energy through combustion.
Does this destroy the conclusion that Renewables less risky?
No. The passage already states that renewable energies require significant initial capital investment.
ELIMINATE D

(E) Obtaining energy from nonrenewable sources, such as gas, oil and coal, CAN be made less risky.
Does this destroy the conclusion that Renewables less risky?
No. The issue here isn't that obtaining energy from oil and gas is risky. Is the availability (and the resulting price fluctuations) that is risky.
ELIMINATE E

Cheers,
Brent
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Re: In response to the increasing cost of producing energy through traditi [#permalink]
Nowhere in the passage does it indicate that the reliability of renewable sources is conclusively tied to weather patterns. How is this answer sufficient and not out of scope?
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Re: In response to the increasing cost of producing energy through traditi [#permalink]
egmat wrote:
I see a lot of good posts on this thread and quite a number of similar explanations for the correctness of Option C.

However, as I look at the explanations given, I can see that they are not accurate. Most of the explanations revolve around the last line of the passage i.e.

"As a result, these sources will be less risky for the utilities than nonrenewable sources, such as gas, oil, and coal, whose prices can fluctuate dramatically according to availability."

The reasoning is that since renewable sources are less risky than nonrenewable sources whose prices can fluctuate dramatically, the assumption inbuilt is that the prices of renewable sources will be stable. This is an incorrect assumption. The only assumption is that the prices of renewable sources will be less fluctuating than nonrenewable sources; not that the prices of renewable sources will not fluctuate at all.

But then, how come Option C is the answer?

The answer is that you need to look at the second last statement of the passage - which also happens to be the claim of the utility companies but conveniently ignored by almost all of us in the analysis. Look at the question stem - it specifically talks about the claim of the utility companies. Both the second last and last statements of the passage are claims of the utility companies. We just cannot take second last statement as a given fact - it is a claim, which needs to be evaluated in this question.

So, what is the second last statement saying?

"The utility companies claim that although these sources require significant initial capital investment, they will provide stable energy supplies at low cost."

Now, tell me what is the assumption in the above statement?

The answer is option C. Because unless weather patterns are consistent and predictable, the renewable energy sources will not provide stable energy supplies.

That's it. The answer is quite simple to understand if we look at this second last statement. Isn't it?

Hope this helps a bit

Thanks,
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Re: In response to the increasing cost of producing energy through traditi [#permalink]
(A) The public will embrace the development of wind and solar power.
Irrelevant
(B) No new deposits of gas, oil, and coal will be discovered in the near future.
As Risk is inversely present to availability, discovering them once doesn't mean that these resources will be available always.
(C) Weather patterns are consistent and predictable.
Consistent. It means energy from Renewable Resources will be available without any impediments.
(D) The necessary technology for conversion to wind and solar power is not more expensive than the technology needed to create energy through combustion.
Conclusion is drawn on the basis of availability of these resources not on the basis of cost involved
(E) Obtaining energy from nonrenewable sources, such as gas, oil and coal, cannot be made less risky.
Tricky & tougher option to eliminate under exam pressure. Although it is talking about risk, it has subtly shifted the scope from the risk involved due to availability to the risk factor involved in practices used for Non-renewable resources.
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Re: In response to the increasing cost of producing energy through traditi [#permalink]
Any expert can explain why E,is wrong? Thanks.
Conclusion is renewable sources will be less risky for the utilities than nonrenewable sources.
Negate E: Obtaining energy from nonrenewable sources can be made less risky (than renewable sources) - definitely weaken the conclusion. So E should be the assumption.
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Re: In response to the increasing cost of producing energy through traditi [#permalink]
Mavisdu1017

In E, we are given that non renewable resources can be made less risky. No doubts about it, but the question is will they be less risky or more consistent than renewable resources. We have no information about this.

Lets talk about C, if Weather patterns are not consistent and predictable then we wont be able to use or switch to renewable sources and the whole argument falls apart.
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