Was this part of the inspiration for Obama’s SOTU goal: “by 2035, 80% of America’s electricity will come from clean energy sources”?

During last night’s State of the Union Address, president Obama essentially abandoned AGW proponents, and shifted the focus to energy, including uttering the greens most dreaded term: “clean coal”. He also set a bold goal that raised some eyebrows:

I challenge you to join me in setting a new goal: by 2035, 80% of America’s electricity will come from clean energy sources. Some folks want wind and solar. Others want nuclear, clean coal, and natural gas. To meet this goal, we will need them all – and I urge Democrats and Republicans to work together to make it happen.

I’m wondering if this idea from Standford might have been part of the thinking at the White House. In this presser, the implementation timelines are about the same, and both make references to the U.S. space program. Stanford mentions the moon landings, Obama mentions “…our generation’s Sputnik moment.”

From Stanford University:

The world can be powered by alternative energy, using today’s technology, in 20-40 years


VIDEO: A new study — co-authored by Stanford researcher Mark Z. Jacobson and UC-Davis researcher Mark A. Delucchi — analyzing what is needed to convert the world’s energy supplies to clean and sustainable sources says that it can be done with today’s technology at costs roughly comparable to conventional energy. But converting will be a massive undertaking on the scale of the moon landings. What is needed most is the societal and political will to make it happen.

If someone told you there was a way you could save 2.5 million to 3 million lives a year and simultaneously halt global warming, reduce air and water pollution and develop secure, reliable energy sources – nearly all with existing technology and at costs comparable with what we spend on energy today – why wouldn’t you do it?

According to a new study coauthored by Stanford researcher Mark Z. Jacobson, we could accomplish all that by converting the world to clean, renewable energy sources and forgoing fossil fuels.

“Based on our findings, there are no technological or economic barriers to converting the entire world to clean, renewable energy sources,” said Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering. “It is a question of whether we have the societal and political will.”

He and Mark Delucchi, of the University of California-Davis, have written a two-part paper in Energy Policy in which they assess the costs, technology and material requirements of converting the planet, using a plan they developed.

The world they envision would run largely on electricity. Their plan calls for using wind, water and solar energy to generate power, with wind and solar power contributing 90 percent of the needed energy.

Geothermal and hydroelectric sources would each contribute about 4 percent in their plan (70 percent of the hydroelectric is already in place), with the remaining 2 percent from wave and tidal power.

Vehicles, ships and trains would be powered by electricity and hydrogen fuel cells. Aircraft would run on liquid hydrogen. Homes would be cooled and warmed with electric heaters – no more natural gas or coal – and water would be preheated by the sun.

Commercial processes would be powered by electricity and hydrogen. In all cases, the hydrogen would be produced from electricity. Thus, wind, water and sun would power the world.

The researchers approached the conversion with the goal that by 2030, all new energy generation would come from wind, water and solar, and by 2050, all pre-existing energy production would be converted as well.

“We wanted to quantify what is necessary in order to replace all the current energy infrastructure – for all purposes – with a really clean and sustainable energy infrastructure within 20 to 40 years,” said Jacobson.

One of the benefits of the plan is that it results in a 30 percent reduction in world energy demand since it involves converting combustion processes to electrical or hydrogen fuel cell processes. Electricity is much more efficient than combustion.

That reduction in the amount of power needed, along with the millions of lives saved by the reduction in air pollution from elimination of fossil fuels, would help keep the costs of the conversion down.

Mark Jacobson analyzed what is needed to convert the world's energy supplies to clean and sustainable sources and says that it can be done with today's technology at costs roughly comparable to conventional energy. Credit: L.A. Cicero, Stanford University News Service

“When you actually account for all the costs to society – including medical costs – of the current fuel structure, the costs of our plan are relatively similar to what we have today,” Jacobson said.

One of the biggest hurdles with wind and solar energy is that both can be highly variable, which has raised doubts about whether either source is reliable enough to provide “base load” energy, the minimum amount of energy that must be available to customers at any given hour of the day.

Jacobson said that the variability can be overcome.

“The most important thing is to combine renewable energy sources into a bundle,” he said. “If you combine them as one commodity and use hydroelectric to fill in gaps, it is a lot easier to match demand.”

Wind and solar are complementary, Jacobson said, as wind often peaks at night and sunlight peaks during the day. Using hydroelectric power to fill in the gaps, as it does in our current infrastructure, allows demand to be precisely met by supply in most cases. Other renewable sources such as geothermal and tidal power can also be used to supplement the power from wind and solar sources.

“One of the most promising methods of insuring that supply matches demand is using long-distance transmission to connect widely dispersed sites,” said Delucchi. Even if conditions are poor for wind or solar energy generation in one area on a given day, a few hundred miles away the winds could be blowing steadily and the sun shining.

“With a system that is 100 percent wind, water and solar, you can’t use normal methods for matching supply and demand. You have to have what people call a supergrid, with long-distance transmission and really good management,” he said.

Another method of meeting demand could entail building a bigger renewable-energy infrastructure to match peak hourly demand and use the off-hours excess electricity to produce hydrogen for the industrial and transportation sectors.

Using pricing to control peak demands, a tool that is used today, would also help.

Jacobson and Delucchi assessed whether their plan might run into problems with the amounts of material needed to build all the turbines, solar collectors and other devices.

They found that even materials such as platinum and the rare earth metals, the most obvious potential supply bottlenecks, are available in sufficient amounts. And recycling could effectively extend the supply.

“For solar cells there are different materials, but there are so many choices that if one becomes short, you can switch,” Jacobson said. “Major materials for wind energy are concrete and steel and there is no shortage of those.”

Jacobson and Delucchi calculated the number of wind turbines needed to implement their plan, as well as the number of solar plants, rooftop photovoltaic cells, geothermal, hydroelectric, tidal and wave-energy installations.

They found that to power 100 percent of the world for all purposes from wind, water and solar resources, the footprint needed is about 0.4 percent of the world’s land (mostly solar footprint) and the spacing between installations is another 0.6 percent of the world’s land (mostly wind-turbine spacing), Jacobson said.

One of the criticisms of wind power is that wind farms require large amounts of land, due to the spacing required between the windmills to prevent interference of turbulence from one turbine on another.

“Most of the land between wind turbines is available for other uses, such as pasture or farming,” Jacobson said. “The actual footprint required by wind turbines to power half the world’s energy is less than the area of Manhattan.” If half the wind farms were located offshore, a single Manhattan would suffice.

Jacobson said that about 1 percent of the wind turbines required are already in place, and a lesser percentage for solar power.

“This really involves a large scale transformation,” he said. “It would require an effort comparable to the Apollo moon project or constructing the interstate highway system.”

“But it is possible, without even having to go to new technologies,” Jacobson said. “We really need to just decide collectively that this is the direction we want to head as a society.”

###

Jacobson is the director of Stanford’s Atmosphere/Energy Program and a senior fellow at Stanford’s Woods Institute for the Environment and the Precourt Institute for Energy.

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128 Responses to Was this part of the inspiration for Obama’s SOTU goal: “by 2035, 80% of America’s electricity will come from clean energy sources”?

  1. stephan says:

    Can’t wait for AMSU 2011 January temps… estimating about -0.2C so were back to 2008 again no trend once again LOL

  2. Jason Salit says:

    minor typo – third paragraph, first sentence: Standford

  3. WillR says:

    Here is the last word on why Turbines are the “way to go”…. It may help sway some of you as to their efficacy…

    **************************************************
    http://preventcancernow.ca/cancer-prevention-is-in-our-power

    “Sure, some individuals may disagree with a field of solar panels on an aesthetic level. Others may get annoyed with the sounds from a local wind farm. However, with the province of Ontario’s regulation, which demands a minimum 550 metre set-back for the installation of wind turbines, these annoyances can generally be avoided. In time, renewable energy devices will become a welcomed part of our landscape, just as we’ve become accustomed to seeing telephone poles along our roads and transmission lines in country fields.

    Cancer prevention is in our power. It’s in the kind of power we choose to light and heat our homes; play our stereos and recharge our cell phones. In fact, the choice of embracing renewable technology is a must if we’re serious about fighting cancer.”

    ***********************************

    Got it folks? Put your cap in your head and keep your eyes lowered when you approach the great lady. She found a cure for cancer…

    My best information as to here credentials is this…
    Farrah has a degree in Political Science and Religion and a background in documentary film making.

    It’s all in the turbines…

    I wish I had credentials that allowed me to make these claims. I could be famous tooo!

    Of course she works for this fellow (Gideon Foreman) who is always making egregious claims about coal pollution and wind turbines…


    Mr. Forman holds a Master’s degree in philosophy from McGill University. He interned at The Nation – America’s oldest weekly journal – and studied creative writing at the Banff Centre for the Arts. From 1997-2004, he was Vice President of Strategic Communications Inc., a firm that provides political consulting and fundraising advice to the non-profit sector. In 1999, Strategic Communications was named to The Profit 100 as one of Canada’s fastest growing firms.

    In 2004, he became Executive Director of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE). Under his leadership, CAPE won a gold medal at the 2006 Canadian Environment Awards. In 2007, he was the co-winner of a Virtuoso Award from the International Association of Business Communicators (London, England). He is currently a Judge for the Green Toronto Awards. His reviews and essays have appeared in The Globe and Mail, The Canadian Forum, and The Toronto Star, among other publications.

    I think that proponents of wind power are the worst enemy of the technology.

    Maybe President Obama could use a couple of evangelical supporters. Goodness knows that we don’t need them.

    Excuse me — I gotta go heave!

  4. jorgekafkazar says:

    “If someone told you there was a way you could save 2.5 million to 3 million lives a year and simultaneously halt global warming, reduce air and water pollution and develop secure, reliable energy sources – nearly all with existing technology and at costs comparable with what we spend on energy today – why wouldn’t you do it?”

    Why? Because that “someone” would be lying through his blood-sucking teeth. He’d be spewing utter nonsense of the most dangerous sort–mere handwaving based on a combination of incomplete knowledge and wishful thinking. If this is the basis for Obama’s speech, we are all doomed.

  5. bubbagyro says:

    What a pipe dream! It reminds me of any or all of the “futurists” and science fiction writers swearing that we would be living on other planets by 2000. In the 1940′s Dick Tracy, indeed had wrist radios that came to pass, but he was riding around in magnetic cars hat looked like the top of cherry picker platforms. Cities had moving streets and monorails, that futurists predicted by 1990 would be the norm. This all based on faulty data, which was either misinterpreted or made up of whole cloth. The Jetsons will be proud of us in 2035!

    No nuclear, no coal or gas? What are these guys smoking? Oh, yeah, right. In California it is legal…

  6. Jason Joice M.D. says:

    “I’m wondering if this idea from Standford”, should be Stanford.

  7. John F. Hultquist says:

    Terence Corcoran of the National Post has a statement here

    http://opinion.financialpost.com/2011/01/26/terence-corcoran-ground-control-to-major-obama/

    . . . that ends this way:

    Mr. Obama on Tuesday launched himself anew — as President Sputnik, lost in space.

    My take is that President Sputnik wants a goal-based legacy on the order of the Moon landing by which to be remembered. He’ll be remembered as a passable community organizer from Chicago and a failed President.

  8. Before one gets to high up on the soap box… it might be wise to consider the base loading & efficiency problems with clean energy sources… esp wind & solar. As an engineer, having worked, hands-on in the utility industry for 30+ yrs., I appreciate the issue that conventional wind/solar conversion methods are at best, 20% efficient… so you will always need a backup power supply for base loading your electrical grid. Lets resolve that problem first before we get to carried away with grand ideas.

  9. Mike says:

    Cap & trade would have been a more efficient market friendly way to approach the need to convert to low-CO2 emission energy, but the Republicans are insisting on the Big Government approach.

  10. pat says:

    I cannot even begin to approach this nauseous nonsense. Fractional energy sources that could not be relied upon to drive a lawn mower will power the USA in 25 years? Power sources so minuscule in industries such as manufacturing or transportation that we would be reduced to international beggars, slaughtered at the whim of countries that covet the resources that American industries were not allowed to utilize. Send these morons to China or Malaysia or Saudi Arabia or Venezuela where the silly crap they preach, instead of doing, can be the source of income. In a minstrel show.

  11. Father Guido says:

    It’s not like solar shuts down at sunset and wind turns on. There are many interruptions throughout the day and night. What is need is a network of Nuclear power stations so when it’s dinner time in the east, non-base power could transmitted from further west and reversed when it’s dinner time on the west coast. Even if this was feasible the Greenies would go for all the cement required or mining to make steel.

    Why don’t these guys suggest a state, or smallish European country to use as a demonstration, first to see if it would work and second to get the bugs out before we spend Trillions and trillions.

  12. Smokey says:

    Mike says:

    Cap & trade would have been a more efficient market friendly way to approach the need to convert to low-CO2 emission energy, but the Republicans are insisting on the Big Government approach.”

    Sorry, Mike, you’re…

  13. old44 says:

    Aah yes, clean coal, Australia p15sed $130 million up against the wall on that election promise before the bogan princess quietly abandoned it with nothing to show except a bunch of Greens living in the lifestyle they all aspire too.

  14. cold turkey says:

    To be fair on Obama, he did include nuclear.
    This Nerd does even do that!

  15. cold turkey says:

    Typo
    For does read doësn’t

  16. I did a write-up on Jacobson & DeLucchi Wednesday at my website. Basically, they’re claiming they can run the whole world on electricity- planes, trains, automobiles, electric home heating; you name it, they say they’ll run it on solar and wind power (90% anyway).

    But when you check their numbers, it turns out that they’re really talking about reducing power generation and use by 75%, to something that solar and wind might actually make a dent in.

    I propose giving J&DeL a couple of PVC panels, a stack of batteries, and a nice dry cave to live in, while the rest of us continue with civilization. They should be fined if caught using nasty ol’ combustion to augment their solar powered electric heaters in the winter. But they’re free to harness all the unicorns they can catch.

    I’m not sure what DeLucchi’s background is, but Jacobson is supposed to be an engineer and should know better.

  17. a jones says:

    I do pretend to be expert on the politics of the USA.

    But I will think you will find a cogent set of views on the metter here:

    http://www.nationalreview.com/planet-gore

    Kindest Regards

  18. tokyoboy says:

    In 2035, most if not all of incumbent senior congressmen/professors will have retired, and have no memory of what they said a quarter of century back. No worry whatsoever……….

  19. Ted Gray says:

    We already know the downside of solar and wind in Europe but hears a little ditty from California:
    http://spectator.org/blog/2011/01/25/wind-energy-deal-blows-away
    Court rejects WIND FARM in California. What environmentalist and governments regularly get away with, won’t pass the stink test in a court of law!
    Scrutinize the realities of costly and inefficient wind energy projects (and most alternative energy projects, for that matter) in public spheres where tough questions can be asked — like in court — and it’s amazing what you will learn. Such was the case with California utility PG&E, which had a $900 million deal in place to purchase a wind farm from Iberdrola, until an administrative law judge wanted it nixed. From the court decision:
    “We reject the application because we find that the Manzana Wind Project is not cost-competitive and poses unacceptable risks to ratepayers. We find that the proposed cost of the Manzana Wind Project is significantly higher than other resources PG&E can procure to meet its RPS program goal. Moreover, it will subject the ratepayers to unacceptable risks due to potential cost increases resulting from project under-performance, less than forecasted project life, and any delays which might occur concerning transmission upgrades and commercial online date. As a proposed utility-owned generation project, ratepayers would pay a lump sum cost rather than a performance based cost for the Manzana Wind Project. Therefore, ratepayers would be at risk if the project underperforms. In particular, if the Manzana Wind Project fails to achieve production as expected for any reason such as construction delays or curtailments as a result of a collision with a California condor, shareholders face no risks while customers could incur increased costs. In contrast, under a power purchase agreement, project owners rather than ratepayers bear the risk of project performance….
    “In short, although the project would contribute to the California renewable generation goals, given the availability of other lower-priced renewable projects in the competitive market that could impose far less risks on ratepayers, PG&E has failed to demonstrate a need for this project.”
    So you’ve got every problem with wind energy in one judgment: high costs, unreliability, underperformance, and bird-battering. This runs counter to what environoiacs and alternative energy schemers tell us on a daily basis. What’s that matter — can’t California and the federal government find enough taxpayer dough to subsidize this boondoggle too, to make it “feasible?” A wind farm of this size should be the environmentalists’ dream.
    The answer probably is, the government doesn’t want to be seen providing giveaways of this nature to the big bad utilities. They’d rather give subsidies to the renewables dealers — the little gremlins with the Green jobs — and then make the utilities buy the sporadic energy from them. And whatever you do, don’t tick off the ratepayers with higher electric bills, lest they discover the truth about alternative energy.

  20. Mike Jowsey says:

    “Wind and solar are complementary, Jacobson said, as wind often peaks at night and sunlight peaks during the day.”

    And what’s the weather like on your planet?

  21. King of Cool says:

    The world can be crime and poverty free and live in peace forever after by 2030.

    Folks I am not joking. I have just completed a study at my local university and I can prove it can be done – all we need is the will.

    Firstly, we have to reduce the world population which is estimated to reach 7 to 10 billion by 2050. This can be done by banning sex for a 5 year period under a UN accord. Once we have world population under control we can allow specially ballot chosen families to have children at half the rate of the global death rate until we reach a population level commensurate with available resources.

    Then we must redistribute wealth. This can be done by a newly formed UN World Government Bureaucracy. The aim will be to give every living soul on earth the same amount of money and assets. Any-one found committing crime shall be shot into space. Any nation or sub nation carrying out any form of military action shall be obliterated.

    Folks, I can show you that by 2030 we can live in harmony in a peaceful crime free world with a friendly World Government looking after us all. The time for greed, individual ambition and human endeavour is over. We have failed miserably with this survival of the fittest philosophy. Now is the time for collective enterprise and sharing.

    I can prove it can be done so lets do it!

  22. AusieDan says:

    Has anybody even seen any “dirty” energy?

  23. Les Francis says:

    Father Guido says: at 9:47 pm
    Why don’t these guys suggest a state, or smallish European country to use as a demonstration, first to see if it would work and second to get the bugs out before we spend Trillions and trillions.

    Whose Trillions would they spend? The world is almost on the knife edge of economic abyss.

  24. I don’t think the Stanford nonsense was what President Obama had in mind in his State of the Union talk when he predicted 80% of US energy would come from “clean” energy sources. As Anthony wrote in his intro above:

    During last night’s State of the Union Address, president Obama essentially abandoned AGW proponents, and shifted the focus to energy, including uttering the greens most dreaded term: “clean coal”. [Emphasis added]

    Nowhere in the Stanford paper do they mention coal, except when they dismiss it, along with other fossil fuels, writing: “no more natural gas or coal”. Nor do they mention the word “nuclear” at all, which proves the Stanford guys are totally disconnected from reality and technology and are completely in thrall of the environmentalist religion.

    Obama, on the other hand, while IMHO overly optimistic about the possibilities, and (fortunately :^) misinformed about how “clean” clean coal may really become, did include clean coal and nuclear and natural gas along with renewables wind and solar:

    I challenge you to join me in setting a new goal: by 2035, 80% of America’s electricity will come from clean energy sources. Some folks want wind and solar. Others want nuclear, clean coal, and natural gas. To meet this goal, we will need them all – and I urge Democrats and Republicans to work together to make it happen.[Emphasis added]

    As I wrote in WUWT here and here, clean coal is an attractive fossil fuel for production of electricity with the potential added benefit of providing CO2 for agricultural use, rather than the brain-dead idea of trying to sequester it in old oil wells.

    Bottom line, we will not get 80% “clean” by 2035, nor should we wreck our economy attempting such a goal, because there is no real environmental crisis. But, we can approach some percentage, such as 50% perhaps, and we should, but mostly via private initiatives and not with the government making the choices on political and ideological factors, as they did with ethanol.

  25. Leon Brozyna says:

    What a wonderful idea!

    Here’s an even better one. These genius academia folk should prove how easy this is by crafting a business plan and get funding from venture cap sources (check with Mr. Gore), then build their own infrastructure just like any other energy company. Should be easy, as they claim it’s cost competitive to fossil fuels. Just think — in thirty years or so they too can be multi-billionaires like Gates or Jobs and threatening the very existence of Exxon!

    In the meantime, I’m not holding my breath.

  26. Lonnie Schubert says:

    Total nonsense! Windmills are dead. Solar is still in its infancy. Hydro is maxed already, and Gore and company brag whenever they tear one down. The notion that winds peak at night is absurd. Anyone who has significant experience with hot air ballooning knows that late evening and early morning have the lowest average winds. http://www.windwisdom.net/ (Average wind is higher at night above several hundred feet. Perhaps they were proposing BIG towers.) Was this really from a world-renown institution of higher learning? No bottlenecks in rare materials? Nonsense! And what’s with the land-use percentages? NOT! is all I can say.

    What’s up with the assertion regarding efficiency? The difference between heating a pot of water with a gas fire is so much more efficient than heating the same pot with electric resistance heat that I consider gas fired electric plants to be immoral.

    Are there any points in the article that aren’t farcical? If so, I missed. Can someone point to the sensible statements for me?

  27. AusieDan says:

    But seriously, this is not yet April first is it?
    Nor is it the year 2,000, the approved time for turn of the century madness?

    These people have left solid ground and are floating far out in space.
    Anything is now possible!
    Unless you are responsible for getting it done and for keeping things running.

    I had a very strange dream last night when I was asleep.
    Perhaps I am still dreaming.
    Yes, that explains it very well.

  28. Al Gored says:

    Here’s some views from Green Inc.

    “Getting 80 percent of our energy from clean sources by 2035 sounds fantastic, but what’s natural gas doing in there?”

    http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/is-obamas-plan-good-for-green-tech/

    “President Barack Obama used yesterday’s State of the Union address to set the US on a course to producing 80 per cent of its electricity from “clean sources” by 2035, including renewables, nuclear power, clean coal and natural gas.

    Although making no explicit mention of climate change or greenhouse gases – effectively removing emissions-capping legislation from the White House agenda – Obama did reiterate his call for an end to fossil fuel subsidies…”

    http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/1939577/obama-pledges-renewed-clean-energy-investment

  29. joe says:

    “clean coal” is an oxymoron…there will never be “clean coal” because you’ll always have the millions of tons of waste sludge that is filled with heavy metals, uranium, etc…you can either have dozens and dozens(hundreds?) of these massive sludge pits across the country or one single repository for nuclear?

    good luck on that 80% by 2035 though….any greenies want to make a wager? is there anyone on the planet that believes that number? this is the kind of wishful thinking you get from someone(obama) who’s never actually produced anything in his whole life…

  30. kwik says:

    I can see it . An Airbus 380 with a HUUUUGE hydrogen-tank mounted on its back.

    Yes I can!

  31. AusieDan says:

    King of Cool – BUT BUT BUT
    The voters may not like your solution!
    Nice try though.
    Back to square one.

  32. dp says:

    I guess they’ve solved the problem that plagues wind and solar – neither is a persistent energy source within a region. It has never happened to my knowledge at least that either has ever replaced an oil/steam/gas/water driven generator anywhere on earth.

    Here’s the scenario I like to use: You have an island, say Tristan De Cunha, and you’d like to go green, so you use your best John Belushi pout to get a handout from some oil-rich nation to build a nice wind farm and solar based grid and send the old petro-based generator to a poor nation like, oh, Tuvalu. Hell, you don’t need it anymore because you have upgraded to Energy Grid version 2.0. All the islanders form up in the heart of the urban core and toss a grand party and all is well. Then the sun goes down, and the wind dies back a little and your nifty system goes on batteries.

    And the next day is calm and just a little cloudy, and the town smithie decides it is time to catch up on his welding and fires off a spark welder to patch some holes in the town’s well bucket. Edna’s CPAP machine takes a dive, and the restaurant’s oven cools just a little. The thermometer in the battery room is rising, and the inverters are howling. Angus, the town butcher’s just made his rounds and decides to top off his green car and plugs it into the grid. The hair drier at the beauty shop gives it up, the mayor’s wife’s wet hair will follow her home, and the first call on her cell phone, which is cut off when the cell tower goes dark, was to the CoC asking what is being done to go off batteries and wonders why nobody thought to have backup batteries.

    The next day is dark and brooding – and that’s just the mayor’s wife whose temperament matches nicely the cold dark chill of a long day of rain. At the airport the wind sock is drooping, and the only propeller turning is on a Cessna 150 taxiing to the fuel pump. It is leaving the island forever as the economies of scale that enable the delivery of fuel for the now gone generator spilt over to the airport fuel depot and they’re down to fumes.

    The same situation has hit Aubrey’s Gas to Go station in the city core and he’s now pumping fuel with an extension cord that is currently plugged into Angus the butcher’s car and will be for another few days at the present rate of fade on the nifty new grid.

    The guy with the Belushi pout is trying to get a call through to an oil-rich nation for a quick call – “Hello – operator – put me through to Tuvalu!”

  33. tango says:

    ? how much power is needed to keep the wind turbines operational when there is NO wind .

  34. Bob in Castlemaine says:

    Sounds to me suspiciously like the turning of the next page in the never ending saga of failed Stanford/Sierra Club predictions. Surely in a post CAGW scam world the wheat will be separated from the chaff.
    Here in Australia, we well recall that famous line from former Prime Minister Bob Hawke “by 1990 no Australian child will be living in poverty.”

  35. @King of something or other:
    “Any-one found committing crime shall be shot into space.”

    Really? Free space access? Any particular crimes I should start with?

  36. Bill Jamison says:

    Plans for a major solar energy plant in the desert east of San Diego have collapsed due to lawsuits filed by environmentalists and Native American tribes. There’s no way we can convert to renewable energy sources when proposed plants are blocked at every turn and kept tied up in court until they are no longer economically feasible.

  37. 2SoonOld2LateSmart says:

    Flying cars. They said we would have flying cars by now.
    (back in 1955)

  38. Newt Love says:

    OMG! President Obama is for “clean coal” and other energy systems, like nuclear, et cetera! OMG! Obama must now be a denier, funded by Big Coal which is in bed with Big Oil!

    No shock to the skeptics, (they have been accused of being funded like that for over a decade), who have known for over a decade that Big Oil has been huge supporters of carbon trading schemes and Al Gore since the inception of the CAGW alarmist scare.

    But now, what will the CAGWs do, when their glorious messiah in the White House has gone over to the dark side, and is pushing for Big Coal and Big Nuke (part of the Big Energy companies) to solve the world’s energy crisis?

    At a minimum, George Moonbeam must write a columns denouncing Obama and how he has sold out and become a DENIER!

  39. Petrossa says:

    I would love to see the moment all commuters come home from a hard day’s work and plug in their electric vehicles for a recharge in the summer.

    That’s the moment when you can see the electric grid from space, a beautiful red glowing line stretched across the country. Pity i’ll only last for less then a second when all the fuses blow, transformers blow up, lines melt.

    There’s no way no how we are going to be able to distribute the equivalent of energy contained in hydrocarbons used for transport through existing grid technology.

    But hey, don’t let reality stand in the way of your lofty ideals.

  40. Al Gored says:

    Meanwhile…

    26 Jan, 2011, 12.47PM IST,PTI
    China to build 10 more mega nuclear reactors

    “BEIJING: China will construct 10 more mega nuclear reactors with a whopping investment of USD 121.5 billion, in addition to 25 currently being built, to step up its atomic power generation to meet its rising energy demands.

    China is expected to raise its 2020 target for the nuclear power industry to 86 GW or 5 per cent of its power generation with an annual investment of 70 billion Yuan (USD 10.6 billion), state run China Daily reported today.

    To reach the capacity China will build 10 more nuclear power projects during the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015), Zhang Guobao, former director of the National Energy Administration said.”

    http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics/nation/china-to-build-10-more-mega-nuclear-rectors/articleshow/7365901.cms

  41. Carlyle says:

    The garbage we are fed about alternative energy that so many actually believe, is the result I believe, of the appallingly bad education system in western countries. Trying to argue a point on the basis of science has become near impossible because of the corruption of the scientific process where social engineering carries much more weight than facts. Results of scientific research are distorted, even disparaged by their discoverers if they do not fit the required template. A researcher can go to the Arctic or Antarctic, see an iceberg & report the next day that it is the result of global warming. It will be widely reported as fact.
    A couple of years ago some researchers were stunned to discover living trees gave off significant quantities of methane gas. See http://www.rsc.org/chemistryworld/News/2006/January/12010601.asp
    They immediately cast aspersions on their own discovery for fear of the consequences.
    As far as I am aware, very little follow up research has been done. What government body would fund such a Green destroying proposition? True research is fearless.
    Back to education. How can you debate a scientific or mathematical proposition with a populace so poorly educated in these fields or even in logic? For example the proponents of solar towers storing thermal energy in molten salt to generate overnight power production without having any comprehension of thermal losses in such a system let alone any comprehension of the Carnot cycle.
    We still must fight the idiocy however.

  42. Myrrh says:

    Where do I go to get a grant to work on my design for an electric car powered by a windmill on the roof?

  43. Al Gored says:

    Your tax dollars at work. Not sure how many of these are electric.

    “NEW DELHI: General Motors’ India unit said on Thursday it planned to source $1 billion worth of auto parts from India over the next two years.

    General Motors expects its India plant in western state of Gujarat to have more than 100,000 unit production capacity in the next few months, the company said in a statement.”

    http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/news-by-industry/auto/auto-components/gm-india-unit-says-to-source-1-bn-auto-parts/articleshow/7370601.cms

  44. jamie says:

    “The actual footprint required by wind turbines to power half the world’s energy is less than the area of Manhattan.”

    From Wiki:

    The Roscoe Wind Farm in Roscoe, Texas is the world’s largest wind farm (as of October 2009) with 627 wind turbines and a total installed capacity of 781.5 MW……. and covers nearly 100,000 acres (400 km2), several times the size of Manhattan.

    So 781.5 MW will meet half the worlds electricity demand! All we need is a “super grid” to connect Roscoe, Texas to the rest of the world.

  45. Mike Haseler says:

    Anthony, unfortunately, this has been an effective tactic by the wind industry in Europe and given the huge financial backing these guys have you ignore it at your peril.

    Basically the scheme works like this:

    1. The government pass a law setting a small increase in electricity price … which isn’t a tax because its only an increase in the price of electricity, which is set via a “free” market mechanism, so it isn’t technically a tax, even if it looks like a tax, smells like a tax, etc.

    2. Politicians are then offered numerous photo opportunities to pose in front of bird mincersrenewably green photonically white heat of high technology natural air velocity turbines. (aka windmills painted white)

    3. The politicians are then encouraged to enter a “we can be greener (as in naive) than anyone else and set a higher tax obligation target.

    4. The emperors are then encouraged to walk down the street imagining that the world will be impressed by their new clothes.

  46. Peter Walsh says:

    “by 2035, 80% of America’s electricity will come from clean energy sources”

    That will coincide then with all the glaciers in the Himalayas melting?

    It’s going to be a very eventful year by the looks of things.

  47. Mike Haseler says:

    2SoonOld2LateSmart says: January 26, 2011 at 11:18 pm

    “Flying cars. They said we would have flying cars by now.
    (back in 1955)”

  48. John Marshall says:

    Only if America reduces energy use by 80% will this happen.

  49. Roger Knights says:

    Newt Love says:
    January 26, 2011 at 11:21 pm

    OMG! President Obama is for “clean coal” and other energy systems, like nuclear, et cetera! OMG! Obama must now be a denier, funded by Big Coal which is in bed with Big Oil!

    He’s trying to get his green funding through by means of traditional political “horse-trading.” I.e., he’ll let the Republicans get some nuclear, natural gas, and coal green-lighted in exchange for their consenting to fund various green projects and regulations. I’m sure most of the upper-level strategists in green organizations realize now that this is the best deal they can get and that Obama is the best salesman they have.

  50. Layne Blanchard says:

    Ahhhhh, Pretendident O’Sputternik! It’s got a nice ring.

    A simple moratorium on environmentally based obstructionism wouldn’t cost anything. The decision to facilitate, rather than obstruct development in every way is so blatantly obvious only a Sputternik could miss it. We already have environmental law. We could even back it down a bit until we get back on our feet. Was the entire USA a putrid cesspool of toxic waste in 1990? Hardly.

    The Fed owns a lot of land. This is a gigantic resource the use of which wouldn’t bankrupt our kids. Bring your ALL NEW factory plan to Greenfield USA and enjoy a nearly cost free 60 year lease, a combined fed/state/local tax burden of 7.5% for your factory, guaranteed for 30 years, a right to work zone, with greatly simplified Environmental impact requirements, and shelter from zealots thru-out your development. Refineries, Power Plants, Fab and Assembly Factories, distribution hubs, Transportation and mining.

    With Japan’s recent reduction, the USA now has the world’s highest corporate tax burden. Cut it in half for all, two thirds for target projects. INVITE manufacturing to come back for a change.

    Raping the planet? Psychobabble for the deranged. The old girl doesn’t even know we’re here.

  51. cedarhill says:

    Actually, given his “focus like a laser” on energy, he’ll achieve the 80% goal by Christmas this year. Simply by shutting down all hydrocarbon processing and power plant, mothballing a few nuke plants and blowing up a few man-made hydro plants to return them to nature. His only flaw is overshooting – corn rust can be a real killer.

  52. Ralph says:

    How many wind turbines froze this winter? How many coal and gas generators was needed to back them up? How many coal and gas generators is NORMALLY needed to back them up?

    Utter BS!

  53. Jim Cripwell says:

    The thing I find surprising is that with all this talk about renewable energy, no one seems to mention cellulose ethanol. My reading convinces me that this is the only renewable energy source that is viable, since it enables us to store the energy we produce. As I understand the situation, the US needs to go to at least E20 so as to encourage manufacturers to venture into mass production of cellulose ethanol.

  54. I seem to recall reading about the “hydrogen economy” more than 20 years ago and there seem to be some major impediments in the way. I’m wondering if Jacobson has ever heard of the concept of energy density? What we should be striving for is maximizing energy density of power sources so that minimal amounts of land are used for power generation. Right now watermelons howl when one proposes putting a power line up in their neighborhood (all of the potential problems of electric fields causing every health problem one can imagine) and increasing wind power would require massive numbers of power lines to carry all that power somewhere.

    Ecologically, wind power is a disaster and I’d much rather have a nuclear power plant next door to me than a windmill. My preference would be to have a LENR generator in my basement which would greatly decrease the chance of my home electronics getting fried when we have the next Carrington event. What Jacobson is proposing to build is a massive continent sized antenna which should exhibit interesting behavior when the next major solar flare hits. If we have to spend money on energy research, lets spend it on LENR which at least might result in a practical result in the future.

  55. Jeff says:

    Surprise, surprise! Straight from Wikipedia:
    “General Electric is currently designing an IGCC [integrated gasification combined cycle ] model plant that should introduce greater reliability. GE’s model features advanced turbines optimized for the coal syngas.”
    Who just signed on (officially) with O’s team? Jeff Immelt, CEO of GE.

  56. RockyRoad says:

    This goal can only happen if the “green” technology comes from cold fusion–which would be a fitting rebuttal of the hot fusion crowd that has disparaged cold fusion at every opportunity. We’ll know in a few short months.

  57. Pull My Finger says:

    Oh goodie, the old “Will to Power” ideology, haven’t had any problems with that mentality in the last 100 years or so have we?
    —-
    “Based on our findings, there are no technological or economic barriers to converting the entire world to clean, renewable energy sources,” said Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering. “It is a question of whether we have the societal and political will.”

  58. Frank K. says:

    Leon Brozyna says:
    January 26, 2011 at 10:45 pm

    What a wonderful idea!

    Here’s an even better one. These genius academia folk should prove how easy this is by crafting a business plan and get funding from venture cap sources (check with Mr. Gore), then build their own infrastructure just like any other energy company. Should be easy, as they claim it’s cost competitive to fossil fuels. Just think — in thirty years or so they too can be multi-billionaires like Gates or Jobs and threatening the very existence of Exxon!

    In the meantime, I’m not holding my breath.

    I was going to post something similar but Leon summarized it nicely. These academics NEVER want to try out their ideas in the marketplace with their own money or venture capital.

    “Hello – Mr. T. Boone Pickens? I have Jacobson & DeLucchi from Stanford on line one… yes, it’s something to do with wind turbines…”

  59. Pull My Finger says:

    Don’t you see, it’s all very easy? Just put a wind turbine, solar panel, and beaver damn in the middle of every 1km x 1km grid over the entire planet, pray to Gaia, sprinkle fairy dust and instant presto doubleplusgood cleanrenewablegoodiegreenie energy for all, for ever and ever, amen! I think we need to stop calling this stuff Bulls**t and start calling it Unicorn S**t. At least bullsh*t is real.
    —-
    “Before one gets to high up on the soap box… it might be wise to consider the base loading & efficiency problems with clean energy sources… esp wind & solar. “

  60. Curiousgeorge says:

    Anthony, et al: Watch “Follow the Money” tonite on FoxBusiness @ 10et. Bolling will talk about Obama’s “clean energy” push and GE’s role in that. Should be quite interesting!

  61. Another Gareth says:

    “by 2035, 80% of America’s electricity will come from clean energy sources.”

    If you classify supercritical boilers in coal and gas power stations as ‘clean’ (which would be fair as the UN consider them clean enough for Clean Development Mechanism credits) a renewal of US fossil fuel power stations in an orderly fashion over the next 25 years would achieve the bulk of that target.

  62. jrwakefield says:

    I read that study. They left out a very important aspect of their proposal. How to build that much “green” power. One can do the math to see what the growth rate would have to be to build 4 million turbines. It’s 113% per year. Thus we would have to, every year form now to 2030, double the number of turbines built. Such that by 2029 we would have to build 2 million of them. Add to that the building of more than a billion rooftop solar systems.

    And these guys think this is quite achievable. Makes one wonder what they are smoking…

  63. jrwakefield says:

    Where do I go to get a grant to work on my design for an electric car powered by a windmill on the roof?

    What geat idea! The faster you drive, the more the turbine will turn to produce power and the faster you can go! Should appeal to the”greens”.

  64. Jacob says:

    Dr. Ira Glickstein (PhD):
    Your idea of “clean coal” is just as nonsensical as the “100% renewable energy at no cost” that these Stanford guys peddle.
    The is no such thing as “clean coal”. (Obama is just as missinformed us you, but he’s no PhD).
    When there will be, you can come back and tell us about it.
    Meanwhyle youre rants are meaningless.

  65. tarpon says:

    That would be great, we convert the USA to France’s model and use nuclear power for most of our electricity… Isn’t that what he said? Cheap electricity for all ???

    What, you are laughing ….

  66. James Sexton says:

    Father Guido says:
    January 26, 2011 at 9:47 pm

    Why don’t these guys suggest a state, or smallish European country to use as a demonstration, first to see if it would work and second to get the bugs out before we spend Trillions and trillions.
    ========================================================

    Well, they did. It failed. Check Spain. It damn near bankrupted the country. I believe Denmark may still be hurting a bit from the cold embrace of renewable energy as well.

  67. Roberto says:

    Hydro-electric can fill in the gaps. Yippee! Here come the dams.

    But I suspect new dams will cost a wee bit more than the old ones.

  68. Coach Springer says:

    Clean energy / coal means whatever the EPA says it means. To the extent that clean coal means free of CO2 (which is their stated and understood definition), then Obama is for it? Other than a change in rhetoric to get elected in 2012, there is no other change evident. Obama never backed off of CO2 one little bit. I suspect he doesn’t care and never did, though. It’s just a question of useful politics and posing. Currently, he’s trying to have it both ways and that is all that can be concluded.

  69. Murray Duffin says:

    All you negative Know-alls should really try doing detailed research and quantification, and some should learn how to read carefully. Jamie’s observation above is typical. He compares total space occupied by the wind farm to the authors’ total space occupied by the turbines.
    Conventional fossil fuel electricity generation typically converts 30% of the primary energy in the fuel into electricity. Wind and solar produce electricity directly. For ICE cars, petroleum energy in the ground to wheel to road energy is about 15% efficient. Renewable to hydrogen to fuel cell to motor to wheel can be 50% efficient. (In this case the technology is not quite there yet). Overall, simply moving to renewables reduces the primary energy needed by at least 50%. At least in the USA, another 50% is available from efficiency improvements, a bit of conservation, and some life style changes, like more use of public transportation in cities and crowded travel corridors. The 70% reduction in primary energy is quite doable. Starting there, the conversion to renewables is not really far-fetched. Personally, I would still include a good bit of nuclear in the mix, to make load balancing easier. The interesting thing for the know-alls is that we will do this, because fossil fuel is finite, and will no longer be economically competitive before 2100.

  70. James Sexton says:

    Why are they still pushing the proven unfeasible idea that whirlygigs and sun collectors as energy options? They don’t work well enough. They don’t work well enough, and in case you haven’t heard, they don’t work well enough.

    It was pointed out earlier, even if they started working at exponential efficiency, it still won’t give you the required base loading. Forget peak demand! It won’t be reliable enough for base load. Gosh, they are a tiresome lot.

  71. Pamela Gray says:

    30% more hydroelectric means new dams. The major rivers in the East are well developed at the river’s edge (comparatively so), which would make it political suicide to displace so many voters. So the untouched rivers of the West will once again be the target. That means the Snake through Hell’s Canyon. Fat chance. Especially when we are sitting on mountains of coal and layer after layer of natural gas.

  72. David says:

    Mark Jacobson states that ’1% of the wind turbines are already in place..’
    Can’t wait for the other 99% – oh, hang on – no room for housing; farming; industry – and a ‘supergrid’ to conduct the electricity round the globe from windy, sunny places to calm, dark places….
    And the transmission losses would be..?
    Oh – why the hell am I bothering…

  73. harrywr2 says:

    Obama’s 2035 goal is based on expected coal plant retirements.

    Only 1/3(330 GW) of US Generating Capacity is coal.
    The vast majority of it built in the 1970′s and 1980′s.
    Peak build rate in the 1970′s was about 1 GW/month.
    A retirement rate of of 1 GW/month gets rid of 90% of our coal fired capacity by 2035.

    The cost of transporting coal(3 cents a mile) makes the economics of ‘clean coal’ advantageous in a relatively small geographic area.

    Coal’s major advantages at the moment are the plants are all built and in realtively good working order. ‘New anything’ doesn’t pencil out very well against a ‘perfectly working something’. The ‘new anything’ comes with a payment book.

    .

  74. wobble says:

    Jacob says:
    January 27, 2011 at 6:17 am
    Dr. Ira Glickstein (PhD):
    Your idea of “clean coal” is just as nonsensical as the “100% renewable energy at no cost” that these Stanford guys peddle.
    The is no such thing as “clean coal”.

    Sure there is. It simply depends on your definition of “clean.” Reducing sulfur and particulate matter is doable with nextgen systems. Extracting CO2 from the exhaust gasses is more expensive. Then again, there isn’t anything unclean about CO2.

  75. Buddenbrook says:

    With more and more greens now admitting that solar and wind can become major energy sources only when linked to continent wide supergrids to balance out the irregularities in supply, isn’t this then the golden question on which the whole green vision now hinges?

    Are supergrids achievable? Would they be reliable? Would they function as promised? Or is it yet another green pipe dream, like biofuels, based on grandiose visions, but relatively little hard technological substance?

    The difference between “we like to think that it would work” and “we have proven it works” is huge. It is NOT advisable to base trillion dollar projects on the former!

  76. jaypan says:

    why do it when the Himalayan glaciers will be gone by then already? /sarc-off

  77. As I have noted previously, I went to high school with Mark, who was an exceedingly strong math and science student (and tennis player, by the way). The fact that he went on to receive his Ph.D. in Meteorology from UCLA and believes that wind peaks at night is, in a word, astonishing. This confirms my belief that the warmist camp stares at computer screens too much and spends too little time outdoors.

  78. wobble says:

    Murray Duffin says:
    January 27, 2011 at 6:50 am
    All you negative Know-alls should really try doing detailed research and quantification, and some should learn how to read carefully. Jamie’s observation above is typical. He compares total space occupied by the wind farm to the authors’ total space occupied by the turbines.

    Indeed. How silly for Jamie to assume that wind turbines will require any spacing at all. Any smart engineer knows that these wind farms could have used 80% less land by simply building the turbines with interlocking blades. It’s not as if downwind turbines would be less efficient due to turbulent wind flow. /sarc

  79. RHS says:

    I wish I could remember off hand the amount of energy required to separate Hydrogen from Oxygen. I do remember it is quite a bit. But more importantly is, separating the 2H from 1 O is another drain on the most important resource on this planet, clean drinkable WATER!!!

  80. wobble says:

    Buddenbrook says:
    January 27, 2011 at 7:31 am
    With more and more greens now admitting that solar and wind can become major energy sources only when linked to continent wide supergrids to balance out the irregularities in supply, isn’t this then the golden question on which the whole green vision now hinges?

    Are supergrids achievable?

    Of course supergrids are achievable. The “super conductor” conducting lines simply need to be cooled by liquid hydrogen in order to reduce energy loss over such long distances.

    When these researchers used the term “today’s technology” you knew they meant “today’s laboratory technology which is yet unproven on a large scale in the field” right?

  81. RonPE says:

    California Dreamin’!

  82. randomengineer says:

    The idea of “factoring all costs thus it’s equal” thing is where you start to lose which shell is hiding the pea. The “all costs” will invariably include nonsense numbers of death claimed by greens re pollution…. e.g. greens like to claim that tens of millions die in the US alone each year due to various forms of pollution such as CO2. In their world various cancers aren’t the result of virii (in the real world they are) but fuzzy claims and inventions (stress, exposure to smog, etc.) Epidemiology gone wild. When you make up numbers from pure conjecture it’s easy to balance the books.

    Ultimately this is little more than variant #16 of the claim that corporations are bad and gas engines are killing us all. It just has a frilly frock on it.

  83. Don Shaw says:

    With help from NASA we can accomplish anything

    http://www.investors.com/EditorialCartoons/Cartoon.aspx?id=561086

  84. wobble says:

    Overall, it’s frightening that this engineer from Stanford claims that all of this can be paid for by reducing the few cases of asthma that could possibly be blamed on emissions from power generators.

  85. oeman50 says:

    I attempted to get a copy of the study to see what the professors’ assumptions were, but it was behind a paywall. As an engineer with 35 years in the utility industry (now working on GHGs and renewables) I find many of the claims and assumptions made by such studies are self serving and unrealizable in the real world. Most power companies are required to maintain a reliable power supply at a reasonable cost. Just look at what happens when a totally justified fuel charge causes a rate increase, I call it the “Alpo moment.” They always trot out grandma, who can’t afford the rate increase, and claim that she will have to eat dog food because of the rate increase. Try implementing this scheme on a grand scale and see how much Alpo’s stock goes up.

  86. Bob Barker says:

    Perfect looks so much better than reality. They better take a look at the reality of wind and solar in Europe. Agenda driven people can be very dangerous to the general welfare.

  87. WillR says:

    Harold Ambler says:
    January 27, 2011 at 7:36 am

    As I have noted previously, I went to high school with Mark, who was an exceedingly strong math and science student (and tennis player, by the way). The fact that he went on to receive his Ph.D. in Meteorology from UCLA and believes that wind peaks at night is, in a word, astonishing. This confirms my belief that the warmist camp stares at computer screens too much and spends too little time outdoors.

    Of course what people could do is look at some data…. not models!

    Would your friend be interested in seeing some real data about when the wind blows? On average of course…

    http://ontariowindperformance.wordpress.com/2010/09/24/chapter-3-1-powering-ontario/

    There is lots more on that site, and I link to the data and an earlier paper at the bottom of the article.

    The Seciton “A year in the Life” clearly shows that there is not much of a peak and it is in late afternoon — if anything…

    Surprisingly, maximum wind power does not occur at night… But then at least you knew that!

  88. otter17 says:

    “During last night’s State of the Union Address, president Obama essentially abandoned AGW proponents, and shifted the focus to energy, including uttering the greens most dreaded term: “clean coal”. He also set a bold goal that raised some eyebrows: ”

    To insinuate that President Obama has abandoned AGW proponents is ridiculous. Is there any evidence that the White House has changed its position? Press release, interview, etc? Also, it is quite the blanket statement to say “clean coal” is the greens most dreaded term. This type of non-sensical political mumbling simply serves to hurt the points brought up in this blog.

    “I’m wondering if this idea from Standford might have been part of the thinking at the White House. In this presser, the implementation timelines are about the same, and both make references to the U.S. space program. Stanford mentions the moon landings, Obama mentions “…our generation’s Sputnik moment.””

    Who cares if the White House got the idea for this type of plan from Professors Jacobson and Delucchi? I’m sure they would be delighted that their idea has some traction with the federal government. The point is that there is an ambitious plan here to help fund a substantial amount of new energy sources to be brought online. I’m an electrical engineer that has been looking into renewables for some time, and wind/solar/geothermal would be a great kick in the pants for the electric utilities. This type of infrastructure focus could finally bring about transmission line upgrades that would be nice for both renewables and national security. This transition to renewables would be a great step towards a world that can sustain human technological development for centuries to come. There may be some kinks to work out here and there, but the fledgling electric industry had issues to deal with as well. Nevertheless, ingenuity and the courage to try things out prevailed then as it can now.

    So, great reference article, but useless commentary.

  89. wobble says:

    Murray Duffin says:
    January 27, 2011 at 6:50 am
    All you negative Know-alls should really try doing detailed research and quantification…

    For ICE cars, petroleum energy in the ground to wheel to road energy is about 15% efficient. Renewable to hydrogen to fuel cell to motor to wheel can be 50% efficient. (In this case the technology is not quite there yet). Overall, simply moving to renewables reduces the primary energy needed by at least 50%.

    We Know-alls certainly understand the folly of your logic.

    Given your brand of logic, someone could claim that we could use at least 50% less energy to heat our homes if we simply switched to electric heat. After all, electric heat is 100% efficient inside the home whereas gas/oil heat are less than 50% efficient inside the home. Such a claim completely ignores the inefficiency of getting electricity inside the home.

    Your claim completely ignores the inefficiency of producing the hydrogen and getting it inside the vehicle. Here’s the reality, a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle is much less efficient than a gasoline/diesel powered vehicle OVERALL.

    I’m not saying there aren’t some advantages to hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. If oil/natgas is in short supply, yet we had plenty of electrical power generation, then hydrogen might be a method for making up for the short supply. But one could never claim that it’s more efficient.

  90. Murray Duffin says:

    Wobble, the point is that most of the space between the turbines is either useable for crops or grazing, or the wind farm is on otherwise unused land like ridgelines or desert. If memory serves only 6% of the windfarm land is occupied by turbines and access roads.
    And yes, clean coal is feasable, at a power plant initial cost about 20% higher than conventional dirty plants. We have some very intelligent and well qualified people at Stanford, one of America’s elite universities, with access to vast amounts of data, and supported by some of the country’s best graduate students, and you turkeys that haven’t got past your a priori convictions know more than they do. Give me a break.

  91. Murray Duffin says:

    Oh yeah, and we can’t build 4 million wind turbines a year, in an economy that builds 15 million cars a year. Why would we build 4 million per year? Note that in the USA we use about 100 quads of energy per year. If we replace 70% with renewables we need < 25 quads of renewables. 60% wind would be 15 quads. Fifteen quads of wind power by 2035 would require 750,000 turbines, or 30,000 per year starting now. Big deal.

  92. mkelly says:

    Mike says:
    January 26, 2011 at 9:44 pm
    Cap & trade would have been a more efficient market friendly way to approach the need to convert to low-CO2 emission energy, but the Republicans are insisting on the Big Government approach.

    You forgot the :) or (sarc off) after your entry.

  93. wobble says:

    Murray Duffin says:
    January 27, 2011 at 8:36 am
    Wobble, the point is that most of the space between the turbines is either useable for crops or grazing, or the wind farm is on otherwise unused land like ridgelines or desert. If memory serves only 6% of the windfarm land is occupied by turbines and access roads.

    Roscoe Wind Farm occupies 100,000 acres which is 156 square miles. 6% of 156 is about 9 square miles. Manhattan is 23 square miles. So, using your 6% number, an actual footprint the size of Manhattan could fit about 2.5 Roscoe Wind Farms – which would have the ability (when the wind is blowing) to generate about 2,000 MW – which is less than 1% of the peak summer of 2009 demand in contiguous US.

  94. Jeff K says:

    The environmentalists will be after this guy for the blasphemy of wanting to save 3 million human lives; doesn’t he realize that the planet is overpopulated as it is. /sarc

  95. Mkelley says:

    More assault on our energy supplies by this administration: http://www.dailymail.com/News/201101261312

  96. DCC says:

    “I’m wondering if this idea from Standford [sic] might have been part of the thinking at the White House. In this presser[?], the implementation time lines are about the same, and both make references to the U.S. space program.”

    Anthony, I’ve been reading your blog for years, but please don’t assume I know all the buzzwords – like presser. That word, within short-term memory distance of “Standford” sent me Googling for both words. Press release is easier to understand. And shouldn’t there be an earlier link to Stan[d]ford than after two references?

  97. DD More says:

    “Aircraft would run on liquid hydrogen. ”

    I believe this was tried before, ie the zeppelin age came to an end that rainy day at Lakehurst. But perhaps, after 35 years of accidents and disasters — the crashes of LZ-4, LZ-5, Deutschland, Deutschland II, Schwaben, R-38, R-101, Shenandoah, Akron, Macon, and the list goes on — perhaps the public had just had enough.

    Oh, the Humanity!

  98. An Inquirer says:

    Maybe we are already on the verge of meeting President Obama’s goal. He implies that the goal will be reached when 80% of the electricity comes from wind, solar, nuclear, clean coal, natural gas, [and tidal power and geothermal . . .]. Apparently, oil doesn’t count, but it accounts for only 3% of electric generation. Nuclear, natural gas, wind, solar and such account for over 47% of electric generation. So we are only 33% away from the goal. If we could get 66% of coal to be classified as clean coal. Then we have achieved the 80% goal. What company labels its coal plant as dirty coal? With upgrades, replacements, efficiency improvements, scrubbers, etc., to coal plants over the next 24 years, it would not be hard to imagine that according to government definitions, we will have achieved the goal — especially if we build a few nuclear plants.

  99. WillR says:

    wobble says:
    January 27, 2011 at 9:20 am

    Roscoe Wind Farm occupies 100,000 acres which is 156 square miles. 6% of 156 is about 9 square miles. Manhattan is 23 square miles. So, using your 6% number, an actual footprint the size of Manhattan could fit about 2.5 Roscoe Wind Farms – which would have the ability (when the wind is blowing) to generate about 2,000 MW – which is less than 1% of the peak summer of 2009 demand in contiguous US.

    According to Wiki they supply 781 faceplate value — the efficiency at best is about 30% more likely 26% and probably as low as 22% a good part of the time…

    See here…

    http://www.power-technology.com/projects/roscoe-wind-farm/

    So I think that suggesting Roscoe (Original) supplies (typically)somewhere between 234 and 172MW would be generous… There will be good days and bad days of course.

    So that would be 420MW to 585MW…. typical instantaneous draw.

    That is actually not very impressive for the amount of land used.

    … I wrote the code and built the databases for the original studies on Ontario production so I am used to working these numbers…

    If you click on my name (link) and find the Powering Ontario section you will also find some numbers that show that wind power production is correlated over wide areas.

    Wind is not terribly practical — but it generates great subsidy cheques…

    Hope that helps.

  100. WillR says:

    Murray Duffin says:
    January 27, 2011 at 8:43 am

    Oh yeah, and we can’t build 4 million wind turbines a year, in an economy that builds 15 million cars a year.

    Welll… considering that you are probably looking at $2M to $3M per turbine, plus a somewhat more complicated “installation procedure” — not to mention road building and environmental studies and municipal approvals…. Then of course you need the supporting grid in place — the transmission lines, the transformers the switching stations and a few other minor details that typically amount to $100′s of millions on this scale — probably $100B’s increments… then it could get exciting to finance.

    Go for it. But I suspect a lot of people would not want you handling their money.

    It is a different scale of project you know… :-)

  101. Vince Causey says:

    Murray Duffin says:

    “For ICE cars, petroleum energy in the ground to wheel to road energy is about 15% efficient.”

    Right, I get it. You factor in the whole product cycle of drilling the wells, pumping the oil, refining it, shipping the refined product to the gas stations and from thence filling the car. But did you bother to apply the same extensive costing to windfarms? Did you for example, cost the energy consumption in manufacture of the blades, the smelting of the steel for the rotor shafts, the mining of the copper for the armatures, the manufacture of the concrete for the footings, the transport of the turbines to the sites, the erection costs, and the mining and smelting of aluminium and more steel to extend the grid?

    Thought not.

  102. phlogiston says:

    To fight climate change we need more biological or “eco” technology – maybe like this:

    http://www.wimp.com/sheeplight/

  103. Vince Causey says:

    There is an excellent critique by Kent Hawkins of the overly optimistic forecasts of wind power generation. Particularly interesting when placed alongside the message of Obama and others, is the conclusion that wind penetration above 7% is very difficult, if not impossible. I quote the paragraph below:

    “The net of this is that wind introduces a larger, less predictable net demand that must be continuously met with other generation sources by the system operator, as already indicated. At low wind penetrations, say in the range of 1-2% (in energy terms, that is watt-hours), this might be “manageable” in some cases without undue perturbation or changes. As wind penetration increases this cannot be easily masked and becomes a significant problem, as experienced elsewhere, especially in Denmark and Germany. These two countries, in combination, appear to be able to handle wind penetration of about 7%, albeit with some difficulty, and only due to access to the regulation capabilities of the other Nordic countries, the large hydro power in Norway and Sweden. This actual experience likely represents the upper limit for wind. It is also quite unique because of the availability of very large hydro resources.”

    The whole article can be found here:

    http://www.masterresource.org/2011/01/kleekamp-part-iis/

  104. George E. Smith says:

    “”””” analyzing what is needed to convert the world’s energy supplies to clean and sustainable sources says that it can be done with today’s technology at costs roughly comparable to conventional energy. But converting will be a massive undertaking on the scale of the moon landings. “””””

    I wonder if Jacobson knows what an oxymoron is !
    #1 “”””” it can be done with today’s technology at costs roughly comparable to conventional energy. “””””

    #2 “”””” But converting will be a massive undertaking on the scale of the moon landings. “””””
    #2 trumps #1. Clearly it CAN’T be done with today’s technology at comparable costs; because if that was true, it already would be in place. These “experts” love to point out that we have the technology, and all we have to do is solve a trivial economics problem. And it is trivial; simply slap a tax of $1million per barrel of oil or oil equivalent, on oil, gas, and coal (hydrocarbons), and give the money to the clean green free renewable abundant energy folks. There; economic problem is solved; don’t talk to me about the costs any more, just make it so.

    NO we DON’T have the technology to do it which is why it isn’t being done; and what is being done is being subsidized by energy we already have.

  105. Coach Springer says:

    Technically, we wouldn’t be building those turbines, someone else would be. And financially more important, we would be paying for everyone of them and, in addition, paying for higher electric rates. Doesn’t sound very sustainable to me.

    Every one of these goals start with the assumption that the goal is not only desirable but also urgently necessary requiring the scientific devotion and political will of a moonshot and Manhattan project. The urgency is utterly false. It is also a dubious benefit at best with unbearable costs in terms of money, free markets and government.

    The incandescent light bulb replaced the oil lamp by market choice of a superior technology. Every fantasy about replacement energy implicitly acknowledges that the replacement is not superior.

    In other words, it’s a control freak’s utopian fantasy where he saves the world with his idea, but by using force for our own good. Hence the appeal to the current administration. The President’s goal is not to just clean up coal a little and then declare the goal reached. His goal is the utopian fantasy.

  106. Roger Knights says:

    Obama’s speech sounds like what the Spanish premier was saying four years ago.

  107. Eric Gisin says:

    How can a University hire people who promote hydrogen from solar PV, the most expensive and inefficient fuel ever?

    Here are some reviews of Jacobson and Delucchi papers: http://nucleargreen.blogspot.com/2009/10/jacobson-and-delucchi-half-baked-at.html

  108. Janice says:

    Murray Duffin says: “The interesting thing for the know-alls is that we will do this, because fossil fuel is finite, and will no longer be economically competitive before 2100.”

    I believe you left out something in your sentence. “. . . because fossil fuel is finite on this planet . . .” We now know that one of the moons of Saturn, Titan, has huge lakes of fossil fuel on the surface. If you can dream about windmills and solar cells replacing our current energy needs, I can dream about tankers being sent to Titan to siphon off energy-dense fuels. A shame we’ll neither of us be around to see which one happens first (or at all).

  109. Laurie Bowen says:

    We have talked about . . .
    wind, water and sun would power the world . . . natural gas, oil, coal . . . .

    I hope we do not forget . . . one that is free and frequent . . . Lightning . . . .
    To me it is why battery research is important too . . .

    Sincerely, “Pollyanna”

  110. Gary Hladik says:

    This is from the Stanford department of eco-religion?

  111. Mike Jonas says:

    The world can be powered by alternative energy, using today’s technology, in 20-40 years

    Not the world, just the developed nations, and only by bankrupting them – thus handing over conventional energy to the developing world. If we can fend off this insanity, then the correct statement should be:

    The world will be powered by alternative energy, using tomorrow’s technology, when it is cost-competitive.

  112. LarryD says:

    The variability of solar and wind energy stress distribution grids. The grid experts figure that the grids can’t handle more than 30% wind/solar before becoming unstable.

    Maybe we should require Standford campus to go 50% renewable energy itself, then maybe they’ll understand the issues they’re ignoring.

  113. upcountrywater says:

    This link is to California’s ISO… it shows the connected power at any given time of the day, of all the windmills that are connected to the power grid in (almost) real time.

    One time last year the total power was 22 MW. A heat wave was going on the total power needed for the State was about 45,000 MW…. Yippee windmills provided about .004% of the power needed that day.

    Today the wind is producing about 70MW.

    One thing that would be nice to see would be the total power maximum rating, of all the windmills.

    http://www.caiso.com/outlook/SystemStatus.html

    Wave action machines are even more of a crock!

    http://www.alternativeconsumer.com/2010/05/23/wave-power-takes-on-water-huge-swells-sink-oceanlinx-generator/

  114. Claude Harvey says:

    I can tear the fanny off this intellectual flight of fantasy in about one hour flat, but there is little point. The world prefers to believe in “The Energy Fairy”. What these Stanford academics don’t know about electric power production and distribution would fill a very large book.

    CH

  115. Laurie Bowen says:

    Fossil Fuels are only as finite as carbon . . . .

    until railroads, shipping ect. . . it was very inefficient to move coal, en mass . . . .

    “Come on people now” . . . . think . . . windmills used to be more cost efficient for energy because it was mechanical . . . in an undeveloped world . . . solar heating or the hot springs were “less work”.

  116. Kip Hansen says:

    Pie in the sky. Low density power like wind and solar will not be major contributors until the power storage problem is solved in a way that is massively scalable. The idea of converting this lower density power to stored hydrogen is interesting but I doubt its practicality.

    The “wind power footprint the size of Manhattan” is pure fantasy. What he says in the end is that it would take (wind and solar combined) 1 percent of the Earth’s land surface. Make a square, ten feet by ten feet, gridded at 1 foot intervals. 1 percent means one of those little squares. Imagine this in your town….in a ten block square area, one whole block is power plant (wind/solar/whatever). Worldwide, 1 percent is huge, not little, considering all the land surface that must be excluded from the calculation — mountain ranges like the Himalayas, Sierras, Rockies, coastal marshes, tourist beaches, already existing urban areas, truly productive farmland, and vast deserts. For wind, there must be adequate wind potential, very few areas are suitable. For solar, the same is true, though larger areas are suitable, many are worthless — too cloudy too often, too high a latitude therefore seasonal. Recently a solar power project in the American southwest desert was blocked by environmentalists…..think they’re going to give over 1 % without a fight? Impossible politically.

    My vote goes to hundreds and hundreds of “cookie cutter” modern-design nuclear power plants – they don’t explode, they don’t make waste, they don’t make bomb fuel. They just make power — clean power.

  117. Veronica says:

    I’ve been saying this for AGES:

    It is not about “containing” global warming. It is about reducing America’s energy dependence on flaky Arabs and Russians. It doesn’t matter what the source of energy is as long as it is American energy, that’s what Obama’s doing here. That’s why clean coal and natural gas can be uttered in the same breath as solar power and wind turbines and it makes complete sense.

    It’s the subtext, stupid.

  118. Roger Andrews says:

    According to my back-of-the-envelope calculations, implementing the Stanford plan over the next 20 years would cost $100 trillion and require the installation of 130,000 square miles of solar panels and 2.7 million square miles of wind farms.

    And we would still have to keep the coal-fired plants running to fill in during those periods when the sun don’t shine or the wind don’t blow.

  119. Buddenbrook says:

    Yes, it’s a complete oxymoron. What they are saying is that after the transformation of the whole energy infrastructure it wouldn’t cost more than what energy costs today. Even if that was true (obviously it isn’t unless you factor in “2-3 million saved deaths” etc.), they still leave out the cost of that transformation. Obviously countless of trillions of dollars, that, if improving the world was the aim, could be much more productively spent on vaccinations, clean drinking water, GM crops for barren environments etc. as argued by Lomborg among others.

    Living in a new house wouldn’t cost any more than living in your current house. So you can demolish your old house and build a new one. It’s free!

    The whole CAGW / clean energy scam is intellectually so weak, it’s truly fascinating how it keeps on surviving. With respectable institutions like Stanford producing most outlandish declarations with straight face.

  120. Dave Bob says:

    Utopian energy dreams have evidently been part of SOTUA’s for a few decades.

    I vaguely recall Gerald Ford in about 1975 during the “energy crisis,” proclaiming that soon the U.S. would have a couple thousand Fast Breeder Reactors providing cheap electricity and producing more nuclear fuel than they consumed.

    Well it’s been 35 years, so if you live in the U.S., you’ve undoubtedly noticed the fast breeder powerplant just outside your town!

  121. Roger Andrews says:

    Buddenbrook: And now it gets even more oxymoronic, because I forgot that solar is going to supply most of the power in the day and wind most of the power at night, which means I must beef up my wind and solar installed capacity. Now I am up to a cost of $160 trillion, 200,000 square miles of solar panels and 4 million square miles of wind farms.

  122. Billy Liar says:

    Wind and solar are complementary, Jacobson said, as wind often peaks at night and sunlight peaks during the day.

    These Stanford people need to get out more.

    The wind ‘backs and slacks’ at night and ‘veers and increases’ during the day. Building your energy policy on a basic misunderstanding of nature will not get you far.

  123. P.G. Sharrow says:

    Stanford University: They train lawyers and blog trolls. Bah humbug, it is all humbug!
    Only a politican or a fool would believe these guys. pg

  124. Larry in Texas says:

    These guys are complete fools. Anyone familiar with how an electric utility works will tell you that even with the most massive grid, such a grid cannot be maintained with more than 20% of wind or solar based power at its disposal, because of the inherent unreliability of such sources. Such power will not be base power, either; it would only be used to supplement peak load demand. So their 90% solar and wind power assumptions are pure Disneyland fantasy.

    The grid they are describing will take years to design, years to build, and trillions of dollars we do not have right now. And the efficiency and footprint of solar/wind plants as they describe them are totally misleading. Why is it that even environmental groups balk at the locations of some of these plants?

  125. Horse says:

    Perhaps a little late with this comment on wind turbines, for which I apologise.
    In UK at the begining of December we had very cold weather associated with an anticyclone, hence very little wind. I understand that on 7th December at 17.30 GMT the electricity demand was the 4th highest ever recorded. 39% was satisfied by oil and gas, 39% by coal, 18% by nuclear and the balance from other sources such as hydro etc. Wind contributed just 0.4%. This provides little confidence in our ability to rely on so called renewables in the forseeable future.

  126. Geof Maskens says:

    The author should read (and understand, if he can) Prof J C McKay’s book ‘Sustainable energy without the hot air’. It will tell him all he should know already. Might even make him retract, but I doubt it.

  127. Mike Jonas says:

    Geof Maskens – I’m somewhat bemused by your comment. It is written in an offensive and derogatory tone, addressed at “the author”. But the author of what? Of the post (Anthony Watts), the video (Mark Z. Jacobson and Mark A. Delucchi), or Obama’s speech, or something else? And what is it that “the author” is supposed to retract?
    And then you refer to a book, thus requiring the person you are addressing to spend money and considerable time to discover – what? You give no information.

  128. Horse says:

    Apropos my previous post, I should have mentioned that the demand in question on 7th Dec3ember was above 60,000MW and that the installed rated output of the UK’s wind turbines is in the order of 5000MW. They managed to output just 0.4% of this.

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