The Moon and Sick-plans

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

News hot off the presses, the madness spreads …

UN calls for doubling renewable energy by 2030

(AFP) – 1 day ago

WASHINGTON — UN chief Ban Ki-moon made a call to double global consumption of renewable energy over the next two decades in order to ensure sustainable economic development.

“It’s possible if we show political leadership,” Ban said. … “We have to be very austere in using energy… We have to completely change our behavior, at home, at the office.”

Figure 1. US energy use, 2008. Click on image for larger view. SOURCE: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories 

Double our consumption of renewable energy by 2030 … what’s not to like?

Well, the first thing not to like is that renewable energy is intermittent. That means that if we add a million kilowatts of renewable energy generation, we also have to add a million kilowatts of conventional generators.

Second thing not to like is that renewable energy is expensive, typically around three times as expensive as fossil fuel. These first two things conspire to push the cost of power up, way up. Prices of electricity in California are double the prices in neighboring states because of this push for “renewables”.

More to the point, however, is the ludicrous size of what the Chief plans to do. Bear in mind that, as in California, the CO2 alarmists don’t see large-scale hydropower as “renewable” … don’t ask me why, I don’t understand it, but it’s supposed to be teh eeevil regarding CO2 … and as a result, few large hydro plants are under construction anywhere. So they’re not talking about doubling hydropower, that would be a crime in their world.

So the real reason not to like this plan is that we only get a trivial amount of energy from renewables. In the US, we get a tenth of one percent of our energy from solar, half a percent from wind, and a third of a percent from geothermal. Finally, we get 3.9% of our energy from biomass, mostly in industries that generate said biomass as a waste product. Total? A whacking great 4.8% of our energy comes from renewables.

If we double that over the next 18 years, we’ll increase the solar share to a resounding two tenths of a percent … and wind energy will go up to 1% …

Gosh, if we continue at that rate, with solar energy increasing by 0.09% every 18 years, solar will provide ten percent of the US energy by … let’s see, divide by 2, carry the 1 … well, by the year 4012.

10% solar energy by 4012 … that’s some goal there, Chief.

My main problem with the Moon Unit and his bizarro plans is that they are based on the idea that we need to decrease energy use by increasing the price of energy. They are doing that in Britain already, it’s called “fuel poverty”, and it causes old folks to shiver in the winter because they can’t afford to heat their houses. The fact that the Chief is advocating more expensive energy and thinks that reduced energy use is a path to “economic development” is just plain sick.

The opposite is true. We need to increase energy use, and to do that we need less expensive energy, particularly for the poor. Inexpensive energy is the best friend that the poor ever had. The UN’s Chief Moon-ki wants to increase energy prices. That increases prices for all products and services, because from food to clothing to medicine, everything contains energy. The Chief pretends to be a friend to the poor, but his actions do nothing but shackle the poor to a lifetime of energy poverty.

w.

PS—There are a some countries and societies (e.g. the Solomon Islands) that use 50% or more renewable energy, in the form of burning wood, sticks, twigs, and cattle dung for cooking and heating. This leads to indoor and outdoor pollution, lung disease, and eye problems, particularly affecting women. Having been in a number of those countries, I can assure you that the poor people living there would like nothing more than to get OFF of renewable energy … and Mr. Ki-moon is being willfully and criminally blind if he does not know that.

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194 thoughts on “The Moon and Sick-plans

  1. I used to think of the likable George Monbiot as “Moonbat” (hat tip to James Delingpole). Now we have Moonbat2 in the shape of the clueless Ban Ki-moon.

  2. It always didn’t make sense to me why the UN was created- discussions between the US (and some of Europe) and USSR don’t need many other irrelevant countries in the way. Right now asian countries go to Australia for mediated dispute resolution proving how irrelevant the UN is.

  3. I’ll bet it would be more cost effective to spend money increasing the efficiency of coal & gas plants that it is to spend money on renewables.

    Thanks
    JK

  4. From my read, he wants to double the consumption of renewable energy, not the percentage consumed.

    So if all energy consumption more than doubles in the next 18 years the percentage of renewable energy would actually go down.

  5. “The UN’s Chief Moon-ki wants to increase energy prices. That increases prices for all products and services, because from food to clothing to medicine, everything contains energy. The Chief pretends to be a friend to the poor, but his actions do nothing but shackle the poor to a lifetime of energy poverty”.

    Indeed Anthony and not only the poors because this UN plan will make all middle class, including profesionals, become poorer. And this is truly what is totalitarian in the ecomadness: an economic thought control first, an economic cull.

  6. Willful and criminal indeed. But not blind. Eyes wide open megalomanic sociopaths. Cut them no slack, don’t give an inch. These people are not our friends.

  7. Ban said…“We have to be very austere in using energy… We have to completely change our behavior, at home, at the office.”

    Dollars to doughnut holes he doesn’t believe the pronoun “we” includes the pronoun “me”…

  8. Willis thank you once again for an informative and logical approach to the real energy problems we face today.
    I too have seen countries where wood and its twigs and scraps are important as energy sources, and life is grim there. Severe soil erosion follows deforestation and accelerating poverty followes a collapsing rural agriculture. They lose farmers to the over crowded cities and shanty towns or urban slums develop and life in much worse than it was in rural areas before deforestation.
    An important part of the solution to this problem is cheap electricity in rural areas and conservation of soil and water resources.
    But to eliminate traditional energy and focus on undependable “renewables” is indeed cruel, and should not be forced on the poorest among us.

  9. Mark Smith says:
    April 21, 2012 at 10:51 pm
    It always didn’t make sense to me why the UN was created- discussions between the US (and some of Europe) and USSR don’t need many other irrelevant countries in the way.

    The UN proved itself dysfunctional as a global mediation body the first time it was tested — the Korean War. So far, it’s been maintaining that streak…

  10. Recently BG, one of the energy suppliers in the UK announced that renewables costs compose 12% of the consumers energy bill, renewables currently supply around 3% of electricity.

    What suprises me is not that those ilike Wan Ki-moon in their ivory towers do not see it but that politicians cannot fast forward and not see there would be a general backlash when these eye watering costs seep out to the general public and that their goal is unachievable.

  11. Ban Ki Moon lost all credibility with:

    11:25PM BST 01 Sep 2009
    Mr Ban said world leaders had a “moral political responsibility” to safeguard the future of the planet.
    “I am very much alarmed and surprised to have seen these glaciers all worn,” he told journalists as he visited the Ny-Aalesund climate change research station in the Svalbard archipelago, located 745 miles from the North Pole.
    “Unless we take urgent action to stem this trend, we maybe virtually ice-free by 2037, even by 2030,” he said.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/6124017/Ban-Ki-moon-alarmed-by-melting-glaciers-on-visit-to-Arctic.html

    Let’s hope he is still around in 2030 in order to be able to give a very public, shame-faced apology to the world for such alarmism.

  12. FrankSW says:
    April 21, 2012 at 11:30 pm

    Recently BG, one of the energy suppliers in the UK announced that renewables costs compose 12% of the consumers energy bill, renewables currently supply around 3% of electricity.

    What suprises me is not that those ilike Wan Ki-moon in their ivory towers do not see it but that politicians cannot fast forward and not see there would be a general backlash when these eye watering costs seep out to the general public and that their goal is unachievable.

    Thanks, Frank. Unfortunately, often a while elapses between the imposition of the renewable mandate and the rise in prices. What that has meant here in California is a doubling in electrical prices … but nobody seems to connect that to the 30% !! renewables mandate by 2020 that was imposed by our clueless leaders.

    I fear H. L. Mencken was right when he said:

    “No one in this world, so far as I know — and I have searched the record for years, and employed agents to help me — has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people.”

    But I do what I can, yelling “Wake up!” …

    w.

  13. Maybe the power companies supplying the UN buildings should cut the power and the back up to show what will be the future with renewable s (don’t like that description) when it’s dark and the wind ain’t blowing.

    James Bull

  14. Check out the label of the box in the upper right of the graphic: “Rejected Energy”. That’s a strange euphemism for loss due due conversion and transmission. More than two-thirds of electricity generated is lost in transmission. Let’s put the effort in greater efficiency ther rather than misguided and uninformed expansion of solar and other “renewables”.

  15. It would be a great service to us all if someone could provide an email address for Mr. Moon,
    Ah, he is able to read,? or is he typical of his class and leaves the reading to others?!

  16. A substantial proportion of biomass come from venting methane from landfills and there a finite number of suitable landfills.

    Much of the rest of the biomass is forestry ‘waste’. I doubt forestry waste has been burnt in situ in the USA for a long time, and clearly leaving it on the ground will produce less CO2 than turning it into fuel and burning it.

    Perhaps someone who is more familiar with the subject could enlighten me, but it appears to me that most of the justification of biofuels reducing GHG emissions is based on eliminating methane emisions, as clearly all biofuels increase CO2 emissions.

    Meanwhile here in Australia the Greenies have managed to get forestry waste classified as ‘non-renewable’.

    http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2012/03/20/3459509.htm

    And growing plants for biomass is as idiotic as biofuels.

  17. They are going to have to find some sort of renewable that lasts more than a couple of years then.
    :-)

  18. Given the UN track record of achieving their other goals, such as preventing wars, preventing genocide, enforcing human rights and such, I’m not certain what the concern is.

    Calling him a “moonbat” is an ad hominem attach BTW, and I am certain that the entire moonbat population is very insulted by the comparison.

  19. The California Renewable Portfolio Standard doesn’t include large hydro, but does count any generation less than 30 MW (http://www.energy.ca.gov/hydroelectric/index.html). They don’t want to encourage new impoundments (dam construction). The Guv now wants distributed generation, i.e. rooftop solar and small wind generators. The utilities rightly don’t like that. Seems to me it’s punishment for failing to meet the RPS standards quickly enough. The rules now require utilities to purchase renewable energy by auction to meet goals, at whatever price they are available (http://www.mondaq.com/unitedstates/x/145622/Renewables/Californias+Renewable+Auction+Mechanism+RAM+Resolution). Ouch.

    Why are people who don’t know what they are doing in charge of energy? The same old story: Not power for us, but power for them. The keep fixing it until it’s completely broken, and then they can replace the whole thing with what they wanted all along, and act like heroes.

  20. gallopingcamel says: ‘I used to think of the likable George Monbiot … ‘

    Goodness, you’re not his Mum, are you? [‘Son of a galloping camel’ – sounds like a suitably phrased Arab curse!]

  21. Philip;
    The biomass argument is somewhat more indirect and simplistic: it uses materials already embedded in the atmospheric carbon cycle, and hence substitutes for geological stores of same, like oil and coal.

    It’s perverse, of course. All those geologic CO2 treasurehouses should be raided and returned to their proper place above ground ASAP.

  22. It’s worth including the findings of this government report about the UK’s Carbon Footprint 1990-2009. Fig one shows that despite all attempts to cut UK CO2 the only effective method was the massive recession starting in 2008. Between 1990-2009 we’ve had a ‘dash for gas’ stations which makes us vulnerable to gas prices, littered our landscape with useless windmills and pretty much destroyed our manufacturing industry. Worse, fig one shows that the CO2 connected to imports rose hugely, so our actual CO2 emission were still going up before the financial crash.

    http://www.defra.gov.uk/statistics/files/Release_carbon_footprint_08Mar12.pdf

    Soon our nuclear stations will start closing down due to age and the same people who won’t let us have coal put barriers in the way of new nuclear so our electricity supply will start to falter. On the plus side, mass poverty will cut our CO2 emissions right down and Mr Moon will be able to point to us as a success story.

  23. tinman says:
    April 22, 2012 at 12:06 am

    Check out the label of the box in the upper right of the graphic: “Rejected Energy”. That’s a strange euphemism for loss due due conversion and transmission. More than two-thirds of electricity generated is lost in transmission. Let’s put the effort in greater efficiency ther rather than misguided and uninformed expansion of solar and other “renewables”.

    Thanks, tinman. Actually, “rejected energy” is a common term in the context of heat engines, it means the energy that is not used (“rejected”) by the heat engine.

    Setting that aside, you are right that increases in efficiency are easier to achieve than new energy sources.

    w.

  24. “CO2 alarmists don’t see large-scale hydropower as “renewable” … don’t ask me why, I don’t understand it,”

    That’s because they are not just CO2 alarmists, they are extreme environmentalists. Hydro = dams, dams = bad, therefore hydro = bad

  25. tinman says:—— More than two-thirds of electricity generated is lost in transmission.
    JK——————The major loss is in the thermal efficiency of the power plant (around 33%), not the transmission system. The are ways to increase efficience but they drive up the capital cost, so the usual practice is to calculate how much money to spend on efficiency to minimize total cost at an expected fuel price.

    tinman says:——Let’s put the effort in greater efficiency ther rather than misguided and uninformed expansion of solar and other “renewables”.
    JK——————Lets study that to see which would give the most bang for the buck.

    Thanks
    JK

  26. Philip Bradley says:
    April 22, 2012 at 12:28 am

    A substantial proportion of biomass come from venting methane from landfills and there a finite number of suitable landfills.

    I doubt if it is a “substantial proportion”. Most of the landfill-produced methane is used to generate electricity. Electricity forms some 10% of the biomass use.

    Next, you say:

    Perhaps someone who is more familiar with the subject could enlighten me, but it appears to me that most of the justification of biofuels reducing GHG emissions is based on eliminating methane emisions, as clearly all biofuels increase CO2 emissions.

    An interesting question. The answer usually given is that the biofuels take carbon from the air when they grow, and they return it to the air when they’re burnt. As a result, there’s no long-term change in the atmospheric CO2 level from burning them.

    w.

    PS—upon further research, I find this from the EIA:

    Biomass fuels provided about 4% of the energy used in the United States in 2011. Of this, about 45% was from wood and wood-derived biomass, 44% from biofuels (mainly ethanol), and about 11% from municipal waste.

    So my estimate (10% for landfill methane) was quite close.

  27. Philip Bradley, I believe that the largest biomass use for electricity generation is bagasse from sugar cane processing. Sugar mills need a lot of steam and it makes economical sense to put in a high pressure boiler, pass the steam through a steam turbine to generate power and use the lower pressure steam pass-out in the process. Do not know the situation in all the US states but in some countries governments have given incentatives such as accelerated depreciation to encourage older sugar mills to invest and put in new technology. Pulp & paper mills are in a similar situation. The lignin from wood pulping is burnt to raise steam. While it is possible to make some products from lignins the market is small and there would be lots of horrible sticky waste if it was not burnt. Plants producing wood product such as chipboard, Masonite, Formica etc do use woodwaste to produce steam. In Europe I understand that sorted garbage is regarded as biomass is burnt in incinerators which produce electricity (particularly Germany) (By the way in Europe tyres and various wastes are called recycables and are exempt from carbon dioxide emissions when bunrt in cement kilns- there are a few cement plants that produce electricity from steam in waste heat boilers. This is often added to biomass electricity production)
    I am sure in Thailand, and some other countries rice husks are used for power production in rice mills. I would imagine that cotton waste is used in some of the southern US states at Cotton Gins.
    Power production especially as part of process steam production is an economical decision to weigh up capital costs, operating costs and seasonal availability. Questions of local rural employment may help cause some governments to provide economic incentatives but as you say Philip B justification of biofuels is a bad idea for any other reason.particularly when CO2 emission is invoked.

  28. James Bull says:
    April 22, 2012 at 12:01 am
    Maybe the power companies supplying the UN buildings should cut the power and the back up to show what will be the future with renewable s (don’t like that description) when it’s dark and the wind ain’t blowing.

    It would be simpler just to ‘economize’ by powering down all the elevators and escalators in the UN building.

  29. So Barks at Moon advocates doubling the amount of waste to be generated over the next two decades in order to save the planet?

    But such sentiment is surpassed easily by those who wish to seem to be green. Like Australia’s QANTAS which massages the fantasies of renewable fuels from e.g. waste vegetable oils becoming a significant fuel source. (My take.)

  30. There are several reasons to question the validity of the reasoning of Ban-Ki-moon. I will only say some words about REEs (Rare Earth Elements).
    Electric motors need much REEs. A wind turbine contains about 100 kg neodymium!
    The demand of REEs increased from 125,000 ton in 2008 to 137,000 ton in 2011. But especially prices have grown to unknown levels. While the market volume of raw materials in 2008 amounted to 2.4 billion euro, in 2011 it rose even to 27 billion dollar.
    With the current consumption, REEs will be exhausted within 30 to 40 years!
    This information can be found in the Flemish newspaper “De Tijd”, April 19, 2012 (Belgium).

    One should also consider that the mining and processing of REEs has an enormous impact on the environment. The use of wind turbines seems to look as a green solution but the processing of REEs in wind turbines is very labour-intensive. The Chinese Society of Rare Earths estimates at the completion of refining one ton of rare elements, approximately 75 cubic meters of acidic waste water and about one ton of radioactive waste residue are produced. (Justin Paul, Gwenette Campbell, Investigating Rare Earth Element Mine Development in EPA Region 8 and Potential Environmental Impacts, August 15, 2011) The radioactive waste consists mainly of uranium and thorium.
    I made a webpage on this subject : http://users.skynet.be/fc298377/EN_REE.htm

  31. It seems obvious to me why they don’t consider hydroelectric renewable. The US has a significant amount of hydroelectric. That would be like giving the enemy an unfair advantage. We already use more renewables than most other nations ever could. It would also go against the wishes of other green activists who consider dams threats to endangered species. I suspect you knew that though.

  32. In my previous comment one should read: “While the market volume of raw materials in 2008 amounted to 2.4 billion euro, in 2011 it rose even to 27 billion euro.” (Excuse me.)

  33. The Swedish Royal Academy of Science today (April 22) published a forceful rejection of wind power in one of the Swedish National newspapers Svenska Dagbladet. They called wind power “expensive” and “useless” since Swedish energy production is already virtually fossil-free.

  34. They are doing that in Britain already, it’s called “fuel poverty”, and it causes old folks to shiver in the winter because they can’t afford to heat their houses.

    Don’t know why we let our old folks suffer in the cold. They don’t need power to heat their homes in winter. What they need is a couple of able bodied men to shovel some 255k snow into the old folks lounge rooms. The ‘heat’ from the 255k will be backradiated by the CO2 in their lounge room, increasing the temperature to a nice cardigan level of 288k just like the greenhouse hypothesis says should happen.

    The math…240Wm2 from the lounge room floor + 140Wm2 back radiated from the CO2 in the room =390Wm2 = 288k.

  35. What do the term “Rejected Energy” and “Energy Services” mean in the context of the illustration?

    When will they start saying:
    “… generates enough electricity to power one electric aluminum smelter”
    rather than saying
    “… generates enough electricity to power ten thousand homes”?

  36. If I’m not mistaken, all major cultures in the past could only be ‘major’ because there was a surplus of energy. A poor hungry population is not capable to build a pyramid and spent more than 20 years to do so. If it was like this for the last 4000 years what has changed that today people think you can do it without a cheap surplus of energy.Energy poverty always brings unrest and revolutions. Maybe that’s what they want to happen.

  37. I always wonder with this sort of discussion, how cellulose ethanol is classified. Is it considered to be renewable energy? If so, then I think the inclusion of the Poet/DSM plant now under construction is warranted. Admittedly, 20 million gallons a year is not much, but if the plant is economically viable, and it is being built entirley with private, not government, money, then 16 billion gallons a year is a disctinct possibility by 2020.

  38. bill young says:

    [April 22, 2012 at 1:51 am That’s because they are not just CO2 alarmists, they are extreme environmentalists. Hydro = dams, dams = bad, therefore hydro = bad]

    Q. If an animal builds a dam for its own benefit is that natural?
    A. If the animal is a beaver then it is natural, if the animal is a human then it is not natural.

    Q. If an animal digs a watering hole its own benefit is that natural?
    A. If the animal is an elephant then it is natural, if the animal is a human then it is not natural.

    Q. If an animal kills another creature to feed itself and its group is that natural?
    A. If the animal is a lion then it is natural, if the animal is a human then it is not natural.

    Q. If an animal builds a trap in the wild to capture and kill another creature is that natural?
    A. If the animal is a trap door spider then it is natural, if the animal is a human then it is not natural?

    I think you see the pattern.

  39. cementafriend says:
    April 22, 2012 at 2:07 am
    Philip Bradley, I believe that the largest biomass use for electricity generation is bagasse from sugar cane processing.

    I’m not against biomass where it uses genuine waste products and makes economic sense. The problem is that introduce subsidies and you get peverse (bad) unintended consequences. I lived in SE Asia for many years where vast tracts of tropical forest have been cut down to grow palm oil, much of which goes into biofuels. The reality is that somewhere like the USA introduces a biofuel mandate and as a result hundreds of sq kms of tropical forest is cut down.

  40. The more learn about re-newables, the more I think they’re a crap source of energy. In fact the more I learn about energy sources, the more I think traditional hydrocarbons are the best! All energy production “damages” the environment. You have to break something, burn something, it’s physics again, you have to transform something, so once it’s transformed it’s no-longer what it was before and that’s good or bad according to your point of view (“good” and “bad” are value judgements) … as far as I can see so called re-newables are EXTREMELY damaging to the environment, probably more so than trad hydroCs, yet they yield orders of magnitude less energy(and are hugely more expensive). Also the bad side effects of HCs it seems are actually quite easily countered, whereas the bad effects of RNs are nigh on impossible to mitigate. If fact the more I learn about this subject, the more I think, that if you wanted to invent a fantastic cheap energy source, you would invent …. hydrocarbons …

  41. The only reason we would have to completely change our behavior, at home, and at the office.is if they want the percentage of consumption of renewables to go up with respect to others. It doesn’t mean a real increase in consumption of renewable electicity. As long as the consumption of others goes down due to conservation efforts, then they apparently will be happy. — John M Reynolds

  42. Excellent, as usual, Willis. Those of us in the electricity industry are regularly pummeled and depicted as knuckle dragging apes on the renewables issue. That’s what happens in a debate with adolescents who have zero accountability. In truth, I work with a cadre of very bright engineers who take the challenge of delivering reliable and affordable energy ~99.9% of the time on an “on demand” basis very seriously.

    Activists are unconstrained by the laws of physics and policy makers are all too quick to curry their favor for votes. Thus, the complexity of rule making that has intertwined itself on the energy infrastructure has pushed our energy systems to the brink.

    With the EPA’s recent announcement that no new Coal fired power plants can be built without CCS (a technology that will not be commercialized for years), and activism still saying no to all things nuke, it means that new base load generation will all come from natural gas.

    Anyone want to guess what happens next?…

  43. I doubt the rapid rises in electricity rates can be blamed on renewable energy. If you look at average electricity rates in the USA the poor states have the lower rates and the rich states have the higher rates, despite that some poor states are investing proportionally more into renewable energy – probably on the gullible idea of job growth. California has high electricity rates because it is a rich state.

    What I think has been happening is the politicians are allowing people to think that green energy has a price and that price is what they see in their electricity bills when in fact politicians are removing the subsidy on electricity because they need the money elsewhere.

  44. Mr. Eschenbach: Why don’t you just send a letter to the UN and especially to Mr. Ki-Moon to tell him what you just wrote here? Enlighten him and the UN.
    Would be nice to inform him properly than just complaining here. Mr. Ki-Moon probably doesn’t know of this website and therefore won’t be informed sufficiently on the details he is propagating.

  45. Jim Cripwell says:
    April 22, 2012 at 3:43 am
    “I always wonder with this sort of discussion, how cellulose ethanol is classified. Is it considered to be renewable energy? If so, then I think the inclusion of the Poet/DSM plant now under construction is warranted. Admittedly, 20 million gallons a year is not much, but if the plant is economically viable, and it is being built entirley with private, not government, money, then 16 billion gallons a year is a disctinct possibility by 2020.”

    The feedstock for a cellulosic ethanol plant contains a lot of water, which you transport to the plant even though you don’t want the water, you only want the cellulose. Then you have the necessity for that enzymatic process to break the cellulose down, so the process also happens in a watery solution, and in the end you have to distill it to concentrate the ethanol – getting rid of excess water.

    All of these steps require energy; and that makes the process uneconomic. If the process were economically viable, somebody would already do it without the subsidies.

  46. Robertvdl says:
    April 22, 2012 at 3:39 am
    “If I’m not mistaken, all major cultures in the past could only be ‘major’ because there was a surplus of energy. A poor hungry population is not capable to build a pyramid and spent more than 20 years to do so.”

    It has been said that all historical high cultures had to have an energy resource with an EROEI above 3 to maintain their culture. Such an energy resource can be agriculture. When conditions became unfavorable, usually through climatic cooling, and the EROEI dropped below that, the culture ceased to exist – people became too busy just surviving and wouldn’t have the expendable resources necessary to maintain their culture/temples/bureaucrat class.

    As for the poor hungry population building a pyramid in more than 20 years: well, according to the estimates of egyptologists, even quarrying the granite for ONE OBELISK would have taken 50 years with manual labor… so Chris Dunn concludes that they absolutely MUST have had machinery, as historical documents indicate that such quarrying took only seven months…

  47. Philip Bradley says:
    April 22, 2012 at 12:28 am

    **A substantial proportion of biomass come from venting methane from landfills and there a finite number of suitable landfills.**

    Absolutely. But there’s no reason not to collect as much methane from landfills as possible. We probably are not doing so.

    **Much of the rest of the biomass is forestry ‘waste’. I doubt forestry waste has been burnt in situ in the USA for a long time**

    Burlington(Vermont) has a 25 Megawatt power plant in service burning forest waste (at reasonable cost per kw/h BTW). But Vermont is a rather remote rural region with lots of trees and not too many people. Not too extensible. We aren’t going to power Boston or New York City with wood. Nonetheless several million — mostly rural — American households heat with wood. Within limits, it works. No reason that I am aware of that can not be expanded some in the US and elsewhere..

    **Perhaps someone who is more familiar with the subject could enlighten me, but it appears to me that most of the justification of biofuels reducing GHG emissions is based on eliminating methane emisions, as clearly all biofuels increase CO2 emissions.**

    I believe that the argument is that biofuel carbon is recycled — biofuel to CO2 to new biofuel — relatively quickly — years, decades, maybe centuries … but quickly. Fossil carbon takes millions or 10s of millions or 100s of million years to recycle. In the meantime, it hangs out in the atmosphere … or somewhere … we’re not all that clear on how much goes where.

  48. ….Bear in mind that, as in California, the CO2 alarmists don’t see large-scale hydropower as “renewable” … don’t ask me why, I don’t understand it….
    ….
    That is easy to explain Willis, hydropower is messing with Mommy Earth, and disturbing her little fishies. Humans are supposed to become “one with nature” though how anyone who supports a desert covered with solar panels and mountain tops covered with bird shredders can justify not supporting hydropower is beyond me… Oh, wait! Follow the Money! Hydropower WORKS and supports humans and industry. Solar panels and bird shredders only support transfer of tax dollars into the pockets of political buddies. The ecological damage doesn’t matter, the money transfer does.

  49. I want to call to your attention the site (and the man) http://www.mauricestrong.net/.

    If you are concerned about e extreme climate positions and the UN’s involvement in the MMGW industry, studying Strong’s background is important.

    You will find out, for example, he is a United Nations activist and advisor who was a prime mover ( with Barack Obama) in forming and supporting the defunct Chicago Carbon Exchange.
    Much of what you will find will give you a creepy feeling that some people would prefer a world with only a few people on it, obviously of their own ilk.

  50. DirkH says:
    April 22, 2012 at 5:13 am
    “As for the poor hungry population building a pyramid in more than 20 years: well, according to the estimates of egyptologists, even quarrying the granite for ONE OBELISK would have taken 50 years with manual labor…”

    …and just piling on, I’ve been looking for this for a while now; here’s a photo of the ORIGINAL Dendra Relief, showing ancient Egyptians holding what could be light bulbs with cables attached to them…

    http://ritemail-places.blogspot.de/2009/09/did-we-already-have-electricity-2000.html

  51. Such misinformation:
    willis: …, it’s called “fuel poverty”, and it causes old folks to shiver in the winter because they can’t afford to heat their houses. The fact that the Chief is advocating more expensive energy and thinks that reduced energy use is a path to “economic development” is just plain sick.

    please have a read http://www.poverty.org.uk/80/index.shtml
    Cherry picked quotes:
    “This is three time the number of households that were in fuel poverty at the low point in 2003, and there have been increases in each year since 2003. It is, however, still lower than the number in the mid-1990s.”
    “•Despite their much lower average incomes, those in social rented accommodation are only a bit more likely to be in fuel poverty than owner-occupiers. This is partly because very little social housing is energy inefficient ”

    The EU has high fuel prices.
    It therefore has energy efficient transport (60+mpg(uk) petrol vehicles are common)
    It therefore as regulations about efficiency on new builds of housing.
    It therefore has free or subsidised home insulation programmes.
    Wall-warts used to have standby powers of 3+watts idle. Legislation forces standby currents to be much lower less than 1watt.- This simple change could lead to a saving of 1/2th a large nuclear station output in UK alone.

    willis – The opposite is true. We need to increase energy use,
    Why???? Why not increase efficiency?

    willis – and to do that we need less expensive energy, particularly for the poor. Inexpensive energy is the best friend that the poor ever had. The UN’s Chief Moon-ki wants to increase energy prices. That increases prices for all products and services, because from food to clothing to medicine, everything contains energy. The Chief pretends to be a friend to the poor, but his actions do nothing but shackle the poor to a lifetime of energy poverty

    Oh come on! Cost of medicines is not driven by energy but by greed and cost of research.
    Clothing is labour costs (hence now made in india/china etc.

    How will you provide cheap power to the masses in the 3rd world.
    Large nuclear plants? Who will pay for the infra structure – Electric Grids, waste,
    Micro nuclear (toshiba 4S) – 25 years then requires refuelling, 10MW so too much for 1 village so more power lines? But, mainly, where does the water come from for the steam turbines?
    Coal – water and fuel problems
    Diesel – fuel problems
    Gas – water and fuel problems

    OK let’s assume that there is an abundant local electric source ( perhaps wind and solar feeding a hydrogen gas generator?!)

    Who is going to provide and maintain the cooking stove, fridge. Who is going to provide lamps and space heaters, who is going to maintain the electric pump.

    The right technology has to be tailored to the group it is helping
    ===============
    Rik Gheysens says: April 22, 2012 at 2:19 am
    There are several reasons to question the validity of the reasoning of Ban-Ki-moon. I will only say some words about REEs (Rare Earth Elements).
    Electric motors need much REEs. A wind turbine contains about 100 kg neodymium!
    —————
    Chose the right suppler and you have
    no gears – less noise longer life
    no rare earths see http://www.enercon.de/en-en/1337.htm

    but also remember when you recycle your wind turbine, it is easy to reclaim your rare eearth magnets.

  52. When Ban Ki-moon says, “We have to be very austere in using energy…We have to completely change our behavior…” does not mean UN’s not going to have any further climate conferences in places like Durbin and Cancun? Me thinks not.

  53. Full disclosure: I haven’t read all the comments so if I repeat, please forgive me.

    These people are not “stupid”,they are malicious. The idea is to use “renewables” as the Trojan Horse for eliminating the “evil” fossil fuels that are destroying their god, Gaia. Humans are, in their world, an infection on the Earth (except for them). Reducing the Earth’s population to “sustainable levels” is the goal. This goal cannot be met without herding people into camps (you KNOW how that will go) as long as there is cheap, abundant energy. Reduce the cheap and abundant energy and only the elite will have it while the rest of us cook over fires from sticks and dung. Conspiracy theory? Maybe. But it is already being discussed in influential circles. That tells me the plan is in motion. http://www.worldpopulationbalance.org/

  54. Since they don’t include hydro as renewable, doubling renewable usage over the next 20 years seems quite a modest goal. A bit of solar hot water in warmer places, better collection of methane from landfills. Some PV solar off the grid — maybe even some on the grid. Some windmills up to the capacity of the grid to handle them, and in places where intermittent power isn’t a big deal (petroleum stripper wells, some agricultural uses) Maybe a little more geothermal where heated material is a available (e.g. Hawaii, Japan). More efficient use of scrap wood in places where there is lots of it. Maybe a little tidal generation. It all adds up

    None of that seems economically questionable or infeasible. So, let’s do it.

    But we’re ignoring other big issues:

    – In about a century — give or take a little — we’re probably going to start to run out of fossil fuels to burn. Recoverable energy resource estimates are very hazy. There is no guarantee that they are being underestimated although they might be.
    – Some of us e.g. Tom Fuller http://3000quads.com/ think that the future energy needs of the developing world are being substantially underestimated. We might not even have a century.
    – I’m guessing that biofuels are more or less a dead end. They’d work fine in a world with a billion people. With 10 billion people, the land and resources will probably be needed to grow food.
    – Unless and until better energy storage technologies make large scale wind power economically viable, it’s not going to be as extensible as environmentalists want it to be. Wishful thinking does not power light bulbs or refrigerators.
    – Shutting down (most) nuclear plants is a popular, but clueless concept. There are exceptions (e.g. Some of Japan’s reactors probably would not have been built where they are had we known as much about plate tectonics in 1960 as we know today).
    – AFAICS, in 2112, we will need to provide energy for about 10 billion people — almost all hopefully living at a high standard of living. “Renewables” (including hydro) are unlikely to come close to meeting that need. The three sources with a high enough energy capacity to make up the difference would appear to be nuclear fission,nuclear fusion, and solar. We don’t really have the fusion or high capacity solar technologies in hand today. Nuclear fission? With today’s technology? Maybe … If we had to.

  55. What if we went back to living like before we came out of Africa.
    Walking naked, foraging for berries, dying at 20-25.
    That should take care of energy and population problem in one fell swoop.
    After you, Mr. Moon

  56. Don K says:
    April 22, 2012 at 6:04 am
    “- AFAICS, in 2112, we will need to provide energy for about 10 billion people — almost all hopefully living at a high standard of living. “Renewables” (including hydro) are unlikely to come close to meeting that need. The three sources with a high enough energy capacity to make up the difference would appear to be nuclear fission,nuclear fusion, and solar. We don’t really have the fusion or high capacity solar technologies in hand today. Nuclear fission? With today’s technology? Maybe … If we had to.”

    I think you’re far too pessimistic about fossil fuels…

    http://www.bgr.bund.de/DE/Themen/Energie/Downloads/Energiestudie-Kurzstudie2010.pdf?__blob=publicationFile&v=3

    …and too pessimistic about solar – costs continue to come down with 20% a year so what is controversial and subsidized now will become quite commonplace in 2020…

    …and you forgot to mention LENR technologies as a possibility for the near future.
    Radio interview with Lewis Larsen of Widom-Larsen Theory fame:

  57. Andrew30 says:

    April 22, 2012 at 4:03 am

    Q. If an animal builds a dam for its own benefit is that natural?
    A. If the animal is a beaver then it is natural, if the animal is a human then it is not natural.

    Q. If an animal digs a watering hole its own benefit is that natural?
    A. If the animal is an elephant then it is natural, if the animal is a human then it is not natural.

    Q. If an animal kills another creature to feed itself and its group is that natural?
    A. If the animal is a lion then it is natural, if the animal is a human then it is not natural.

    Q. If an animal builds a trap in the wild to capture and kill another creature is that natural?
    A. If the animal is a trap door spider then it is natural, if the animal is a human then it is not natural?

    I think you see the patern.

    Very well said. It is not about science or logic of any type. If it was simply about something sensible like reducing human’s imprint and using hydro and nuclear correctly, I think most people including sceptics wouldn’t have an issue. The issue comes in when you attempt to “seperate” man from nature as if that is possible or as if we in man is a cancer on this world.

    That is just a real sick kind of thinking. Its about a belief system that is morally bankrupt.

    That is why we get so much hypocrisy and double standards from the green movement and from like in this post about how certain power sources are equal but others are more equal then others to quote animal farm. (as in some are considered sustainable but others are not when obviously hydro is sustainable by their very definition).

    And yet, at the end of the day, you can trace how the carpet baggers as I call them have jumped onto this band-wagon and take advantage of these gullible people today. From people who are scared of “running out or resources” or people who want to be “greener for future generations” you have super rich people jumping on the bandwagon and making milions at the expense of the lower class and the middle class who pay more in taxes and in energy bills.

    All for giant wind turbines and solar panels which really do not serve any purpose but to make these super rich people richer.

    We are all told that the wind turbines are friendly to the environment because they emit no CO2 but nuclear does that too and does not kill birds! Solar does not take up so many square miles of desert…

    And so the drum-beat goes on where the environmental movement obviously lost its plot. They just want us to pour more and more money into a corrupt system that is like you said at the start nothing but a very strange and rather insane belief system that man is a cancer on this world. Who in their right mind believes that nonsense?

  58. “Gosh, if we continue at that rate, with solar energy increasing by 0.09% every 18 years, solar will provide ten percent of the US energy by … let’s see, divide by 2, carry the 1 … well, by the year 4012.

    10% solar energy by 4012 … that’s some goal there, Chief.”

    That’s not quite the way it works.
    If we develop renewable energies and the technologies that come along with, then it is pretty much expected (at least I expect it) that the price of producing such energies will also come down. For example: to make a dozen solar panels is pretty pricey, but to make 200,000 will make the price of each individual until come down, or the really big ones will be cheaper, or the really small ones- I don’t know, but something will pop up or be developed that will make it cheaper. Or maybe it will be something that no one sees coming like converting water into electrical energy into liquid fuel like they are doing at UCLA.
    The point is that your math is flawed, not in your application of it, but in your theory of it relating to the future.
    We need a big push now to get the development going. The only way that funding and research to get renewable energies will happen will be to use said renewable technologies.
    Now, certainly there has to be a rational limit. I’m not willing to put in say, 40 years of effort to not have results. However, we are at the beginning. Hopefully the long term results will discover renewable sources, whatever they may be. To sit here and continue to use something that is running (non-renewable energies) out without trying to search for other options strikes me as the highest level of stupidity.
    And yes, the poor. Wouldn’t it be a great idea to have places like the UN, and people who can afford it to develop the new energies, and allow the poor to continue to use the older energies until renewable resources develop to the point to be available to support the main population? No one is forcing the poor to use wind power to heat their homes after all. But long term, don’t you think that the poor will suffer if we completely run out of energy one day too?
    I apologize if my argument seems disjointed. This was off of the top of my head. I’m happy that people are watching and talking!

  59. The graph is hard to understand because of the term Rejected Energy. The best way to explain why rejected energy is so high is to look at this graph. http://www.caiso.com/Pages/TodaysOutlook.aspx
    Most forms of power generation can’t be turned off and on at will. A coal or natural gas plant takes a long time to cycle up so under normal conditions they are maintained in a hot stand by mode where they can be brought into service in a short period of time. This requires fuel to be burned to maintain a hot stand by state.
    Atomic reactors also have this problem because changing the power level is a baby step process. You bump up the power a little and wait to see what you have. It’s better to leave them at one output level than adjust them for the change in load over the course of the day.
    Only the evil hydro power is easy to adjust at the flick of a switch but in some cases, a utility may run more hydro because the decision becomes generate power or let the water run out the waste gate.

  60. Another UN group, WHO, wants to reduce renewable energy. Cooking and heating with biomass like dried cow patties is very dirty. Give me an all electric-house any day.

    The problem with wind and solar is that it is not sustainable. While the natural resource is sustainable, the equipment and human resources are not. I can not make a decent living producing power with wind and solar. I can make a living selling equipment that does not work very well to rich people who pretend that their power is not coming from a coal plant,

    For a few years, I heated with wood until I decided it was too dirty. There are people who make a decent living selling fire wood which is sustainable on a small scale in rural areas. I could provide heating for 10 families.

    My share of power from a nuke plant where I am part of team, supplies power to a 1000 families. Being productive meas that I earn more than a decent living. So how are the nuke plants that I was at when they started up doing. They are going to run for 60 years at least. They might run for 80 years but I will not be alive to see it.

    Asking someone at a nuke plant how it is running. The answer is like a Swiss clock and better than 20 years ago. If you can find a 20 year old wind or solar system, has how is it doing? Still make a great picture but still not making much power.

  61. ….his bizarro plans is that they are based on the idea that we need to decrease energy use by increasing the price of energy. They are doing that in Britain already, it’s called “fuel poverty”, and it causes old folks to shiver in the winter because they can’t afford to heat their houses. The fact that the Chief is advocating more expensive energy and thinks that reduced energy use is a path to “economic development” is just plain sick…..
    ____________________________________
    It may be sick but it is also politically very astute.

    Social Security as it now works in the USA (and the EU ) is a pyramid scheme based on plentiful Baby Boomers. The Boomers are now retiring and with the drop in the fertility rate there are simply not enough wage earners left to support the large draw on SS or equivalent. Therefore finding a way to kill-off the old without saying that is what they are trying to do is needed. The voting block of those over 55 years of age is 22% of the US population (2004) so you really do not want to tell them you plan on their early demise to save the government money. Best to keep them guessing as to your real motives.

    Killing “useless eaters” (tm Club of Rome) is certainly not a new concept. It started in the 1870s, when Oxford lecturer John Ruskin instilled his students, like Cecil Rhodes, with the concept that they were of the “best northern blood” and should rule the world. (White Man’s Burden and all that crap) The term “eugenics” was first used in 1883 by Francis Galton. It is full blown in George Bernard Shaw’s writings.

    EXTERMINATION OF THE “SOCIALLY INCOMPATIBLE”

    “The notion that persons should be safe from extermination as long as they do not commit willful murder, or levy war against the Crown, or kidnap, or throw vitriol, is not only to limit social responsibility unnecessarily, and to privilege the large range of intolerable misconduct that lies outside them, but to divert attention from the essential justification for extermination, which is always incorrigible social incompatibility and nothing else.”

    Source: George Bernard Shaw, “On the Rocks” (1933), Preface

    “We should find ourselves committed to killing a great many people whom we now leave living, and to leave living a great many people whom we at present kill. We should have to get rid of all ideas about capital punishment …

    A part of eugenic politics would finally land us in an extensive use of the lethal chamber. A great many people would have to be put out of existence simply because it wastes other people’s time to look after them.”

    Source: George Bernard Shaw, Lecture to the Eugenics Education Society, Reported in The Daily Express, March 4, 1910

    http://www.sovereignindependent.com/?p=7948

    George Bernard Shaw was a founding member of the Fabian Society along with the Webbs. The Webbs were the founders of the London School of Economics where our current world leaders in politics and finance are trained and Eugenics has been around ever since. From Fabian, Sir Julian Huxley the first Director-General of UNESCO, to 1984 Democrat Vice Presidential nomination Barbara Marx Hubbard and her “Agents of Conscious Evolution”

    In her Book of Co-Creation, she reveals her mindset:

    Out of the full spectrum of human personality, one-fourth is electing to transcend…. One-fourth is destructive [and] they are defective seeds… [who] must be eliminated from the social body…. Fortunately, you are not responsible for this act. We are. We are in charge of God’s selection process for planet Earth. He selects, we destroy. We are the riders of the pale horse, Death…

    We come to bring death… The riders of the pale horse are about to pass among you. Grim reapers, they will separate the wheat from the chaff. This is the most painful period in the history of humanity…

    More on Barbara Marx Hubbard- Tipping Point is a Planetary Birth I would consider the woman a bit of a looney if she had not been a VP nominee.

    Politicians do not want to take the knock that is looming around the corner as the number of elderly (and the draw on the treasury) doubles. I think what we are seeing is a scramble to completely revamp the political system and tighten control before the dumb-downed masses wake-up and throw a screaming temper tantrum complete with tar and feathers.

    This Liberal democrat’s speech to the Tea Party link shows exactly what is planned for us as our access to energy is removed. To back that up are the 2011 California Evictions and The ugly battle between rural residents and alternative energy mandates in California (WUWT)

    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed — and hence clamorous to be led to safety — by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”– H.L. Mencken

    I am not at all happy about the “Safety” these politicians are leading us towards. Smell an awful lot like serfdom/slavery to me.

  62. Willis Eschenbach says:
    April 22, 2012 at 1:39 am
    Setting that aside, you are right that increases in efficiency are easier to achieve than new energy sources.

    There are diminishing returns for efficiency gains. It’s getting ridiculous with demands to raise fleet CAFE standards [1]. The new level to be reached in 2016 is 34.1 mpg for cars and light trucks [2]. Congress is apparently beginning to think there is no upper limit beyond which the CAFE stands can not go (argumentum moti perpetuis). In the practical sense, I want a massive vehicle at times to protect my family. I may want to transport 7 people in one vehicle, and do so safely. Am I supposed to buy two Corollas instead of one Suburban? Good luck towing a heavy commercial wood chipper with a Corolla. And what gas milage would I have for two Corollas instead of my one Suburban? It’s about the same, maybe slightly better with the Suburban. I’ll let fuel economics and other factors influence my decisions regarding what vehicle I drive and when. I don’t need some bureaucrat deciding what I am allowed to drive, especially when they force the vehicles to be made of aluminum foil, tissue paper, and gum.

    1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporate_Average_Fuel_Economy
    2. http://green.autoblog.com/2010/04/01/new-federal-cafe-standards-officially-released-34-1-mpg-by-2016/

  63. Dirk H. writes “If the process were economically viable, somebody would already do it without the subsidies.”

    Pedantically correct. However, Poet/DSM is now building a plant with about $200 million of private money, to come into production in 2013, with a capacity of 20 million gallons per year. If you are interested search for Project Liberty. The estimate was that this project would be profitable if the wholesale cost of gasoline is more that $2 per gallon. The current price is in excess of $3 per gallon.

    So I am not clear how cellulose ethanol should be classified. If POET/DSM is successful next year, then the whole subject of renewables, if cellulose ethanol is a renewable, will have to be rewritten.

  64. It’s great to see Mencken quoted twice! in this thread.

    If I were the Sun, I’d do a sustainable polar flip every time Moon announced a renewable energy plan. Moon probably thinks that it is he who controls the tides while Obama controls the sea levels. For sure, both have it in mind to control…whatever.

  65. Plugging so many desynchronized sources onto the grid will make it more unstable and prone to crashes. Actually, a permanent grid crash and death of 90% of the population is the true Green Dream, and renewables are the sabotage that ensures it.

  66. Philip Bradley says:
    April 22, 2012 at 12:28 am

    A substantial proportion of biomass come from venting methane from landfills and there a finite number of suitable landfills.

    Much of the rest of the biomass is forestry ‘waste’. I doubt forestry waste has been burnt in situ in the USA for a long time, and clearly leaving it on the ground will produce less CO2 than turning it into fuel and burning it…..
    _______________________________
    To us farmers “Forestry waste” is the precurser of compost and should be left to enrich the soil. Burning compost is a major sin in my book because it wipes out your soil fertility. Even with commercial fertilizers a soil without organic matter does not produce. That was why the farm I bought was sold. ZERO topsoil and therefore stunted crops. (I am rebuilding the topsoil by turning it into pasture)

    The saddest part of CAGW and the drive for “Renewables” is the amount of real ecological damage that is being done. From the bird chopping windmills, to the rare earth mining pollution in China to get the Neodymium needed for the magnets for latest wind turbines to the thin-film solar panels, require indium—another rare earth metal, 100 percent of which is produced in China.

    The use of “Biomass” for energy is just as nasty.
    Palm Oil: http://www.global-greenhouse-warming.com/palm-oil-biofuel.html and http://ran.org/cargills-problems-palm-oil

    Corn biofuel From our “friends” at New Scientist http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn12283-corn-biofuel-dangerously-oversold-as-green-energy.html

    Amazing how the rush towards “renewables” has caused more problems and solved none.

  67. Ian E says:
    April 22, 2012 at 12:59 am

    gallopingcamel says: ‘I used to think of the likable George Monbiot … ‘

    Goodness, you’re not his Mum, are you? [‘Son of a galloping camel’ – sounds like a suitably phrased Arab curse!]
    ________________________
    Actually it is Son of a Syphillitic Camel per Grandad.

  68. This renewable energy shortfall was predicted by Sallie Baliunas, Tim Patterson and me in September 2002, at:

    http://www.apegga.org/Members/Publications/peggs/WEB11_02/kyoto_pt.htm

    “The ultimate agenda of pro-Kyoto advocates is to eliminate fossil fuels, but this would result in a catastrophic shortfall in global energy supply – the wasteful, inefficient energy solutions proposed by Kyoto advocates simply cannot replace fossil fuels.”

    This was NOT a high-risk prediction – we knew this with confidence a decade ago.

    Since then, a trillion dollars has been squandered on renewable energy nonsense.

    Scientific conclusion: We are governed by scoundrels and imbeciles.

    Regards, Allan

    P.S. We may still find some sources of renewable energy that make sense economically and environmentally and we should keep trying – but not continue to delude ourselves with energy nonsense. To date, grid-connected wind and solar power and corn ethanol are energy nonsense.

  69. Mr. (bark at the) Moon is merely pimping for all his buddies who are invested heavily into production and sales of these magical power sources to the prols, usually via massive tax rip-offs and not so hidden subsidy costs folded into ones utility bill. I wonder what his cut will be.

  70. Robbie says:
    April 22, 2012 at 4:38 am

    Mr. Eschenbach: Why don’t you just send a letter to the UN….
    _________________________
    It is not needed. Given the number of high profile trolls WUWT gets I am sure that WUWT is monitored quite closely. These people are very politically astute and they are not about to ignore WUWT.

  71. Interstellar Bill says:
    April 22, 2012 at 7:45 am

    Plugging so many desynchronized sources onto the grid will make it more unstable and prone to crashes. Actually, a permanent grid crash and death of 90% of the population is the true Green Dream, and renewables are the sabotage that ensures it.
    _________________
    You’ve been paying attention.

  72. Ban said. … “We have to be very austere in using energy… We have to completely change our behavior, at home, at the office.”

    No we do not!

    What a blithering bureaucrat/politician/megalomaniac with visions of ruling the world.

    If every region is energy starved due to the UN’s imposition of energy austerity, how could they ever be overthrown?

    The UN wants to start out in the driver’s seat by throwing the world into a permanent recession and then they claim to be able to solve the world’s problem—as long as we give them our lives and our futures in toto.

    Energy consumption correlates perfectly with quality of life, standard of living, AND care of the environment as we have the time, wealth, and resources to clean up past messes and avoid future mistakes. The UN is totally in denial of this relationship.

  73. tinman wrote:
    “Check out the label of the box in the upper right of the graphic: “Rejected Energy”. That’s a strange euphemism for loss due due conversion and transmission. More than two-thirds of electricity generated is lost in transmission. Let’s put the effort in greater efficiency ther rather than misguided and uninformed expansion of solar and other “renewables”.

    This.
    The mid-term solution to transmission losses is to locate power plants closer to power consumers. But, of course, the NIMBYs can’t stand that idea.

    The long term solution to transmission losses is room temperature super-conductors. Research in this area needs more funding – public, private, or both, it matters not. Just get it done.

    While I like renewable energy sources, I don’t like the scale. I don’t want a huge wind farm in Wyoming. I want a small wind turbine on my roof that supplies most or all of my electricity. If my rooftop turbine produced more electricity than I’m using, the excess can be sent to the power grid. There is no need to pay me for it.

    Unfortunately, there is an unlimited amount of money to be made selling electricity to people. After the initial installation phase, the bottom would drop out of the rooftop turbine market.

  74. Willis say:

    “—- –. More to the point, however, is the ludicrous size of what the Chief plans to do. Bear in mind that, as in California, the CO2 alarmists don’t see large-scale hydropower as “renewable” … don’t ask me why, I don’t understand it, but it’s supposed to be teh eeevil regarding CO2 … and as a result, few large hydro plants are under construction anywhere. So they’re not talking about doubling hydropower, that would be a crime in their world.”

    ===========

    Once again you’re quite right Willis. – The only thing I can think of as an explanation is that “they” (alarmists & al.) are not at all interested in saving or reforming the power-industry. They are only interested in wrecking it.

    Hydro power-plants, that are, or will be, just as effective and much more reliable than wind-turbines can – in most rivers – be built for mile after mile upstream of most waterfalls on both river-banks. – After all there are currents in all rivers.

  75. Kit P says: @ April 22, 2012 at 7:08 am

    …Asking someone at a nuke plant how it is running. The answer is like a Swiss clock and better than 20 years ago. If you can find a 20 year old wind or solar system, has how is it doing? Still make a great picture but still not making much power.
    _______________________________
    Here is your picture (Not pretty) http://www.flickr.com/photos/somehoosier/4026264808/

  76. evea192 says:
    April 22, 2012 at 12:52 am
    If you forgot the sarc/ tag I understand your post. If you did not forget, then you may want to seek counselling for your depressive state of mind. Read more history and you may realize this is the greatest age in which to be alive. I am a positivist and am aware of our current place in an historical context.

  77. Well, the first thing not to like is that renewable energy is intermittent. That means that if we add a million kilowatts of renewable energy generation, we also have to add a million kilowatts of conventional generators.

    In the parts of the world that now have no electricity at all, that is not a problem. In the parts of the world that use almost all of their electricity in the daytime, that is not a problem. In factories that operate only in the daytime, that is not a problem.

    Doubling global production of energy from renewables is both feasible and desirable. It is not a panacea, but since nothing is a panacea, that is not a problem.

  78. enginer007 says:
    April 22, 2012 at 5:24 am
    The ubiquitous Maurice Strong has been identified many times on this site. His ability to control from afar is well noted on WUWT?. Gail Combs has posted some amazing monetary connections to many of Strong’s ilk. It has not been discussed for a while, hence the perception that some may not be aware of his “manipulations”. We have had him clocked for some time now. His anti-human stance will hopefully be his undoing. I am waiting for him to say ” let them eat cake”. It will be all over at that point, as those who are ill informed will quickly become aware of his intentions. With this information, we can prevent this from coming to pass. Thank you for posting.

  79. DirkH,

    I saw that you brought up Giza Power and posted other links. One thing I am not sure about is the date. One indicated only few thousands years ago. I am not convinced. If you were to go to Robert Schoch’s website – http://www.robertschoch.com/sphinxcontent.html, Sphinx may be at least 10,000 years old. You can’t carbon date stones directly like those Ramses granite statues (which are unbelievable) so I have my doubt. These Egyptians may have “inherited” advanced but abandoned city a few thousands years ago. I wish we could travel back in time and found out for sure of what exactly happened. The stories behind Atlantis, Noah’s Flooding, Greek mythology, etc may have been true, who knows? How did they know about Golden Ratio and the ability to build that giza pyramid and granite objects with such precision that we did not see till 20th century?

    Remarkable…

    [Moderator’s Note: This conversation is drifting into areas we’d prefer not be discussed at WUWT. Please let it rest here. -REP

  80. For those who think energy prices “should necessarily skyrocket”, I would like to point out that my company (small as it is) would not be able to continue operations and would fold. The current POTUS is clearly out of touch with the average person.

  81. More to the point, however, is the ludicrous size of what the Chief plans to do. Bear in mind that, as in California, the CO2 alarmists don’t see large-scale hydropower as “renewable” … don’t ask me why, I don’t understand it, but it’s supposed to be teh eeevil regarding CO2 … and as a result, few large hydro plants are under construction anywhere. So they’re not talking about doubling hydropower, that would be a crime in their world.

    Even in California, most people include hydro-electric power among the renewable sources. It’s only the most active environmentalists who do not. “Few” large hydro power plants under construction is pretty much the “steady state” in large hydro power plant construction. At the times of the construction of Hoover Dam, Grand Coulee Dam, Aswan Dam and the Three Gorges Dam “few” hydro power plants were under construction. Nevertheless, hydro power plants are under construction in Ethiopia, Laos, and Brazil. In those areas, electricity is now scarce, and the intermittency of hydro electricity will be a considerable improvement over what they have now.

    The cost of renewbles is declining in consequence of persistent R & D in all aspects of production. Fast enough? How fast? On those, only time will tell. Persistent investment in cane ethanol in Brazil produced fuel that is cheaper than gasoline on an energy equivalent basis. Most commercial and combat aircraft have been tested now on bio jet fuel. How soon will bio jet fuel be priced cheaper than the petroleum-based standard? At present rates of development, probably less than 10 years.

    10% solar energy by 4012 … that’s some goal there, Chief.

    10% of a large number is a worthy goal. Consider if you could cure 10% of the children who have malaria.

    The opposite is true. We need to increase energy use, and to do that we need less expensive energy, particularly for the poor.

    I agree. Increased efficiency of use and reduced waste in use are parts of the overall mix. In the US, gasoline consumption has decreased about 50% compared to peak use. That has helped reduce the increases in prices that have hurt the poorer economies of the world. Politically, I oppose, as most Americans oppose, the restriction that governments, including the Obama administration, have placed on extraction of natural gas and petroleum. However, politically, I support the development of alternatives. About 10 years of continuous R & D were required to convert the primitive jet engines of WWII (GB, US, and Germany all had them) into the reliable engines that replaced the piston engines in the commercial airlines of the world. Twenty years were required by Brazil to develop renewable ethanol cheaper than gasoline. Decades of R&D have produced a solar technology that now produces the cheapest available electricity in some parts of the world.

  82. To the person who suggested windmills on roofs: at that scale the windmill capacity factor is about 10% (and thats with a 100 foot tower). Oh, and if the wind doesn’t blow, you’re out of luck. Also, You might need a basement full of batteries. Try it and report back in a year.

    Damn the physics!

  83. Sorry moderator about that. I won’t do that again. It was just one of those “learn your history or you’re doomed to repeat it again and start all over again” thing. As you’re familiar with the saying “victors get to rewrite history”.

    [REPLY: It’s an interesting topic, but there are more suitable venues, at this time, than WUWT. Sorry. -REP]

  84. Oatley says:
    April 22, 2012 at 9:42 am
    I have been interested in compressed air for potential energy storage for some time now. We are a little way away from the engineering aspect, but not out of reach. It is good to point out the deficiencies of an energy source, but it is important to brainstorm viable alternate solutions.

  85. So-called neodymium magnets actually contain less than 30% of neodymium (composition Nd2Fe14B). Not that it invalidates any arguments, but be careful with your numbers.

  86. Philip Bradley: I lived in SE Asia for many years where vast tracts of tropical forest have been cut down to grow palm oil, much of which goes into biofuels. The reality is that somewhere like the USA introduces a biofuel mandate and as a result hundreds of sq kms of tropical forest is cut down.

    Most tropical deforestation preceded the push for biofuels, and most of the palm oil plantations were planted on already deforested land.

  87. Rik Gheysens said, April 22, 2012 at 2:19 am:
    The Chinese Society of Rare Earths estimates at the completion of refining one ton of rare elements, approximately 75 cubic meters of acidic waste water and and about one ton of radioactive waste residue are produced. (Justin Paul, Gwenette Campbell, Investigating Rare Earth Element Mine Development in EPA Region 8 and Potential Environmental Impacts, August 15, 2011) The radioactive waste consists mainly of uranium and thorium.

    So an unwanted, unused byproduct of making wind turbines is nuclear fuel that potentially yields orders of magnitude more energy than the turbines can ever generate.
    Still, at least the turbines will be useful later for stringing up Climate Change ministers.

  88. Mark S says:
    April 22, 2012 at 8:38 am

    While I like renewable energy sources, I don’t like the scale. I don’t want a huge wind farm in Wyoming. I want a small wind turbine on my roof that supplies most or all of my electricity. If my rooftop turbine produced more electricity than I’m using, the excess can be sent to the power grid. There is no need to pay me for it…..
    _______________________________________
    Your take on “Renewables” is classic. You swallowed the hype and ignore the physics. A wind turbine on the roof of most homes does not work because the wind speed is just too low and so is the mounting height. The amount of energy in the wind depends on the density of the air (height above sea level) the area swept by the wind-turbine rotor and the cube of the wind velocity. Wind mills can harvest a theoretical maximum of 59% of the energy. http://www.windpowerengineering.com/policy/the-physics-and-economics-of-wind-turbines/

    As can be seen in this map, most US locations are not suitable. ~ USA 80-Meter(above ground) Wind Maps http://www.windpoweringamerica.gov/wind_maps.asp
    More indepth info on wind speed by area: http://rredc.nrel.gov/wind/pubs/atlas/atlas_index.html

    Solar is just as bad. The maximum theoretical efficiency of a perfect solar cell is 33%.

    http://solarcellcentral.com/limits_page.html

    http://solarcellcentral.com/solar_page.html

    Solar insolation map for USA (kWh/m2/day): http://www.altestore.com/howto/images/article/us_solar_insolation_january.png
    Again most of the USA is not really suitable.

    Aside from a lack of natural energy, the major problem with both of these is energy storage. And yes I looked into it and figured the best option on my farm would be pumping water between two ponds and using a hydroelectric generator ( http://smallhydro.com/small-micro-hydro-info/ )

    If you have the land and really want to do something then I would suggest looking into home geothermal heating/cooling. It was the only reasonable “renewable” I found: http://mb-soft.com/solar/saving.html

  89. Matthew R Marler says:
    April 22, 2012 at 9:19 am

    “Well, the first thing not to like is that renewable energy is intermittent. That means that if we add a million kilowatts of renewable energy generation, we also have to add a million kilowatts of conventional generators.”

    In the parts of the world that now have no electricity at all, that is not a problem. In the parts of the world that use almost all of their electricity in the daytime, that is not a problem. In factories that operate only in the daytime, that is not a problem.

    Doubling global production of energy from renewables is both feasible and desirable. It is not a panacea, but since nothing is a panacea, that is not a problem.

    Reality would suggest that expensive, unreliable energy would most certainly be a problem, but since you, a Warmist troll say it is “not a problem”, well then, that obviously trumps the real world. I guess in your world, spending a lot of money needlessly is “not a problem”.

  90. “Solar makes a big contribution to heating our houses just by coming in the window. ”

    What a hoot, the report is from Canada. Pop quiz! Who is dumber than rock? a) A fencepost. b) A Canadian government employ promoting energy conservation. c) A California government employ promoting energy conservation. d) All of the above,

    At least a fencepost is useful.

    When I moved to California from Michigan to California, the plans for my passive solar house got reject because I has too many windows. California wanted me to build a Michigan house. I sent my plans back to the architect who labeled all my south facing windows ‘solar collectors’. That and 35 pages of alternate calculations explaining the angle of the sun at that latitude, low-e glass (new at the time), design of overhands , and the heat loss in mild winters; got my plans approved.

    So commieBob lots of factors have to be considered. Unless you live in the mild part of Canada south of 40 degrees latitude, windows do not reduce heat load.

    While I am an advocate for nukes, I also am an advocate for renewable energy. I am anti-idiot.

    “To date, grid-connected wind and solar power and corn ethanol are energy nonsense. ”

    Wind makes sense in the PNW in combination with hydroelectric. Solar makes sense in the Southwest. Corn and sugar cane ethanol makes sense where farmers can produce more crops than people can eat.

    The problem is the idiots who do not stop after achieving a good idea. While 10% renewable energy may be a good idea, we should see if 15% works before going to 20%. State what is clearly working is also Allen.

    “Here is your picture ”

    Well I like the pictures with smoke coming out before the wind turbine self destructs throwing burning debris and starting wild fires on windy days. I am not against wind farms, just improperly installed wind turbines.

  91. UN never changes: just remember the billions collected in 2005 for the “50 millions 2010’s refugees”. With these billions UN buy media, Politics, Presidents and any other kind of idiots available (Politics and Presidents are not idiots, they are a smart part of the UN plot and they share the spoils).
    Billions well invested, because here we see again Presidents and Politics inviting to collect money for UN (and themself, as Gore shows).

  92. Gail Combs says:
    April 22, 2012 at 9:56 am
    “Solar is just as bad. The maximum theoretical efficiency of a perfect solar cell is 33%.”

    That is for a perfect unijunction cell. In the labs multijunction cells with up to 53% have been developed, and I think multijunction cells are already used for satellites as it is economic in that case; you want to minimize the weight you have to transport.

    Also, scottish researchers have recently announced that they develop a coating that would receive UV photons and for each received UV photon would emit 2 visible light photons. If this can be turned into a product, you make another part of the spectrum usable for standard silicon cells.

  93. Bruce Cobb: you, a Warmist troll

    “Troll” is poorly defined, so I won’t deny it. I deny being a “warmist”.

    Here is an installation where the intermittency and cost of solar are not problems:

    http://cleantechnica.com/2012/04/20/worlds-largest-solar-pv-power-plant-added-to-indias-grid/

    In much of rural India, distributed solar PV power is the cheapest source of electricity. That installation is not an example of “distributed” power, but in most of rural India coal is an intermittent source of power and natural gas is expensive. Production and distribution costs for PV power are decreasing, but the production and distribution costs of power from fossil fuels are not.

  94. Prices of electricity in California are double the prices in neighboring states because of this push for “renewables”.

    California is a bad example for lots of things. Compared to the poor of India, for example, the poor of Callifornia are rich. Solar power for peak demand to drive air conditioning in California is barely justifiable, because peak energy supply in California is expensive for any source. Solar power in India is justifiable in most rural areas, as I said, because fossil fuels are expensive and intermittent. For many of the poorer people of the world, not just India, the PV panels of the present and future will be the most economical sources of electricity because the richer people of the world continue to bid up the price of fossil fuels.

  95. That means that if we add a million kilowatts of renewable energy generation, we also have to add a million kilowatts of conventional generators.

    In the US and other developed nations, the backup power generators are already in place. Adding renewables will extend their lifespan, without requiring new backup power.

  96. davidmhoffer says:
    April 22, 2012 at 12:52 am

    Given the UN track record of achieving their other goals, such as preventing wars, preventing genocide, enforcing human rights and such, I’m not certain what the concern is.

    Calling him a “moonbat” is an ad hominem attach BTW, and I am certain that the entire moonbat population is very insulted by the comparison.
    ###

    Thanks for putting things in their proper perspective.

  97. What counts as renewable energy and what does not in the eyes of the UN?
    As Willis points out, hydroelectric doesn’t count for renewable energy despite the water cycle being one of the oldest processes on this earth. The flip side of the idiocy is that the burning of wood is a recognized use of renewable energy — even when you do not replant!

    According to the UN way of counting, one of the counties with the largest per capita use of renewable energy is Haiti, a country has become a deforested ruin.

    Who argues we should double this kind of renewable energy? Why should we even listen to anyone who counts as renewable energy practices leading to deforestation?

    Connect the dots? Let’s start with the stumps of trees that are not replanted.

  98. “We have to be very austere in using energy… We have to completely change our behavior, at home, at the office.”

    This is so contrary to the facts that this point of mass hysteria has become a particular curiosity to me as a feature of the liberal’s common “reality”.

    Besides being awash in hydrocarbons that can be converted to usable liquid fuels for vehicles, we have nuclear power. We have multiple centuries of thorium supplies when we start down the path of that particular nuclear path. What are these people going to say and what policies are they going to propose when some of the Low Energy Nuclear Reaction (LENR) [1] technologies reach commercial viability?

    The common feature of all the liberal (er, now “progressive”) angst about energy is as an excuse to destroy personal liberty and prosperity by vastly larger government. But to me the claim is almost so silly there must be far more to it than meets the eye.

    [1] see for example:

    http://nextbigfuture.com/2012/04/brillouin-had-los-alamos-and-sri.html

  99. @ Mark S April 22, 2012 at 8:38 am

    Gail Combs is right in everything she says about the physics. But she leave out some other factors to consider for your roof top windmill:
    1. Noise
    2. Vibration
    3. Maintenance
    4. Permitting and resistance from neighbors.
    5. Insurance to protect yourself from damage failing turbines may cause.
    6. Complaints from neighbors from all of the above.

    It is not just a case of homes being ill-suited for wind turbines. It did not work so well on top of a new building in Houston, either.

  100. “We have to be very austere in using energy… We have to completely change our behavior, at home, at the office.”

    UN, IPCC, AlGore, Hadley Center, NASA Climate folks, NCDC first. I’ll catch up later, in a decade or two… Just cancel all those meetings, symposium, conferences, and jetting all over the world. Set a good example. Cancel those Rio and Copenhagen and Durbin like events. We’re rooting for you! Show us how it’s done!

    /sarcoff;>

  101. Stephen Rasey,

    Your comment reminded me off the construction of the Empire State building. The architects added a steel pole on top, to be used as an anchor post for blimps and zeppelins. But it was never used because of the fierce shifting winds in the built up canyons of NYC. Like windmills, it seemed like a good idea at the time…

  102. Matthew R Marler says: April 22, 2012 at 11:08 am

    That means that if we add a million kilowatts of renewable energy generation, we also have to add a million kilowatts of conventional generators.

    In the US and other developed nations, the backup power generators are already in place. Adding renewables will extend their lifespan, without requiring new backup power.
    ____________

    Sorry Matthew but I see yours as a specious argument.

    Grid-connected wind and solar power are so uneconomic as to be laughable. The huge life-of-project subsidies required to make these boondoggles economic are a prime indicator. These boondoggles probably produce no NET high-cost (peak demand) power over their project life, if you deduct all the high-cost energy inputs required to fabricate, erect, operate and dismantle them. The off-peak power they produce is often not needed and is less-than-worthless. Finally, the huge, rapid surges and drops in wind power can seriously destabilize the entire power grid.

    Grid-connected wind and solar power are energy nonsense.

  103. @ Matthew R Marler,
    Whatever India does regarding energy, it should be based solely on their own cost-benefit analysis, not on getting C02 extortion money from developed countries. The point is, each country has to decide for itself what its own energy policy should be, based on its own cost-benefit analysis. For most of the developed world such as the US, renewables make very little sense except as a way for those in the “green” energy industry to make lots of money at everyone else’s expense.

  104. @Rik Gheysens:

    Per “running out” of Rare Earth Elements:

    You have fallen into the typical trap of “proven reserves” or “economical reserves”. ALL resources are measured in a very peculiar way. Only “ultimate resource” tells you how much exists, and folks don’t quote that. The proven or economically recoverable reserves are a small fraction, that depends on present price and present developed / explored mine properties.

    https://chiefio.wordpress.com/2010/09/25/are-rare-earths-rare/

    From the wiki, we learn that at one time rare earths were rare, as they were thought to come only from rare oxide deposits:

    The term “rare earth” arises from the rare earth minerals from which they were first isolated, which were uncommon oxide-type minerals (earths) found in Gadolinite extracted from one mine in the village of Ytterby, Sweden. However, with the exception of the highly-unstable promethium, rare earth elements are found in relatively high concentrations in the earth’s crust, with cerium being the 25th most abundant element in the Earth’s crust at 68 parts per million.

    Hmm, that doesn’t sound so rare…

    Rare Earth’s are not rare. They are all over the planet. Often found bound with Thorium. In the USA that Thorium is treated as a radiological toxic waste, so mining most of the properties is uneconomical (so their megatons are ‘not a resource’). If, instead, we used the Thorium to make energy (enough to power the planet for about 10,000 years…) then it would not be a ‘radiological toxic waste’ and instead would (suddenly) become a ‘resource’.

    There is no energy shortage. There is no shortage of stuff. Both are fantasies promoted by the same folks pushing Global Warming. Fear mongering to drive the masses into tolerance for their noose to “save the planet”.

    https://chiefio.wordpress.com/2009/05/08/there-is-no-shortage-of-stuff/

    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2009/03/20/there-is-no-energy-shortage/

    (which leads off with the same chart, though a 2002 version, as this article. I wrote it a while ago…)

    So please, whenever seeing a “Running Out!!!” issue being pushed, realize that the reality is far different.

    I do a ‘thought experiment’ here on how to get Uranium from sea water at a reasonably economical price (though a bit more expensive than current land sources, still quite usable for power production).

    https://chiefio.wordpress.com/2009/05/29/ulum-ultra-large-uranium-miner-ship/

    Very similar technology could be used to get Thorium and, I would assert, other minerals, if we ever really needed to do so.

  105. theBuckWheat says: @ April 22, 2012 at 11:26 am

    …We have multiple centuries of thorium supplies when we start down the path of that particular nuclear path…..
    ___________________
    When I went to pay my last electric bill at my electric Co-op, I asked when they were going to invest in a thorium reactor. The ladies at the counter did not understand what I was talking about but a guy in the back had been to a seminar and explained to all of us about the turn-key operation at the presentation. He mentioned that everything could be moved in on a fleet of trucks, the only problem was the high price tag.

    In my more optimistic moments I wonder if the jacking up of energy prices and the rest of the maneuvering isn’t to herd us into thorium nuclear or something similar. Only after rolling blackouts hit the USA, EU and Australia will the general population be willing to look at thorium as a reasonable option.

    This is a worthwhile piece to read considering Maurice Strong’s leading role in CAGW Maurice Strong, Chairman, Ontario Hydro and Chairman, The Earth Council, to the Uranium Institute, London

  106. Philip Bradley said @ April 22, 2012 at 12:28 am

    And growing plants for biomass is as idiotic as biofuels.

    The Git must be an idiot then. He grows trees to fuel a very efficient combustion stove (a Bosky) that provides for 95% of our hot water, cooking and space heating. In 2004 he purchased a truckload of logs that provided all of this for somewhat less than a dollar per day including the cost of the fossil fuel for the chainsaw. Just think, instead of spending somewhat less than $500 per year, he could have been spending $2,000+ enriching the government.

  107. @Steve from Rockwood:

    I can generate electricity from gasoline at rough parity with my top rate from my California Electric Bill using my Honda generator. ( I don’t mostly due to sloth). It would be cheaper if I used a small Diesel and used non-road-taxed Diesel fuel.

    There are immense economies of scale in power generation. Coal and Nuke running in the low single digit cents / kW-hr; not the 20-something average on my bill (that has Politically Correct price tranches based on quantity used).

    The disconnect between these two is entirely due to the Political Process that drives our “Rate Commissions”. It has nothing to do with technology, efficiency, or anything physical.

    On my “someday” list of projects is to install a micro-scale generator run off my natural gas bill as the natural gas is not driven up for political reasons. It is seen as ‘needed’ for home heat.

    In what rational world is it more economical for me to burn natural gas in a small machine than for a giant company to do so in one with about double the efficiency?

    These are the kinds of disconnects you get with Social ‘Justice’ driven ideology (such as in the old Socialist Soviet Union where it was cheaper to feed bread to hogs than grain, as bread was subsidized…)

    We have a very large ‘renewables’ mandate. Prices have risen, and continue to rise, in step with that mandate. I bought my generator back when we had another Loony Left market intervention and governor “Gray-out Davis” was making Enron rich by insisting on our buying power “at mini-bar prices” (h/t Miller ) and putting our wonderfully stable utility company into bankruptcy (causing many retired folks to lose their ‘safe stable’ widows and orphans stock income…).

    So we’ve “Lived The Dream” already once. It’s been a few years since we tossed Gray-out Davis out (in one of the few Governor Recalls ever) and I’ve not needed to run the generator much since then. Once a year, or so, to make sure it’s still good. I’m expecting to start running it more regularly for economic reason “real soon” as the rates keep rising.

    Natural Gas sells, in bulk, for about 20 CENTS per gallon-of-gasoline equivalent. IFF I could get a natural gas feed untainted by political manipulation of regulated utilities, I could make my own electricity for a few single digit pennies per kW-hr. Large utilities can do that. But between them, and me, stands our “renewables mandate” and government regulations. That is why my electric bill has rates between $1/4 and $1/2 per kW-hr on it.

    That is economic (and political) reality.

    We have a Socially Politically Correct electricity structure in California, with rates between 2 x and 4 x higher than what they plausibly ought to be and up to 10 x higher than the lowest cost sources. Even HIGHER cost sources being mandated as ever higher percentages. Welcome to Socialism in The Peoples Republic Of California.

    I’d rather have the 7 cents / kW-hr of some other places in the USA.

  108. Putting renewable resources on top of buildings ought to be one of those “No brainers” Why isn’t every flat roofed building covered in photovoltaic panels? Why doesn’t every skyscraper harvest wind energy? The simplest answer has to be “It isn’t worth it.”

    Here is a 2008 report on the which includes a case study on Houston Discovery Tower before it was built. http://www.cppwind.com/support/papers/papers/windenergy/Building-Integrated_Turbines.pdf. Page 9 and Page 11 indicate the turbines would generate 70 MWhr/year (assuming 100% availability), but the facts are scant on the wind rose probabilities at Discovery Tower. I make that to be $100K/yr @ about $0.15/kwh. Less maintenance. Less insurance. Less depreciation of capital. Less corrections for optimism: (It is the Author’s opinion that this value is inflated due to the manufacturer overstating their turbine performance, which indicates efficiencies in excess of 40%.)

    Build one of those in an urban setting and it might be mildly profitable if all goes well. But if something goes wrong — in our litigious society — is it really worth it? Given the noise and the potential for shrapnel, to wind turbines and urban environments mix?

    BTW, there are videos of the turbines working in Oct 2010 and reports of their failure in Dec. 2010. They were removed by mid-January 2011 and have not returned.

  109. Bruce Cobb: Whatever India does regarding energy, it should be based solely on their own cost-benefit analysis, not on getting C02 extortion money from developed countries. The point is, each country has to decide for itself what its own energy policy should be, based on its own cost-benefit analysis. For most of the developed world such as the US, renewables make very little sense except as a way for those in the “green” energy industry to make lots of money at everyone else’s expense.

    I agree with all of that, but it isn’t what you wrote the first time, which you might want to reread. In my view, Willis Eschenbach and some commentators (including your first criticism of me) have responded to a poor speech by Ban Ki Moon with a poor set of rejoinders.

    “Most” in the developed world will have access to electricity from solar power in their lifetimes that is cheaper than electricity from other new sources, if the current rates of investment R&D are maintained. In Southern California now, new PV facilities to meet peak power are cheaper than new facilities of other kinds. In much of California and Arizona, if you want electricity for A/C, PV panels are worthwhile (in my case, I don’t use A/C, but if I did it would be economically advantageous to buy PV panels, even without a subsidy or feed-in-tarriff.)

    “At everyone else’s expense” is how the jet engines of contemporary commercial aircraft were financed. Perhaps it could have been done better, but it was done well.

    In 2011, the world installed approximately 24GW of electical generating power in the from of PV panels. It’s less capital intensive, easier to carry out, requires fewer grid resources and less cooperation from (unionized) employees far away than any other source of electricity.

  110. Stephen Rasey said @ April 22, 2012 at 11:34 am

    It is not just a case of homes being ill-suited for wind turbines. It did not work so well on top of a new building in Houston, either.

    Nor here in Southern Tasmania. David Rockefeller had four wind turbines put on the Marine Board building on Hobart’s waterfront. The first decent (not even gale force) wind blew one of them over, and damaged another. Fortunately, no-one was injured. It took a year after repair was effected until an engineer could be found to sign off on their safety, so they are spinning once more to generate a claimed 10% of the building’s electricity consumption.

    Of course this is “renewable” energy unlike the filthy hydro-electricity that accounts for 99% of Tasmania’s electricity production. For some odd reason, that electricity is sold to consumers in Victoria over the Bass Strait, and we in Tasmania are sold electricity generated by coal-fired power stations in Queensland.

    None of this makes sense to me, but then I’m an idiot.

  111. Allan MacRae: Grid-connected wind and solar power are so uneconomic as to be laughable.

    It depends where you are and how much you use. I mentioned A/C. If I decided to use A/C, then I could replace my furnace and unused A/C unit with a heat exchanger, power the heat exchanger off PV panels, and heat the house in winter off the PV panels. I would save several hundred $$$ per year on natural gas, besides the electricity savings on A/C. Instead, I differ from my comfortable neighbors and keep my overall electricity consumption low. I review the economics every year or so; given my conditional life expectancy at my age, I “expect” to install PV panels 10-20 years from now when the prices have fallen from what they now are. It would be even better with a small feed-in-tariff (but that’s a topic for a later time.)

  112. The child with the behavior problem is Ban Ki. He needs a time-out. Sit in the corner and think about it, Ban Ki. Then when you’re ready to apologize for your misbehavior, maybe you can go out and play.

  113. Steve from Rockwood says:
    April 22, 2012 at 4:34 am

    I doubt the rapid rises in electricity rates can be blamed on renewable energy. If you look at average electricity rates in the USA the poor states have the lower rates and the rich states have the higher rates, despite that some poor states are investing proportionally more into renewable energy – probably on the gullible idea of job growth. California has high electricity rates because it is a rich state.

    Cite for “the poor states have the lower rates and the rich states have the higher rates”?

    Cite for “some poor states are investing proportionally more into renewable energy”?

    Steve, California has agreed to buy solar and wind power at very expensive rates. Your uncited claim, that buying power at expensive rates doesn’t drive up the cost to the consumer, doesn’t even pass the laugh test.

    w.

  114. I feel sorry for California Public Utilities Commission Mike Florio. Unlike the uncertainty in the climate models as to the sensitivity of CO2, Commission Florio has to address the certainties of our mitigation efforts out here in CA in regards to how much our electrical prices need to go up to cover the costs of the RE programs we have approved: that are up and running and that are in the pipeline. “It just worries me that if we sign too many of these contracts, it’s going to make the program look bad just when it’s being successful,” Florio said
    “http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/11/23/MNLV1M1CET.DTL&ao=2#ixzz1elvov450

    “Commissioner Mike Florio, however, voted against the agreement”- noted in the reference. “He said the possibility of steep electricity rate hikes triggered by renewable contracts keeps him awake at night.” Commissioner Florio has the unfortunate task of allocating these higher costs to the different classes of customers. As noted elsewhere 20 to 25 years PPA contracts were put in place to get the utility scale RE projects built to meet CA’s 20%RES. Those contracts have Time of Delivery factors built into them. What this means is that the large PV projects recently in the news (that PG&E is associated with) will yield the investors who bought the projects about $.23 a kwh for the generation out of the plants during the summer at peak times. Gail noted a few of the utility scale projects above- “To back that up are the 2011 California Evictions and The ugly battle between rural residents and alternative energy mandates in California (WUWT) ”

    As Commissioner Florio knows the electrons from these 20 to 25 year RE GENERATION PPA’s are some what useless until you can transmit and distribute them to someone. I am not an expert on what it costs to do these activities, but I know a few people who are. They will figure an average line loss for those electrons to figure out how many of them will be available to do work and then add in their costs for those activities. I wonder what the marginal cost of a delivered kwh to a customer would be when the generation costs is $.23?

    Inquiring minds, like Steve Mosher’s, might want to ask how effective these RE projects are in terms of the ultimate objective of CO2 mitigation? I think it might be best not to ask that question as it would bring into question what leadership means from my perspective vs the secretary generals.

  115. Robbie says:
    April 22, 2012 at 4:38 am

    Mr. Eschenbach: Why don’t you just send a letter to the UN and especially to Mr. Ki-Moon to tell him what you just wrote here? Enlighten him and the UN.
    Would be nice to inform him properly than just complaining here. Mr. Ki-Moon probably doesn’t know of this website and therefore won’t be informed sufficiently on the details he is propagating.

    Thanks, Robbie. I don’t write to him because I consider him a lost cause. Please feel free to do so, however, since you think it’s a good idea, and report back what you find out.

    w.

  116. Don K says:
    April 22, 2012 at 5:16 am

    … Burlington(Vermont) has a 25 Megawatt power plant in service burning forest waste (at reasonable cost per kw/h BTW). But Vermont is a rather remote rural region with lots of trees and not too many people. Not too extensible. We aren’t going to power Boston or New York City with wood. Nonetheless several million — mostly rural — American households heat with wood. Within limits, it works. No reason that I am aware of that can not be expanded some in the US and elsewhere..

    Oh, please, please, please, folks, don’t just repeat urban legends. DO YOUR HOMEWORK. Google is your friend. From the National Renewable Energy Laboratory:

    The primary lesson learned from the McNeil plant experience in Burlington, Vermont, is careful attention to the siting of a biomass-fueled plant. Siting the plant in a residential neighborhood of a small city has caused a number of problems and extra expenses over the years: a permit requirement to use trains for fuel supply, high taxes, high labor rates, local political involvement, and neighborhood complaints about odors and noise.

    Charming. They also say (emphasis mine):

    After more than 14 years of successful commercial operation, the outlook for the McNeil Station is uncertain. On September 15, 1998, the Vermont Public Service Board opened Docket No. 6140, “Investigation into the Reform of Vermont’s Electric Power Supply.” The four utilities that own the McNeil Station (the “joint owners”) have different considerations and may pursue different strategies with respect to deregulation and competition in the electric power industry.

    Burlington Electric Department’s submittal to Docket No. 6140 suggested the need for increased access to transmission capacity for the McNeil Station, which would enhance McNeil’s ability to sell more renewable power in the region and mitigate its costs. BED advocates an aggressive Vermont policy on renewable energy, especially “native Vermont renewable energy” such as that generated by the McNeil Station. Included would be renewable portfolio requirement as a precondition to retail choice in Vermont, and creation of competitive “green markets” that use indigenous resources.

    Yeah, that sounds like a huge success … not. The power plant that you think has done so well is in such bad shape that the owners are agitating for special legislation to force people in Vermont to buy their power … call me crazy, but I don’t want that kind of nonsense “expanded some in the US”.

    As my dad used to say, “If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

    w.

  117. Steve from Rockwood: California has high electricity rates because it is a rich state.

    For decades California underinvested in electricity: while electricicity production was approximately constant, the population doubled and California bought increasing amounts of electricity from other states. Now California has banned the importation of electricity from power plants that would be illegal in-state (e.g. coal-fired), further restricting our supply. That has more to do with the high rates than the fact that California is “rich”.

  118. @Gail Combs:

    It is important to realize that many folks, when speaking of Thorium, talk of a “new path” via molten salt reactors and treat it as a New Tech (with all the attendant higher costs of a start up tech). Yet the reality is quite different.

    Thorium is quite usable in ALL our present nuclear reactors, if we so desired. (Yes, it involves new fuel bundles and new licensing of those bundles, so largely isn’t done). It has also been done already:

    http://world-nuclear.org/info/inf62.html

    (Scroll down to ‘reactors able to use Thorium’ where you find pretty much every kind listed).

    and some history:

    The 300 MWe Thorium High Temperature Reactor (THTR) in Germany, a HTR, operated with thorium-HEU fuel between 1983 and 1989.
    […]
    The 40 MWe Peach Bottom HTR in the USA was a demonstration thorium-fuelled reactor that ran from 1967-74 [2]. It used a thorium-HEU fuel in the form of microspheres of mixed thorium-uranium carbide coated with pyrolytic carbon.
    […]
    The 330 MWe Fort St Vrain HTR in Colorado, USA, was a larger-scale commercial successor to the Peach Bottom reactor and ran from 1976-89. It also used thorium-HEU fuel in the form of microspheres of mixed thorium-uranium carbide coated with silicon oxide and pyrolytic carbon to retain fission products. These were embedded in graphite ‘compacts’ that were arranged in hexagonal columns (‘prisms’). Almost 25 tonnes of thorium was used in fuel for the reactor, much of which attained a burn-up of about 170 GWd/t.

    A unique thorium-fuelled Light Water Breeder Reactor operated from 1977 to 1982 at Shippingport in the USA [3] – it used uranium-233 as the fissile driver in special fuel assemblies having independently movable ‘seed’ regions. The reactor core was housed in a reconfigured early PWR
    . It operated at 60 MWe (236 MWt) with an availability factor of 86% producing over 2.1 billion kWh. Post-operation inspections revealed that 1.39% more fissile fuel was present at the end of core life, proving that breeding had occurred.

    * The core of the Shippingport demonstration LWBR consisted of an array of seed and blanket modules surrounded by an outer reflector region. In the seed and blanket regions, the fuel pellets contained a mixture of thorium-232 oxide (ThO2) and uranium oxide (UO2) that was over 98% enriched in U-233. The proportion by weight of UO2 was around 5-6% in the seed region, and about 1.5-3% in the blanket region. The reflector region contained only thorium oxide at the beginning of the core life. U-233 was used because at the time it was believed that U-235 would not release enough neutrons per fission and Pu-239 would parasitically capture too many neutrons to allow breeding in a PWR.

    Indian heavy water reactors (PHWRs) have for a long time used thorium-bearing fuel bundles for power flattening in some fuel channels – especially in initial cores when special reactivity control measures are needed.

    Note that the U-233 used in Shippingport is made from Thorium.

    There is also a company currently doing the licensing work for a replacement fuel bundle using Thorium and has some in burnup testing in some Russian design reactors.

    http://ltbridge.com/technologyservices/fueltechnology/thoriumbasedseedandblanketfuel

    Once-through fuel cycle based on patented seed and blanket fuel assembly design that efficiently utilizes thorium – no reprocessing of used fuel needed to take advantage of thorium (U-233 bred from thorium is fissioned in situ providing up to one-third of total reactor power output);
    Full compatibility with existing light water reactor designs (no modifications to reactor internals are required);

    So it’s important to realize that when folks talk about “Thorium Reactors” they are often talking about their favorite New Whiz-Bang Design (that can cost a lot and has a lot of technical work yet to be done) and not so much about “Just stick it in the ones we’ve got”.

    We could easily start running Thorium in our present reactors if we cared to do so. India is presently doing most of the work as they have more Thorium than anyone else (in easy to mine deposits) and not so much Uranium. That’s why they show up a lot in the Thorium use history and literature.

    It’s mostly a matter of how cheap Uranium is, not any technical issue with Thorium or any expensive reactor design to use it.

  119. Don K says:
    April 22, 2012 at 6:04 am

    Since they don’t include hydro as renewable, doubling renewable usage over the next 20 years seems quite a modest goal. A bit of solar hot water in warmer places, better collection of methane from landfills. Some PV solar off the grid — maybe even some on the grid. Some windmills up to the capacity of the grid to handle them, and in places where intermittent power isn’t a big deal (petroleum stripper wells, some agricultural uses) Maybe a little more geothermal where heated material is a available (e.g. Hawaii, Japan). More efficient use of scrap wood in places where there is lots of it. Maybe a little tidal generation. It all adds up

    None of that seems economically questionable or infeasible. So, let’s do it.

    No, let’s not do it, it would be very foolish.

    It is absolutely economically questionable, what planet are you living on. There is NOWHERE that grid-scale solar power makes economic sense, and wind is much worse. See “The Dark Future of Solar Electricity“.

  120. DirkH says:
    April 22, 2012 at 6:24 am

    … and too pessimistic about solar – costs continue to come down with 20% a year so what is controversial and subsidized now will become quite commonplace in 2020…

    Since they’ve been making that exact same claim since solar started to be subsidized in the 1970s, that any day now solar would be competitive, by now I would have thought everyone would have noticed that’s just another urban legend.

    Even if the cells were totally free it wouldn’t be competitive. See “The Dark Future of Solar Electricity“. Your claim is nothing but green hype.

    w.

  121. K says:
    April 22, 2012 at 6:48 am

    … For example: to make a dozen solar panels is pretty pricey, but to make 200,000 will make the price of each individual until come down, or the really big ones will be cheaper, or the really small ones- I don’t know, but something will pop up or be developed that will make it cheaper.

    Not true at all. See my previous two comments.

    We need a big push now to get the development going. The only way that funding and research to get renewable energies will happen will be to use said renewable technologies.

    In other words, you want to take my money and use it to support a technology that’s not ready for the market.

    Why is it that folks like you always want to use my money for that? If it’s such a brilliant plan, how about you use your money to push it forwards, and take your grabby hands out of my wallet?

    Sheesh … always, you guys want me to pay for your pathetic green fantasies … when renewables make sense, the market will accept them.

    w.

  122. Dena says:
    April 22, 2012 at 7:05 am

    The graph is hard to understand because of the term Rejected Energy. The best way to explain why rejected energy is so high is to look at this graph. http://www.caiso.com/Pages/TodaysOutlook.aspx
    Most forms of power generation can’t be turned off and on at will.

    I regret to say this, Dena, but that’s entirely wrong.

    The “rejected energy” is regarding the efficiency of the conversion from the energy source (coal, oil, etc.) to the usable energy (movement of cars, electricity generation, etc.) Many of these conversions are not very efficient. So only about a quarter of the energy that goes into the power plants comes out as electricity, because the turbines are only about 25% efficient. The rest of the energy is “rejected” up the smokestack as heat, it doesn’t do useful work.

    w.

  123. Jim Cripwell says:
    April 22, 2012 at 7:33 am

    Dirk H. writes

    “If the process were economically viable, somebody would already do it without the subsidies.”

    Pedantically correct. However, Poet/DSM is now building a plant with about $200 million of private money, to come into production in 2013, with a capacity of 20 million gallons per year. If you are interested search for Project Liberty. The estimate was that this project would be profitable if the wholesale cost of gasoline is more that $2 per gallon. The current price is in excess of $3 per gallon.

    So I am not clear how cellulose ethanol should be classified. If POET/DSM is successful next year, then the whole subject of renewables, if cellulose ethanol is a renewable, will have to be rewritten.

    Call me when it actually works. Until then, it’s just another green pipe dream. As for your claim that the plant is funded with “private money”, that’s absolute nonsense:

    POET today received final approval for a $105 million loan guarantee issued through the U.S. Department of Energy’s Loan programs Office. The loan guarantee and financing allows POET to construct Project LIBERTY, a 25 million-gallon-per-year cellulosic ethanol plant in Emmetsburg, Iowa.

    and

    Iowa approves final grant award for cellulosic project. Board approves final $5.25 million to POET’s Project LIBERTY

    and

    POET’s task of securing 700 tons of cellulosic biomass per day of operation got a big boost this week from a $6.85 million funding increase to an existing grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.

    This is the first of two funding increases from DOE to help establish a market for corn cobs. The second, expected next year, is estimated to provide an additional $13.15 million.
    The Department of Energy has been a major supporter of Project LIBERTY. The two grant increases will bring the total financial commitment from DOE to $100 million.

    In other words, the project COULDN’T GET PRIVATE FUNDING without President Obama and Secretary Chu putting up my tax money to guarantee the loan, the DOE has given the project $100 million dollars in grants, the State of Iowa is putting in $5.25 million in grants … and you are trying to claim it’s “private money”??? Go try to fool someone less credible, that won’t work here.

    I say again, DO YOUR HOMEWORK. You are spouting nonsense, it doesn’t do your reputation any good.

    w.

  124. Gail Combs says:
    April 22, 2012 at 8:00 am

    … To us farmers “Forestry waste” is the precurser of compost and should be left to enrich the soil. Burning compost is a major sin in my book because it wipes out your soil fertility. Even with commercial fertilizers a soil without organic matter does not produce. That was why the farm I bought was sold. ZERO topsoil and therefore stunted crops. (I am rebuilding the topsoil by turning it into pasture)

    Thank you most kindly for a very important comment, Gail. The same applies to the “cellulosic ethanol” that Jim Cripwell is hyping above. The cellulosic feedstock (corn cobs and stalks) needs to be returned to the soil, not turned into alcohol.

    w.

  125. Gail Combs says:
    April 22, 2012 at 9:56AM
    Great comment as usual Gail. I installed a ground source heat pump this year and with an EER of 27 and COP of 5 it really has saved some money on utility bills. Probably one of the only true green energy sources. One word of caution for anyone interested in purchasing the technology, those on a fixed retirement income who don’t normally owe any tax will not receive any of the 30% tax credit offered by the government.

    Jim

  126. Matthew R Marler says:
    April 22, 2012 at 9:41 am

    Even in California, most people include hydro-electric power among the renewable sources. It’s only the most active environmentalists who do not.

    Absolutely untrue, it’s a government regulation, not just a bad idea of the “most active environmentalists”. Only “small-scale hydro” is counted as renewable energy by the State Government. This restriction is written into the Renewable Portfolio Standard law that requires 30% renewables by 2020. There is a bill (AB1771) in the Assembly now to revise that, but it hasn’t come up for a vote. The new bill is described here:

    This bill would revise the definition of an eligible renewable energy resource for the purposes of the California renewables portfolio standard program to include a hydroelectric generation facility of any size, as specified, and make conforming changes

    DO YOUR HOMEWORK.

    w.

  127. Gail Combs and Allan MacRea have both left very excellent comments. Thank you both. It’s enjoyable to read common sense and fact-based logic.

    I favor passive solar for specific applications. You can heat or pre-heat water with these systems and homes built to take advantage of optimal siting can save a lot on energy expense. Geothermal is also a good option but is probably best suited for installation in new homes being built rather than retrofitting to existing structures. I can’t understand the love affair with PV solar (and I live in the Southwest @ 7,000 ft). If one were to calculate the hours of peak sunshine over the course of a year, this technology doesn’t look all that attractive. The liefespan of the typical PV panel is said to be about 20 years at which time they muct be replaced Then there is the question of disposing of them or reconditioning them. They must also be kept clean, clear of dust, grime and bird poop as this significantly diminishes their efficiency. There is also the need for inverters (lossy) and step-up transformers (also lossy). For commercial applications they take up a lot of real estate. In the pevious comments I read a recurring theme about the price coming down. Don’t count on it. Prices now are low because China over-produced and they’re dumping product. PV panels are not like home computers. It is unrealistic to expect them to become better, more efficient and less expensive as time goes by.

    Wind power is similarly impractical. They have to huge to even approach an acceptable output. They only function when the wind is blowing not too slow and not too fast. They are exorbitantly expensive and they are rather complex pieces of mechanical machinery that require regular maintenance (like oil changes). The “green job” worker who has to affect repair on these things has to climb up a 400 ft. ladder. Can you imagine the temperature inside one of those towers on a hot summer day? Aside from the obvious intermittent and diffuse nature of the electricity generated, there is the not insignificant expense in transmission infrastructure, the need for spinning back up, the noise, the damage to wildlife, etc.

    Biofuels are simply stupid – especially ethanol. I think we should end all subsidies and mandated use and see how these technologies fare in the free market. If a technology cannot survive without subsidies (or even worse) mandated use, it is not, by definition a viable technology.

  128. Matthew R Marler says:
    April 22, 2012 at 11:08 am

    That means that if we add a million kilowatts of renewable energy generation, we also have to add a million kilowatts of conventional generators.

    In the US and other developed nations, the backup power generators are already in place.

    No, they’re not. If the demand for electricity goes up by say a 1,000 megawatts, and you meet that increased demand with say solar, the backup is not in place. That’s why you had to add the solar, because your total generating capacity was short by 1,000 megawatts. And if the solar fails, you need conventional generators to supply that 1,000 megawatts, but they are not available, that’s why you installed the solar, duh … which means there are no backup generators in place.

    w.

  129. Willis Eschenbach says:
    April 22, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    “In other words, you want to take my money and use it to support a technology that’s not ready for the market.

    Why is it that folks like you always want to use my money for that? If it’s such a brilliant plan, how about you use your money to push it forwards, and take your grabby hands out of my wallet?

    Sheesh … always, you guys want me to pay for your pathetic green fantasies … when renewables make sense, the market will accept them.”

    w.
    ===============
    Someone had to say it, and very well said.

  130. E.M.Smith says: @ April 22, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    It is important to realize that many folks, when speaking of Thorium, talk of a “new path” via molten salt reactors and treat it as a New Tech (with all the attendant higher costs of a start up tech). Yet the reality is quite different.

    Thorium is quite usable in ALL our present nuclear reactors, if we so desired….
    _______________________________
    Oh Thank You, I was wondering about that.

    A couple of the articles I read seemed to indicate Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors (the “new” technology) could be used to “use up” nuclear waste.

    MOLTEN SALT REACTORS FOR BURNING DISMANTLED WEAPONS FUEL

    http://liquidfluoridethoriumreactor.glerner.com/2012-can-use-lftrs-to-consume-nuclear-waste/

  131. Enviromentalists [sic] want humans to stop interfering the “natural environment”. The greatest effect on the environment by man is caused by agriculture. Are there enviros who want to shut down farming?

  132. Willis Eschenbach: which means there are no backup generators in place.

    Perhaps I misunderstood. I thought that you meant generators to generate electricity when the sun wasn’t shining.

    Absolutely untrue, it’s a government regulation, not just a bad idea of the “most active environmentalists”.

    You might be right, but we have a lot of government regulations that are not supported by a majority of people. The laws are written to give authority to some agency to develop regulations, and among the regulations appear some that are truly unpopular and take a long time to reverse. Nationwide we see that with the EPA regulation of CO2 from smokestacks, and I think the same applies to decisions by the CA govt to classify large scale hydro as not renewable. Some of my reading at this site is to alert me to what to pay more attention to next time, and I’ll put that on my list.

    This bill would revise the definition of an eligible renewable energy resource for the purposes of the California renewables portfolio standard program to include a hydroelectric generation facility of any size, as specified, and make conforming changes

    Is the bill popular? If it is popular among the public, then its popularity supports my point. It is possible that it will be defeated by popularly elected representatives, even though it in particular is popular. We get a lot of that sort of contrariness in life, even in democracy and in republics.

    In other words, you want to take my money and use it to support a technology that’s not ready for the market.

    If you buy a drug that is under patent, that is exactly what you do; and you benefit from the laboratory science that some tax payers other than you financed. If you have flown in an aircraft built recently by Boeing, then you have paid a part of the development cost of an aircraft that you will never fly in; just as your predecessors contributed to the development of aircraft that you have flown in and that they did not. And you benefit from radar paid for out of taxes paid by people who never benefited at all. As you wrote it, that sentence is too superficial. Some of the things you use regularly were developed in private industry, some in government labs, and most in some sort of government/commercial combination. In ancient days, governments financed canals; then railroads and railroad stations; then aircraft and airline terminals; and then large hydropower projects. Now PV development. Then as now, some subsidized companies went bankrupt; now as then, some government projects pay off better than others.

    PV power increased 18% from 2010 to 2011, world wide. It increased at a higher rate than that in the US, but most new PV power was installed outside the US. At recent rates, PV power world wide will double in about 5 years. PV installed costs fell almost 60% in a little over a year. That exact rate of price decline will almost for sure not be maintained, but all the evidence supports the idea that prices willl continue to decline, and more and more places will find PV power to be price competitive against alternatives. PV power is cheaper now than a year ago when you and I had almost exactly this same discussion. And, as I wrote, there are about 24GW more installed PV power than there were then. If present trends continue, there will be about 29GW more installed by the time we talk about it again next year, and it will be about 20% cheaper.

  133. Gail Combs says @April 22, 2012 at 2:29 pm
    Canada’s CANDU (yes, awful pun) reactors need negligible modification to burn this fuel.

  134. Willis Eschenbach: when renewables make sense, the market will accept them.

    Some leniency in thought accompanies your word “accept”. The market “accepted” the internet, but development costs were paid for by the government. The market “accepted” the Boeing 707 and DC 8, but the development costs were mostly born by the government, for the aircraft and for the engines.

    As the PV panels make better and better sense for more and more people, we see the market accepting them more and more.

  135. Matthew R Marler says:
    April 22, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    Don’t buy what you just said. You couldn’t accomplish what you want with just PV panels. They will help out during the day but at night, when it is the coldest, they wouldn’t do a thing. Your grid tied electricity would be doing most of the work for heating. The same would hold true for A/C during the summer months. You might get more payback for that than heating..

  136. tinman says:
    April 22, 2012 at 12:06 am

    Check out the label of the box in the upper right of the graphic: “Rejected Energy”. That’s a strange euphemism for loss due due conversion and transmission. More than two-thirds of electricity generated is lost in transmission. …

    Damn.

    I keep seeing this repeated .. PROVE IT!

    .

  137. Dr. Dave says:
    April 22, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    Gail Combs and … have both left very excellent comments. Thank you both. It’s enjoyable to read common sense and fact-based logic.

    Just don’t press her on how the banking system was formed, or how ‘fractional reserve’ banking operates since you appreciate ‘common sense and fact-based logic'; the lucidity is more than likely temporary, but we can wish for more.

    .

  138. chemman: You couldn’t accomplish what you want with just PV panels. They will help out during the day but at night, when it is the coldest, they wouldn’t do a thing. Your grid tied electricity would be doing most of the work for heating. The same would hold true for A/C during the summer months. You might get more payback for that than heating..

    First, A/C is a lot more expensive than heating, and I do not have to do at night at all, as I have cool, windy nights. If the house is 78F or so at sundown, the interior will cool after midnight, even if the daytime high exceeded 100F. Second, I let my house cool to 52F at night in the winter, and warm it only to 62F in the daytime, and that can be done with sunlight and insulation, and little electricity from the grid at night. Third, A/C use is proportional to insolation, so the intermittency of sunshine is not a problem. Rarely I would need to use electricity at night after cloudy days in winter.

    But as I wrote, chemman, it depends where the person is living. This also works near Phoenix and Tuscon, and in Riverside, San Bernardino and Los Angeles. Sacramento and Bakersfield, as I understand it, do not as reliably have cool and windy nights as I do, and may need to draw more electricity at night for A/C. The calculations are much different in St. Louis, Mo, and Pittsburgh, PA.

  139. dp says:
    April 21, 2012 at 11:03 pm

    Washington State, a very wet place, does not consider hydro power to be a renewable. It is the kind of insanity in government that makes the rest of us crazy.

    Washington State isn’t that wet. Seattle gets less annual rainfall than Dallas. And East of the Cascades is a large amount of desert.

  140. The Useless Nitwits (UN) is the most corrupt group of people on this marble – this just proves it again.

  141. Matthew R Marler says:
    April 22, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    chemman: You couldn’t accomplish what you want with just PV panels. They will help out during the day but at night, when it is the coldest, they wouldn’t do a thing. Your grid tied electricity would be doing most of the work for heating. The same would hold true for A/C during the summer months. You might get more payback for that than heating..

    First, A/C is a lot more expensive than heating,

    Can you be more specific on how the ‘benchmarks’ were set for this conclusion?

    Are we talking ‘heat pumps’ with resistive auxiliary heating or straight ‘resistive heating’ for wintertime heating for instance?

    A quick eyeball for this last year shows my bill about equal for peak winter vs peak summer for a residence in the DFW (TX) area and I have straight ‘resistive’ heating (vs a ‘heat pump’).

    Total expense (summer vs winter) I would have to do some maths on the consumption figures month by month.

    .

  142. Matthew R Marler says:
    April 22, 2012 at 11:08 am
    (replying to an earlier statement)
    “That means that if we add a million kilowatts of renewable energy generation, we also have to add a million kilowatts of conventional generators.”

    In the US and other developed nations, the backup power generators are already in place. Adding renewables will extend their lifespan, without requiring new backup power.

    Dead wrong. Just as you are dead wrong to assume YOUR unique situation in California w/r to heating/cooling YOUR house is applicable to the rest of the country/rest of the world.

    I make a good bit of money each year re-welding cracks in commercial power plant turbines and exhausts that have occurred as “green energy” (windmills primarily) stop and start irregularly and unpredictably. The rapid heatup (and subsequent cooldown) as unplanned and uncontrollable electricity comes online and offline KILLS conventional energy turbines. Their metals and high-alloy exhaust cannot handle rapid the forced heatup on startup and rapid cooldown on shutdown as other sources shut on and off.

    Planned changes? The normal day-to-day up and down cycle of the power grid loads? Sure. Give their operators time to heat the 1 and 3 inch thick steel and Hastalloy and the units may last a long time. Give a nuke the time to respond – or even a conventional coal-powered unit the time – and they can last a long time. Steady state predictable runs of 10 to 20 years are easy. Shutdown every 2-3 years for maintenance. easy.

    But a “peaking unit”? Cracks through the steel and exhausts in 8 months. Because of YOUR utopia of socialist dreams.

    And YOUR dreams of the death of millions (billions ?) due to a lack of energy.

    What do really want? More power for everyone at affordable rates? Or more power to the CA state legislature?

  143. Matthew R Marler says:
    April 22, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    Willis Eschenbach:

    which means there are no backup generators in place

    .

    Perhaps I misunderstood. I thought that you meant generators to generate electricity when the sun wasn’t shining.

    Thanks, Matthew. That’s exactly what I meant. Suppose I have generation capacity to generate 1,000 megawatts. Then everyone buys air conditioners, so my daytime electricity demand doubles, to 2,000 megawatts. I put in solar panels to match to the daytime demand … and you claim that the backup generators are already in place.

    But if the sun doesn’t shine, I need 2,000 megawatts, and I only have generation capacity for 1,000 megawatts. So where are these generators that you say are already in place?

    w.

  144. Matthew R Marler says:
    April 22, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    … In other words, you want to take my money and use it to support a technology that’s not ready for the market.

    If you buy a drug that is under patent, that is exactly what you do; and you benefit from the laboratory science that some tax payers other than you financed. If you have flown in an aircraft built recently by Boeing, then you have paid a part of the development cost of an aircraft that you will never fly in; just as your predecessors contributed to the development of aircraft that you have flown in and that they did not. …

    Two things. First, with all of those examples, it’s my choice, I spend my money on what I think is a good idea. But you want to take my money by force, and use it for something that you think is a good idea. So your examples are not parallel to the current question at all, they are a totally different situation.

    Second, in your examples, all that happens is a delayed benefit. Money I pay to fly now also pays for future airplanes, and the market regulates that.

    But we’ve been waiting for your cockamamie solar and wind schemes to pay off in the future for thirty years now … and it’s been an unending sinkhole, PV and wind are still sucking up the subsidies at a rate of knots.

    So I fear your examples have nothing to do with the topic under discussion.

    w.

  145. Matthew R Marler says:
    April 22, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    … PV power increased 18% from 2010 to 2011, world wide.

    Cite?

    It increased at a higher rate than that in the US, but most new PV power was installed outside the US.

    Cite?

    At recent rates, PV power world wide will double in about 5 years.

    Cite?

    You have totally ignored the most important question … how much of this expansion was supported by the taxpayer? My guess is that you will never answer that question …

    Because if you subsidize anything, people will flock to it … but all that means is that you are PAYING PEOPLE TO SUPPORT YOUR PATHETIC UNWORKABLE GREEN FANTASIES. You can’t use that as evidence of anything other than that people will indeed do what you pay them to do.

    Me, I’m sick and tired of folks like you quoting “facts” like those as if they meant anything, and meanwhile spending my money to advance your Pollyanna schemes. When are you guys going to have the balls to stop the subsidies?

    w.

  146. Matthew R Marler says:
    April 22, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    Willis Eschenbach:

    when renewables make sense, the market will accept them.

    Some leniency in thought accompanies your word “accept”. The market “accepted” the internet, but development costs were paid for by the government. The market “accepted” the Boeing 707 and DC 8, but the development costs were mostly born by the government, for the aircraft and for the engines.

    As the PV panels make better and better sense for more and more people, we see the market accepting them more and more.

    Both of those got initial subsidies for a short time, and then went to market.

    After thirty years of subsidies, PV is still not ready for the market.

    When is the little light bulb over your head going to light up? When are you going to wake up? Surely thirty years of subsidies would be sufficient if it were actually going to work …

    w.

  147. fight it on moral grounds, willis. it’s wrong and that’s all there is to that.
    they are morlocks. they’ll tell you anyting to get you to lunch. if you negotiate with them you only delay the dining hour – and they’ll be snacking while you’re wisecracking. debate means you get eaten later. there’s only one relationship an eloi can have with a morlock. social intercourse is not the description of it.

  148. Willis writes “I say again, DO YOUR HOMEWORK. You are spouting nonsense, it doesn’t do your reputation any good.”

    I have done my homework. I refer to

    http://www.triplepundit.com/2012/03/poets-project-liberty-corn-ethanol-plant-ready-closeup/

    Quote “Last September DOE awarded a loan guarantee of $105 million for Project Liberty but even if the Republican candidates felt like making an issue out of the loan, it is now a moot point.
    On January 23 POET announced that it will decline the new DOE funding, since it has found an alternative source of financing in the form of a joint venture with Royal DSM, the Dutch materials sciences giant.”

    Note, this is dated 14 March 2012. The quotes you made are, I suspect, all out of date since POET teamed up with DSM, which has very deep. pockets indeed.

    I am perfectly prepared to wait until the end of 2014 to see if this project is commercially successful. Would you care for a wager as to whether POET/DSM produces cellulose ethanol at a profit in 2014?

    As to you comment that all the corn stover needs to be returned to the soil, I dont believe that this is true. However, my knowledge is by no means complete. Only a small fraction of the corn stover is used to produce cellulose ethanol. The rest is returned to the soil. IIRC, POET only intends to use the corn hobs that are not used in producing food ethanol. And I dont think that these get returned to the soli now. On this latter point, my knowledge is by no means complete, but my impression is that the farmers who supply POET are more than satisfied with the arrangement which has been worked out. Do you know for certain that the farmers who supply POET are dissatisfied with the arrangement, because not enough corn stover is being returned to the soli? If so, I would be grateful for a reference.

  149. Jeff Alberts says:
    April 22, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    dp says:
    April 21, 2012 at 11:03 pm

    Washington State, a very wet place, does not consider hydro power to be a renewable. It is the kind of insanity in government that makes the rest of us crazy.

    Washington State isn’t that wet. Seattle gets less annual rainfall than Dallas. And East of the Cascades is a large amount of desert.

    Say what? Washington has some of the rainiest areas in the US, and they are located in mountains in the west half of the state. If you are looking for a place to put in hydropower, if you choose Texas over Washington you’re gonna lose big.

    w.

  150. Willis Eschenbach: First, with all of those examples, it’s my choice, … . So your examples are not parallel to the current question at all, they are a totally different situation.

    Really? Drug research? Radar Research? Computer Research? ARPANET? Nuclear power? MASER and LASER research? Cyclotrons and synchrotrons? Medical isotopes? CAT-scans and MRI? Voice recognition systems? Carbon nanotubes and advanced ceramics? Atomic force microscopes? You volunteered your money for all of those?

    Second, in your examples, all that happens is a delayed benefit. Money I pay to fly now also pays for future airplanes, and the market regulates that.

    PV power research will pay for itself in less time than jet engines ever did. The rate of investment over the last 30 years was very slight compared to the rate of current deployment of 24 GW generating capacity per year. The money that you pay now for flight does not cover the cost of the air traffic control system, and every airport at which you land and take off is government subsidized. OK, maybe not “every” — here and there is a little privately owned airfield, but all the hubs and the other major metropolitan airports are tax subsidized. As are the roads you drive on: only the main highways are paid for out of the gasoline tax.

    A question: you noted that the California government does not recognize large scale hydro-electric power as “renewable”. Do you support tax-paid large scale hydro-electric power and tax- paid large scale irrigation projects? The costs of building the California water project, the Intra-Coastal Waterway, the Hoover Dam and Grand Coulee Dam were never “paid off” — is your overall evaluation that those were mistakes? Some people do regard them as mistakes, and I was wondering whether you do. Same with TVA and the Panama Canal (indeed, the Panama Canal was subsidized the entire time that the US ran it — fees never covered the operating costs.) To me, development of PV power is in that class of investment that “pays off” but whose direct costs are never literally “paid off” by users paying back the costs to the government or investors.

    But we’ve been waiting for your cockamamie solar and wind schemes to pay off in the future for thirty years now … and it’s been an unending sinkhole, PV and wind are still sucking up the subsidies at a rate of knots.

    This argument seems to be that because they have not yet been commercially viable they won’t ever be. In general, that is not a universally applicable principle. Sometimes investments pay off, and sometimes they do not. Looking at PV panels globally over the last 2 years, the case that investment in PV panels will never pay off is very poor.

  151. Here is a source for some growth rates: http://cleantechnica.com/2012/04/13/distributed-solar-pv-to-increase-18-p-a-to-2015-growing-pains-notwithstanding/

    This source is a “booster” site, but the original is Pike research. that’s for “distributed” solar, which excludes things like the 600 MW plant that I linked to earlier.

    Here is a source for the US only: http://cleantechnica.com/2012/03/15/us-solar-facts-charts/

    You can also follow the hot links.

    The government subsidies are not always easy to find out. They seem to be between 0% and 30% of installed costs. Some are credits rather than subsidies: to some people that difference matters, to others not so much. Some subsidies are for production, and others are for purchase: again, some people stress the differences, and others stress the similarities. Here is an example for which I have not been able to find the size of the subsidy, if any. http://www.postandcourier.com/article/20111203/PC04/312039926.
    That included the news that American Airlines filed for bankruptcy. Irrelevant, except that it compares to the smaller bankruptcy of Solyndra (a huge mistake of the Obama administration, but not as big a deal as the American Airlines bankruptcy.)

    I seem to have lost my references for the claims of 24GW installed in 2011 and 17MW installed in 2010. So until I find them again, maybe they were not close to accurate. We’ll come back to this topic again next year.

  152. Here is a claim that 27.7 GW (peak) solar power was installed in 2011, 2/3 of that in Europe. and a claim that the costs have fallen from 6million euros/MW in 2008 to 2million euros/MW in 2011. They report as well that the cost in India is 1.3million euros/MW.

    Willis Eschenbach: After thirty years of subsidies, PV is still not ready for the market.

    For air travel, the subsidies have been in place for 100 years, and much larger total amounts of money. Travel generally: I doubt that you can buy a product for which the transportation costs have not been subsidized (did you buy a tomato that was carried for a time on a tax-supported local road?) This does not make subsidies justifiable, but the subsidies for solar are small in comparison to the other subsidies, and in comparison to the potential benefits, some of which are being realized now.

  153. Ah, nuts! Here is the link:

    http://www.solardaily.com/reports/Intersolar_Europe_2012_Spotlights_Large_Scale_Photovoltaics_999.html

    Here is a brief note on solar power in India: http://cleantechnica.com/2012/01/03/india-solar-market-could-hit-33-4-gw-by-2022/

    It includes a link to the claim that solar is cost-competitive with electricity from diesel generators. Note that, in much of rural India, fossil fuels are more intermittent than sunshine, due to lots of factors, including a poor distribution network and labor problems in the coal mines.

  154. Interesting conversation here. The Git went and looked at the electrickery bills that Mrs Git pays and was astounded. Our annual costs have more than doubled over the last 10 years even though our consumption has declined! So, the Git went and looked at one of the websites that allows calculation of cost of PV versus savings and was even more astounded: almost 50% assuming the array lasts 10 years (the length of warranty).

    So, the Git asks, if everyone purchased a PV array for this level of cost saving, where does the profit to maintain the system come from? Mainland purchasers don’t just earn credits for excess generation, but actually get paid for it. So who’s paying these people? Surely not the business selling electricity. It can only be people who are too poor to afford a PV array.

    Saving a thousand bucks a year is significant when you are retired and not terribly wealthy. On the other hand, the Git finds the idea of being part of a system screwing the poor morally repugnant. And he wonders how long such a screwed-up system can endure.

  155. Willis: “Setting that aside, you are right that increases in efficiency are easier to achieve than new energy sources.”

    Wrong. Increases in energy efficiency increase the demand for new energy sources. Increases in efficiency mean that we can do more, produce more, move more. Any increase in efficiency has always been accompanied by a strong growth in total energy demand.

    Energy efficiency is a very good thing to do because it drives up productivity. It NEVER reduces total consumption. The only way to reduce absolute energy consumption is to INCREASE energy inefficiency. We know what that looks like. It’s a pre-industrial economy and technology.

    The main point here however is the question of rejected heat. There is virtually nothing that can be done about this. At some point, heat becomes too low grade to be useful and hence is rejected as incapable of doing useful work. However, there can be things done to reduce just how much has to be rejected. For example, in electricity generation, all thermal generation is done by boiling water. Thus a third of the energy is lost just in the boiling and condensing of water.

    The secret to a large part of this is if a better means can be discovered of extracting electricity from atomic fission without going through a thermal cycle. This would be a development of vastly greater importance than anything conceivable in renewable technologies.

    With fossil fuels, there’s no real choice. The only useful way to harness fossil fuels is by combustion. But with nuclear, there are distinct possibilities of direct production from fission.

    Like it or not, given the inevitable failure of fossil fuels to meet future energy demand for reasons of energy density, the future will be nuclear. It’s the only fuel that exists in sufficient quantity to replace fossil fuel kWh given the available supply and technologies to manufacture fissile material.

    Robert Marler, we’ve been over these silly arguments about solar many times before. Solar is not economic now and never will be. It’s limited by the solar output of the sun. At 300 W/sq/m, only 13 per cent of which can be converted into electrons, it’s effectively useless. It also fails massively the energy density requirement.

  156. Matthew R Marler says:

    This argument seems to be that because they have not yet been commercially viable they won’t ever be. In general, that is not a universally applicable principle. Sometimes investments pay off, and sometimes they do not. Looking at PV panels globally over the last 2 years, the case that investment in PV panels will never pay off is very poor.

    Something that was not commercially viable for 30 years will not magically become one in the next 2 years. Add to that requirements for watt-for-watt match by backup power, and it does not seems like PV or wind will ever be profitable.

    As far as your other examples – none of them are applicable her. Some of subsidies are needed for strategic reasons. Radar research and internet are offshoots of military research. There are no good alternative to air transportation, and it is absolutely needed in modern society. Same goes for roads and railroads. Original sort term investment notwithstanding, many of them could be made profitable without government “help”.
    Drug research should not be subsidized by government, and so is the score of other examples you had mentioned. The fact that it is doesn’t prove your point, it underscore the necessity of getting government out of the business of deciding who will win and who will loose in business world.

    There are number of alternatives to PV and wind, all of them could be profitable without any government subsidies (nuclear and hydro, for starters) and spending our tax money on clearly unworkable “alternative” energy sources like PV is simply wrong.

  157. Matthew R. Marler,

    It is a very common misconception that a great deal of drug research is funded by the federal government. An article in JAMA suggested that as much as 30% is funded by monies confiscated from the taxpayer. However, it is important to keep in mind that JAMA is the Huffinton Post of medical literature. To get a number as high as 30% thay have to count all the nonsense generated by the CDC, the NIH and the EPA as “drug research”. The NIH does indeed conduct some drug research but it pales in comparison to the private sector where MOST drugs are developed. They also count basic research at the university level as “drug research.” For instance, if a university research center identifies and characterizes a specific receptor they publish their work. A private drug company may come along and then undertake the long, tedious and expensive process of testing compounds for activity on that receptor and eventually develop a drug to bring to market. Check out the story of the angiotensin receptor antagonists. Merck developed the first one without any government funding.

    The other examples you cite are predominately feats of engineering. With PV panels you run into a wall known as physics. More to the point Willis was making. AIDS/HIV activists have been screaming for a “cure” for the last 30 years. Untold billions have been spent on research. We still have to “cure.” We have antiretroviral agents that can attenuate the disease and perhaps prevent the progression of HIV infection into full blown AIDS. We might even be close to an effective vaccine. But there is no “cure” despite the fortune spent on research. This should come as no surprise. We have NEVER “cured” a viral infection. We can prevent them with vaccines (e.g. influenza), we can develop drugs which attenuate the severity of symptoms and shorten the duration of the disease, but we can’t “cure” a viral infection. Medical science has been working on this for a hundred years. Maybe it will be possible someday…but I seriously doubt it will be any time soon.

    Politicians cannot legislate magical new technology into being. You can’t just dump billions and billions of dollars of R&D money into solving an intractable problem in physics, chemistry or biology and expect results. Batteries are a good example. Again, researchers run into the physical limitations of physics and chemistry. Both wind power and PV are very old technologies and we’ve been playing with (and subsidizing) them for 30 years and stubbornly remain inadequate and largely ineffective to meet our demands. I seriously doubt there is much more than can be done with wind power. Solar power might prove promising in the future, but let the private sector fund it and stop wasting the taxpayers’ money chasing after what is currently impossible.

  158. I think some perspective is needed here. You do not replace something that works well with something inferior. For instance, a round wheel works well on a car. Replacing it with a square wheel is rather retarded.

    For modern power grids, adding wind and solar power sources is just like doing that very thing.

    Solar and wind are both inferior sources of power since they are both intermittent and can not be counted on when power is needed. This is in direct contrast to other sources of power. Look at history and how wind turbines were phased out in the 1930’s and 1940’s as the modern power grid expanded in the US. They were inferior because a modern power grid using fossil fuels was far superior to wind turbines with a battery system. Wind turbines with batteries were also vastly more expensive. Just like today you might recognize…and also notice that the cheaper and superior source of power won. Who would have thought?

    Well I can tell you that there may be applications for solar and wind power in the future, but not in conjection with a modern power grid. If you find a power grid that is isolated for instance and has constant wind, perhaps a wind system might make sense (IE Antarctica with specially made turbines.) Or perhaps solar with batteries for a miltary camp that needs to have power for an indefinite time and can not carry that much fuel.

    There are applications for this technology, but not connected to a modern power grid, that is just plain stupid to even suggest it.

    If you are worried about CO2, might I suggest hydro or nuclear power?

    IF you are worried about sustainability, well you are just being plain weird and I can enlighten you on why this is just plain stupid if you want.

    I fully support research and development for alternative energy because you never lose by putting money into pure R&D, but subsidies for inferior sources of power is not something I support. As Willis + others have noted, we have subisidized solar and wind for over 30 years since the late 70’s when Carter started this nonsense in the US. What has this gotten us?

    30 years of subsidies and people like this still telling us that the technology is new when we have used wind power for over 80 years and solar for almost 40 years. Please, lie to someone else.

  159. Energy efficiency is a very good thing to do because it drives up productivity. It NEVER reduces total consumption. The only way to reduce absolute energy consumption is to INCREASE energy inefficiency. We know what that looks like. It’s a pre-industrial economy and technology.

    You are confusing output consumption (by consumers) with input consumption (by the manufacturing process).

    Otherwise, all so called subsidies related to military technologies are irrelevant to the discussion. Those subsidies are to aid national defence. The fact they may flow into things like commercial aircraft and reduce their cost is an incidental consequence. This is not their purpose.

    I agree with Willis that solar power fed into the grid makes no economic sense, nor will it in the foreseeable future. In practice it is a tax on the poor especially, who spend proportionately more on energy than the better off.

  160. Gail Combs says:
    April 22, 2012 at 8:02 am
    Actually it is Son of a Syphillitic Camel per Grandad.

    “Your mother was a donkey, your father was a camel, and you are their ugliest child.” An old Iraqi insult, I was told (by an old Iraqi, of course)…

  161. benfrommo says:
    April 22, 2012 at 10:12 pm
    30 years of subsidies and people like this still telling us that the technology is new when we have used wind power for over 80 years and solar for almost 40 years. Please, lie to someone else.

    And we subsidized biofuels — specifically ethanol — for 30 years in an effort to make it cost-effective and figure out ways to keep it from rotting the gaskets in our engines. So far, the closest they’ve come to a solution for either problem is to use more-expensive gaskets…

  162. Robert of Ottawa says:
    April 22, 2012 at 3:00 pm
    Enviromentalists [sic] want humans to stop interfering the “natural environment”. The greatest effect on the environment by man is caused by agriculture. Are there enviros who want to shut down farming?

    I know one who insists “Big Agro” needs to be broken up and the land distributed to hippies who will then be inspired to farm organically. But then, she also thinks that Ghandi is still alive…

  163. You can talk Willis if you don’t live in the EU. If you were here you would be enforced to take part in this eco-nonsense.

  164. Phil Bradley, it’s you who seems confused. Willis’s original comment referred to output consumption and that efficiency could reduce the absolute need for new power sources. Such a statement is simply wrong.

    The rest of your comment I agree with entirely.

  165. It includes a link to the claim that solar is cost-competitive with electricity from diesel generators. Note that, in much of rural India, fossil fuels are more intermittent than sunshine, due to lots of factors, including a poor distribution network and labor problems in the coal mines.

    One of the nice but unintended consequences of the massive subsidies in the developed world is that solar has become affordable for off-grid power in places like India. No one is arguing solar doesn’t have a role off-grid. It has had for quite a while. Here in Western Australia, microwave relay stations in remote areas have been solar powered for at least 20 years. Although with the consequence that after 4 or 5 cloudy days the phone services drops out.

    In your comment you seem to be implying coal powered generators are used at the village level in India, which is nonsense.

  166. Willis, Last night I replied in haste before I went to bed. I now suggest it is you who needs to do the homework. The $105 million was negotiated in Nov 2011, and cancelled early in 2012. The other grants amount to, I estimate, around $20 million. Will this money be waste?.

    Poet/DSM are putting up, with private money of around $250 million, a first production plant for cellulose ethanol. This is at the same place as an existing POET food ethanol plant. It is expected to produce 25 million gallons of ethanol per year. IF, and I agree it is a big IF, successful, POET/DSM plan to build a further 26 plants at all other POET locations. I estimate the total capital to be around $5 billion, with a production of around 700 million gallons of ethanol per year. Again a big if, but if this is successful, the forecast is that by 2020, about $100 billion will be spent on capital, producing 16 billion gallons of ethanol per year, worth around $125 million per day. With oil around $100 per barrel, this must be the equivalent of around 1 million barrels per day; oil the US will not need to import from places like Canada.

    When you look at these numbers, and assuming they turn out to be correct, are you really suggesting that $20 million in seed money was wasted? If so, I suggest you take another look.

  167. When the UN move their headquarters to Bourke western NSW Australia, & conduct all their business by video conferencing, I will listen to their call for me to reduce my life style. Meanwhile they can go jump, & no that was not high enough.

  168. Here is a reasonable source for energy news:http://www.energy-daily.com/

    Philip Bradley: No one is arguing solar doesn’t have a role off-grid.

    I think that if you read the comments, you will find claims that solar has no role anywhere at the present time.

    Philip Bradley: I agree with Willis that solar power fed into the grid makes no economic sense, nor will it in the foreseeable future.

    My calculations show that roof-mounted solar power fed into the grid makes economic sense now for some purposes in some locations. But you have to do the calculations separately for each purpose and each location. I mentioned roof-mounted PV for A/C. As more and more utilities begin to bill for electricity usage according to time of day of the usage, roof-mounted PV panels will become commercially viable for more people who choose to use electricity during the daytime.

    Dr. Dave: It is a very common misconception that a great deal of drug research is funded by the federal government. An article in JAMA suggested that as much as 30% is funded by monies confiscated from the taxpayer.

    Probably more than 30% of primary research into mechanisms of biological processes is federally funded. Much less than 30% of total pharmaceutical research is federally funded. All the pharmaceutical companies depend heavily on federally funded research for their lead compounds.

    Dr Dave: Both wind power and PV are very old technologies

    Sun and wind are old, but the technologies of today are new and improving annually.

    Udar and others with similar comments: Something that was not commercially viable for 30 years will not magically become one in the next 2 years.

    I hate to repeat myself too often but: (1) magic is not involved; (2) solar is commercially viable in some niches now; (3) I will not accept that as a general principle until everyone here objects as strenuously to the continuous longstanding government subsidies of roads and airline terminals; (4) with the commercial viability of solar expanding, “the next 2 years” is not the appropriate time frame.

    Lastly, everyone acknowledges that wind and solar are intermittent. In most parts of the world (including Western Europe), so are fossil fuels intermittent, especially gas. In the us, sufficiently cold weather results in power outages each year, though not in every place every year. Furthermore, the price of fossil fuels can be expected to fluctuate more in future than the price of the solar and wind technologies: price fluctuations increase the “intermittency” of fossil fuels in the place where the people can not keep up with the prices; over the long term, fossil fuel prices will almost certainly rise (as they have been rising), whereas the renewable alternatives’ prices will almost certainly decline (as they have been declining.)

    We’ll pick this up again next year. I expect that at least 30GW of new solar facilities will be installed in 2012, and the net reduction in price per kwh will decrease by at least 20%. And California, home state to Willis Eschenbach and me, will continue to do things badly, a point pretty irrelevant to the overall discussion, but prominent in our thoughts.

  169. “Fuel poverty … it causes old folks to shiver in the winter because they can’t afford to heat their houses.”

    They only shiver for a little while. And then they stop.

  170. Just for fun, the Git took a close look at what going solar means in the local context. We consumed some 6,288 kWHr of electrickery over 364 days in 2011. Due to our benign climate, it varies by only 10% between quarters. The main consumers of electrickery are the fridge, freezer, computers, workshop tools and lights. This amount of energy cost us near enough to $2,000 one third of that being a fixed supply charge.

    The cost of a 3.2kW system including installation is less than $8,000 and the supplier claims that this will reduce our cost by slightly more than $1,000 per annum at current electrickery prices. IOW the system will pay for itself in less than 7.5 years even if prices do not rise. The anticipated lifespan of the inverter is 15 yrs and the panels is 20 yrs.

    Let’s say the panels and inverter both need replacing at 15 yrs, then the return on the $8,000 capital investment will be ~$7,500 assuming unchanged energy cost. Given it is the government’s stated intention to increase energy costs, this seems to be a most excellent investment. It’s certainly much more favourable than the same exercise conducted four or five years ago.

    Note that the criteria for selecting this system were based on quality of product and service ahead of price and as short a time as possible to break even.

  171. NoAstronomer said @ April 23, 2012 at 8:22 am

    “Fuel poverty … it causes old folks to shiver in the winter because they can’t afford to heat their houses.”

    They only shiver for a little while. And then they stop.

    The Git remembers this from the UK in the 60s.

  172. Hmm, not so sure Willis. Most of the fuel is consumed by only 1/7th of the global population. Don’t we want the other 6/7th’s of the global population to share in our well-being? If so then I fear digging energy out of the ground may not be a long-term solution for us all.

  173. Gentlemen,

    You have no perspective. When there seemed there would be an interregnum or period between inexaustible clean energy and todays methods based on fossil fuels, experiments of alls sorts with abandoned methods were resurrected and tried, like intermittent wind and solar. But is it clear why they were abandoned before, and nothing done since has measurably improved the situation and prospects for these technologies.

    The day of inexhaustible clean energy is getting closer. The last combined Fusion scientific experiment and first engineering exercise, to build a prototypical Fusion power plant is more than half finished, in Cadarache. Even so ITERitself is saying that we can begin to design ITER’s succesor in 2017. ITER won’t add power to the grid as it is still experiemental, but it could, and if it did, it would equal all the net power produced by wind and solar, actually available today,but with a similar poor availability.

    Meanwhile passive fission is now finally acceptable as an interim solution. The Nuclear Renaisssance is now happening everywhere, including the US. The advanced and walk-away passive LWRs, as redesigned, are now what they should have ben 30 years ago, but unfortunately were not. They can safely be used for the several decades to safely transition to the ultimate Fusion based energy economy.

    Even as others have been seduced to stupidly propose thorium pie-in-the-sky or other possible fission answers, that can’t possibly be certified for construction for use before their Fusion replacements are available in 2030 or so. If such were actually available to build by then, no one wouldactually purchase them.

    At the same time the dawdling Peak Oil scribblings by a fellow who was a really discussing a lack of availbility of sour reffinery capacity, and the shrinkage of sweet crude, was allowed to seem a lack of all fossil, sweet or sour, and used to scare the bejesus out of everyone The supposedly impossible sour refinery capacity problems, were solved 5 years ago. The refinery capacity to handle the sour crudes available has been met, so Peak Oil Refinery Capacity has disappeared as a problem.

    New fossil sources are opening up that will provide the use of fossil for Millenia, and longer when used for its true purposes for phaemeceutical, feedstocks, and polymers. We need but a decade or two to have the ultimate replacement for it use as a energy source for other than air and spacecraft.

    Pleasantly we have discovered that were it needed, western civilization could survive with out fossil resources for Ground Transport, the one so-called impossible to replace need, with only a little more tinkering and improvemnt of PHEVs. So the ground transport substitute has been found.

  174. Stas Peterson says:
    April 23, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    2030 may be unduly pessimistic. Have a look at LPPhysics.com . Its project is on track to begin providing plans and licenses to all comers by about 2017 for manufacture of very small 5MW generators, waste- and radiation-free. Direct current output, no steam turbine required. All at about 1/10 the cost of coal generation.

  175. Stas Peterson: Meanwhile passive fission is now finally acceptable as an interim solution. The Nuclear Renaisssance is now happening everywhere, including the US. The advanced and walk-away passive LWRs, as redesigned, are now what they should have ben 30 years ago, but unfortunately were not. They can safely be used for the several decades to safely transition to the ultimate Fusion based energy economy.

    And there are combined fusion-fission plants under construction.

    The Pompous Git: Just for fun, the Git took a close look at what going solar means in the local context. … It’s certainly much more favourable than the same exercise conducted four or five years ago.

    I hope that you have saved your calculations for next year’s discussion.

  176. Matthew R Marler said @ April 24, 2012 at 9:26 am

    The Pompous Git: Just for fun, the Git took a close look at what going solar means in the local context. … It’s certainly much more favourable than the same exercise conducted four or five years ago.

    I hope that you have saved your calculations for next year’s discussion.

    I knocked up a spreadsheet to compare quotes on different systems including the result of investing the money at the bank. The ROI on investing in solar appears to be similar to purchasing rental property, and well ahead of bank interest. Capital gains are not taxed here though the Greens want it introduced. Of course purchasing a rental property requires an investment an order of magnitude greater than a grid feed PV system. Investing at the bank is always a loser since after tax, the interest is less than inflation.

    What will be interesting is looking at the statistics garnered from the system the Git purchases thanks to the wonders of bluetooth. The sums change at 30 June this year when the government subsidy decreases and again at 30 June 2013 when it ceases.

  177. The Pompous Git said @ April 24, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    that he intended to purchase a solar PV system based on estimates provided by a vendor of such things. Before he spends his money, the Git tends to obtain independent advice. In this instance, the vendor appears to be claiming the PV array will generate 138% of its capability assuming zero cloud cover. Applying a realistic estimate to energy generated implies a time to payback of ~18 years, only two years short of the warranted lifespan of the panels. Sadly, it’s a bust.

  178. The Pompous Git says:
    April 25, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    … In this instance, the vendor appears to be claiming the PV array will generate 138% of its capability assuming zero cloud cover. Applying a realistic estimate to energy generated implies a time to payback of ~18 years, only two years short of the warranted lifespan of the panels. Sadly, it’s a bust.

    I’m shocked and surprised …

    w.

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