A LOL ! press release on renewable energy from wishful thinkers at the University of Delaware

UD_logo[1]From the University of Delaware a press release that made me laugh out loud when I read it for the sheer disconnect with reality. The bold in first sentence about the 99.9% is mine. See why I think their press release is ridiculous following the PR (besides the fact that is is just another model made from unicorns and rainbows).

Wind, solar power paired with storage could be cost-effective way to power grid

Article by Teresa Messmore  Dec. 10, 2012–Renewable energy could fully power a large electric grid 99.9 percent of the time by 2030 at costs comparable to today’s electricity expenses, according to new research by the University of Delaware and Delaware Technical Community College.

A well-designed combination of wind power, solar power and storage in batteries and fuel cells would nearly always exceed electricity demands while keeping costs low, the scientists found.

“These results break the conventional wisdom that renewable energy is too unreliable and expensive,” said co-author Willett Kempton, professor in the School of Marine Science and Policy in UD’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment. “The key is to get the right combination of electricity sources and storage — which we did by an exhaustive search — and to calculate costs correctly.”

The authors developed a computer model to consider 28 billion combinations of renewable energy sources and storage mechanisms, each tested over four years of historical hourly weather data and electricity demands. The model incorporated data from within a large regional grid called PJM Interconnection, which includes 13 states from New Jersey to Illinois and represents one-fifth of the United States’ total electric grid.

Unlike other studies, the model focused on minimizing costs instead of the traditional approach of matching generation to electricity use. The researchers found that generating more electricity than needed during average hours — in order to meet needs on high-demand but low-wind power hours — would be cheaper than storing excess power for later high demand.

Storage is relatively costly because the storage medium, batteries or hydrogen tanks, must be larger for each additional hour stored.

One of several new findings is that a very large electric system can be run almost entirely on renewable energy.

“For example, using hydrogen for storage, we can run an electric system that today would meeting a need of 72 GW, 99.9 percent of the time, using 17 GW of solar, 68 GW of offshore wind, and 115 GW of inland wind,” said co-author Cory Budischak, instructor in the Energy Management Department at Delaware Technical Community College and former UD student.

A GW (“gigawatt”) is a measure of electricity generation capability. One GW is the capacity of 200 large wind turbines or of 250,000 rooftop solar systems. Renewable electricity generators must have higher GW capacity than traditional generators, since wind and solar do not generate at maximum all the time.

The study sheds light on what an electric system might look like with heavy reliance on renewable energy sources. Wind speeds and sun exposure vary with weather and seasons, requiring ways to improve reliability. In this study, reliability was achieved by: expanding the geographic area of renewable generation, using diverse sources, employing storage systems, and for the last few percent of the time, burning fossil fuels as a backup.

During the hours when there was not enough renewable electricity to meet power needs, the model drew from storage and, on the rare hours with neither renewable electricity or stored power, then fossil fuel. When there was more renewable energy generated than needed, the model would first fill storage, use the remaining to replace natural gas for heating homes and businesses and only after those, let the excess go to waste.

The study used estimates of technology costs in 2030 without government subsidies, comparing them to costs of fossil fuel generation in wide use today. The cost of fossil fuels includes both the fuel cost itself and the documented external costs such as human health effects caused by power plant air pollution. The projected capital costs for wind and solar in 2030 are about half of today’s wind and solar costs, whereas maintenance costs are projected to be approximately the same.

“Aiming for 90 percent or more renewable energy in 2030, in order to achieve climate change targets of 80 to 90 percent reduction of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide from the power sector, leads to economic savings,” the authors observe.

The research was published online last month in the Journal of Power Sources.

=============================================================

So they say all this can happen by 2030.  Riiiiight.

Exhibit 1:

CHART OF THE DAY: The Epic Implosion Of The Green Energy Bubble

Renixx_greentech_Capture

Exhibit 2: Renewables have a long way to go:

640px-Total_World_Energy_Consumption_by_Source_2010[1]

Source: Total world energy consumption by source 2010, from REN21 Renewables 2012 Global Status Report.

Exhibit 3: Other credible sources figure only an 8% growth over current levels by 2030.

World-Electricity-Generatio[1]

Source: Sustainable Energy Review, Oct, 2012.

Exhibit 4:

wind-turbine[1]

During the study period, wind generation was:

* below 20% of capacity more than half the time;

* below 10% of capacity over one third of the time;

* below 2.5% capacity for the equivalent of one day in twelve;

* below 1.25% capacity for the equivalent of just under one day a month.

Source: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/04/06/whoa-windfarms-in-uk-operate-well-below-advertised-efficiency/

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197 Responses to A LOL ! press release on renewable energy from wishful thinkers at the University of Delaware

  1. Mario Lento says:

    I could not find Renixx on yahoo finance, but all solar and green companies follow the same trend. Here’s a link of the trend from the peak of about 5 years ago through now… compared to the Dow Jones. http://finance.yahoo.com/echarts?s=ASTI+Interactive#symbol=asti;range=5y;compare=%5Eixic;indicator=volume;charttype=area;crosshair=on;ohlcvalues=0;logscale=off;source=undefined;

  2. RobW says:

    BRIDGE FOR SALE, BRIDGE FOR SALE…

  3. Chris B says:

    There won’t be many birds left with 40,000 wind turbines making mincemeat out of them, not to mention the effect of the peculiar sounds waves they generate on those pesky humans that tend to inhabit areas that require electricity.

  4. A.D. Everard says:

    Well… er… they said it would be cheaper… er… Right? And… um… maybe if they say it again – convincingly, like – it, um, might be… true…???

    They really must think we’re dumb. Clearly they are not paying attention to facts and figures, and clearly they hope we’re not, either! They think we can all be hoodwinked again – and again and again, etc., etc. Sounds like they are trying to back their promises that “renewables” would be cheaper by saying, “Ah, but they WILL be cheaper.” Followed by a “Trust us,” and the never ending, “Send us more money or it’s your fault it won’t work.”

    By the way, I liked the picture of the exploding windmill. Can we have some more of those, please? I’d really love to lay my hands on a bazooka.

    :)

  5. Mike Borgelt says:

    Did they take into account conversion and storgae inefficiencies, one wonders?
    Another fine example of how universities are sheltered workshops for the mentally disabled.

  6. DickF says:

    Love that delicious, pure Kool-Aid. Drink up!

  7. crosspatch says:

    Other credible sources figure only an 8% growth over current levels by 2030.

    Uhm, growth from 20% of 22,100 Twh to 28% of 37,100 Twh is 135% grown in Twh, not 8%. While it is an increase of 8% share, it is an increase of 135% in power output.

  8. George says:

    LOL is right. 99.9… 24*7*52 = 8736 * .001 = 8.736. Almost 9 hours a year without power is acceptable, right? Assuming their made up 99.9% is correct. Based on the wind capacity alone, looks like 1 “9″ might be a challenge.

  9. Doug Badgero says:

    The “EASTERN WIND INTEGRATION AND TRANSMISSION STUDY: Executive Summary and Project Overview” is available here: “http://www.uwig.org/ewits_executive_summary.pdf”

    The cost is actually about 40 billion ANNUALLY for 30% wind power penetration just in the eastern interconnect. Note that this is above the reference case that assumes about 6% wind penetration. 20% penetration via the least cost method is about 15 billion annually above the reference case. The effect is highly non-linear and it would be much more to increase renewable penetration above 30%. This effect can be seen in the report. These people are technically illiterate fools.

  10. Jean Parisot says:

    How does a community college justify a PR staff?

  11. bubbagyro says:

    I believe this report wholeheartedly! Every well-designed system will eventually be efficient and cost effective. Otherwise, it would not be well designed!

  12. mbw says:

    A person with no training in energy production – who has not even read the actual study – thinks it sounds funny. He then posts some irrelevant but colorful charts. What should we conclude from this?

  13. Dave N says:

    I stopped reading once I reached “computer model”. How about they build one first that proves the concept, before becoming too excited. Meanwhile, back in reality..

  14. tobyglyn says:

    “The cost of fossil fuels includes both the fuel cost itself and the documented external costs such as human health effects caused by power plant air pollution.”

    Astonishing!

  15. Brian R says:

    “Could be”
    As as Wayne once said, “and monkeys might fly out of my butt”.

  16. John M says:

    “The cost of fossil fuels includes both the fuel cost itself and the documented external costs such as human health effects caused by power plant air pollution.”

    And as a life-long fan of the Detroit Lions, I can assure you they could beat the Green Bay Packers, as long as the Packers were properly forced to play with bricks in their pants.

  17. Niff says:

    The study used estimates of technology costs in 2030 without government subsidies, comparing them to costs of fossil fuel generation in wide use today. The cost of fossil fuels includes both the fuel cost itself and the documented external costs such as human health effects caused by power plant air pollution. The projected capital costs for wind and solar in 2030 are about half of today’s wind and solar costs, whereas maintenance costs are projected to be approximately the same.

    So if we guess that renewables will be half the capital cost in 2030, and add the human health “cost” of the dirty power plants, and ignore that the maintenance costs are steeply rising on the nearly new windmills, and subtract the number we first thought of, it will even out? Based on the rated CAPACITY of the said windmills? You cannot be serious?

    I realise they are fishing for compliments from the green lobby, but are they not cogniscent of the ridicule from everyone else?

  18. old engineer says:

    Yes indeed, LOL. Or more accurately ROTFLMAO. Power generation and distribution are not my field, but even I know that you can’t just “let the excess go to waste.” The mind envisions very large banks of resistors to use up the excess electricity generated (extra heat into the atmosphere. OMG, more global warming!)

    Then there is the matter of storage. There are currently no cost effective utility size battery storage units. Hydrogen for fuel cells? Where does that come from?

    Then there is: “and for the last few percent of the time, burning fossil fuels as a backup.” But since there is no way to know when that backup will be needed, spinning reserve will still be needed 24/7.

    There is actually a utility size storage system that has been used around the world for over 100 years. That system is pumped storage (e.g. see the UK’s Electric Mountain). The fact that the study didn’t even mention pumped storage shows these researcher were computer jocks, not engineers.

  19. William says:

    Those advocating the green scams have determined they need storage devices. Curious, that key component was forgotten.

    A recent scientific Scientific American article noted the best storage device if massive amounts of hydroelectric power are not at your door step, is compressed air. The article notes a loss of roughly 30% to compress the air and to convert the compressed air to electricity. Also noted is natural gas to heat the expanding air to avoid damaging the turbine due to cold air striking the turbine.

    The article neglected to mention an additional component is required – super high voltage power DC power lines – to transmit the electric power from regions that are windy to regions that require electric power. The conversion losses to convert DC back to AC and the transmission losses are roughly 30% to 40% depending on distant.

    Unfortunately the green scams are proposed to funded directly or indirectly by tax payers.

  20. Patrick says:

    I agree with Dave N…

  21. Pat Frank says:

    David Legates must be grinding his teeth. The press release and the quote from Mr. Cory Budischak reveal a mistaken conception of models that has become very widespread. They treat model results as data rather than as predictions.

    Examples: Press release, “A well-designed combination of wind power, solar power and storage in batteries and fuel cells would nearly always exceed electricity demands while keeping costs low, the scientists found.

    Mr. Budischak, “we can run [a purportedly sustainable] electric system that today would meeting (sic) a need of 72 GW, 99.9 percent of the time…” (my bold).

    These people express certainties, when in fact they possess no more than predictions. Their failure to critically distinguish between model results and experimental facts is pernicious and infects many branches of science these days; most especially climate science.

    Computer outputs are presented in formats previously developed to present real data. The visual analogy seduces many into believing the outputs are in fact, real data. They’re not. They’re predictions, at best.

    Even worse, the predictions of Misters Kempton and Budischak are based on speculative variables of cost, reliability, and technology, rather than on well-tested engineering data. In order to actually determine whether it will work in physical reality, or not, they’d have to actually build and test a physical system using their model parameters. Good luck with that.

    It would be criminally irresponsible to spend any money, time, or effort building their system for real service before extensive real-world testing. It is a gamble that bets a speculative outcome against the lives of large populations.

  22. David L. Hagen says:

    At least the PR journalist makes some remarkable statements:

    The researchers found that generating more electricity than needed during average hours — in order to meet needs on high-demand but low-wind power hours — would be cheaper than storing excess power for later high demand. . . .When there was more renewable energy generated than needed, the model would first fill storage, use the remaining to replace natural gas for heating homes and businesses and only after those, let the excess go to waste.”

    How do you “generate” more renewable electricity than needed without “storing” it and to “let the excess go to waste”?
    Large dissipative resistors to heat air?

  23. TomE says:

    Somehow I feel that the students who are “learning and being trained for a useful profession” by the professors in this college and department are not getting their money’s worth. As usual, what is taught in the nation’s colleges and the real world are far apart.

  24. KevinK says:

    Ok, I have an admission to make here;

    I have a BSEE degree from the University of Delaware; it has served me well in my professional pursuits over the last three plus decades. I consider it a fine school, as do many others. A chemical engineering degree from UD is like GOLD, thanks in part to the DuPont family. The other school (Delaware Technical Community College) mentioned in the article was considered a poor choice for a quality engineering education ever back then in the 1970’s.

    I also did a summer co-op thing at a place called the “Institute for Energy Conversion”, or IEC for short at the University of Delaware. That would be in the summer of 1978 (or maybe 1979, my memory seems to fade faster than the output from an aging solar cell) shortly after the oil embargo and assorted worries about running out of oil, etc. I discarded the 20 plus year old tee-shirt a while back. Back then they were talking the same stuff, solar cells so cheap to manufacture you could use them as roofing shingles, etc.

    Of course nobody has found any “NEW” semiconductors that are suitable for making solar cells since then. So they still have about the same conversion efficiency, lifetime problems, toxic waste output, etc, etc, etc. I’m still waiting for the “breakthroughs”, they should be here any day now……………

    So it sounds like very little has changed in 3 decades.

    On a different note, have I told you about the AT&T folks making fiber optic cable near Atlanta circa 1980 who “projected” that there would be fiber optic connections to 75% of homes in the USA by 1985 or 1987…… That was another university I attended.

    Cheers, Kevin.

  25. Thumper says:

    The question is real simple. Will you put your own money where your mouth is?

  26. gnomish says:

    ” we can run an electric system that today would meeting a need of 72 GW… using 17 GW of solar, 68 GW of offshore wind, and 115 GW of inland wind,” said co-author Cory Budischak, instructor in the Energy Management Department at Delaware Technical Community College and former UD student.”

    mmk… to do 72GW requires 17 + 68 + 115 = 200GW of green ™

    “One GW is the capacity of 200 large wind turbines or of 250,000 rooftop solar systems. ”

    mmk… so to get the 200GW of green ™ takes only FORTY THOUSAND large wind turbines – or – FIFTY MILLION rooftop solar systems…

  27. Gary Pearse says:

    So the author is a marine science professor. Don’t they graduate engineers in Delaware anymore?

    “…since wind and solar do not generate at maximum all the time.”

    I think this qualifies as a quote of the week. I note they also add greeny health costs to the costs of using natural gas fired electrical. I don’t suppose there could be any hazards associated electricity and hydrogen storage tanks, or huge batteries and fuel cells? This touting the high efficiency of wind and solar is a Rip Van Winkle wake up statement from years ago.

  28. Russ R. says:

    Remarkable bait and switch.

    Opening claim: “Renewable energy could fully power a large electric grid 99.9 percent of the time by 2030″

    They explain how: “…using hydrogen for storage, we can run an electric system that today would meeting a need of 72 GW, 99.9 percent of the time, using 17 GW of solar, 68 GW of offshore wind, and 115 GW of inland wind”. Minor detail… that’s 200 GW of renewable capacity to provide 72 GW of power demand… but no big deal.

    They sneak in a caveat: “reliability was achieved by: expanding the geographic area of renewable generation, using diverse sources, employing storage systems, and for the last few percent of the time, burning fossil fuels as a backup.” WTF? Fossil fuels from where? None of the 200 GW of capacity were fossil fueled. And how much exactly is “the last few percent”?

    They try to explain: “During the hours when there was not enough renewable electricity to meet power needs, the model drew from storage and, on the rare hours with neither renewable electricity or stored power, then fossil fuel.” So, how much unmentioned fossil fuel capacity will that require? Oh… that’s right… 72 GW. So the model really requires 272 GW of generating capacity to meet 72 GW of demand.

    Then they drop in another little detail: “Aiming for 90 percent or more renewable energy in 2030″. So it would appear that “the last few percent of the time” is actually 10 percent minimum. And that the opening claim that “Renewable energy could fully power a large electric grid 99.9 percent of the time” was completely BS. Wouldn’t it make much more sense (and cost much less money) to just build 80GW of fossil fuel generating capacity (allowing >10% reserve margin) and call it a day?

    Thank you University of Delaware for wasting all of our time (and tax money).

  29. A.D. Everard says:

    One of the worst things about this whole scam is that they just keep on lying. No matter the evidence, no matter the logical argument, they roll out the same claims, unending and unchanging.

    It’s blinkers in place, keep walkin’, keep talkin’, keep taking the money, all the way.

    I know it’s in their best interests to put a face on it that there is no doubt, that there is a consensus – as though that’s important. I understand the ploy. They’ve practiced “show no doubt” for years, pretending “clearly and obviously everyone else is with us, you may as well be also, and prove you are not one of the ignornant and the foolish,” but COME ON ALREADY!

    These people KNOW they are lying and cheating. They are not “mistaken” or “misguided” and nor did they ever have our best interests at heart. These guys are criminals and have been for quite some time. They KNOW their thieving is bringing destruction to civilization. They KNOW their claims and their actions are already KILLING PEOPLE.

    This is above and beyond a snout in the trough or sticky fingers in the till.

    We need leaders worldwide who will come forward and not be afraid to PROSECUTE these animals! I do NOT believe the human species has become so cowed and so weak that such people are not already in the making.

    And Hansen DARES call scientific questioning a “crime against humanity”? Have you noticed how the extremists ARE and DO what they claim to fear?

    Where are the organizations that are supposed to keep us safe from tyranny? Where are the checks and balances that keep our governments from going rogue? Is everyone so roped and chained that these criminals will be allowed to die peacefully in their beds before ever hearing the clang of a jail door? They fear it now – just look at their faces – Is there anyone, anywhere, silently gathering evidence and warrants and making ready with the handcuffs? When this fraud – this massive crime – can no longer be refuted, will there be a swoop on the whole poisonous bunch of them?

    TO POLITICIANS EVERYWHERE – if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. Either clean up this mess, this fraud, or be cleaned up with it. It is time that more of you – AND the media, too – join the right side, the honest side that is working so hard for truth, freedom and humanity.

    Sorry, Anthony, everyone, this was not supposed to be a rant. The tide is turning, but it would turn a lot faster if politicians and reporters and judges and anyone who can make a difference just woke up and jumped to the side that actually cares about the planet and the people on it. Thirty years or more of this Green BS is too much. It’s got to stop.

  30. mbw says:
    December 10, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    A person with no training in energy production – who has not even read the actual study – thinks it sounds funny. He then posts some irrelevant but colorful charts. What should we conclude from this?

    He’s “crowdsourcing” the expert replies.

  31. Cecil Coupe says:

    Excel (the model!) is known to cause unwarranted assumptions to become progressive facts. They couldn’t find an accountant to help them?

  32. Doug Badgero says:

    On the health effects of fossil fuels:
    These studies use epidemiological studies and linear no threshold models for health effects. Very few things in nature are linear and NONE in biology are that I am aware of. Simply consider the effects of vitamins, too little bad, too much bad, sometimes very bad. Even properly done the error bars would be very large.

    Even if the best science suggests there are some negative health impacts from fossil fuels, who says society would choose to monetize them? There are significant negative health effects associated with operating an automobile also. We, as a society, could mitigate many of those effects. Yet no one is seriously proposing we all drive around tanks at 10mph.

  33. BarryW says:

    I live right down the road from their Lewes, DE campus. They have a 2 megawatt wind turbine that was installed two years ago. I don’t know the actual duty cycle, but it seems like it’s off more than it’s on. They claim 9+ megawatts generated with 2 mwatts sold to the local energy coop. It’s also been struck by lightning and home owners near the site are complaining about the noise and danger from a catastrophic failure. The homeowners are claiming there was a lot more damage from the lightning strike than the University will admit. I can hear it if the wind is right and I’m a mile away from it.

  34. Oh-That-Thing-Happened-Again-Out-Of-Heathrow-From-Doha-DangItAll says:

    I will quote the lyrics from George Thorogood and the Delaware Destroyers: I Drink Alone.

    I drink alone, … yeah
    With nobody else
    I drink alone, … yeah
    With nobody else
    You know when I drink alone
    I prefer to be by myself

    Every morning just before breakfast
    I don’t want no coffee or tea
    Just me and good buddy Wiser
    That’s all I ever need
    ‘Cause I drink alone, … yeah
    With nobody else
    Yeah, … you know when I drink alone
    I prefer to be by myself

    The other night I lay sleeping
    And I woke from a terrible dream
    So I called up my pal Jack Daniel’s
    And his partner Jimmy Beam
    And we drank alone, … yeah

    With nobody else
    Yeah, you know when I drink alone
    I prefer to be by myself

    The other day I got invited to a party
    But I stayed home instead
    Just me and my pal Johnny Walker
    And his brothers Black and Red
    And we drank alone
    Yeah, …. with nobody else
    Yeah, …. you know when I drink alone
    I prefer to be by myself

    “And I drinks alone.” :)
    Cheers
    XD

  35. Sparks says:

    LOL was first used during a conversation I had with a nurse (shut-up she said she was a nurse on duty) that described her self as being very attractive, who went on to tell me that she had removed what she was wearing, with which I replied “LOL”. She asked me could I expand LOL for her, which I replied, Yes! it means ‘Laugh Out Loud’, her reply was LOL. That was in ancient times, the good old days before climate science invented everything.

  36. R. Shearer says:

    Many things are possible. If one had shorted $10,000 worth of the RENIXX in 2002, covered and went long in 2003, then went short in 2004, then covered and went long in 2005 and held through the end of 2007, shorted in early 2008, covered, then went long in 2009 and finally shorted again, held and covered anytime in 2012, then one would have over $1,000,000.

    Not a bad return for 10 years of “investing” in green energy. Of course Al Gore made 100 times that amount.

  37. joshv says:

    I am just not seeing where they account for the cost of building this infrastructure out. Also, not sure how they account for transmission costs and building the grid required to move the power from where the wind is blowing/sun is shining, to where it isn’t.

    Also, as other’s have pointed out – what do with the electricity from a grid that generating 3x the current load? Run it through massive banks of giant resistors? Exactly how much heat does wasting 2/3rds of this grids generation create?

  38. Darren Potter says:

    “Renewable energy could fully power a large electric grid 99.9 percent of the time by 2030″
    “at costs comparable to today’s electricity expenses”

    Did UofD hold a “bring food day”?
    Did Prof. Willett Kempton double-down on brownies?
    Did Delaware recently Legalize Pot?

  39. P. Hager says:

    Old Engineer, Actually there is a utility scale storage battery that works. It is a pumped hydro storage system. It stores the energy as potential energy using gravity. The problem is I can just see all of those enviros signing on for the reservior projects that would be needed t make this work.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pumped-storage_hydroelectricity

  40. Tom O says:

    The one thing everyone fails to take into consideration is that they are talking about a parity in “cost” of power as well as capacity. The present administration does intend to drive the cost of conventional power from coal and oil out of sight. Parity in cost can happen then, but at significantly higher levels than we are currently used to, thus subsidies are not neeeded. Enormous increases in cost of power will cause a reduction in usage thus lowering the amount required to meet the needs. Since energy from any other source other than renewables will be discouraged, then the only place for investment will BE in renewable sources.

    One other thing to consider is that there will be a reduction in population forced on the world by then, so again, demand goes down and renewable sources may well be able to satisfy the needs of those that can afford it. Recall that those with the big bucks are only 1% of the population. It may be possible to make energy so expensive that you only need to supply the 1% plus the government, industry, and retail outlets. Don’t think that what they are talking about necessarily applies to the world that we know – it may apply to the world that may be in the wings waiting to take center stage.

  41. davidmhoffer says:

    There is no acronym adequate to describe my mirth!

    So, they made up a bunch of assumptions that have no basis in reality, then built a model that looked at 68 billion combinations of their unrealistic assumptions, and they STILL had to throw in a fudge factor called “external costs such as human health effects” to get the answer they wanted.

    Is there anyone out there stupid enough to believe this tripe? Wait….

    Pat Ravasio, are you following this thread?

  42. crosspatch says:

    Has anyone documented the external cost of windmills? What is the environmental cost of a copper mine and smelter? I would say the environmental impact of the typical copper mine is millions of times more than the impact of a single well, pumping away, day after day, with daisies growing around it and lizards sunning themselves on the concrete pad. Take several thousand acres of desert, deprive the surface of sunlight by installing a solar array, dump a bunch of water on it at regular intervals as you wash those arrays and you completely destroy the native habitat and turn it into something else. Also, semiconductor manufacturing is not exactly environmentally friendly nor is battery production / disposal. Solar arrays can not be recycled but the steel from an oil well can be.

    Seems to me that overall, an oil well is much more environmentally friendly. I passed hundreds of wells pumping away in the same fields that grow our food in the Midwestern US last year. Where does all this environmental “damage” of oil drilling come from in their minds? The site of an oil well isn’t that much different than the construction site for a house where a well must be drilled. Oil well sites aren’t “dirty”.

  43. Mike Bromley the Canucklehead says:

    mbw says:
    December 10, 2012 at 7:01 pm
    A person with no training in energy production – who has not even read the actual study – thinks it sounds funny. He then posts some irrelevant but colorful charts. What should we conclude from this?

    Well, mbw, since nobody seems too interested in answering your loaded question, perhaps you would be so nice as to enlighten us? But before you do, let me hazard a guess. 1) You have training in energy production. 2) You have read the actual study and 3) you don’t think it sounds funny.

    Am I getting warm? Oh, and you posted some relevant charts….no. OK, three out of four isn’t bad. Still doesn’t answer your rhetorical question.

  44. MattS says:

    @crosspatch

    Actually going from 20% share to 28% share would be a 40% increase. 28/20 = 1.4

    It gets tricky when you are talking about percentage increases in percentages.

  45. Gunga Din says:

    From Deleware, the state that kept returning Joe Biden to the Senate …

  46. crosspatch says:

    Actually going from 20% share to 28% share would be a 40% increase. 28/20 = 1.4

    No, look closely. Going from 20 to 28 of the same AMOUNT would be a 40% increase, but going from 20% of a smaller amount total, to a 28% share of a larger total amount is a larger increase in power output. We are talking about going from 4,420 Twh to 10,388 Twh. That is a 135% increase.

  47. MattS says:

    @joshv,

    “I am just not seeing where they account for the cost of building this infrastructure out. Also, not sure how they account for transmission costs and building the grid required to move the power from where the wind is blowing/sun is shining, to where it isn’t.”

    Forget the cost. Even if you assume zero cost, how are we supposed to build out that much infrastructure in 18 years?

  48. catcracking says:

    I’m afraid there will be a lot of unqualified engineers on the unemployment line if this is what they are teaching in Biden country.

  49. ShrNfr says:

    I had a solar system up and running for a while. 10KW plate with 100KWH of batteries behind it. It is down at the moment since I am replacing the inverter/charge controllers. But in any event there have literally be a number of months in which the system generated only single digits in KWH due to overcast. I put the system in to help me through extended power outages due to ice storms in MA. Bottom line is solar is ok providing you have coal/ng/hydro as a backup. If not, you cannot rely on it for extended periods of time spanning weeks.

  50. David says:

    Why don’t we focus on what does work?
    Ground sink heat pumps.
    LED lighting when its ready not with subsidies.
    Solar when its ready not with subsidies.
    Double and triple pane windows.
    Diesel car and trucks.
    More insulation.
    Good maintenance of cars ie oil changes, proper tire inflation, timely changing of air filters.

    These things are by far cheaper and easier than covering the planet in inefficient windmills and solar cells that are to inefficient.

  51. OssQss says:

    Hummm, if we substituted the renewable’s completely how would things work?

    How much land would turn black with solar panels and how many wind turbines would it take to fill the energy hole with no fossil fuel ?

    Could that path cause Climate Change?

    Did anyone else see how much of the pie chart in Exhibit 2 is contributed from biomass and hydro?

    What exactly is biomass heat anyhow?

    Just sayin,

    It makes up a majority of the re-doable energy, but not the MSM’s re-doable energy coverage.

    Why ……

  52. John West says:

    @mbw

    Here’s a simple way to figure it out. Take your electric bill and figure out how much electricity you use. Quote renewable sources to supply your house, remembering you’ll need a 4:1 renewable to grid ratio in order to store up enough electricity to last when the renewable source isn’t operating. Then just see how many electric bills you could pay for the price of the system. Chances are the system wouldn’t even last that long.

  53. Sparks says:

    Creating an expensive energy resource and connecting it to an energy grid, will raise the cost of production for consumers, raising the cost of energy restricts local economic growth, restricting economic growth will also reduce the rate of affordable technological advancements.

  54. george e. smith says:

    Well the ultimate proof of the concept of operating without subsidies, is to build such a composite system , containing all the elements their study shows is required; and of course using funding from investors, presumably from that Delaware community college staff, and U-Del, and then use the unsubsidized renewable energy from that plant to build a bigger one.

    So you have to lift yourself using your own bootstraps.

    We know it can be done, since we already did it. Well Lucy and the rest of our ancestors did it.

    Wasn’t any gummint subsidies or any gummints, at the start of the chemical energy age, so the system had to grow from its own profitability. Yes it used renewable energy technology; starting with fig trees, until eventually we got out of the trees, for the more available renewable energy on the ground.

    Fire eventually got us into the high tech energy business.

    So Delaware; have at it. Joe Biden can run it for you.

  55. arthur4563 says:

    Well, Delaware IS a very small state,you know. My personal favorite :”Storage is relatively costly because the storage medium, batteries or hydrogen tanks, must be larger for each additional hour stored.” As a rule, things change. A solar panel loses 20% of its capacity by around the 18 year mark and continuously degrades. The installation costs of rooftop arrays is more than the arrays cost these days and those labor costs are not going to go down and I’m not sure how much lower solar panel costs can go. And of course, shingles need to be replaced, which means disassembling the array, shingling the roof, and then re-installing the array. And there are many roofs that are shaded by trees or don’t point in a southerly direction and therefore wouldn’t be a good spot for an array. Windmills have a bad reputation for excessive down time and cannot run when wind speeds rise above, I think, about 40 MPH. I don’t know of any reason to expect their production costs to go down in the future. They should go up. And I’m certain installation costs won’t go down and that is a very large portion of the total cost. And I’m not sure the public would buy into ruining large tracts of land for windmills. Offshore windmills don’t apply to inland areas or even most seashore areas. While 4 years of data may provide a basis for allocation and location of renewable generators, those weather conditions and/or demand requirements can change. While they specify a large system covering a large area in order to handle local losses of renewables, due to weather conditions, unfavorable weather conditions can extend over a very large area and for a considerable period of time. Regardless of how often this occurs, when it does, large amounts of controllable generation capacity will be needed,and therefore those plants will have to be maintained and kept around and that means a lot of costs, even if they are infrequently used. This article simply doesn’t give enough specifics as to cost and strategy to enable one to evaluate its merits. And exactly how is renewable energy (electricity) going to “replace the natural gas used for heating homes and businesses” ? You mean those places will now need two heating systems? Why didn’t they mention nuclear power, which provides 20% of our power, is not going anywhere. My suggestion : quit trying to appease the greenies, get some guts and common sense and propose an elegant, rather than a Rube Goldberg solution. Go all nuclear, including small modular reactors, which can provide peak generating capacity as well as baseload. And nuclear plants can easily last 60 years, especially the newer models, Gen 3+ and Gen 4 and can actually replace existing fossil fuel plants.

  56. mbw says:

    @John West

    If you even read the abstract you’d know the point is that one can distribute power sources over a large grid and average out the down times together with storage. I have no idea if they are right or if the work is even credible because I haven’t read the article (it’s paywalled) and neither has anyone else here as far as I can tell. Did you check their 28 billion combinations?

  57. David L Hagen wonders how to off-load surplus power so that peak power is always present.
    We had this problem on a small scale when we built a remote town for about 100 people. We imported diesel by truck for 300 km, used a 240 volt a.c. generator. As midnight switch-off curfew approached and the load started to fall, we more or less short circuited the excess through large iron bars sitting in 44 gallon drums of water.The climate was hot tropical, so there was not use for hot water which cooled down naturally by the next day. It was easy and effective load management, but not recommended for populations of 100 thousand – as opposed to 100.
    However, I have yet to see a large scale design that would have more benefits. Compressing air, as noted above, has possibilities but oh! the cost and the waste!

  58. atheok says:

    Paywalled!? This fright fest trash is paywalled?

    Scanning over the abstract and bait, er graphs I am mystified. Checking out Fig. 5, just because I’ve always despised pie charts as worse than useless, (What can I say, as an ex Budget Manager I know pie charts are for smoke, not understanding). Just in quick looking, I can not reconcile the vertical bars with their corresponding pies above.

    In the first 2008.30% sample, the two vertical bars are “inland wind” and “fossil fuels” with the fossil fuel bar the higher of the two. Yet the pie above reverses which provides the lion’s share giving greater credit to “inland wind”. This is before I get any info about where “inland wind” provide anywhere near that percentage of power. As far as I can see, none of the supposed percentage optimum power percentage bars or pies match.

    To me this appears as another visionary series of charts done without real world information or costs. We can save the world, based on our estimates… That is, if you fools will pony up all expenses and future costs before we start officially tracking. Plus maintenance and health costs are not used for green power. Gaia would not allow it.

    Bogus math, false assumptions, fake scenarios, fantasy grids and technology. Yup, GIGO!

    Inland wind? I think not; flatulent air maybe…

  59. Jim G says:

    I read a great article on Spice modeling of RF circuits.
    The spice program made an assumption that a resistor and capacitor were not necessary.
    Once included by an override, it then worked.

    One of the commentors remarked about a quote from his boss.
    “All models are wrong. Some are useful.”

    Since the engineering and physical sciences need to back up models by hard data from prototypes, why don’t the climate sciences need to validate their models?

  60. Patrick says:

    “gnomish says:

    December 10, 2012 at 7:37 pm”

    I guess if one was in the business of supplying the technology,turbines and PV panels, that would be a nice little earner.

  61. F. Ross says:

    “For example, using hydrogen for storage, we can run an electric system that today would meeting a need of 72 GW, 99.9 percent of the time, using 17 GW of solar, 68 GW of offshore wind, and 115 GW of inland wind,”

    [+emphasis]

    One has to wonder about the unintended consequences to weather patterns of using 183GW
    of wind power. Wind power potential is large but not infinite and probably not without undesired results – and that is not just about bird kills, which one suspects would be astronomical.

    Also, it is not clear to me from the text whether this model is intended to supply the entire United States or just 1/5 of the nation.

    “The model incorporated data from within a large regional grid called PJM Interconnection, which includes 13 states from New Jersey to Illinois and represents one-fifth of the United States’ total electric grid.

    [+emphasis]

    Ah well, it is just another RTW model anyway.

  62. A.D. Everard says:

    Thing is, even if the Greens got their wet dream and the lands were all covered with solar panels and windmills, and we accepted less energy and brown outs and blackouts, those same Greenies would look around in a few years and see the destruction. And decide, for the Good of Humanity and to Save the Planet, to ban solar panels and windmills.

    This is salami tactics. They wanted us off the power grid since before they even thought of CAGW as an excuse. They want us slapped all the way back to the stone age, and even then it wouldn’t be enough. We wouldn’t be allowed fire. We wouldn’t be allowed anything. We wouldn’t be allowed meat – they already want us all to be vegetarians. We might have to resort to eating Greenies… er… I mean greens… greens, right, I’m sure that’s what I mean – dang! I can’t find the backspace button. Wot a shame.

  63. gnomish says:

    with theft or fraud, the proper verb is not ‘to earn’.

  64. nc says:

    speaking as a retired power system dispatcher they did not even mention power system dynamics with all that variable power flow.I am glad being retired.

  65. John F. Hultquist says:

    Mention is made of hydrogen tanks and using hydrogen for storage. Neither of these mean what they imply.

    Tanks for storage can be made of many things but hydrogen isn’t one of them. Hydrogen is very difficult to handle and store, so a relevant question for these authors would be to explain just how they would handle this task. What are the tanks made of, how big, and where? — . . . come to mind as formidable issues. Just saying “hydrogen tanks” and running the computer for hours (28 billion combinations) is what one might call basing the future on a wing and a prayer, or hope. Hope is not a plan. For background reading:
    http://www.mavery.com/academic/Hydrogen_Corrosion_Report.pdf
    http://www1.eere.energy.gov/hydrogenandfuelcells/storage/hydrogen_storage.html

  66. RonPE says:

    Most of these ‘studies’ are off by at least 3 decimal places. This one appears to be about a 5 or 6 decimal place error.

    About 10 or 15 years ago, a student came to my office to explain his idea to PV our institution and disconnect from the evil grid. Our institution is about 6 million sq-ft on 450 acres with a peak demand that varies between 12 to 18 MW. I explained that just for daytime power 8 to 10 hours w/ no storage, PV panels would need to cover every square foot of DOUBLE our property acreage and that the cost would be more than the value of our entire institution. Payback > 70 to 100 years. Well past the equipment life. He did not like my math.

  67. crosspatch says:

    If you even read the abstract you’d know the point is that one can distribute power sources over a large grid and average out the down times together with storage.

    Not in Delaware. You can have weeks in summer where it is in the 90′s and there isn’t a breath of breeze except maybe when a thundershower moves through.

  68. Taphonomic says:

    And Invisible Pink Unicorns(TM) could solve every one of the world’s problems (patent pending).

  69. crosspatch says:

    Weather history for Dover, DE in July of 2012. I know this article isn’t specific about Delaware, but it is a good example. For most of the month the wind velocity was 5mph or less.

    http://www.wunderground.com/cgi-bin/histGraphAll?day=1&year=2012&month=7&ID=KDOV&type=1&width=614

  70. John F. Hultquist says:

    old engineer says:
    December 10, 2012 at 7:14 pm
    “There is actually a utility size storage system that has been used around the world for over 100 years. That system is pumped storage . . .

    Utility size may be a bit of a stretch for one-fifth of the US.
    I made the comment that follows on WUWT on 8/18/2012:

    A look at pumped storage:
    An example can be seen using Wikipedia and Google Earth. Of interest is the “pumped storage” associated with Kinzua (kin-zoo) Dam in northern Pennsylvania. Read about it here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinzua_Dam

    Use these coordinates [ 41.839736 n, 79.002619 w ] to get a better look. Zoom out until you can see the entire reservoir and compare it to the small circular storage basin on the ridge-top to the south. Can you scale this up to be really helpful? In whose back yard?

    Be sure to read the section titled “Displacements” in the wiki link. Did then, and still do, have family from this area. Visited while the reservoir area was being cleaned out, and filling, and while the circular storage area was being hollowed out.

  71. Bob Koss says:

    Using data from that evil oil company BP.

    US installed wind capacity in 2011 was 47084 megawatts or 47.1 gigawatts or .0471 terrawatts. So it seems their imaginary system is larger than our 2011 installed capacity.

    .0471*24*365=412.596 terrawatts-hours would be generated at full capacity 24/7/365.
    2011 wind consumption was 121 terrawatts-hours.
    121/412=29% capacity factor.(solar is even worse)

    2011 total electric generation was 4308 terrawatt-hours
    4308/.29=14855 terrawatts of wind turbines would be required.
    Using 2.5 gigawatt wind turbines would require 400 turbine per terrawatt.
    14855*400=5,942,000 turbines would do the job if none fail. I wonder how many batteries they would require for storage. How many little coffins for the birds?

    Figuring 3,794,101 sq mi for the US that would be only about 1.56 turbines per sq mi over the entire country.

    [sarc]
    Why haven’t we done this already?
    Just put it on the national credit card and provide everyone with ear plugs.[/sarc]

  72. EcoGuy says:

    Hmmmmm… The big problem I have with this sort of modelling is that is not what I term a ‘complete system model’; i.e it only models a small part of what you would want to understand about a system and leaves as ‘undefined’ really import things like:

    - cost of installation
    - cost of maintenance
    - cost of depreciation. (yes, things do wear out and become worthless).
    - MTTF (mean time to failure) effects and general failures (i.e. rate of line failures, system failures, wind turbine explosions, etc)

    Then and only then can you do a true opportunity cost analysis – without such info it is impossible to fairly evaluate what they propose when compared to what exists now or what else could be done in the future.

    On that basis and just that basis alone, I call this a load of BS chasing a grant. Where was an economist consulted in all of this?

    Models as I define them are a mechanism for making more informed decisions and to be useful need to give you as a complete information decision space as possible. Blinkered models result in blinkered thinking, with the usual end result.

  73. Bob Koss says:

    Oops.
    I see I calculated gigawatt sized turbines in my previous comment. They use 2.5 megawatt turbines. So we would need 1000 times as many or 1560 per sq mi. Just makes it more ridiculous.

  74. Bob Koss says:

    Big mea culpa.
    Boy did I blow those calculations in my previous posts. Guess I shouldn’t do such things late at night.

    I forgot to divide the consumption of 4308 terrawatts by (365*24). Meaning about 0.5 terrawatts per hour would need to be produced to cover consumption.
    0.5/.29=1.7 terrawatts required after adjusting for capacity factor.
    Using 2.5 megawatt turbines that would require about 680,000 turbines.
    About one turbine per 5.5 sq miles covering the whole country. Not nearly as bad, but bad enough. Especially when you include power lines, batteries, and bird coffins.

    It’s even later now. Hope I got it right this time.

  75. DirkH says:

    Ok, they could never get there assuming only a halfing of solar and wind costs from today, when we consider the cost for batteries.
    The key is here:
    “The cost of fossil fuels includes both the fuel cost itself and the documented external costs such as human health effects caused by power plant air pollution. ”
    Just estimate sufficiently high “external costs” and you can get there. Now, but not many people actually get ill from power plant exhaust assuming flue gas scrubbers… how do we get to the needed high external costs?
    Here, the magic of runaway greenhouse warming comes in. Assuming that CO2 will destroy the entire planet, it will COST THE WORLD.
    So, Solar + wind + batteries may cost the world as well and are still competitive in a study like this.

    as for their 58 billion combinations they ran through: Oh well, how impressive. A 32 bit integer offers 4 billion bit combinations so they ran through a 36 bit value space. Sorry if that sounds less impressive.

  76. R. de Haan says:

    UN turning the world in a permanent state of alarmism: http://en.vedur.is/about-imo/news/nr/2572

  77. E.M.Smith says:

    That largest wedge of ‘renewables’ that is biomass heat will include the burning of forests and dung in the Third World. Something we are supposed to be eliminating to save the eyesight of women cooking over dung stoves and save the forests for the furry animals and birds… so I’d not be touting how great that renewables wedge was, were I a Green…

    old engineer says:
    The fact that the study didn’t even mention pumped storage shows these researcher were computer jocks, not engineers.

    Please! Don’t insult us ‘computer jockeys’ (not jocks… we’d like to be, but…) We get contracts from some loon asking “Can you make the computer do this?” and we say “For this much money” and they pay… we don’t make up the crazy requests, we just make the computer go!!!
    ;-)

    Those guys were “Grant Jocks”… looking for a rent-a-geek to tell them what the blinky lights mean and how to make the “Machine that goes PiiiNG!” go…

    @Tom O:

    Being on the bleeding edge of that cost increase curve, we’ve got nearly 30 cent / k-W hour electricity “in the wings” soon and $1/2 / k-Whr on the docket for approval. As a result, I’ve started cooking on the camp stove part of the time… It’s cheaper than the AEK. (Eventually I’ll put in a gas stove in the kitchen) I’ve also started looking at DIY electricity generation. Not economical yet, but close. Using a nat gas generator it will be… So planning one of those Honda gogeneration machines ‘when the time comes’…

    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2012/05/29/camping-at-home-is-cheaper/

    Not what I’d prefer, but you do what you must… Started using the BBQ (charcoal) rather than the oven too. It, and propane, are both cheaper. Of course, burning meat and dripping fat over charcoal isn’t nearly as clean on the air as the All Electric Kitchen, but I’m sure that won’t be a problem with ‘only’ 4 million people in the S.F. Bay Area smog basin… many much more strapped for cash than I am and much more willing to embrace “alternatives” to Alternative Electricity…

    (Somehow I think the Greens have not thought through the consequences of their price manipulations…)

    @Crosspatch:

    Where I grew up, the peach orchards had nice natural gas wells scattered in them. Cleanest and neatest part of the whole place. A little 10 x 10 or so square with a neatly painted pipe and valves and some kind of what I think was a pump thing. Oh, and a fence. Used to drive past one on the dike along the Sacramento River (Yup, all of about 40 FEET from a major river / drinking water for millions) when we’d go fishing. Never even saw so much as a truck drive up to the thing, though they must have at least once a year or three to paint it…

    I’d have put one in the back yard if they let me…

    @mbw:

    The largest DC distribution line in the USA to the best of my knowledge:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacific_DC_Intertie

    Runs from the Washington border to Los Angeles ( now you know how California can get by without building any power plants… ) Capacity about 2 GW. You’ll be needing to build dozens of those to move the power around the nation as the wind blows in one place, or another, then stops…

    Don’t need to check their 28 Billion Combinations. That’s going to be a set of ramping combinations of the much much fewer known technologies. ( In fact, anyone with a brain would have programmed the problem to find the optimal points on any of those ramps with a binary search and cut the combinations down to about 1,000 scale “right quick”… but that wouldn’t look as good on the report, so they burned a lot of computer time for political feel good numbers for the propaganda document.) A really really bright person would look at it and spot the bogus combinations not even worth wasting time looking at right up front. (so, say, you know that Wind in the Central Valley of California basically never works, so you don’t even ‘test’ it, as you know the wind there is nearly zero most of the year…)

    But back at their Unicorns…

    Hydrogen storage? Please. Show me an industrial scale fuel cell running on hydrogen from wind electric water breakdown… doesn’t exist. COULD there be a FUTURE hydrogen storage system? Sure. Worth some R&D money too… from venture capitalists, not taxes.

    They’ve already picked the winner, despite it not existing at scale as a known to work product. Yeah, right…

    Oh, have I mentioned it isn’t all that easy to keep a whole bunch of DC interties in sync over a dozen or twenty different grid connect points? Or to reverse them at will?

    You will also need a lot of petroleum coke or similar for your ground planes and such.

    The Pacific Intertie consists of:
    The Celilo Converter Station which converts three phase 60 Hz AC at 235 to 525 kV to ±500 kV DC at 45°35′39″N 121°6′51″WCoordinates: 45°35′39″N 121°6′51″W.

    The grounding system at Celilo consists of 1,067 cast iron anodes buried in a two foot trench of petroleum coke, which behaves as an electrode, arranged in a ring of 3,255 m (2.02 mi) circumference at Rice Flats
    (near Rice, Oregon), which is 10.6 km (6.6 mi) SSE of Celilo. It is connected to the converter station by two aerial 644 mm2 steel-reinforced aluminum (ACSR) cables, which end at at a strainer situated at 45.4975865°N 121.0646206°W.

    A 1,362-kilometre (846 mi) overhead transmission line consisting of two uninsulated conductors each 1,171 mm2 in cross sectional area, containing a steel wire core for strength.

    The Sylmar Converter Station (34°18′39″N 118°29′21″W) which converts DC to AC (a process also called inverting) and phase-synchronized with the L.A. power grid.

    The Sylmar grounding system is a line of 24 silicon-iron alloy electrodes submerged in the Pacific Ocean at Will Rogers State Beach suspended in concrete enclosures about one meter above the ocean floor. The grounding array, which is 48 km (30 mi) from the converter station and is connected by a pair of 644 mm2 aluminum conductors, which are in the sections north of Kenter Canyon Terminal Tower at 34°04′04.99″N 118°29′18.5″W installed instead of the ground conductors on the pylons.
    It runs from Kenter Canyon Terminal Tower, via DWP Receiving Station U, Southern California Edison Northridge Substation and Rinaldi Electrical Substation to Sylmar Converter Station. On the section between Northridge substation and Rinaldi Street substation one of the two ground conductors of 2 parallel running 220 kV powerlines is used as electrode line conductor.

    The combined wires have a capacity of 2 gigawatts in bipolar mode and 1.55 gigawatts with earth (ground) return.

    But I’m sure nobody will object to 2 MILE rings of “petroleum coke” filled trenches being sunk into the ground all over the country… I mean, what could possibly be of concern with GW of power and carbon…

    It’s EASY to just distribute 200 GW of power all over the country. (Since that’s the installed capacity, that’s how much you must be able to move…) So only a 100 or so of those things, call it 200 end point grounding stations. Oh, and all the feeders and distribution at each end…

    (Somehow I don’t think they included the word “logistics” in their paper… )

    @Atheok:

    “Inland Wind” isn’t as silly as it sounds. Thanks to the Rocky Mountains and Canada, the wind flows most steadily and at the right speeds over a large part of Oklahoma / Texas and related areas. There are already giant wind farms in Texas ( to harvest California Green Dollars…) and it’s one of the better places for it. Far fewer people to be made sick and irritable by the infrasound pollution.

    Yes, it would be vastly more sensible to build a couple of nukes in California and not make Texas look like a wasteland of Three Armed Bandits… but hey, they make money off us and we get to ‘feel good about it’… 8-(

    @F. Ross:

    Oh Dear… only 1/5 th? OK. Make that 1,000 DC Interties with 2 mile circles of Petroleum Coke buried in the dirt… (Wonder if there’s enough petroleum to make that much…)

    @A.D.Everard:

    As I’ve “Lived The Dream” here in California under Gov. Grey (out) Davis…

    We had regular ‘rolling blackouts’ and sporadic longer failures. Ended up owning 2 generators and was in the process of building a battery box / inverter set up to cut down on frequency of using said generators… then we had a recall election and I didn’t need that any more…

    I still have the inverter I bought (corner of the office.. just in case). And kept the little 1 kW Honda (just fine for most emergencies. Runs the entertainment cluster, lighting, and fridge. Last used a week or so ago during a storm related outage of 1 hour.) but sold the 5 kW Generac to a friend. It was loud as a chain saw and a PITA. (Used it a couple of times under Gov. Grey (out) for the washer / dryer and A/C. But since he’s gone, never needed more than an emergency hour… so the Honda was enough).
    So, some experience based advice for everyone as we all collectively go through this insanity:

    1) Buy a Honda generator. They run like a sewing machine. 56 dB (i.e. can’t hear it much at all with it outside). I’d likely get the 3 kW version for most uses. The 1 kW is fine for anything short of ‘whole house’ or major appliances, though. You find these being run all day every day all round the world by vendors and all sorts of folks.

    2) The Natural Gas / dual fuel is the best option if you expect lots of power outages or longer term crazy electric rates. Honda didn’t make a ‘three way fuel’ propane / nat gas/ gasoline one last time I looked, but some folks made conversions… I’d likely do that for a more permanent solution. Then it can ‘go camping’ on propane, work at home on Nat Gas for economy, and in a real disaster take gasoline from a can.

    3) For farms or more “commercial” settings, get a Diesel. (Honda at one time made a sweetheart 12 kW that I drooled over… Hey, I ran facilities and had to have computer room backup too … but seem to have discontinued it.) The local shopping center has a large commercial dual fuel Diesel / Nat Gas rig. Cummings Engine in it, I think. Get them for commercial use. You can run effectively forever on the nat gas, but in an emergency / post quake no gas, can run for a few days on Diesel. If you don’t mind noise, there are some 3 kW scale Diesels that look decent.

    4) A 1 kW inverter cost me something like $70 at Costco (many years back). Nearly trivial to put a battery charger to some batteries and some 1 kW inverters to selected circuits. That’s what I was doing when “things changed”, but will likely be doing again.

    So one easy ‘fix’ is just some battery / inverter boxes in selected places that ‘buffer’ the incoming circuit to the devices plugged in. Junks ups the floor with a UPS box (like a large hat box), but keeps the lamps and TV on… Once that’s in place, it becomes very easy to just cut over to the generator. Unplug UPS from wall, plug into generator line. Buffers the surge demand too, so the generator can power more total.

    5) If you KNOW it’s coming, and not leaving, there’s no need to do this kind of slow phased incremental process. Just get an Onan or similar whole home generator and a commercial UPS box. Cost is about $12,000 (IIRC).

    Yes, I’d really rather NOT be in the DIY Electric Utility Business, but I live in a Democratic Dominated Green Dream State, so it’s that or live in the dark… from time to time…

    So yes, they would decide to just junk it all for the NEXT fantasy. That’s why I had started building my own solution… Frankly, if I’d known how long it was going to go on, I’d have just done a commercial quality Diesel / nat gas generator install and been done with it. OTOH, the piecemeal was more fun and cost a lot less…

    Useful Metric: On one occasion for the Honda Diesel, I discovered that the cost per kW-hr in cents was the same as the $/gallon shifted by a decimal. So $4.00 Diesel gave 40 Cent /kW-hr electricity. That ought to hold for other Diesels (or close.) As we’re headed for 50 Cent tariff Real Soon Now and Diesel is under $4, it will shortly be cheaper to run your own Diesel here than buy from the utility. About parity even before that if you get untaxed offroad Diesel). Nat Gas here is running about $1.50 / Gallon of Gas Equivalent (GGE) and is the cheapest. It’s already economical to make your own electricity from Nat Gas (on a direct fuel basis – not on a full maintenance and capital amortization though.. but close).

    So as the Green Dream / Nightmare hits, a lot of folks will start ‘rolling their own’ with natural gas and Diesel. It’s economically insane as well as thermodynamic stupid (nat gas turbines run about double the efficiency); but that’s what will happen as the “social cost” burden ladled on gets too high.

    Either that, or we’re all going to end up living in Texas…

  78. Larry in Texas says:

    John M says:
    December 10, 2012 at 7:11 pm

    Not if your butterfingers quarterback still can’t hang on to the ball! As this should indicate, I am a Green Bay Packers fan. Lol!

  79. This bunch in Delaware is cut from the same cloth as those who pushed for renewable power in Germany–and here’s what happened there:
    ========================

    Almost all predictions about the expansion and cost of German wind turbines and solar panels have turned out to be wrong – at least by a factor of two, sometimes by a factor of five.
    –Daniel Wentzel, Die Welt, 20 October 2012, at http://thegwpf.us4.list-manage.com/track/click?u=c920274f2a364603849bbb505&id=40cadd5219&e=c1a146df99

    When Germany’s power grid operator announced the exact amount of next year’s green energy levy on Monday, it came as a shock to the country. The cost burden for consumers and industry have reached a “barely tolerable level that threatens the de-industrialization of Germany”, outraged business organisations said. Since then politicians, business representatives and green energy supporters have been arguing about who is to blame for the “electricity price hammer”. After all, did not Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) promise that green energy subsidies would not be more than 3.6 cents per kilowatt hour? Now, however, German citizens have to support renewable energy by more than EUR 20 billion – instead of 14 billion Euros. How could Merkel be so wrong?
    –Daniel Wentzel, Die Welt, 20 October 2012

    outtheback says:
    October 25, 2012 at 10:36 am

    Depending on how one does the numbers I think that Germany will find that they have to increase the levels of subsidies even further in about 5 years as the solar panels installed pre 2007 will start to reduce their output and will need to be replaced if the output per panel is to be kept up. The earlier wind turbines will come to the end of their life also, if any of those early ones are still going by then.

    For anyone to replace their existing panels/turbines the current subsidy will not be enough to be viable as they won’t have made real money yet of the original installation. Although I am sure that on paper you can make it appear so that it looks like one made a euro or two.

    The good news is that the manufacturers of panels and turbines are looking forward to those times as it will mean an increase in demand, replacement and new installations. More work for installers also. With a bit of luck we can re-use the vast concrete pads the turbines stand on, so that saves, but then perhaps they won’t pass the stress tests to last another 15 years.

    The landfills will become flooded with obsolete panels, old turbine magnets and blades. And possibly millions of cubic meters of concrete.

    Ever increasing levels of SF6 in the air, already detectable, as a side effect of panel production and increased mining for rare earth minerals for magnet production leaving an ever increasing number of toxic tailing ponds in their wake.
    Is this the green world the “greens” had in mind?

    Pingo says:
    October 25, 2012 at 11:14 am

    Germany has a big problem. They need two ramp ups of gas turbines each day. You have the morning peak, which solar can’t cover. You also have the evening peak, which again solar can’t cover. The middle of the day is fine, and energy prices approach zero due to huge amounts of solar generation. But how do you cover the cost of gas fired plants having to ramp up twice a day…

    Oh yeah, the consumer pays. And then ends up blaming the “energy monopoly” (or something like that). Therefore the government has to intervene and do something..

    And so the problems gets worse and worse.

  80. Peter Miller says:

    Despite being expensive and unreliable, ‘renewables’ might make some sense if a cost effective way of storing electricity could be found.

    In this study, they propose using batteries and fuel cells. These are proven technologies, but both systems would be extremely expensive and dwarf the capital cost of the wind and solar power units they are supposed to support. Then there is also the cost of all the new power lines to be built, which does not seem to have been considered.

    At the end of the day, the only beneficiaries of this type of system would be the Chinese manufacturers of the equipment.

    Anyhow, the subject of ‘renewables’ is moot, as the USA already has the answer to its energy problem, it is called fracking. The greenies/lefties/loonies/Gazprom in the rest of the world are doing their very best to stop the development of fracking, as it makes too much economic sense.

  81. Why not use the excess power to drive wind turbines in reverse, to create wind. Then harvest the wind later ? Keep the unicorns cool, too.

  82. Admad says:

    “The authors developed a computer model to consider 28 billion combinations of renewable energy sources and storage mechanisms…”
    A computer model? So it must be correct then, eh? (sarc off)

  83. Peter Miller says:

    Drat.

    I meant to say “batteries and fuel cells. These are proven technologies, but both systems would be extremely extensive and be a multiple of the capital cost of the wind and solar power units they are supposed to support.”

    The three fatal flaws of solar and wind power are:

    1. High capital cost,
    2. Unreliability, and
    3. Cost of electricity storage.

    The unpleasant side effects of solar and wind power are:

    1. Unsightly,
    2. Noisy (wind only) and
    3. Need massive subsidies to compete with coal and gas generated electricity.

  84. I am reminded of when I lived in Switzerland in the early ’90s. At the time, France had a lot of nuclear power plants which need a minimum load for some reason, but they couldn’t supply full demand at peak periods either. So the Swiss had a smart deal, they bought the excess off-peak power from the French and used it to pump water up hills to their hydro-electric dams. Then, during France’s peak, when the French system could not meet the peak demand, the Swiss generated hydro-electric power from the water pumped up and sold it back at a premium because it was peak period! I believe, but can’t verify, that the Swiss made a profit on the whole thing. The dammed lakes were used as massive storage batteries.
    I’m also an optimization kind of guy, loved OR at Uni and used it occasionally professionally so perhaps one thing to take away from this article is that we could perhaps minimize energy costs significantly if we can implement mass energy storage systems, irrespective of the generation methods and that in principle would be a good thing.

  85. sophocles says:

    Hydrogen TANKS? Ah. Does this mean for long term storage?

    I may be operating under a misconception—or even three.
    However, it is my understanding hydrogen is one of the, if
    not *the*, most difficult substances to contain in any container.
    This is the main reason we don’t have a hydrogen-based economy,
    it’s just too damned dangerous.

    Or am I wrong?
    ..

  86. If there ever was an opportunity for such a massive system to be built, it’s now in Germany. Maybe this bunch from DE could persuade the country’s powerful green faction to double down on its bet on renewables, instead of moving from nuclear to coal. The result would be an object lesson, one way or the other.

  87. Jimbo says:

    “These results break the conventional wisdom that renewable energy is too unreliable and expensive,” said co-author Willett Kempton, professor in the School of Marine Science and Policy in UD’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment….

    I love objective research with no hint of conflict of interest or bias or following the research money.

    Willett Kempton………
    Research Interests
    Director of Research and External Affairs, Center for Carbon-free Power Integration

    Be objective now.

    CCPI works closely with the offshore wind industry as evidenced by the following: a five-year research partnership with a major wind turbine supplier; active participation on the AWEA Offshore Wind Working Group, including chairing the R&D committee from 2007 until 2011; being a competitive awardee of a DOE-funded University-Industry Consortia for collaborative research on offshore wind turbines; its agreement with a developer allowing UD researchers to add instruments to the developer’s planned met tower and collect oceanographic data; its joint work with AWEA to organize the first AWEA Offshore Wind Workshop; and its chairing of the 2010 Offshore Wind Conference held in Philadelphia.

    CCPI is however an independent voice, having, for example, undertaken research the results of which have not always been favorable to the industry;…….
    http://www.carbonfree.udel.edu/aboutus.html

    I will take their word for that they are in no way influenced by BIG WIND. Imagine if a paper came out in support of shale gas and its lead author had similar links to the gas industry. There would be howls of “shills” / “under the pay of big gas”.

  88. wayne Job says:

    This is a computer model in turtles all the way down. These people are calling themselves scientists , of what field? If they where researching real stuff like how to store energy with real technology and not a turtle stack, maybe we could stop laughing at them. Sadly many will be sucked in mainly the loud and useful idiots.

  89. Lew Skannen says:

    ” developed a computer model”

    I always find that phrase convincing.

  90. Jack says:

    Modelling the health effects on humans for fossil fuels to include in their estimates looks like they are using ecological economics. It is another branch of post modernism. One branch is post normal science. They hold since there is no such thing as truth and because the observer has a natural bias, then selecting the data to justify the conclusion is faultless.
    Therefore, don’t be surprised at this nonsense. Wind towers have a very bad effect on health of people and animals in their path, let alone the birds they kill and presumably insects. Could a case be raised that wind towers are destroying diversity?

  91. osopolitico says:

    It is obvious that the solution to the use of renewables is the law. At present the necessary laws are not in place. Legislatures can and do change laws. Write your congress-critters and demand the the 2nd law of thermodynamics be changed in order that the production of energy for nothing is permitted.

  92. DirkH says:

    Another remark
    “Renewable energy could fully power a large electric grid 99.9 percent of the time by 2030 ”

    Even if it worked this would cover only about one seventh of the ENERGY needs of a develop country, at least that’s the ratio for Germany, as three seventh of ENERGY needs are for heating and three seventh are for (currently non-electrically driven) transport needs. (Electricity for trains is of course part of the one seventh electricity in our energy mix.)

  93. Chris Wright says:

    Hang on a minute. A couple of weeks ago, on the BBC Today program, a representative of Renewables UK stated that in the UK renewables were generating just under 10%
    So wind power is generating just under 10% That’s impressive.
    For anyone who might doubt that figure (some horrible sceptics who actually look at the data might say the real figure is closer to 2%), there’s an obvious answer:
    Surely, no one would tell lies on the BBC.
    Would they?

  94. tty says:

    ” we can run an electric system that today would meeting a need of 72 GW… using 17 GW of solar, 68 GW of offshore wind, and 115 GW of inland wind,” said co-author Cory Budischak, instructor in the Energy Management Department at Delaware Technical Community College and former UD student.”

    Here in Sweden we on average get a duty cycle of about 11 % for solar, 20 % for inland wind and 30 % for offshore wind, so those 200 GW would on average produce about 45 GW, not 72 GW.
    If we very optimistically count on 30 % for solar (located in Arizona presumably) that means that 183 GW of wind must on average produce 67 GW. 67/183 = 37 % which is unheard of for inland locations and very good for an offshore installation (based on actual production figures, not computer models).

  95. geoff says:

    I have spoken to Willett about their wind tower at the Univ of Del. Here is a website that shows the power output of the turbine. http://www.ceoe.udel.edu/lewesturbine/

  96. DirkH says:

    templedelamour says:
    December 11, 2012 at 1:33 am
    “I’m also an optimization kind of guy, loved OR at Uni and used it occasionally professionally so perhaps one thing to take away from this article is that we could perhaps minimize energy costs significantly if we can implement mass energy storage systems, irrespective of the generation methods and that in principle would be a good thing.”

    I’d be the first to invest in a commercial operator of such a system who basically exploits the newly introduced unreliability of an electrical system half-destroyed by political meddling. Never let a crisis go to waste! Of course there is a rather big political risk – people might actually elect a sane government that stops subsidizing unreliable energy sources and lets the market decide about the price. In such a case, a wind or solar kWh would be priced at nearly zero while a reliable base load kWh would be about as expensive as today, at least on average.

    In a market, wind and solar have the huge problem that nearly all the contraptions deliver at the same time irrespective of demand. Driving the price to zero and even into negative when the grid is close to overload.

    So the operator of a storage could exploit that. Oh, here’s another HUGE political risk: An Obama/Chavez style caudillo might decide that the storage operator is ripping off the poor masses and go into socialist shakedown mode.

    So… We have political risk from sanity and political risk from the environmental/marxist side … maybe I’d take a pass on the investment.

  97. Speed says:

    “Renewable energy could fully power a large electric grid 99.9 percent of the time by 2030″

    Availability is usually expressed as a percentage of uptime in a given year. The following [ ... ] shows the downtime that will be allowed for a particular percentage of availability, presuming that the system is required to operate continuously.
    99.9% (“three nines”)
    8.76 hours per year
    43.8 minutes per month
    10.1 minutes per week

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_availability
    And those would not be scheduled outages but would come just as you were getting the kids ready for school or during a conference call with your sales team or while you are getting Thanksgiving dinner on the table.

  98. Joe Public says:

    I followed your link Anthony, “…. according to new research by the University of Delaware and Delaware Technical Community College.”

    There’s just a single error.

    Their date is out by 31 days. “Journal of Power Sources – Volume 225, 1 March 2013, Pages 60–74″

  99. MattS says:

    @Crosspatch

    Your original comment: “While it is an increase of 8% share, it is an increase of 135% in power output.”

    Yes, the increase in raw output is 135%, but the increase in share is 40%.

  100. richardscourtney says:

    Friends:

    One basic flaw with the discussed ‘analysis’ has not been mentioned; i.e.
    if the suggested energy storage system existed then it would be being used.

    A grid operator has to match electricity supply to the grid with demand for electricity from the grid. Too little power on the grid and lights go off: too much power on the grid and grid components are damaged so lights go off.

    Electricity is wanted all the time but demand varies from minute to minute, hour to hour, day to day, and month to month.

    Hence, many power stations are needed to provide power when demand is higher than average.

    The suggested energy storage system would remove need for about a third of power stations supplying to a grid. Reduction of a third of the power stations would be an immense saving.

    Richard

  101. johanna says:

    Tanks of hydrogen?

    I would happily co-exist with a modern nuclear power plant in my suburb, but tanks of hydrogen would see me gettin’ out of Dodge.

    As for the putting the thumb on the sales by citing the alleged negative effects of fossil fuels – any chance that they also added in the positives? Like, for instance, that there is not only an ambulance or car to transport you and yours in an emergency, but that there is a functioning hospital at the other end?

    Thought not.

  102. Bob Koss says:

    The Bonneville Power Administration in the Pacific northwest US has a 4700 mw wind system for which they provide a couple near real time graphs and also spreadsheets of past years of wind data.
    http://transmission.bpa.gov/business/operations/Wind/default.aspx

    They only produce 50% or more of rated capacity 25% of the time, while 33% of the time they produce 10% or less of their capacity.

  103. Jeff says:

    Um…
    “generating more electricity than needed during average hours” (and presumably storing it, somehow”) “in order to meet needs on high-demand but low-wind power hours” versus “storing excess power for later high demand.”
    Aren’t these basically the same thing?

  104. Stephen Richards says:

    Storage, storage, storage. Renewable energies are useless without storage. Instead of paying all these greenie crooks $billions to put up monstrous and useless towers we should be concentrating our efforts on storage and distribution. Hydrogen is not a solution it’s a problem.

  105. Stephen Richards says:

    geoff says:
    December 11, 2012 at 3:34 am

    I have spoken to Willett about their wind tower at the Univ of Del. Here is a website that shows the power output of the turbine. http://www.ceoe.udel.edu/lewesturbine/

    Irelevent, but quite interesting. 18mph wind (about the optimum), 1.4 Mw instead of rated 2Mw. Without storage it still has the same old problem.

  106. tty says:

    I have spoken to Willett about their wind tower at the Univ of Del. Here is a website that shows the power output of the turbine. http://www.ceoe.udel.edu/lewesturbine/

    I followed the link. Windspeed 25 m.p.h. Power production: 0 kW. A few minutes later 18 m.p.h. 1263.3 kW, another minute later 27 m.p.h. 1,7 kW, one more minute 22 mph 0 kW, a few more minutes 20 m.p.h and 1148 kW.

    It’s either extremely erratic, or cuts out at about 20 m.p.h. wind, or the link is a fake. Hardly much of a confidence builder for wind power.

    Oh, now it’s 20 mph and 1589 kW, and with the same rotation speed 16.7 rpm! I guess that lightning strike must have messed up the electronics pretty badly.

  107. Joe Public says:

    richardscourtney @ December 11, 2012 at 4:59 am

    Agreed – low-cost, efficient & effective Storage is hugely beneficial.

    So why did he authors have to be paid to search “28 billion combinations of renewable energy sources and storage mechanisms” to arrive at your obvious conclusion?

  108. Chuck Nolan says:

    MattS says:
    December 10, 2012 at 8:28 pm
    @joshv,

    “I am just not seeing where they account for the cost of building this infrastructure out. Also, not sure how they account for transmission costs and building the grid required to move the power from where the wind is blowing/sun is shining, to where it isn’t.”

    Forget the cost. Even if you assume zero cost, how are we supposed to build out that much infrastructure in 18 years?
    ————————–
    You’re right. The Sierra Club and WWF will still be fighting their first appeal in 18 years. They’ll never give up control of that much land in a short 18 years.
    cn

  109. NoAstronomer says:

    Batteries!?! The University of Delaware is seriously proposing that we can run the northeast United States on batteries!?!

  110. John Mason says:

    But, their computer model says it’ll all work!

    I wonder how their model hindcasts real life experience in Spain and Germany?

  111. Dr. John M. Ware says:

    Here in Virginia we are watching (and dreading) the possibility of having a wind farm installed many miles out to sea. My question is this: What happens to these windmills when hit or near-missed by a hurricane? Do they withstand it, or do they start shedding blades and falling over? How do they get fixed, and what happens to the fragments? (Oh, yes, that is more than one question; I haven’t even addressed the bird casualties or any possible problems in shipping lanes.)

  112. Gail Combs says:

    If that is what the University of Delaware thinks then let them DEMONSTRATE IT! Let them get off the grid and use ‘A well-designed combination of wind power, solar power and storage in batteries and fuel cells’ and only that for the complete energy needs of the university buildings and dorms.

    I am sick to death of the “civilization powered by Unicorn farts’ studies from these ivory tower types. If that is what they and the politicians think then it is about time they lead BY EXAMPLE!

  113. Gail Combs says:

    A.D. Everard says: @ December 10, 2012 at 6:50 pm
    By the way, I liked the picture of the exploding windmill. Can we have some more of those, please? I’d really love to lay my hands on a bazooka….
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    No need link

  114. David A. Evans says:

    Between 14:00 and 14:30 GMT, the output of our, (UK), 5,301Mw of metered wind capacity was…
    88Mw

    DaveE.

  115. Gail Combs says:

    mbw says:
    December 10, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    A person with no training in energy production – who has not even read the actual study – thinks it sounds funny. He then posts some irrelevant but colorful charts. What should we conclude from this?
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    That he can see Bovine Feces when he reads it.

    You make the mistake of thinking that Anthony has not ever looked into renewables before seeing this study.

    Here are the articles on just windpower (35)

  116. Today is the coldest day in the UK so far this year. A quick check of national grid demand at 2.30pm showed 50.7GW. Of this 23.1GW was supplied by coal fired generators, 18.5GW by gas fired and 7.8GW by nuclear. Wind power is supplying …. 0.12GW. You have read that correctly: 0.12GW or one quarter of one per cent of the total demand.

  117. Gail Combs says:

    “The study used estimates of technology costs in 2030 without government subsidies, comparing them to costs of fossil fuel generation in wide use today. The cost of fossil fuels includes both the fuel cost itself and the documented external costs such as human health effects caused by power plant air pollution. “

    Are they taking into account the very real pollution from Rare Earth mining in China?

    Rare-earth mining in China comes at a heavy cost for local villages: Pollution is poisoning the farms and villages of the region that processes the precious minerals

    …they have become a significant trade issue with China, which mines 95 to 97 percent of the world’s supply. Efforts to find alternative supplies have been complicated by the pollution that rare earth mining and processing creates — a factor generally overlooked by China’s producers.

    Are Rare Earth Minerals Too Costly for Environment?

    Situation and Policies of China’s Rare Earth Industry Information Office of the State Council: The People’s Republic of China, June 2012, Beijing
    …There are so many mines scattering over a large area that , it is difficult and costly to monitor their operation. As a result, illegal mining has severely depleted local resources, and mines rich in reserves and easy to exploit are were favored over the others, resulting in a low . Also, the recovery rate of the rare -earth resources is relatively low. Less that 50 percent of such resources are recovered in ion-absorption rare -earth mines in Southern China, and only ten percent of the Baotou reserves are dressed ore is selected and utilized-for use.

    Severe damage to the ecological environment.
    Outdated production processes and techniques in the mining, selecting dressing, smelting and separating of rare -earth ores have severely damaged surface vegetation, caused water loss, soil erosion, , pollution,, and acidification, and reduced or even eliminated food crop output. In the past, the outmoded tank leaching and heap leaching techniques were employed at ion-absorption middle and heavy rare -earth mines, creating 2,000 tons of tailings for the production of every ton of REO (rare earth oxide). Although the more advanced in-situ leaching method has been widely adopted, large quantities of ammonium nitrogen, heavy metal and other pollutants are being produced, resulting in the destruction of vegetation and severe pollution of surface water, ground water and farmland. Light -rare -earth mines usually contain many associated metals, and large quantities of toxic and hazardous gases, waste water with high concentration of ammonium nitrogen and radioactive residues are generated during the processes of smelting and separating. In some places, the excessive rare earth mining exploitation of rare earth ores has resulted in landslides, clogged rivers, environmental pollution emergencies, and even major accidents and disasters, causing great damage to people’s safety and health, and the ecological environment. At the same time, the restoration and improvement of the environment has also heavily burdened some rare -earth production areas….

  118. Gail Combs says:

    crosspatch says:
    December 10, 2012 at 8:17 pm

    Has anyone documented the external cost of windmills? ….
    _________________________
    Yes
    WIND POWER FRAUD: WHY WIND WON’T WORK by Charles S. Opalek, PE

    “…Wind turbines have an embarrassingly low Energy Returned On Energy Invested value of 0.29. The manufacture, installation and operation of wind power facilities will consume more than 3 times the energy they will ever produce….”

  119. beng says:

    That “study” is pure worm-excrement.

  120. atheok says:

    @E.M. Smith …”So as the Green Dream / Nightmare hits, a lot of folks will start ‘rolling their own’ with natural gas and Diesel…”

    Normally I think your posts here and at your website thoughtful and rational. However, I’m not sure what you’re commenting on regarding my post; maybe you don’t think “inland wind” is as silly as it sounds, but I sure do. And yes, I’ve driven by several large farms of turbines, including California’s. Funny, they were all set up where it is windy. As another poster mentioned, the Eastern coastal plain can not count on nor depend on wind. Not just Delaware, but up and down the entire Eastern seaboard. The Gulf Coastal area is just as windless. Perhaps you wouldn’t mind installing the extra turbines for us in your neighborhood?

    Where I live is rural. Not only is it NOT served by natural gas; but I’ve checked and there are currently no plans by either our local governments (County or State), nor our Utility Services for extending the Natural Gas pipes anywhere near us. Otherwise I would’ve installed natural gas equipment already including a generator sized for my house. Power outages are regular here, but unlike the big cities, we’re not likely to get rapid response. We set up the camp gear for cooking and lights in minutes, practice helps.

    Diesel? So, how large a tank would I need to install? It used to be easy to install a tank in one’s basement for fuel oil. It is not easy anymore, nor is my basement set up for access by a tanker.

    So what’s next? Buying that generator and just hoofing the fuel to it every day from cans I’ve got to fill at the diesel station? Well, the generator sizes you suggested are too small. Those little and cheaper generators are not expected to be used continuously nor for running big power consumption machines. If they are, they wear out quickly and need frequent replacement. My place uses those silly things called heat pumps. I also have a wood stove and used it religiously until health issues bit into the ability to hoof wood in every day, six times a day during cold periods. Plus I run a well pump. 3KW isn’t big enough for daily use. Not even close.

    “geoff says:
    December 11, 2012 at 3:34 am
    I have spoken to Willett about their wind tower at the Univ of Del. Here is a website that shows the power output of the turbine.”

    Pretty page. Useless, but pretty. No current power generation, wind speed 22mph, no long term data, no costs whether maintenance or installation. No data files or charts of power nor wind. Maybe it’s there somewhere… Or they could be trying for honesty.

  121. Gail Combs says:

    Well the Navy ran the experiment.

    DOD Green Energy Project to Pay Off in 447 Years
    n a mind-boggling example of government waste, it will take the U.S. Navy an astounding 447 years to benefit from a costly green-energy project that’s supposed to save money by lowering utility bills….

    More than $335 million in stimulus money has been allocated for renewable power projects at military bases…. The story focuses on a massive new solar energy project at the Norfolk Navy Base.

    It cost American taxpayers $21 million, features more than 8,600 solar panels and spans 10 acres. Here comes the good part; the monstrous solar energy project, by far the largest in Virginia, can only generate about 2% of the electricity required to operate the Norfolk Navy base….

    The same Naval station was blasted by the Pentagon Inspector General last year for its handling of $1 million in solar and lighting enhancements. The changes are supposed to save enough money via lower utility bills to make the investment worth it, but it will take nearly 4 ½ centuries for this particular experiment to pay off!…

    ….There seems to be no end in sight to this outrageous squandering of taxpayer dollars to make military bases more environmentally friendly. Just a few weeks ago a Senate report (“Department of Everything”) focusing on wasteful DOD projects revealed that the agency burned $700 million on “duplicative and unnecessary alternative energy” projects.

  122. harrywr2 says:

    From the full article

    The cost of fossil fuels includes both the fuel cost itself and the documented external costs such as human health effects caused by power plant air pollution.

    There are plenty of ‘studies’ that have extremely high externalized cost estimates. Externalize cost estimates are the easiest things to fudge. I.E. Every case of cancer, lung disease, asthma etc is ’caused’ by fossil fuel burning.

  123. outtheback says:

    In business there is this equation that is relevant 99.9% of the time.
    “Any project (product to market, whatever) will cost twice as much, takes twice as long and generates half the expected income then what the initial marketing proposal for the project states.”
    So as long as that is kept in mind and factored into the whole thing who knows what might happen.
    I don’t think that it is realistic to expect those working on that project to look at it like that.
    When I was 21 I did not care much about cash flow, future earnings, replacement costs and the like either so why should I expect an engineering student to consider these things.
    I am not suggesting that the scholars working on this project are of that age any longer, just the students formulating and running the computer models.

    So now there are no health problems relating to green energy.
    A question to these young engineering students.
    Why don’t the Australians want to process the rare earth ( for the wind mill magnets) they wish to mine in West Australia in their own country (value added) but propose to do that in Thailand ( if I remember correct, it could be Vietnam), and why don’t the people where this processing plant is proposed to be built want it there?
    Could it have anything to do with chemical sludge ponds and radioactive waste?
    Are these health problems related to this:
    a) perceived only (in the eyes of the greens)
    b) real ( in the eyes of the fossil fuel lobby)
    and if so how come the groups relating to a and b are reversed when it comes to fracking.

    But what is correct I guess is that once that mill churns away 50 miles from where you live in Europe or North America the health effects on yourself will be quite minimal.
    (Except when the wind does not blow at night and it is minus 25 C outside, put another log on the fire honey, I am cold).

    I love my wood stove in winter, the only thing we need and use to stay warm.
    Biomass we call it and our green acquaintances all smile.
    So long as everyone is happy.

  124. Wijnand says:

    STORAGE?

    The people who still believe we can store the needs of an industrialized society in lakes or behind dams need to hear this:

    The Three Gorges Dam in China (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Gorges_Dam) is one of the biggest dams for power storage in the world, and cost 18,500 Billion euros (!!!).
    It produces on paper 80 TerraWatthour = 288 Peta Joule.
    The Netherlands (small industrialized country with 16 million people) uses yearly 3,492 PetaJ. (http://www.compendiumvoordeleefomgeving.nl/indicatoren/nl0201-energiebalans-Nederland-(stroomdiagram).html?i=6-40)
    If you would want to be able to store all of that you would need 12 Three Gorges dams.
    If (a very BIG IF) in my totally flat little country it would be possible to create a lake of 632 km2 with an elevation difference of 110 meters (LOL), twelve of these would take up 22% of the total area of the Netherlands…

    Dream on….

  125. Gail Combs says:

    John F. Hultquist says:
    December 10, 2012 at 9:53 pm

    Mention is made of hydrogen tanks and using hydrogen for storage…..
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    I freaked a little when I saw that too. Nothing like having a tank of hydrogen blow and take out a concrete wall to give you a healthy respect for the stuff.

    Electricity + Hydrogen ???? No where near me thank you very much.

    The same goes for CO2 sequestering. Another very dangerous idea. I rather deal with fracking.

  126. MarkW says:

    Just how many mega tons of batteries would one need to buy in order to buffer the output of wind and solar? Not to mention the fact that you would need something like 10 times as much wind power generation to cover the fact that it is reliably available less than 10% of the time. And that’s before considering the not inconsiderable losses from charging and discharging those same batteries.
    The idea that wind and solar will ever be able to cost effectively replace fossil fuels is so laughable that only a liberal could ever believe it.

  127. crosspatch says:

    “Where I live is rural. Not only is it NOT served by natural gas”

    Sure it is, just not by pipe. You should be able to get CNG delivered by truck. Maybe even LNG. I think E.M. Smith might have been talking about people making their own such as “wood gas”.

  128. Mark C says:

    Hmmm. If we assume their generation numbers, that’s ~36,000 five-megawatt turbines. A Phillips Electric study at http://www.phillipselectric.com/pdf/WTG_NREL-Wind-Turbine-Design-Costs-Model-2005.pdf quotes an installation cost of about $1200 per kW of generation capacity (2005 numbers, a 1.5 MW turbine as a baseline). So 36000 turbines * 5000 kW * $1153/kW works out to about $207 billion.

    The $1153/kW is for land-based turbines. Shallow-water installed costs are about 2x that.

    Someone could work up current cost figures, but I can’t see how it’d be substantially cheaper.

    That’s a bunch of money to chop birds.

  129. Gail Combs says:

    sophocles says:
    December 11, 2012 at 1:45 am

    Hydrogen TANKS? Ah. Does this mean for long term storage?

    I may be operating under a misconception—or even three.
    However, it is my understanding hydrogen is one of the, if
    not *the*, most difficult substances to contain in any container….
    ________________________________
    Got it in one. The stuff is a royal B…ch to keep from leaking. You are talking one electron and a proton, the smallest atom there is.

    Oh, and do not forget the stuff is very flammable. link

  130. crosspatch says:

    The problem we have with wind and solar is that when that power is most abundant, a good portion of it is switched out of the grid because it is too disruptive. There have been several times when “alternative” energy has had to be dumped from the grid because there is simply too much of it in a location to be effectively used by the grid. We tend to get a lot of it when we don’t need it and not enough when we do.

    If you will scroll halfway down this page, you will see the current production in California of “renewables”. http://www.caiso.com/outlook/SystemStatus.html

    We are, as I type this, getting about 400 Mw of power from solar and 100 Mw from wind, statewide. How much did all of that wind and solar cost to install and connect? That single 500 Mw plant in Riverside is currently generating as much power as all the wind and solar in the state. The previous day’s production is available here:

    http://content.caiso.com/green/renewrpt/DailyRenewablesWatch.pdf

    So yesterday we saw peak wind production of 262Mw and peak solar of 891 mW (pv + thermal) so the two combined produced about as much power as the Moss Landing power plant. So the entire installed base of wind and solar in California produced about the output of a single conventional power plant for about 6 hours time and much less for the other 18 hours. This is what we call in my family a “huge waste of money”.

  131. Jim G says:

    Jim G says:
    December 10, 2012 at 9:01 pm
    “I read a great article on Spice modeling of RF circuits.
    The spice program made an assumption that a resistor and capacitor were not necessary.
    Once included by an override, it then worked.

    One of the commentors remarked about a quote from his boss.
    “All models are wrong. Some are useful.”

    Since the engineering and physical sciences need to back up models by hard data from prototypes, why don’t the climate sciences need to validate their models?”

    Though I do not have a problem with your post, I do have a problem with your name as I am Jim G and you are not me.

    Regards,

    The Original Jim G

    PS So how do we work this out? Pistols are my preference as swords are slow and painfull.

  132. Gail Combs says:

    osopolitico says:
    December 11, 2012 at 3:09 am

    It is obvious that the solution to the use of renewables is the law. At present the necessary laws are not in place. Legislatures can and do change laws. Write your congress-critters and demand the the 2nd law of thermodynamics be changed in order that the production of energy for nothing is permitted.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    It has already been done!

    Second Law of Thermodynamics Held Unconstitutional

    A deeply divided Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, held the Second Law of Thermodynamics to be unconstitutional. In a decision released Monday the 4th of July, the first time the court has ever met on the nation’s birthday, the court ruled that the law violated the due process section of the 5th amendment. The case (ACLU v. Cal Tech) was originally heard in federal district court in San Francisco where the law was first held unconstitutional; this ruling was upheld by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

    Justice Kennedy writing for the majority said that it was intrinsically unfair for systems to run downhill regardless of whether or not the system was closed. The display of the law in any public building, meeting place, or place of public accommodation was enjoined. Specifically, mention of Rudolf Clausius or entropy was likewise proscribed. Congress was held not to have the power to reenact the law. Observers of the court said that the only way for the law to be reestablished was to amend the Constitution. A Gallup poll found that 47% of registered voters were against such an amendment, 10% were in favor, while the remainder had no opinion or thought that the matter should be left to the states.

    Justice Scalia in a sharply worded dissent wrote that the law had been around since 1850 and there was no reason for the court suddenly interdict it after more than a century and a half. He found no evidence that Founding Fathers originally held any opinion that would lead a court acting two centuries hence to intervene. He further wrote that the states if they chose could repeal the law, but that the federal judiciary should stay out of the elementary laws of physics.

    The court refused comment on whether it would review the other two laws of thermodynamics….

    GOTTCHA snicker

    Of course after Indiana House Bill No. 246, 1897, known as the Indiana pi bill one never knows what type of idiocy politicians will try to pass.

  133. Stephan says:

    The only real power storage solution that I know that actually works is by the Kinzua dam in PA. The blew the top off of a mountain, and use the hole to hold water that they pump uphill during the night, then let flow back into the resevoir during the day to supply the peak power without draining the whole lake.

  134. Gail Combs says:

    geoff says:
    December 11, 2012 at 3:34 am

    I have spoken to Willett about their wind tower at the Univ of Del…..
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    I love it here is what they have up now:

    Current Turbine Conditions

    Wind speed: 22 mph

    Wind direction: N

    Rotor rotational speed: 0.3 rpm

    Power output: 0.0 kW
    ———————————————

  135. Who is Richard Windsor? says:

    In addition to all of the other problems, a more tightly integrated grid means more vulnerability to EMP and solar storms. Not good strategic thinking.

  136. Gail Combs says:

    Craig Moore says:
    December 11, 2012 at 7:51 am

    Keep an eye on Zinc Air Redox. http://www.dailyinterlake.com/news/local_montana/article_300b4784-bb06-11e0-8066-001cc4c03286.html
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Or it could be just another rip-off like Maurice Strong and Al Gore set-up with Molten Metal Technology

  137. Sonja A Boehmer-Christiansen says:

    Dear Anthony, Don’t laugh too loudly too early, but have a look at the history of innovation and how much was considered impossible or funny at the time.

    It may even be time for sceptics to concentrate more on the science rather than energy policy (here the battle may well be lost); and give up laughing at technological change as pursued in the ‘North’. The main drivers of this in my mind, are innovation and security, not science. The latter was mainly, for the real policy-makers, (who are??) a plausible and fashionable excuse to away with the transfer of wealth away from current consumers. Sonja

    e.g.

    · Yet-Ming Chiang of MIT got an innovation award for improving the performance of lithium-ion batteries. (The Economist Technology Quarterly Dec.1 )

    · The greatest potential (for innovation in energy) ,’lies in storage’, an area attracting a serious entrepreneurial interest.’ Intermittency still bedevils renewable energy..’ (FT.com Ingenuity 6 Dec.)

    Solar Energy: TÜV Rheinland Involved in Construction of World’s First Commercial Fresnel Solar Power Plant as an Independent Certifier
    Construction of the solar thermal power plant Puerta Errado 2 / Quality inspections and acceptance tests
    Cologne/Calasparra, Spain, November 15, 2012. TÜV Rheinland accompanied the construction of the first commercial solar thermal power plant, Puerto Errado 2 in Spain, as a neutral certifier. On behalf of the general contractor Novatec and the client Tubo Sol PE2, the testing service provider’s specialists examined all phases of construction of the power plant as an independent certifier and accompanied the relevant quality inspections until the plant was commissioned. “Through our monitoring activities, we helped to recognize and tackle potential challenges at an early stage,” says Thomas Stüber of TÜV Rheinland. Their neutral status enabled the specialists of the world’s leading testing service provider in the solar industry to mediate successfully between the companies involved when there were differences of opinion. A TÜV Rheinland team will accompany the project for one more year up until the final tests.

    The solar thermal power plant Puerto Errado 2 is based on what is known as Fresnel collector technology, in which steam is extracted via a collector array for energy production. The solar steam generator deployed has a mirror surface of more than 300,000 square meters. The power plant produces up to 50 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year and will cover the needs of more than 12,000 households in Spain
    [NB: This may not involve storage..}

    ….Across the world, well over 500 manufacturers of photovoltaic products are customers of the independent testing service provider, TÜV Rheinland. Not only are the specialists involved in testing modules and components – they are also developing new test methods, collaborating on R&D projects for the use of solar energy, and assisting customers worldwide with the construction of solar power plants. More information about test programs for photovoltaic components can be found at http://www.tuv.com/en/media-solar
    _________________________________________________________________________

  138. Gail Combs says:

    Wijnand says:
    December 11, 2012 at 8:07 am

    STORAGE?

    The people who still believe we can store the needs of an industrialized society in lakes or behind dams need to hear this….
    _________________________________
    The USA has the Appalachian Mtns. running from Maine to Florida along the east coast. Highest peak of 6,684 ft (2,037 m) and Length of 1,500 mi (2,400 km)

    The Rocky Mountains in the west have a highest peak of 14,440 ft (4,400 m) and a length of 3,000 mi (4,800 km) They run from Canada to New Mexico. The Rockies vary in width from 70 to 300 miles. There is also the The Sierra Nevadas in California, and the Cascades in the North West MAP

    Elevation and valleys for potential storage are not a problem in the USA. What IS the problem is the Sierra Club and other Greenies screaming bloody murder if anyone THINKS about building a dam. Heck we have plenty of potential for hydro-power but instead the Greenies are pushing politicians into Removing Dams and Restoring Rivers.

    The insanity factor is really incredible now a days. The only goal that I can see that makes any sense is the deliberate destruction of Western Civilization so THEIR idea of Utopia can be implemented. Unfortunately they do not have the scientific or engineering background to do anything but kill off civilization.

  139. Craig Moore says:

    Gail Combs, I believe the Zinc Air Redox approach was developed with DoD money with the basic research work at Lawrence Livermore.

  140. MattS says:

    @crosspatch,

    I live in Wisconsin. I don’t know about other areas of the country but here in rural communites where home delivery of gas for cooking/heating is needed what you get is LP (liquified propane) not either CNG or LNG. Natural Gas is prmarily methane.

  141. MattS says:

    @Chuck Nolan,

    “You’re right. The Sierra Club and WWF will still be fighting their first appeal in 18 years. They’ll never give up control of that much land in a short 18 years.”

    Even if you could get the environmentalist groups out of the way and break ground tomorrow building that much infratructure in just 18 years would still be impossible.

  142. Craig Moore says:

    Gail Combs, we’ll see. I believe the Zinc Air REdox approach was developed with DoD money at Lawrence Livermore.

  143. Gail Combs says:

    Jim G says:
    December 11, 2012 at 9:09 am

    Since the engineering and physical sciences need to back up models by hard data from prototypes, why don’t the climate sciences need to validate their models?”
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Politics

  144. Zeke says:

    I can see how some people are not going to be very happy with this report because the “engineers” failed to model the enormous unseen cost of the loss of the productivity and enjoyment of the present system – the regional grids, plants, coal, meters, and appliances already in use and working efficiently.

  145. Cam_S says:

    In the Financial Post, a commentary about subsidies for renewable energy businesses and electric cars.

    Obama’s Fisker cliff
    http://opinion.financialpost.com/2012/12/10/terence-corcoran-obamas-fisker-cliff/

  146. @E.M.Smith: make Texas look like a wasteland of Three Armed Bandits

    I’m going to make use of that. My guess is that General Electric uses this as a business model:

    Sucker at card table: Is this a game of chance?
    WCFields: Not the way I play it, no.
    - from My Little Chickadee

    And this from the guy who builds the “Three Armed Bandits”.

    Really, the one thing that actually works, state run communism may not be your cup of tea, but [China's] government works.” – Jeffry Immelt, GE CEO & Head of Obama’s Job Council Dec. 10, 2012

    “Does Communism work?”
    Immelt: “The way I play it, it works for me.”

  147. Fred2 says:

    Another one of those studies which, while probably well intentioned, obviously didn’t have an actual power systems engineer involved.

    I know two very experienced and open minded ones, the kind of guys who could & do design and cost out regional level power grids, and have _decades_ of experience with this stuff, and if you ask them the answer is unless ” magic” happens renewable energy is a complete and utter waste of time for anything but highly local situations.

    They don’t mind it, but it’s just irrelevant economically looney noise on the outskirts of reality for them. They know that the uptime goal is 100%, that you need safety margins for peak loads, and that a couple of cents per kwh makes a HUGE difference on the economical viability of your economy. They also know when their grids fail people start dieing and the economy sputters.

    Their dislike of simplistic and stupid studies like this , well, “scathing” doesn’t being to cover it.

    As one of them said: “Letting non-professionals get involved in the power grid is like giving the keys to the family car and a bottle of whiskey to a 14 year old boy and his pals. If the renewables were viable, we’d adopt them by the train-load and build them so fast your head would spin.”

  148. John Trigge (in Oz) says:

    NoAstronomer says:
    December 11, 2012 at 6:02 am

    Batteries!?! The University of Delaware is seriously proposing that we can run the northeast United States on batteries!?!

    Using one extremely large Energiser bunny ……

  149. Gail Combs says:
    December 11, 2012 at 6:43 am
    If that is what the University of Delaware thinks then let them DEMONSTRATE IT!

    Maybe California would sign up to be the guinea pig.

  150. No Name Guy says:

    “Willett Kempton, professor in the School of Marine Science and Policy in UD’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment. ”

    As a previous commenter noted, there lies the problem. The clown, uh, I mean author, isn’t an engineer. Willie boy….how about you go back to playing with fish, m-kay, and leave the solving of engineering problems to the engineers.

  151. Jimbo says:

    The cost of fossil fuels includes both the fuel cost itself and the documented external costs such as human health effects…..

    What about the wildlife? Someone call the WWF.

  152. ntesdorf says:

    Fairy-Tales have always been very popular reading. The older ones had some sort of moral basis too.

  153. Dizzy Ringo says:

    Today 11 Dec is cold in the UK and it’s going to be pretty cold tonight. The current supply of electricity includes coal 46.3% of total and wind power 0.6% of total.

    Which underlines the versionof the Christmas Carol found in the pages of an engineering journal -

    See amid the winter’s snow
    Temperature is 5 below
    With no power it’s such a pain
    Wretched windmill’s stopped again…..

  154. PaddikJ says:

    The researchers found that generating more electricity than needed during average hours — in order to meet needs on high-demand but low-wind power hours — would be cheaper than storing excess power for later high demand.

    Am I the only one who thinks this statement is literal non-sense? If they’re generating more than needed, what the hell are they doing with the excess if they’re not storing it?

    About the pie-chart: Interesting that the only two segments of renewable energies that get above 1% are Hydropower at 3.34%, and Biomass at 11.44%. While hydropower is, strictly speaking, a renewable, it has been a conventional energy source for well over hundred years and has large enviornmental consequences. Ditto for Biomass sources – extremely dirty & destructive.

  155. MattS says:

    @PaddikJ

    “Am I the only one who thinks this statement is literal non-sense? If they’re generating more than needed, what the hell are they doing with the excess if they’re not storing it?”

    Excelent point, the energy has to go somewhere. Hmm, there is a word that comes to mind “BOOM”.

  156. Gail Combs says:

    Sonja A Boehmer-Christiansen says:
    December 11, 2012 at 9:55 am

    Dear Anthony, Don’t laugh too loudly too early, but have a look at the history of innovation and how much was considered impossible or funny at the time.
    _________________________________
    Solar and wind have both been around for over one hundred years. They are not NEW by any means. Heck my boyfriend in 1970 was selling commercially made solar panels. So the innovation and engineering has mostly been done unless we get a real break though. Solar is about the same age as the car and lets face it a 1970′s car is not that much different than one now except my 1976 V8 olds got a heck of a lot better gas mileage compared to my 1997 V6 Ford!

    The one fact the Greenies can not get around is energy density. Petrochemicals and nuclear are energy dense, wind and solar are not and therefore there is a major limit to how much energy can be extracted from an X by X foot print on the earth’s surface. The other problem of course is both are highly intermittent.

    We, as a civilization, are much better off pursuing Thorium Nuclear since the proof of design prototype was already run. ORNL successfully built and operated a prototype of an aircraft reactor power plant by creating the world’s first molten salt fueled and cooled reactor called the ARE (Aircraft Reactor Experiment) in 1954. http://ucs.berkeley.edu/energy/tag/flibe-energy/

    It is an incredible waste of time, energy, money and resources to pursue Wind and Solar as anything but niche use energy. I have looked hard and long at various alternate energy sources for my own use and the only one I have found to be reasonable is Geothermal for heating and cooling since I have a nice big pasture to lay the pipes in.

    As far as petrochemicals go, as a chemist I would rather save them for the starting stock of all the wonderful things modern chemistry and engineering makes from them.

  157. David L says:

    I stopped reading at the twelfth use of the word “model”. I usually stop sooner than that, but I’m getting into the Christmas spirit.

  158. Gail Combs says:

    Craig Moore says:
    December 11, 2012 at 10:04 am

    Gail Combs, I believe the Zinc Air Redox approach was developed with DoD money with the basic research work at Lawrence Livermore.
    _______________________________________
    Molten Metal was also financed with DoD money.

    DoD money has finance the following:
    (The 19 asterisked companies have already filed for bankruptcy. The others are near bankruptcy.) 80% of start-ups go belly-up so I would not hold my breath until it is commercially proven. There are a lot of great ideas out there that never ever made it off the shelf.

    1.Evergreen Solar ($25 million)*

    2.SpectraWatt ($500,000)*

    3.Solyndra ($535 million)*

    4.Beacon Power ($43 million)*

    5.Nevada Geothermal ($98.5 million)

    6.SunPower ($1.2 billion)

    7.First Solar ($1.46 billion)

    8.Babcock and Brown ($178 million)

    9.EnerDel’s subsidiary Ener1 ($118.5 million)*

    10.Amonix ($5.9 million)

    11.Fisker Automotive ($529 million)

    12.Abound Solar ($400 million)*

    13.A123 Systems ($279 million)*

    14.Willard and Kelsey Solar Group ($700,981)*

    15.Johnson Controls ($299 million)

    16.Brightsource ($1.6 billion)

    17.ECOtality ($126.2 million)

    18.Raser Technologies ($33 million)*

    19.Energy Conversion Devices ($13.3 million)*

    20.Mountain Plaza, Inc. ($2 million)*

    21.Olsen’s Crop Service and Olsen’s Mills Acquisition Company ($10 million)*

    22.Range Fuels ($80 million)*

    23.Thompson River Power ($6.5 million)*

    24.Stirling Energy Systems ($7 million)*

    25.Azure Dynamics ($5.4 million)*

    26.GreenVolts ($500,000)

    27.Vestas ($50 million)

    28.LG Chem’s subsidiary Compact Power ($151 million)

    29.Nordic Windpower ($16 million)*

    30.Navistar ($39 million)

    31.Satcon ($3 million)*

    32.Konarka Technologies Inc. ($20 million)*

    33.Mascoma Corp. ($100 million)

  159. Gail Combs says:

    Craig Moore says:
    December 11, 2012 at 10:12 am

    Gail Combs, we’ll see. I believe the Zinc Air REdox approach was developed with DoD money at Lawrence Livermore.
    ________________________________
    It still seems to be in development

    ….I also wrote in 2010 on this subject and noted Zinc Air Inc. based in Kalispell, Montana, Their website seems more active now, but not by much with regard to advancements. Zinc Air Inc. has since developed the Zinc Redox flow battery, designed to achieve rapid payback periods while also being the greenest battery technology on the market. This competitive storage solution allows a wind farm to store and shift wind power for flexible use by utility operators….

    In Search of Zinc-air Battery Technology

    Reiterating what I wrote in TorqueNews in Dec. 2010, the main advantage of utilizing zinc-air batteries for vehicle propulsion is still its energy availability, 100 times greater than that of lithium, per unit of battery energy. And that implies greater driving range, not to mention faster recharging….

    According to an article in Machine Design at that time, approximately 35% of the world’s supply, or 1.8 giga-tons of zinc reserves were in the United States, whereas the U.S. held less than 1% of known lithium reserves. This was supported by ev.world.com that reported zinc production ranked fourth in the world, after iron, aluminum and copper.

    Zinc is still plentiful, which is great news; but the technology in a car battery is far from mature. While zinc has been used for many decades in small batteries for instruments and navigation beacons, use as automotive batteries has been nil and relegated to research labs. The primary development effort had been to investigate new approaches to ionic liquids and to overcome some of the problems specific to Zinc-air cells.

    In the form that these electrical cells were typically manufactured, these kind of cells were not usually recharged due to dendrite buildup during the recharging cycle. This resulted in the cell shorting out and not holding a charge when the dendrites connected the anode with the cathode. So, a need for an ionic fluid that repels this condition as well as does not use water is crucial; and one was reported in 2010 in the labs.

    Regardless of the challenges, which are no greater than that of lithium which have a greater end cost, the advantages against the high cost of lithium are undisputed facts that automakers need to consider, especially if they want to sell to the masses in high volume….

    So, in light of 2016 to 2025 goverment mandates toward 54.5 MPG, where are the zinc-air batteries? I wish those who have them in development would start speaking up. Or are they under some insidious industry gag order?

    http://www.torquenews.com/119/will-zinc-air-batteries-ever-replace-lithium-ion-long-range-evs

    So as you said we shall see if it makes it out of the pilot plant.

  160. @Sonja A Boehmer-Christiansen 09:55
    RE: solar thermal power plant Puerto Errado 2
    It does involve storage; a half hour’s worth.

    To evaluate the sanity of Puerto Errado 2, it is necessary for me to convert some of the statistics into common units (per Hayden 2009 APS PPT)
    Size of plant: 300000 m^2 = 74.1 acres
    Annual Gen: 50 million KwH/yr
    2190 solar hrs/year
    Gen per Solar hr: 22.8 MW each solar Hr
    Power density per Solar hr: 310 KW(solar)/acre 6 hrs/day; zero KW 18 hr/day

    raw solar density: 1 KW(Peak)/m2 = 4 MW(peak)/acre
    Plant Efficiency (solar hour): 7.6%
    Tarriff (first 25 yrs) 0.269 Eur/kwh = about US$ 0.32-0.40/kwh
    Plant Turbine Capacity Net: 30 MW
    Carbon Offset: 16,000 tons annually
    Tarrif per Carbon Offset ton: 840.6 Euro/C-ton
    Cost: 160 million Euro
    Base Cost per kw: 7008 Euro/kw (solar peak)

    Compare to:
    Pampa Wind project (4GW) 10 KW(Nameplate)/acre, with 99+% farmland still used.
    Keck Solar 2 tower: 71 KW peak/acre
    And other base costs per kw from:
    Table 8.2
    EIA Electricity Market Module such as
    $3,300/kw for Adv Nuclear,
    $620/kw for Adv Combustion Turbine

  161. Gail Combs says:

    Fred2 says:
    December 11, 2012 at 11:44 am

    Another one of those studies which, while probably well intentioned, obviously didn’t have an actual power systems engineer involved….
    ____________________________________
    Excellent comment Fred. Engineers are nothing if not practical.

  162. Doug Proctor says:

    “The cost of fossil fuels includes both the fuel cost itself and the documented external costs such as human health effects caused by power plant air pollution.”

    Aye, there’s the rub: the “documented external costs”, determined, of course, by computer models based on input levels determined by other computer models.

    I have been involved in many proposals that purport to create net savings though the adoption of new, increased cost-items that reduce downstream costs or “otherwise would be” incurred costs. Only when A directly removes B do these proposals work. The claim to increase efficiency of material use or reduce time of production, evidence of which can only be found by running the cycles, i.e spending more upfront, fail without fail.

    Non-deterministic, i.e. stochastic, proposals to improve life are terrible in that their benefit is so problematic that it is probabilistic. Dumb, dumb, dumb, and ultimately unfalsifiable. Which is why academics and marketing types promote them: make money and never be “wrong”.

    (“Okay, it is more expensive. But it is better/cooler, right?)

  163. timg56 says:

    Guys,

    Don’t sweat this stuff. Just give it a little more time. California is already seeing some major issues coming to the fore that no one bothered to consider in putting renewable mandates into place. Check out today’s article in the LA Times:

    http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-unreliable-power-20121210,0,6250142.story

    I’m sure the zealotry behind green and renewable energy supporters will result in at least some attempt to ignore reality and it being California, they will have some success. But eventually rate payers will revolt and even politicians are not immune to the flight of businesses due to high cost and the associated erosion of their tax base.

    California will be the beacon on the hill. Showing the rest of the nation what happens when you believe you can ignore physical laws and basic financial number crunching in order to legislate your way to an energy policy.

  164. chris y says:

    This report is complete garbage.

    The proposed 200 GW (peak) of wind and solar, installed in the PJM territory, will only generate an average of 53 GW if realistic capacity factors are assumed. This is less than the required 72 GW.

    As someone else pointed out earlier, the cost of energy storage will dwarf the cost of the wind and solar installations.

    It will be fun to see the solar police arresting neighbors for not cutting down their centuries-old trees that violate zoning rules known as ‘shade infringements’ on a homeowner who desires to install panels.

    The renewables still need 100% fossil backup to satisfy power reliability regulations. You cannot finance a fossil plant that will likely operate less than 100 hours per year, unless you charge a huge premium (10X or 100X) for the power delivered.

    Running billions of combinations to see what works is not something to brag about in a report such as this. It exposes a stunning lack of specialist knowledge that would normally be necessary for such a report. It reminds me of the undergraduate student who frantically tries hundreds of different resistor values in their proto-board, trying to stumble on one combination that works well enough to get an acceptable grade. They have no idea what is going on.

  165. KevinK says:

    Chris Y wrote;

    “It reminds me of the undergraduate student who frantically tries hundreds of different resistor values in their proto-board, trying to stumble on one combination that works well enough to get an acceptable grade. They have no idea what is going on.”

    Well, I knew an engineer once that decided that figuring out individual resistor values was just too hard. So he filled his proto-board with “variable resistors” (“pots” in sparky language). This thing had 200 pots on it at least, in a 3 by 5 inch card. He tried to “align” it for a few months and then it went in the trash. Turns out the setting of each pot interacted with all the other pots, you could never know what the heck the gain or offset was through any part of the circuit. Kind of like a climate model…

    Cheers, Kevin.

  166. Graeme No.3 says:

    It is unfortunate that Press Releases like this are taken up as “proof of concept” by those with ‘green minds’ and lead to me unrealistic claims.

    We have a similar group in Australia, also University based, which was called Zero Carbon or some such, which claimed renewables were all we needed. It attracted a certain amount of criticism, largely informed. Now it is more like Nearly Zero Carbon with their latest model claiming that in addition all we had to do was convert all our grain growing areas to bio-fuel production.

    As a Chemist Gail Combs will be interested that they propose transporting the dry stalks etc. to processing plants where the biomass will be anaerobically pyrolysed to liquid. Said liquid(s) will then be piped to gas turbine power stations to cover what the Model suggests would be a few months of deficient renewables. Certain problems suggest themselves to a chemist’s mind. Yields, calorific value, toxicity, corrosiveness etc.

    There are other problems, like counting hydro power twice, having pumped storage running at the same time as hydro generation and “optimistic” guesses as to the likely output by solar towers and wind turbines. The cost is also underestimated at 12-15% of real costs.

    It would be amusing and only slightly irritating if only the gullible didn’t believe it.

  167. Kevin Schurig says:

    I have to ask, just how much dirty electricity went into powering the computer(s) running the model considering the 28 billion combinations?

  168. Tsk Tsk says:

    Jimbo says:
    December 11, 2012 at 2:07 am

    I will take their word for that they are in no way influenced by BIG WIND. Imagine if a paper came out in support of shale gas and its lead author had similar links to the gas industry. There would be howls of “shills” / “under the pay of big gas”.
    ——————————————————————————————–
    Already happened. Look at the fracking report out of Texas that was withdrawn and caused the resignation of a school administrator. The double standard is alive and well.

  169. Tsk Tsk says:

    chris y says:
    December 11, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    This report is complete garbage.

    The renewables still need 100% fossil backup to satisfy power reliability regulations. You cannot finance a fossil plant that will likely operate less than 100 hours per year, unless you charge a huge premium (10X or 100X) for the power delivered.
    ——————————————————————————————-
    That is the point that is really bothering me. How can the cost possibly be comparable when at any moment a significant fraction of the demand might have to be sourced from conventional backup? That means you get to pay for the conventional backup as well as the renewable plant. OK, you get to save some on fuel costs because let’s assume that you only build fast response turbine backup. Still, as you point out, the conventional plant will be very inefficiently operated and depreciated which adds significantly to the overall cost. It just doesn’t make any sense, but I’m not going to waste any more time on it if they expect me to pay $40 to actually fix their work for them.

  170. anengineer says:

    Build that much wind and storage capacity by 2030?

    Got news for you lady — You will be lucky to have finished the court fights to get the permits to start construction of your first units by that time. And then the same people who object to your windmills will fight against the additional transmission lines you need to connect them in hopes that you will give up and build the windmills to supply their power somewhere else.

    What this really needs to work is a dictatorial government agency that can run roughshod over the public ignoring all the laws… Quick, someone page the EPA.

  171. MikeO says:

    Mean while in OZ we have had this for some time http://www.ies.unsw.edu.au/docs/Solar2011-100percent.pdf You all forget the technology to be invented like the perpetual motion machine!

  172. David says:

    Have these bozos the foggiest idea how much STORAGE would be needed..?
    Either batteries or hydrogen – I bet the area is several hundred square MILES….
    Oh, boy – what a terrorist target….

  173. Gail Combs says:

    What they neglect to say is the way this is made to work is with Smart Meters This allows residential electricity to be turned off so the system can be balanced.

    Energy InSight FAQs

    ….Rolling outages are systematic, temporary interruptions of electrical service.
    They are the last step in a progressive series of emergency procedures that ERCOT follows when it detects that there is a shortage of power generation within the Texas electric grid. ERCOT will direct electric transmission and distribution utilities, such as CenterPoint Energy, to begin controlled, rolling outages to bring the supply and demand for electricity back into balance.They generally last 15-45 minutes before being rotated to a different neighborhood to spread the effect of the outage among consumers, which would be the case whether outages are coordinated at the circuit level or individual meter level. Without this safety valve, power generating units could overload and begin shutting down and risk causing a domino effect of a statewide, lengthy outage. With smart meters, CenterPoint Energy is proposing to add a process prior to shutting down whole circuits to conduct a mass turn off of individual meters with 200 amps or less (i.e. residential and small commercial consumers) for 15 or 30 minutes, rotating consumers impacted during that outage as well as possible future outages.

    There are several benefits to consumers of this proposed process. By isolating non-critical service accounts (“critical” accounts include hospitals, police stations, water treatment facilities etc.) and spreading “load shed” to a wider distribution, critical accounts that happen to share the same circuit with non-critical accounts will be less affected in the event of an emergency. Curtailment of other important public safety devices and services such as traffic signals, police and fire stations, and water pumps and sewer lifts may also be avoided.

    So it seems the “Conspiracy Nuts” were correct. Smart meters are installed to allow the shut-off to the little guy without disrupting the big guys. Also you have no choice. It is a done deal and if you do not like it you are cut loose from the grid PERIOD.

    We have Duke Electric and a Smart Meter. Duke is shutting down four coal plants in NC. Duke Energy shut down Buck units 3 and 4 in mid-2011… Duke Energy shut down Dan River coal-fired units in 2012. We just had a 15 min blackout on a bright sunny day. I wondered why we were getting so many more blackouts.

    Smart Meter Deployment <a "Remote meter turn on and off – Smart meters enable Dominion to turn your electric service on and off without having to send an employee to your home or business."

    Don’t want smart meter? Power shut off
    The rollout of smart electric meters across the country has run into a few snags: one woman doesn’t want one, and ended up in the dark as a result.

    You might not think that would be an issue. But it is, because Duke Energy is now beginning to disconnect any homeowner who refuses a new electric meter.

    Other electric companies are not pulling the plug…yet…..

    Several states, including California, Michigan, Maryland, Nevada, Vermont and Maine have passed laws allowing customers to opt out of smart meters, usually by paying a small monthly fee….

    How Smart Meters Work

    Once your meter has been installed, you will be notified when you will have access to BGE’s Smart Energy Manager…

    Can BGE use the smart meter to shut off my electricity?

    In 2013, the smart meters will enable BGE to remotely turn service on and off at customer premises. This feature will be used when customers move out of their current homes and start service elsewhere. This capability was mandated by Maryland’s Public Service Commission in their requirements for smart meters. This cost effective feature eliminates the need for a BGE field visit when customers move or start service. BGE’s policies for situations involving a disconnection will be the same as they were prior to the installation of smart meters. The remote connect feature will also enable BGE to place customers back into service more expeditiously.

    From a NIMBY site

    “Smart” meter planning in the United States is related to the Energy Act of 2007 and administered by the US Dept of Energy, the FCC, and each state’s public utilities commission (PUC). However, in that Act, there was NO mandate to force all residential customers to accept installation of “smart” meters–only that they would be offered….

    Q: Who, then, does the “smart” meter benefit?

    Only the utility companies benefit. The utility can save itself money by getting rid of meter readers. Because the “smart” meter measures hour by hour, the utility can charge you more for electricity used during certain periods of the day of their choosing.

    Their story is that this device will save you money. But there are no studies, no evidence, to back this up. In fact, in the one study done so far (from Canada), customers’ bills went up, not down.
    http://stopsmartmeters.org/frequently-asked-questions/faq-smart-meter-basics/

  174. ed mister jones says:

    That Nuclear was not evaluated for cost effectiveness & etc. tells you just how intellectually polluted were the minds that generated this Magic Beanstalk claptrap.

    Good God, who green-lights these Proclamations?

  175. chris y says:

    Gail Combs-

    “…Smart Meters. This allows residential electricity to be turned off so the system can be balanced.”

    I have advocated for several years now that customers who really really want to experience renewable energy such as wind or solar farms, should have their smart meter toggled on and off in synchrony with the power delivery from the wind farm or solar farm. As an added bonus, they can be charged a premium cost that accurately reflects the true cost of the ‘free’ energy. Smart meters with hourly billing and remote disconnect capability are a major step towards achieving this energy utopia for the green crowd.

    Funny thing, though. The climateers never voice any support for my proposal. Hmmm…..

  176. Steve P says:

    E.M. Smith says:
    December 11, 2012 at 12:03 am

    As I’ve “Lived The Dream” here in California under Gov. Grey (out) Davis [...]then we had a recall election and I didn’t need that any more…

    My impression is that the energy problems in California under Gov. Davis were caused by external manipulation of energy markets.

    But you seem to be implying – please hasten to correct me if I’m jumping to the wrong conclusion – that GD was directly responsible for the energy crisis in California at the time, and getting rid of him solved the problem immediately, I suppose either by the introduction of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s renowned skill in such matters, or by the elimination of Grey Davis and his inept and/or corrupt energy management.

    Perhaps you could explain how the change-over from Davis to Schwarzenegger did the trick.

    “We simply must do everything we can in our power to
    slow down global warming before it is too late.”

    - Arnold Schwarzenegger,
    Governor of California
    ~
    Bumper sticker seen in San Luis Obispo:
    You Idiots!
    ==

  177. george e. smith says:

    “””””…..Gail Combs says:

    December 11, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    Craig Moore says:
    December 11, 2012 at 10:12 am

    Gail Combs, we’ll see. I believe the Zinc Air REdox approach was developed with DoD money at Lawrence Livermore….
    …………………………
    So, in light of 2016 to 2025 goverment mandates toward 54.5 MPG, where are the zinc-air batteries? I wish those who have them in development would start speaking up. Or are they under some insidious industry gag order?…….””””

    Well Gail, I have some news for the EPA and the auto industry about that 54.5 MPG (where did they get that number ?)

    I drive a perfectly ordinary four passenger conventional gasoline powered automobile; a 2012 Subaru Impreza Two Litre hatchback. It is rated at 33 MPG highway.

    The car has an instantaneous reading MPG meter with a needle that shows whether currently above or below the average MPG (since last trip reset), plus a digital readout of Average MPG, Instantaneous MPG, Miles to fillup, overall average MPH.

    I routinely drive at 60 MPH getting well over 50 MPG, and from about 30 MPH around town to 65 MPH on the highway, I can get 50 MPG. Sometimes going straight and level, I’m getting over 65 MPG at 60 MPH.

    My average speed, since I got the car in early JUly, is 21 MPH. (doesn’t accrue stopped time; only moving time). And the overall average MPG for the almost 4,000 miles since day one, is 31.5 MPG.

    Now I also have two Subaru Legacys with 2.5 litre engines. They are rated at 31MPG highway. I can routinely get over 45 MPG with either of those (2010, and 2011 models). Other family members drive those, getting 28.5 and 22.5 MPG since purchase; obviously one hot foot driver.

    The problem is, when I am stopped, either for a traffic light, or a four way stop sign, or stop and go on the freeway because of the deliberately intended commuter lane SNAFUs my MPG goes to 3MPG for starting from a standing start. I might get it down to under 1 MPG if I wanted to do jack rabbit starts, but the meter won’t read that low.

    So even if the auto makers get their fleet averages up to 100 or 200 MPG, by 2020 or whenever, it isn’t going to make one lick of difference to gasoline consumption, because traffic lights, and four way stop signs breed, and if you put one in, you soon have another bottleneck back up the road somewhere, and you put in another one.

    EVERY car, should have its tachometer replaced with an instantaneous MPG meter. Drivers would be howling to get rid of the stupid commuter diamond lanes, four way stop signs, and the freeway ramp metering light, which launch cars into the right hand lane at 25 MPH from a standing start. These driving hazards, are the most ungreen energy wasting contrivances, that man has ever invented.

    On a 750 mile round trip from Sunyvale CA to Glendale CA in Socal, I got an overall MPG of 41.8 with cruise set at 60 MPH, and a good headwind on the return trip (over the grapevine).
    That was with two people going and one returning. The next such trip, with four going, and three returning, at 65 Cruise setting, I got 38.4 MPG. Both of those in 2012 Legacy.

    Traffic control engineering in the USA, or at least in California, is at about 4-H club level in sophistication, efficiency, and common sense.

  178. Lars P says:

    John F. Hultquist says:
    December 10, 2012 at 9:53 pm
    Mention is made of hydrogen tanks and using hydrogen for storage. Neither of these mean what they imply.

    This is why they only model, never do studies based on real data. Kids playing civilisation would do a better study, same modelling tools and one can rule the world.

  179. Peter Lang says:

    A similar study was done by University of New South Wales, however, they didn’t estimate the cost. A critique and cost estimate is here:
    http://bravenewclimate.com/2012/02/09/100-renewable-electricity-for-australia-the-cost/

    using costs derived for the Federal Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism (DRET, 2011b), the costs are estimated to be: $568 billion capital cost, $336/MWh cost of electricity and $290/tonne CO2 abatement cost.

    That is, the wholesale cost of electricity for the simulated system would be seven times more than now, with an abatement cost that is 13 times the starting price of the Australian carbon tax and 30 times the European carbon price. (This cost of electricity does not include costs for the existing electricity network).

    See Figure 6 for a comparison of capital cost, cost of electricity and CO2 abatement cost for four options.
    A fifth scenario – with nuclear power – is added and compared here (see Figure 6 for the summary): http://oznucforum.customer.netspace.net.au/TP4PLang.pdf

  180. Chuck Nolan says:

    Did anybody in school calculate how many windmills it will take to run the NYC subway?
    cn

  181. mbw says:

    Gale: Blog posting are not published articles.

    E.M.Smith: If you manage to get a hold of the article and have something interesting to say about let us know.

  182. Peter Lang says:

    Chuck Nolan,

    Without storage, windmills cannot power any houses, or subways or anything else. So the answer to your question is: an infinite number of windmills would be required. Same for solar.

    Wind and solar are much more expensive than fossil fuels and nuclear even as a small percentage of the grid. Adding energy storage would make renewable energy even less economic.

    See the links in my comment above to see how expensive is renewable energy.

  183. atheok says:

    “Sonja A Boehmer-Christiansen says:
    December 11, 2012 at 9:55 am…”

    Uh, You are certainly missing a number of points.
    A:) Awards for technical achievements and breakthroughs do not make the technology feasible.

    B:) Politicians and eco-crazies selecting a solution before it is proven is certainly a counter productive way to achieve that goal. Gail’s post listing the stimulus funded green tech bankruptcies is tax payer proof of that fallacy. Technology that is mass marketable is first proven by people who believe they will get payback for their investments. Higher institutions used to request grants must prove with replication the science they’ve mastered. Something that the climate and eco fear mongering crowd are scandalously avoiding; regrettably a bulk of that cost is honest science.

    C:) If you sincerely believe that a particular technology will succeed, then I suggest you put your money where your keyboard is and immediately place all of your cash and assets into bankrolling that science. And no, I will not vote for a Congress or pres that plans to bail you out if it fails. Choose wisely. If you are one of the thousands of money sucking eco-parasites feeding off this climate CAGW scam, I believe there may be penance in your future; in a small room with regular meals, exercise periods, visitations and oh so friendly cell mates.

    D:) Time and again, the best way to achieve technology breakthroughs is to assign a goal. Then allow the truly intelligent and honest scientists invent the way there. The moment someone chooses a technology as their preferred method to reach the goal, then the cause is lost.

    E:) “Necessity is the mother of invention.” “Money is the root of all evil.” Both quotes highlight the problems rampant in the eco-insanity including the scam known as CAGW. Necessity is not there, desire by urban you-must-do-me-gooders is not a replacement for real necessity. Instead the abundant funding for the flimflammers has created a huge world of seriously dependent parasites. If Billions of dollars are involved, then the scammers are willing to incur Billions of dollars in costs to prevent the loss of their funding. After all, what do they have to lose; just everything if their funding is cut. They’ll say anything, claim anything, libel anybody, lie about almost everything and they’ll certainly cheat your Grandmother and your Grandchildren just to keep their bloat flowing.

    F:) The so-called research above is not a technology breakthrough. It has not aided any technology breakthrough. It is a waste of money.

    “Gail Combs says:
    December 11, 2012 at 10:03 am

    …What IS the problem is the Sierra Club and other Greenies screaming bloody murder if anyone THINKS about building a dam. Heck we have plenty of potential for hydro-power but instead the Greenies are pushing politicians into Removing Dams and Restoring Rivers….”

    Uh, I support the removal of many dams and the restoration of rivers. I despise Mankinds decision that any old dam works in any situation. There are major issues with dams. One of which is that poorly planned dams (a major percentage of existing dams) block a river preventing the river from functioning as an estuary component that it is. Salmon and Striped Bass used to migrate up many East Coast rivers; dams in virtually all of them ended that. The issue is long and difficult. Yes, a dam can be designed so that a raceway built specifically for fish migration can offset the river blockage.

    The next issue may be the biggest. Most dams have a limited life. Siltation reduces a dams holding capacity and many dams end up holding very little ‘storage’ of water after a few decades. The muddier the river, the shorter is a dam’s lifespan.

    There are other issues which I will not pursue as many of those involve the petty politicans and developers who care less about anything but money, today. Can the issues all be solved? I sure hope so. At least solved so hydro-power dams represent firm long term investments with livable compromises. I would love to add hydro-power as a major future power supply concept.

    @Crosspatch

    They laughed at me when I went to the local tank supplier and asked about LNG. They told me liquid propane was the only thing they’d supply. Sorry, I’ve gazed at those giant LNG tanks at the industries and wondered why I couldn’t install a smaller one. As another poster mentioned, LPG is usually the only choice if one is off the pipeline route.

  184. D Böehm says:

    atheok says:

    “I support the removal of many dams and the restoration of rivers.”

    Shall we outlaw beavers, then?

  185. richardscourtney says:

    mbw:

    At December 12, 2012 at 8:10 pm you assert

    Gale: Blog posting are not published articles.

    Don’t be silly! Of course they are!

    If you choose to give more credence to other articles merely because they are published elsewhere then you demonstrate your gullibility.

    Richard

  186. Lars P. says:

    I look at chart number 3 and cannot believe my eyes. Do renewable now produce 20% of electrical energy?
    No. That is a lie.
    It is maybe 20% of the energy we consume, but that is a different thing.
    Only after reading the “renewable 2012 report” linked there I realised the big 20% there is burning dung in 3 world countries. This is the “renewable” basis.
    It is not world electrical energy generation, it is “energy” = burning dung in cooking stoves – how E.M Smith above posted: E.M.Smith says:
    December 11, 2012 at 12:03 am
    That largest wedge of ‘renewables’ that is biomass heat will include the burning of forests and dung in the Third World. S
    more then 3/4 of it.
    The greatest service to humanity would be to replace it with burning fossil fuels or nuclear but as soon as possible.
    And then on the modern biomass burning Matt has a good article here:
    http://www.rationaloptimist.com/blog/britain%27s-mad-biomass-dash.aspx

  187. Silver Ralph says:

    “Renewable energy could fully power a large electric grid 99.9 percent of the time by 2030 ”
    ___________________________________

    Did they remember that if they want electric vehicles in this grid, they would have to increase electrical production by 2.5 or 3 times.

    As to pumped storage systems, they are great. Trouble is, all the best locations are in national parks, and the Greens will not allow anyone to build there. Catch-22. In Wales, this forced the Dinorwig plant to bury itself in a mountain. You can imagine the increased costs. This was a gold-plated government scheme, otherwise it would never have been built.
    .

  188. atheok says:

    “D Böehm says:
    December 12, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    atheok says:
    “I support the removal of many dams and the restoration of rivers.”
    Shall we outlaw beavers, then?

    Never actually lived around beavers have you?

    No dam built by beaver is even semi-permament, and most are temporary within a few years. When the beavers have cut down the growth near their lodges, they move on and rebuild elsewhere.

    Beavers do not build dams across large streams and certainly not rivers. They prefer to set their dams across very small trubutaries which makes them a major contributor to upper estuary ecosystems. If their dam lasts long enough to silt in, it becomes a swamp with meadow edges and eventually a meadow. Both are essential to many migratory birds, aquatic and woods creatures.

    All the beaver wants is water deep enough so their lodges and winter food stockpiles are safe from predators and accessible in all conditions. Yeah, they’ll chop down some impressive trees; but they much prefer younger easily dragged growths. In a large river, stream or a deep enough lake; that is all you’ll see, no dams just lodges, food piles, and lots of beaver sign.

    A quick rule of thumb; beavers prefer not to build dams where spring or autumn floods will breach them. i.e. Unless they are forced to by overpopulation or mankinds draining and channeling the local drainage upper reaches. Loss of their dams causes the beaver to lose valuable food gathering time in dam repair or exposes them to predators. Neither are helpful towards beaver survival/success over the winter.

    Personally, I’m very much in support of beavers, including harvesting their pelts. Understanding and supporting beavers place in the ecosystem allows us all to benefit.

    Now about your rather absurd and very incorrect jibe? Are you against beavers?

  189. Sparks says:

    “Renewable energy could fully power a large electric grid 99.9 percent of the time by 2030 ”

    Who is talking this crap? first of all, In the UK a large energy bill for consumers to pay wealthy land owners has been issued. Meanwhile, wealthy landowners are arguing how confiscate land and sea around the UK. greedy people. Who’s talking crap?
    Consumer Energy prices have become a hostage to wealthy UK land owners, who have extreme views.

  190. Peter Lang says:

    Nordhaus (2010) Economic aspects of global warming in a post-Copenhagen environment http://nordhaus.econ.yale.edu/documents/Nordhaus_Copenhagen_2010_text.pdf says:

    The results of the present study suggest that several policies could limit our “dangerous interference” with the climate system at modest costs. However, such policies would require a well managed world and globally designed environmental policies, with most countries contributing, with decision makers looking both to sound geosciences and economic policies. Moreover, rich countries must bring along the poor, the unenthusiastic, and the laggard with sufficient carrots and sticks to ensure that all are on board and that free riding is limited. The checkered history of international agreements in areas as diverse finance, whaling, international trade, and nuclear non-proliferation (36) indicates the extent of the obstacles on the road to reaching effective international agreements on climate change.

    In other words, there isn’t a remote chance that carbon pricing is going to succeed in the real world.

    Table 2 shows why. It has estimates of the costs and benefits of the Copenhagen Accord through 2055:
    Abatement cost = $2,060 billion
    Benefit (climate damages avoided) = $413 billion

    No country can justify committing to a policy that will cost $5 for every $1 of benefit. And the compliance costs are not even included. They would be huge.

    There is a much better way. The better way is the technological solution. It requires a focus on engineering. Unfortunately, Nordhaus and most other economists don’t understand this alternative approach. Their expertise and knowledge is economics, not engineering and technology. The economic solution is not practicable for the reasons he states in the quote above. But the technological solution most definitely is available.

    Nuclear power could be far cheaper than fossil fuels for electricity generation if we removed the impediments. If cheaper than fossil fuels it could replace 50% of CO2 emissions from fossil fuels by around mid 21st Century.

    We know that coal fired electricity generation is considered to be safe enough. That sets the benchmark for acceptability. We know that nuclear is about 700 times safer than coal http://nextbigfuture.com/2012/06/deaths-by-energy-source-in-forbes.html. Therefore, if we could get the message out, most people would act rationally. In that case, safety of nuclear power would not be a block to progress.

    Bernard Cohen (1990) http://www.phyast.pitt.edu/~blc/book/chapter9.html explained that regulatory ratcheting increased the cost of nuclear power by about a factor of four by 1990. I expect regulatory ratcheting has increased the cost by at least a factor of two since 1990 for no improvement in safety. The regulatory ratcheting has given us for little or no improvement in safety compared with what would have been the case if nuclear had developed like other industries. On this basis, it is conceivable that the cost of nuclear could be reduced by up to a factor of eight (over time, of course)

    We also know there are at least 43 small nuclear power plant designs in various stages of development from concept through to in-production. And we know the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) licensing process takes about 5 to 10 years and they can handle only two or three designs at a time. The NRC is a massive thrombosis blocking progress on development and roll out of small modular nuclear power plants. No other industry has to get its designs approved by a government regulator.

    Therefore, if we want to cut global CO2 emissions, we need to free up the development and roll-out of cheap, small nuclear power plants. We need to allow these to be developed in a commercial environment like other technologies. We need to allow the commercial sector to compete.

    If we remove the impediments to nuclear, the cost of nuclear generation could be well below the cost of fossil fuel generation by 2030.

    The US President could make this happen. The anti-nukes could facilitate the change in public opinion. The change in public opinion could be achieved in less than a decade if environmental NGO’s decided it was in their interest to lead the way on this.

    Climate Etc. bloggers could start spreading the word. They could start informing others instead of continually repeating the anti nuclear rhetoric.

  191. Mario Lento says:

    @ Peter Lang: I like your post and support nuclear as a viable and intelligent source of energy.

    I don’t want to cut CO2 emissions. CO2 is not in any way a pollutant. I am tired of the public being pandered to so much –I would never make it in politics. I am very pro nuclear, but would not carry the mantra that Nuclear cuts CO2 and therefore (fill in the blank, we save the world, curb AGW bla bla.)

    Nuclear makes sense all by itself. It’s very inexpensive per unit of energy produced. It emits virtually no pollution into the atmosphere and is very safe no matter how you measure safety.

  192. richardscourtney says:

    Mario Lento:

    re your post at December 16, 2012 at 11:01 am.

    Seconded!

    Richard

  193. Peter Lang says:

    Mario Lento and Richards Courtney,

    Thank you for your supportive (mostly) comments. Being pragmatic, there are a large number of voters who are scared stiff we are damaging the climate. This is not going to go away. However, there is an economically rational way to make everyone happy, CAGW alarmists, climate realists and economic rationalists. It is what would come out of of ‘Robust analysis’, IMO.

    If we make robust decisions, we can deal with the GHG issue, and others as well. So why don’t we put our effort into robust decision analysis (http://econ.worldbank.org/external/default/main?pagePK=64165259&theSitePK=469382&piPK=64165421&menuPK=64166093&entityID=000158349_20120906142854)?

    What would a robust policy response give us?
    1. ‘No regrets’ policies
    2. economically beneficial (for all the world)
    3. improved health (reduced toxic pollution) everywhere
    4. greater energy security (for all the world)
    5. fresh water supply
    6. improved education for everyone (and improved communications for all)
    7. reduced black carbon
    8. reduced GHG emissions

    If we agreed on points like this, we really don’t need to spend so much time and effort focusing on regulation, carbon pricing, emission targets and time tables and high cost mitigation policies that have low probability of achieving their aims. To achieve the 8 points listed, the policy response is pretty simple. It is to give the world more electricity. To do this we need to make electricity cheaper and cleaner. That is technically achievable. It is only blocked by ideological beliefs. So, if we do the robust analysis the conclusion will be clear. Most people reading this will know by now what it is, even if they are not yet ready to accept it!

    The question then becomes: how do we re-educate those who hold ideological beliefs that are preventing progress?

  194. Sonja A Boehmer-Christiansen says:

    Just an indication of the ‘youthful’ idealism you /we are up against…. Sustainability and saving the planet is the new ideology …

    This was sent to me several years ago when my daughter worked at a London Development Institute, perhaps as a warning!

    Guess where these people are now? These people ARE the intellectual elite of UK….I suspect that most are members of WWF.

    Pachauri surely used them to get money for his Institute.

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