Study: it takes 10 units of alternative electricity sources to offset 1 unit of fossil fuel-generated power

From the University of Oregon a clue as to why green energy isn’t making much inroads. For example, compare these findings to what we learned recently from Matt Ridley about the big fat zero of wind power in the bigger scheme of things.

Wind and other alternate energy is essentially no more than a rounding error.   – Anthony

Focus on technology overlooks human behavior when addressing climate change

Study shows it takes 10 units of alternative electricity sources to offset a unit of fossil fuel-generated power

EUGENE, Ore. — Technology alone won’t help the world turn away from fossil fuel-based energy sources, says University of Oregon sociologist Richard York. In a newly published paper, York argues for a shift in political and economic policies to embrace the concept that continued growth in energy consumption is not sustainable.

Many nations, including the United States, are actively pursuing technological advances to reduce the use of fossil fuels to potentially mitigate human contributions to climate-change. The approach of the International Panel on Climate Change assumes alternative energy sources — nuclear, wind and hydro — will equally displace fossil fuel consumption. This approach, York argues, ignores “the complexity of human behavior.”

Based on a four-model study of electricity used in some 130 countries in the past 50 years, York found that it took more that 10 units of electricity produced from non-fossil sources — nuclear, hydropower, geothermal, wind, biomass and solar — to displace a single unit of fossil fuel-generated electricity.

“When you see growth in nuclear power, for example, it doesn’t seem to affect the rate of growth of fossil fuel-generated power very much,” said York, a professor in the sociology department and environmental studies program. He also presented two models on total energy use. “When we looked at total energy consumption, we found a little more displacement, but still, at best, it took four to five units of non-fossil fuel energy to displace one unit produced with fossil fuel.”

For the paper — published online March 18 by the journal Nature Climate Change — York analyzed data from the World Bank’s world development indicators gathered from around the world. To control for a variety of variables of economics, demographics and energy sources, data were sorted and fed into the six statistical models.

Admittedly, York said, energy-producing technologies based on solar, wind and waves are relatively new and may yet provide viable alternative sources as they are developed.

“I’m not saying that, in principle, we can’t have displacement with these new technologies, but it is interesting that so far it has not happened,” York said. “One reason the results seem surprising is that we, as societies, tend to see demand as an exogenous thing that generates supply, but supply also generates demand. Generating electricity creates the potential to use that energy, so creating new energy technologies often leads to yet more energy consumption.”

Related to this issue, he said, was the development of high-efficiency automobile engines and energy-efficient homes. These improvements reduced energy consumption in some respects but also allowed for the production of larger vehicles and bigger homes. The net result was that total energy consumption often did not decrease dramatically with the rising efficiency of technologies.

“In terms of governmental policies, we need to be thinking about social context, not just the technology,” York said. “We need to be asking what political and economic factors are conducive to seeing real displacement. Just developing non-fossil fuel sources doesn’t in itself tend to reduce fossil fuel use a lot — not enough. We need to be thinking about suppressing fossil fuel use rather than just coming up with alternatives alone.”

The findings need to become part of the national discussion, says Kimberly Andrews Espy, vice president for research and innovation at the UO. “Research from the social sciences is often lost in the big picture of federal and state policymaking,” she said. “If we are to truly solve the challenges our environment is facing in the future, we need to consider our own behaviors and attitudes.”

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CodeTech

Sorry, but this is one of the more obvious findings of basic, uneducated human psychology.
People don’t consider energy consumption. They buy things, they plug them in. Period. I don’t actually CARE where the electricity comes from, and neither do most normal people. I pay a bill. If I can afford the energy-consuming gadget, gizmo, TV, or whatever, then I can afford to power it as well.
Not only that, but I find it horrendously irresponsible that utilities fail to provide increased capacity to handle new construction, new subdivisions, increased demand because of plasma screens or whatever comes along. We need electricity to separate us from the third world. Increasing the price without actually increasing the capacity should be against the law.
If the people wetting their panties over CO2 emissions just understood even the most basic aspects of human nature they would realize this. I don’t WANT to have my behavior altered to “save energy”, especially not by people whose motives are suspect. I highly resent people telling me to “go green”, especially people barely intelligent enough to comprehend their own waste.
The whole thing about more efficient engines leading to larger vehicles should have been about the most obvious outcome imaginable. It says something about the thought processes of anyone who would think otherwise.

R Barker

To many sociologists have been influencing energy solutions in Europe and the US for several dacades. Why will more of their “solutions” not continue to make our situation worse. A free market in energy solutions is worth a try.

Filter out the sociology jargon and this is economics 101. Except where they display their ignorance of economics.
York said. “One reason the results seem surprising is that we, as societies, tend to see demand as an exogenous thing that generates supply, but supply also generates demand. Generating electricity creates the potential to use that energy, so creating new energy technologies often leads to yet more energy consumption.”
No it doesn’t.
What is happening is that new energy technologies require additional energy consuming activities that are not otherwise measured. For example, a maintenance worker has to repeatedly drive out to a wind farm to perform various monitoring and maintenance functions. Or in a case I know about, drive 2,000 Ks to get a spare part.

John W.

“… it took more that 10 units of electricity produced from non-fossil sources — nuclear, hydropower, geothermal, wind, biomass and solar — to displace a single unit of fossil fuel-generated electricity.”
Well, that makes sense. Those watts from coal and oil are blue collar, so they’re probably bigger and stronger than the wimpy watts from other sources. I’ll bet the fossil watts even bring guns when the non-fossil watts are expecting a knife fight. Just another example of what happens when well bred, socially acceptasble PC watts go up against bitter clinger watts.
Of course, nonsense like this would come from a “sociologist Richard York.” If nobody explains the concepts of energy density, base load, peak load, etc. to him, he’ll likely remain mystified.

ROM

“Study: it takes 10 units of alternative electricity sources to offset 1 unit of fossil fuel-generated power;”
Perhaps this is one reason why!
From a very comprehensive study on UK wind power under the auspices of the “John Muir Trust”
Analysis of UK wind Power Generation [ http://www.jmt.org/assets/pdf/wind-report.pdf ]
Quoting from this study;
This analysis uses publicly available data for a 26 month period between November
2008 and December 2010 and the facts in respect of the above assertions are:
1. Average output from wind was 27.18% of metered capacity in 2009, 21.14% in 2010, and 24.08% between November 2008 and December 2010 inclusive.
2. There were 124 separate occasions from November 2008 till December 2010 when total generation from the windfarms metered by National Grid was less than 20MW. (Average capacity over the period was in excess of 1600MW).
3. The average frequency and duration of a low wind event of 20MW or less between November
2008 and December 2010 was once every 6.38 days for a period of 4.93 hours.
4. At each of the four highest peak demands of 2010 wind output was low being respectively 4.72%, 5.51%, 2.59% and 2.51% of capacity at peak demand.
5. The entire pumped storage hydro capacity in the UK can provide up to 2788MW for only 5 hours then it drops to 1060MW, and finally runs out of water after 22 hours.
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.
The discovery that for one third of the time wind output was less than 10% of capacity, and
often significantly less than 10%, was an unexpected result of the analysis.

Stefan

The real fun starts when people start squabbling over what to turn off.
Once you’ve donned your woolies, turned the heating down a bit, jumped on the bus, gone to the farmers market and bought local veggies, plus crossed this year’s holiday flight off your diary, what’s left to cut?
Say a measly 5% cut isn’t enough. Say we need to cut 50%. Who’s up for leccy rationing, say, 4 hours a day of use? Gas rationing? Water rationing? Rationing of all products?
Who’s up for removing most products involving steel production and other energy intensive processes?
Just how much of this mythical “wastage” is behaviour change supposed to prevent?
As the math guy pointed out, if a lot of people make a small change, it all adds up globally to a… small change.

Build all the electrical power production you want but I will still need fuel for my car, buses, trains, planes, and trucks.
Electrical vehicles are not going to happen in a big way because the energy density of batteries will never equal the chemical potential energy of hydrocarbons. Only electric trains work because they follow the circuit, which has limited utility in a big country.
Of course, the UN”s goal would be to have the entire 500 million of the Earth’s population living along electrical train routes and the other >75% of the planet would be a wild forbidden reserve.

Sounds a bit like a chicken/egg argument. If you didn’t have all that energy, you wouldn’t want the energy consuming devices; if you didn’t have those energy consuming devices, you wouldn’t want all that energy. Takes a professor of sociology and environmental studies to figure out that the preferred energy sources are better than the new and so-called environmentally friendly ones? What is sociology and environmental studies, anyway?
BTW: Cute ad. The standard smoke stacks belching carbon pollution into the sky with banner about climate change deniers. Small picture, but it looks like that evil pollutant, water vapor, strikes again.

Gaelan Clark

Okay, so….10 renewable units for one 1 fossil.
1 renewable costs 10 fossil.
So……, how do we drive up the cost of fossil to reach renewable?
Keep electing Democrats. Isn’t that correct Kalifornia?

Bloke down the pub

A simple way to greatly increase the amount of solar heating generated would be to improve the design of houses. In the UK, most of the new build housing is about the size of a rabbit hutch, with small windows which mostly don’t face South. Just a little bit of imagination from the builders could reduce the amount of energy required to heat the property. Where’s Kevin McCloud when you need him?

richard verney

The study merely shows that the roll out rate of alternative energy supplies is not keeping pace with society’s ever increasing demands for energy. That in itself is not a case against alternative energy. No doubt ‘greenies’ would argue that the study shows that more must be done to roll out alternative energy supplies quicker.
Others have commented upon human nature and that most people simply buy consumer goods without thought of the energy consumption. That is no doubt correct.
There is an important demographic issue here. For example, in the UK over the past 30 or so years there has been a significant increase in immigration leading to a significant increase in households. Further, during the same period, marriage has broken down and also there has been an increasing tendency to go it alone and to be a single parent. Again these trends have led to a significant increase in households. Where in the past you had one family unit with one TV, one fridge, one washing machine, one house to power, you now have many cases of double. This has happened a pace in the UK (and in many other countries) and this the real reason why energy supply has not kept track with demand.
“York argues for a shift in political and economic policies to embrace the concept that continued growth in energy consumption is not sustainable.” I do not accept that argument. Continued growth in energy consumption is sustainable, at any rate for the next few hundred years. There is no shortage in nuclear. If nuclear was to be rolled out it could meet our energy demands.
More significantly so can coal. There is at least a 1000 years worth of coal. It is now difficult to see the case against using coal. The warmists argue that the reason why temperatures have stalled these past 15 years notwithstanding China’s expansion is that aerosol emissions from their coal powered stations is a negative feedback. OK so let’s build coal station with Chinese emission control standards and then there will be no problem. Alternatively, if the reason why temperatures these past 15 years has stalled is down to natural variability and low CO2 sensitivity, then it follows that CO2 is not such a demon and again there is no case against the use of coal generation. Either way, it appears that coal has a future without the need for CCS.
There will come a time when the politicians realise that they can no longer afford to bind themselves to the ‘greenies’ and their ‘casue’ and when that happens, we will have a sensible energy policy that will fully cope with future needs and demands.

Curiousgeorge

Perfect example of Jevons Paradox.
” Jevons paradox has been used to argue that energy conservation is futile, as increased efficiency may actually increase fuel use. Nevertheless, increased efficiency can improve material living standards. Further, fuel use declines if increased efficiency is coupled with a green tax or other conservation policies that keeps the cost of use the same (or higher).”

Timbo

Suppose we’d better get used to the smell of carbide lamps again.

trbixler

The obvious question is why do so many “research papers” buy the concept of CO2 driven AGW. Could it possibly be the huge amount of money spent on propaganda proclaiming that CO2 driven AGW is a problem.

mfo

Who can forget Richard Feynman on ‘social science’:

A quick search of Richard York’s previous work reveals such gems as, Gender Equality and State Environmentalism:
“The findings indicate that nations with higher proportions of women in Parliament are more prone to ratify environmental treaties than are other nations.”
http://gas.sagepub.com/content/19/4/506.short

hunter

The assumption that energy policy is a significant influence on climate is one that should be challenged based on the lack of evidence supporting that particular part of AGW dogma.

Reblogged this on gottadobetterthanthis and commented:
“We need to be asking what political and economic factors are conducive to seeing real displacement. Just developing non-fossil fuel sources doesn’t in itself tend to reduce fossil fuel use a lot — not enough. We need to be thinking about suppressing fossil fuel use rather than just coming up with alternatives alone.”
Mr. York left out something important, something he implies that will be needed for suppression of fossil fuel use. He left out police and military force. We, the citizens, need to guard against such.
This isn’t new. EPA puts out a graphic and information regularly that shows it:
http://www.epa.gov/airtrends/aqtrends.html
The graphic specifically is here:
http://www.epa.gov/airtrends/images/comparison70.jpg
The take-away is that energy use tracks population despite efficiency gains, with a recent drop for regulatory and economic reasons, but miles-driven tracks with GDP, and GDP growth exceeds energy use growth because of efficiency gains. Hmm… Not hard when you think about it a little.
Regarding regulations, the graphic also shows that the air quality has improved EVERY YEAR since 1970. We have cleaner air than has ever been in our lifetime. Yet, the politicians, and especially the bureaucrats, say we need more regulation. I think it is obvious we passed the point of diminishing returns long ago. Our regulations are harming more people than air pollutants now.

pat

it’s all downside with our desal plants in Australia, now that the rains keep coming:
14 March: Herald Sun: Stephen Drill: Wages, deadline blowout for Wonthaggi desalination plant
THE wages bill for the troubled Wonthaggi desalination plant has blown out by $1.7 million a week, but the project is still expected to be a year late despite increased manpower.
There are now 758 electricians on site, twice as many as last year when contractor Thiess Degremont sacked 160 of workers over low-productivity claims.
Overall, the number of workers on the project is now 2870, well above original estimates that only 1700 would be needed to build the plant in two years.
Workers on the desalination site, which has been described as a “treasure island”, make $4000 a week…
But AquaSure, the consortium that has the overall contract, has demanded the State Government provide a $1.3 billion loan to refinance its debt, and a 12-month deadline extension.
The desalination plant will cost Victorians $24 billion over 28 years through higher water bills…
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/more-news/wages-deadline-blowout-for-wonthaggi-desalination-plant/story-fn7x8me2-1226299537722
9 March: Australian: Sarah Martin: Adelaide desal debt will take a century to pay down
DEBT associated with the Adelaide desalination plant will take 100 years to be paid down by taxpayers, South Australia’s government-owned water utility has revealed…
Opposition Treasury spokesman Iain Evans said South Australians would be paying for the plant for decades to come.
“Water prices will pay for the operating costs and the debt costs, but the debt won’t change just because we are not using the water,” he said. “They have built a desal plant that is bigger than we needed, they have totally mismanaged the project and South Australians are going to be paying for that through water costs for a long time to come.”
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/state-politics/adelaide-desal-debt-will-take-a-century-to-pay-down/story-e6frgczx-1226294107119

polistra

Interesting that solar heating beats the other hippie stuff, even though we don’t hear about it and nobody subsidizes it.
If logic had any part in this, the method that works best would get the most subsidy.
Trouble is, solar heat is more of a construction technique than a product, so there’s no way China can make money from it. Thus Western governments, whose sole purpose in life is to serve China, have no reason to help solar heat.

Bill

This sounds like a pretty crappy paper. But then again, it is social science. Yet it is published in a Nature sister journal. Very sad.
At almost every sentence I have quite obvious objections to either the question they thought they were asking, the interpretation, or had obvious alternate explanations.
And there suggestion is that “we” simply try to change people’s behavior through political and economic means.
Why do I think this won’t be through voluntary actions and through persuasion? As long as they can get 51% of the 37% who vote to go along with something, they will try to impose all kinds of costly solutions on society for its own good, based on pretty crappy analysis.
And no, I won’t elaborate. I have to go to work and finish my own manuscript on trying to develop a new class of antibiotics.

Jim Clarke

“We need to be thinking about suppressing fossil fuel use rather than just coming up with alternatives alone.”
Of course, the assumption in the above statement is that fossil fuel use leads to catastrophic man-made global warming. Since that assumption is obviously not true, there is no need to think about suppressing fossil fuel use, now, is there?
Sometimes I think that the whole purpose of Academia is to take the West back to the Third World.

Steve Keohane

Technology alone won’t help the world turn away from fossil fuel-based energy sources, says University of Oregon sociologist Richard York. In a newly published paper, York argues for a shift in political and economic policies to embrace the concept that continued growth in energy consumption is not sustainable.
Pure intellectual fantasy. To enforce this is a waste of resources that might otherwise keep some people alive, and certainly allow many a better standard of living.

Gary

Makes complete sense. “Alternative” energy sources are about ten times more diffuse than the concentrated sources (oil, gas, coal).

wsbriggs

Most importantly, now the change to coercive behavior modification is on the table. Just like in the “science” about pill-based behavior modification to keep us from eating beef, this is the opening shot for coercive taxation on energy consumption. They think they’ve got the kids indoctrinated enough to pull it off now.

richard verney

Many commentators have commented on human behavoir. In the UK we are rolling out smart meters to help inform people how much energy they are consuming and help persuade them to use less and hence save energy.. It will never work. People want to watch the TV. Sit in a room with lights, not have to fumble around a dark hallway for the landing light, want to be able to cook a meal, the kids do not wish to mix with adults and will watch TV, play games, surf and chat in their own room or den. This type of human behavoir will not change.
The only way to save energy is to have a more energy efficient product. Washing machines (and this really means detergents) will need to be able to wash as efficiently at 15 to 20degC as they do now at 40 to 60degC. The amount of water used in the wash and rinse needs to be less, Ditto dish washers.
There is a limit to efficieny savings due to the physics involved. Most kettles are about 3kw. You could have a 1kw kettle but it would save no energy since to boil enough water for a pot of tea would simply take 3 times as long. You need a fundamental change, such as the change to microwaves or perhaps sonic cleaning.
It is a physical law of nature as to the amount of energy required to cool the volume of air within a fridge. Of course, insulation in fridges can be increased. However, when you want to get something out, you have to open the door and hence lose energy. It is these sort of problems that make it difficult to significantly increase efficiency of demoestic products.
There is no doubt that new homes can be made more energy efficient with better insulation etc. However, for a country such as the UK where housing stock is old and of generally of poor quality, it will be difficult and very expensive to make much improvement on that front. Many of my neighbours who installed double glazing ended up with damp problems, alternatively had to fit many air bricks to allieviate the damp problem the fitting of which largely eroded the added insulation of double galzing! My wife being a smoker, we always have the window open so no point in fitting double galzing, but the upside is no damp.
Electric cars are a non starter. My dad (who was a techno freak and so what eccentric) had one some 25 years ago. The batteries never lasted long and repeatedly required replacement. They were very expensive (gel type). It was OK around town. In fact it was a novelty and when my dad use to go to the pub or a restaurant, the pub/restaurant use to run an extension cable to my dad’s car so that he could recharge it. Even in the HIgh Street, some shops would do that! A few hours on charge made a big difference. Living in a mountainous area, the range was really no better than about 30 miles (particularly in winter) no matter what clams were made by the manufacturer. If electric cars are to have a future, interstates/motorways/trunk roads need to have a power supply like a tram or scale-electric car so that the electric car simply slots into that and the batteries are only used for the short trip to and from the inter-state/motorway/trunk road. .
Green energy at present technological levels of efficiency is pie in the sky stuff.

Tom J

Richard York’s a sociologist, right? That’s all we need to know. And I doubt he knows much about his field either. One doesn’t just change the behavior of someone else.

Dixon

That graph rather neatly also explains why here in Oz we have some of the highest electricity prices in the world when we’re also sitting on almost unlimited amounts of coal. I’d wager we’d have one of the highest rates of solar PV uptake in the world, made possible by the massive incentives that made it a no-brainer investment if you happened to have the capital for the initial outlay.
Result: the poor and taxpayers pay the utility companies to pay exorbitant rates for the pitiful amount of electricity generated by the wealthy. And you get a destabilised grid to boot. At least govnts have twigged and canned the subsidies. Of course the utilities can keep jacking up the prices as they wish. Anyone make small coal powered steam turbines? I might get one for our block, we can probably get the coal for a pittance!

More Soylent Green!

A few years ago, several area schools organized protests of the proposed coal-powered Sunflower electric plant being built in western Kansas. I always wanted to attend those protests and setup a booth where we collected the protesters personal electronics — cell phones, iPods, etc., — in order to demolish those devices and reduce the protesters’ needs for electricity.
Anybody know why the Sunflower plant is to be built in western Kansas? It’s to supply electricity to Colorado. Seems the Colorado greens have managed to shut down new sources of conventional electricity generation in that state, but they haven’t reduced their need for the juice.

“In terms of governmental policies, we need to be thinking about social context, not just the technology,” York said. “We need to be asking what political and economic factors are conducive to seeing real displacement. Just developing non-fossil fuel sources doesn’t in itself tend to reduce fossil fuel use a lot — not enough. We need to be thinking about suppressing fossil fuel use rather than just coming up with alternatives alone.”
Yeah, we need to study this miracle of carbon reduction. Plenty of social context, political and economic factors, ample suppression with next to no technology. A precarious combination which nevertheless seems to do the job.

Pamela Gray

That’s the ticket. Dress everyone in togas (the U of O is famous for togas), gift them each a pot of soil, and issue spades to every human. Don’t forget the “seeds”. That way we are sure to generate real intellectual, uber-expensive, high-end research technology needed in order to create a cheap renewable energy source. What these greenies grow they will smoke and leave the rest of us who work for a living to the task of inventing stuff.

I WROTE ABOUT THIS AS WELL, I don’t like nuclear energy
http://www.letterdash.com/HenryP/nuclear-energy-not-save-and-sound

richard verney

@polistra says:
March 21, 2012 at 5:52 am
///////////////////////////////////////////////
Solar thermal in the right country is very good and worthwhile. I am surprised that it is not more actively marketed.
I am presently living in Spain and Solar Thermal is very popular. I am about to construct my own system, I have bought a few radiators (which I shall paint black and possibly but only if needed enclose in glass) and a central heating pump, with piping this has cost me less than GBP100 (about USD155) and I have a spare tank (so that was free). I have a suitable Sout/South West facing roof and I expect that this will provide all my hot water requirements year round. For example, this winter, December to March 21, we have had only 3 rainy days and perhaps a couple of cloudy days. Apart from that it has been sun every day and certainly sufficient to keep a tank fully warm. The sun is surprisingly quite strong even in late December/early January although the hours of sunshine are short. During this period we had a number of days in the mid twenty degC range which is much like a summer’s day in the UK!
Even commercial units are only about GBP1000 (USD1555) I think including fitting and hence the pay back on investment can be measured in a few years. Further, the system is largely maintenance free.
Solar is ideal for low grade heating (my swimming pool is solar heated) but not presently suitable for high energy demand and/or where electricty storage is required.
I guess there is not sufficient profit (may be the subsidies are less) so that solar companies are not promoting them to the full. No doubt, the grid buy back/ feed in subsidy scam is financially a more lucrative market. A shame (but not altogether surprising in this mad eco world) since solar thermal for the consumer is a much more viable option (provided that the consumer lives in a sunny climate).

Wind and Solar don’t have strong infrastructure as yet. Therefore as baby energy sources cannot be taken into account. So any comparison with fossil based fuels 1 to 10 less/more would be an issue when the subsidies on fossils are clearly specified. My question is why Independent Power Plants have stopped power generation and they receive their required power from government facilities except where the power is not available by the authorities. Is that due to subsidized power?

Allan MacRae

York said. “… We need to be thinking about suppressing fossil fuel use rather than just coming up with alternatives alone.”
One more idiotic statement from one more social dictator.
York apparently does not understand that “alternative energy”, specifically grid-connect wind and solar power are so grossly expensive, inefficient and ineffective that they simply drive up electricity costs and destabilize the electric grid.
Note the huge subsidies Ontario pays for this “alternative energy” nonsense:
13.5¢/kWh for worthless wind power and 64.2¢/kWh for worthless solar power (Source – The Globe and Mail).
To compare, natural gas-fired electric power can probably be generated today for about 4 cents per kWh.
Furthermore, natural gas generated power is available when you need it, unlike erratic wind and solar power. Because wind and solar power are not available on demand, the actually amount of their subsidization is not “3-times” or “16-times” as the above ratios imply, it is much higher, perhaps hundreds of time more expensive.
This is not new knowledge. We published this conclusion a decade ago, when we said
“The ultimate agenda of pro-Kyoto advocates is to eliminate fossil fuels, but this would result in a catastrophic shortfall in global energy supply – the wasteful, inefficient energy solutions proposed by Kyoto advocates simply cannot replace fossil fuels.”
http://www.apegga.org/Members/Publications/peggs/WEB11_02/kyoto_pt.htm

Sigh…. here’s the crux of the study….“We need to be thinking about suppressing fossil fuel use rather than just coming up with alternatives alone.”
The problems are two fold…. well many fold, but two are the starting points……first, their implementing the technology wrong. The way it’s deployed, it will never be successful.
And secondly, and probably most importantly, for an economy to grow, economic activity must rise at a rate of about 3% annually.(depending upon population growth) So, for the renewables to be successful in extinguishing fossil fuel use, it must grow faster than the economic growth in terms of total energy used.
Or, we can do like the author suggests and suppress human progress and prosperity, which was always the primary goal of this madness to begin with.
Goodnes, there’s a bunch scumbags out there. Totalitarian Malthusian misanthropists.

Greylensman

I would love to know exactly how a smart meter informs you what your usage is and how to reduce your energy consumption. A standard meter does that. You read it in the morning, then read it the next day and you know how much you have used.
So what is the big deal, I dont think there is any for the consumer, only for the provider.

Lance

I stopped reading at

York, a professor in the sociology department and environmental studies program…

Richard Day

But think of the children!
Meanwhile the dimwits running the province of Ontario hand over billions to Samsung to build essentially bird chopping machines.

Tom_R

“Generating electricity creates the potential to use that energy, so creating new energy technologies often leads to yet more energy consumption.”

Energy is wealth. With abundant low-cost energy manufacturing stuff is cheap, and everyone benefits from lower costs. Obama’s $800B stimulus would have been much better spent on building nuclear power plants. Besides a short-term boost in construction jobs, there would have been a long-term boost in the US economy.

GeoLurking

Sorry, I lost interest after “sociologist” and “not sustainable.”
Tell me when the government is going to get out of the way or how it wishes to cut back on it’s porcine like consumption of 38 billion dollars in average annual fuels taxes (≈ 48.5 cents per gallon national average. Federal State and Local)
Tell me how that additional 555 million dollars in taxes (from using E10 rather than normal gasoline) is being wisely spent.
Maybe then he will have my interest. Until then, he can go peddle his scam somewhere else.

richard verney says:
March 21, 2012 at 6:30 am
“I am presently living in Spain and Solar Thermal is very popular. I am about to construct my own system, I have bought a few radiators (which I shall paint black and possibly but only if needed enclose in glass) and a central heating pump, with piping this has cost me less than GBP100 (about USD155) and I have a spare tank (so that was free). I have a suitable South/South West facing roof and I expect that this will provide all my hot water requirements year round…..”
1- Fossil fuels resources do not exist everywhere, and the advantage is the fuel can be taken everywhere and the infrastructure to do so is very well defined.
2- Solar and wind are the same. But the resource cannot be transported. The advantage is no network and infrastructure is required.
3- The US residential energy requirements is %4 of the total energy consumption which is a solar maintained energy.
4- Subsidies is going to be a problem for the EU governments. Recently, Spain government has changed the regulation about the Renewable subsidies (including CHP). Because of this change and trying to anticipate the new regulation, micro CHP less than 5kWel is going to be an idea.
http://smipp.wordpress.com/2012/03/16/mini-chp-mchp/

Rod Everson

Not going to take time to read all the comments, but hopefully someone else, too, pointed out that this is simple economics and that if we just allow free market pricing to prevail it will all sort itself out without the need of the bureaucrats intervening for “our own good.”
As long as oil and gas remain relatively cheap, people will continue to use them. Right now, we’re discovering it faster than we’re using it, so it could stay relatively cheap for some time compared to alternatives. In fact, if something like cold fusion really comes into play, it could get even cheaper relative to alternatives in time.
People need to relax, let the markets work by signaling excesses and shortages, let human ingenuity run amuck in response to the price signals, and we’ll all be fine in the end. On the other hand, if we let the bureaucrats get total control of “solving” this “crisis”…well, we’ve already had 500 or so years of “Dark Ages” created by bureaucrats; get ready for another run at it.

Allan MacRae says:
March 21, 2012 at 6:48 am
“….Note the huge subsidies Ontario pays for this “alternative energy” nonsense:
13.5¢/kWh for worthless wind power and 64.2¢/kWh for worthless solar power (Source – The Globe and Mail)…..To compare, natural gas-fired electric power can probably be generated today for about 4 cents per kWh. ”
Any thermal based power generating system @ zero rate the fuel, just for Energy Convergence is min 4 cents/KWh and for Distributed Generators 6 cents/KWh. In the Mid East it is max around 8 cents/KWh. The energy for the GAS based generators is 1 M3 ~ 3.6 KWh. Considering the GAS unit price as whatever it cannot be less than 6 cents/KWh it comes 6+6=12 cents/KWh not subsidized, how much do you really pay? This is the subsidy amount. For the wind power that 64.2 cents/KWh should be revised, I did not get it. For solar it seems not so far from fossils as you say and if you agree with the above estimations.

Rod Everson says:
March 21, 2012 at 7:35 am
“Not going to take time to read all the comments, but hopefully someone else, too, pointed out that this is simple economics and that if we just allow free market pricing to prevail it will all sort itself out without the need of the bureaucrats intervening for “our own good.”
“As long as oil and gas remain relatively cheap, people will continue to use them. Right now, we’re discovering it faster than we’re using it, so it could stay relatively cheap for some time compared to alternatives. In fact, if something like cold fusion really comes into play, it could get even cheaper relative to alternatives in time. ”
Great. This is true.

We pay Richard York to write this? Science? WTF?
“potentially mitigate human contributions to climate-change”?
Is this a good reason for what?
Most disinteresting piece in WUWT in a long time, sorry.

Coach Springer

I’ve yet to see it in comments, so I will say it directly. I reject the presumption that fossil fuel use is something to avoid. The primary argument for suppression is its limited resource. If we run out, we will run out. For the next 250 years, the problem is not depletion, but suppression based on presumption. Why?
To reiterate another comment: Renewables are limited by their diffused nature – in other words, physics. To add to it, the real limits on nuclear are man-made by sociologists, politicians and other activists.

Gail Combs

Stefan says:
March 21, 2012 at 4:33 am
The real fun starts when people start squabbling over what to turn off.
Once you’ve donned your woolies, turned the heating down a bit, jumped on the bus, gone to the farmers market and bought local veggies, plus crossed this year’s holiday flight off your diary, what’s left to cut?
Say a measly 5% cut isn’t enough. Say we need to cut 50%. Who’s up for leccy rationing, say, 4 hours a day of use? …..
________________________________
Stefan, the EU is not talking a 50% cut they are talking an 80% cut!!!

Coal-reliant Poland on Friday vetoed European Union efforts to move further towards a low carbon economy, pitting itself against the rest of the 27-member bloc……
Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said the backing of almost the entire bloc was enough to allow the Commission, the EU’s executive arm, to keep working on further progress.
“Twenty-six member states want us to move ahead with the low carbon road-map,” she told Reuters.
To help fill the policy vacuum after a firm goal of a 20 percent carbon cut by 2020 expires, the roadmap lays out a route towards a long-term aim to reduce the bloc’s carbon emissions by 80 percent by the middle of the century…” Link

I did an analysis of what the “aim to reduce the bloc’s carbon emissions by 80 percent by the middle of the century” actually means to the rest of us using the United States as an example since we are “The Big Emitters” targeted. I did it in response to a comment that:
“The cost to reduce CO2 output by 80% has been calculated, and that’s the low end of numbers estimated to “remove” mankind’s footprint of warming…..”
We get all types of “Soothing” crap from the propaganda machines and economic model projections about how it really is going to be “painless” So Let us look at what real facts tell us.
The average for the USA is 335.9 million BTUs per person.Link (Our Total population: 246,081,000)
In 1949, U.S. energy use per person stood at 215 million Btu.Link So that is still way too high. The U.S. in 1800 had a per-capita energy consumption of about 90 million Btu.Link (Total population: 5,308,483)
If the USA reduces its energy consumption by 80% it equals 45.18 million Btu. per person. Given the increase in technology, nuclear and hydro power lets use the 1800 consumption level of about 90 million Btu. per person for reducing our CO2 foot print by 80%.
What does that mean?
This site helps us figure that out.
Farmers made up about 90% of labor force in 1790 and 69% of labor force in 1800. (2.6% in 1990) In 1830 it took about 250-300 labor-hours required to produce 100 bushels (5 acres) of wheat with walking plow, brush harrow, hand broadcast of seed, sickle, and flail . In 1987 it took 2-3/4 labor-hours produce 100 bushels but that takes lots of oil.
1810-30 saw the transfer of “manufacturing” from the farm and home to the shop and factory. So that means now centralized factories. It wasn’t until the 1840′s that we saw factory made farm machinery, labor saving devices and chemical fertilizers became common. It was in the 1860′s that kerosene lamps became popular. (Think replacing whale oil) Also up until the 1850′s dung and wood were the major source of energy. Link
In other words for the USA to use HALF the energy per person that was used in 1800 we must abandon ALL factories and 90% of the population must return to subsistence farming using animals. Solar and Wind just are not going to produce enough power to keep us in anything but a few lights and if we are lucky a refrigerator per village. FACTORIES use a huge amount of power and that is why cotton mills and other primitive factories were built on rivers.
Anyone who tries to tell you differently is talking baffle gab because at present less than 9% of the US labor force is in manufacturing. The USA (and the EU) has already gotten rid of most of its really energy intense industry like smelting the ores to make machines. The USA shipped most of its factories overseas.
To understand what they are actually trying to do Look at Sustania
The small green areas on this map are where we would be allowed to live
2009 bill Implementing the Wildlands Project
Other Bills introduced to make it happen
What the Wildlands Project has morphed into since it was “outed” The Rewilding Project
To me it looks like we will be herded into “slave encampments” and denied the right of access to most of our country. That is what denying us Access to Energy is really all about reducing us back to SERFS with our “Blessings”

Alex the skeptic

In my country we have a phrase that we use to describe a futile and useless activity that produces nothing of value: >>SHOVELLING SUNSHINE<< This decribes perfectly the share that PV's have of the total global energy production (zero). It is just shovelling sunshine.

More Soylent Green!

acckkii says:
March 21, 2012 at 6:44 am
Wind and Solar don’t have strong infrastructure as yet. Therefore as baby energy sources cannot be taken into account. So any comparison with fossil based fuels 1 to 10 less/more would be an issue when the subsidies on fossils are clearly specified. My question is why Independent Power Plants have stopped power generation and they receive their required power from government facilities except where the power is not available by the authorities. Is that due to subsidized power?

You’re entirely off point. Wind and solar aren’t viable for large-scale power generation because they are unreliable. We have to build additional capacity into the system to make up for the fact that we can’t control when or where the wind blows or how sunny it will be. For every megawatt of capacity wind and solar are capable of generating, there needs to be another megawatt of on-demand electricity available. Do you have the money to pay for that extra generation capacity, to build it, staff it, maintain it? Does it really make sense to you to build an expensive solar plant and a backup gas-fired plant when you could just build the gas-fired plant instead?
The fact that we have to build additional infrastructure for wind and solar makes them even more expensive.

Gail Combs

So that means now centralized factories => So that means no centralized factories.