In other news…"Ten Reasons Why Fracking is (not) Doomed"

Guest Post by David Middleton

I ran across a really funny story on Real Clear Energy last Friday…

Once you get past all of the nonsense about fracking polluting groundwater and global warming hysteria, the article really gets “interesting.”

Ten Reasons Why Fracking is isn’t Doomed

1. Scientists have found that solar photovoltaic cells could be producing electricity at less 50 cents a watt by 2016, four years earlier than other projections.

The source of reason #1 is this blog post…

Brave new world as solar PV heads to 50c/watt

By Giles Parkinson on 20 July 2012

US Energy Secretary Stephen Chu earlier this year suggested that solar PV without subsidies will be cheaper than both coal and gas if it could get its costs down to around $1/watt by the end of the decade – an event that would trigger a total re-examination of the way electricity was produced in the world’s largest economy.

[…]

The report includes a few notable graphs. The first is the cost path for module – now estimated at around 75c/W and heading down to 50c/W at a rate of knots. GTM, and most others in the industry, believe it will get to the 50c/W mark by 2016 at the latest, most likely 2015

[…]

http://reneweconomy.com.au/2012/brav…-50cwatt-29404

The chart implies that solar PV power plants currently cost ~$1.45/W and will soon fall to ~$0.50/W. However, the chart only covers the CapEx for the solar modules. Even if the module costs are accurate, the CapEx for solar PV power plants currently ranges from $6-7/W ($6-7 million per MW), costing 6-7 times as much as and requiring 8 times as much land area per MW as a natural gas-fired plant.

Even if you factor in fuel,solar PV is still projected to cost 3 times as much per kWh as gas-fired electricity (combined cycle).

Even if the module costs did drop from $1.45 to $0.50 per Watt, that would only lower the full cost from $6-7 million per MW to $5-6 million per MW. Land isn’t free and construction isn’t done by volunteers.

2. Germany is on the verge of producing more solar energy than wind energy, the first major industrialized country to reach that milestone. Germany wants to produce 35 percent of its electricity from renewables by 2020, only 8 years from now.

I didn’t think the second reason could be dumber than the first reason. I was wrong…

3. Researchers at UCLA have created a solar-power-generating window. If all those glass box skyscrapers in southern California could be put to work generating electricity, it would probably power the whole state.

Words escape me… Even if mythical solar windows could power the entire State…

How much would it cost per MW of installed capacity?

How would California keep the lights on when “the Sun don’t shine”?

4. The British government has given the go-ahead for two huge offshore wind farms off the coast of Norfolk (the eastern coast). Together, they will have the capacity to produce over a gigawatt of power (roughly one nuclear power plant’s worth). Britain is the leader in offshore wind energy generation.

“Over a gigawatt of power”! That’s just 1,000 MW and, as can be seen in the previously posted levelized generation cost chart, offshore wind is even more expensive than solar PV.

5. With Japan’s nuclear energy plants being phased out because of public fury over the Fukushima disaster, the country is trying to move quickly to renewables. It is placing a big bet on offshore floating wind platforms.

Maybe I’m missing something here… But I don’t see how Japan’s lack of cheap energy sources dooms fracking.

6. Scientists have concluded that it is perfectly practical to provide 2/3s of US electricity from solar over the next decades. The main problem is not electricity generation or having enough land to put the cells on, it is the poor electrical grid of the US, which will have to be redone.

Reason number 6 seems to be that there is enough surface area on the planet for solar PV (I wonder if there’s enough Windex on the planet). Good to know that there’s enough space. Since natural gas-fired plants take up 1/8 as much space per MW, “space” isn’t likely to doom fracking before it dooms solar PV.

7. Algeria wants to go solar, aiming for 650 megawatts of solar energy by 2015 and a massive 22 gigawatts by 2030. The Desertec Foundation has big projects in Egypt and Morocco, and Algeria, an oil producer, has decided to join in.

It’s been a bit more than a year since I ran the numbers on Desertec; but I doubt they’ve improved. The ultimate goal is 100 GW installed capacity (100,000 MW) at an estimated total cost of $550 billion (~$5.5 million per MW)… Only about 6 times as expensive as coal and natural gas and 2-3 times as expensive as nuclear and wind.

1 TW (Terrawatt) = 1 billion kW (Kilowatts)

At 15 cents per kWh, Desertec will generate an annual gross revenue of $105 billion if it really delivers 700 TWh per year. That’s enough to cover the construction cost principle (pay out) in 35-46 years (30-40 years to build and 5-6 years of operation).

If Desertec really had to compete with nuclear, natural gas and coal, it could only charge 3 to 7 cents per kWh. This would push “pay out” up to about 70 years.

In either case, it’s still an example of multinational mental deficiency.

On top of all of that. These solar arrays would be built across North Africa and the Middle East. I always thought one of selling points for solar was that it would make us less energy-dependent on regions like North Africa and the Middle East…

8. Some 750,000 Australian homes have solar panels on the roof, heading toward 10% of the 8 million households in the sun-drenched country.

Not likely to doom fracking in the USA… We’re a bit less sun-drenched than Oz. And I doubt it will doom fracking in Oz either….

Australian LNG Exports to Triple

11 July 2012

National exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) could more than triple to 63 million tonnes per annum by 2016-17 as Australia plays a greater role in satisfying global energy demand.

This is the forecast of the inaugural Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics (BREE) Gas Market Report released today by Minister for Resources and Energy, Martin Ferguson AM MP.

[…]

http://minister.ret.gov.au/mediacent…rtstriple.aspx

9. China is going to make a major push for solar energy after 2015, aiming for a mind-bogging (Sic) 50 gigawatts worth by 2020.

I think the author may have meant “mind-boggling,” However, the author’s mind clearly is “bogged.” 50 GW would be less than 5% of China’s generation capacity.

China leads the world in the manufacturing and sales of solar PV cells, but they are in no hurry to build out solar PV infrastructure for themselves…

They manufacture solar cells to sell them to Germany.

China’s push to build 50 GW of solar PV won’t even doom fracking in China, much less in the USA…

July 4, 2012,

Can China Follow U.S. Shift from Coal to Gas?

By ANDREW C. REVKIN

[…]

Second, several years ago, I heard that teams of Chinese engineers were spending months in Oklahoma to learn about hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, as a method for liberating gas and oil from previously untappable shale deposits. More recently, reports showed that China — which was once considered gas poor — now has estimated volumes greater than those of the United States (which are, as you know, enormous). This week China signaled that it may indeed be gearing up for an ambitious gas push. An article in China Daily, “Will China embrace a shale gas boom?,” essentially answers its headline question with a resounding yes.

[…]

http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/20…m-coal-to-gas/

Reason number 10: Blame Israel…

10. The Egyptian gas pipeline through the Sinai to Jordan and Israel has been blown up 15 times since the Jan. 25 revolution. Egyptians are angry that the government of deposed dictator Hosni Mubarak had sold the gas at substantially below-market prices to Israel. Because of the interruptions, Jordan’s government is more eager than ever to move to solar and wind power. A sign of increased international interest in the nascent Jordanian renewables sector is that a Chinese company wants to invest $200 million in a solar project. Jordan has a goal of getting 10% of its electricity from renewables by 2020, though that may be an ambitious timeline. If its government were smart, it would go all out and double that goal, and try to meet it.

I have no doubt that China is eager to sell solar cells to another gullible customer… In the meantime Israel is open for business to natural gas drilling…

Noble Energy has been operating in the Mediterranean Sea, offshore Israel, since 1998. Our 47 percent interest in the Mari-B field, the first offshore natural gas production facility in Israel, is one of our core international assets. Production from Mari-B began in 2004 and sales volumes have increased as Israel’s natural gas infrastructure has developed. Additional pipeline construction and power plant conversion is contributing to the growing natural gas demand in Israel. Significant new exploration discoveries at Tamar and Dalit will help meet Israel’s energy needs and drive new uses for natural gas in the future.

In early 2010, the Company commenced drilling two additional development wells at Mari-B. Combined with additional compression work, these new wells will support near-term gas deliverability and serve as injection wells for storage in the future.

We have a 36 percent operated working interest at Tamar, with gross mean resources of 8.4 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of natural gas. Tamar was the largest natural gas discovery in the world in 2009 and represents Noble Energy’s largest-ever exploration find. Initial expectations target first production from Tamar in 2012. Contracting for the sale of natural gas from Tamar is underway, and the Company has negotiated a number of multi-year letters of intent to deliver energy supply to customers. Project sanction at Tamar is expected in 2010.

In late 2009, we acquired additional 3D seismic over approximately 1,600 square miles in the region where we have identified a number of new prospects and leads on our significant acreage position offshore Israel and Cyprus. Based on the results of the seismic program, the Company has identified gross unrisked resource potential greater than 30 Tcf. Along with our partners, we are planning to spud Leviathan, a 16 Tcf gross prospect, in the fourth quarter 2010.

Noble Energy

Conclusion

All “Ten Reasons Why Fracking is Doomed” are abject nonsense.

The author of “Ten Reasons Why Fracking is Doomed” is Professor Juan Cole, a history professor at the University of Michigan.

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Dr Burns
July 31, 2012 4:28 pm

“Brave new world as solar PV heads to 50c/watt ”
Do all the renewables costs quoted include the costs of backup systems to ensure constant supply ?

July 31, 2012 4:29 pm

I wonder how History will judge the wisdom of Prof Cole – a Historian?

Mike Everts
July 31, 2012 4:35 pm

I read the same article, but unlike you I couldn’t get past the first paragraph’s bold face lie about fracking causing polution of water supplies. I thought about answering all ten like you did here but you did a much better job than I ever could have! As usual Excellent retort to rubbish!

Roger Caiazza
July 31, 2012 4:43 pm

It is amazing me that a history professor feels he has enough of a grasp of energy policy that he can publish such a naïve post on energy. Middleton does a great job of dissecting the inaccuracies and doesn’t even point out what I think is the greatest fallacy of utility scale renewables. In order to make up for its intermittent nature you not only have to build the renewables but you also have to build either a storage system and a heck of a lot of transmission capacity to get the diffuse renewables to load centers or you have to build natural gas backup facilities. On the basis of my wallet alone I prefer to just build the natural gas facilities. I don’t think there is any way utility scale renewables will work but could accept using solar for local scale applications such as hot water heat and personal electricity because that would shave the peak energy use. Because the wind doesn’t blow at peak loads it has no value.

David Larsen
July 31, 2012 4:54 pm

Most of us do NOT have electric vehicles. How can you compare light bulbs (which the history prof has none) to oil and gas used for vehicles and home heating? I do not see the correlation. Wind chimes play mozart on a starry night in Austria. Same analogy and there is none.

Coldlynx
July 31, 2012 4:57 pm

I love fracking.
But i also love PV panels at right price. I cant see why not use both, and be happy over lower prices for both gas and PV panels.

Jimbo
July 31, 2012 4:57 pm

Pardon my language but there is no No Frakking Consensus
http://nofrakkingconsensus.com/

A. Scott
July 31, 2012 4:57 pm

You left out – I think – the back up generation for when the sun don’t shine …
Also – seems the electrical grid does OK at distributing that dirty old coal and NatGas’ electricity …
“Green” math is always funny …

Jimbo
July 31, 2012 5:01 pm

Compare and contrast:

The author of “Ten Reasons Why Fracking is Doomed” is Professor Juan Cole, a history professor at the University of Michigan.

and

David Middleton
I have been a geoscientist in the evil oil and gas industry for almost 30 years.

Now, as for Al Gore the Theologian and Pachauri the railway comptroller……….#$%%^^&

July 31, 2012 5:03 pm

Hi David,
Your post provides balance to Professor Cole’s article. I would like to add that Real Clear Energy itself is an excellent aggregator, with a good mix of links to technical articles, as well as policy articles with a broad range of viewpoints.

Ally E.
July 31, 2012 5:05 pm

Oh gawd. Will someone wake me when this nightmare of madness is over…
David? How did you manage to wade through all that garbage? It took me several goes and I still stumbled throughout. Now my brain hurts.
Good article, by the way.

July 31, 2012 5:24 pm

Even the British Royal Engineering Society’s study found that fracking is essentially harmless:
http://phys.org/news/2012-07-fracking-undertaken-safely-effective.html

GeoLurking
July 31, 2012 6:13 pm

5. With Japan’s nuclear energy plants being phased out because of public fury over the Fukushima disaster, the country is trying to move quickly to renewables. It is placing a big bet on offshore floating wind platforms.

And they are doing everything they can to keep them shut down. As of about six months ago, the nationwide projection was that there would be about a 4% shortfall in energy production vs demand, even with enhanced conservation measures. Some prefectures were expecting about 13 to 16% shortfall.
With the restoration of operations of Unit #3 of the Ōi Nuclear plant, some of those enhanced conservation measures were relaxed. The Shika Nuclear plant was in preparation to bring one of it’s units back online. Now, questions are being raised about cracks in the terrain that some are claiming are fault system and further investigation is needed. If the cracks are in fact fault systems, then the restoration of nuclear power is in danger of not occurring. These two plants are well back from the subduction zone fault system that generated the Tōhoku earthquake. The closest major fault system is the convergent margin that cuts across central Japan. (pushes up mountains)
Meanwhile… in the real world:

(AGI) Tokyo – Week-end stifling temperatures in Japan have caused 5 deaths by heath stroke and the hospitalization of over 1500 people. The heat wave has hit several provinces. Most victims are located in the central provinces, where the thermometer has reached 35 degree Celsius, with over 70% humidity.

http://www.agi.it/english-version/world/elenco-notizie/201207290828-cro-ren1011-japan_s_heat_weave_kills_5_and_hospitalizes_1500

Anthony Scalzi
July 31, 2012 6:27 pm

BTW, Fracking processes have been developed that don’t use water for the fracking fluid. They use propane and butane instead. So objections to fracking based on the difficulty of disposing used fracking fluids are now moot-there’s no toxic wastewater to dispose of. The propane is simply recovered as part of the gas production of the well.
http://insideclimatenews.org/news/20120415/waterless-fracking-method-propane-gasfrac-bypass-new-york-ban-hydraulic-fracturing-tioga-county
Waterless Fracking Method Could Sidestep NY Gas Drilling Ban
A plan to extract shale gas and oil from 135,000 acres in Tioga County, N.Y., could break through the state’s hydraulic fracturing moratorium, because the wells would be fracked not with water but with liquefied petroleum gas, or LPG, a mixture of mostly propane.

July 31, 2012 6:30 pm

Photovoltaics is a cheap parlor trick, using one-time, one-way molecular erosion to produce 1.5 watts per sq ft of 1.5 volt direct current. To be useful and transmissionable this needs an inverter to alternating current and a transformer to higher voltage, both causing output reductions. The cost per watt figures are deceptive due to FOSSIL FUEL based production energy and the slave labor, non-OSHA, non-EPA and non property restricted country of origin, the Dear Peoples Republic. Read more on this scam in “Green Prince of Darkness”.
The reason there is Methane under every rock you frack is that Hydrocarbons are a natural by-product of nuclear fission decay. The Jupiter moon, Titan, has Methane oceans, Methane clouds and frozen Methane polar ice caps. Titan never had a dinosaur. Yesterday’s Guardian had an article on tiny Enceladus, the 310 mile diameter moon of Saturn. It is a billion miles from the Sun, yet has liquid water gysers and pools of surface Propane, Ethane and Acetylene. The real Abiogentic production of petroluem is discussed in “Fossil Fuel is Nuclear Waste” and “Earth’s Elemental Petro Production”. We must be skeptical of every branch of the phoney Carbon sciences.

FergalR
July 31, 2012 6:36 pm

Worthwhile read on the fracking revolution from a optimistic *gasp* lefty:
http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2012/07/28/the-energy-revolution-4-hot-planet/
Also – peak Windex.

TomE
July 31, 2012 6:45 pm

Perhaps the good history professor has a grant of some kind which is dependent on finding a solution to AGW or perhaps it is his intro to applying for a grant. As a history professor I suggest he study the downfall of Detroit or some other great event in human history as did Gibbons.

ChE
July 31, 2012 6:50 pm

Professor Einstein doesn’t seem to grasp the concept that even if the solar panels were free, they’d still be too expensive. Labor… auxiliaries…all that other stuff…

John Garrett
July 31, 2012 7:34 pm

I fear stupidity, co-dependence, gullibility and the madness of crowds more than anything else. The mob is dangerous.

July 31, 2012 7:35 pm

Sorry guys, but fairy power will always be cheaper.

July 31, 2012 7:48 pm

I usually dont comment but I had to on this…
If fracking doesnt hurt drinking water then what happen to those peoples water to make it catch on fire, turn brown, smell, make animals sick and be generally undrinkable? You must be saying that the peoples water was like that before fracking and they are lying…
I generally like the comments here but as a energy scientist/miner the comments about fracking not being harmful just dont make sense. Pumping pertroleum into the ground is bound to have side effects. Just like the Gulf accident was essentially harmless.
From Wikievil…
“In April 2012, scientists reported finding alarming numbers of mutated crab, shrimp and fish they believe to be the result of chemicals released during the oil spill.[31] Tar balls continue to wash up along the Gulf coast two years after the spill began. Studies show the tar balls contain the deadly bacteria Vibrio vulnificus[32][33] In April 2012, oil was found dotting 200 miles of Louisiana’s coast.[34] ”
I think AGW is a sham because that viewpoint is supported by science just like the rest of my opinions(I hope). Fracking is inherantly bad and we dont need it as a source of energy. It is the energy companies just trying to make a profit.
Really even solar and wind power are bloated and passe, and subject to crony capitalism(Solyndra?)…
But there is something beyond all of that that is cheap, safe and clean.
Low Energy Nuclear Reactions(LENR) is the next energy source. Look up E-Cat, Defkion or Brillouin.
Brillouin: “Understanding How LENR Works Will Enable Us to Be First”
http://pesn.com/2012/04/19/9602078_Brillouin–Understanding_How_LENR_Works_Will_Enable_Us_to_Be_First/

July 31, 2012 7:49 pm

If you want to understand how Professor Cole,a historian, could write about the energy industry and if you also want to understand what is currently taking place today in universities and government regarding the theory of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (“CAGW”), look no further than Thomas Sowell’s book “Intellectuals and Society”. This book has made me realize that the hysteria about CAGW is anything but new. It’s a narrative that has been played out in different forms many times before with the “intellectual” taking the lead in solving humanity’s problems because they are just smarter than the rest of us. This is the link to an interview with Thomas Sowell of the Hoover Institution with Peter Robinson discussing “Intellectuals and Society”. I think all who read Anthony’s great blog will also thoroughly enjoy the book. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JyufeHJlodE&feature=BFa&list=PL436E13A67DC43B33

Gunga Din
July 31, 2012 8:17 pm

Smokey says:
July 31, 2012 at 5:24 pm
Even the British Royal Engineering Society’s study found that fracking is essentially harmless:
http://phys.org/news/2012-07-fracking-undertaken-safely-effective.html
========================================================================
Fracking isn’t anything new. It’s been going on for 50 years or more. It only became a problem when it showed real promise of breaking our (the US’s) dependence on foreign oil, thus deflating one the “Hot Air” lobby’s arguments for “Green Energy”.
(Plus, I don’t think Al Gore owns any stock in it.)

ChE
July 31, 2012 8:18 pm

For the benefit of anyone not aware of who this nut case is, this is one and the same Juan Cole who denies that Ahmadinejad threatened to wipe Israel off the face of the earth. He’s a loon of the first order.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahmoud_Ahmadinejad_and_Israel

Steve from Rockwood
July 31, 2012 8:34 pm

I was hoping the Olympic flame would be solar powered this year (so we could watch them pull out the diesel generators). Great Article DM!

Don Shaw
July 31, 2012 8:39 pm

I will believe the BS on renewables when they stop requiring subsidies and start paying taxes at the level the fossil industry currently pays, which our leaders spend recklessly.
BTW that will never happen in our lifetimes if ever.
The history Professor needs to get into the real world after he has taken a course in economics.
Good post!!

Don Shaw
July 31, 2012 8:43 pm

BTW, has anyone thought that since the EPA is shutting down all those coal plants, the critics who claim this is a risk to the grid may be right in light of the electricity crisis in India?

ChE
July 31, 2012 8:54 pm

The coal plants are mostly shutting down precisely because of fracking. Gas is so cheap, coal can’t compete. This would have happened with the administrations “help”.
Whether there’s adequate reserve capacity in the Eastern grid is a whole other question.

GeoLurking
July 31, 2012 9:00 pm

Brant Ra says:
July 31, 2012 at 7:48 pm

I usually dont comment but I had to on this…
If fracking doesnt hurt drinking water then what happen to those peoples water to make it catch on fire, turn brown, smell, make animals sick and be generally undrinkable? You must be saying that the peoples water was like that before fracking and they are lying…

Methane is a flammable gas that is formed in one of two ways. First, it can be produced by bacteria during the decomposition of organic matter. This is the process that creates the methane found in landfills, swamps (called swamp gas), and in the intestines of cattle and other animals.

The second way methane can be formed is through the thermal decomposition of organic matter under high temperatures and pressures. Methane created by this thermal process is called “thermogenic” methane. Thermogenic methane is created when organic matter is buried deep underground by the accumulation of more and more sediment under the right circumstances.

Biogenic methane and thermogenic methane molecules are chemically the same, but scientists can tell the difference between the two

All carbon atoms have the same chemical properties, but a small fraction of carbon atoms have a different number of neutrons in the atomic nucleus than do most carbon atoms. Because the fraction of carbon atoms that have the “odd” number of neutrons is different for thermogenic and biogenic methane, scientists can tell the difference between the two types of methane by using isotopic analysis.

The methane recovered in natural gas drilling is thermogenic, not biogenic. Thus, the presence of biogenic methane in a water well generally would not be caused by natural gas drilling, whereas the presence of thermogenic methane might be caused by drilling activity (though in some places, thermogenic natural gas naturally seeps to the earth’s surface, so that the presence of thermogenic methane in a water well is not sufficient by itself to prove that oil and gas activity is the cause).
Gasland discussed three water wells located in Colorado, and also discussed two additional places in Colorado where gas was seeping to the surface in the West Divide Creek area. The Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission, the arm of state government that regulates the oil and gas industry, investigated the contamination and has posted a report of its findings on its website. Through testing, the Commission conclusively established that three of the five locations (two of the water wells and one of the seeps) contained biogenic methane that was unrelated to oil and gas activity.
Of the remaining two locations, the water well contained both biogenic and thermogenic methane, while the seep contained thermogenic methane. That left the question of what caused thermogenic methane to contaminate the water well and the seep. The Commission concluded that oil and gas activity was the cause, but that the contamination had not been caused by hydraulic fracturing. Rather, the problem had been caused by improper well construction (the casing and cementing of the natural gas wells).

http://www.oilgaslawbrief.com/hydraulic-fracturing/hydraulic-fracturing-and-gasland-separating-fact-from-fiction/

Alan Clark of Dirty Oil-berta
July 31, 2012 9:24 pm

Obviously, the prof is simply a shill for Big-Windex.

heresy101
July 31, 2012 9:30 pm

Without trying to refute everything that is posited by Mr. Middleton about the anti-fracking article, we can agree that the only reason fracking may slow down may be the economy not most of the points in the anti-fracking article.
But, the anti solar diatribe is just that, a diatribe and has no basis in reality. The $.50/watt panel cost figure is from NREL and looks like it will easily be achieved by 2016. Our utility has a customer in 2012 installing an almost 1 MW solar project using $1.10/watt Korean (not Chinese) panels. The total all in cost for this project is about $3.80/watt (Capex costs) yielding a levelized cost of about $.12 per kWh depending on the interest rate utilized. This project is about 50% roof and 50% on carports which add additional costs (factored into the $3.80/watt). Residential rooftop projects are being built for about $4.50-$5.50 all in per watt today and our customers are being quoted around $.12/kWh ($.04/kWh below PG&E average prices) with a small escalator for 15-20 years (these costs do include the investment tax credit). Additionally, local solar projects avoid the $.01-.02/kWh CAISO transmission costs. All the numbers and charts about solar being too costly are just obfustication, or maybe coal industry propaganda?
Solar will reach a par price with grid electricity because the economy will hopefully grow again and natural gas prices can’t stay below costs indefinitely. Even though gas prices are very low, the current electric market is as low now as it was high about five years ago.
The CAISO market prices are very low because of low natural gas prices (due to the fracking) and because of the recession which has hugely reduced demand.
Regarding the solar window film, you can be sure that a future Title 24 standard will mandate its installation on south facing windows much as insulation in walls has been required. No one will complain if the film is based on infrared, doesn’t block vision, and is reasonably priced.
Wind is a power source that is not as versatile as solar even though it is currently cheaper. It is harder to site and often generates at night which if opposite of the standard load profile.
There is agreement on nuclear in Japan because wind in Japan won’t impact fracking.
But Mr. Middleton’s response should have been to raise LFTR (liquid fueled thorium reactor) as a long term solution to electric power needs. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D3rL08J7fDA
As once through cooling (OTC) and coal plants reach the end of their lives, they will be replaced with natural gas plants (both combined cycle and reciprocating engines) and renewables from biomass, solar, and geothermal. It will be a combination of all sources but will not end fracking as written in Real Clear Energy article. On the other hand, renewables will be a large portion of the electric mix until LFTR is fully developed (hopefully not by the Chinese).
Finally, congratulations to Anthony and the co-authors on their new paper. As one who plotted the temperatures of the rural Central Valley and found no warming trend and looked at the photos and info from the surface stations project, this writer began to question the global warming religion several years ago.

Mark and two Cats
July 31, 2012 9:40 pm

Dirty Cole

GeoLurking
July 31, 2012 10:21 pm

And while the idea of natural gas seeps is still fresh…
From: “BTC Pipeline ESIA Azerbajan” (Bold added.)

Mud volcanoes, which form both onshore and offshore, are a feature of the geology of eastern
Azerbaijan, producing a potential geolhzard to pipeline construction and operation. Mud
volcanoes are the points at which pressure within the earth’s cmst (up to 6km deep) is
released. Mud and larger clasts of rocks, liquids and gases erupt from the ground surface.

Eruptions can be violent and unexpected, ejecting debris many hundreds of meters into the
air, and some are associated with pyroclastic flows. A further potential issue is that gases
discharged by mud volcanoes may be flammable.

Over 300 mud volcanoes are present in Azerbaijan, the majority of which are associated with
anticlinal fold structures. Mudflows 10m thick, several hundred meters wide and 5-l0 km in
length have been recorded in Azerbaijan (Jagubov ef al., 1972).

Additionally, the text states: “Approximately 40% of eruptions are believed to include associated gases that spontaneously ignite, with flame heights exceeding 100m”
http://www.bp.com/liveassets/bp_internet/bp_caspian/bp_caspian_en/STAGING/local_assets/downloads_pdfs/xyz/BTC_English_ESIAs_Azerbaijan_Content_Baseline_Reports_BTC_ESIA_Baseli-_Geohazards.pdf
How that for groundwater contamination?
On the other side of the Caspian Sea, Derweze in Turkmenistan has it’s “Door to Hell.” Not really a natural “event,” a drilling rig collapsed into a cavern filled with natural gas. Fearing hydrogen sulfide (poisonous.. it’s the part that makes “sour gas” sour) they lit it off. That was 1971. It’s been burning ever since.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Door_to_hell#The_.22Door_to_Hell.22

kadaka (KD Knoebel)
July 31, 2012 10:56 pm

3. Researchers at UCLA have created a solar-power-generating window. If all those glass box skyscrapers in southern California could be put to work generating electricity, it would probably power the whole state.
Link isn’t responding for me, might be overloaded. Here’s a UCLA link:
http://newsroom.ucla.edu/portal/ucla/ucla-researchers-create-highly-236698.aspx
Click on the Related Image on the sidebar, or this picture link:
http://newsroom.ucla.edu/portal/ucla/artwork/3/6/6/9/8/236698/Transparent_Solar_Cells.jpg
Wow, they’re about a square inch. Won’t take much longer to scale that up to office window size without defects, eh?
First major application, maybe they can make them as a screen cover on a cellphone for solar charging. Cellphone materials aren’t affected by UV in bright sunlight, right?
Says they’re near-infrared sensitive. To generate usable energy, you need different energy levels, with all energy use ultimately ending at the lowest level, long wave infrared. So wouldn’t it make more sense to start with higher-energy ultraviolet, which you generally don’t want in a building anyway, than near-infrared?
How would California keep the lights on when “the Sun don’t shine”?
Knowing the People’s Green Republic of Kalifornia, they’ll likely mandate their use anyway, even on office buildings that are in the shade of larger buildings. Try to complain, all you’ll get is those “solar windows” forcefully installed Where The Sun Don’t Shine.

rogerknights
August 1, 2012 12:31 am

Steve from Rockwood says:
July 31, 2012 at 8:34 pm
I was hoping the Olympic flame would be solar powered this year (so we could watch them pull out the diesel generators).

How about if he carried a child’s whirligig? (I forget the proper name for those.) What a hoot.

JohnM
August 1, 2012 1:15 am

There may be other reasons why gas is not the panacea that it looks like at first glance:
http://www.testosteronepit.com/home/2012/7/30/the-coming-unholy-alliance-in-natural-gas.html

August 1, 2012 2:37 am

A good friend recently changed his roof mounted solar thermal panels, which kept his hot water system at a minimum of 30C throughout the year, for PV. I asked why when he had a good system already and his reason was the ability of selling his excess electricity. I have nothing since which leads me to think that the selling has not been as expected. I still wait for the enthusiastic call about the fortune being made.

Ceetee
August 1, 2012 3:14 am

Where have all the smart people gone, long time passing…….(an old Seekers song)

Robert of Ottawa
August 1, 2012 4:36 am

Ah yes, the mythical solar panel window. Can anyone else see the hole in this idea?
Well, to work, it must ABSORB light, not let it pass through. So, the more light it absorbs, the more energy must be expended to light the inside of the building. HAHAHA!

August 1, 2012 4:48 am

This is a spoof surely? Who would put their real name to this load of bogus, presumptuous wibble*? Joke documents are signed with joke names like Juan Kerr, Tor-Kÿnn Bøllux or Michael Mannifestly-Wrong.
* claptrap, nonsense, Met Office forecast.

cba
August 1, 2012 4:54 am

David,
nice explanation. I guess we now have a pretty good idea of why the author went into history (or histrionics?) instead of science or engineering. One thing no one talks about with solar is the albedo impact. by fundamental reasoning, solar farms need to be located in areas where there is maximum sunlight reaching the surface and typically where there is minimal quality use of the land – cheap desert or ‘wasteland’ being preferred. From the perspective of albedo, the cheap land tends to have the highest surface albdeo (like sand). Solar panels tend to have extremely low albedo, absorbing most of the incoming power and converting a fraction of it to electrical energy and leaving the rest as heat. For small arrays of panels, this is inconsequential. For massive arrays necessary for commercial power generation, we’re talking about much larger areas and enough added absorbed heat, several times the power generated by the panels, to become a local or regional heat island type problem.

Allan MacRae
August 1, 2012 5:02 am

26 January 2012
More angry Greens!
Yesterday they were furious with Lord Nigel Lawson for stating the fact that there had been no global warming this century, and wanted him banned (!), yes banned (!!!), from the BBC.
Today President Obama uttered the f-word – fracking (!), yes fracking (!!!) – and he said it more than once (!), on national TV (!!), in the State of the Union Address (!!!).
A spokesperson for Greenpeace said, “It’s a fracking disgrace! How are we greens going to peddle our worthless wind and solar power scams when the world is awash in fracking natural gas that costs less than $3 per GJ, or less than 20% of the energy-equivalent price of fracking oil?”
President Obama said that “the cost of fracking natural-gas is so inexpensive that the United States has a fracking competitive advantage in manufacturing, as compared with other parts of the world which are fracking behind the times. Furthermore, this administration takes full fracking credit for this outstanding fracking achievement! ”
A spokesperson the oil and gas industry explained that “fracking had been a common practice in the energy industry for generations, and although fracking is increasing in both frequency and magnitude, there is no fracking danger and Greenpeace should just cool their fracking rhetoric and give everyone a fracking break”.

Allan MacRae
August 1, 2012 5:08 am

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/07/06/from-the-ieee-a-skeptic-looks-at-alternative-energy/#comment-1026266
The Capacity Factor for land-based wind power is typically ~20-25%, but it is the Substitution Factor that really measures the usefulness of wind power, and that Substitution Factor can be as low as 4% of installed peak capacity.
See Fig. 7 in http://www.wind-watch.org/documents/wp-content/uploads/eonwindreport2005.pdf
That is, for every 100 units of installed wind power capacity, you can replace only 4 units of conventional energy generating capacity.
“Wind Power – It Doesn’t Just Blow, It Sucks!”
Solar power is even worse than wind power, in that solar requires subsidies (paid by the consumer) many times that of wind power.
“Solar Power – Stick It Where the Sun Don’t Shine!”
Wholesale undelivered prices of North American grid-connected electrical generating costs, are approximately:
4 cents/kWh to generate electricity from natural gas, before distribution costs, at most 5-6 cents;
13.5¢/kWh for (intermittent and therefore essentially worthless) wind power;
64.2¢/kWh for (intermittent and therefore essentially worthless) solar power.

Allan MacRae
August 1, 2012 5:23 am

David Middleton:
Very good article and comments.
Thank you, Allan

Allan MacRae
August 1, 2012 5:29 am

We wrote this article a decade ago, in 2002, in opposition to the Kyoto Protocol:
See Prediction #8:
8. 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
Kyoto has many fatal flaws, any one of which should cause this treaty to be scrapped.
1. Climate science does not support the theory of catastrophic human-made global warming – the alleged warming crisis does not exist.
2. Kyoto focuses primarily on reducing CO2, a relatively harmless gas, and does nothing to control real air pollution like NOx, SO2, and particulates, or serious pollutants in water and soil.
3. Kyoto wastes enormous resources that are urgently needed to solve real environmental and social problems that exist today. For example, the money spent on Kyoto in one year would provide clean drinking water and sanitation for all the people of the developing world in perpetuity.
4. Kyoto will destroy hundreds of thousands of jobs and damage the Canadian economy – the U.S., Canada’s biggest trading partner, will not ratify Kyoto, and developing countries are exempt.
5. Kyoto will actually hurt the global environment – it will cause energy-intensive industries to move to exempted developing countries that do not control even the worst forms of pollution.
6. Kyoto’s CO2 credit trading scheme punishes the most energy efficient countries and rewards the most wasteful. Due to the strange rules of Kyoto, Canada will pay the former Soviet Union billions of dollars per year for CO2 credits.
7. Kyoto will be ineffective – even assuming the overstated pro-Kyoto science is correct, Kyoto will reduce projected warming insignificantly, and it would take as many as 40 such treaties to stop alleged global warming.
8. 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.

wsbriggs
August 1, 2012 6:00 am

I’m continually amused that Greens who demonize nuclear, are willing to assume that there will be batteries or storage devices capable of storing gigawatts of energy with no risk what so ever. Unless they plan on over-dimensioning the grid to handle unused capacity transmission to distributed storage sites (that will work well with NIMBY), they have to plan on having the energy stored at the generating site. I for one don’t want to be within 100 miles of a 10 gigawatt-hour storage facility.

John Phillips
August 1, 2012 6:14 am

Germany is squandering their culture driven high productivity on “green” energy production.

August 1, 2012 6:36 am

ChE says:
July 31, 2012 at 8:18 pm
For the benefit of anyone not aware of who this nut case is, this is one and the same Juan Cole who denies that Ahmadinejad threatened to wipe Israel off the face of the earth.

Perfessor Cole’s an unapologetic Persophile — he’s got some good insights into the tribal mentality in the ME and SWA, but lacks a true historian’s objectivity. That said, his knowledge of *anything* unrelated to Islam appears to have solely been gleaned from reading the comments of the Kos Kids and the commenters at RC who haven’t (yet) been banned:

But volcanic rocks and the oceans wash the CO2 back out of the atmosphere if it isn’t in huge quantities, so in the old days humans could only really cause blips. Still, mass deaths of humans, as during the Black Plague or the European-induced epidemics that killed off most of the Native Americans, probably caused colder temperatures for a while in the aftermath.

He’s equally clueless when it comes to economics. I guess he was too busy worrying about fracking to notice Solyndragate::

Massive government-funded research and tax breaks could bring down costs of solar and wind quickly and make geothermal more practical.

http://www.juancole.com/2012/08/the-collapse-of-the-climate-change-contrarians-and-the-end-of-coal.html

wws
August 1, 2012 6:45 am

Juan Cole – had to laugh when I saw that name! I guess he’s still embarked on his endless search for relevance.
A brief history of Prof. Cole’s academic work – he was one of the first to claim that America deserved the 9/11 attacks and that Jews are behind all of the problems in the middle east. His unbridled jew-hatred is legendary, and he uses his academic career as a vehicle to push his own personal and political prejudices.
and NOW he pretends to know something about oil and gas? This guy is just another far left blogger with an axe to grind. He’s a talking parrot who will repeat any left wing claptrap that drifts into his general vicinity without the trouble of ever trying to think seriously about any of the things he says.
It’s kind of funny – ever since the administration changed hands, he’s almost completely stopped his criticism of America’s actions in the middle east. (even though they are very little changed) He doesn’t say anything at all about that anymore, unlike his outspokenness before 2009! So I guess that’s why he is searching for a new bandwagon, one that won’t upset any of his political soul mates.
Solar and Wind are articles of Faith to him, so of course he accepts all of the claims of infallibility without question.

more soylent green!
August 1, 2012 7:05 am

Coldlynx says:
July 31, 2012 at 4:57 pm
I love fracking.
But i also love PV panels at right price. I cant see why not use both, and be happy over lower prices for both gas and PV panels.

The reality is solar power, like wind, is intermittent and unreliable. We can’t generate power from either on demand nor can we currently store the electricity effectively/economically when more is generated than we need.
Denmark is a great example. Denmark frequently has to sell it’s wind-generated electricity below costs and also has to frequently buy electricity from the European grid (mostly from hydroelectric plants in Norway) in order to keep the lights running.
I’ll start getting excited about cheap solar when the total costs (purchase, installation and upkeep) become affordable without government subsidies and the time to see a positive return on investment is less than the service life of the equipment.
That’s not to say that a drop in the cost of solar is bad, it just still has a long way to go.

wsbriggs
August 1, 2012 7:11 am

David Middleton says:
August 1, 2012 at 6:15 am
’27¢/kWh sounds a lot like making “electricity rates skyrocket.”’
I’m so with you there!
I locked my e-bill to the NYMEX nat-gas price when it was offered by TXU. Even at $3.50/ MBTU I’m loving it! Like you it’s about 9 cents right now. 27 cents – thats obscene! I was just in Germany visiting friends and family – I’m glad I don’t feel their pain. I’m equally glad I don’t have to think about converting from fuel oil to wood pellets. Talk about being held hostage…
I support scrubbed coal plants, natural gas generators and Thorium reactors. I would like to see more co-generation facilities using nat gas turbines. Ohio and Pennsylvania manufacturing plants with co-gen could help the NE area a lot.
I’m still watching the research in low energy nuclear reactions closely. The nuclear active environment within the crystal lattice seems to have been identified, and the physics is consistent with current knowledge of reactions (no miracles necessary). The best part is that most of the research is privately funded so money isn’t being thrown at the problem, just careful thought. There are, however, just like in climate “science,” a lot of hacks trying to become famous, rich or both without regard for scientific integrity. Just like in Climatology progress is slow, but the scientific method winnows out bogus paths over time and leads to understanding. We’ll see. I’m guessing a minimum of 10 years to the first commercial reactors – forgetting the recent questionable quality announcements out of Italy and Australia.

dave ward
August 1, 2012 7:13 am

“As of about six months ago, the nationwide projection was that there would be about a 4% shortfall in energy production vs demand, even with enhanced conservation measures. Some prefectures were expecting about 13 to 16% shortfall”
At which point Japan will probably suffer the same major grid outages that India is currently experiencing.
“The British government has given the go-ahead for two huge offshore wind farms off the coast of Norfolk (the eastern coast)”
And in yesterdays local paper was news of a second, large, solar farm nearby:
http://tinyurl.com/cbms5u5
The article (and comments) once again fail to distinguish between Kw/Mw and Kwh/Mwh, and no one on either side of the discussion says anything about how the grid copes with unreliable & variable supplies, or the lack of any practical way of storing surplus energy to cover low wind & darkness. As someone who knows the area well, they also forget the regular sea fog which can extend several miles inland (further than the existing site mentioned in that link). I can’t think of a less suitable location…

Steve Fletcher
August 1, 2012 7:47 am

“poor electrical grid of the US, which will have to be redone”
What a bunch of BS. The multiple grids in the US (Western, Eastern, Texas) are quite possibly the greatest mechanical construction in the history of man. Just think about it, thousands of machines all operating synchronously at 60 Hz moving energy from one point to another thousands of miles away at the speed of light. Our electric grid is not broken, it is the most reliable grid in the world. When was the last major blackout? California when ENRON manipulated generation in order to game the pricing scheme in that state. When the system is working as intended our grid is AMAZING.

David Fogg
August 1, 2012 8:00 am

If you guys don’t want to be seen as puppets for Oil and Gas, why do you allow yourselves to get dragged in to ANTI-GREEN sentiments as opposed to sticking with ANTI-CAGW discussions?!?
I mean SERIOUSLY. If people are afraid of contamination of their environment and drinking water from oil/gas drilling, can you blame them??? Macondo, Yellowstone river, Athabasca, Mountain top removal, Valdez… how many examples of corrupt regulation and negligent treatment of our environment do you need to see before their fears are justified??
CAGW is a farce. Green energy technology is not yet viable. But if you don’t want to LOOK like what you’re accused of being, don’t dress that way.

August 1, 2012 8:46 am

David Fogg says:
August 1, 2012 at 8:00 am
If you guys don’t want to be seen as puppets for Oil and Gas, why do you allow yourselves to get dragged in to ANTI-GREEN sentiments as opposed to sticking with ANTI-CAGW discussions?!?

Because “Green” and “CAGW” are synonymous, and have been for decades. The radical Left so-opted the legitimate environmental groups decades ago, in case you hadn’t noticed.

August 1, 2012 8:49 am

$#@! — “co-opted,” not so-opted.” Typing and editing by laptop screen light never works out qiute rgiht…

Brian H
August 1, 2012 11:07 am

Juan Cole has been uttering arrant nonsense for decades. Not surprised he hasn’t kicked the habit. BTW, as an historian, his credentials are only very slightly better than as a scientist. Which is to say, pretty much delusory.

Brian H
August 1, 2012 11:14 am

more soylent green! says:
August 1, 2012 at 7:05 am
Coldlynx says:
July 31, 2012 at 4:57 pm
I love fracking.
But i also love PV panels at right price. I cant see why not use both, and be happy over lower prices for both gas and PV panels.

That’s not to say that a drop in the cost of solar is bad, it just still has a long way to go.

1. For small applications, with supplementary baseload sources (like a homeowner with a solar roof AND a grid connection), it can work. Nowhere else.
2. If PV panels were free, they would still be horribly overpriced for large scale applications. The real costs are elsewhere, and badly quantified.

August 1, 2012 11:25 am

Brian H says:
August 1, 2012 at 11:07 am
Juan Cole has been uttering arrant nonsense for decades. Not surprised he hasn’t kicked the habit. BTW, as an historian, his credentials are only very slightly better than as a scientist. Which is to say, pretty much delusory.

Which is why he hammers on the theme that current events are actually “current history” — his blog entries thus become “historical studies.”

Caleb
August 1, 2012 12:29 pm

I love history. It was through the study of history, (both the history of weather and the history of people,) that I was able to recognize Global Warming as a fraud even before Anthony created this excellant website. A true student of history can see certain things, even if he flunked math and can’t go near a computer without causing it to crash.
This professor, however, gives history a bad name. They once said, “Those who can’t do, teach.” This man elevates it to a new level: “Those who do not learn from the examples of the past are doomed to become history professors.”

jorgekafkazar
August 1, 2012 2:44 pm

Ceetee says: “Where have all the smart people gone, long time passing…”
I blame it on Agent Mauve, an insecticide sprayed on ivy-covered walls. Exposure gradually destroys the critical faculties of people who spend much of their time therein.

dmacleo
August 1, 2012 5:14 pm

when a tsunami messes up your nuke power its always a good idea to migrate to offshore wind power.
cause a tsunami will magically swerve to avoid it.

cba
August 1, 2012 5:18 pm


Caleb says:
August 1, 2012 at 12:29 pm
I love history. It was through the study of history, (both the history of weather and the history of people,) that I was able to recognize Global Warming as a fraud even before Anthony created this excellant website. A true student of history can see certain things, even if he flunked math and can’t go near a computer without causing it to crash.
This professor, however, gives history a bad name. They once said, “Those who can’t do, teach.” This man elevates it to a new level: “Those who do not learn from the examples of the past are doomed to become history professors.”

**********************
somebody has to be in charge of the Ministry of Truth and its history revisionism (orwell’s 1984).

Gail Combs
August 1, 2012 6:51 pm

Brave new world as solar PV heads to 50c/watt
By Giles Parkinson on 20 July 2012
US Energy Secretary Stephen Chu earlier this year suggested that solar PV without subsidies will be cheaper than both coal and gas if it could get its costs down to around $1/watt by the end of the decade…

Well that is certainly easy to do. Just have Bernancke keep printing US dollars and pretty soon it will take a wheelbarrow full to but a gallon of gas.

Allan MacRae
August 1, 2012 6:57 pm

David Fogg says: August 1, 2012 at 8:00 am
David, be careful what you believe and what you repeat.
I know one of your subjects well, and that is the Athabasca River.
The Athabasca River is one of the most regulated streams on the planet. The radical enviros have tried to claim this river is in terrible danger, and have even alleged that the river is horribly contaminated due to development of the Athabasca oilsands. This is false.
The Athabasca River naturally cuts through the Athabasca oilsands and is in direct contact with the oilsands deposits. It has been this way for millennia. The river is exposed to some natural contamination from the oilsands and some possible minor industrial contamination, but it is intensely monitored for water quality. Furthermore, Athabasca River water quality monitoring is being intensified.
One of my favorite alarmist stories is how the water demands of the Athabasca oilsands are “draining the river dry”. One professor even held a conference called “Running Out of Steam”. One would assume that the oilsands industry must drain well over 50% of the Athabasca river’s flow, perhaps even 70%, 80% or even 90%!
In fact, the entire Athabasca oilsands industry consumes just 1% of annual Athabasca river flow. In comparison, the monthly river flow in a typical high-flow Spring month is ten times (1000%) that of a typical low-flow winter month, and yet the fish survive that huge variation in their natural habitat with apparent ease.
The truth is the river habitat is materially unaffected by oilsands water withdrawals, especially since these water withdrawals are curtailed during periods of low river flow.
Another great enviro-fraud was the alleged mutant “two-jawed fish” found in Lake Athabasca – in fact it was a normal dead goldeye, in a normal state of decay.
One should be very skeptical of the scary claims of the environmental movement – in my experience, the claims of the radical enviros over recent decades have all proven to be wildly overstated and fundamentally false.

chris y
August 1, 2012 8:47 pm

heresey101-
You say “All the numbers and charts about solar being too costly are just obfustication, or maybe coal industry propaganda?”
I disagree with your spelling of obfuscation, and your claim that the charts are wrong.
You claim residential system installed price is $4.5 – $5.5 per W. Lets use $5/W(pk DC). AC production is 80% of DC panel rating (NREL says 77%), so price is $6.25/W(AC), or $6250/kW(AC). Assume a 20 yr loan at 5% gives a total expense of $6250*1.58 = $9900/kW(AC). This does not include O&M costs (inverter won’t last 20 yrs), panel O/P derating of 1%/yr, and utility net metering connection charge, regardless of energy balance. It also assumes every kWh is either used by the owner or is revenue-balanced over the integration period used by the utility.
The system runs at peak for about 5.5 hrs per day in sunny climates (NREL). The cost for electricity is $9900/(5.5 hr/day*365 days/yr * 20 yrs) = 24.5 cents/kWhr. Any claims of lower costs involve tax credits, REC scams, solar rebates, etc to obfuscate the real cost of the system.
Solarbuzz, as of March 2012, estimates 29 cents/kWh for a 2 kW residential system in a sunny climate, 63 cents/kWh in cloudy climates.
Reducing the cost of the panels to *zero* still makes residential solar PV twice the price of US average residential utility rates.
Utility-scale solar PV must compete with existing generation costs rather than delivered costs. Nuclear is currently the cheapest, at 2 cents/kWhr. Utility-scale solar PV must also include the cost of the reliable backup generation, which of course is never done. It must also include the reduced operating capacity of the backup generator, which suffers increased O&M costs, lower revenue stream to cover capital costs, lower BTU efficiency, and increased CO2 emissions per unit energy delivered when rapidly cycled to source-track the solar PV output variability, which of course is also never done.
Ironically, if savant-free idiot politicians insist on execrable renewable energy portfolio targets, low natural gas prices and cheap, compact gas turbines actually decrease the total cost of solar PV. Those same politicians should be tripping over themselves to lend their voices to Nancy Pelosi who claims natural gas is a clean, plentiful alternative to fossil fuels. 🙂

Khwarizmi
August 1, 2012 9:50 pm

GeoLurking –
You quote (July 31, 9:00 pm) from an oil and gas article indicating that there are just two ways to produce methane, both dependant on the activity of very special and rare things that we call “living organisms.” But that kind of explanation doesn’t wash on Titan, does it? However, the abiotic method of production, furtively ignored or ridiculed by those with a financial stake in the matter, offers a universal and reproducible explanation rather than a special pleading. Break the taboo, take a look at reality:
http://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/explorations/05lostcity/background/serp/serpentinization.html
Martin Hovland–fomerly of StatOil–has produced a lot of the peer-reviewed work on those mud volcanoes and seeps that you mentioned at 10:21 pm. In his book on Deep Sea Corals, he seems to atttribute those features to serpentinisation.
===========
Our 47 percent interest in the Mari-B field, the first offshore natural gas production facility in Israel, is one of our core international assets.
Mari B rig sinking faster than expected
7 March 12
http://www.globes.co.il/serveen/globes/docview.asp?did=1000731517&fid=1725
Perhaps the American taxpayer can bail them out, like they always do.
http://www.google.com/search?q=israel,+US+aid

ChE says:
July 31, 2012 at 8:18 pm
For the benefit of anyone not aware of who this nut case is, this is one and the same Juan Cole who denies that Ahmadinejad threatened to wipe Israel off the face of the earth. He’s a loon of the first order.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahmoud_Ahmadinejad_and_Israel

He said the “regime” will come to end. Only a warped mind with a selective-MERI would deliberately go out of their way to misinterpret the actual utterance. Even your wikipedia reference suggests that Cole “regime” interpretation was the correct one. Speaking of references…
Israeli minister warns of Palestinian ‘holocaust’
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/feb/29/israelandthepalestinians1
cough, cough, cough.
http://www.google.com/search?q=israel%2C+racist+marriage+law
cough, cough, kosher, cough.
Einstein’s letter to the NYT times warning Americans about Israel…
http://archive.org/details/AlbertEinsteinLetterToTheNewYorkTimes.December41948
cough, cough, cough

Allan MacRae
August 1, 2012 11:05 pm

Allan MacRae says: August 1, 2012 at 5:29 am
We wrote this article a decade ago, in 2002, in opposition to the Kyoto Protocol:
See Prediction #8:
8. 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
____________________________
The four most beautiful words in our common language: “I told you so.”
– Gore Vidal, October 3, 1925 – July 31, 2012
🙂

August 1, 2012 11:17 pm

“Grenade Fishing Gone Wrong FAIL” 

Or, how to almost turn yourself into fish chum. That was close!
When doing a polar plunge thin ice is not good for diving.

Also, does anyone have an educated opinion on Lightbridge Corporation and can they ever make thorium profitably?

August 1, 2012 11:21 pm

Those more crazy Russians for GeoLurking.

GeoLurking
August 1, 2012 11:40 pm

Khwarizmi says:
August 1, 2012 at 9:50 pm

GeoLurking –
You quote (July 31, 9:00 pm) from an oil and gas article indicating that there are just two ways to produce methane, both dependant on the activity of very special and rare things that we call “living organisms.” But that kind of explanation doesn’t wash on Titan, does it?

I fail to see how hydrocarbon presence/production on Saturn’s moon Titan has anything to do with the accusation that Fracking (on Earth) is contaminating ground water.
I have provided a clear explanation to the GasLand loon accusations that involves reproducible science… provided someone actually wants to go out and collect bonafide samples and conduct the requisite analysis to prove the issue one way or the other.
I have also provided an example in my follow-up of cases and study in which natural gas makes it’s way to the surface in occasionally violent manners.
“Abiotic Oil” and Titan have nothing to do with it.

Mark
August 2, 2012 6:07 am

Dr Burns says:
“Brave new world as solar PV heads to 50c/watt ”
Do all the renewables costs quoted include the costs of backup systems to ensure constant supply ?

Or any of the other costs associated with building a useful PV power plant.
Expanding existing power plants is likely to be more cost effective than building new ones. The same is likely to apply to increasing the capacity of existing pipelines and power lines. For one thing NIMBYism is likely to be less of an issue.

Mark
August 2, 2012 6:29 am

Robert of Ottawa says:
Ah yes, the mythical solar panel window. Can anyone else see the hole in this idea?
Well, to work, it must ABSORB light, not let it pass through. So, the more light it absorbs, the more energy must be expended to light the inside of the building. HAHAHA!

Not quite so silly as it sounds. So long as the window passes visible light then the level of illumination in the building will be unaffected. It isn’t that uncommon for glazing to filter sunlight. Windows are often an important part of HVAC in a building.

Mark
August 2, 2012 6:46 am

more soylent green! says:
The reality is solar power, like wind, is intermittent and unreliable. We can’t generate power from either on demand nor can we currently store the electricity effectively/economically when more is generated than we need.
Shouldn’t a history professor realise the importance of being able to match power supply and demand? Especially in the case of wind, which as a form of power has been around for several thousand years.

Mark
August 2, 2012 6:59 am

dmacleo says:
when a tsunami messes up your nuke power its always a good idea to migrate to offshore wind power. cause a tsunami will magically swerve to avoid it.
So long as the water is deep enough such structures may be immune to damage from a tsunami. They would still by at risk from tropical storms however. Also the power cables connected to these might well not survive a tsunami at or near to the point they came ashore.

David Fogg
August 2, 2012 11:30 am

@Bill Tuttle: I couldn’t disagree more. Green and CAGW are absolutely NOT the same. Treating this as fact does nothing for any argument against CAGW. We play into their hands when we act as proponents for Oil and Gas. I for one, care deeply about the environment. One of my problems with CAGW as a farce is the fact that it diverts huge amount of resources and research away from things that badly need it… habitat, migration corridors, species restoration, etc etc. I know many people like me who do not buy the bunk, but are no lovers of the energy industry. Just because you feel that green groups are co-opted by the CAGW crowd doesn’t mean we should include them in the battle… by attacking them we will certainly win none of them over from their blind faith. Art of War: Keep the argument on subject.
@Allan McRae: Athabasca is a mess, and a big one at that. The indigenous people down stream have problems with fish and sickness. Nothing I’ve heard as ridiculous as two jawed fish. Red spots, illnesses, population declines. Sure, it was never tar-free, but it’s gotten worse by most accounts. Regardless, you could remove Athabasca from m(gov’t/energy) to give me anyy point, and my point is still valid. Our government GIVES away our resources to the Energy industry, claiming very little in the way of revenue for it… and then doesn’t even do it’s job of regulation and oversight. As a result, there is NOTHING trustworthy or inherently safe about energy development. I’m not against gas development… or possibly even fracking. But currently I can’t trust anyone involved to give real honest answers. Look at all the BS they gave us when the Macondo blew out. It’s the same colluded garbage we get from gov’t/climate science.

Falstaff
August 2, 2012 12:33 pm

@Parkinson:
Land isn’t free and construction isn’t done by volunteers.
Yes, though the PV installation area is sometimes free, i.e. a sunk cost, to the land owner:
25 acres of warehouse rooftop, 9 MWe peak solar PV array, Camden, NJ, completed this past spring. Cost reported as $42 million ($10 million from the taxpayers), or ~$4/W *installed* in this case.
http://goo.gl/maps/y5V3a
http://www.solarbuzz.com/industry-news/gloucester-marine-terminal-construct-9-mw-solar-rooftop
Also the Germans seem to have forced their installation costs down much lower than those in the US, so there’s some more room for installed price to fall yet in the US
http://blogs-images.forbes.com/toddwoody/files/2012/07/US-vs-German-Solar-Costs.jpg

Resourceguy
August 2, 2012 3:14 pm

Once again the energy-related post on this site leaves a lot to be desired. Yes fracking will flourish everywhere outside Vermont and some cities and it will do so with some reasonable regulations on cementing the vertical hole properly so gas does not escape up the bore into shallow aquifers. Meanwhile 95 percent of the debaters on both sides will still be far off the mark of these details. As for PV, the usual list of mistakes in thinking apply. It is a niche segment that does not need to cover the lower demand periods (and lower priced) power market of nights. Also, using solar industry averages to spout market calls is an easy way to spot people who don’t know what they’re talking about.

Khwarizmi
August 2, 2012 8:08 pm

GeoLurking,
I fail to see how hydrocarbon presence/production on Saturn’s moon Titan has anything to do with the accusation that Fracking (on Earth) is contaminating ground water.
=============
Your failure results from closing your eyes firmly and not bothering to check the link, or think about the information contained therein.
The NOAA page on serpentization is actually about the Lost City Hydrothermal vent system here on Earth: you won’t find any reference to Titan. So I did bring the point home, and the point is relevant to your deficient and defective argument about determining the source of methane.
http://www.google.com/search?&q=lost+city+hydrothermal%2C+methane%2C+carbon+isotope+ratio
result
1. “Stable isotopes of carbon are of limited value”
2. “…For example, the “LostCity” hydrothermal vent field in the Atlantic Ocean did not show a clear isotope…”
3. “stable isotope ratio measurements in this system are difficult to interpret”

Martin Lack
August 3, 2012 4:26 am

As a petroleum geologist, David, you should be ashamed of yourself. If even Rex Tillerson can admit (to himself and the World) that the Earth’s climate is primarily changing due to the burning of fossil fuels, so should you.
Fracking is technically difficult and highly energy-inefficient. It is also financially and potentially environmentally costly; and pursuing it will only benefit the oil companies themselves. Non-renewable fossil fuels will only get more expensive as demand increases and supply decreases; whereas renewable energy will only get cheaper as both demand and supply increase.
Therefore, if burning fossil fuels is causing the Earth’s climate to change, continuing to do it when we do not have to would not only be unwise – it would be illogical. Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity was… “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. Therefore, pursuing fracking would appear to be more than indicative of collective hypnosis or hysteria – it would appear to be insane.

Martin Lack
August 3, 2012 4:36 am

more solyent green says: “The reality is solar power, like wind, is intermittent and unreliable.”.
What a tired old myth this is. For your information, we already have the technology to generate solar-powered electricity 24/7 and tidal electricity for coastal nations is also always available. Similarly, it is a thermodynamic impossibility for there to be no wind everywhere at the same time; therefore if you build enough of them, wind turbines are not unreliable.
Fossil fuels are destined to be history. Renewables and nuclear are the future; so I suggest you get used to them.

Brian H
August 3, 2012 4:49 am

chris y says:
August 1, 2012 at 8:47 pm

Nancy Pelosi who claims natural gas is a clean, plentiful alternative to fossil fuels. 🙂

Who knew Nancy knew methane is abiotic? Wonders will never cease!
About the water for and from fracking: check out GasFrac.com — a process using gelled butane from the wells themselves that eliminates the need for water. Interesting …

Martin Lack
August 3, 2012 9:35 am

With the greatest of respect, David, there is mountains of evidence. You have just decided not to take any notice of it. As a geoscientist, you know nothing as a fact; and neither do I. We both deal in probabilities; and the probability that the consensus view of climate science is correct is much greater than the probability that it is not. This is not an argument from authority; it is what it appears to be; a statement of probability.
As Bill McKibbin recently pointed-out, it is highly likley that we have 5 times more fossil fuel reserves than the majority of climate scientists consider it would be safe to burn. This is not nonsense; this is the settled view of the scientific community. The last time atmospheric CO2 was 400ppm sea levels were tens of metres higher and average global temperatures several degrees higher.
As I pointed out on my blog recently, the iconic Keeling Curve of CO2 data (that so many people insist on overlaying upon temperature data in such a way to suggest no correlation) is actually the near-vertical end of a J-curve when plotted over the last 1000 years with an origin at zero. In fact, it looks like a (British) hockey stick. This is yet another reason why we did not need BEST to tell us that the MBH98 Hockey Stick was probably signal (not noise)…

Martin Lack
August 3, 2012 9:53 am

You also sound very sure of yourself when you say fracking is not dangerous? Again, you almost certainly cannot say that with such apparent certainty. Have you seen Josh Fox’s documentary “Is the sky pink?”
I also wonder what you would make of my response to the appeal for a pragmatic acceptance of shale gas from Professor Peter Styles; on the Letters Page of the website of the Geological Society of London?

August 3, 2012 9:54 am

Martin Lack says:
“…the probability that the consensus view of climate science is correct is much greater than the probability that it is not.”
Absolutely correct. What you fail to understand is that the overwhelming consensus rejects CAGW, and all the related nonsense like fracking scares.
More than 31,400 co-signers to the following statement are the true consensus. Every co-signer has a degree in the hard sciences, and they include more than 9,000 PhD’s:

The proposed limits on greenhouse gases would harm the environment, hinder the advance of science and technology, and damage the health and welfare of mankind. There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the forseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.

Note that methane [natural gas] is included in the statement.
I am disgusted by the “consensus” canard. It is a lie. The fact is that the dishonest alarmist crowd has repeatedly tried to circulate petitions contrary to the one above and they have failed miserably, getting only a tiny fraction of the OISM numbers. And the same few names appear on multiple different petitions. Climate alarmists are not any sort of consensus, they are a small minority that hides out from the truth.
People like you continually try to perpetuate the “consensus” lie. I don’t know why you are a liar. I guess the basic reason is that liars lie. Certainly you know the truth. It has been posted here dozens of times.
So the next time you appeal to the ‘consensus’, be aware that the true consensus is directly contrary to what you assert. Do us a favor and try honesty for a change. Because we know better here.

Martin Lack
August 3, 2012 10:06 am

I am experiencing a severe sense of deja-vu, Smokey. 1000s of PhD’s think the WTC collapsed as a result of controlled demolition and, in the context of the US population, the signature of 9000 PhD’s (mostly having nothing whatsoever to do with climate science) on a petition proves absolutely nothing. In any case, I am not interested in opinion polls; but I am concerned with extremely high probability that you are mistaken.

August 3, 2012 10:16 am

Martin Lack says:
“…I am not interested in opinion polls…”
Then why your appeal to a fake ‘consensus’?
You can show that I am wrong by listing more than 31,400 scientists and professionals with degrees in the hard sciences, who disagree with the statement in my post above.
Go ahead. Show us that the ‘consensus’ supports your belief system. I challenge you.

August 3, 2012 10:44 am

Martin Lack says:
August 3, 2012 at 9:35 am
With the greatest of respect, David, there is mountains
[sic] of evidence. You have just decided not to take any notice of it. As a geoscientist, you know nothing as a fact…
Whoa. Popcorn time.
…and neither do I.
Then why do you state everything — including your opinions — as established fact?

Martin Lack
August 3, 2012 10:52 am

Dear Smokey, I have no belief system. That is your terrain. By insisting that the consensus does not exist, you are asking me to accept that the majority of the World’s professional and academic institutions have made a massive error of judgement in endorsing the prevailing understanding of palaeoclimatology and atmospheric physics. That is quite simply not credible and, therefore, I do not have to justify my position. If you wish to assert that the consensus is “fake”; you must have evidence; and no number of opinion polls of the already-sceptical can do that for you.

Martin Lack
August 3, 2012 11:18 am

With regret, Bill, I don’t recognise the need for the question. Unlike you, I am trying hard to stick to the facts; and I am relying upon probability and logic to identify what humanity should do to avoid unnecessary damage to our environment. To me, this would include choosing not to burn all the Earth’s fossil fuels just because we can (because the consensus view is that this will not be a survivable option for millions of people). Fossil fuels will run out one day; and we already have workable solutions to our energy needs; therefore not maximising their use ASAP is illogical and insane (and a course of action that is only in the interests of people who are already very wealthy).
Just because I refuse to get embroiled in debates about whose science is junk and whose science is sound; does not negate the fact that the vast majority of peer-reviewed research affirms the conventional view of climate science. Invoking all sorts of contingencies and convoluted explanations to justify the assumption that the majority are wrong (irrespective of motive) is unnecessary, unwarranted and unwise.
P.S. For the record, my questions were primarily directed to my fellow geologist, David.

August 3, 2012 12:47 pm

Martin Lack says:
“If you wish to assert that the consensus is ‘fake’; you must have evidence; and no number of opinion polls of the already-sceptical can do that for you.”
Here is irrefutable evidence that at least 31,400 professionals in the hard sciences have co-signed the OISM statement, asserting that CO2 is harmless and beneficial, and also that methane is not a problem. You have done nothing except bluster and lie.
Either post more names than the 31,400, and provide proof, or everyone here will know that the true scientific consensus rejects your climate alarmism. Your bluff is called, chump.

richardscourtney
August 3, 2012 1:44 pm

Martin Lack:
Your posts in this thread display the basic techniques of professional trolls; i.e. make false statements which are mutually contradictory, and when one of them is refuted then change the subject and pretend you were saying something else while ‘snowing’ the thread with several posts.
I cite some examples of this deplorable behaviour so your posts do not distract onlookers. And I suggest that everybody then ignore your distractions by ignoring all your posts in this thread both past and future.
Martin Lack wrote at August 3, 2012 at 4:26 am:

As a geoscientist, you know nothing as a fact; and neither do I. We both deal in probabilities; and the probability that the consensus view of climate science is correct is much greater than the probability that it is not.

This quotation is three assertions:
(a) Geoscientists know nothing as a fact.
(b) Geoscientists deal in probabilities.
(c) It is much more probable that the consensus view of climate science is correct than that it is not.
I address each of these assertions as examples, but all your posts are similar.
Assertion (a)
It is true that scientists know nothing as a fact, but at August 3, 2012 at 11:18 am you say;

I am trying hard to stick to the facts; and I am relying upon probability and logic to identify what humanity should do to avoid unnecessary damage to our environment.

So, either you are denying your previous statement that “As a geoscientist, you know nothing as a fact; and neither do I”, or you are admitting you are not arguing as a scientist. In either case, your comments are irrelevant blather.
Assertion (b)
It is true that all sensible people – including geoscientists – try to “deal in probabilities”. And you do “deal in probabilities” at August 3, 2012 at 9:35 am when you write:

As Bill McKibbin recently pointed-out, it is highly likley (sic) that we have 5 times more fossil fuel reserves than the majority of climate scientists consider it would be safe to burn.

OK if it is “highly likely” that fossil fuels are that available then it is hard to understand your assertion at August 3, 2012 at 4:36 am which says;
“Fossil fuels are destined to be history. Renewables and nuclear are the future; so I suggest you get used to them.”
Your two statements do not equate because ‘renewables’ cost more than fossil fuels so will not replace fossil fuels. Unless, of course, you only “deal in probabilities” when it suites your assertions.
Assertion (c)
Either there is a “consensus view of climate science” or there is not. And a consensus view cannot be a minority view. But when Smokey pointed out (at August 3, 2012 at 9:54 am) that an overwhelming number of credentialed scientists (i.e. 34,100) have voluntarily signed a petition which rejects AGW you replied at August 3, 2012 at 10:06 am saying;

I am not interested in opinion polls; but I am concerned with extremely high probability that you are mistaken.

(Incidentally, I add that a poll of scientists who support the view of AGW is a problem found that they total 75.)
So, you said;

the probability that the consensus view of climate science is correct is much greater than the probability that it is not.

And when you were shown that the consensus denies your view you said you are

not interested in opinion polls

and tried to change the subject to whether Smokey is “mistaken”.
So, I repeat, I suggest everybody should ignore your distractions by ignoring all your posts in this thread both past and future. In other words, don’t feed the troll.
Richard

August 3, 2012 1:54 pm

Martin Lack says:
August 3, 2012 at 11:18 am
With regret, Bill, I don’t recognise the need for the question. Unlike you, I am trying hard to stick to the facts…

I regret you fail to recognize that people keep asking you to back up your unsupported assertions, which you keep proclaiming are facts despite being confronted with evidence to the contrary.
Just because I refuse to get embroiled in debates about whose science is junk and whose science is sound; does not negate the fact that the vast majority of peer-reviewed research affirms the conventional view of climate science.
The fact is that the peer-review process does not confirm the veracity of the content of a paper, it only serves to insure that the author(s) have not made any egregious errors in their methodology – and there are numerous posts here at WUWT exposing just how many severely flawed papers make it through peer review.
P.S. For the record, my questions were primarily directed to my fellow geologist, David.
For the record, this is an open forum.
Also for the record, I think supercilious twits who insult people I respect deserve to be called on it.

Martin Lack
August 4, 2012 2:26 am

Smokey – The only chumps in this world are those that think 31,400 signatures validate their prejudiced opinions.
Richard – Is/was this you? If so, I am indeed flattered that you would take the time to try and find fault in my supposed trolling behahviour (actually just an appeal to reason by me). However, since you clearly do not expect a detailed response (or at least you intend to ignore it) I will not waste my time making it (unless you ask me to).
Bill – I hope you can see the beautiful irony in your saying “…I think supercilious twits who insult people…” This may well be an open forum but I was hoping to get (and got) a response from someone who might know what they are talking about – so please forgive me for ignoring you.

Martin Lack
August 4, 2012 2:56 am

Apology accepted, David. However, with respect, when you say, “if I were to choose to make an appeal to authority argument, I’d pick an actual authority.”, I think it would be more accurate if you had said “…I’d cherry-pick a study that backs-up a minority opinion”.
As with the World Climate Widget and Richard Lindzen’s misinformation campaign, the cherry-picked graph you link-to relies upon the extremely dodgy practice of distorting y-axes of overlaid graphs in order to make two things that correlate appear to not do so.
I know what Mike’s Nature Trick was, thanks. And the blade of the MBH98 Hockey Stick is a reflection of the Hockey Stick David MacKay has highlighted exists in CO2 levels plotted over the last 1000 years. At very least, you are ignoring the unprecedented speed at which current change is occurring (i.e. because the anthropogenic climate forcing is greater than any previous natural forcing).
Peter Styles probably knows more about the subjects you mention than you do – and he agrees with you – so I really do not understand why you would be so dismissive of him. However, that does not mean that either of you is correct (or even asking the right questions)… If anyone thinks fracking is the answer to our energy problems they are not asking the right question; and if anyone thinks we need shale gas they are planning to use too much non-renewable centrally-generated electricity.

richardscourtney
August 4, 2012 3:19 am

Martin Lack:
I am writing to answer your question addressed to me (at August 4, 2012 at 2:26 am) solely to demonstrate that I am not avoiding it.
Yes, that was me.
And I state that I stand by what I wrote in my previous post addressed to you so I shall not respond to anything else you address to me whether or not it applies to me personally unless and until you modify your behaviour..
Richard

August 4, 2012 4:35 am

Martin Lack says:
August 4, 2012 at 2:26 am
Smokey – The only chumps in this world are those that think 31,400 signatures validate their prejudiced opinions.

As opposed, of course, to those who think 75 “yes” answers on a selection-biased two-question survey validate their prejudiced opinions.
Bill – I hope you can see the beautiful irony in your saying “…I think supercilious twits who insult people…” This may well be an open forum but I was hoping to get (and got) a response from someone who might know what they are talking about – so please forgive me for ignoring you.
Since you ignore anyone who asks you to justify your assertions by providing some actual proof, that puts me in some pretty good company. I hope you can see the beautiful irony of your hubris resulting in a misinterpretation of David’s request for an apology at August 3, 2012 at 12:34 pm

“Firstly, an apology for the nonsense remark… It was uncalled for.”

as an apology to you for having had the temerity to rebut your aspersion on his professional knowledge.

Martin Lack
August 4, 2012 7:33 am

I am in some difficulty here, David. The things I would like to say or link-to would probably not be allowed by Moderators. So I will have to choose my words carefully. Despite what Richard says, I was trying to engage you in rational discussion; to get you to stop asserting your opinions as facts; and trying to avoid the junk/sound science trap. When I myself talk about “facts” – I do so in the context of historical or observable reality (if that were not the case I would not have tied myself up in knots talking about probabilities).
In a Rough Guide to Climate Change, Robert Henson suggests that there are a number of common arguments made by those that claim global warming is a false alarm: Namely that it is not happening; it is not man-made; it is not significant; it is not necessarily bad; it is not a problem; and/or that it is not worth fixing. With this in mind, I was hoping that I could get you to admit, as has Richard Muller and the BEST team, that something significant is at least happening. That is to say, that the MBH98 hockey stick is signal not noise; that CO2 levels have increased super-exponentially since the Industrial Revolution; and that this is not just a coincidence. However, given that you do not seem willing to accept even this as historical and observable fact, I can see little point in continuing this “discussion”.

Martin Lack
August 4, 2012 7:37 am

Please pay attention Bill. I do not cite opinion polls to validate my opinions. I base my decisions on most-plausible explanations for observable facts; and I pay attention to history (including that of an industry receiving 10 times the subsidy renewable energy gets and still manages to complain).

Martin Lack
August 4, 2012 7:46 am

Congratulations, Richard, yours is a completely unassailable position: You accuse me of being a “troll” and attempt to take the moral high ground. However, it seems to me that you are not only refusing to have a rational discussion; you are actively trying to prevent others from doing so as well. You have not just refused to join-in and taken the ball out of play; you have stolen my ball and attempted to walk off with it.

richardscourtney
August 4, 2012 8:01 am

Friends:
I enjoy rational discussion but deplore trolls who hijack threads as a method to evade discussion of the subjects of the threads. I remind that this thread is about the rebuttal by David Middleton of the nonsensical assertions concerning fracking by Giles Parkinson.
So, I repeat that I will not feed the troll whether or not he makes content-free personal attacks on me, and I again advise all others to ignore his posts, too.
Richard

August 4, 2012 8:23 am

Martin Lack says:
August 4, 2012 at 7:37 am
Please pay attention Bill. I do not cite opinion polls to validate my opinions.
Do you even bother to read what you’ve written? You repeatedly cite the “consensus,” which is nothing more than an opinion poll.
I base my decisions on most-plausible explanations for observable facts
Which has nothing whatsoever to do with answering the questions about your inability to justify your assertions by actually citing facts.
(including that of an industry receiving 10 times the subsidy renewable energy gets and still manages to complain).
That’s one of the many unsupported assumptions you’ve stated as a fact. The fossil fuel industry receives tax credits for investments and equipment depreciation (which are not subsidies) and which, under the US tax code, any business entity may claim, while renewables receive direct subsidies. Since you’ve consistently demonstrated a problem with English comprehension on this and several other threads, I’ll spell it out for you —
1. The US government *allows* fossil fuel entities to keep some of the money they’ve already earned.
2. The US government directly *gives* taxpayer dollars to entities involved with renewables.

August 4, 2012 8:42 am

Martin Lack says:
August 4, 2012 at 7:46 am
Congratulations, Richard…you are not only refusing to have a rational discussion; you are actively trying to prevent others from doing so as well.

Still another unsupported assertion, Martin — you’ve already self-assigned as the individual impeding rational discussion on this thread.

Martin Lack
August 4, 2012 10:15 am

Leaving aside the pathetic attempts of others to indulge in pedantic obfuscation, circular arguments, and tactical avoidance, I will simply state the central points I have tried to make, which are very relevant to the topic of this thread.
Fracking is a highly inefficient way of obtaining non-renewable fossil fuels. We already have the technology to substitute their use with renewables in power generation. Therefore, irrespective of whether fracking is (or is not) intrinsically dangerous, it is foolish to pursue it because… We have very good reason to believe that pumping fossilised carbon into the atmopshere is the primary cause of the radiative energy imbalance that – having been masked by a variety of factors including the heat capacity of the oceans and the cooling effect of other forms or atmospheric pollution – is now finally beginning to make its presence felt.
You may of course choose to do as suggested; and ignore my comments. However, that does not make what I say any less likely to reflect the reality of the situation that – thanks to decades in which the fossil fuel industry has sought to abdicate its responsibility for what was predicted and is now happening – we are now all in.
If, as suggested by David Middleton’s profile, you consider me and the arguments I am making to be no more than “environmental alarmism”, that is your choice. However, that does not make it any less fallacious to claim that the prevailing consensus regarding palaeoclimatology and atmospheric physics is little more than an unreliable opinion poll.

August 4, 2012 11:33 am

To add to what Dave Middleton wrote, this chart shows coming electric rates. These are contractually agreed rates, not projections. The steep rise is directly due to government interference in the markets. In the coming years your electric rates will skyrocket by at least 500%.
These electric rates will decimate the economy. Everything in the economy is tied to the cost of electricity. And the entire blame must be laid at the feet of the enviro-lobby and their puppet, the currrent Administration.

August 4, 2012 11:34 am

Martin Lack says:
August 4, 2012 at 10:15 am
Leaving aside the pathetic attempts of others to indulge in pedantic obfuscation, circular arguments, and tactical avoidance…

Translation: “I got nuthin’, so I’ll feign regal aloofness.”
I will simply state the central points I have tried to make, which are very relevant to the topic of this thread.
That’s the crux of the matter. You keep making statements that you can’t support with facts.

August 4, 2012 11:55 am

Back on topic: “3. Researchers at UCLA have created a solar-power-generating window. If all those glass box skyscrapers in southern California could be put to work generating electricity, it would probably power the whole state.”
From the link:

“Another breakthrough is the transparent conductor made of a mixture of silver nanowire and titanium dioxide nanoparticles, which was able to replace the opaque metal electrode used in the past. This composite electrode also allows the solar cells to be fabricated economically by solution processing. With this combination, 4% power-conversion efficiency for solution-processed and visibly transparent polymer solar cells has been achieved.”

Four. Percent. Conversion. Efficiency.
Ha! hold my Brain; be still my beating Heart!

August 4, 2012 7:39 pm

This truly has been an enlightening thread of comments. I am glad I found it.

Martin Lack
August 5, 2012 4:02 am

Thanks for all of that information, David. All entirely factual and beyond reproach I am sure. However, with respect, I think you are dodging the issue: I don’t care about ‘magic windows’; technology alone will not solve our energy crisis. Therefore, I care about sustainable energy policies – and perpetual reliance upon non-renewable fossil fuels is, by definition, unsustainable.
Ultimately, the solution to our energy crisis may well lie in as many people and/or businesses as possible generating their own electricity and/or ambient temperature control. However, the fossil fuel industry appears to have decided to pick a fight with the Laws of Physics – and insist that it can disrupt the Carbon Cycle with impunity – rather than re-invent itself as the energy business of the future; but that does not make it any less foolish and short-sighted. Anthropogenic climate disruption is the ultimate ‘Tragedy of the Commons’ outcome (about which Garrett Hardin warned in 1968). As such, our problem is that the Earth has five times more fossil fuel than it would be safe to burn; and we do not seem to have the self-control to choose not to burn it.
Therefore, to dismiss (as I suspect many if not all on this site will do) stuff like James Hansen’s piece in the Washington Post yesterday (‘Climate change is here — and worse than we thought’) as “environmental alarmism” is itself wishful thinking. I don’t need to present any evidence to justify this assertion because the evidence is all around you; you just seem determined to ignore it.

Allan MacRae
August 5, 2012 5:28 am

David Fogg says: August 2, 2012 at 11:30 am
@Allan MacRae: Athabasca is a mess, and a big one at that. The indigenous people down stream have problems with fish and sickness. Nothing I’ve heard as ridiculous as two jawed fish. Red spots, illnesses, population declines. Sure, it was never tar-free, but it’s gotten worse by most accounts. Regardless, you could remove Athabasca from m(gov’t/energy) to give me any point, and my point is still valid. Our government GIVES away our resources to the Energy industry, claiming very little in the way of revenue for it… and then doesn’t even do its job of regulation and oversight. As a result, there is NOTHING trustworthy or inherently safe about energy development. I’m not against gas development… or possibly even fracking. But currently I can’t trust anyone involved to give real honest answers. Look at all the BS they gave us when the Macondo blew out. It’s the same colluded garbage we get from gov’t/climate science.
__________
David, you are speaking in an area of my expertise. I was directly involved as a manager in the Canadian oilsands from 1984 to 1992. That is why I started studying “global warming” (CAGW) science in about 1985. It was my responsibility to understand what we were doing in the oilsands, and it became an interesting hobby.
Like any other cantankerous old fart, I think I could have done a better job in the oilsands than the kids that took over. 🙂
Nevertheless, I must be objective and fair in my assessment.
First, on fiscal terms (royalties and taxes). The Athabasca oilsands are an economically marginal resource – among the highest-cost sources of oil in the world. IF we want to develop them (and we should – they are THE economic backbone of the Canadian economy), we need fiscal terms that make them sufficiently economic to attract investment.
The new fiscal terms adopted by the Klein government in 1996-97 were , in my opinion, well-suited to the oilsands. They allowed the investor to get his capital back quickly, to enhance the otherwise-marginal rate of return, and then the government took a larger share. The total income split was about 50:50 between government and industry.
The Stelmach government revised these terms in ~2008 to remove these investment incentives, and this will ultimately prove to be a mistake, in my opinion. When costs and oil prices finally re-align, new oilsands projects will probably be rendered uneconomic by the Stelmach fiscal terms.
By way of credentials, I personally initiated the move to the Klein tax terms in 1985, and the move to the new royalty terms in 1988. It took about a decade for experts to establish these new terms, and less than a year for neophytes to destroy them.
As far as “giving the resource away” to industry, the fact is that the revenues from the Athabasca oilsands carry the entire Canadian economy. The reason Canada is the strongest economy in the G8 is entirely due to the oilsands – Canada’s manufacturing sector is no better than that of the USA.
Regarding the people who live downstream from the oilsands, there has been so much falsehood written about this – one doctor from Nova Scotia established himself in Fort Chip and was found to be fabricating scary stories about the health of the native peoples there – he was formally censored by the Alberta Medical Association. Excerpt below – sorry I’ve lost the full link.
Sure, there are lots of liars in industry – look at Enron and all the financial scams on Wall Street. However, senior executives caught lying are swiftly dealt with industry – they are fired. Boards of Directors do not like to be lied to, and are deeply embarrassed by these events. Most Directors of large companies are independently wealthy and have good reputations – they do not want to be associated with lies.
The CAGW scam is a much more serous deception. The truth is what we wrote in 2002: “The alleged global warming crisis does not exist.” More evidence since then? There has been NO net global warming since we wrote this article.
Nevertheless, certain climate scientists continue to lie about the global warming crisis, and most politicians continue to repeat these lies. Industry leaders are dragged along, most of them lacking the courage to speak out against this nonsense and be pilloried by radical warmists for doing so.
Like investing, one has to be cautious about who you believe. The remarkable change now is that, with the internet and a good basic education, one can develop one’s own informed decisions. Good luck!
__________
Excerpt:
http://www.smalldeadanimals.com/archives/012649.html
After two years of repeated requests from authorities, he finally agreed to turn over his files. They showed no evidence to support his shocking claims. The investigator discovered, instead, that Dr. O’Connor’s public statements about the health of Fort Chipewyan’s residents contained ““mistruths, inaccuracies and unconfirmed information.”
He had reported five cases of a rare bile duct cancer called cholangiocarcinoma in the community of 1,200. There were two. The doctor had told reporters of a man who had died of colon cancer at the young age of 33. It was fiction. ““No patient died at age 33 from colon cancer as reported by Dr. O’Connor,” says the report.
“These weren’t misdiagnoses; they were diagnoses that never occurred,”” says Hakique Virani, one of the three Health Canada physicians who lodged the original complaint with the college. ““Our concern was, this is a guy who is saying there are a huge number — five in a community that small is a huge number — of rare cancers and there were outward associations being drawn between environmental concerns and cancers.”
“Basically you’re telling a group of people that you’re likely to get these rare cancers and there’s nothing you can do about it because of the place you live, the water that you drink and the food that you eat. If it’s true, you’re darnstraight to advocate. If not, you’re really abusing the trust of an entire community.”

Martin Lack
August 5, 2012 7:59 am

Your Latin and Greek does not impress me, Davey-boy [and neither does your condescending over-familiarity 🙂 ].
Renewable energy will only ever become cheaper (as it does when the scale of production of any commodity increases). Fossil fuels will become progressively harder to find and recover (EROEI etc) and, as demand increases, they will therefore become progressively more expensive.
However, unless we want to return humanity to the Stone Age, we need to decide to kick our dirty fossil fuel habit sooner rather than later. This is because the longer we stay addicted to it, the more costly (in both financial and environmental terms) kicking it will become; and the faster we will have to do it in order to avoid the same amount of adverse consequences.
Saying “it ain’t necessarily so” does not change the probability that it is. (Search online for “Monty Python Argument Sketch”).

Allan MacRae
August 6, 2012 9:45 am

Martin Lack:
I agree with Dave and disagree with you.
I further submit that one’s predictive record is the best single indicator of one’s credibility in most fields of endeavour.
And I’ll bet that my (our) predictive record is much better than that of the IPCC, and also better than anyone else you tend to favour – name one.
Our 2002 predictions are summarized above at
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/07/31/in-other-news-ten-reasons-why-fracking-is-not-doomed/#comment-1049194
On energy we said:
8. 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.
Predictions-in-waiting:
I also predicted global cooling by 2020-2030 in an article written in 2002.
Finally, in 2008 I wrote that temperature drives atmospheric CO2, not the reverse, three years before Murry Salby’s famous 2011 Sydney Institute video.
Regards, Allan

woodNfish
August 6, 2012 10:41 am

Considering who this article is targeted to, it is appropriate to paraphrase a fellow traveller:
“If they didn’t like being lied to, they wouldn’t be alarmists.”

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