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


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.


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?



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.


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


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.


newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Dr Burns

“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 ?

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

Mike Everts

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

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

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.


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.


Pardon my language but there is no No Frakking Consensus

A. Scott

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 …


Compare and contrast:

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


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……….#$%%^^&

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.

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.

Even the British Royal Engineering Society’s study found that fracking is essentially harmless:


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.

Anthony Scalzi

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.
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.

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.


Worthwhile read on the fracking revolution from a optimistic *gasp* lefty:
Also – peak Windex.


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.


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

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

Sorry guys, but fairy power will always be cheaper.

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”–Understanding_How_LENR_Works_Will_Enable_Us_to_Be_First/

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.

Gunga Din

Smokey says:
July 31, 2012 at 5:24 pm
Even the British Royal Engineering Society’s study found that fracking is essentially harmless:
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.)


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.

Steve from Rockwood

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

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

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?


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.


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).

Alan Clark of Dirty Oil-berta

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


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.
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

Dirty Cole


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”
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.

kadaka (KD Knoebel)

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:
Click on the Related Image on the sidebar, or this picture link:
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.


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.


There may be other reasons why gas is not the panacea that it looks like at first glance:

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.


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

Robert of Ottawa

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!

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.


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

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
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
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

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

Allan MacRae

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.
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.


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

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