Renewables are useless: The Evidence is Overwhelming

de-icing-wind-turbine

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Al Gore has a problem. He seems to want people to believe that only climate skeptics oppose renewables. The truth is, a small but growing number of prominent greens, openly acknowledge that renewables in their current form are not a scalable replacement for fossil fuels.

In Al Gore’s announcement of a climate witch hunt, titled “AGs United for Clean Power”, Al Gore said the following;

I really believe that years from now, this convening by attorney general Eric Schneiderman and his colleagues today, may well be looked back upon as a real turning point, in the effort to hold to account those commercial interests that have been, according to the best available evidence, deceiving the American people, communicating in a fraudulent way, both about the reality of the climate crisis and the dangers it poses to all of us, and committing fraud in their communications about the viability of renewable energy and efficiency, and energy storage, that together are posing this great competitive challenge to the long reliance on carbon based fuels.

Does Al Gore plan to prosecute James Hansen, Kerry Emanuel, Ken Caldeira and Tom Wigley for Fraud?

To solve the climate problem, policy must be based on facts and not on prejudice. The climate system cares about greenhouse gas emissions – not about whether energy comes from renewable power or abundant nuclear power. Some have argued that it is feasible to meet all of our energy needs with renewables. The 100% renewable scenarios downplay or ignore the intermittency issue by making unrealistic technical assumptions, and can contain high levels of biomass and hydroelectric power at the expense of true sustainability. Large amounts of nuclear power would make it much easier for solar and wind to close the energy gap.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/dec/03/nuclear-power-paves-the-only-viable-path-forward-on-climate-change

Will the green believers at Google Corporation join James Hansen in the dock, when Al Gore prosecutes people who think renewables are not up to the job?

At the start of RE<C, we had shared the attitude of many stalwart environmentalists: We felt that with steady improvements to today’s renewable energy technologies, our society could stave off catastrophic climate change. We now know that to be a false hope … Renewable energy technologies simply won’t work; we need a fundamentally different approach.

Read more: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/11/22/shocker-top-google-engineers-say-renewable-energy-simply-wont-work/

Will Al Gore prosecute Rob Parker, president of the Australian Nuclear Association, for claiming renewables aren’t up to the job?

“My concern is that renewables won’t get us across the line in terms of emissions reduction,” said Rob Parker, the president of the ANA. “Nuclear is more reliable and it has a smaller resources footprint than renewables.

Read more: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/09/29/aussie-nuclear-industry-renewables-wont-get-us-across-the-line/

How about the British Government, whose relentless pursuit of renewables has utterly messed up the British energy market?

The second phase of modern energy policy began when Tony Blair signed the Renewable Energy Target in 2007.

What has this left us with?

We now have an electricity system where no form of power generation, not even gas-fired power stations, can be built without government intervention.

And a legacy of ageing, often unreliable plant.

Perversely, even with the huge growth in renewables, our dependence on coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel, hasn’t been reduced.

Read more: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/amber-rudds-speech-on-a-new-direction-for-uk-energy-policy

If Al Gore succeeds in using government bullying, to silence critics of renewables, the same disaster could easily occur in the United States.

Perhaps Al Gore’s real target are the practitioners of the “strange new form of denial”, the growing green schism which opposes the push for 100% renewables, as vigorously as any climate skeptic.

There is no evidence that renewables in their current form are a viable replacement for fossil fuels. But there is plenty of evidence that nuclear power delivers results. Nuclear power, the zero emission alternative to renewables, has been economically supplying 75% of France’s power since the 1970s. Nuclear power works, and works well. France demonstrated by doing, that mass production and economies of scale makes nuclear power affordable.

If the whole world copied what France did in the 1970s, by 2030 the world could cut billions of tons of CO2 emissions, without destroying the global economy.

If you are someone who cares about CO2 reductions, you should listen to scientists like James Hansen, who plausibly claim that nuclear power is the route to decarbonisation, not to scientific illiterates like Al Gore.

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R Shearer

This is another good reason to fear a left dominated Supreme Court.

spetzer86

And a Democrat majority House and Senate. Not to mention Ms Hillary as POTUS.

AZ1971

A left dominated SCOTUS, Democrat majority House and Senate and Hillary/Bernie combined would spell certain doom in the form of the Second Amendment being fully exercised.

markdsweet

At that hellish point in time, I can only think that it would be time to fully exercise our Second Amendment rights against a tyrannous government and those who support it.

MarkW

The option of secession is always on the table.
This time, the side that would be seceding would be the side with the most guns.

General P. Malaise

the recent history of the GOP isn’t good either. they are all bought and paid for by special interests which incidentally don’t include you.

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.””
Mahatma Gandhi
I think the “Attack Of The Screaming Left AG’s” pretty much shows we are at the “then they fight you” stage… even if it is a court fight…

Paul

But don’t overlook that they get to use your endless tax dollars to fight you in court.

Fly over Bob

You must remember the Magatma struggled with civilized opponents.

george e. smith

“””””….. Large amounts of nuclear power would make it much easier for solar and wind to close the energy gap. …..”””””
Well large amounts of nuclear power would make it quite unnecessary to need any solar or wind.
Which doesn’t mean you couldn’t use them if you have them handy.
g

sceptic56109

I would like to see more people bark about the utter lack of studies showing a utility ACTUALLY REDUCING its fossil fuel requirements after installing wind turbines. (Maybe because it is not possible).
As I understand it, there are only 2 energy sources that can provide instant response to fluctuating solar and wind contributions. They are single cycle natural gas turbines and hydro turbines.
Here in Ontario, Canada, we have Niagara Falls to pick up the slack for our growing “contribution ” from wind turbines. Therefore, when the wind blows, Niagara Falls has to cut back an equivalent amount, and no fossil fuel is saved.
In other jurisdictions, the inefficient single cycle gas plants have to run all the time, mostly just at idle. But, every time wind output is reduced, operators have to load them up and use extra natural gas because these gas plants are less efficient than combined cycle gas plants.
Again , no reduction in fossil fuel requirements when wind power is part of the grid.

This is a good article to go with this post: http://www.forbes.com/sites/alexepstein/2016/03/29/the-myth-of-wind-and-solar-capacity/
It points out that all the fuss over new wind and solar capacity should be over its output, especially the low output, whereupon it clear you need backup power for all of it….
Also, a pretty graphic, though I’m not sure about exactly what they averaged:
http://blogs-images.forbes.com/alexepstein/files/2016/03/13-Chapter-2-2.4-Monthly-Intermittency.png

Here is another way of looking at wind output. X is the percent of name plate, vs Y as the number of hours at each percent name plate. This is for the summer of all wind turbines in Ontario, Canada:comment image

John Harmsworth

Even when it blows, it sucks!

Great graph. Do you have the source? I’d like to check out a few more graphs like these. Raw wind data is extremely hard to come by.

Rod Anderson

Interesting graph. I too reside in Ontario. Can you provide a reference to the source of this graph or the data? Thank-you.

When I worked for Gulf States Utilities we put a small wind turbine on the beach at Sabine Pass outside of Port Arthur, TX, one of the best wind sites in the Southeast. We averaged 28% of nameplate capacity for the year the thing lasted.

To add on to what Resourceguy wrote – Wyoming is a state with some of the strongest winds in the US. (It’s the only state with purple on the map). If they can’t make it work there…

Pardon me, but… Apart from practical arguments about the relative viability of any given energy source…
How are wind or solar depleted or renewed?
Forests, for example, can be depleted, by harvesting, then more or less renewed, by planting many trees, or a few trees, or no trees at all.
In order for something to be renewable, doesn’t it have to be possible to deplete it?
How does one deplete wind or solar?
You can’t. Not today, anyway.
One could say wind and solar are self-renewing, but that doesn’t work very well either, scientifically.
Perhaps a better term for wind and solar power would be non-depletable, but aren’t even oil, coal and nuclear power just more concentrated forms of solar energy?
My point is that credibility requires coherence, and that calling any energy source that can’t actually be depleted or renewed ‘renewable’ necessarily ‘depletes’ environmentalism’s credibility.
:0
…just like the term ‘climate change’, as if it wasn’t perfectly natural, to say nothing of deserving of all this hysterical demonizing. Literally and figuratively.
And when wasn’t climate changing?
Can one person here who uses the term with a straight face answer that one simple, essential question?
Or can you tell us what the temperatures are supposed to be? Of course not. You have no idea, and worse, you don’t care, because this… crusade isn’t actually about what it pretends to be. Some of you may mean well, but the environmental movement as a whole has become an enemy of the Earth.
And it has become anti-human. In effect, a sociopath, which is essentially what the Western Left, which has effectively assimilated it, has always been. Bring it all down, man. Subvert the dominant paradigm. If these aren’t the rallying cries of a sociopath, what are they?
..or can you tell us, using hard scientific numbers like tonnages of various gasses at play and their relative effect on the greenhouse effect for instance, what percentage of any climate changes are man-made? The most credible answer I’ve found puts man’s contribution the the ‘greenhouse effect’ at between a quarter and a third of one percent. Not zero, but nothing close to justifying a wanton attack upon western success, (otherwise known as Capitalism), and as that UN climate chick openly admitted not too long ago, that’s really what this is all about.
The Destruction of Capitalism.
Kind of ironic, actually.
…because western success has been the Earth’s Best Friend, ever! …because the most economically successful nations, (the one’s benefiting from western values, especially Free Enterprise), are by far the cleanest.
Rant, over.
Thanks for listening. Be well!

DonM

per your first point/question … “renewable energy source” means that the related subsidies need to be renewed to maintain a specific energy source….

Tom in Texas

Ian, this is great explanation. here is a link on how green is destroying forests. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2011/feb/02/malaysian-palm-oil-forests
http://www.biofuelwatch.org.uk/2013/biomass-faq-2/#C3
This is what is confusing about all this insanity. I worked on a proposal for palm oil here in Houston area and found through the process the large amount of glycerin’s and water that need to be removed. the other issue is the increasing cost of cattle because of feed costs. The E10 additives and the refusal of manufacturers to slow production in years of poor corn production because of the government subsidies. I recently read and article on E15 the Obama wants to impose and how it will void warranties on cars and most small engines have stickers that state no E15 fuel. Now my favorite spot, Nascar has a advertisement on it about E15. insanity to me.

Bartemis

DonM – LOL

Tubs

Electricity generation is the result of power conversion. With fossil fuels it is a thermal conversion. With hydro it is a head pressure conversion. With wind it is a mechanical conversion. In all cases the fuel source is depleted.
Our planet uses the wind through the process of convection to cool itself. Perhaps the climate change that (only IPCC climate pseudo-scientists claim is occurring) can only be found in statistical models is the result of dramatically increased deployment of wind turbines? That’s a stronger link to causation than the tenuous correlation assertions being made about fossil fuels.
The fact is mankind has seen a global increase in quality of life (we are living longer, we have invented leisure time, and there has been a jaw dropping reduction in poverty) that can only be attributed to produce cheap, efficient, reliable, plentiful usable energy. The “green” power solution produces results that are the exact opposite. Wind and solar energy is expensive, inefficient, unreliable, producing an anemicly meager output of dirty power.
The energy efficiency gains of the last 4 decades are the result of generation technology that produces an electric current that is harmonically balanced with a nice tight, uniform, sign wave. It is a clean current that has increased the useful life expectancy of electric devices. The “green” power solution generates a current that is erratic on it’s best days, non existent on it’s worst. These conditions create tremendous integration issues because it is dirty power, that will dramatically shorten the useful life expectancy of electric devices.
This isn’t about saving the planet, it’s about hurting people in order to achieve uniform misery under global feudalism

Sallie Baliunas, Tim Patterson and I debated the Pembina Institute in 2002 in the PEGG. Our debate is now available at:
http://www.friendsofscience.org/assets/documents/KyotoAPEGA2002REV1.pdf
Our eight-point Rebuttal includes predictions that have all materialized in those countries in Western Europe that have adopted the full measure of global warming mania. My country, Canada, was foolish enough to sign the Kyoto Protocol, but then wise enough to ignore it.
[2002 article in “quotation marks”, followed by current commentary.]
On Green Energy:
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.”
Governments that adopted “green energy” schemes such as wind and solar power are finding these schemes are not green and produce little useful energy. Their energy costs are soaring and these governments are often in retreat, dropping their green energy subsidies as fast as they politically can.
_______________
So we told you so – 14 years ago.
Regardless of the serious unresolved questions of the global warming scientific debate, wind and solar power do NOT contribute reliable, economic electric power to the grid.
This is a simple and proven hypothesis, yet trillions of dollars have been wasted globally on this green energy nonsense.
Wind power is a mature technology so it is unlikely to ever become economic.
Solar power is more costly than wind power now, but major technological improvements are still possible.
We tried to explain the fatal flaws of wind power to the public and our politicians without success. I concluded a simpler message was required, so that our politicians and their green minions could understand it.
Years ago, I wrote the following:
Wind power – it doesn’t just blow – it sucks!
Solar power – stick it where the Sun don’t shine!
Apparently this is still too complicated for our politicians and the greens.
Regards to all, Allan 🙂

Many of the comments on this thread ASSUME that increased atmospheric CO2, allegedly from fossil fuel combustion, is harmful. This is not true, it is a green myth. There is NO credible evidence that increasing atmospheric CO2 will cause dangerous global warming.
The evidence suggests that atmospheric CO2 is not alarmingly high; it is alarmingly low for the continuation of carbon-based life (virtually all life) on Earth.
CO2 starvation appears to be imminent, and will probably happen “within the blink of an eye” in geologic time. For all those people who apparently need something to worry about, worry about that.
As a devoted fan of carbon-based life on Earth, I feel that I should advocate on our behalf. I am not prejudiced against non-carbon-based life forms, but have not met any of them and so cannot form an opinion – they could be very nice.
Best, Allan 🙂

AndyJ

And on top of the dramatic decline in electricity production, the Renewables Fetishists want to replace all internal combustion engines with electric ones to exponentially increase the drain on the power grid.

Don K

No solar power at night. Who could possibly have anticipated that?

Chris Wright

“No solar power at night. Who could possibly have anticipated that?”
That’s no problem. All you have to do is shine bright lights onto the solar cells at night.
Incredibly, this may have happened in Spain years ago, when the subsidies wee far higher than today.
Chris

Gerry, England

Or that the wind doesn’t blow all the time.

simple-touriste

Ecoloons: “there is daylight somewhere on Earth”.
They are really saying that we confidence (or is it bluff?).
All you need is a few more high power lines to transport power over a few tens of thousands of km (the same line ecoloons say power lines are caused by nuclear power plants).

2PetitsVerres

@Chris Wright
In fact what you described did not happen in Spain. They just directly feed the power of diesel generator into the circuit, no need to pass through an inneficient light system. And they did get sued for that.

simple-touriste

Ecoloons say “wind and sun are negatively correlated” (!!!!)
Could you post the correlation?

george e. smith

So you average every 15 minutes. That must mean that you are measuring the solar plus wind production much more often so that every 15 minutes, you can take the average of all of the numbers you got in that 15 minute time interval.
So if you are calculating a new average every 15 minutes, why do you only graph the results once a month ??
g

Nuclear is the way to go, and it doesn’t have to be the “heavy” nukes of weapons-grade plutonium; it can be thorium, the lighter kind of “modern” nuclear fuel that can’t be used to make a bomb. But the Anti-Nukes in the environmentalist movement have a crushing hold on the news media and will never let it go.

“A nuclear power plant, for example, might have the ability to run at 90% of “capacity” month after month.”
Forbes got that wrong. Nuke plants run at 100% month after month and then shut down for refueling during periods of low demand. The availability factor is 99%.
On a cold winter night, the availability factor for solar is 0%.

SMC

Most civilian nuke plants are enriched to 3-6% U235. They don’t use plutonium.

Plutonium is naturally formed in a U reactor during use. While it may start at all U, it doesn’t end that way. Also note that MOX fuel bundles in common reactors are a mixed oxide of U and Pu, and many of our present fleet do or can use MOX. (SALT treaties created a lot of Pu fuel to use up from decommissioned nukes)
They can also use Th, but the MSR Reactor fans don’t like to mention that. I don’t know why. Yes the fuel bundle is different and the geometry needs to start with central U bundles to get Th to U233 breeding going in the ring of Th around it, but it works and has been done.
Frankly, the whole “my isotope is better than your isotope” advocacy is kind of silly. They all work, without very much difference in complexity or risks, so just use what’s cheapest. When molten salt reactors get built, use them too.

Don K

Picky, I know. But it is possible — not easy, but possible — to build a nuclear weapon using U233 which is the (necessary) neutron source in a “Thorium” reactor. It’s been done actually. see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uranium-233#Weapon_material

TonyL

I Soooo love that picture.
Point – The helicopter no doubt needed to be de-iced before it could start it’s work.
Point – After that one windmill blade is lightened from de-icing, the unbalanced rotor will turn, swinging that blade up and clobbering the helicopter. You can not lock the windmill rotor because that wrecks the rotor main bearings. Or go ahead, lock the rotor, wreck the main bearings. At least your helicopter does not get clobbered.
Either way, such fun.

Mike the Morlock

TonyL look again. the hub and gear house seem to be de-iced. I think they may de ice the beast in stages. And they are clear of the blade arc. Still dangerous and tricky business.
michael

TonyL

If the outer circle of the helicopter’s rotor is clear of the turbine blade, it is not by much. Way too close for me.

Mike the Morlock

I agree. The real problem with thisTonyL is that it is an unnecessary risk. Okay so if the blades don’t spin no juice, and people may freeze. But then why use them? Why put people at risk?
I know foolish question.
michael

Catcracking

One of the rules of rotating machinery is never stand in the PLANE of the blades (not the arc) it seems to me the Helicopter is in or very close to the plane of the blades and would violate a safety rule if the blades are turning.

Samuel C Cogar

Look again at the picture, ……. the helicopter blades are actually spinning quite fast ….. and iffen the “spray-bucket” was not directly above the wind turbine blade ….. would not the down-draft from the helicopter completely disrupt the output from the spray nozzle?

Joe Civis

what?? the “real risk” is that they are not using a solar or wind powered flying vehicle to de-ice that magic money machine bird chopper…… though with the “unprecedented” rate of gorebull warming it is amazing there is ice left anywhere on the planet. just in case it is needed – sarc!
Cheers,
Joe

Jimmy Haigh

Yup. And don’t forget it’s a fossil-fuel fuelled chopper – and the de-icing fluid is also an oil derivative.

mairon62

Yes, it’s either propyl-glycol or ethyl-glycol for de-icing and anti-icing operations…btw, the US EPA requires sump drain systems at airports to catch all that nasty fluid from de-icing operations…let me guess…windmills are exempt from hazmat protocols?

2PetitsVerres

If the wind rotor produce (significantly) more energy between two deicing than the energy used by the helicopter to do it, it’s worth it.

Don K

Propylene glycol and ethylene glycol are biodegradable. Trouble is that they — especially ethylene glycol — are toxic. Pragmatically, if the glycols are spread out over enough area, maybe they aren’t all that much of a hazard. They will eventually be converted to water and CO2 by microorganisms (but maybe not until Spring).

D. J. Hawkins

@DonK
Propylene glycol is NOT toxic. That’s why it’s approved to be used as an anti-freeze agent in sprinkler systems that are interconnected to potable water systems.

simple-touriste

“If the wind rotor produce (significantly) more energy between two deicing than the energy used by the helicopter”
So a joule is a joule is a joule?
Ridiculous statement. Energy is more or less useful or harmful depending on the place, form, and time.
Heat in a hot summer isn’t just useless.
A wind turbine produces grid electric energy, with high correlation with other wind turbines. Only toys helicopters could use such energy.
This process converts a form of liquid chemical energy to energy on the grid at some later time.
If your statement made sense, than all electric energy producing plants would be broke or at least useless, as they convert potential energy to less electromagnetic energy (warming the atmosphere or river or sea in the process). Even a child could see that.

2PetitsVerres

Three possibility here:
1) you’re right, the helicopter is in the rotor plane and they didn’t know that the rotor is turning (Helicopter pilots may not know that rotors rotate…), and it has been destroyed during the process. Problem with this theory: You don’t have any picture or article about it, seems unlikely
2) you’re wrong, they know what they do, and did it safely. Problem with this theory: TonyL is the best expert on earth, how could he be wrong?
3) you’re right or you’re wrong, but they did stop the deicing before the problem occurs, so we can’t decide.

1saveenergy

TonyL you are mistaken;
ALL wind turbines have rotor locking systems to prevent rotation during maintenance work, it doesn’t wreck the rotor main bearings. (standing for hrs/days with no wind does, that’s why they use grid power to rotate them on windless days)
http://w3.windfair.net/wind-energy/product/261-modular-rotor-locks-for-on-shore-and-off-shore-wind-turbines
& here’s a naff you-tube demo https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tqTqCjcxOXI
When the horizontal blade has been sprayed, the helicopter will set back & message control that it is clear.
Control unlocks rotor & rotates 33⅓ (using baring motor & grid power), locks rotor, messages helicopter it’s safe & helicopter moves in for next blade. this is repeated until all blades are clear.
Some systems allow co-pilot to control the operation directly.
The helicopter rotor IS within the turbine blade arc, the down draft from the helicopter will rotate an unlocked rotor.

J

And how much CO2 is emitted by these helicopters and ice melting systems?
Is this subtracted from the CO2 “savings” of the wind power?

FredericE

Have never seen all the turbines running at the same time while travelling through the Tehachapi California area. Someone must push buttons to stop these to a stationary mode. One trip a larger turbine was in the run away destruct mode and the Highway was closed. Evidently the pitch circuit did not work on that day. Once a wind turbine mechanic said that his job was for ever and ever, everyday.

Rainer Bensch

TonyL, yes and when the second blade is deiced the third will line up with the shaft.

benben

Hmmm I’m not sure that a couple of quotes from decidedly pro-nuclear people (and… a speech from Amber Rudd :/ ) counts as ‘overwhelming evidence’ that renewables don’t work, especially considering that quite a lot of regions in the EU are very happily approaching 50% renewables with hardly any technical problems.
(nothing against nuclear by the way, but just because pro-nuclear people like nuclear doesn’t mean that wind energy doesn’t have its role to play)
Since investments in renewable energy is much larger than investments in fossil ( 2:1 !), I guess it’s only a matter of time, and not very much time, before we find out. Exciting times ahead!
Benben

TonyL

Regions in the EU getting high levels of renewables are getting hidden subsidies, not generally recognized. You could say they have “externalities”.
Case in point, when the wind blows strongly in Germany they export the excess to Poland. Unfortunately, to the Poles, they see Germany as exporting grid instability more than exporting power. In response, the Poles are installing phase-shifting transformers on their power interconnects with Germany to block the power and its attendant instabilities. In the past, just the threat of making such an installation would convince the misbehaving party to clean up their act. Not so in this case. How well Germany copes with their grid instabilities without the ability to export them remains to be seen.

Yes Ben, you can make electricity part of the time with wind and solar.
But why would you?
Germany show how gas chambers had a place in solving the Jewish problem. Does not mean I think it was not pure evil.
It is a real stretch of logic to find a reason to build wind and solar.

simple-touriste

“Germany show how gas chambers had a place in solving the Jewish problem”
According the some warmists’ “logic”, NASA has (climate) science credibility now because Apollo 11. (I see that regularly.) Despite the fact these Apollo guys are retired or dead. Despite the fact NASA wouldn’t be able to remake any of that program without huge efforts.
So I guess by the same “logic”, Reich III had (racial) science credibility because V2.
But warmists don’t apply their own “logic” that way, so maybe they believe a logical argument is sound when the conclusion looks reasonable.

Robert

Please don’t be so brazen with OPM (Other People’s Money). Germany, with the most ‘green’ generation, routinely charges residential customers $0.35 US / kW-hr (to subsidize industry, which otherwise would be screaming). Not sure that is a route that Germans are ‘very happily’ following.
US rates are closer to $0.12 / KW-hr. With Henry Hub gas last week cratering at $1.67 / MMBTU look for electric rates to go down using fossil fuels, not up.
Please identify for which US home owners you would like to triple their monthly electric bill.

TonyL

Please identify for which US home owners you would like to triple their monthly electric bill.

Washington, DC
Boston, MA
San Francisco, Sacramento, CA
And anywhere else where there is a severe plague of moonbattery.

“With Henry Hub gas last week cratering at $1.67 / MMBTU”
Gas is low when demand is low. It will go back up.

Don K

Part of the problem — and I emphasize PART — looks to be that Germany has structured its subsidies for renewables dubiously. The result is that their renewable generators will happily keep on generating power (and getting paid for doing so) even when there are no customers for the power and the wholesale price for power is driven down to zero. That’s probably not all that great an idea from the point of the consumers who eventually pay for all this.

simple-touriste

“wholesale price for power is driven down to zero”
The physical property of energy imply that too little is bad and too much is just as bad. This is true with anything. You don’t want to overfill your car. Stopping the gas pump is easy and fast. Stopping a huge generator isn’t.
The unique properties of electric energy (instant transport and use) and the type of generators used (big heat machines) means that the price of electricity can be negative for short periods, if unpredictable production arrives or demand drops unexpectedly.
The negative price reflect the real state of the production system. They don’t indicate a dysfunctional system. You really need to pay people to stop their production units with big inertia and high temperature.
But wind generators are required to be able to stop at any time. So the price cannot be negative when at least one wind turbine is spinning, unless the marker is rigged.
Wind turbines are economic predators.

benben

Funny, you’d think that if the EU experiment with renewables was such a disaster there would be someone from that country on this blog complaining about it. But… not a single German, or Scotsman or Danish person here to be found, while all polls show that these populations are very happy with their switch to renewables. Europeans must love burning their money. Or wait, no, maybe, just maybe, it’s not as bad as this post makes it out to be.
http://www.statista.com/statistics/263492/electricity-prices-in-selected-countries/
Energy price in the US is… 30% lower that in Germany. That’s not so dramatic. Especially since energy is pretty small compared to overall income. And certainly not the 300% that Robert here is quoting. I honestly don’t understand why people would rather lie to themselves than to just have the facts and discuss using those facts. Oh well…

TonyL

I wondered if the price given was for Germany’s “renewables”, or for a weighted average of coal, nuclear, and “renewables”. Seems to me that averaging in “renewables” in with lower cost sources would disguise the true price. Guess what I found out? Go ahead, guess. I am not going to tell you.
You also said that polls show that the Germans are very happy with the current situation.
I decided to see if that is true as well.
http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/high-costs-and-errors-of-german-transition-to-renewable-energy-a-920288.html
No, they are *not* happy. At All.

This year, German consumers will be forced to pay €20 billion ($26 billion) for electricity from solar, wind and biogas plants — electricity with a market price of just over €3 billion.

Read the whole thing. It is a screaming fiasco and a nightmare. All the great promises made simply turned to dust.

Ziiex Zeburz

I live and work in Germany, the cost of electric for my house ( 75mq ) averages a month U>S> $395,00 (2015 ) you want to swap Baby Benben?

Adam Gallon

https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2016/03/29/how-to-kill-an-industryenter-a-post-title/
“Consumer advocates warn that a growing number of German families can no longer afford their electricity bills. Some 350,000 have had their power cut off, up 13 percent from 2011. The inefficiency is shocking: the renewable energy produced by €25 billion in electricity-bill surcharges this year will only be worth €3.6 billion on the market, according to the economics ministry”comment image
Domestic prices $/Mwh Residential Germany 326.4, USA 128.5, Commercial Germany 145.6, USA 67.3.
Not sure how they get 30% lower, looks more like 50-60% lower.
PS I’m British, I’m complaining.

Oldseadog

Lots of us are complaining.
The problem is that so far Holyrood and Westminster and Stormont and Cardiff aren’t reacting.
Or not so far, anyway.

Taylor Pohlman

I notice with some interest that there are two different prices for German electricity on that site. The one be been quotes, which is apparently only the cost of raw power, and the consumer cost of electricity, including taxes to cover subsidies. It is that second cost that is the higher one – $0.33/kWh. Another graph shows the breakout of all cost components by European country, showing that fully loaded cost in Berlin is roughly 3X the raw cost. Is Benben cherry picking?

Don Perry

Wait, benben, until YOU’RE retired and on a fixed income; then tell me if a 30% increase in energy prices is “not so dramatic”. Also, I not happy at all with the numbers of birds and bats being chopped up by the avian Cuisinarts known as wind machines, nor the birds being fired by death rays of Ivanpah. Greens screamed to the high heavens over wildlife deaths from the BP oil spill, but wind machines kill nearly as many each year — year after year after year.

roger

As a resident in Scotland, paying the green subsidies necessary to make investment in wind and solar viable, and being subjected to the affront of a wrap around panorama of wind turbines visible from my house, I can tell you benben that I object most strongly, as do all those of my neighbours who are being fleeced by the landowners that are paid handsomely by their friends in government to accommodate these twin blights on the landscape.
Already the ownership of hardware is being relocated into specialist companies within the LSE and we none of us expect these companies to have the money to clean up behind them. Many years will elapse before the government will feel compelled to clear the rusting tumbledown hulks at taxpayers expense.
You are not very bright are you, benben?

Brian Jones
Rainer Bensch

Stop trolling, please.

indefatigablefrog

Approaching 50%. Where? Have you been drinking the kool-aid? Germany, which is the only example you give generates 9% of its electricity from wind and 5.7% from solar. Figures for 2015. Whether burning wood and waste is a useful contribution to the environment remains to be debated.
Meanwhile whilst people like you fall for the massive P.R. stunt, Germany is actually ploughing its way through phenomenal quantities of dirty lignite. And importing unprecendented amounts of Gaz from Vladimir Putin. In order to back up its renewables “miracle”.
Ironically, Putin is probably responsible for the brainwashing of BenBen.
Fall in line BenBen, only ever think what you are told to think.
Putin planned that the world would be filled with useful idiots such as yourself.
https://www.cleanenergywire.org/factsheets/germanys-energy-consumption-and-power-mix-charts

indefatigablefrog

Sorry, that was excessive. But really. I live in the E.U. and we are being mugged.
You say that nobody in the E.U. is complaining. Yes we are.

“Whether burning wood and waste is a useful contribution to the environment remains to be debated.”
The debate was over 30 years ago. Waste biomass is big if not the biggest environmental problem in the US.
The easiest choice is to let it rot in place. Very bad.
Second, we can open burn it. The is a big source of air pollution and banned many places. Bad!
You can truck to a landfill and pay a tipping fee. Very expensive.
Or you can use it to produce something society need like energy. A properly designed steam power is an example I am familiar with and shown here:
http://www.industcards.com/biomass-usa-western.htm
This site show 242 examples around the world.
One of the problems I have with wind and solar is that it diverts money from projects that improve the environment by fixing a real problem.

indefatigablefrog

Yeah, I was not meaning to be critical of burning waste for energy.
When people point out that German is x% renewable they generally have visions of windturbines and solar panels in their mind.
My aim was simply to point out that the solar and wind contribution is a small fraction of the whole.
What I should have said is “burning wood and waste – is another topic for discussion”.
Obviously though all things must be subject to a cost benefit analysis.
I personally burn my own wood for heat in a highly efficient stove.
Nobody is counting this exercise – whereas if I converted over to burning imported wood pellets then my activities could be subsidized and counted by the government.
This would aid the government in producing pie-charts showing increased use of renewable energy.
However the reality would be an increase in conventional energy use – and that the trees on my land would be occasionally felled and left to rot, rather than sawn up and burned by me.
I’m pretty sure that the Germans always felled trees and burned wood for heat.
Counting this towards their renewables miracle seems to be mostly an exercise in accounting!!

http://www.edp24.co.uk/jobs/norwich_solar_firms_go_into_liquidation_in_the_wake_of_government_subsidy_cuts_leading_to_job_losses_1_4475460
Maybe not technical problems benben, but problems none the less…looks like some of those investments went horribly wrong for investors.

H/t to Paul Homewood on that.

DonM

“Since investments in renewable energy is much larger than investments …”
Ben, do you differentiate between investment and subsidy, or are they interchangable?

Hivemind

Exciting times, yes… if you think watching TV without power at night is exciting. And no cheating with oil or gas heating in the winter either. They’re fossil fuels, you know.

Rainer Bensch

“a couple of quotes from decidedly pro-nuclear people (and… a speech from Amber Rudd :/ ) counts as ‘overwhelming evidence’ that renewables don’t work”
Nobody does that.

catweazle666

“quite a lot of regions in the EU are very happily approaching 50% renewables with hardly any technical problems.”
No they aren’t, rather the opposite in fact.
Stop making stuff up.

simple-touriste

“quite a lot of regions in the EU are very happily approaching 50% renewables with hardly any technical problems.”
Regions with lots of dams are happy. The others, not so much. You don’t get to chose if you can have dams, geography does.
Europe is a whole. You don’t get to pick states or region and talk about their energy production without considering the exchanges.
Some small region have relatively big interconnections and it makes less sense to dismiss the exchanges than for France. But then, France wouldn’t be able to balance energy without its neighbors: France sells to others at night, usually at low price (with the capacity that produces at close to zero marginal cost), notably Switzerland, and buys back for peaks, at higher price (when producing in France would require the use high marginal cost units). This is a win-win situation (*) until somebody decides to rig the system (Germany, Austria…).
(*) selling at low price at some times and buying at high price at other times can be a good or bad deal depending on factors, but ecoloons and politicians don’t seem to get that; buying at very low price and selling later at very high price isn’t always a great scheme, when you have high fixed costs and the exchange volumes go down
The smaller the region, the easier it is to import a huge part of energy consumption at a given time.

1saveenergy

France is Europe’s Grid hub,
see where Electricity flows too & from –
http://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk/france/

ossqss

One wonders if misrepresentation, embelishment, or otherwise not telling the truth about renewable energies formally in studies, schools, public forums, business, would be subject to RICO laws?
Think about it…..

Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors. What is the problem of not accepting this cheap, reliable, and long term power source?

Again, why would you? Just because you find something interesting, that is not a reason to do it.

China is building one, India considering. The US had one in the 1960s, but abandoned it for the Fast Breeder Reactors. LFTR are an excellent choice for power production, and we have several thousand years of thorium.

Gamecock

‘The US had one in the 1960s’ – J. Richard Wakefield
Got a reference for that? It never happened.

“During the 1960s, the USA developed the molten salt breeder reactor concept at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tennessee (built as part of the wartime Manhattan Project).”
http://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/current-and-future-generation/molten-salt-reactors.aspx

The problem is that there is no extant supplier of parts and designs, no regulatory framework laid out, and no fuel cycle operators, suppliers, and spent fuel facilities.
Effectively building a whole new parallel industry is costly and slow with high financial risks.
I like MSRs a lot, but starting them with U would be easier. Similarly, using Th in existing LWR designs is an easier way to build the fuel cycle facilities. But the Th MSR fanatics refuse to start with 1/2 a loaf, so get nothing.

Marcus

…” , in the effort to hold to account those commercial interests that have been, according to the best available evidence, deceiving the American people, communicating in a fraudulent way, both about the reality of the climate crisis and the dangers it poses to all of us, and committing fraud in their communications about the viability of renewable energy and efficiency, and energy storage ”
Al, those words are going to come back and bite you in your ” inconvenient” @ss !

Charlie

See the one hiding at the back on the right? That’s Mark Herring, AG of Virginia. He won by a mere 907 votes in a total vote of over 2 million. Bite him next time , Virginians.

The environmentalists are an unstable coalition, like the Democratic Party. Those truly concerned about CAGW think they need the anti-nuke campaigners, and do not criticize them. The rent-seekers into renewables also want a coalition with both, so no one ever thinks through the practicality of their agenda as a whole.
They could blow up the electricity market in the US, as they nearly have in Germany and the UK. The only real way to deal with them is to vote their political supporters out of office. As much as I have doubts about Trump and Cruz, they owe nothing to the greens, and are likely to frustrate, if not undo, their schemes.

Here is an interesting link on the ERoEI for renewables:
http://bravenewclimate.com/2014/08/22/catch-22-of-energy-storage/

Interesting indeed! Money quote:

. . . the idea that advances in energy storage will enable renewable energy is a chimera – the Catch-22 is that in overcoming intermittency by adding storage, the net energy is reduced below the level required to sustain our present civilization.

/Mr Lynn

mark

J. Richard, the Manhattan Project was completed by 1947 with the creation of the AEC.

If fraud and misleading statements are ever going to be punished, Mr. former Vice-President Al Gore is in trouble…

Trebla

Notwithstanding the hundreds of billions spent on renewables to date, according to the 2015 BP statistical review, in 2014, wind, solar and biomass contributed a paltry 2.45% to the world’s energy consumption. This would have a non-measurable impact on CO2 reduction and hence on model-computed global warming.

GoatGuy

The journey of a thousand miles starts with but a single step. GoatGuy

Leonard Lane

True. But if that single step is in the wrong direction…

Don Perry

Tell that to the birds and bats that have succumbed to that single step. God help the rest of them.

Michael J. Dunn

…on a land mine.

simple-touriste

“The journey of a thousand miles starts with but a single step. GoatGuy”
Making the world a worse place, one step at a time!

KevinK

“Renewable energy technologies simply won’t work”
Funny that we needed some new “nerds” from Google ™ to figure out all over again what earlier “nerds” figured out way back in the 1970’s when “renewable energy” was going to solve the “running out of fossil fuels” (alleged) problem. All though in fairness back then it was “alternative energy”, and it turned out to be just exactly that, a scarcity of energy as an alternative to a plentiful supply of energy…
I speak as a “nerd” that had a summer college intern job at a “renewable energy” solar cell research institute at a well known “institute of higher learning” on the east coast of the USA.
Didn’t work then, does not work now….
You have 1.0 watt of sunlight, with good conversion technology you can get ~ 0.3 – 0.4 watts of electricity. EVEN IF you can figure out how to break some of the laws of thermodynamics you can only ever get back to 1.0 watt of electricity from each watt of sunlight…..
This is much akin to trying to figure out how to get 100 pounds of ground beef out of 1 pound of cow (sans sawdust)…….
Does not take a super genius brain to figure this out; THERE AIN’T NO STINKING WAY TO GET 100 POUNDS OF GROUND BEEF OUT OF ONE POUND OF COW….. With or without “Breakthroughs”.
Renewables are in fact WORSE than just useless, they waste vast amounts of wealth that could be used to accomplish something useful, like electrically driven water pumps for people without reliable supplies of water, or several hundred other useful solutions to real problems.
Cheers, KevinK

GoatGuy

Actually dude, you’re “full of shît” (said with a wry grin!) in multiple directions on this one. First, no one – including the most ardent advocates of Solar – is trying to get more than whatever thermodynamics allows to be converted from sunlight. No 100 lbs of buffalo burger from one cowboy steak.
Second, when one spends money, the money is not wasted. It is part of the economy’s liquid funds, and the spending has quite a multiplier of secondary economic effects. In this sense, it is like firing bullets: the bullet might be unusable after, but the money needed to buy it never went away. Didn’t get shredded or burned up.
Third, you seem to have missed the important points of that 1970s internship at an institute evaluating solar and other renewable energies. I was alive, conscious and nerdish at about the time that the 1970s EPRI was taking on the majority of this nation’s solar, wind and alternative power research. There was plenty of environmentalist-powered money being funneled by the government into such research. (Hence why you had a job!)
The net conclusion, widely printed, was that in the United States, solar wouldn’t be competitive until the per-watt price, installed, was less than 50¢/watt. This was based on a 1977 economy of CPI 60 compared to today’s 235. (So today, the break even should be 50¢ × 235 ÷ 60 = $1.95 per installed watt.)
Essentially from those 1970s studies until VERY recently, solar PV simply wasn’t inexpensive enough to acquire, to regulate, to uprate to grid, to maintain and to pay bond interest on to be very competitive. Certainly not break-even. Now however, it is getting very close, and if the Chinese have their way with commoditizing every component, we very likely are about a year or two from the classic 1977 profitable operation viewpoint. It only took 40 years.
Hey… at least it beat out fusion!
GoatGuy

Chris Hanley

“Second, when one spends money, the money is not wasted. It is part of the economy’s liquid funds ….” etc.
==============================================
Taxpayers or consumers are forced to spend or more accurately waste money on things that they wouldn’t spend or waste their money on without government diktat, like wind and solar:

Mark Luhman

Goatguy, good luck with that, it simple physics, you never recover the energy you put into a solar cell to produce it, Somehow one never get rich spending two bucks to get back one, I assume the Chinese are going to get very rich sell you solar cells for two bucks and when you figure out that you only spend two dollars to get a dollar back, it will be to late. If you want to do that go ahead just don’t force me to do directly or indirectly via subsidies If it will work the way you say it does you will get rich, if it doesn’t you will go broke, if you willing to gamble fine, just don’t force me to do it.

“Second, when one spends money, the money is not wasted. It is part of the economy’s liquid funds, and the spending has quite a multiplier of secondary economic effects. In this sense, it is like firing bullets: the bullet might be unusable after, but the money needed to buy it never went away.”
LOL! Goat Guy, you may want to Google Frederick Bastiat and the “Fallacy of the broken window.” Yes, the money gets spent and stays in the Economy. Buy so it also would be spent and stay in the Economy if it were not first wasted on Rube Goldberg lunacy like renewables, which can’t be economic without taxpayer subsidies.
Bottom line? You want ’em – you pay for ’em. I’ll stick with the cheap reliable fossil fuels, except to power my calculator.

John Harmsworth

You forget the time value of money. Capital invested in a non-returning asset is lost. To replace that capital it must be recreated. Capital is a tool that can be used, misused or lost. Only politicians think differently. That’s why, after 240 years of wealth creation America owes trillions of dollars, the Chinese own half your industry and what’s left can’t afford the power bill.

PiperPaul

Don’t you mean, “Second, when one spends other people’s (in the case of renewables) money, the money is not wasted. It is part of the economy’s liquid funds ….”?

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7

Hey… at least it beat out fusion!

Thank you for this observation GoatGuy; I will use it henceforth as an example of damning with faint praise..

simple-touriste

“Hey… at least it beat out fusion!”
You get everything perfectly wrong in your message, including that one: controlled fusion may never become a way to produce usable energy, but you can’t say PV beats fusion until fusion fails to deliver (for the intended use) after at least as much time as PV had before it succeeded (for the intended use).

In 1839, Alexandre Edmond Becquerel discovered the photovoltaic effect while studying the effect of light on electrolytic cells.[18] Though not equivalent to the photoelectric effect, his work on photovoltaics was instrumental in showing a strong relationship between light and electronic properties of materials.
(…)
In 1887, Heinrich Hertz observed the photoelectric effect and the production and reception of electromagnetic waves.[15]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photoelectric_effect#History
And PV still isn’t economical in almost all cases: drop the direct subsidies (direct help, tax rebate, higher tariff for selling back to the utility), the indirect subsidies (net metering, priority access, ideologically motivated regulatory burden) and you will discover the true cost of PV.

Kevin, you must not have been a very smart nerd to fail to notice all the ‘alternate energy’ sources that work fine and are still around.

1saveenergy

Problem is…people look for alternative technology’s…. instead of appropriate technology’s.

Paul Westhaver

I used to be a nuclear engineer. Fresh out of engineering school I wanted to be a part of the pollution-free low cost fuel era.
I quickly found out that reason never prevails with the politicians who are involved with these mega projects.
A small group of morons kept the politicians in fear long enough to delay delay delay the construction of the 2nd reactor at my site. I quit and went back to graduate school. I just couldn’t wait for the decision makers to come round.
Now the moron nay-sayers are becoming pro-nuke in light of the other lie about CO2 CAGW.
It won’t happen fast enough for me.

TonyL

delay delay delay the construction of the 2nd reactor at my site
Curious, Seabrook, NH?

Paul Westhaver

Point Lepreau CANDU 600

Paul do you know what they call someone who gives up when faced with adversity and blames others?

Paul Westhaver

A father of 2 children who lived to fight another day.. like now. I never gave up the fight, I just quit a job. I got more credentials and now I fight smarter.

Paul Westhaver

Stugis Hooper Timmy

KevinK

Oops, those lower case “watts” should of course been capitalized as “Watt(s)” in respect of the person that has a fundamental physical unit named in his honor, my apologies.

No, but for a few exceptions, units spelled out are not capitalized, but abbreviations are. so, W and watts are right.

KevinK

Not what I learned many moons ago, units named after persons are capitalized abbreviated or not.
But there may be other conventions lurking out there.
Same for “laws”, Ohm’s law is always capitalized where I grew up.

commieBob

This is stupid. With the technology we now have we can have 100% reliable renewable power. We can’t have as much as we now use and we won’t be able to afford it; but other than that, no problem at all. 🙂
For solar and wind to be practical, we need storage. Here are a couple of articles in which Tom Murphy runs the numbers.
Pumped Hydro Storage
Battery Storage
If one actually does the math, the impracticality of storing the required energy becomes glaringly obvious.
Tom, for good reasons, uses lead-acid batteries in his analysis. Since then Aqueous Hybrid Ion (AHI) batteries have become practical for stationary applications. They solve most of the problems of lead-acid and cost about the same. On the other hand, adoption seems to be slow. Stay tuned, YMMV, etc.
BTW – Does anyone remember oil from turkey guts? link How about the Hydrogen Economy? There have been lots of things that could work except for a few tiny niggling details. Ah yes, the devil is always in the details.

Ziiex Zeburz

Bob,
Italy has a hydro storage system that works, you have 2 lakes, 1 high 1 low, at night when electric demand is less the water is pumped up to the high lake, then in the daytime when demand is high it is used to generate electricity, a closed circuit system

Bob
I have two large lead acid batteries that I just replaced in the motorhome and two on my sailboat, one of which I replaced last summer. This allows me to enjoy quiet time with no ICE running.
That is in the spring and fall. Battery storage is not a practical way to provide A/C or heating. I have 100 gallons of gasoline storage and 30 gallons of propane to meet those needs.

commieBob

Ziiex Zeburz says: March 30, 2016 at 12:11 pm
Retired Kit P says: March 30, 2016 at 12:37 pm

There is no question that pumped hydro storage and batteries work. We just can’t afford to scale them up to handle the electricity requirements necessary to run the whole economy from windmills and solar panels.

Hivemind

You can, indeed, run your economy 100% on renewable. But when the wind doesn’t blow and it is sunset in an hour, you need priorities. So march into your nearest hospital and point out the people in the critical care ward that you want to live, and those that you want to die.

Snarling Dolphin

Al Gore. The one person on the face of the planet that could make me vote for Hillary.

El Duchy

Every time the MSM does a feature on Gore they should run photos of his homes, his yacht, his airplane, the same with DiCrapio (typo intended) and the rest of the rich elite. Hypocritical swine who would never give up the benefits they enjoy because of fossil fuels. Nuclear is and has been the future for sometime but lefty, enviro morons can’t think past the bombs and see the benefits. Wind Farms are eco disasters, I would like Michael Mann and friends explain to me how much energy it takes to build and run a wind farm, which with luck has a 20-year-life expectancy, and will never provide energy when it is most needed. Every one of these giant monuments to ‘greenmania’ are buried in tons of cement which the ‘greenies’ tell is a serious CO2 contributor. I would love to have some environmentalist report the energy costs of the horrible offshore wind farms. On top of everything else these horrific edifices to green stupidity, kill birds, bats, seals and whales, the same creatures that the green-eco freaks are supposed to care about. Also – Grade 7 science -CO2 is plant food and necessary for survival of plants and animals.

Snarling Dolphin

If HE was running against HER, I would vote for HER. But beyond that, among all the organisms on God’s green earth, Al in my opinion is at the very bottom of the food chain. Hillary is a fraction of a rung up from the bottom. I look forward to the day when all the unfortunate carbon molecules that are temporarily sequestered in the form of Al Gore are liberated to become more productive members of society, say in the form of maybe cellulose fiber or perhaps bicarbonate ions.

You forgot – they also use huge amounts of heavy metals, which have a large enivronmental impact. Here’s a quote from the Guardian, of all places:

The town of Baotou, in Inner Mongolia, is the largest Chinese source of these strategic elements, essential to advanced technology, from smartphones to GPS receivers, but also to wind farms and, above all, electric cars. The minerals are mined at Bayan Obo, 120km farther north, then brought to Baotou for processing.
The concentration of rare earths in the ore is very low, so they must be separated and purified, using hydro-metallurgical techniques and acid baths…
…The foul waters of the tailings pond contain all sorts of toxic chemicals, but also radioactive elements such as thorium which, if ingested, cause cancers of the pancreas and lungs, and leukaemia. “Before the factories were built, there were just fields here as far as the eye can see. In the place of this radioactive sludge, there were watermelons, aubergines and tomatoes,” says Li Guirong with a sigh.

emphasis added.

My error: rare earth metals – not heavy metals.

Greg

I am under no illusion that solar and/or wind can cover all of our electricity needs.
I am a General Contractor in California. The average US house uses 30kwh per day. Switch to LED bulbs, efficient appliances, and you should be able to drop it to 20kwh per month. We use a factor of 6 sun hours here, so the average house would need about 3.4kw of panels.
The latest offer I received (just today) for wholesale solar panels was $0.55 per watt, so the solar panel cost is $1833. String inverters are $0.25 per watt or $834. Add about $1,000 for racking and wiring, and $1,000 for installation gets you to $4600. Electricity here is about $0.15 or $90/mo. That makes the payback about 4 years, a little more if you include maintenance. After that your electricity is free for about the next 20 years, making it pretty attractive for most homeowners, which is why the solar installers are installing lots of systems for residential use.
Yes there are other considerations that have to be addressed but all of those are just engineering problems. I already have a box on my AC so the power company can shut it off during times of high demand. As appliances become smarter and connected, the grid can optimize power generation and usage.
My point is that solar is practical in many areas today, costs will continue to decrease, and adoption will continue to increase. Also keep in mind that installed solar capacity is growing on an exponential rate.
Solar, coal, gas, hydro, nuclear, etc. all need to be part of the solution.

Alex

6 hours per day. Where will the power come from the other 18 hours?

Mark Luhman

Greg where do you the power at night. Oh don’t expect to sell you power back the the electric company at retail, Freeloading on the grid is just that. It is just another hidden subsidy solar panels get. Also do you really think that equipment will last 20 years. I a train electronic technician and have no faith in semiconductors lasting that long. They can but you will need to derate their capacities by at least half if not more, easily doubling you cost. Do you really think the Chinese are going to do that? Add on to the fact the plastic and/or glass will slowly cloud over, insulation in the wire if it not top of the line will degrade. Plastic fitting will turn brittle, the sunlight will consume layer after layer of most of the non metal materials exposed to the sun. After ten years or so repair will consume any saving you had or will have. Yet again if you want to gamble that I am wrong fine go ahead but don’t ask for any subsidies, including net metering to support you habit.

The engine control unit in my 1986 BMW seems to work just fine. I also have solid state amps from the mid 1970s that work just fine. Odd. You would think longevity would have improved, not gotten worse, especially when designed for hard work.

Mark, I too have a solid state amp from the 70’s.. the difference between now and then? leaded Vs lead free solder. Tin grows crystal whiskers and with the low voltages involved short circuits are a lot more common. It’s also brittle so dry joints from crystallization is more common too.
Way back in the early 80’s I repaired TV’s that were old even then, replace a valve, maybe a transistor.. rarely a capacitor. Nowdays TVs have tiny low voltage, entire systems in single chiips – and worse, here in Oz there’s a recall in place for lord knows how much electrical cable with faulty insulation that came out of Chine – this one is really serious.. we don’t know how to identify it all, how much has been used or anything. In this case it’s in housing electrics too.. house fires have already been attributed to this failing insulation.
You’re right however, you’d expect longevity would have improved..

Patrick MJD

I used to work for IBM in the 80’s as a test engineer on IBM 8100’s (240v/ac 13a) and 3725’s (415v/ac 63a). Materials used, such as 650,000 mF electrolytic capacitors, in the electrical systems were robust and of good quality. We used to have to actually test the machine. We had AVO’s, scopes and a multitude of other test equipment. Then along comes the 3745, still a 415v/ac 63a machine, but the quality of materials used in the power supplies was markedly “poorer” in quality to the point many components actually looked “plasticky” and clearly built to, minimal, cost. I don’t recall where power “modules” were made, they were like a large metal cassettes with a flat edge connector on the rear. One simply plugged it in, like a daughter card in a PC. After basic electrical safety checks, like testing for shorts and earth leakage, we would then populate the 3745 with all the logic cards and CPU’s and power it on, and run what was called a “CDF Create”. It simply “discovered” all the power supplies (Apart from the prime power box, which I saw many go bang when earth was lost), CPU’s, channel and line cards as well as the MUX cards. Once the CDF create had passed, the machine was, effectively tested. Working in that line of business got really boring very quickly after that.
I don’t think these days electrical system is built and tested as rigorously as back then, after all we do live in the disposable age.

Greg you are a scam artist! I have yet to be wrong. How much electricity is actually produced and for how long. Of coarse, like all scam artist , you are long gone before the clueless home owner figures it out.

Interesting math. Do you actually mean 20kWhr per month? I think you meant per day. Many questions. Where does the power come from for the 18 hours a day you don’t have effective sun? Oh, you mean you are GRID connected and you are using Net Metering. So, who provides the power for those other 18 hours?
Now, you also didn’t include the cost of replacing all the lights and appliances. Using your average house the monthly bill would be closer to US$140 per month even after the modifications.
Now, think about this. I live in a rural area. I have looked at solar many times as in the summer at my latitude there is lots of sun. Trouble is, in the winter, when I need power, the sun is not above the tree line south of my house for most of December. No solar power for a month.
Now, you say the average house uses 900 kWhrs per month. I am way north of that, about 1500 kWhrs April to November but often twice that December to March. In the winter with two wells and a water to water heat pump and 30 below weather, I can use over 4000 kWhrs in December or January, and that is just peak month, not peak day and not peak hour, plus I use about 4 cords of wood per year plus propane backup.
So, your sizing ONLY works for Grid Tied systems and can not economically supply peak month or peak day or peak hour supply and only works during those few hours you have sunlight. I suppose with Net Metering it might pay off …
My heat pump runs at 3.5 kW, ignoring starting requirements. Plus two kW of well pumps, also ignoring starting requirements. So then add lighting and appliances for house and shop – solar can’t compete with grid supply. Interestingly, my generating supplier has dropped their charges from 8 to 11 C cents per kWhr to 4 to 5 C cents per kWhr so my power bills have actually declined. (other charges for distribution, transmission, admin and taxes increases the overall current cost last month from 4.8 cents per kWhr to 11.3 cents per kWhr in C$ so 3.6 US cents to 8.5 US cents per kWhr)
Now, I have neighbours who have solar panels on their farms – only because there are large subsidies available for farms to reduce grid demand – and even with the subsidies, they say they don’t actually break even and just did it “because it was the right thing to do” (one did it as a demonstration project). Yeah, right. I have done the math using the numbers they gave me. I think they got snookered and don’t want to admit it.
Using your numbers and my peak month demand, I would need somewhere in the order of 40 to 50 times the panel size you used – or about US$ 200,000. Interestingly, that is close to the cost a friend of mine in the solar panel business estimated in C$ or C$150,000, down around $50,000 from the estimate I got 13 years ago when I was building my new house. Payback period – forever. At 3% interest, the annual cost is way more than the annual cost of grid power. My numbers may be wrong, but they have been consistently wrong.
Alternative energy may be foisted on us I suppose. I was just talking to my neighbour today about how to hook up methane bags to their cows … 😉
Oh, and I have at least a dozen solar powered devices around here so I am not against solar for the right application like remote electric livestock fences. But solar home power is just not practical or economic at my latitude and climate.
California? Yeah probably. But it isn’t a universal solution.

Robert

You get what?? I get 5 cents for the first third I put back into the grid each month ,the rest they thank me for .
System setup 5000 watt ,installation paltry 12 grand now I only pay $500 odd bucks a quarter for electricity doesn’t get any better surely .

Hivemind

And best of all, it’s all paid for by the taxpaying schmuck who lives next door to you.

commieBob

Except for a probable month/day typo, everything Greg says is true.
We could have houses that do consume only 20 kWh/month. Here’s a link to an article from 1995 about my hero, Burt Rutan. His house in the Mojave Desert uses very little airconditioning. It’s a marvel of energy efficiency. So, yes, it can be done. Here’s another example.
On the other hand, Burt’s house cost $500,000 in the 1990s. Living in it is like living in a cave. Extreme energy efficiency isn’t cheap and we might not like living with it.
The energy ‘problem’ is not nearly as simple as some folks would have us believe.

Yes, it can be done. I built a low energy 3000 square foot house in 1987 in California. Thermal mass, low e glass (new at the time), passive solar heat, wood hot water heat, natural circulation solar thermal hot water, and roof overhangs are all cheap and widely accepted methods for reducing energy use around the world. I had to be my own general contractor because they want to do it their way. My Montana architect and I had to convince the foundation guy and the building permits supervisor to allow the first walkout basement in the county.
What did I learn? It can not be done very often. You need 10 acres on a south facing hill. Solar does not work very long. Very few building materials can weather the intense sun in California for very long. You need building contactors are not idiots. Only met one, he grew up in Ohio.

DonM

I have the same thing … I just have to put on mental blinders so as to discount the 6 cords of wood I have to cut each year.
Aside from that, it is a very efficient system

commieBob

Retired Kit P says: March 30, 2016 at 1:24 pm
… You need building contactors are not idiots.

We had a local case where someone died because the contractor didn’t follow the engineer’s drawings. I’ve worked with that engineer and can tell you that he is very competent and thorough. Sometimes that doesn’t help unless you actually stand there and watch while the tradespersons do their work.
My experience with tradespersons is that they know what they know, and it works. If the job requires any deviation from their usual procedure it will often result in heated ‘discussions’.

DonM

Bob,
Current project (subdivision infrastructure … road, san swr, stm, etc) I told the owner: “hire that guy and I don’t want to be involved any more”. Well, he hired “that guy” and I caved, and its been a 2 year nightmare for a construction period that should have been six months.
If you don’t already know them the contractor past work or reputation, you can usually see the aura of stink around the bad contractors. (you can say that about engineers as well … its that they disappear faster than bad contractors).

commieBob

DonM says: March 30, 2016 at 3:33 pm
… its been a 2 year nightmare …

My early career was spent working for the government. You could, in theory, disqualify a contractor. It never happened in my experience. Canny contractors would bid and build exactly what the contract called for. They would make their profit ripping out and fixing the design defects.
Less canny contractors would lose their shirts. A common problem was that they didn’t believe the specifications because they were so stupid. Sigh …

commieBob

Oops.

because they were so stupid.

should read

because they the specifications were so stupid.

Paul

“The average US house uses 30kwh per day. Switch to LED bulbs, efficient appliances, and you should be able to drop it to 20kwh per month”
Whoa wait a minute. A drop from 30 per DAY to 20 a MONTH? I think not.
20 kWh per month averages ~667 Watt Hours per day. That’s an average of 27 Watts per hour. LED bulbs are ~9W each. Are those 150 sq/ft homes you’re building?
I think you’re a bit off on your PV numbers too. You do not get STC nameplate rating of the panels. Try modeling your system in PVWatts. Or build a detailed design in Sunny Design Web. It’s not a straight forward as summing 6 hours at STC rating.
“My point is that solar is practical in many areas today”
Yep, it’s a sweet deal as long as the Fed throws your neighbor’s tax dollars back at you.
“After that your electricity is free for about the next 20 years”
Don’t forget to factor in the 20% output degradation of the panels over that 20 years.

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7

Small scale solar for residences can be a practical path to energy reduction in the same way that small scale wind can be a practical way to pump water up to a holding tank. But even for residences, once you’ve done all the insulation, LED lighting, ultra efficient HVAC, etc., etc., what about that Tesla in the garage?
Further, even as a local substitution technology with no grid tie-in to sell power, enough residential solar still has an impact on the grid in the opposite direction (spikes of demand reduction). This will have the effect of reducing the amount of low-cost base load power the grid can absorb and the expense of increasing the proportion of higher-cost peaking sources, unless you have sufficient hydro to buffer the demand variation.
But unfortunately for the champions of local solar, there actually is a world outside the home which demands reliable energy: industry. Large scale manufacturing processes cannot simply be started, stopped or paused to match available power. Take for example the Float Glass process used to manufacture sheet glass for windows and such. Once the process is started, it is kept up for months at a time because it is wasteful to start/stop it on a daily cycle.
Aluminum smelting is another case; you have to keep the alumina/cryolite solution at 960%deg;C for the electrolysis process to work (which itself consumes a lot of electrical power).
In 2014 the world produced 53 million metric tons of new (smelted) aluminum, consuming 690,170 Gigawatt Hours of electricity, 400,000 (58%) of which came from coal (see here). That same year total world “renewable” power generation (wind, solar, geothermal, biomass but excluding hydro) was 279,213 Gigawatt Hours – not enough to replace just the coal-fired portion of total aluminum smelting power.
See earlier comment here .
I guess some people think once you can run your home LED lighting on stored solar power, the problem is solved. Perhaps they believe we no longer need these large scale continuous manufacturing processes which demand reliable power. But without aluminum, there is no affordable commercial aviation industry and we are living back in the early 20th century. Without steel we are living in the 19th century.

Hivemind

You think you can get a Californian to cut their power consumption by 30% ? You must be living on another planet.

Peterg

The quest for renewable energy appear to me to be a sort of quasi-religious quest. It is a sort of denial of the second law of thermodynamics. All these energy sources, electric vehicles, wind power, have a history going back many years. Windmills go back centuries. Electric vehicles outsold petrol vehicles at the turn of the 20 century. That they do not work is no surprise. If they did, they would not need subsidies, and I would welcome them.

The history of the power industry is a history of rational choices. First hydro was developed and then the cheapest and most available fossil fuel.
Admiral Rickover developed LWR to fit in the hull of a submarine. Larger prototypes LWR were adopted for commercial power. This led to large reactors at a time when demand for power was growing rapidly and the long term cost of fossil fuels was a concern.
Anyway there were reasons that the power industry made choices. Power was cheap and reliable. Power in the US is still cheap and reliable. Coal has increased because of pollution control equipment.
With a few exceptions, wind and solar are the result of government decisions. The reasons seem a little vague. The power industry would not be building them because they for the benefit of the ratepayer.

TonyL

What you say is true enough.
A walk down memory lane:
Rickover developed the LWR for naval use, true. It was adopted for civilian use because it was felt that it was what we had. It was a small reactor that was scaled up hugely. Could it be made to work? yes. Was it the best architecture for a power plant? Probably not. Nonetheless it was available, and would work. Perhaps people would not have been so quick to adopt it if they knew it would freeze nuclear technology for the next 50 years. (But, in fairness, we do not know that either)
But how did that choice come about?
Both U/Pu and Th reactors were both in development. It was recognized that the US could afford to pursue one or the other strategy, but not both. (Imagine that, a time when the US Govt. cared how much money it spent) The U/Pu reactor produced materials for the nuclear bomb program, while the Th reactor did not. So the U/Pu program won out. For the military, the decision makes perfect sense. For civilian power, that choice could be revisited at any time.
There was also a huge concern about nuclear proliferation. As a result the US decided *not* to reprocess fuel from civilian reactors. The feeling was that the rest of the world would follow our lead, and forgo reprocessing and reduce proliferation dangers. (We will see how that works out) So in the end, US commercial PWRs generate power, and throw away the used fuel. The military does just the opposite. They used graphite reactors and threw away the power just to get the used fuel for reprocessing.
Meanwhile:
The Soviet Union is using graphite reactors for civilian power and reprocessing the fuel for their military.
France is reprocessing their fuel and putting it right back in their reactors, cutting their fuel costs.
Non-Proliferation:
France
Israel (believed)
India
Pakistan
North Korea
Iran (in development)
How did that work out for everybody?

Tony your facts are a little off. Light water moderated and cooled reactors (LWR) are not practical for breeding weapons grade material . None have ever been used for that purpose. The recycled U & Pu from the French process can be used in LWRs but it poisons a bomb.
Graphite moderated, water cooled reactors are used for making weapons grade Pu in the US and USSR. The USSR adopted them for power reactors as well, The problem is that the large core size makes containment buildings impractical. Russia is now building LWR for commercial applications.
Other types of commercial reactors include heavy water reactors (CANDU) and high temperature gas cooled (HTGR) power reactors. The point is that reactor design is not frozen in LWR. My experience is with LWRs so I am reluctant to let those with zero experience tell me why their paper reactor is better.
“throw away the used fuel”
None is thrown away. It is being stored.
“military does just the opposite”
The military uses LWR.
The US has shut down all weapons producing run by civilian for military purposes. Hanford N reactor did produce electricity. I did audit there long after it was shutdown.

Gunga Din

“Retired Kit P March 29, 2016 at 9:01 pm
The history of the power industry is a history of rational choices.”
Unfortunately for all of us, the Green’s reasonings aren’t rational. They just sound nice.

“LFTR are an excellent choice for power production, ”
Not such a good choice that they are being chosen.
“we have several thousand years of thorium.”
That is good, maybe that will be a good reason when future generations run out of coal.

Gunga Din

Kit, might I suggest that you hit the word “Reply” and then reply to someone’s comment?
When anyone doesn’t and other comments and replies are made before a response is made, it makes it harder for the reader to follow the train of thought.
(Unless the portion being responded to is quoted.)
Friendly advice. I like what you say.

Do mean like this? However, sometimes there is not a ‘reply’ option so I try to provide enough words to ctrl F back to the orginal post.

Gunga Din

Retired Kit P March 30, 2016 at 2:17 pm
Do mean like this? However, sometimes there is not a ‘reply’ option so I try to provide enough words to ctrl F back to the orginal post.

Yes.
The reason there is not always a “reply” option is that Anthony allows only 2 or 3 “sub-thread” replies to an original comment. When there is no “reply” option it becomes especially to reference or quote enough of the comment your reply is referring to so the reader can connect the two.

Reply via the email link is permitted even where reply on the website is not available.

The U.S. is helping China build a novel, superior nuclear reactor
http://fortune.com/2015/02/02/doe-china-molten-salt-nuclear-reactor/

No but is sounds good. We sharing old research so they build a research reactor. There is no reason to think that the research will result in an operating reactor that will be superior in anyway. I have been qualified to supervise the operation of both PWRs and BWRs. The reactor physics are not that complicated.
LWR designed to US standards (several hundred) have a perfect safety record. No one had been hurt. That is a record that is hard to beat. Nuke plants produce very little waste. If a reactor can be desined to destroy coal ash, that would be significnat waste reduction.
“Nuclear energy is a strong part of China’s plans to cut back its reliance on the coal-fired power plants that are choking its cities with deadly pollution and spewing environmentally hazardous carbon dioxide. ”
Communist propaganda. Over the years China has bought reactors from various countries. When they ran out of the ability to supply slave labor coal to meet growing demand, they had to start buying coal from countries with human rights and worker safety protection. So in 2005, they started copied 70s era Westinghouse plants, copied by the French.
Nothing wrong with that, it is proven design.
The pollution in China cities is not caused coal fired power plants. They are the solution. Pollution is caused by heating with coal and millions of cars. Just like in northern US and EU cities 75 years ago.
To be sure I never blogged ‘slave labor coal’ while working at a nuke in China. China has come a long way recently but I am skeptical of anything that comes of China. Too bead US journalists are not.

nonplused

I’d rather live next to a coal fired plant than Fukashima. We have about 400 nuclear units around the world and 6 of them have already failed, and the remaining ones we know we can’t decommission, they will eventually return all the nuclear products to the atmosphere. Probably within the next 20 years. Maybe Thorium reactors are the way forward but we better start building them quick. We need to deal with all the nuclear waste sitting in pools before it escapes and deals with us and all other life on the planet. Want to know why we don’t get visited by aliens? They all made the same mistake using uranium and plutonium to fuel reactors and then build bombs that can vaporize those reactors.

Leo Smith

Indeed. If there is a problem at a coal plant you die. With Fukushima they move you for no good reason and life isn’t worth living

Rrdioactive stuff goes away all on it’s own over time.
The more radioactive it is, the faster it goes away, fundamental physics.
The bulk of it all is solids, so doesn’t go into the air.
One could simply weld the reactor shut and in 200ish years radioactive level would be about the same as the original ore found laying around in nature and not contained.
Fear is a lousy advisor to decision making…

Adam Gallon

Deaths due to the Tōhoku earthquake & tsunami around 13,000. Deaths due to the Fukushima reactor incidents, zero.
Deaths due to 3-Mile Island 0
The only one causing deaths was Chernobyl, even then, we’re looking at a small industrial accident, 56 directly attributable with a potentially a few thousand more premature deaths.
Compare that to say the Savar building collapse in Dhaka, 1129 deaths.

Patrick MJD

I know! Too funny aye? What about jay walking? Motor vehicle crashes? Or even ‘flu, or stupidity? Oh right! Stupidity *IS* infinite!

“I’d rather live next to a coal fired plant..”
Hope you like the sounds of trains. I lived within a mile of a Michigan coal plant when working at Fermi. Everyday a mile long coal train arrives at the coal plant and leaves empty. Where do you think the train load of stuff went.
Every year or so a flatbed truck or two brings new fuel assemblies. The used fuel assemblies are stored after a few years in very robust dry casks storage containers on site.

Stephen Mcdonald

Gore, the greens and other groups have been vomiting ridiculous, self-seving, alarmist propaganda for 3 decades.
Except for Gore, the rats are sneaking off the rotting gravy train.
It will soon be rat race.
If they can urge a few nuclear power stations and get some money for themselves they will still say they saved the 4 billion year old planet from the evil climate deniers.
By the way, I have never heard of anyone who believes that there is no such thing as a climate.

Pardon me, but… Apart from practical arguments about the relative viability of any given energy source…
How are wind or solar depleted or renewed?
Forests, for example, can be depleted, by harvesting, then more or less renewed, by planting many trees, or a few trees, or no trees at all.
In order for something to be renewable, doesn’t it have to be possible to deplete it?
How does one deplete wind or solar?
You can’t. Not today, anyway.
One could say wind and solar are self-renewing, but that doesn’t work very well either, scientifically, because again, how is sunlight at all depleted? One would have to ‘block out’ an amount of it entirely beyond our abilities today.
Perhaps a better term for wind and solar power would be non-depletable, but even that doesn’t fit well, and aren’t oil, coal and nuclear power just more concentrated forms of solar energy?
My point is that credibility requires coherence, and that calling any energy source that can’t actually be depleted or renewed ‘renewable’ necessarily ‘depletes’ environmentalism’s credibility.
Rhetorical incoherence tends to suggest a deficit of integrity, and motives less than honorable.
…just like the term ‘climate change’, as if it wasn’t perfectly natural, to say nothing of deserving of all this hysterical demonizing. Literally and figuratively.
Because, when wasn’t climate changing?
Can one person here who uses the term with a straight face answer that one, essential question?
Or can you tell us what the temperatures are supposed to be? Of course not. You have no idea, and worse, with a few exceptions, you don’t care, because this…Climate Crusade isn’t actually about what it pretends to be. Some of you may mean well enough, but the environmental movement as a whole has become an enemy of the Earth. It has become anti-human. Not entirely, but largely so.
..or can you tell us, using hard scientific numbers like tonnages of various gasses at play and their relative effect on the greenhouse effect for instance, what percentage of any climate changes are man-made? The most credible answer I’ve found puts man’s contribution the the ‘greenhouse effect’ at between a quarter and a third of one percent. Not zero, but nothing close to justifying a wanton attack upon western success, (otherwise known as Capitalism), and as that UN climate chief girl openly admitted not too long ago, that’s really what this is all about.
The Destruction of Capitalism.
Kind of ironic, actually.
…because western success has been the Earth’s Best Friend, ever! …because the most economically successful nations, (the one’s benefiting from western values, especially Free Enterprise and the other graces enabled by Western Values), are by far the cleanest.
Rant, over.
Thanks for listening.

Gunga Din

Nice “rant”.

Broken record (vinyl) here:
There is some physical reason CO2 obviously does not perform as expected. Whether that reason is my hypothesis or not, there is SOME physical reason.
Here is MODTRAN for a tropical atmosphere with water set as one and a background of CO2 set as 400ppm with everything else zero.comment image
The so called “wings” of CO2 are very narrow without the influence of water.
Just sayin’, its saturation, stupid.

MikeB

What exactly did you expect gymnosperm? Your graph shows clear evidence of CO2 blocking radiation escaping to space (red line). Without the CO2, the emission would be close to that of the black body emission at 300K (yellow line). [or with your water vapour, around 290K]. Instead, in the CO2 absorption band, the emission is representative of a blackbody at only 200K. The difference represents the amount of heat trapped at lower altitude by CO2.

Dave in Delaware

re to MikeB
The curve shown above by gymnosperm is an Emission spectrum, not an Absorption spectrum. Note the Model Input box Altitude 20 km Looking down.
All GHG are both absorbers and emitters. The Modtran graph above estimates emissions to space.
That the CO2 emission is from around 200K simply tells us that it is being emitted from the Tropopause, where the water vapor is so low it no longer reabsorbs the CO2 emissions.
Your comment “The difference represents the amount of heat trapped at lower altitude by CO2.” does not follow from the information provided.

MikeB

Dave,
I’m afraid it does show exactly that. See the big ‘byte’ of the outgoing spectrum in the CO2 absorption region. Where has that ‘missing heat’ gone?
We know that the planetary surface is about 300K. We know that by comparing the radiation in the atmospheric window with that of the superimposed blackbody curves. So, the emission from the surface should appear to be that of a blackbody at 300K. But we can see that the greenhouse gases attenuate this emission. The attenuation in the CO2 absorption region is especially severe. As a result the Earth’s temperature seen from space appears to be only 255K. .The difference is a measure of the effectiveness of the greenhouse ‘insulating blanket’..

What you say is true, but substantially the same was going on at 280 ppm.comment image
The green curve at the bottom is MODTRAN transmission to the tropopause at 280 ppm. The background is LBLRTM cooling. The “radiation gap” of zero transmission to the tropopause in the fundamental bending CO2 bands is very clear.comment image
This rather unattractive effort is useful to my mind as it compares GISS anomaly trends centered by altitude with the same profile. Generally the stratosphere is cooling. The higher you go, the faster the cooling.
Generally the troposphere is warming. The higher you go, the less the warming…until you get to the inflection point at the upper troposphere/lower stratosphere where the trend is flat.
It is this no trend elevation that satellites “see” looking from 700 km in the CO2 bands.comment image

tadchem

Heat only get’s ‘trapped’ on the lower atmosphere in worlds with no convection. It is convection that prevents real greenhouse heating, and real greenhouses are designed primarily to prevent convection.
HOT AIR RISES.

Bartemis

“Without the CO2, the emission would be close to that of the black body emission at 300K (yellow line).”
No. That big divot is mostly from the water vapor. The additional impact of CO2 is very small. Moreover, it is not a given that more CO2 would increase that impact, as feedbacks in the system can react to compensate for it.

Hi Bart, that 300k represents surface temperature. The ~220k at the bottom of the shark bite represents the tropopause. The assumption has always been that surface energy (OLR) is delayed in its exit and radiated to space at a lower temperature as a result.
The reality is that all the surface OLR in the fundamental bending bands of CO2 is exhausted within a few meters of the surface. Just plain gone. You can see this by stepping up from the surface in Modtran. It gives nothing but surface Planck temperature until about 5km when you see the beginning of the divot and little spike at wave number 667.4. Whatever water is doing, this is clearly a CO2 radiative signature.
But how? Surface radiation in these bands has been extinct for 5km of lapse.
Current hypothesis is that it is being lit up kinetically by water which absorbs incoming solar near IR very efficiently. I suspect ozone absorbing solar uv does the same but more strongly at the tropopause, resulting in the divot seen from space.
Bottom line the satellites are NOT seeing surface energy escaping in these bands. They are seeing iterations of high altitude solar energy. The “gap” renders area under the curve analysis meaningless.

Bartemis

“…when you see the beginning of the divot and little spike at wave number 667.4. Whatever water is doing, this is clearly a CO2 radiative signature.”
Do you mean the spike at 667.4 is a signature of CO2? I can well believe that.
I took what MikeB said to mean he thought the entire “bite” was due to CO2. Unless I have missed some nuance in the data and/or the argument, that is not correct.

SAMURAI

Grid-scale solar and wind power fascilities are monuments to the stupidity and hubris of Leftist ideology.
When feckless leftist political hacks try to circumvent free-market economic dynamics through arbitrary wind and solar subsidies, and implement draconian: rules, regulations, carbon taxes, excessive pollution standards and mandates on conventional energy suppliers, consumers pay the price in: lower standards of living, higher unemployment rates, stagnant economic growth, reduced disposal income, higher prices, higher taxes, currency devaluation, growing trade deficits, etc.,
The government’s misallocation of finite land, labor and capital on these wind/solar boondoggles also has exponential unseen negative consequences as these misallocated funds were never able to be rationally utilized to produce: new potential companies, new technologies, new businesses, new factories, new jobs, new industries, etc.,
When will the world finally realize Socialism doesn’t work…

Robertvd

U.S. solar company SunEdison, whose aggressive acquisition strategy has saddled it with more than $11 billion of debt, is at “substantial risk” of bankruptcy, one of its two publicly listed units warned on Tuesday.
SunEdison’s shares—already reeling from a Wall Street Journal report that the company was being investigated for overstating its cash position—fell more than 40 percent.
http://www.cnbc.com/2016/03/29/sunedison-at-risk-of-bankruptcy-shares-plummet.html

It has no cash position. Merely government transfer payments and payola that goes back to politicians.

Robertvd
indefatigablefrog

Nikolas Wölfing of the Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW) in Mannheim, says that without its neighbours, the Energiewende would “probably have collapsed already or at least be in much more trouble.” Not only can Germany export excess electricity, it can also import power in times of need. “Basically, being at the heart of Europe means that Germany has a gigantic battery at its disposal, in the form of foreign electricity networks.”
In short – any group of roped-up mountaineers can probably cope with one drunkard. But only one…
It’s all here, at : https://www.cleanenergywire.org/dossiers/germanys-energy-transition-european-context

indefatigablefrog

Sorry, first paragraph should have been in quotes, as quoted from linked article.

Dave_G

Wind, solar nuclear…. whatever. All the market needs is COMMON SENSE and a return to using the cheapest and most readily available fuel source unconcerned by fallacy claims of a politically-motivated campaign group.
Of course the ‘impossible-factor’ is the return to common sense………

Greg

Renewables are useless. Except of course for the the 26+ GW of installed PV capacity that today generates about 1% of our US power, an incredible achievement. Installations this year are expected to be 16 GW. Installed capacity doubles every 2 years. So, roughly speaking, 2% by 2016, 4% by 2018, 8% by 2020, 16% by 2022, 32% by 2024, 64% by 2026. Wind has a similar story. Hydro should but is being slowly removed.
Renewables do not need to generate all of our power. But what they do generate avoids buying oil from the mideast, probably a good thing.
The grid will adapt, storage mechanisms like pumped storage and Tesla’s battery packs can take care of residential needs. We may learn to sleep more when it is dark to use less power, and run power hungry appliances during the day. Again, most of the issues are just engineering problems.
Industrial is more problematic. There nuclear, coal, and gas will continue to be needed. Even so eventually PV and wind can be expected to cover much f the industrial requirements.
Power consumption is decreasing too. We are all busy changing our 75 watt light bulbs to 26 watt CFLs and now 9 watt LEDs. Big reduction. Appliances are getting more efficient too. Here in CA HVAC technicians are being trained for free by the state and energy suppliers to install HVAC to high efficiency standards. Current systems are very lossy and deliver less than 50% of the input energy.

Harry Passfield

Greg: Suggest you check out Tesla’s Powerwall operation. He’s withdrawn the 10kWh version.

Mark

Because it is not financially viable, furthermore, it is still a laughable situation that Lithium Ion is what we still have to rely on.
Now for Tesla to say something is not viable must mean it was really expensive, Tesla cars are not cheap, so the battery must have cost a LOT to produce.
Of course, without free money there would be no Tesla at all.
Our storage is a joke, we either use a a grid or are faffing about, no effective efficient cost effective storage solutions of a large scale period.
The green energy movement is theft of public money and no return except misery

Efficiency is a same gain when billions of people in the world still have no supply of electricity, many countries populations are increasing also. We have a long way to go with hundreds of power plants being built each year, thousands more are needed. Shutting down the world in the sixties for fear of proliferation made nuclear expensive. Modular design and the right fuel would make them the most cost efficient. The transport of untold millions of tons of coal from Australia to the rest of the world is madness for efficiency. Regardless if you use LED,s.

Listening to Greg’s BS is one the frustrating things about being in the power industry for 40 and now being part of history. Especially, those in California. They are always doubling and conserving. Thirty years ago the reason was to shut down nuke plants. Now it ‘dirty’ coal that has to be replaced.
Wind and solar is a solution looking for a problem. Of course Greg did not take calculus to understand doubling time. The capacity factor in front of 16 GW, is 0.1 not 0.2. So you are only getting 1.6 of new capacity. Solar does work as expected. Then there is dieoff. At some point, PV fails at the same rate that it is built.
The same folks who rejoice every time nuke or coal plant shutdown do not keep track of every time a solar systems dies. Greg does not want to know. If the average life of a PV system is five years and not 25 years, PV will no longer get built.
Again. So what is the halving time for solar.

Unmentionable

“… as a real turning point, in the effort to hold to account those commercial interests that have been, according to the best available evidence, deceiving the American people, communicating in a fraudulent way, both about the reality of the climate crisis and the dangers it poses to all of us … ”
Not like Gore has ever done that.
Wasn’t there a US Court ruling about Gore’s alleged CAGW moovee, doing exactly that?

rogerknights

It was a UK court, and the suit was filed and persisted in at Monckton’s insistence.

4TimesAYear

The video is nauseating. Al Gore is nauseating. Those people are delusional. I think the only cure is to send them to the poles and leave them there.

Andy young

Guy is well known for Science denial-a crackpot with no scientific (or journalistic for that matter)credibility-and you’ve let yourself down by publishing his article without checking him out.

Mark

Fail, what is said is up for examination, not your genetic fallacy. Bog standard troll fail

4TimesAYear

Some recommended viewing for Gore and his ilk since we seem to be having an “outbreak” of these things recently: “Volcanic smog, or what we call vog, is a naturally occurring process from Hawaiian volcanoes….in the case of Kilauea, which has been erupting for over 20 years now, if you were able to classify this as a man-made polluting source in America, Kilauea would be number one on that list”
~ Frank Trusdell, USGS Volcanologist @22:40 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HOV0AQHeE7Q
(and if you want to use that quote on Twitter, I posted a little something so you don’t have to worry about it fitting)

There is little evidence that Einstein made that quote. He also said nothing about bees. His name is attached to a lot of stuff to give the quote credence. Using an all or nothing headline like the title of this thread is also highly inaccurate and not supported by the content.

Stephen Richards

Please explain. gareth

Stating that renewables are completely useless is just silly. In some situations they are a godsend, in others they are unsuitable. I have PV generation as well as hot water generators installed and they are great, saving me money over the long term. There are many other similar situations. The idea that something is totally bad or totally good plagues debates on climate change. How often do we see the idea mentioned that people are either deniers or warmists? It’s just foolish. The world is not like that, and using made up quotes from Einstein does not make such black and white thinking any more valid.

Stephen Richards

Our current socialist government, in france, have pledged to shut down 50%of our nuclear output and build more solar and wind farms.
The future of the UK if they don’t leave the EU. No nuclear, no coal, no gas, no oil, no diesel, no money no old folk, no pensions to pay, no industry. France and Germany will destroy Europe and the EU

Patrick MJD

I am sure there are at least 2 nuclear plants being built in the UK supported by China and France.

Oldseadog

Planned in principal but no firm contracts to build, and France threatening to pull out anyway.

TKor

They are told they are “committed” to build them but there are big problems with building them. Not enough finance. Government promised to pay 200% of standard rate for all future electricity from them and still business is struggling with securing funds for build.
Look at financial and organizational disaster of building nuclear plant in Finland – all involved companies try to avoid any big commitments until Olkiluoto is finished.
And Scottish gov is more and more mad and pushes for closing the last two nuclear plants…

roger

And I am sure they are not.
It is increasingly unlikely that they will ever get the go ahead from a supplier nervous about the design and it’s competence and a reality dawning government.
Without doubt the lights will go out.

2PetitsVerres

That’s not correct, They did not pledged to shut down 50% of the nuclear output. They did pledge to reduce the production part of nuclear from the current 75% to 50%. Definitively not a cut of 50%, considering that the total production will also increase.

simple-touriste

François Hollande also pledged to only have full time ministers. Yet, the defense minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian is also president of the région Bretagne.
The pledges done today by the President will have no value tomorrow. Or even in two hours.
The pledge made for the next 10 years … LOL

2PetitsVerres

@simple-touriste
Maybe this can convince you about what he said: http://www.assemblee-nationale.fr/14/ta/ta0519.asp In particular: Article 1er, III, 5° (For non french speaker, that the law which passed in the french “Assemblée Nationale”, for a reduction of the nuclear part to 50% (from the current 75%) by 2025, for the electricity production)

simple-touriste

C’est publié au JO, et alors?
It’s the “law”, so what?
Why do you believe it matters?

Harry Passfield

As the plural of Attorney General is Attorneys General, shouldn’t the lectern that AG is speaking from say AsG – or did someone mean something completely different and forget the apostrophe?

Tell me again how much Al Gore has made on the back of the Scam of Scam’s?

Greg

If the whole world copied what France did in the 1970s, by 2030 the world could cut billions of tons of CO2 emissions, without destroying the global economy.

But that would defeat the whole point of the exercise. It seems many of the zealots are out to destroy the world economy. That is why it is so full of lies and contradictions. They are not stating what they really want but trying to get there by pretending CO2 will destroy the world.
Now if we could find a way to run the economy without the totally pointless waste of consumerism that has us all endlessly running around like hamsters in a giant wheel, forever chasing our own butts to make it to the end of the month, that may get some traction.
Wailing about CO2 will just mean more obsolescence as perfectly usable cars and other equipment becomes outlawed and pointlessly replaced at greater expense , more personal credit ( debt ) and more of our lives wasted.
Consumerism on steroids.
That’s the upshot of the disingenuous enviro zealots campaigning.

Mark

I can’t wait to see NATO using solar powered ships and tanks, planes and missiles.
I guess they will have to replace drones with kites.
How come none of these loons are even mentioning America’s massive military and 3000 installations world wide? What’s NATO’s carbon footprint?
Selective, you see, it is about us, the average man, we are the problem, not a vast perpetual never still military machine. Your standby light on the TV is the issue, not what is literally a standing world army, shooting depleted uranium all over the place.
You can’t fix stupid (those who believe this nonsense) but Gore and co, they know they are not telling the truth.

jake

It may amuse you to read that Dep’t of Energy describes the minuscule growth in renewables’ output as follows:
Between 2005 and 2015, electricity generation from solar increased 48 fold, from 550 GWh to 26,473 GWh.
Biomass increased 18.3% from 54,277 to 64,191 GWh, and geothermal increased 14.1% from 14,692 to 16,767 GWh.
True, but how much is 14 % of very little? And 48 times more of nothing may not be all that much either. But it sounds good. The drop in hydro in that decade better be not mentioned.
Viewing the trends confirms my 40-years old conviction that If mankind were to rely mainly on renewable sources for energy, as it did 2-1/2 centuries ago, starvation and social unrest would result due to skyrocketed energy cost, unreliable delivery and population growth. Being involved in the clean energy since the ’70s, I remember that effort sparked by proclamations such as these two examples:
In 1973, Walter Morrow, Associate Director of Lincoln Laboratories at MIT predicted that the US would generate between 750 to 1500 GW from direct solar by year 2010.
In 1978, Ralph Nader predicted “Everything will be solar in 30 years.”

Bruce Cobb

Large amounts of nuclear power would make it much easier for solar and wind to close the energy gap.

Gee, you mean the energy gap created by a faux concern about CO2? The one that demonizes cheap, reliable energy from fossil fuels in favor of expensive, unreliable, and pretty much useless “green” energy?
That energy gap?
Sure, nuclear energy is great, and we could use more of it, but not for the wrong reasons.

Thomas Homer

“… renewables in their current form are not a scalable replacement for fossil fuels”
If the source of energy is a function of surface area then it’s not scalable. Solar and wind power are clearly functions of surface area, neither is scalable.
Recall when President Obama declared that we should explore all sources of energy? He specifically said that there’s potential with turning pond scum (algae) into fuel and we should explore that option. He should have spent ten minutes pondering that idea. I did, since we have a small pond. I quickly learned that pond scum is a function of surface area since it only grows on the surface. Algae growth is also constrained by the density of atmospheric CO2, i.e. algae consumes CO2. It’s not viable as an energy source because it’s a function of surface area and there is not enough CO2 concentration in the atmosphere to produce enough growth. Ironic?

First time making a comment here. I have a question: what is the solution for countries that are prone to big earthquakes, like Japan or Chile? I’m Chilean and in here almost no-one is pushing for nuclear, because we’ve seen what can happen to nuclear plants after an earthquake (Fukushima). We have earthquakes every couple of years, the last big one in 2010, 8.8 in the Richter scale. Has there been any advancements in making nuclear plants more resistant to earthquakes? Because otherwise there will be countries where nuclear will never take off, that will have to rely in other sources, like we do (we have hydro, natural gas, coal and some renewables).

I can’t answer your question about earthquake-proofing nuclear power plants, but coal-fired power is a pretty safe bet. Since the idiots here in America are trying to shut down the coal industry, I’ll bet we can sell you as much coal as you’d need at very good prices.
/Mr Lynn

Bruce Cobb

It wasn’t so much the earthquake itself, but the resulting tsunami that was the problem in Japan. That, plus poor planning on their part. The backup generators were at risk, and that could easily have been remedied. The reaction against nuclear, in the aftermath of Fukushima was irrational and fear-based.

simple-touriste

Most places that have quake risks have no tsunami risk. Japan with the progressively rising sea floor has great tsunami risk on the South. This was known.
But then, the tsunami killed thousands and destroyed entire towns and industrial complexes, so why should we worry so much about its effect on nuclear power plants?
The increase in radionuclides presents in ocean caused by the “continually leaking” Fukushima Daiichi plant will be trivial compared to the amount of naturally occurring radiation in the ocean. (Also, small amounts of radio-cesium is a biological tracer useful for people studying sea life.)
Do we even know how many toxic products have been disseminated, in non trivial quantities, by the tsunami? Does anyone really care?

I think the comments here come from people that don’t live in an earthquake-prone country, thus don’t know how that fact permeates all of the public policies and even the habits of everyday people. Yes, the tsunami might have broke Fukushima, but…we also have tsunamis here, the last one in 2015! Some officials have proposed to build nuclear plants in the Atacama dessert, far from the sea (and from people), but in the event of a 8.9 or even 9 Richter scale quake -which we have had in 1960- no-one is sure a nuclear plant would make it in 100% safe conditions. It is a fear-based decision, sure, but is understandable. Until a nuclear plant is quake-proof (like other industries/buildings are, here in Chile our building standars are incredibly high because of this), I don’t think we’ll have one, sadly.

simple-touriste

Are you saying Chileans have magnitude 9 quake safe houses?

ab

Fran Ugalde, here is a letter from Dr. William Parker at University of California Irvine in response to a query about potential earthquake damage to the San Onofre plant. He is saying that the 9.0 quake in Japan caused no structural damage to any of the Fukushima Daiichi reactors or any of the Onagawa reactors which were actually closer to the epicenter of the quake and felt even more acceleration than the Fukushima reactors. Additionally the Fukushima reactors were generation two design that had no passive safety cooling systems. It was the failure of the cooling systems that led to the meltdown of the reactors. The newest generation of commercial reactors (named Generation 3+) all contain passive safety cooling features to help keep the reactors cool for some amount of time until active cooling can be brought back on line.

simple-touriste

“Additionally the Fukushima reactors were generation two design that had no passive safety cooling systems.”
Says who?

ab

Fran, I forgot to post the link to the letter. https://www.songscommunity.com/docs/cep_seismic.pdf

This may be a dumb question Fran, but if your hydro dams survive all the major earthquakes you have, why would a nuclear power plant be more risky than the potential for thousands of cubic metres of water crashing down a valley full of towns and farms? If that isn’t happening with hydro, it likely won’t happen with the small footprint of nuclear (or coal or natural gas). The reason has to be a culture of nuclear fear.

Fran
The safest place to be in a natural disaster is a nuke plant. It is just a matter of engineering. Every nuke plant designed to US standards have survived earthquakes Been there!
However, nuclear power may not be a good choice for Chile. Nuclear power is perfect for countries with large concentrated power demand that must depend on fossil fuel transported over long distances. Since Chile has significant hydro, Chile may not need nukes.

Poor little Algore. Wrong every time he opens his mouth. Still trying to get noticed and be relevant.

CaligulaJones

Here in Ontario, Canada, we’ve been overcharged $37 billion over 6 years, to pay for this:
http://reports.ieso.ca/public/GenOutputCapability/PUB_GenOutputCapability.xml
So, go nukes, go.

Tom

I think that when the rolling brown-outs start, the first to be shut down and the last to be restored should be those individuals and businesses that have pushed the CAGW and renewables BS. In fact, they ought to volunteer to be in such a position as their sacrifice will keep fossil back-up generation from coming on.

CaligulaJones

Well, I asked for this here in Ontario, Canada: a bunch of NIMBYs protested a gas plant and had it moved due to political interference during an election (i.e. the engineers said it was in an ok spot, so much for “science”). I wanted any brown-outs to hit the NIMBYs first, but unfortunately, its beyond our current capacity.

tadchem

Attorney General Torquemada???

tadchem

My father once explained the difference between Liberals and Conservatives to me. He said that Liberals will get rid of something that they think is bad and then look around for something that might be better with which to replace it; Conservatives won’t get rid of something bad until they *know* they have something better to replace it with.
Dad, you were SO RIGHT!

ImranCan

Meanwhile … in the real world Tata Steel has announced it will quit the UK leading to thousands of direct and indirect job losses. A key reason : the high cost of UK energy. And predictably the Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn wants to recall parliament to discuss the crisis. Doesn’t he remember voting for the 2008 Climate Act with the express (and legally required) intention of reducing CO2 by 80% by 2050. With the obvious implications for heavy industry ! What did he think was going to happen ? Does he imagine we are going to run a steelworks on windmills ?

DonM

Maybe Benben should tell them that 30% doesn’t hurt anything.