Renewable Energy would be Great – if it Worked

solar-and-wind-energy

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

One of the great myths promoted by renewables proponents is that government subsidies are not the enablers of renewables, they are simply accelerating a transition which would occur anyway, even without taxpayer help.

Trump: Ugly for world, ugly for climate, ugly for clean energy

Nevertheless, it doesn’t look good. And on any conventional assessment, it is a disaster on many levels – particularly for the efforts to address climate change and for the clean energy industry in the US.

The energy transition to cheaper and cleaner energy is happening, regardless. Trump can slow down the pace in the US, but it will accelerate elsewhere, leaving the US at a significant disadvantage; although it should be noted that US renewable investments are driven to a large extent by state-based targets.

HSBC has noted that Trump’s policies put at risk the decarbonisation and clean energy uptake seen during President Obama’s time in office, with potential to slow both the US energy system transition and domestic measures to mitigate climate change.

But at the same time Trump has no control over the solar market, which is heading towards 2c/kWh, and he has no influence over battery storage, which is heading to below 400/kWh and to its major inflexion point.

This is a crucial point. Wind and solar and their enabling technologies are getting cheaper with or without the Americans, and the fossil industry will be disrupted.

Read more: http://reneweconomy.com.au/trump-ugly-for-world-ugly-for-climate-ugly-for-clean-energy-37088/

President elect Trump has named his core goal as “energy independence”. He has no problem with renewables, he just wants to remove political impediments to other forms of energy.

From the Trump campaign website;

Energy Independence

The Trump Administration will make America energy independent. Our energy policies will make full use of our domestic energy sources, including traditional and renewable energy sources. America will unleash an energy revolution that will transform us into a net energy exporter, leading to the creation of millions of new jobs, while protecting the country’s most valuable resources – our clean air, clean water, and natural habitats. America is sitting on a treasure trove of untapped energy. In fact, America possesses more combined coal, oil, and natural gas resources than any other nation on Earth. These resources represent trillions of dollars in economic output and countless American jobs, particularly for the poorest Americans.

Read more: https://www.greatagain.gov/policy/energy-independence.html

Suggesting skeptics don’t like the idea of renewables is nonsense. I and I suspect many other skeptics would love to give a big one finger salute to the local electrical utility company. There are plenty of American Trump supporters who would love to give a big one finger salute to OPEC. But there is a huge gulf between liking the idea of renewables, and believing they are practical.

The problem is lots of household conveniences – in my case 4 x 8Kw air conditioners, several large electric fans and (occasionally) electric heating, my salt water pool, 2 fridges (one for the BBQ area) and a big upright freezer, a large washing machine and a large clothes drier – all rely on the supply of electricity on a scale I could never hope to produce using a few rooftop solar panels.

In my opinion, people who think renewables are currently a viable general replacement for fossil fuels are math challenged. I’m not alone in thinking there are unsolved problems – leading greens such as David Attenborough and Bill Gates have called for “Apollo Projects” and “energy miracles” to make renewables a viable energy option.

But in a free market economy, you don’t have to accept my opinion, you can make your own choices.

If renewables are the genuinely better solution, if they are a disruptive technology which will sweep fossil fuels into the dustbin of history, they don’t need any government help.

President-elect Trump is committed to giving renewables a chance. He certainly has no plans to ban or restrict renewables, but as he made very clear in his policy statement, he just doesn’t see any reason to bankrupt coal miners.

The history of the rise of disruptive technologies is clear. Smart phones, vacuum cleaners, automobiles, home computers, microwave ovens, the one thing they have in common is in most cases nobody subsidised them. A genuine disruptive technology doesn’t need subsidies, or political hostility towards competing technologies. The advantages sell themselves.

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310 thoughts on “Renewable Energy would be Great – if it Worked

  1. … the solar market, which is heading towards 2c/kWh …

    And I’m heading toward being 300 years old…..

      • Eric, you could certainly make roof top solar work for you. All you need to do is scale back on the conveniences a little. Ted Kaczynski has a shack available which would only require 1 A/C unit and the mini fridge would be perfectly sized. A small electric heater for those few cold months and your set. /sarc

      • Eric could also live with a small solar panel, a hand-pumped well, store food in root cellar and salt the meat like in the olden days. He could cook on a wood stove or use a solar oven. Heck, that’s nirvana according the the enviros. (Those living in 5000 sq ft houses with massive A/C units and 5 cars, of course.)

    • I think the 2c is not exactly a lie.
      Traditionally we call 2c/kWh not cheap but ‘not worth it’. There’s a difference between price and value.

      • Roger: Don’t look at battery powered cars as an escape from CO2, look at them as a way to power cars from the grid instead of petroleum. Whether it’s 30 years or 300 years before getting too expensive to burn, it’s nice to know that cars can be usefully powered by something other than petroleum. Chevy is coming out with the Bolt, a 210 mile range battery car at less than 1/2 the price of the cheapest current Tesla model. Of course. if sold in significant numbers, more grid power will be needed. But grid power can come from multiple sources, take your pick as long as they actually happen. (I personally like nukes)

        And Tesla’s share price is down about 5% since the election. http://finance.yahoo.com/quote/tsla?ltr=1 I neither support nor hate Tesla, just reporting the numbers.

      • rogerthesurf,

        Maybe slightly OT (maybe not), but I do like your website. One of my coworkers visited NZ for two weeks earlier this year and I was jealous. I’d love to visit NZ (or anywhere south of the equator) one day.

      • Since internal combustion engines are only slightly less efficient than condensing steam turbine power plants, electric cars are only slightly more efficient than diesel powered cars. What’s the big deal? And remember most Volts are charged at night when there’s no solar.

      • “Phil R November 12, 2016 at 2:44 pm”

        Just do it! I lived there in NZ for 10 years before migrating to the large island off the west coast.

      • “George Hebbard November 12, 2016 at 4:06 pm

        And remember most Volts are charged at night when there’s no solar.”

        In Spain, solar power at night mainly comes from burning diesel.

      • dan, your argument boils down to someday gas is going to get expensive, so lets switch to something more expensive now.
        I don’t know what technology will be available in 30 years, much less 300 years. Let’s let the future worry about what will replace gas when it becomes their reality.

      • Dan,
        In case you did not know, the technology for electric cars was demonstrated before gasoline powered cars were even invented. When I lived in England in the 70’s, the milkman delivered our milk in a small electric powered vehicle.
        The main problem with the electric car has not been solved for over a century!! The battery!! The knotty problem, yet to be solved despite massive private and government expenditures, is that there is not a viable battery that can achieve usable miles without piling numerous batteries one upon the other at great weight and expense. Has anyone ever thought that the laws of Physics and chemistry preclude the possibility of a useful battery for an electric car providing long range?
        Interesting, the problem is disguised by subsidizing a really fast car with all kinds of interesting electronics which only the wealthy can afford, while receiving subsidies paid for by people who cannot afford the vehicle.

        I worked a lot in development of new technologies, and no successful company (absent government subsidies) will commercialize ideas until all the difficult problems have been worked out. And guess what, we focused and spent the money on the key issues/problems that need to be solved to make the technology viable not the glitz and glitter that is already demonstrated. The electric car approach is like putting a lot of chrome, neat electronics, and expensive paint on a plant that will not produce any product.
        Don’t commercialize until all the tough problems have been solved.

      • **But at the same time Trump has no control over the solar market, which is heading towards 2c/kWh**
        Correction – you beat me to it!

    • 2 cents per kilowatt hour installed ! Bulldust !! Is there really an understanding of what a kilowatt hour is?
      Around 3 pounds of coal are required to be burnt to generate 1 kwh (efficiency of 33%) so at 2 cents per kwhour that values coal at $14.93 per ton and petroleum at $14.40 per barrel HELL! not worth digging up. .Lets cover the earth in solar panels and battery farms .

    • It’s not cheaper and it’s not cleaner.

      If it was cheaper, market forces would make it inevitable and it would take over. Ad hoc regulatory forces would not be able to stop it from taking over.

      Competitive processes cost more, because they are less efficient, taking all costs into account.

      You put a fence around it, and let nothing in or out but free clean green renewable energy, and you let it replicate itself using its own energy production.

      Subsidies merely hide where the real problems are.

      It is NOT an ECONOMICS problem. It’s a TECHNOLOGY problem; it wastes energy instead of making more available.

      G

    • You may truly make it to 300. Rejuvenation is no longer science fiction. It is happening. Middle-class people can afford to participate. One leading “anti-aging” doctor is Dr. Alan Sears, based in Florida. There are others. I receive no funds for informing you of him. Except that the price of any breakthrough comes down over time as more people find out about it and those who can afford it buy it.

      • ladylife
        GRG still has maximum human lifespan at 122 – Jeanne Calment, 1875 to 1997.
        No other human is recognized as having had a 120th Birthday.

        See – http://www.grg.org/

        Only one other 118th Birthday is truly accepted to date; both in the 20th Century.

        Whilst nobody doubts efforts are made, and are still made, at the moment we have only two women who have reached their 118th Birthday.
        Tomorrow – we can hope.
        Rejuvenation, Cool Fusion, Eliminating zits and teenage-angst may swim into our pool quite soon.

        Auto – possibly no longer a perpetual optimist . . . . .

  2. “the solar market, which is heading towards 2c/kWh, ” ??
    Without subsidies, this is just delusional wishful thinking….

    • well I did the arithmetic on this a year ago to see if rooftop solar would be advantageous in this part of rural eastern Virginia. Conclusion: a gas driven backup generator makes incredibly much more sense.

      At ~12c/Kwh (which the utility charges me right now) it would take 15+ years to break even with solar panels – if I installed them myself – and if I had a big enough roof area. Adequate battery backup is extra and not cheap. By the end of 15 years panel output would be 50% of the 25% of rated output that is actually achievable and the panels would need to be replaced. Battery life of seven years of declining performance has also to be factored in.

      I’m waiting for newer, better technologies coming down the pike. The solar technology that does make some sense is solar hot air/water as an adjunct source, but there doesn’t seem to be much money for rent-seekers to make there. It is an outright lie that solar power is approaching 2c/kwh.

      As for non-panel solar installations such as Ivanpah, in addition to the environmental damage (that you’d think greens would be up in arms about) they seem to be more expensive and going further away from, not closer to 2c/Kwh as they rely on dodgy technology and fossil-fuels to start up after a night of no sunlight.

      • I haven’t done the math, but I agree with you. I did design and help build my “new” house in Oregon. I haven’t installed the solar hot air panels on it yet, but hopefully in the near future it will come to fruition. The hot air collectors can be fabricated on site, and they should last 50 years or more without maintenance, if the air is filtered at the input. The whole house is designed to work on air (HVAC as a main/backup, hot air from the high tech fireplace dumped into the air handler duct system, cold air during the summer high desert cold nights with a whole house duct fan, and hot air solar collector panels for the winter (432 sq. ft.), also dumped into the air handler system. The whole house has a tremendous amount of thermal mass designed into it. If it works as visualized, I intend to write up the results and publish it somewhere, so others might avail themselves of simple technology and design.
        If you are at all interested in this type of thing, one of the best sites I have found is http://www.builditsolar.com and the best book on building hot air solar panels: ActiveAir Solar Air Heating Systems by Steve Kornher with Andy Zaugg.

    • Sarc aside, the answer for the US is yes, with money left over to solve the pre-existing conditions insurance issue in healthcare. EIA report of March 2015 for US gov FY2013 estimates $29 billion in direct federal subsidies alone in that year. Report was mandated by Congress in 2014, took a year to prepare, and is available via google with one click. Trump estimate of wall cost $12 billion. WaPo estimate $25 billion. Total over all construction years. As the late Sen. Ev Dirksen once said, “A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you are talking real money.”

      • Probably the single best solution fix the U.S. healthcare situation would be an Open Market solution. Stop limiting the number of players per state. Competition is the best market driver of prices in a free market society

      • In the late 60s Jonathan Winters said that Ev Dirksen looks like he was sittin in the tub when the radio fell in.

      • Trump estimate of wall cost $12 billion…

        Trump wants to meet with Netanyahu asap….the first question might be “ok, so what did that wall cost you?”

      • Besides it will be interesting if Mexico pays for the wall:)..

        Roger, some congressman or senator, something, said the other day that the money was already there. It was allocated during Bush but not used.

      • Health care doesn’t respond well to free market forces. A true open market can’t exist because people spend much more money on health care in the last year and a half of their life than they did in all of the years prior to that year and a half.

        Young people will flock to cheap plans that kick them out when they’re fifty (or develop cancer or diabetes) or they will ignore health insurance already. Older people can’t afford the health care burden of the entire nation.

        Worse yet, there is no incentive for health care to control costs. You can’t by a used heart bypass surgery on E-bay and you can’t really shop around. You can pay the costs or die.

        There are a number of systems worldwide that we can compare ourselves to. All of them are more effective than ours. The best ones cost 11-12% of GDP whereas ours costs 18% of GDP (with lower life expectancy and higher infant mortality rates.)

        We are now the only major nation in the world with declining life expectancy. That declining life expectancy is almost entirely centered on white males.

        In other words, we spend $1 trillion per year more than the second most expensive system in the world (Germany), with much worse outcomes. Worse yet, we are one of the few economies where health insurance is paid for by our employer. In other words, companies save a lot of money by cutting workers in America and hiring them in nations with a national health care system or, better yet, no health care. As long as employers pay directly for health insurance, then it will be a drag on job growth.

        There are thirty other industrialized nations who have health care. They all serve as examples that we can follow.

      • Bryan A,

        I’m not an insurance expert (just an insurance company subsidizer), but when Obamacare was first proposed to take over the insurance system, that was one of the many points that read about for reforming health care/insurance from the more conservative side. You can sell car insurance across state lines, but not health insurance, which limits the market and competition. Hopefully, if Trump (and administration) really do reform Obamacare, one of the things they will propose is cross-state competition.

      • lorcanbonda,

        How to lie (or at least mislead) with statistics. You mentioned several potential issues, but please justify just one. Infant mortality rates are dependent on the definition of infant mortality. Please explain how infant mortality rates in different countries are determined, and you might find that your assertion is not justified.

      • Health care doesn’t respond well to free market forces.

        Nonsense. It is no different than any other market.

      • A friend of mine had his child treated for a minor injury in Glasgow. He asked why they weren’t taking data for his case, for example, filing for insurance. The clinic stated that the paper pushing cost more than it was worth, so their system didn’t do it. We saved trillions of back office expense in the USA by going to computers, and wasted much of it again in a bloated heath insurance market arguing about who pays and how much, and keeping records..

      • Lorcan
        I happen to work for one of those Large Employers in California with over 22,000EEs. Our employer has contracted with no less than 2 providers. Used to be 7 but due to rising costs it is now 2. It needs to go beyond just what your employer is willing to offer as potential choices

      • Except when Dirkson said it, it was a ‘million’, three orders of magnitude less. Looking at my bank balance, a million here or there is still real money.

      • Lorcanbonda: Yes, there is a completely free market health care system operating in parallel with all the ones we know about: veterinary care. Nothing to sneeze at, when the animals of concern are livestock. Easy to get appointments, little waiting time, clear explanation of the medical situation, recommendations for treatment in accordance with the family finances and well-being of the patient. Some good 24/7 emergency care facilities equipped for surgery.

        Am I recommending we all be treated by veterinarians? Obviously not. But it doesn’t take a supercomputer to figure out how our current health care could be improved by allowing it to operate more like veterinaries, absent the insurance paperwork.

    • To: Lorcanbona
      “There are a number of systems worldwide that we can compare ourselves to. All of them are more effective than ours.” Oh really. Maybe you should do your own research.
      Headlines from the Daily Mail
      The cataracts crisis is ‘going to get worse’: Former health minister says denying surgery is ‘indefensible’ and warns NHS is heading towards a ‘financial meltdown’ I have save hundreds of articles about “how good single payer healthcare is”.
      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3734091/The-cataracts-crisis-going-worse-Former-health-minister-says-denying-surgery-indefensible-warns-NHS-heading-financial-meltdown.html

      • England has nationalized health care. All the docs work for the govt.

        Canada is different. Each province determines its own program. They’ve nationalized their medical insurance companies, not the doctors. So, for example, Blue Cross is some provinces offer $99/month for their platinum program: all medical, all prescriptions, all dental and eye care, number of home nirsing months, outfitting the tub and toilet for reduced mobility people, etc.

        Why can’t we get that here? Blue Cross obviously wouldn’t be doing business there if they couldn’t afford it.

    • Matthew you make a great point. One that seems to get lost when using the term “Fossil Fuels” and then make the seemly easy slide to “Big Oil”. Most oil is used to produce transportation fuels, not electricity. Even in a fictitious world of 100% renewable (electrical) energy, there will still be a significant need for oil and gas to supply the base materials that underpin modern civilization. I have yet to hear anything that remotely constitutes an argument that any renewable electrical energy will supply the needs of a metal foundry.

      • “… an argument that any renewable electrical energy…” Ooh, that’s an easy one. :) Granted that most iron and steel processes use coal and coke, but there’s the submerged arc furnace for high grade steels (not a large fraction of current production) and there’s the use of large quantities of electricity to extract aluminum from its ore. It’s really hard to extract aluminum without electricity.

      • Right on the money AssieBear. I work in the steel industry in Hamilton,Ontario, Canada. At my work the electrical arc furnace alone draws 40 Megawatts (that’s 40 million watts) from the system. For every hour of operation uses 400,000 KW-hrs of power.
        That is just one production line. It would require at least 30 1.5 MW wind turbines running at 100% output to supply just this line, but since the availability of wind power is closer to 12%, we would really need nearly 200 wind generators to supply that one production line.
        The company’s electricity bill is in excess of $800,000 per year and rising due to the stupidity of our Ontario government. With electricity costs rising I really don’t have any idea how long my work will stay in Canada and if I will have a job in the future.

      • Matt Bergin commented: “…With electricity costs rising I really don’t have any idea how long my work will stay in Canada and if I will have a job in the future…..”

        That is the intent. Gut industrial infrastructure by destroying steel and aluminum smelting. The UK has no more aluminum smelting and steel is close behind. China is the chosen industrial center of the world. Conspiracy theory? Think about it.

      • @Markl,

        Conspiracy theory? Think about it.

        Not at all. Rather an astute aside on what China is doing. While the tea partiers scrounged Walmart for straw hats and lan chairs in February 2009, China was buying up the rest of the rare earth supplies on the planet. So now it has 97%. As any observer would know, China reduced the amount of rare earths (necessary for wind turbines and solar panels) available for the rest of the world in 2013.

        With the recent “agreement’ with Obama, China now has a mandated excuse to deny the world needed rare earths as soon as the US has destroyed its energy infrastructure supporting all industry here.

        And people are naive if they think that isn’t happening. There’s nothing more that China wants than for the rest of the world go green. That’s why China announced on the eve of the US election and the first day of COP22 that it would be increasing its coal consumption by 20% more than 2016, which in its case is more than the entire coal consumption of Canada.

        They’re no dummies. They’re going to supply Africa, where China made a massive infrastructure investment, with the manufactured rare earths necessary to meet their rural needs before they’ll deign to supply ours. That continent is huge.

      • MRW, silicon solar panels do not use any “rare earth” elements.

        Also, wind turbines that have gearboxes do not use “rare earth” elements. The direct drive ones do, so don’t confuse them.

      • @HENRYSatSHAMROCK@aol.com,

        Thx. What percentage are gearbox and what percentage direct-drive? Do you know? Or do you know a reliable link? (Again, thx.)

        I remember when I was learning about solar panels. The explanation said tellurium (on solar panels) was a rare earth but I subsequently discovered–and forgot–that tellurium is rare bu tnot a rare earth. So, thank you for reminding me.

    • @Markl,

      Conspiracy theory? Think about it.

      Not at all. Rather an astute aside on what China is doing. While the tea partiers scrounged Walmart for straw hats and lan chairs in February 2009, China was buying up the rest of the rare earth supplies on the planet. So now it has 97%. As any observer would know, China reduced the amount of rare earths (necessary for wind turbines and solar panels) available for the rest of the world in 2013.

      With the recent “agreement’ with Obama, China now has a mandated excuse to deny the world needed rare earths as soon as the US has destroyed its energy infrastructure supporting all industry here.

      And people are naive if they think that isn’t happening. There’s nothing more that China wants than for the rest of the world go green. That’s why China announced on the eve of the US election and the first day of COP22 that it would be increasing its coal consumption by 20% more than 2016, which in its case is more than the entire coal consumption of Canada.

      They’re no dummies. They’re going to supply Africa, where China made a massive infrastructure investment, with the manufactured rare earths necessary to meet their rural needs before they’ll deign to supply ours. That continent is huge.

  3. Hmmm….
    More coal-powered plants. check.
    More oil-wells and NG fracking. check.
    More nuclear plants. check.
    Remind me again where “renewables” fit in there? And the subsidies faucet gets turned off.
    Seems to me they die a slow death, and good riddance.

      • Much energy is used and pollution produced for obtaining the materials that go into wind and solar devices. Also, there are the cost of manufacturing, building the extensive infrastructure and electricity flow management, maintenance, shorter-than-claimed life of these devices, huge ecological and geographical footprint, and requirement for either very expensive energy storage or backup energy sources to make up for energy shortfalls, when the sun sets and/or the wind dies, wind and solar as major energy sources. Thus wind and solar are the least green energy sources in the world. They truly suck and make biofuel from algae look good, which by the way, is also a net loss of energy and useless unless we actually has not liquid carbon-based fuels.

        Small wind turbines on boats or solar panels used by the end user are useful. They can reduce some of the draw from the grid. Wind and solar as major energy sources are simply not reliable and are also four to ten times the expense of conventional energy sources. It is wring to claim that the US will be left behind if it defunds wind and solar. Other countries which have been doing a lot of wind and/or solar are having huge problems besides increases in the cost of electricity. They are also going to start turning their back on wind and solar, realizing the error of this strategy. It is not a success, except in areas where the people are so underdeveloped that they are fine with intermittent electricity.

      • Personally, once the massive Subsidies are gone, I don’t care if they die or not. In fact, I wish them well. Let them prove all the hype true and manage to replace Fossil Fuels on their own. If they pull it off I’ll be the first to congratulate their promoters.

        Just stop expecting me to pay to prop them up when they DON’T manage to work as advertised.

  4. Why, at that rate, solar cells will pay for themselves in only five years longer than they will last!

    I understand the financial motive to push technologies that are simply not ready yet. I even kind of understand the “religious” motive. Still not interested.

    I really like to see new developments, but I’m still not impressed. Kind of like the press calling every clever script “artificial intelligence.”

  5. At least Shrillary’s lunatic idea of 500,000,000 solar panels installed in the next 4 years is off the agenda.

    I bet old Mr Musk and the rest of the ruinable energy/EV teat-sucking gang are quaking in their boots. }:o)

    Let’s just hope that The Donald doesn’t start rowing back on his pledge to peel back the CAGW clap-trap…

  6. How many people who install solar pv expect it to provide all of their electricity supply? I certainly didn’t.

    • Bloke,
      Me neither. But in the 5+ years it’s been on my roof, it has produced over 300KWH more than we have used. That’s using less than a quarter of our roof area, due to the alphabet block architecture of our neighborhood. I think, for the sun belt states, it’s almost competitive without government incentives.

      • I don’t know where you live, but most places require the power companies to buy rooftop electricity at the retail rate rather than their normal purchases at the wholesale rate. That’s a hidden subsidy. Plus, you are not paying for maintenance of the transmission and distribution services. That’s another hidden subsidy. Unlike off-grid homes that need battery backup for nighttime use, you are using the utility to provide yours. I’m not saying these are bad things, just that the promoters skip these financial aspects.

      • Economics is not a strong point for Juan. The value of 300 kwh is $15. Certainly not the compelling argument he thinks it is.

        To determine payback period, what is the cost of the panels and how did this reduce the power bill.

        This risk on any investment it will fail to return income as expected. This is not that complicated although it does require some math skills. I have yet to see an honest economic of of solar.

        Everyone is a sc*m.

      • Brian,
        I see that I have commented on two subjects, and have not perhaps been clear on the second. My first point was that solar, while it can’t directly provide all your power, can for many people provide an average over time that equals or exceeds your average use. My second, and unsupported point is that it can be economically advantagous. The billing is complicated, but let me try for rough figures. At the moment, Azusa’s utility meters show our production since June 16, 2011, at 19,440 KWH. That is 328 KWH more than we have used, so over that period of time we have actually used 19,112 KWH. Without solar, that would have cost us about 15c per KWH, or $2867. We did not actually save that much, however. A part of our production goes directly to our household load as it is produced, and does not show on Azusa’s net meter. The rest of it goes back into the grid and credits our account, either as a reduction in kwh used, or (once a year, if the yearly total is in our favor) as payment at wholesale rates. The trick here is that anything that goes back into the grid is subject to: State Energy Tax, Power Cost Adjustment, Electric Users Tax, and Public Benefit Charge, for which we are regularly billed. I’m too lazy to figure out what these taxes total over a five year period, but they do substantially reduce our savings.
        IIRC our cash outlay before incentives was about $18,000; incentives available at the time brought it down to about $8000. The question before the house is, “Can solar be competitive without incentives?” Based on 2011 prices, no. But when I paid to have solar installed on my mother’s home in Arizona a couple of years ago, it was bid at about half the rate per KW that we paid in 2011. Depending on where you live, what you pay for conventional power, and what happens in our economic future, I think “yes” is a reasonable answer.

      • …So Juan, that means Other Peoples Money paid for over half of cost ($10,000) of your solar panels…How nice of you…

      • Marcus,
        If you are suggesting that government should not be generally benefiting prosperous individuals at the expense of the general public, I quite agree.

        As a question of governmental ethics, it seems simple enough. But as a question of personal ethics, it’s not quite so clear. For starters, I am one of the taxpayers helping put up the money for this misguided policy. I should make myself a further victim by refusing to take advantage of a program for which I am being taxed? As a general principle, I don’t think this works too well. Perhaps you would decline taxpayer subsidized college education for your kids? Don’t know if you are a home owner, but if you are, I bet you took the mortgage interest deduction on your income tax. We are all being taxed to provide any number of special benefits to individuals who
        may in fact be better off than we are. This is perhaps an inevitable consequence of big government, and I hope we will soon see some shrinkage of that.

        In the meantime, we all have to bumble along as best we can.

      • Juan

        I am not sure that I understand your figures (Juan Slayton November 12, 2016 at 3:03 pm)

        Ignoring the merits of that subsidy point, are you saying that in 2011 you paid up front $8,000 and since then to date this has provided you with $2,867 worth of electricity?

        If that is so, then bearing in mind the heavy up front cost, the loss of interest/earning potential on that $8,000, it will take at least 15 years (from 2011) to break even. I say at least since the chances are that with age, the panels will become less efficient, and the loss of interest/earning potential on $8,000 is more than $601 [(2,867 x 3) – 8,000].

        But the material point is the subsidy of $10,000 that you received bring the price down from $18,000 to only $8,000. Without that subsidy, it is clear that on any basis, the solar installation was not economically viable. And that begs the moral question, why should anyone receive that sort of subsidy? Why should poor people, who cannot afford solar panels or do not have the money to spend on homes upon which such a solar installation can be attached, pay your subsidy? I am not blaming you for taking the subsidy, but does appear very unfair and regressive.

        Your figures do not suggest a sound economic case for solar.

      • @dan no longer in CA November 12, 2016 at 2:27 pm,

        Dead on the money. Furthermore, solar customers in my state must sign the electric company’s Net Metering Agreement (NMA) before they can get their bilateral meter installed, the one that allows customers to send their excess capacity back to the grid. Most electric companies nationwide have such an agreement.

        And the solar companies are not explaining what it means when they say the energy company will buy back excess capacity. The customer agrees to pay all sorts of additional fees in that agreement in the future–all general and unspecified because they haven’t occurred yet–and is liable for them even after the homeowner has sold the house. Our public subsidies ended, so many of these solar customers are paying two bills, one to the energy company and another to the solar supplier to maintain their bilateral meter, and their electric bills are now two or three times higher.

  7. Since the year 2000, about $2 trillion has been spent worldwide on renewable energy, mainly wind and solar. Most of this has come from taxpayers via government subsidies, or from electricity users via higher prices. Considerably more than this is expected to be spent in the next few decades if and when the entire world transitions to renewable energy.

    Vast fortunes must necessarily have been made, and even greater ones will be made in the future, as a result of these expenditures. Now ask yourselves how much of this would have occurred had the terms ‘global warming’ and ‘climate change’ not entered our consciousness. If you want to know where the driving force for the whole renewable energy movement comes from, look no further.

    This is a scam that makes Bernie Madoff look like a two-bit shyster.

    • There is absolutely no reason to move to 100% renewable power. It just doesn’t make sense. Natural gas seeps will continue literally forever and should instead be capped and used in suitable applications. Natural gas is ultimately ‘renewable’ though there good reasons not to advertise it too much at present.

      Nuclear power or some variation of it will continue to have many applications such as shipping and, pending new developments, neighbourhood power stations. The energy problem will be completely solved eventually and all this dire hand wringing will pass away.

    • the entire world transitions to renewable energy is crazy talk. The kind one hears at the Guardian, or RenewEconomy. It will not happen because it can not. Because the energy return on energy invested will not be enough to sustain civilization as it is. When energy storage is added (buffering), intermittents will not be able to generate enough energy to reproduce human economies, societies and infrastructures.

  8. The point which was made above, but, needs to be emphasized (especially, given the praise of this article’s author for “renewables” *potentially* being an economically viable and aesthetically desirable source of power) is:

    there is no need for renewables.” None.

    Renewables are not needed for:

    — energy independence (we have shale oil, conventional oil, coal, hydro, and NUCLEAR)

    — saving the planet from AGW (this speculation has been completely debunked)

    — for clean air/water — this has been accomplished, i.e., DONE (by conventional power sources).

    Renewables are not needed. They are only ugly, bird-frying/slashing, negative EROI and negative ROI piles of JUNK. Solar panels’ maintenance cost/relatively short productive life makes them NEVER return a positive $$ investment. It is an ILLUSION. (See Ozzie Zehner in his book/lectures, “Green Illusions.”)

    That Trump puffed a bit about “renewables” to win votes does NOT mean he will not pull the carpet out from under “renewables.”

    When you are playing defense in basketball, you should watch the abdomen of the player you are guarding, not their waving hands; this will make sure that you don’t follow a fake and follow them. Look at the overall context of Trump’s policies: free markets and fact-based science. Trump is big on NUCLEAR power and BIIIIIG OHL!

    So.

    Hoooo–ray and yeeeee-haw — look out world, here comes a prospering USA!!!

    #(:))

    • + 1, Janice, regarding all your points in bold.
      As a non-US person and non-basketball player I can’t comment on the rest of your post.

    • Janice I this does not confuse this too much but I sure it will.

      I am against stupid. I am again stupid reason for renewable and and stupid reasons to be against renewable.

      Congrats Janice on winning the stupid contest although Eric is more consistent at being stupid.

      For example, for most of human history; the need for energy was renewable. When I lived in a cold climate, I used wood to heat my house. When I lived in a milder climate, an electric heat pump met our needs but I still maintained a wood pile for a power outage caused by an ice storm.

      The point is that I can provide many examples good renewable that help us meet our energy needs.

      Of course there are renewables that have failed. To be against all because of some failures, is like being against some nuclear or coal projects because they have failed.

      • Janice didn’t say that she was *against* renewables, only that they are not *required*. You are confounding these two ideas.

      • Dear Kit,

        Perhaps you do not realize that when I put “renewables” in quotes like that, I intended to use that term in a special way, i.e., to refer to junk like windmills and solar panels (on anything but a very small scale).

        Janice

      • Sure, wood is a renewable source of energy. The overwhelming problem is that it can never be sustainable even on the most micro scale – that is until nature learns how to grow a tree as fast as it can be burnt. In my book, that comes in the porcine aviation category. If you don’t believe it, take a look at Haiti.

    • Janice, I said people who think renewables are currently a viable general replacement for fossil fuels are math challenged.. I’d love to have one of those magic solar cars out of the “Logan’s Run” TV series – but thats just a fantasy.

      • Sorry about mischaracterizing (unintentionally) your point, Eric. My attempt to acknowledge your point using the quickly uttered, “point which was made above” wasn’t enough to do justice to your position. Thank you for making it clear(er :) ).

    • Janice

      Not only that, but renewables fail on their primary objective.

      The only reason for renewables is the reduction of CO2, however it is clear that they do not result in the significant reduction of CO2, because they are intermittent and non despactable and require 100% backup by conventionally powered generation.

      The US was much derided for not ratifying Kyoto, but of all the major developed countries, it reduced its carbon footprint the most. It did this by utilising shale reserves, ie, swopping coal for gas. Gas is decarbonisation since energy is obtained from burning hydrogen, not simply from burning carbon.

      By contrast, Germany pushed ahead with renewables (solar and wind) and yet failed to reduce its CO2 emissions at all these past 15 years.

      Thus what is the point of renewables if they do not result in the meaningful reduction of CO2? It is not because other forms of energy are scarce, or are less reliable, or are more expensive etc as your post makes clear.

      The fact is that there is no case for renewables, even if you consider that Co2 is a problem and that steps are required to reduce CO2 emissions

  9. We wil probably have one of the usual commenters on this site claim that the field of renewable energy–wind and solar– is just fine, and the wave of the future. I would ask where are renewables actually competing on a level field with conventional energy?No subsides, no preferred purchase requirements, no interference in the market generally.
    Second, how much does this ideological energy actually cost? Twice conventional? Three times? Much more, as no one nowhere has an actually functional totally renewable electric system, and the eventual cost is still an estimate?
    Tasmania and that island in the Canaries were failures, so how are the advocates proposing to fix the very real existing problems?

    • TH, for the US the ‘correct’ answer for wind is ~2.5x conventional generation on an honest annualized LCOE basis. (Correcting several egregiously wrong things such as useful life and capacity factor in the 2015 EIA estimate.) Fact sources and calculations in guest post True Cost of Wind at Climate Etc. Roughly $55/mwh for CCGT, ~ $60 for USC coal, and $144 for wind using the Ercot grid in Texas for intermittency backup costs at ~10% wind penetration.

      • Not to mention total land use area required for utility scale Solar PV, Wind, or Concentrated Solar Thermal.
        The Ivanpah facility alone requires 5 sq. mi. of space to produce about 400MW or about 30 sq. mi. to offset what conventional sources can do on a few acres.
        Then there is the Solar PV Topaz Solar Farm (there is a reason for the “Farm” ) which requires 9.5 sq. mi. for its 550MW facility. It would require 38 sq. mi. to offset the same conventional sources.
        And most wind farms require more than twice the space of solar PV farms though don’t require leveling the land and clear stripping vegetation

    • Tom et al,

      What planet do you live on? What drugs are you on?

      What level playing are you taking about?

      Since I made a modes living in the power industry, I would love to have the same markup you are happy with for a cup of coffee. How much will you pay to keep your pipes from freezing?

      Electric utilities are a regulated public service. We work 24/7/365 so you can complain about your electric bill. Since we are public, the public can dictate how we make power. And by god we will do it but we will pass the cost along to you.

      If you electric bill is higher than mine, the problem is not renewables. It is all the hidden taxes.

      For that matter, I have yet to find a valid complaint about an electric bill. I always ask to see the bill. I take a deep breath and say, really! You spend more of coffee.

      As far as the stupid economic analysis, let me point out they are models about the future. Each power project is different. If you utility did a good job of building its nukes, nukes are cheap. If the botched the job, not so cheap.

      And all you wise folks tell me what the cost of natural gas will be for 60 years, all the experts have failed over the short term. That is okay because with your level playing field, you will still pay your bill.

      • RKP, I think you are being unusually dense. What I was referring to, in context, was renewables v. conventional electric sources, and no farther. It would be interesting to get into the hidden taxes, sweetheart deals, hidden subsidies, etc in the electric system, but I was being very narrow.

      • “Since we are public, the public can dictate how we make power.” Public, meaning elected officials whether they actually follow the wishes of the public or whether they follow the wishes of enviros, their own ideas, what is PC, etc. RSP’s demand where electricity comes from—and often are opposed by the “public” but embraced by those making the rules. Turbines and panels are pushed on people who don’t want them. Electricity is politics.

    • I dont know about the Canaries but Tasmania
      is not a renewables failure as its power
      supply comed mainly from hydro Tasmania being both a mountainous state with usually reliable rainfall
      However they did run into trouble after some
      years of drought when the dams feeding
      the hydro plants failed to fill enough at the
      same time the undersea connector to the
      mainland grid failed (Murphy’s Law again)
      Maybe you are thinking of the mainland state
      if South Australia which has gone 40%
      renewables mostly wind
      Twice in three months they got into strife
      First in the winter month of July when the
      wind did not blow and one of the interconnector lines to the next door state of Victoria went down for maintenance
      The SA hypocrisy here was that Victoria’s electricity comes largely from brown coal fired plants which the South Australians happli draw on while virtuously proclaiming their green power status
      The second occasion was a state wide blackout as wind generators shut down
      in response to voltage fluctuations caused
      by a huge storm affecting the rest of the grid in the southern Spring month of October.
      The wind generators closing down threw too much demand on the interstate connector causing it to trip throwing SA into blackout
      The lesson from all this is that renewables are unreliable and need some base load backup
      If you want reliable electricty but what that does to cost is another matter
      o

      • But that is not the type of renewables that we are talking about.

        Obviously natural hydro, or natural geothermal are real economic assets, and are a sound source of energy production as Norway and Iceland demonstarte.

  10. “If renewables are the genuinely better solution, if they are a disruptive technology which will sweep fossil fuels into the dustbin of history, they don’t need any government help.” This has been repeated ad nauseam by rational people and ignored by the MSM. Maybe now they will listen. Renewable energy businesses have been languishing and folding since the initial subsidy fueled rampage and will probably tap out without them. Hopefully they won’t disappear completely as they still have excellent applications.

    • I’m an optimist by nature, but I’m not optimistic about the MSM. There appear to be a few who have an inkling that they are the problem, but many more who are seething that they have been exposed for what they are.

  11. I have read on WUWT that both Wind Turbine installations and PV installations are so inefficient that it can take 10 years to recover the energy used to build the installation, and in some cases, they never recover the energy used to contsruct/install them. Can anyone point me to the data that supports this please? someone must have done a proper study on this? I did find an interesting article on the US Dept of Energy website that actually states this was true for PV panels before 2010, but now they are much more efficient! But would like to see some data…

    • Mark, good question, let me not answer it. The purpose of modest mandates and production tax credits is to collect data to answer the question. It is too early to answer the question.

      My prediction is the current generation of wind and solar equipment will be determined to be junk and too expensive to maintain.

      Of course it only takes a marginal increase in the price of natural gas to make everything else economical. If you export natural natural gas, increasing prices are good, wind is bad.

      Think of it this way, all of those places that do not have coal, are against coal. Those places with no coal, no gas, no hydro, and no wind; think nuclear is economical.

      Generalities do not work and the future is hard to predict.

    • A planes on solar cells has been flown. No useful load whatsoever – not practical. Structure cut to the bare minimum, so not reliable, quite possibly not safe, and have to avoid strong weather – not practical. PVA technology has to come a long way before solar-powered airplanes will be of any value.

      • How about a ship on wind power – you know, ships that Columbus had? No fuel needed, except for the kitchen. But a lot of fuel there, the journey may get very long…

      • Good points all, Retired_Engineer_Jim.

        Solar Impulse 2 took about 16 months to circumnavigate the globe. Of course, that WAS less than half the time than it took Magellan’s ships in the early 1500’s, so — WIN! LOL

      • My comparison may seem a bit silly, but amusing none the less. Lets compare the “Solar Plane of today to the standard aircraft of say, hmm, 1916 Europe would do nicely.
        So how would the solar plane of 2016 stand up to the Red Baron’s rickety bi-wing Albatross. Not to suggest that the modern solar plane would not also be allowed weapons, Say a Lewis gun.
        As a matter fact perhaps we should do that. At Rhinebeck Aerodrome in New York State there is an early twentieth century aircraft museum along with air shows and mock dog fights. Wouldn’t it be fun to match this modern technological marvel against one of it hundred year old predecessors?

        not a plug, but nice to see something graceful though once deadly.

        michael

      • dan no longer in CA November 12, 2016 at 7:01 pm

        Hi dan, interesting. The article is a couple years old have you seen any more about it.
        Like you said training. But I have one question since I am not a pilot would learning to fly on a electric aircraft give you a different set of muscle memory the on a conventional one?

        michael

      • Mike: Here’s a newer link to a 2-place airplane demo flight. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WiADDbeFanU You can also do a web search on the earlier Sonex electric plane. I’m a private pilot and my training was in a Cessna 152. As for ‘muscle memory’, I expect electric planes to be more similar to piston engine airplanes than are sailplanes. Sailplanes are very similar except for the constant worry about running out of airspeed, altitude, and ideas all at the same time. :) In short, no difference.

    • Container ships are starting the process of converting from petroleum based fuels to LNG (liquefied natural gas). Google it and you will find numerous examples. LNG is available in several large ports around the world as bunker fuel. It is expected to be the shipping fuel of the future. Half the cruise liners currently on order have been ordered with LNG as the main fuel. The MPEC rule of a couple weeks ago severely reducing pollution limits on sulfur emissions is expected to rapidly increase the adoption of LNG in newly built ships.

      Jacksonville will be the first port in the US to routinely offer it. Q1 2017 Jacksonville will have an operational LNG plant making 87 thousand gallons a day of LNG. Mostly to fuel ships. 3 container ships are on order that will call Jacksonville their main port. They will serve the Caribbean.

      An LNG plant is being built near the Savannah port. Significantly bigger than the one in Jacksonville. First production in 2017. Full production by the end of 2018. Another one being built on the Chesapeake bay. Again 2018 will see it operational.

      A 250,000 gallon/day plant was just approved for Tacoma, WA. It is expected to be operational by 2019.

      And where does LNG come from. A few years ago the answer was 100% from gas wells. Today, in the US about 20% of it comes from capturing methane production out of landfills and cleaning it up to pipeline quality (RNG – renewable natural gas).

      The EPA is incentivizing the creation of RNG with a $30/mmBtu incentive. Note that fossil NG sells for under $3/mmBtu, so that is a hell of an incentive.

      The waste industry expects to be producing billions of gallons of RNG per year in the next several years. How much of that ends up as LNG fueling container ships is unknown to me, but don’t think renewable fuel fueling container ships is an impossibility. It could very well be a serious reality before the end of Trump’s first term in office.

      And interestingly, he won’t have to do a thing to make it happen. Just stand back and take credit.

      • A conventional container ship uses heavy fuel oil at service speed, sometimes with diesel for manoevering.
        A vessel can be programmed to go anywhere in the world and if it has an engine which uses LNG the operating area will be severely compromised since almost every little port has fuel oil available from a truck or a bunker barge but LNG needs specialised fittings on the quay. All very well for passenger vessels or fixed schedule vessels which operate from only one or two bases but useless for world wide trading.
        And, Knutsen, ships don’t usually burn crude oil in diesel engines, even slow revving ones.

      • Bunker C is the most common fuel for ships. Similar to tar, it is what is left after you refine out gasoline, diesel, etc. It is the lowest grade of fuel oil above asphalt and thus the cheapest. It must be heated or mixed with lighter fuel before it can be pumped into the engines.

        To cold start the ships engine, typically a small diesel starting engine heats the bunker and compresses air to turn over the main engine.

      • >> Bunker C is the most common fuel for ships. Similar to tar,

        And will it still be the most common as of 2020? The new global sulfur emission limits passed just a couple weeks ago are said to have a major impact on the shipping industry and their choice of fuels.

        http://fairplay.ihs.com/safety-regulation/article/4277067/global-shipping-sulphur-cap-set-for-2020

        ==
        However, the shipowner organisation stressed that there will be much to do between now and 2020 to ensure that sufficient quantities of compliant marine fuel of the right quality will be available and that this radical switch-over to cleaner fuels is implemented smoothly, in a harmonised manner, without distorting shipping markets or having negative impacts on the movement of world trade.
        ==

        Sure doesn’t sound like it will be business as usual with everyone burning tar, but maybe there will be tar that is “compliant marine fuel”.

        ==
        “Everybody’s level in terms of the cost. There will be small differences (in prices from one port to another) but that’s always been the case, but broadly if there is a step up because of the move from heavy fuel oil to distillate, fine.
        ==

        That sure doesn’t sound like tar will continue to be the fuel of choice.

        ==
        The rule will add an estimated USD15,000–30,000 in daily operating costs for ships that burn 100 tonnes of fuel or more per day.
        ==

        That’s the money that many think will be used to convert some ships to LNG. More likely is that is that new / extra expense that will cause new ships to come with LNG burning engines instead of traditional fuels.

      • gregfreemyer commented: “…The new global sulfur emission limits passed just a couple weeks ago are said to have a major impact on the shipping industry and their choice of fuels…..
        http://fairplay.ihs.com/safety-regulation/article/4277067/global-shipping-sulphur-cap-set-for-2020…”

        Another quasi governmental UN organization trying to make/force environmental rules on the world. Think IPCC of the ocean. No regulatory or compliance authority just the same old “moral obligation” bs the UN places on anyone who’s gullible enough to comply.

      • I find this a bit horrifying. One of the reasons why I bought a diesel boat (when I owned a boat) is LNG and petrol boats have a horrifying tendency to explode. Any gas or vapour leak accumulates in the hull, one spark and you’ve got a fireball.

      • LNG – Liquefied nature gas – boils at -260F and is mostly composed of methane. Methane is lighter than air so it doesn’t accumulate at ground level. Maybe your confusing it with a different fuel.

        It also burns extremely cleanly. The main results of combustion are CO2 and H2O.

        It makes for a very nice cycle. Plants pull CO2 and H2O out of the air and incorporate it into them. At some point it ends up as farm, animal, or human waste. When it digests, it turns into methane. If we capture it and burn the methane we return the CO2 and H2O to the atmosphere.

        That’s what I call solar energy.

  12. I and I suspect ….

    Jah ! Rastafari !

    Some people did not waste any time getting into the swing of the newly legal weed ;)

  13. [Quote]The problem is lots of household conveniences – in my case 4 x 8Kw air conditioners, several large electric fans and (occasionally) electric heating, my salt water pool, 2 fridges (one for the BBQ area) and a big upright freezer, a large washing machine and a large clothes drier – all rely on the supply of electricity on a scale I could never hope to produce using a few rooftop solar panels.

    As far as the greens are concerned, there is no problem with renewable energy, the problem is YOU, you are too successful, consume too much and live outside what should be the new normal. That and your BBQ emits CO2.
    Your house should be built under ground to avoid A/C, convective cooling removes the fans and if you bought local sustainable foods, you would not need fridges as the food would be consumed before it would go bad. Cloths can be hand washed and dried outside.
    I am surprised that you miss this point completely, it is not about renewable’s, it is about the ‘bad’ people and that is YOU.

    • Good point, Duncan.

      Peter Huber (author of Hard Green: Saving the Environment from the Environmentalists) agrees with you.

      (from my summary of that book)

      Incorporating distorted thinking about scarcity, soft green economic computer simulations, or “models,” projected that the world would run out of, e.g., food, oil, tin, zinc, and wood – over and over (they just kept pushing the deadline out another five or ten years). (p. XVIX) These projections failed so miserably that the soft greens came up with an additional, “post-Malthusianism” wrong-to-right: greed. (Id.) Mainly aimed at the United States, the soft greens characterize Americans’ disproportionately large consumption of natural gas, electricity, or gasoline as sinful. (Id.)

      {Comment: Greed is a religious concept. Thus, the largely atheistic or agnostic soft greens, to shore up their already teetering house now riddled by hypocrisy, have enlisted the help of the largely apostate Jews and Christians. With the Pope joining in, motivated, no doubt, by money, to urge his devotees to obey the soft greens in the name of holiness.}

      In Hard economics, there is no observed, meaningful, correlation between lowered consumption and efficiency. Soft Green projections that claim otherwise are supported by nothing more than unverifiable tissues of speculation. (pp. XIX – XX) Each time the real world passes another Soft Green doomsday, doing just fine in spite of maintaining high consumption, the details are changed, the time table revised, and the same pronouncements are repeated with even more conviction. There is no day of reckoning in Soft Green economics. (p. XX) The few times Soft Green projections can be tested, they are wrong, e.g., soft greens said that in the 1980’s the price of oil would double – it fell by 50%. (Id.)

      Frugality, furthermore, is not efficiency. (p. XXV) The bottom line is, what promotes a truly green environment is: wealth. (Id.) Soft Greens want to restrict wealth to save the planet. (Id.) Hard Greens realize that it is wealth – not poverty – that limits family size, { } obesity, { } pollution, { } waste and inefficiency, {… and it is} the rich, not the poor, who pour their wealth into green. (p. XXVI)

      *******************
      I’ve been praying for you, Duncan, about that goal (both the setting of it and the achievement) — hope all is going very well (including persevering in the present situation for the time being — praying about that, too!).

      Janice

      • Thanks Janice, your memory serves you well. Whatever darker times I may have had have come to pass. They were more self serving (first world problems) as I always remember there are others who are way worse off. Always good to remind oneself of these things. God does helps those who help themselves. Stay well Janice – Duncan

      • Janice Moore November 12, 2016 at 12:24 pm
        Duncan November 12, 2016 at 12:13 pm

        Back (1-1/2yrs) when I lived in Oregon I did a bit of gardening Still trying to set things up here in AZ. Anyway I had this “Green” neighbor we would disagree a bit, but I would still leave bags of fresh beans, tomatoes, and cucumbers at his door. Odd how few of them grow any of their own food

        michael

      • Yes Mike, the hypocrisy is all around, as I get older (42 now) I see it clearly and have for sometime. Trump is vilified for the “grab her by the Pus**” remark. Agreed a totally inappropriate remark for a man with wife and daughters at that age. Yet JayZ sells millions of dollars in records with songs like “Two types of Bit*ch*es”. Welcomed on stage with Hillary.
        I am just glad I have risen above both comments to see them for what they are and don’t judge them. Life would be completely boring otherwise. Why don’t feminist (and men for that matter) get all up in arms about the beheadings of women in Saudi Arabia, then hung from a crane? Where are the protesters on that in LA? ***Face palm*** I cannot explain it, such good energy wasted.

      • Thanks, Duncan. You take care, too.

        Good for you, Mike (not a ) Morlock. :)

        Hans!!!!! That was VERY SWEET OF YOU, and yet, I am sorry things aren’t what you hoped for in the life partner dept.. I am wearing a gold band on the fourth finger of my left hand. While not married de jure, in my heart, I am married, de facto.. (I just tell you that so you can know it’s a moot point….. so ….. hopefully, you can get some counseling and BE HAPPY with her…. remember all the lovely things that attracted you to her way back when …… with help you two can have JOY. I hope! Hang in there, otherwise. An unhappy marriage is a very rough road to travel.)

    • Yep, the mantra is that “we” (and by this they mean you) need to change “our” (and by this they mean your) lifestyles – move to the cities, live in tiny houses, drive tiny cars and/or bike and walk everywhere, and most of all, have tiny “carbon footprints”. Think of the children.

      • Hey, some of us *like* small cars. My Westfield SEiW comes in at 1380 lb with spare tire and 1/2 tank of gas. It’s quite amusing here in West Texas where the F-150 is considered small compared to the common F-250 duallies.

    • The computer companies ( Gates, Apple the Silicon Valley, Facebook and so on) , you know the “green pushy guys”, that supported the Clintons and dems? They just love it, for every computer, hard drive, software program, printer that gets ” deleted ” they just sell more. And that btw involves all the fossil fuels that they need to produce, ship, market ( TV and paper media) all of their products. They will never tell that ti their acolytes. They are nothing more than godless frikking hypocrites.( sorry about the language… maybe not).

  14. “There are plenty of American Trump supporters who would love to give a big one finger salute to OPEC”

    We already did. Basically the US doesn’t need to consume a single drop of oil from OPEC. We buy it because our O&G companies make a bigger profit if they buy OPEC oil, refine it, and sell it back out to the world. Thus our purchases of OPEC oil show our economic strength, not any weakness.

    Study this info from the EIA about 2015: http://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.cfm?id=727&t=6

    Persian Gulf imports: 1.51 million barrels/day, but our exports to the world of refined petroleum products (gasoline/diesel/etc.) is 4.74 million barrels/day. So we get crude from the middle east, refine it, and send it out to the world. That is purely a positive thing for the US.

    All of OPEC is 2.89 million barrels/day in imports. Still much less than we export (4.74 million barrels/day). So again, that is US industry making money on OPEC’s oil. We are in the drivers seat on that activity.

    As long as Canada stays a reliable oil provider, the US is in good shape as far as crude oil national security is concerned.

    If the price of crude oil returns to $60/barrel, our O&G production just might grow enough we don’t even need Canada’s oil.

    Can Trump work with OPEC (Saudi) to get the price of crude back to $60/barrel. That all depends on how good a deal maker he is, and the rumor is he’s pretty good.

    == other energy sources ==

    We expect to be a net natural gas exporter by the end of 2017. That was true regardless of who won the election. We export via pipeline to Mexico and we liquefy it and put it on tankers to ship to the rest of the world. LNG (liquid natural gas) exports are just kicking off, but about 1.4 billion cubic feet per day were liquified for export the last couple weeks. That’s being done by plants that were just commissioned this year. Numerous other new plants are being built. By 2020, it could be 10 BCF (billion cubic feet) per day liquified, put on tankers and shipped out of the country.

    Again, that was happening pre-Trump. All Trump has to do is stay out of the way.

    We already are a net coal exporter.

    ==
    So Trump meeting the goal of the US being energy secure / independent will be the easiest thing he ever did. It’s really just going to take a big marketing effort to explain what’s already happened / happening.

    And he will be able to take a lot of the credit.

    .

    • “There are plenty of American Trump supporters who would love to give a big one finger salute to OPEC”

      I like this one……..

    • I would like to give the big one finger to the UN. I read an article back in the late 70’s or early 80’s. The powers of be wanted to have a world wide power grid which gives rise of many, many questions.

  15. It is self evident that renewables continue to need massive subsidies. Because nobody invests in them without. And even with subsidies, neither solar nor wind reflect the additional real costs of intermittency backup required by the grid. In reality, German electricity has more than doubled on cost thanks to Energiewende; California’s is twice Arizona’s because of its renewables push. The asserted battery cost inflection point is delusionally wishful thinking, and the reality of battery cycle life means there is not yet any feasible gird scale solution other than pumped hydro. See essay California Dreaming for details.
    Just because a green lobbying organization writes something does not make it true. For truth about wind, see guest post True Cost of Wind; for solar see guest post Grid Solar. Both at Climate Etc.

    • To some degree I think he will have to. As much as many of us want end the subsides abruptly it might cause to much economic shock. Probably a phased cancellation of the subsides is what the out come will be. Also it is worth noting that several of the States are currently embarking on their own cancellation programs. I think he will tend let the individual states chart their own course on this issue. If California Voters wish to pay a premium for their electricity they should be allowed to, as long as it is their own State funds being paid.

      As for What Mr Trump will or won’t do, if he himself is not publicly saying it, I would take it with a grain of salt.

      And if the statement comes from a player in the renewable industries you will need the whole shaker

      Oh one final thought does anyone know If Johnny Cook is still planning on infesting GMU? My wife ask me to inquire

      michael

  16. I’ll believe the renewable hype when unsubsidised plants profitably manufacturing solar panels are powered solely by solar panels and those manufacturing wind turbines are powered solely by wind turbines in a free open market.

    • Chirs Hanley:
      And delivered and erected using only electric powered machinery, inspected daily with electric vehicles and lubricated with vegetable oil. Quite possible, but unlikely in the near future.

      https://www.dropbox.com/s/l5cz1c66mqyo69t/Iwind_blade.jpeg?dl=0

  17. Everything said here is contradictory to today’s report in the Telegraph from the energy minister in the UK Govt .
    Some of the article

    “Fears over intermittent solar and wind power were “overblown” and those who said they would jeopardise Britain’s ability to keep the lights on have been “proved wrong”, Greg Clark, the new business and energy secretary has claimed.
    In his first major speech on energy since his appointment in July, Mr Clark set out his stall firmly in favour of green technologies, vowing it was “imperative” that Britain used “every industrial policy lever that we have” to hit its climate change targets.
    While he acknowledged that the intermittent nature of wind and solar farms – which only generate power when the wind blows or the sun shines – was “creating new challenges for the system”, he insisted that “the fears we had, even less than a decade ago, of the impact of intermittency – those fears were overblown”.

    Who to believe – not that it matters , because in the UK the Govt does what it or its financial advisors decide , regardless of what we the people think.

    • Greg Clark will eat his words when the UK blacks out like SA. National Grid shows effectively zero true reserve. And that was before the French nuclear safety inspections took 20 reactors off line for effectively this entire winter, meaning no interconnector help that had been in the effective zero reserve plan. Restarting mothballed old ff generation is just asking for trouble.

      • Those amount to 2 of the hypothetical 5% they state for this winter. The other 3% is paid for just in case load shedding by industry. Neither provides grid inertia against inevitable faults and disruptions.The normal spinning reserve (supplying grid inertia if not grid power to prevent fragility) is 10-12% MINIMUM. It was lack of grid inertia that root cause triggered the SA blackout. There is a huge technical difference between sufficient reserve capacity and sufficient grid inertia to prevent fragility. UK has insufficient of the former and grossly inadequate of the latter. Wind provides no grid inertia even when it is supplying power.

      • Wind provides no grid inertia. But the rotors have a great rotational momentum and a future design may provide some grid inertia – but, then, someone would have to care.

      • Wind turbines can provide short period grid stabilisation against short circuits with synthetic inertia circuits – Enercon calls theirs “Inertial Emulation – which provides additional power by using the rotor inertia at the cost of a long recovery period with no output while the turbine regains speed.

        While they cannot sustain the power increase, it does give the grid operator a few more seconds to shed load etc to prevent a total grid collapse. None of the South Australian wind farms had turbines equipped with synthetic inertia circuits as there additional cost for them. I think Quebec has a mandatory requirement for a degree of inertial support from any wind farms deployed there.

        It’s still no substitute for a dispatchable generator with reserve capacity where additional fuel or water flow can be used for a sustained increase in power output.

    • It will be a very bad day during the first really hard cold snap in Britain and France. If France isn’t able to send power under the channel (because they are using it to heat their own homes) when the wind dies and the cold is bitter, many people will freeze in the resulting blackout.

      I am sure the bureaucrats is Westminster have already calculated to the penny the cost of those deaths.

      • *in Westminster… I was typing too fast. The government economists need new jobs! I seem to remember quite a bit of very false scaremongering about Brexit not long ago.

    • Fears overblown??? OK, what was the solution then? I have clearly missed what has been a major break through.

    • We haver seen peaks at over £1500/Mwh when projected wind failed to deliver to the UK grid And a projected safety margin in the negative: thankfully higher temperatures and windy weather turned up.

      The reality is that yes there is margin, but we are sailing within a couple of GW of total blackout or partial load shedding in the UK.

      Soothing words from the new minister keep panic down, but I’d say there is a 30% chance of some form of UK blackout this winter.

      And its not much better in mainland Europe.

    • He said this at the end of a working week when our remaining coal-fired power stations had filled in for renewables on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. And not for the first time since the Equinox.

      Wake up, M Clark! Just because you want it to be true doesn’t mean it is, or ever will be.

  18. Renewables are ‘accelerating’ so fast that German environmental groups are screaming for them to STOP DESTROYING THE ENVIRONMENT!

  19. The biggest problem with renewables is not how much they cost but the massive swings from full output to almost no output. It means you have to have a full time backup. Since most of the renewables don’t give anywhere near their full value most of the time, you would have to have far more renewables than you need at peak. Solar can’t be turned on and off unless you motorised them to ‘look’ down. It’s coming ready or not. This is worse than no electricity because it could potentially fry your system. And if your system falls over either because of not enough electricity or too much then it’s not a five minute job to get it all back up again. It could take days.

    So if you’re going to have a conventional back up, you have to make it worth their while to sit twiddling their thumbs and or damaging their equipment by turning it up and down at nature’s whim and man’s demand. Germany would have already reached peak renewables if it wasn’t using the rest of Europe as a buffer. The UK isn’t far behind and it looks like parts of Australia are past that point.

      • When I was a student I got a one to one tour of the National Grid HQ in the north west. The balancing of supply and demand was clearly tricky. I suspect that with more computing power some things are easier but there are now many more variables.

        I was lucky, I doubt it’s a tour people could take now, what with terrorism and all. It was about 30 years go, so I don’t think they had started worrying about solar flares quite so much either. I also got to see Fiddler’s Ferry power station and it’s black start kit. There was a bit of a sticky moment earlier this year when the owners were threatening to shut Fiddler’s and they realised it was STILL one of the key black start stations and had to be paid to keep going.

      • “I was lucky, I doubt it’s a tour people could take now, what with terrorism and all. It was about 30 years go, so I don’t think they had started worrying about solar flares quite so much either.”

        40+ years ago, I traveled to a remote town to visit my girlfriend at the University. I had some time to kill, and needed a job, so I drove to a nuclear power station in the area to ask about jobs. I explained my basic credentials and interests to the receptionist, and she had someone come out to meet me.

        !!! They took me to the control room and had me talk with some of the reactor operators !!! Right there on the job !!!

    • Unless you have batteries installed, solar is of no use even when the sun is shining if the mains supply is cut in order to allow the repairs to be carried out in safety.

      With the push for us to become individually energy independent by having our own solar power/battery systems, how far does this need to penetrate society before the large electricity generation companies decide it is not viable for them to provide mains power to those same residences?

    • So true Tiny. This simple, obvious point is lost on the powers that be here in South Australia. A true cost comparison of fossil fuel generation versus renewable generation will never be made public in SA because voters would turf out the Govt. The pure, patronizing socialists know best for us, of course.

    • “Solar can’t be turned on and off unless you motorised them to ‘look’ down. It’s coming ready or not. This is worse than no electricity because it could potentially fry your system.”
      Not quite right! Just because a PV panel is producing a voltage does not mean you have to use it! It will sit there quite. A bit of a waste, but not dangerous to the grid.

      • The solar system is usually just wired into the grid without anything to stop it. AFAIK, the equipment, the lines, etc are designed to take a specific voltage. Too much and everything heats up and melts/stretches/cuts out. You have to carefully match supply and demand. That’s what a black start station is all about. It can not only supply energy to get the station up and running but it can mimic a mini network. Once it’s up to speed it starts supplying other power stations so they can get going. Then you start adding in wider demand. Wind isn’t so bad because it can be turned out of the wind and the brakes applied.

        From the reports so far, Australia’s recent network failure was caused by quite a few things but part of it was because the wind stations supplying a lot of power shut off at the same time so they could protect themselves from the wind. This left the system with a massive shortfall and it drew on cables supplying from other Australian regions, sending too much power down lines not capable of taking it. The breakers cut out to protect the line from being damaged.

        Germany, with a lot of solar, has had to supply its neighbours with free or even negatively priced electricity to stop its network from overloading. That might seem like a good thing for the neighbours but their own grids are suffering. Their generators are going bust because even Swiss hydro can’t compete with free German eletriity. So where are you going to buy from when Germany hasn’t got any spare? So Germany is building a better grid that can take the energy from where it’s produced in the north to the south where industry uses it but ultimately if you’re making enough renewable energy to supply when conditions are bad then you’ll be making too much when conditions are good. Where do you send it? There’s talk of building kit that will use the spare energy and store it for times of poor supply but there just isn’t the technology yet. Germany has suggested that Norway and Switzerland increase pump storage massively and act as the ‘battery’ for renewables across the EU. Those countries have said no, they’re not going to litter their countryside with industry disguised as lakes.

        One of the reasons that authorities fear a massive solar flare, is not just because it could fry electronics but because it actually adds electriity to the grid.

      • part of it was because the wind stations supplying a lot of power shut off at the same time so they could protect themselves from the wind

        This theory was put forward by some commentators early in the period after the South Australian blackout but a simple examination of the wind farm outputs from that afternoon shows this was not the case.

        The AEMO preliminary report confirms this – the issue was some of the wind farms shutting down from a few short circuits that occurred immediately before the blackout due to pylon collapses (many more pylons collapse AFTER the grid blacked out), The followup AEMO report details the “adjustments” being made to the wind farm settings to make them more tolerant of line faults,

        That the wind farms can suddenly be programmed to be more tolerant should open up the possibility of claims against them for damages from the blackouts.

    • I have thought for a while that wind farm designs that do not work at all in a wider range of wind speeds are shortsighted.

      • I don’t entirely understand the process but I think that it’s a three bears thing. Too hot, too cold, just right. It may be that a wind generator set for low speeds doesn’t produce enough return. To engineer for high speeds risks damaging the equipment. The bit in the middle is doable. To add extra kit for all circumstances might be too expensive or just impossible. I do believe that they’re trying very hard to make renewables work but that it just isn’t happening.

        Non engineers have a habit of not believing engineers when they say something can’t be done. Partly because sometimes the impossible becomes possible. As I said to a former boss when he said ‘I don’t want to hear the word can’t’ – ‘ok, what account number do you want me to book the million cost to?’ Some things CAN be done but nobody wants to pay for it. But using that as the only argument opens the door for warmists to say that when it comes to saving the planet, money is no object and if they can make fossil fuels suitably expensive, we’d turn to renewables. The real cost question is ‘can we run a society with part time energy?’

      • New wind turbines use either doubly fed or full converter outputs so that the turbine speed is decoupled from the grid frequency.This gives them the widest possible operating range,

        The only way to make the wind farms have an even wider operating range of wind speeds would be to use turbines with different operating ranges within the same farm. This would increase maintenance costs and reduce the ramp (with wind speed) rate and make the wind farm taper output earlier as wind speed exceeded that maximum for those turbines with a lower speed range.

        Wind turbines are engineered as well as technology allows – our technology just isn’t good enough to make then truly beneficial.

  20. The US energy-independent? Technically feasible, imho. But at what a price?
    A deregulated energy market w/o subsidies at competitive prices will do.

    • US is natural gas and electricity independent already. Issue is petroleum, and that depends on how and what you count. Issues include NGL, refinery gain, and exported refined products.

      • Ristvan, i think the transportation infrastructure is a bigger issue. A large enough disruption ( however that happens, from terrorism to solar flares to equipment failure that within a day would be be way more destructive. And if that would happen during a cold snap no matter where , the USA, UK or mainland Europe it may well be devastating. We have still not been told the effects of the August 2003 blackout (other than people dying from heat), if that would happen in January it would be a human disaster.

    • Hopefully zero. The companies manufacturing them have sufficient competitive incentive provided the cost benefit is net positive. Not worth doing if it isn’t.

      • Yes ristvan, Energy Recovery Inc. has been developing energy efficient compressors and pumps. Schlumberger has bought the license for the devices, so they must have some viability for commercial development. No need for government investment or subsidy.

  21. Agree tinyco2 , I don’t have any problem with unreliables but it should be able to survive on its own merits ( no subsidies ) .
    With the Hazelwood coal plant closing here in Victoria the commissar wants to replace it with unreliables and much like south Australia we will now be at risk of islanding .
    I only realised last night that our power in the north east of the state comes from NSW not Victoria.

  22. I live on a boat and run 4 x 250 W solar panels on the roof feeding a bank of 6 x 2 volt forklift truck cells in series to give 12 volts total and a capacity of 740 amp hours. This is a massive set up for a boat. In the summer these do provide for all my electrical needs and can run lots of stuff during sunny days but in the evening we’re talking about a few led lights, a small fridge/freezer and tv or stereo. In winter I need additional battery charging from main engine or generator. Heating and hot water come from a combination of solid fuel burning stove, lpg combi boiler and engine calorifier.

    It’s fun to see how well you can do off-grid but even with my ultra-frugal requirements and relatively large solar capacity it still falls well short of the mark. From my practical experience perspective, anyone thinking intermittents are ever going to be a base load solution for an industrialised nation is simply farting into the wind.

    • “In winter I need additional battery charging from main engine or generator.”

      I have fun by laughing at people talk about solar panels but rely on an engine to meet their needs. Apparently the purpose of solar panels is to tell people how well the they work when you do not need very much power.

      We have lived on our sail boat and are currently living in a motorhome. Being frugal with electricity when off grid using batteries is important. I side from the cost, I find the size of solar panels contrary to a life style of small living areas in a natural setting.

  23. All those greenies who believe they can save the planet should go off grid and see how they survive. What I want is for them to stop imposing higher costs on me and the economy by driving up electricity costs.

    • I fully second that. Living, like I did in a caravan/camper for R&R comes to a grinding halt if you are off-grid. Almost no communications, except battery-powered gadgets are fun for a while, but just that. The LPG/LNG driven internet is nowhere to be seen. So affordable energy, electric energy, w/o subsidies yet easily available, becomes indispensable. Taxation is ok, but why do they tax energy higher than medicine or food?

  24. I have a roof, covered with 24 solar panels of 265 Wp each. In total, about 30 sq m. Todays harvest: 1.25 kWh. Do the math. When I calculate with the actual kWh price, I earned 6.56 Eurocents. But wait, there is more! The tax, transport and other costs are waived: I did not have to pay 18 cents of those. Total gain: not even 25 Eurocent. The installation did cost more than 10 kEuro. Even with this massive tax deduction, I will have to hope that the installation will last more than 10 years before the breakeven. It is a silly world.

    • I’m having a hard time understanding your analysis. What does all this work out to over a year? You have ~6.3kW nameplate generation capacity and only got 1.25 kWh net or gross? What’s your energy budget over a year? Is it just you? Appliances? Making money or losing? What does your net kWh come out to be averaged over a year?

    • I started looking at the large solar farms and came upon this article about the PV electricity production. This caught my eye.

      “Toxic waste from semiconductor manufacturing, including cadmium, arsenic and toxic solvents require special disposal techniques but all too often they are flushed down the toilet, dumped in a convenient river or a remote landfill; and yes I’ve “ been there, done that”.
      A PV solar panel is not “pollution free”, just the opposite, it carries with it a very large carbon footprint and a trio of toxic emissions unique unto itself. A solar panel is a product manufactured by energy rich fossil fuels and lots of them, and that manufacturing process creates additional bad guys unique unto itself. Quote from Ozzie Zehner new book “Green Illusions”: “Not only are solar cells an overpriced tool for reducing CO2 emissions, but their manufacturing process is also one of the largest emitters of hexafluoroethane, nitrogen trifluoride, and sulfur hexafluoride, chemicals used for cleaning plasma production equipment, these three gruesome greenhouse gases make CO2 seem harmless. As a greenhouse gas, hexafluoroethane is twelve thousand times more potent than CO2, is 100 percent manufactured by humans, and survives ten thousand years once released into the atmosphere. Nitrogen trifluoride is seventeen thousand times more virulent than CO2, and sulfur hexafluoride, the most treacherous greenhouse gas, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, is twenty-five thousand times more threatening. The solar photovoltaic industry is one of the leading and fastest growing emitters of these gases, which are now measurably accumulating within the earth’s atmosphere, recent studies on nitrogen trifluoride reports that atmospheric concentrations of the gas have been rising an alarming 11 percent per year.”

      http://www.gosolarcaliforniainformation.com/

      Doesn’t sound like they make any kind of sense. Long article.

      • Not anywhere with proper enforcement of pollution regulation they aren’t.

        and every component used in solar panels is also used in making computers, TVs other electronics.

        china has no useful pollution enforcement across any area of industry, that’s the problem, not what it is making.

      • “Griff November 13, 2016 at 2:59 am

        china has no useful pollution enforcement across any area of industry, that’s the problem,…”

        Wonder why mfg industry is going there?

  25. Some renewables do work and the cost continues to plummet. But the major problem is getting through the dense thicket of bad policy choices and programs by Obama and formidable lobbying group for the noncompetitive renewable factions. Renewing the ITC in its current form rewarded the uncompetitive and politically connected. Such policy outcomes are so predictable that a corrupt robot could do it with the right training.

  26. Suggesting skeptics don’t like the idea of renewables is nonsense….

    Eric, I think you missed a nuance here…
    They are specifically talking about Trump, not his supporters
    …they don’t want to make it sound like 1/2 the people in this country

  27. A scientist colleague (high energy physics) went for all solar heating, in the UK. And took out the gas boiler. After two winters with no heating, his wife left him. And took 75% of his assets.

    There is no accounting for stupid.

    R

    • Odd. You’d think two winters with no heat would bring them closer together.

    • Rafellis I agree truly dopey
      The sunniest site in the UK is at Bognor Regis on the southwest coast which gets 1800 sunshine hours a year at a latitude of about
      52 north which is relevant because that determines the angle of the sun to the panels which at that latitude is quite oblique for most of the year
      And that is the sunniest site so most of UK gets much less with many sites say in the north receiving around only 1200 sunshine hours pa

      How are you going to garner enough electric power from such a limited source as a stand alone system ? Maybe ok as a supplementary power source although the economics would be doubtful but not as a standalone system.
      So getting rid of supplementary heating such as gas in those circumstances was truly dumb

  28. The ONE renewable that does work is Hydro.

    But the Greens will not allow us to build any more of them. The World Bank as well has cut-off all Hydro project funding to the third world because they have turned into the Climate Change Only Bank. (just go to their website and its only about Carbon emissions and solar power – it’s so weird).

    Yet the Greens are happy to COUNT Hydro in their renewable numbers.

    There is really only so much nonsense that a person can put up with.

    • The greens have no power over what we do or do not do. WE have the power and have chosen Trump as our emissary.

  29. Funny thing is, the biggest barrier to renewables is environmentalists. If you want to build a lot of solar, you need to build it in a different time zone from where you’re going to use it.

    This requires interstate transmission lines – ideally, intercontinental transmission lines. They’re cheap, and easy to build. Orders of magnitude better than storage. Only problem is, they are very difficult and expensive to permit because of local opposition, usually by environmentalists.

  30. Solar power plants provide the most expensive electricity. That electricity is also of poor quality in the sense that the output varies, predictably on the day/night cycle and also randomly with clouds and storms. Solar and wind also increase indirectly the cost of electricity from traditional power plants for they have to be kept manned idling just in case their output drops. Solar is expensive because those plants employ 100 times more people per unit of electricity delivered to the grid than heat plants. Count about $100,000 per employee for salary and benefits = $13 million extra.

  31. Left out of that statement “the solar market, which is heading towards 2c/kWh,” is the rest of the story –

    “There are several factors that allow these low bids. One is the low cost of finance in the UAE, and the low cost of labour. The other factor is the anticipated surplus in solar module production expected next year, and which is tipped to bring the price of modules down by as much as 50 per cent in the next 18 months.”
    from –
    “How The Jaw-Dropping Fall In Solar Prices Will Change Energy Markets”
    https://cleantechnica.com/2016/09/23/jaw-dropping-fall-solar-prices-will-change-energy-markets/

      • Retired from an Electric Utility, which allows me to use the company cafeteria. Recently went there for lunch and saw on of the dispatchers. Asked him about the $0.05 – $0.10 per kWh sales price I see the American Wind Energy Association: AWEA bragging about. His response was that that number is based upon the contract sold at auction. Tew wind farms must sell the electricity and the utilities in states with a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) MUST by the stuff. However the number quoted is based upon the best case prediction of the amount of electricity they are predicting to deliver. And like bread in a bakery outlet, the utility does not want it, but must buy it. THere are now enough windfarms that the price is going down because there is more than the utilities have to “Contract” for to meet the state RPS requirements. It is not going down in price because they are making money on the electricity – they only make money on the low interest loans, tax write offs, and the subsidies. Yet every one keeps bragging about the low price and AWEA provides the “True Lies” propaganda about how cheap wind energy is. .

  32. Quote: HSBC has noted that Trump’s policies put at risk the decarbonisation and clean energy uptake seen during President Obama’s time in office …

    Well they go that much right. Deleting the remainder of their self serving sentence does mean I took that quote out of context, but it seems that is what must be done. All too often the form of argument is 2 + 2 = 4 so do what they say.

  33. The energy technological revolution is coming, but in the form of molten salt nuclear reactors, which can confidently predict levelized costs below 2 cent per kWhr. No other power technology can match those numbers. The (questionably) cheapest renewable scenario proudly claims costs more than three times that amount, for power that is uncontrollable and of low value. We will never run out of fuel (nuclear wastes, uranium or Thorium) for molten salt reactors. Never. And the cost of those fuels is insignificant – essentially they cost nothing.

  34. Hmmm will uk or France be first to suffer electricity cuts this winter? Will the cuts be caused by renewable failure or nuclear failure?

    “France could face winter power cuts, hit by nuclear dependence, Channel News Asia,
    09 Nov 2016 PARIS: France could impose power cuts this winter due to an electricity shortage, an unprecedented step in the wealthy nation which would expose the vulnerabilities of its dependence on nuclear power.

    The warning was issued on Tuesday by grid operator RTE, which said power supply had been hit by the closure of around a third of the country’s ageing nuclear reactors for safety checks. The country’s regulator has ordered a review of the strength of crucial steel components after the discovery of manufacturing irregularities.”

    the fault is in the steel supplied for the pressure vessels containing too much carbon. Manufactured in Japan and France initially discovered in the vessel in the new Flammanville . nuclear reactor which has caused yet more delays to its completion.

    Britain and other European countries now supplying power to france to make up for their offline generators- UK:

    One assumes the cross channel supply of power will cease when uk requires all its own power

    • Very unusual for France to be net importing electricity. For decades they have been big exporters. Countries like Germany and UK have relied on this at times. There could be trouble ahead.

    • But cockroaches will come back and you have to call the exterminator again. At last they don’t ask for subsidies or grants.

  35. “I suspect many other skeptics would love to give a big one finger salute to the local electrical utility company.”

    Yes, but my local electric company is currently requesting a big rate hike on their customers with solar. They used to promote solar to look green. But now that large numbers of their customers have taken their advice and put solar on their roofs, they have become concerned for their future. They now want to charge a large hook-up fee and higher rates for customers with solar who need to remain on the grid as backup for cloudy days. It would make their rates similar to Nevada’s and end up charging some solar customers even more than the average customer. That will put a damper on new solar installations until batteries are cheap enough to allow homes to go completely off the grid.

    It remains to be seen if the electric company will get everything they’re requesting. It has been my experience that utilities figure out how much of a rate hike they want. Then they double it before putting in their request. The state commission ends of cutting their request in half and then brags about holding the line on rate requests. Everyone is happy in the end, including the utility who gets everything they really expected in the first place. And most customers feel relief that they were spared a much bigger rate hike. They rarely have any idea that they just got played.

    • The Electric Utility costs do not go down when a home or many homes install a PV solar system. They still have the same number of employees operating the same number of power plants. They are maintaining the same number of poles and transformers and the same number of miles of wire. And since they are required by federal regulations to have a 10% “spinning” reserve (meaning the plant is actually running and burning fuel) over the predicted highest demand for that day. As a result, they are burning almost as much fuel as if the solar panels were not there. Then, many states make the utility pay the homeowner the same price for the electricity that they place on the grid as the utility would charge them. Or in other words, they actually lose money for each additional home that adds a solar panel on their roof.

      The customer is actually being played by the Envirowhacos that are selling the Unreliables as the way to reduce CO2. The only way that CO2 will be reduced in your and/or your children’s lifetime is to convert all electricity generation to Nuclear Power and then convert all transportation to Electric power.

  36. Don’t you just love the hubris of the author of that document when he says “the US will be left at a disadvantage if they slow down the transition to renewables”.
    How can you be disadvantaged if, right now, you drop huge taxpayer subsidies for renewables, allowing cheaper forms of power generation, such as coal & gas, to compete without discrimination in the marketplace?

  37. “4 x 8Kw A/C”

    Is that for real? You make Al Gore look like an energy miser. That’s 133A, most of a typical 200A service!

  38. “IIRC our cash outlay before incentives was about $18,000”

    According to the information provided by Juan the simple payback period is over 40 years based on the first 5 years of operation.

    That is very bad and far from economical.

    • Which is why I said that it did not make economic sense sans subsidies at 2011 prices. But at current prices, down by half or more over 2011, it makes sense under favorable circumstances without government subsidy.

      • Juan you still no not understand the economics of power production. Even at half the cost. The laws of physics preclude a low density energy source such as rooftop solar from being economical. Too much labor and too much raw material. Too small of projects. Too short of production life. Not enough roofs in an ideal solar resource.

        So if you have rooftop PV your are a victim of a sc*m.

  39. Eric, have you had a recent quote for solar?

    I think you should do the due diligence and quote the actual figures in $ and capacity shortfall, if any.

    And bear in mind by my standards you are using one heck of a lot of electricity! I would imagine you are far above average use…

    I know that tens of thousands of Australians can get all or most of their power from solar + batteries with a 6 year payback.

    • You can cut your Aussie energy bill with generous government mandated feedin tariffs, but they’ve been scaled way back lately.

      In terms of actual energy coverage, solar energy for a house is not even in the ballpark.

      If I covered my roof with solar panels I’d get a nameplate capacity of around 1Kw, a lot less in practical terms.

      When the power goes out I have a 1Kw backup petrol generator. The generator can run one full size fridge (providing we’re careful about opening the door of the fridge), the TV and satellite box, a small low energy desk lamp and a medium size portable fan (it can run the big portable fan, but much increased risk of tripping the overload breaker).

      Washing machine, drier, air conditioners, salt water pool (uses high amperage electrolysis to produce chlorine) – not a chance.

      Of course, the 1Kw solar array would not be able to replicate the performance of the petrol generator.

      I tried using a solar panel to power a cat fence, generates a small radio signal to trigger the cat’s collar to deliver an electric shock if the cat tries to wander out of the yard. At the time it wasn’t convenient to connect the device to mains power.

      45W solar panel powering a 15W device, it could barely cover electricity usage. The cat fence didn’t start working reliably until at least two hours after sunrise, and stopped working well before nightfall. On cloudy days we had to keep an eye on it, if the cloud cover thickened beyond slightly wispy the cat fence failed.

      If I tried using solar power to keep my fridge going, I would have to get used to eating a lot of spoiled food.

      • Eric, I think you should get a quote. I don’t think your figures look right. I just checked the readout on the inverter, and our solar system is producing 4Kw right now. And we don’t have a huge house, so I’m struggling to imagine how you’d only be able to run a 1Kw setup.

        Anyway, I encourage you to get some quotes, find out exactly how many Kw of panels you could actually put up, and how much energy it would likely produce, and how that would effect your energy draw from the grid, and your power bill. Would make for a good article.

  40. as with roads or hydro generation or many other examples, government policies and subsidies can accelerate the transition where states and private enterprise lack scale and standards to establish a new technology. The biggest challenge we have to transitioning to a modern energy ecosystem where renewables can provide a significant role is with our old and inadequate grid infrastructure and regulations, energy market rules and standards. If today renewables were essentially free of cost and also capable of providing 100% of our energy needs we wouldn’t be able to fully utilize that capacity because of those limitations in the grid and energy industry. We need subsidies and leadership. We cannot get there and be competitive relying on free market actors alone.

  41. Sometimes, just sometimes, you have a *really* wicked thought doncha. (Not me, I iz as pure as the driven snow)
    For the UK here especially, while we are somewhat bolshie mood with Brexit et al, arrange via facebork, titter or whateva, that between 6 and 7pm on a winter weekday evening (time of greatest electricity demand), all 30m households switch on their electric kettles, or tumble dryer or immersion heater or just any old electric heater they’ve got.
    At maybe 3kW per household, that will put about 90GW onto a grid that can maybe supply 60, probably less as all the old coal plants are being ‘de-commisioned’ Read= smashed up

    what would happen………………would *anybody* ‘get a message’ or would we all be pepper-sprayed, tasered, arrested, fined, criminalised and thrown in jail?

    the way things are heading, its 50/50

    • When we lived in our own house in England first thing I did was get a 6Kw coal / wood burner. My experience is people who rely on electric heating in the UK had better buy a lot of very thick duvets.

  42. South Americans are not going to be happy when we take their continent to make enough solar/wind farms to meet most of North America’s energy needs.

    That is the order of magnitude required.

    What effect on “climate” will plastering over an entire continent have? Two, actually, as Europe will need Africa plastered over.

  43. Embodied energy of a solar panel is so ridiculously high, that any exploitation shorter than a full lifespan at favourable latitudes leads to negative EROI. Period.
    2c my bottom.

  44. The problem with so called renewables (solar &. wind) is that they are using a source with inherently low power flux density. That means no matter how advanced your technology is, land use footprint is enormous. Raw land area being one of the few resources whose expanded reproduction is impossible even under the most futuristic technological scenario, they use up a resource scarce by its nature. And that’s unsustainable. Q.E.D.

    • There is abundant and free room in the Sahara, at temperatures -during daytime- that make your blood boil.

      • Sahara is not given for free, each piece of it belongs to some country. Do you intend to re-colonize it, or what?

        If not, you will have to do business with extremely corrupt governments, build large fields of solar panels and high voltage long range transmission lines, then have them protected from attack by insurgents or terrorists using some armed force. That costs money and has political repercussions.

        You will also need water to clean wind blown dust from solar panels, but there is no water in the Sahara desert. You’ll have to build long pipelines from coastal regions, another asset to be protected.

        Then comes the question of storage, because the sun fails to shine at night, somehow. Batteries are far too expensive for that, and there are not many alternatives.

      • Actually there is tremendous amounts of water in deep aquifers in the Sahara. If you remember Khadafi was justifiably proud of his ‘Great River’ accomplishment. One assumes this will be rediscovered in time by an agent of the western world for exploitive capitalization.

      • @ Berényi Péter November 13, 2016 at 8:20 am

        Sahara is not given for free, each piece of it belongs to some country. Do you intend to re-colonize it, or what?

        Rent-the-sand! Hong Kong was rented on a 99-year-basis, Guantanamo as well. The payments are made in electric energy.
        How long are the transmission lines in the US? Very long. A perfect target for any weirdo.
        Remove the dust with vacuum cleaners or blow it off in reverse gear.
        Transport energy to the coast and use the energy not needed for electrolysis (H2). You can fuel turbines with that.

  45. You only have to look around the world to where ever they’ve already tied all of this to see what a costly failure it’s been. Power rates that only a few could afford, fewer people with electricity than there were just 10 to 15 years ago. People freezing to death because they can’t afford heat due to the taxes on heating fuels. Taxes that go to subsidize the alternative energy failure. Industry closing their doors because they need affordable and reliable energy and don’t have it. This is starting to shape up like Mao’s great leap forward that killed an estimated 30 million people. The same type of ideology that ends in calamity, but is likely to be much worse in its totality, if it isn’t stopped dead in its tracks.

  46. “Told you so, 14 years ago…” ;-)

    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/01/26/britain-faces-energy-crisis-engineers-warn-green-isnt-working/comment-page-1/#comment-2130269

    Sent to a few friends in the UK this morning:

    Re: “Energy bills will soar as green policies shut coal-fired power stations and cause an “electricity supply crisis”, experts say. Prices will be forced up as the UK has to import more power, according to a report by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers today. –Craig Woodhouse, The Sun, 26 January 2016”.

    Congratulations to the IME for their conclusion – the IME is correct, but rather late in the game.

    As stated previously, we predicted this severe energy shortfall in our 2002 written debate with the warmist Pembina Institute. We wrote in 2002:
    (until recently posted on the APEGA website, now at) http://www.friendsofscience.org/assets/documents/KyotoAPEGA2002REV1.pdf

    8. “The ultimate agenda of pro-Kyoto advocates is to eliminate fossil fuels, but this would result in a catastrophic shortfall in global energy supply – the wasteful, inefficient energy solutions proposed by Kyoto advocates simply cannot replace fossil fuels.”

    I wrote the UK Stern Commission in 2005 that the UK’s approach to alleged manmade global warming and green energy was ill-founded and would greatly increase energy costs, with no benefit to the environment.

    In 2013 I wrote an open letter to Baroness Verma, then Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change. making similar points.

    I suggest we are now proven correct.

    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 in retreat, dropping their green energy subsidies as fast as they politically can.

    I suggest there is a two-year time limit to launch a lawsuit for Negligence and Misfeasance in a Public Office* against the parties who foisted this costly green-energy fraud on society.

    Regards to all, Allan

    * Addendum:
    In the USA, lawsuits under Civil RICO have finally been initiated, as I suggested on wattsup in 2014:
    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/09/27/the-first-climate-change-rico-lawsuit-is-filed-by-defyccc-com-editor/#comment-2307586

    Post Script:
    “The test of science is its ability to predict.’
    – Richard Feynman

  47. More retrospectives… … from 2002 to 2015, and my last remaining prediction, published in 2002:
    “Global cooling will start by ~2020-2030.”

    All my other predictions have materialized, in contrast to the warmists who have gotten every one of their predictions WRONG to date. If anyone could have bet against these warmist charlatans, they would have made a lot of money.

    I really hope to be wrong about imminent (moderate) global cooling – I’ll still be batting 900 instead of 1000 – but humanity will be much better off, Both humanity and the environment suffer, even in a moderately cooling world. I am concerned about a rise in Excess Winter Deaths, especially in Britain and much of Europe.

    Of course, if we fall into another real Ice Age, as appears inevitable in the next few thousand years unless geo-engineering (via albedo control of the ice sheets?) can prevent it, all bets are off. A mile of ice thickness above all of Canada, Europe and the Northern USA is sure to depress our real estate prices, and make that commute to the office even more difficult.

    Regards, Allan

    Here are more of my retrospectives:

    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/12/24/1800s-poverty-diseases-malnutrition-surge-in-green-britain/comment-page-1/#comment-2106109

    UK politicians have been warned again and again about their destructive and dangerous energy policies, based on false global warming alarmism.

    Cheap, abundant reliable energy is the lifeblood of society – it IS that simple. However, green fanatics have destroyed this vital principle with their egregious “green energy” falsehoods.

    We wrote with confidence in 2002 during our debate with the Pembina Institute, when we opposed the Kyoto Accord.:

    “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.”

    We also wrote in the same debate:
    “Climate science does not support the theory of catastrophic human-made global warming – the alleged warming crisis does not exist.”

    All of our 2002 statements have now proved correct except one. Our sole remaining prediction from 2002 is for global cooling to commence by 2020-2030. We now think global cooling will be apparent by 2020 or sooner, possibly as early as 2017 after the current El Nino runs its course.

    I wrote the UK Stern Commission in 2005 that the UK’s approach to alleged manmade global warming and green energy was ill-founded and would greatly increase energy costs, with no benefit to the environment. I suggest we are now proven correct.

    In 2013 I wrote the following open letter to Baroness Verma, then Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change:

    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/10/31/blind-faith-in-climate-models/#comment-1462890

    An Open Letter to Baroness Verma

    “All of the climate models and policy-relevant pathways of future greenhouse gas and aerosol emissions considered in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) recent Fifth Assessment Report show a long-term global increase in temperature during the 21st century is expected. In all cases, the warming from increasing greenhouse gases significantly exceeds any cooling from atmospheric aerosols. Other effects such as solar changes and volcanic activity are likely to have only a minor impact over this timescale”.
    – Baroness Verma

    [excerpted]

    So here is my real concern:

    IF the Sun does indeed drive temperature, as I suspect, Baroness Verma, then you and your colleagues on both sides of the House may have brewed the perfect storm.

    You are claiming that global cooling will NOT happen, AND you have crippled your energy systems with excessive reliance on ineffective grid-connected “green energy” schemes.

    I suggest that global cooling probably WILL happen within the next decade or sooner, and Britain will get colder.

    I also suggest that the IPCC and the Met Office have NO track record of successful prediction (or “projection”) of global temperature and thus have no scientific credibility.

    I suggest that Winter deaths will increase in the UK as cooling progresses.

    I suggest that Excess Winter Mortality, the British rate of which is about double the rate in the Scandinavian countries, should provide an estimate of this unfolding tragedy.

    As always in these matters, I hope to be wrong. These are not numbers, they are real people, who “loved and were loved”.

    Best regards to all, Allan MacRae

    Turning and tuning in the widening gyre,
    the falcon cannot hear the falconer…
    – Yeats

    • @ Allan

      …“Global cooling will start by ~2020-2030.” …
      I suggest that Winter deaths will increase in the UK as cooling progresses.
      I suggest that Excess Winter Mortality, the British rate of which is about double the rate in the Scandinavian countries, should provide an estimate of this unfolding tragedy. …

      I hope you are wrong, else it would be a waste of lives. Although that might mean that the Alarmista Gangstas have a slim chance of being right.
      Well – even a blind hen sometimes finds a grain of corn.

    • The UK excess winter mortality figure records in the main deaths from flu and other winter infections…

      These are not universally influenced by cold homes, nor are cold homes in the UK particularly cold because renewables push up heating costs.. gas is the main UK heating fuel and gas prices are not high because of renewable energy.

      • As usual Griff, you have it wrong.

        Your greens have fought and long-delayed the fracking of gassy shales, abundant in the UK near Blackpool.

        British natural gas prices are much higher than those in North America, thanks to the greens.

        The greens have severely damaged energy systems and increased Winter Mortality rates, which especially target the elderly and the poor.

        The greens have actually damaged the environment due to their misguided policies – history will remember them as a remarkably deluded and destructive gang of scoundrels and imbeciles.

        Regards, Allan

        Post script:
        https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/07/01/celebrate-weve-finally-hit-a-climate-tipping-point/comment-page-1/#comment-2249552

        [excerpts]

        The global cooling period from ~1940 to 1975 (during a time of increasing atmospheric CO2) demonstrates that climate sensitivity to increased atmospheric CO2 is near-zero – so close to zero as to be insignificant.

        Furthermore, warm is good and cold is bad – for humanity and the environment. Excess Winter Mortality globally is about 2 million people per year, including about 100,000 per year in the USA and up to 50,000 per year in the United Kingdom. Excess Winter Mortality rates are high even in warm countries like Australia and Thailand.
        Reference: “Cold Weather Kills 20 Times as Many People as Hot Weather” by Joseph D’Aleo and Allan MacRae, September 4, 2015
        https://friendsofsciencecalgary.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/cold-weather-kills-macrae-daleo-4sept2015-final.pdf

        The scientific conclusion is that there is NO global warming crisis, except in the minds of warmist propagandists.

        There is overwhelming evidence that the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere and the oceans is not dangerously high – it is dangerously low, too low for the continued survival of life on Earth.

        I have written about the vital issue of “CO2 starvation” since 2009 or earlier, and recently others including Dr. Patrick Moore, a co-founder of Greenpeace, have also written on this subject:
        https://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2016/06/moore-positive-impact-of-human-co2-emissions.pdf

  48. “I suspect many other skeptics would love to give a big one finger salute to the local electrical utility company.”

    Any American can do just that. All it takes is money. Renewables will power a house—for a price. I read of a guy who spent $18,000 on Tesla batteries and still could not run his home off of them for any extended period of time. For a mere $50,000 or so, you can put in Tesla batteries, solar wind and say good-bye to the power company. Tesla will have to install the batteries—as far as I know, they are not to be installed by individuals. If you don’t want to go Tesla, there’s marine battery banks, controllers, converters, etc, all for asking. All you need is money. And time. With enough batteries, turbines and panels, you can power your house. In this case, where you are totally off-grid and on your own, when the controller gets fried, you’ll be making that midnight trip out to change it out if you were smart enough to have an extra in stock. If not, you’ll be fixing it when you can get a replacement. When the squirrels chew up your lines (or gophers if you went underground and they made it through the conduit), you’ll be troubleshooting the situation. When the temperatures drop to -50F and the batteries freeze, the wind stops blowing and there’s no sun, you’ll happily enjoy living without electricity until new batteries are obtained, the sun shines and the wind blows.

    My point is people don’t live off grid in part due to cost and in large part due to the need for intense understanding of systems and the maintenance thereof. Yes, there are a few who do live off-grid, but they are a very small minority. Most people seem to make a couple of years and the charm wears off. Wind and solar are no where close to being adequate for stand-alone living in most cases. If they don’t work small scale, they are highly unlikely to work large scale. However, large scale, the problems can be hidden and it’s easy to mislead people on how effective they are. Maybe everyone who believes in wind and solar should be required to live truly off grid for 5 years before being allowed to speak on the subject. I suspect the supporters would be far fewer than now.

    • Living off grid is a lifestyle choice that has nothing to do with liking your utility or solar panels. It is less costly too. When we retired after returning from China we bought a good quality but old 32’ motorhome with less than 50k miles for less than $10k. After 2 years we have upgraded to a newer bigger rig with features like a washer/dryer.

      We have stayed in only 2 commercial RV parks. We prefer free camping spots. For example, there is an infinite number of free camping spots in front of million dollar beach homes on the Gulf of Mexico in Texas. When it is hot and humid in Texas, you might find us in the PNW camped on the Pacific Ocean or sailing the Columbia River.

      The secret is too not need AC.

      Hooking up to power is great too.

    • R. Check, I caution you against a false dichotomy: your scenario is not false, and is useful, but there are many other ways to do it, such as by having your own diesel generator. You don’t have to use Tesla batteries/solar.

  49. If “renewable” energy is so good, how about SUPERRENEWABLE energy?
    There are at least 2 forms of energy that breed new energy sources when you use them: breeder reactors (with grave safety issues) and fossil fuels. The fossil fuels produce woods and other plants that can be burned forever for continuing energy. Those are not currently viable, but perhaps they will become so in the future.
    Most critically, fossil fuels and ONLY fossil fuels increase the carrying capacity of the Earth for life.

  50. Trump … has no influence over battery storage, which is heading to below 400/kWh and to its major inflexion point.

    So grid scale battery storage is not real as I guessed. It’s a curve on a chart with a major inflexion point.

  51. “In my book, that comes in the porcine aviation category. If you don’t believe it, take a look at Haiti.”

    Another idiot writing a book. Why would I look at Hait if my goal is to heat a house in in a northern climate?

    The notion that an energy source must be sustainable to meet all our energy needed is stupid.

    The reality is that each energy need must be based on the available choices. For example, if the existing choice is heating with trucked in oil on road that we often impassible in winter and that required a reliable electric supply; then heating with wood is a better choice.

    There is a huge supply of wood in many places in the world. Of course it is not sustainable for big cities. Nothing is!

    Sustainability is a false idea. Society needs a finite supply of energy. Clearly coal and nuclear does not have a problem meeting demand. Everything else is gravy.

    • A ground sourced heat pump would save trucking in wood or oil.

      Heating choice favoured by UK aristocracy for their massive stately homes!

      • Not if electricity is being made with oil, which it was at the time where I was living. That was why I was working at a nuke plant under construction.

        Griff thanks for speaking up and demonstrating stupidity when I am labeling people stupid. What rich people do in the UK is likely to be stupid examples of how to make good environmental choices.

        Not to demean the UK, we have Al Gore.

      • Rich people in the UK got rich by being smart and efficiently using their money.

        (also by riding in on a horse and stealing stuff off Saxons, peasants etc, but it is considered bad form to mention that).

      • “Griff November 15, 2016 at 4:12 am

        Rich people in the UK got rich by being smart and efficiently using their money.”

        Evidence? And you bag Trump!

  52. @Tom H
    “RKP, I think you are being unusually dense.”

    You may want to consider how clueless and shallow statements are about ‘markets’ and ‘level fields’.

    Maybe you can contribute some other banal cliches to the discussion.

  53. Eric’s final comment:
    “The history of the rise of disruptive technologies is clear. Smart phones, vacuum cleaners, automobiles, home computers, microwave ovens, the one thing they have in common is in most cases nobody subsidised them.”
    is patently false. In fact the exact opposite is true – with the exception of the vacuum cleaner every singe
    one of the items on Eric’s list required massive government investment before it could be considered a
    commercial success (typically from the military which doesn’t care about profits as long as there is a tactical
    advantage). Microwave ovens and integrated circuits came out of WWII radar research and the Manhattan project. Smart phones rely on GPS, integrated circuits, touch screens, the internet all of which were developed for the military. Automobiles would never have been popular without the billions spent on paving
    the roads and developing the necessary infrastructure. Not to mention the defunding of public transport options which then required people to buy cars.

    • Applying technology that was developed by the military or even NASA is not a subsidy. The items were developed because the military/NASA had a use for them. Then they spilled over into the public domain. Most started out very expensive—VCRs, DVDs, cell phones were all very expensive at first. Only as the more wealthy bought them did the technology develop to where the items were inexpensive enough for the general public. As far as I know, the wealthy are not going off grid in an effort to get renewables accepted. They seem to use a lot of energy, all of it off the grid. They expect everyone else to pay for their “toys”, the renewables. Also, no one forced people to buy new technology such as cell phones and microwave ovens. On the other hand, RPS’s demand everyone pay for the product development.

      The government did electrify the rural areas, build the interstate highways, etc. Whether or not this was “subsidizing” cars and current electrical appliances depends on what one calls a subsidy. You can define anything as a subsidy if you work hard enough at it. That doesn’t mean anyone else has to accept the stretch you made to cover what you wanted covered.

      • Whether or not you call it a subsidy is irrelevant. All of the items required massive amounts of government
        investment over decades before they were commercially viable. And the government is the currently the only investor capable or willing to do long term research. Prior to the 80s in the US at least companies like Bell
        and IBM we willing to invest in long term research but no more. Everything is about short term profits which is to the long term detriment of the country since investing in infrastructure loses out.

      • quite false, germinio.
        NONE of the items “required” massive amounts of government investment over decades before they were commercially viable. Governments have a long history of trying to get credit for things they actually IMPEDED.
        Automobile was born in England, but forbidden to be used without a man marching ahead bearing a red flag … that is, practically forbidden. Somehow french government was too weak or too retarded to be as “efficient”, so french car-makers took the lead. Automobiles HAVE have been popular without the billions spent on paving; early car races were mostly a way to prove the car was able and fit to serve on the dirt roads of the time.
        Military didn’t see any use for planes and armored cars, and turn away propositions of industry for years, until war finally showed this stuff was effective
        Microwave, integrated circuits and GPS were military secrets, which delayed their civilian use.

        besides, TANSTAAGI. Ultimately each “governement dollar” is a taxpayer dollar. Car users pay far more in tax that it cost to pave their way.

        And speaking of short term … government are unable to see further than next election, and they are very good at funding “long term” friends of them, regardless of the actual science.

  54. This report shows the reality of renewables working in – guess where? – South Australia

    “South Australia could more than double its renewable energy share by 2020 to 84.6% ….and go even further by 2025.”

    “the state of South Australia could easily beat its aspirational target of 50% renewables by 2025, reaching 85% mark by 2020 and possibly as much ass 95% by 2025.”

    “Queensland will like add a further 25,000 GWh by 2030 to meet its 50% renewable target by 2030, and Victoria will add 7,000 GWh of renewables by 2025. These will help Australia reach around 42% renewable energy by 2030, according to Deutsche Bank estimates.”

    “The data appears to include rooftop solar, which the Australian Energy Market Operator has suggested could meet all of (SA) daytime demand on certain occasions within 10 years – a scenario likely to be repeated in Western Australia, although the fast fall in battery storage costs could reshape those scenarios and spread the supply through the day.”

    “The Deutsche Bank analysis also predicts that coal generation capacity will also halve across Australia by 2030, mostly due to the fact that many coal plants will reach the end of their normal life and won’t be worth the expensive of upgrades.”

    https://cleantechnica.com/2016/11/13/deutsche-bank-sees-south-australia-95-renewables-2025/
    (this is Deutsche Bank’s info – the link above just is a handy summary)

    • RenewEconomy article republished by Green Technica. Just stop with the Giles Parkinson bull$hit propaganda, Griff. The guy has zero credibility with anyone who understands power engineering.

      All you are demonstrating is a similar lack of knowledge.

      • er… no: a report by one of the world’s leading banks.

        you have to start looking at the underlying source, not just banging on about where it is reported.

        Are major German banks hotbeds of leftist sentiment or incapable of serious analysis??

      • Deutsche Bank has its snout deep in the trough of renewables and storage investments through loans to the companies in those fields. It is wildly sending out spin to shore up the markets against collapse so it doesn’t take a bloodbath when they fail.

    • RenewEconomy article republished by Green Technica. Just stop with the Giles Parkinson bull$hit propaganda, Griff. The guy has zero credibility with anyone who understands power engineering.

      All you are demonstrating is a similar lack of knowledge.

  55. Right here in my home town of Denver, Colorado, we had a big show of solar energy at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science..

    President Obama came to town and was set to sign the $787 billion stimulus bill. Remember that? Anyway, he toured the roof top installation of solar panels installed on the roof of the museum before signing the bill.

    It was a 100 kilowatt installation and cost $720,000. Without the incentives, the payback period was 110 years. The project was intended to replace between 2 and 12 percent of the electricity needs of the museum. It actually meets 1 to 2 percent of the needs of the museum.

    There was quite the controversy around here due to the fact the museum was not exactly forthcoming about the facts of the project. Several reporters attempted to get this information, but could not. You know, simple things like the electric bills before and after the installation of the project.

    And why is it so hard to get simple information about the costs of running a publicly financed operation such as the Museum?

    I find this to always be the case regarding ‘sustainable’ technologies. Some people just go on and on about the beauty of these new technologies yet clam up when pressed for actual numbers. And they want me to pay for all these wonders.

    These same people will not purchase a new car without some idea of mileage.

    http://reason.com/blog/2009/02/18/110-years-to-pay-for-those-den

    • Nuke systems because of the sheer expense of their infrastructure and bureaucracy will never match the potential efficiency affordability of a consumer based decentralized electrical generation, storage and distribution that renewable and non-renewable electrical generation matched with superconductive magnetic energy storage systems can provide. The questions is can superconductive systems be mass produced and consumerized…for exactly the same market Telsa is going after with their large battery systems that are marketing for home use. Has SC technology progressed and matured to a point it can be installed in peoples homes? .I have been a lay spectator of the huge expansion in SC research in the past 15 years. The race is on. It would be fun to hear from the SC experts on this issue.

  56. Superconductive magnetic energy storage systems appear to be the only electrical storage system paradigm that would make decentralized electrical generation, storage and distribution work because they can be scaled from micro to macro for renewable and non-renewable generation sources. Tesla understands the market force of decentralized energy production and distribution as it is now marketing large lithium ion batteries for this purpose but these batteries are small and waste heat. Until there is a electrical energy storage system that can be scaled and is as efficient and flexible as SCMES, (and far more affordable than SCMES), renewable for the consumer market will be marketed on the basis of the buy back tax subsidy< (the folks that buy them will still have to buy a expensive high inefficient internal combustion back generator systems) Match solar, wind, thermoelectical generators, natural gas powered micro-turbine driven superconductive generators with SCMES for the consumer market; then the whole world changes.

    • You seem to have missed that cheap solar panels plus ‘good enough’ batteries are a world changing thing in anywhere with half decent solar input… and that whether or not there’s a government subsidy.

  57. Wind generators kill birds, hydro power floods riparian ecosystems, nuclear waste is unthinkable, biomass destroys forests, in New England, 90% of forest land is privately owned (what happens to all that natural habitat when fuel wood becomes more economical than heavily taxed fossil fuel? You tell me.), solar arrays cover prairie and desert habitat, and all this is expensive and less efficient than the fossil fuels on which our civilization was built. Just what are we thinking? (What; are we thinking?)

  58. “On the other hand, RPS’s demand everyone pay for the product development.”

    There is no national RPS. There is a national PTC. It could by certainly be argued that a production tax when first proposed by POTUS Bush benefited all Americans by reducing the price of natural gas.

  59. Batteries are not going to save the intermittent renewables. The needed concentration of energy will pose a much greater threat to safety than nuclear. It will take a disaster or two to learn this.

      • And who, exactly, was endangered by Three Mile Island? It was an event without an effect. Even the governor of the state decided that evacuation would cause more casualties than just letting people remain in place. The reactor safety features worked.

        Chernobyl was designed to a standard recognized in the U.S. as being unsafe (no containment) and operated in a criminally negligent and destructive manner.

        Fukushima was the result of a tsunami, whose effect was mainly to ruin the equipment. Again, no human casualties.

        Replace panic with reason, and the technological world looks less dangerous.

  60. Reliability concerns associated with PV technologies

    Quoting directly from a monograph [4] by Dr. Sarah Kurtz of NREL:
    “General reliability issues across all PV technologies are:

    1. Corrosion leading to a loss of grounding
    2. Quick connector reliability
    3. Improper insulation leading to loss of grounding
    4. Delamination
    5. Glass fracture
    6. Bypass diode failure
    7. Inverter reliability
    8. Moisture ingress

    Continuing, Dr. Kurtz said: “In addition, there are issues specific to the individual technologies, to name a few:

    i. Wafer silicon: Light-induced cell degradation, front surface soiling, effect of glass on encapsulation performance, reduced adhesion leading to corrosion and/or delamination, busbar adhesion degradation, junction box failure;

    ii. Thin film silicon: electrochemical corrosion of SnO2, initial light degradation;

    iii. CdTe: interlayer adhesion and delamination, electrochemical corrosion of SnO2:F, shunt hot spots at scribe lines before and after stress;

    iv. CIS: interlayer adhesion, busbar mechanical adhesion and electrical, notable sensitivity of TCO to moisture, moisture ingress failure of package; and

    v. OPV: photolytic instability, moisture induced degradation, moisture ingress failure of package.”

    We often hear that people interpret passing the IEC 61215 or 61646 qualification tests is proof that a product has been tested and shown to be durable and reliable. This is simply not true; like many ALT tests, the IEC environmental stress test protocols are designed primarily to test the infant mortality period of the above-referenced bathtub curve (Fig. 1) and do not adequately or realistically stress a module in the way that nature does.

    During life, a product loses performance attributes according to the accumulated damage model. Continued damage (thermal, photolytic, mechanical, hydrolytic, etc.) inflicted over a long time—and influenced by the daily and seasonal diurnal cycles—takes a toll.

    According to Wohlgemuth, “While qualification tests are important, they have limitations because the stress levels are, by design, limited… so, passing the qualification test means that the product has met a specific set of requirements, but doesn’t say anything about which product is better for long-term performance, nor does it provide a prediction of product lifetime [3].”

    • Translation: Do not worry about battery storage because solar PV panels will stop working faster than they can be built at some level of power production.

      For those who understand second order differential equation, this is not a difficult concept.

      • Gosh Griff is that an actual credible source of info?

        Yes, but Griff misses the point. While the part of the panel that converts solar energy may be getting better manufacture warranties are not going to change.

        When placed on the planet, they only work between 0% and 20% of the time before they break. A long list of things that cause PV to break was provided.

        The reason it does not matter is no one bothers to fix something that was built for political reason. Quality will not get better because no one is held accountable.

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