Wind and Solar to Provide 4% of Global Primary Energy by 2040!

Guest post by David Middleton

They may need to nudge the Doomsday Clock a bit closer to midnight, if ExxonMobil’s 2017 Outlook for Energy: A View to 2040 turns out to be an accurate forecast.

A few highlights:

Oil and natural gas will continue to provide 55% of the world’s primary energy through 2040. While wind and solar will continue their meteoric rise to 4%… Yes, I know meteors don’t climb.
While wind and solar capacity will grow rapidly, utilization will lag.

Even if we zero-in on electricity generation, wind and solar don’t fare much better…

Wind and solar won’t be providing 85% of the world’s electricity in 2040. Coal will still be generating twice as much electricity as wind and solar.

What about plug-in electric vehicles (PEV)?  Won’t they save the world from climate change?

Full hybrids are expected to reach 15% of the global fleet. PEV’s will be a bit shy of 5%.

Any and all sarcastic remarks were intentional.

Featured image source.

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January 4, 2017 8:10 am

It is all hilariously funny – pity, though, that the believers lack a sense of humour.

george e. smith
Reply to  AndyE
January 4, 2017 12:00 pm

Wind IS solar. So is hydro-electric.
H-E is infinitely more clever than wind. Too bad there’s not a great deal of suitable sites.

Leo Smith
Reply to  george e. smith
January 4, 2017 4:31 pm

Don’t be silly.There is only one form of primary energy and that’s nuclear.:-)

Reply to  george e. smith
January 5, 2017 10:00 am

Absent adding biological processes there are only 3 forms of primary energy available on Earth: solar, gravitational and nuclear decay, and one may argue that nuclear stems from stars (as does all matter, but lets not quibble). All others are merely combinations of them. We can only extract energy where differentials (sources/sinks) are involved. We can extract energy directly from thermal differentials, from chemical bonds formed by the primary sources, or from energy differentials created by the primary sources. Wind and hydrothermal are due to solar energy heating things up and acting with gravity to cause mechanical movement (convection) that we can exploit. (for simplicity I will call the rain cycle a convection flow) Tidal flow- gravitational. Geothermal- gravity & nuclear decay. Fossil fuels – solar (with biological processing).
So far our technology favors mechanical extraction which often requires numerous energy conversions before we convert it to electricity (and then usually back into mechanical via electric motors, but that is more of an energy transportation issue). With fossil fuels the process looks like: Solar » chemical (biological) » thermal » mechanical » electrical. (I’ll omit all the extraction processes as they are not really germane)
Hydro-electric skips the chemical conversion and has solar energy and gravity directly increase the potential energy of water by transporting it up into the higher elevations so that its gravity potential may be extracted.
Wind extraction acts similarly, but it relies on uneven atmospheric heating to create any pressure differential.
However it must be pointed out that convection flow would not occur with out gravity as density drives buoyancy. There is no convection in zero-gee environments, so I will concede that even wind relies on gravitational effects.
The choices are well known. We can improve on our extraction methods and efficiencies, but we won’t be getting any other primary sources.

January 4, 2017 8:12 am

Meanwhile, in France they’ve paved one lane of a 1 km stretch of road with solar panels, which they hope will generate enough power to run the town’s streetlights.
What a great match:
Power generation which only works during the day
to run streetlights that are only needed at night.
What a great investment:
$6 million to build a system
which generates $40,000 of electricity per year (worth less than $30,000 here in NC).
So it would pay for itself in about 150 years (optimistically)
except that the road will need repaving in ten (optimistically).

Reply to  daveburton
January 4, 2017 8:30 am

These streetlights will not be used at night.

Reply to  daveburton
January 4, 2017 8:47 am

Don’t forget the batteries that the lights will run on at night probably cost 10x as much as that 1km stretch of road. Why don’t the French do what they do best and just surrender. ( only this time to reality).

Eustace Cranch
Reply to  daveburton
January 4, 2017 9:06 am

Oh yeah, solar panels make such a fantastic road surface. A match made in heaven!

CD in Wisconsin
Reply to  daveburton
January 4, 2017 9:17 am

…..and the Daily Mail article also says that part of France (Normandy in the north) only gets about 44 days of bright sunshine per year. The French govt minister that approved this has to have an I.Q. about equal to his/her shoe size.

Reply to  CD in Wisconsin
January 4, 2017 9:29 am

Is that size by centimeters or inches?

CD in Wisconsin
Reply to  CD in Wisconsin
January 4, 2017 9:57 am

@SteveK: That would be inches. But you are right…..I keep forgetting that Europe is on the metric system.

richard verney
Reply to  CD in Wisconsin
January 4, 2017 1:37 pm

Based upon the English system, I guess the size is about 1 foot. Or is an IQ of 1 being a little too generous? Well hey, we are still in the season of goodwill.

Paul belanger
Reply to  CD in Wisconsin
January 4, 2017 1:41 pm

I was thinking in terms of parsecs.

Reply to  daveburton
January 4, 2017 9:20 am

Lets hope there are no utilities under the road that need maintenance.
Paid for by the French Government? I think they mean the French Taxpayer!

Reply to  daveburton
January 4, 2017 9:21 am

I wonder how much power will be generated after a few years of road grime build up?

Walter Sobchak
Reply to  MarkW
January 4, 2017 11:45 am

Or the next snowfall.

Reply to  daveburton
January 4, 2017 10:33 am

Not allowed to drive on the road – they’ll block the sunlight!

Reply to  leafwalker
January 4, 2017 4:34 pm

Remember it’s a cycleway, so there will be no cars. Come to think of it, if it is used anything like Canberra’s cycleways, there will be no cycles either.

Reply to  leafwalker
January 5, 2017 1:07 am

Hivemind , it is a road, isn’t it? There’s a soalr cycleway in the Netherlands, which you may be confusing with this??
(Not destined to be a major power source, I think)

Reply to  leafwalker
January 5, 2017 1:13 pm

Griff, have you apologised for your vicious attempt to destroy the academic credibility of Dr. Crockford yet, you mendacious little creep?

george e. smith
Reply to  daveburton
January 4, 2017 12:03 pm

Well actually during the day, that street probably becomes more of a parking lot, so with all of those cars sitting on the solar panels, there won’t be a lot of daylight generation.
But with the street lights on at night, and less traffic, it might just work out.

January 4, 2017 8:15 am

Once the climate scam is finished this year, they will come up with some other idea to try to take fossil fuels away from us except this time the scientists wont have funding to push it

January 4, 2017 8:24 am

I see where they think burning fossil fuels will exhaust the O2 supply in the air. Now THAT’S something to worry about. I need a few million for a computer model.

January 4, 2017 8:26 am

What about plug-in electric vehicles (PEV)?
I wonder which mix of energy sources plug-in electric vehicles are fuelled by?
Not only solar, wind or hydropower – that´s for sure.
And the energy efficiency is probably lousy if one take into consideration the losses in whole energy chain including power generation, power transportation and conversion to mechanical energy in the vehicle.

Keith J
January 4, 2017 8:26 am

4%? All the residential PV systems I see? Scam.
I wanted to buy a PV system to run an inverter driven ductless mini split air conditioner. Not going to happen unless I pay a premium for the system because grid tie benefits the utility at the cost of the consumer.
Never mind the inefficiencies of making direct current only to invert it to match mains and subject it to line loss in transmission. Inverter mini splits by nature run on direct current to drive a variable frequency permanent magnet brushless motor. The incredible efficiencies (SEERs in +21) possible is due to this variable speed compressor which tailors load instead of duty cycling as is norm for convectional units.
Well, if everyone were to be self sufficient, we wouldn’t have as much a need for a Fabian Socialist government.

F. Ross
January 4, 2017 8:26 am

On the bright side: only 96% to go for full wind and solar coverage!

F. Ross
Reply to  F. Ross
January 4, 2017 8:28 am

…plus, of course, the 24/7 online backups.

george e. smith
Reply to  F. Ross
January 4, 2017 12:05 pm

Well once you get below 97%, it becomes less conclusive.

January 4, 2017 8:31 am

I think the capacity/utilization graph says it all…

January 4, 2017 8:33 am

I just wish everyone could get a good dose of honesty once in a while. Renewables are simply a stupid waste of money for everyone concerned. Only an imbecile believes wind and solar matter. Simply a fart in a windstorm on a sunny day. Trivial beyond belief. Expanding nuclear makes sense which means, of course, that it will be opposed by the green idiots.

Keith J
Reply to  Allencic
January 4, 2017 9:58 am

Not quite..the fireplace insert I installed four years ago comfortably heats my house with only four endings per day. Free wood around here, it grows on trees ;). Plus woodsman chores suit me better than any gym membership.
The rest of renewables? Garbage.

Bob Burban
Reply to  Keith J
January 5, 2017 7:07 am

The smoke from cigarettes is bad for you, but it’s okay to inhale wood-smoke?

Reply to  Allencic
January 4, 2017 4:39 pm

Renewables aren’t entirely useless. You can use either windmills or solar panels to run a pump to bring water up from underground for cattle and sheep. It doesn’t need to operate for much of the day because you store it in a big tank. Great if you live off grid. my grandfather’s farm did this until it finally got wired up. Then he replaced it with an ordinary electric pump.
But those old fashioned windmills are really beautiful with the sunset behind them.

Reply to  Allencic
January 5, 2017 5:31 am

The english language has been hijacked, the term used by the true believers ,renewables is an oxymoron, when analysed they take more from the planet than what they give. The biggest oxymoron is the labelling of food as organic, in my entire long life I have never seen any inorganic food.

Retired Kit P
Reply to  wayne Job
January 5, 2017 3:38 pm

My favorite is organic wine. Like drinking alcohol makes you worry about pesticides.

January 4, 2017 8:51 am

The difference between capacity and utilization in solar and wind is paid by either the taxpayer or, as in Germany, the electricity consumers. And this huge difference of 70 to 80 percent, converted into euros or dollars, flows into the pockets of investors in the renewable industry without any benefit to the rest of the population. An expensive toy with so much poverty in the world. Now it is quite clear why this is so against Trump (also in Germany and many European countries), the trillion-grave renewable energy is trimmed by Trump. And the special industry and their helpers are fighting for survival. Hopefully in vain.

Caligula Jones
January 4, 2017 8:54 am

As Bish puts it, “decorative diesel”:
“The project description lists 1,410 kW of Solar panels and 6,000 kWh of battery storage. Also, three new 275KW Cummins Diesel Generators…”
I love that “also”.
“I’m so proud of little David. She’s all on her own now, working part time at that coffee shop while she gets her PhD in Gender Glaciology. Also, we send her $2,000 a month…”

John F. Hultquist
January 4, 2017 8:56 am

And robust demand for trucks and year-end incentives help auto makers to a record year of selling (mostly) gasoline powered autos. [ 17.4 million to 17.5 million ]

January 4, 2017 9:03 am

Recently watched Rex Tillerson interview on Charlie Rose (2013) .
He’s a very diplomatic guy .
But did strongly defend that reality will be reality no matter any human’s feelings or fantasies . And their long term macro analyses are very robust .

January 4, 2017 9:23 am

4% by 2040? That’s quite optimistic.

Retired Kit P
Reply to  David Middleton
January 4, 2017 11:47 am

Bean counters run most energy companies.

Joel Snider
Reply to  David Middleton
January 4, 2017 1:04 pm

Bean counters run most large companies. That’s a big part of what’s wrong with them.

Reply to  David Middleton
January 4, 2017 1:51 pm

Engineers run ExxonMobil, not bean counters, and generally they came up through the ranks. I believe most big oil companies are also run by Engineers. Engineers can count beans where needed and can add their understanding of the core business which is very complex and requires long term capital investment decisions.

January 4, 2017 9:40 am

p. 11:
‘Global demand for energy is expected to climb about 25 percent by 2040, and would soar significantly higher – closer to a 100 percent increase – but for anticipated efficiency gains across the economy.’
Exxon: meet Jevons Paradox.

January 4, 2017 9:51 am

So ExxonMobil believes that the future of energy is oil and gas. Shocker. I bet BP and Chesapeake agree.

Reply to  chadb
January 4, 2017 10:42 am

Chadb, it’s not that Exxon Mobil and other oil companies agree that the future is oil. Even if you are a convinced global warmist, the stark reality is that renewables are not even on the same planet as fossil fuels when it comes to energy density, reliability, transportability, storability etc. I was driving behind a local bus the other day and I noticed a sign on the back of it that proudly declared that it was running on biodiesel. I did a quick calculation and came to the conclusion that even if the bus only did 20,000 miles per year, it would take about 30 Canadian sized football fields to grow the fuel for this one bus. Why is that? Because the bus uses the fuel very quickly, but mother nature takes her sweet time growing the biofuel crop. That’s just a fact. I wish it wasn’t so, but it is. Do the math for yourself.

Reply to  Trebla
January 4, 2017 11:54 am

Exxon Mobile has put out a prediction 23 years into the future about energy demand. If you went back 23 years and told a room full of experts that primary energy demand would increase for 4 years and then remain completely flat for the next 19 despite population growth you would have been laughed out of the room. If you said that electricity use would flatline in 2006 you would have been laughed out of your career. Similarly the stall in growth of primary energy use in China was unforseen, the effect of the automobile on trains unforseen, the stall in airline industry growth unforseen, and so on and son on.
I believe Exxon’s 23 year predictions as much as I believe IPCC’s 23 year predictions, and we can add in CBO, BEA, and CMS in as well. This is a complicated system in which the effects of disruption cannot be foreseen 23 years in advance. For instance…
Imagine a situation in which Solar and Wind drop to ~25$/MWh LCOE without subsidies and HVDC grid equipment shrinks in size by 90% meaning it is reasonable to connect the Grand Coulee, Niagra Falls, Solar in the Mojave, and Panhandle Texas wind. In that situation it is likely that existing Hydro, solar, and wind would make up a substantial portion of US Electricity (potentially 50%), and that electricity could replace Nat Gas for direct residential heat.
Alternative scenario, a new “magic” battery is found that is cost effective for transportation up to 30 miles. This makes its way into most new vehicles by 2032 and mpg (gallons of oil, not oil equivalent) doubles driving down actual oil use.
Alternative #2 – a breakthrough in coal gassification means that coal can be gassified with effectively no losses and burned at an efficiency of 65% in line with gas.
Alternative #3 – the stupid MSR reactors that get brought up all the time on this site turn out not to be a hoax
Alternative #4 – a new heating and air condition technology is developed that reduces HVAC use by 50% while making demand response painless for customers
Are any of these likely? I have no freaking clue. However, neither do you, and neither does Exxon, or the IPCC.
Let’s make a wager. You set the bound for the accuracy that the IPCC would need to have in a 20 year projection for temperature in order to demonstrate they are not full of crap. Then let’s see which oil majors have been better than that accuracy over the last 20 years.

Reply to  Trebla
January 4, 2017 2:40 pm

Chad, your post is a joke I hope.
ExxonMobil hires the brightest Engineers and Scientists who normally spend their career in the energy business and somehow you think you are smarter than them, and they have not intensely analyzed all the options you mention? Furthermore this is their business and decisions made today often take over 5 years to play out because that is the nature of the business, mostly exploration involving high technology and expensive costs. Investment errors are very expensive in the oil business. Do you think they are not aware that todays predictions are not likely 100% accurate and they do not update them annually?
Everything you mention has been on the horizon for years, and all the easy efficiency improvements have probably been realized; therefore, it is naïve to depend on a “magic” breakthrough that will be significant. It is conceivable that a usable battery is not even possible due to the laws of thermodynamics and Physics. Personally I believe that the “magic” bullet will happen someday and will be something that has not currently envisioned.

Leo Smith
Reply to  Trebla
January 4, 2017 4:35 pm

We built a society that runs on fossil fuel. It is not clear that it will outlast fossil fuel. Not at the population densities we have now.
It might just, with nuclear.

Leo Smith
Reply to  Trebla
January 4, 2017 4:39 pm

Chad b dreamed:
Imagine a situation in which Solar and Wind drop to ~25$/MWh LCOE without subsidies and HVDC grid equipment shrinks in size by 90% meaning it is reasonable to connect the Grand Coulee, Niagra Falls, Solar in the Mojave, and Panhandle Texas wind. In that situation it is likely that existing Hydro, solar, and wind would make up a substantial portion of US Electricity (potentially 50%), and that electricity could replace Nat Gas for direct residential heat.
They shot John Lennon.
Why didn’t you just imagine pigs flying instead?
Or simply imagine a world where the laws of physics allow just ONE of your ‘magic thoughts’ to actually come true….

george e. smith
Reply to  chadb
January 4, 2017 12:11 pm

Well that’s because the future is here already and is working.
They are probably still pouring containment concrete for ITER.
If you think figuring out how whoever it was built the great pyramid; just imagine in 3017, people trying to figure out who built the ITER concrete edifice, and what it was intended to be used for.

Reply to  chadb
January 4, 2017 12:45 pm

Chad demonstrates how the report will be dismissed by the climate faithful along the lines of “well they would say that wouldn’t they”. That would be fine if it can with supporting arguments like Chad’s but in the mainstream it will just be the same old dismissive superiority.

Leo Smith
Reply to  yarpos
January 4, 2017 4:49 pm

All the green/renewable camp think reality is dominated by the imagination. It’s called ‘magic thinking’. Or the Bandar Log syndrome (“we all say it, so it must be true”).
In their worlds, of urban and suburban disconnect from the realities of everything that allows their useless lives to continue – electricity, water, food production, bulk transport, manufacturing – nothing exists except marketing, ideas, and endless chatter on mobile devices, social media, and absorption of media output carefully tailored to reflect their own conceit and total bigotry.
They tell each other how clever and virtuous they are, and the marketing they receive repeats the same message, as one after another pointless cosmetic solutions to problems they really never knew they didn’t have, (until Apple told them) are presented.
We have progressed from Marxist useful idiots, to post modern completely useless idiots.
And they now constitute almost a political majority….
Oh, is that you Chad?

January 4, 2017 10:01 am

Green, clean drivers -> Low-density, non-renewable converters -> Sunny, windy African plains -> Immigration “reform” -> Planned Parenthood
“Good” intentions are a first-order cause of Catastrophic Anthropogenic Climate Change

January 4, 2017 10:57 am

Asking Exxon the predict the future of gas powered cars is like asking Elon Musk about the future of solar energy. Exxon may well be correct about solar/wind, but their predictions about natural gas/coal/nuclear is totally idiotic and ignores the most revolutionary new power technology in the past 100 years.A technology that is right around the corner : molten salt nuclear reactors, one version which (Moltex Energy) can be built for less than $2 per watt or 1/3rd the cost of a typical Gen 3 light water nuclear reactor and less than a coal plant.AN dits fuel costs are “insignificant” – not even included in the cost of operations. With zero fuel costs (and an ability to burn nuclear wastes, Thorium, uranium) Burning nuclear wastes enormously reduces the size and cost and time required for storage until de-radiated to background levels. Anyone who claims this technology is “unproven” should be ignored. This will produce power cheaper than any other technology. Period. Sheer economics will make mincemeat of any predictions of future power that do not confidentally assume these reactors will take over the world.
As for Exxon’s claim about “expensive electric cars” limiting their presence on our roads, I will provide but two figures : 1) the current 2017 cost per kWhr of li ion batteries : $150 (according to GM for the coming year), and 2) the time to recharge an electric car battery to 80% : 10 minutes, according to a tease from Elon Musk a few weeks ago. In the past 6 years, batteries have dropped in price from roughly $600 per kWhr to $150, a 75% reduction. Except for the batteries, an electric car is far cheaper to build than a gas powered vehicle. Electric cars are more reliable (when was the last time your electric refridgerator motor stopped working? And it runs far more than any motor in a car ever will. When was the last time you had to perform maintenance on your electric refridgerator ?
As a thought experiment, consider the possibility of an electric three wheeled Elio instead of the current gas powered 80/50 MPG vehicle.An electric car, due to regenerative braking, will get almost exactly (or sometimes a little more) city mileage than highway mileage. The gas powered Elio will cost roughly $7500. Now suppose you throw away all of the drivetrain and its auxillery components and replace them with an electric motor and battery pack (no transmission required) and small heat pump. Out goes the pricey gasoline engine and transmision, Also the exhaust system and muffler and fuel system, including the gas tank. And a large portion of the electrical system involved in operating/monitoring the drivetrain. Estimating its mileage as an electric car yields a value of roughly 10 to 12 miles per kWhr. To achieve a 200 mile driving range, we would need a battery pack with a capacity of roughly 18 kWhrs,cost $2700. Plus auxillery components (electric motor, heat pump)- yielding perhaps a total of $6000. But we saved a lot by chucking that expensive gas powered engine and transmission. Certainly $3500 worth. Yielding my guess that the current car could be electrified by adding $2500 to the current cost, yielding a $10,000 price tag. I consider that a conservative figure – it may well be less). Want more than 200 miles of driving range? Add $750 for each additional 50 miles of driving range. With the standard 18 kWhr battery pack and a 220 volt/60 amp home garage connection, one could recharge at a rate of well over 100 miles of driving range per hour of charging time.
Paul Elio designed his car with efficiency in mind, and he is considering a follow-on electric version. But I think he locked himself into the drivetrain design quite awhile back, when batteries were still way too expensive.
Auto analysts in past generally claimed that electric cars would achieve cost parity when battery prices dropped to $100 per kWhr. I’m not sure exactly how they costed the prices for electric motors,etc and don’t accept this as gospel. But I am confident that an electric Elio would be VERY competitive amongst the low priced end of the auto market.

Retired Kit P
Reply to  arthur4563
January 4, 2017 12:00 pm

‘is totally idiotic and ignores the most revolutionary new power technology in the past 100 years.’
That would be the current design of LWR and it looks like nuclear has not been ignored.
Without a working prototype with 10 years experience, no new design of reactor will be affecting power generation by 2040.
After we run out of oil, gas, and coal; EV may have a place in the market. It will take about 1 LWR per million EV.
I will never see it unless they learn how to make old guys last 200 years.

george e. smith
Reply to  arthur4563
January 4, 2017 12:13 pm

Where can I see an operating commercial molten salt reactor generating grid electricity ??
I live in Sunnyvale; so somewhere around here would be easier to visit.

Reply to  arthur4563
January 4, 2017 12:50 pm

Elon cant make money at current prices yet happily predicts plunging prices, its hard to see how his cost of production will dramatically reduce as he scales up, he isnt exactly converting from some legacy industrial base.

Reply to  arthur4563
January 4, 2017 4:44 pm

“but their predictions about natural gas/coal/nuclear is totally idiotic and ignores the most revolutionary new power technology in the past 100 years.A technology that is right around the corner : molten salt nuclear reactors”
Yep, been right around the corner for 60 years now.

Adrian Ashfield
Reply to  arthur4563
January 5, 2017 10:10 am

Not to mention the possibility of LENR, I remain optimistic that Rossi or BLP’s SunCell will surface in a year or two.
Rossi is hinting at a demo, with water calorimetry, of his QuarkX in February. Not long to wait.

Reply to  arthur4563
January 6, 2017 2:21 am

Good news, arthur: If this price-dropping continues another 2 years, you will get every KWh accumulator-capacity for free. Just resist the urge to buy now, and don’t buy a car either, but look out first; someone might have invented a car without any parts.

Roger Graves
January 4, 2017 11:40 am

As I’ve said before, but I’ll say it again – so-called green energy is the money machine which drives the entire CAGW scam. Roughly $3 trillion has been spent on ‘renewable’ energy, mainly wind and solar, since 2004 (see $3 trillion to produce an insignificant amount of power – now that’s what I call a real scam. A lot of people are making a lot of money, so if Donald Trump, or anyone else, proposes to slow this gravy train down, expect massive push-back. CAGW, when all is said and done, is not about environmental fears or a religion of Gaia, it’s about money.

Retired Kit P
January 4, 2017 12:07 pm

The problem with predictions basled on current trends is that there has to be a good basis for the trend.
The current trend for building wind and solar does not include the failure rate. Nuclear, coal, gas, and hydro power plants last a long time and make lots of electricity.
All the current fleet of wind and solar will be scrap by 2040. My prediction is that that capacity will not be replaced.

Reply to  Retired Kit P
January 5, 2017 12:54 pm

I’ll bet on Kit’s lower prediction vs. Exxon’s 4% for renewables.
Most green energy is not green and produces little useful energy. It requires huge life-of-project subsidies. It also has a short life of several years before it breaks down.
We won’t always be this stupid when it comes to subsidizing renewable energy nonsense.
The difficulty with all predictions is that new game-changing technology is nearly impossible to predict – look at shale fracking and its huge impact on the energy industry in North America. What’s next?
Regards, Allan

Bruce Cobb
January 4, 2017 12:49 pm

Exxon is still playing the “climate change” card. It’s good PR, plus they love kicking coal while it’s down. Coal is their competitor. The truth is though, the whole house of Green cards is going to collapse. Within 10 years it will be done, finito, caput. By 2040, some may still exist as a novelty, that is all. The age of stupid will be long gone.

Joel Snider
January 4, 2017 1:02 pm

It never will. IF by some idiotic behavior-induced extinction mechanism causes western civilization to abandon fossil fuels, some country, some people will pick up the fossil fuels, and using that advantage will become the next economic power.
If the advantage is there to be hand, someone will exploit it.
Sorry, Greenies. That’s Darwin.

Darrell Demick
Reply to  Joel Snider
January 4, 2017 1:54 pm

A fantastic quote that I saw not too long ago (sorry about the lack of reference) went something like:
“Russia are keeping quiet on the whole ‘climate change’ issue. They will gladly sit on the sidelines and let the ‘developed’ countries ‘carry the torch’, so to speak, on the supposed elimination of CO2. And they will reap the benefits of keeping quiet – their economy will not suffer like those of the ‘developed’ countries. Put another way, Russia could very well win the next ‘cold’ war without firing a single shot.”
Can say the same for China and India ……

Leo Smith
Reply to  Darrell Demick
January 4, 2017 4:52 pm

Never interrupt an enemy or competitor while he is making a huge mistake…

January 4, 2017 1:26 pm

What a silly (and expensive) game these predictions are. Take just one fact (EIA statistics).
Observing that wind and solar sources have been growing by about 1 GW per year each it would take some 1550 years at this 2 GW rate before we would harvest the present primary energy consumption. Or 235 years to match the electricity consumption.
But that mathematical prediction is far too optimistic. It is simply not possible at all. Why? Among other reasons, wind and solar plants have a useful life of ~20 years. As a result, our renewables-construction employment will exceed the available workforce capacity, as each plant will need to be rebuilt five times a century.
Keeping in mind the billions of dollars that we spent on obtaining the present 25 GW of W&S power, does anyone believe that that yield can be expanded to “replace 90 % of non-renewable energy sources?” Furthermore, when we reach the minuscule, reasonably-achievable percentage, does anybody believe that that amount will influence climate measurably?
If you know someone, pls let me know.

Reply to  jake
January 4, 2017 4:05 pm

Please refrain from using logic and common sense.

Reply to  jake
January 5, 2017 1:12 am

Cumulative global installed solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity is set to continue its growth from 271.4 Gigawatts (GW) in 2016 to 756.1 GW by 2025, registering a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.1%,

Retired Kit P
Reply to  Griff
January 5, 2017 4:02 pm

What is 0 times 13.1?
Since the capacity factor of solar PV is a number close to zero, the annual growth rate is close to zero.
I am an engineer who start with a slide rule. You learn to simplify calculation by discarding insignificant factors.
Engineers also use second order differential equations when looking at rates. When calculating the cumulative total, subtracting lost capacity is necessary.
Still zero!
For those who are not engineers, I am saying PV does not work.
We can only hope Griff does need calculus for his job.

Reply to  Retired Kit P
January 5, 2017 5:07 pm

“We can only hope Griff does need calculus for his job.”
The only things Griff requires to do his job are a very thick skin, zero scruples, no shame and a total lack of conscience.
Scientific literacy or numeracy are not required.

Richard Baguley
Reply to  Griff
January 5, 2017 4:22 pm

Retired Kit P I am not an engineer. You say PV does not work. Can you explain why my grid tie inverter registers a lifetime total of over 13,000 Kwh if the PV isn’t working?

Reply to  Griff
January 6, 2017 7:57 am

Richard Baguley, where I live 13,000 kW-hrs is worth about $1300. What did you pay for your system?

Richard Baguley
Reply to  Griff
January 6, 2017 8:15 am

Daveburton, the discussion is not about cost, your strawman is not applicable. Retired Kit P says it doesn’t work. Do you think the 13,000 Kwh proves that it is working?

Reply to  Griff
January 6, 2017 9:54 am

Richard, in this particular thread, the 5th word was “expensive.” The article was is about how much energy is expected to be produced by “renewables,” too. So I think this discussion really is about cost.
Proponents of “renewables” are claiming that PV panels are now more cost-effective than fossil fuels. So, how much did your PV system cost?

Reply to  Griff
January 6, 2017 2:40 pm

Who cares what the world projects! Challenge the above numbers that are readily available to anybody from own own DOE/EIA. And we know that the rate will not accelerate appreciably. But even if it does – so I am off a century or two. That will make renewables a bit less useless?

Caligula Jones
January 4, 2017 1:57 pm
Bruce Cobb
Reply to  Caligula Jones
January 4, 2017 3:55 pm

Wind power; it doesn’t just blow, it sucks.

Reply to  Bruce Cobb
January 6, 2017 1:55 am

No, grid-connected wind power actually sucks – it wastes money and energy and degrades grid reliability.
A decade ago I tried to simplify this message for our idiot politicians and those who voted for them, and wrote:
“Wind power – it doesn’t just blow – it sucks!”
“Solar power – stick it where the Sun don’t shine!”
Apparently even these blunt messages were too difficult for them. Since then, trillions of dollars of scarce global resources have been squandered in foolish green energy schemes.
Regards, Allan 🙂
Allan MacRae | July 19, 2006 9:09 AM
2nd submission to the Stern Committee.
Below is my 2nd submission to the Stern Committee.
Supporting spreadsheets and commentary have been excluded here but were submitted to Stern.
Note that I did not examine the worst case scenario, which would have been a 4% Capacity Credit, as projected for the German grid in year 2020. I expect this case would have projected wind power costs twice as expensive as Case W2 (Capacity Credit 8%).
One can argue about various elements of my analysis, but generally the issue of Capacity Credit has been ignored in many justifications of wind power.
Simply put, you need almost 100% full backup of conventional power plants for most/all wind power projects – thus you “double-up” on capital costs and you only save the variable operating cost of natural gas when the wind is blowing.
Furthermore, wind power causes major destablization of the overall power grid – wind power output varies as the cube of the wind speed, so a doubling of wind speed increases the wind power output to 8 times its previous level. The rest of the power grid cannot easily compensate for these variations, unless the percentage of wind power installed is miniscule.
Finally there is the bird kill – wind power projects continue to kill vast numbers of birds, including rare condors and eagles.
I liked the appearance of the first wind farms I saw. However, since then I have heard their low-frequency noise, become aware of their cost-inefficiency and their high toll of bird kill.
This industry needs a new slogan:
“Wind power – it doesn’t just blow; it sucks!”
Regards, Allan

January 4, 2017 4:10 pm

This is great news. Now to wean ourselfs off of fossil fuels which we must do before the fuel runs out is to reduce our human population by 96% by 2040.

Bob Burban
Reply to  willhaas
January 5, 2017 9:34 am

“This is great news. Now to wean ourselfs off of fossil fuels which we must do before the fuel runs out is to reduce our human population by 96% by 2040.”
Easy as pressing just one button ….

Derek Colman
January 4, 2017 5:23 pm

It seems Exxon-Mobil came up with the same figures as Bjorn Lomberg. They can’t all be wrong.

tony mcleod
January 4, 2017 11:14 pm

Wind and Solar to Provide 4% of Global Primary Energy by 2040!
Not if Big Carbon have anything to do with it, oh wait, Rex… forget it.

January 5, 2017 4:18 am

One more try at this…
Exxon’s predictions from 23 years ago would have missed fracking. It would have missed the leveling of total energy in developed countries, and the decline in energy per capita in developed countries. It would have missed the improvements in gas fired power plant efficiencies, and certainly would not have guessed policy changes. Overall if I could find their release from 1994 I am betting it would have missed the contribution of Nat Gas to the total energy mix in 2017 by quite a bit.
5 years is a bit better, but not much. In 2007 the market crash would not have been predicted, and ever since then greater recovery has been predicted than has occurred.
I don’t believe their multivariable predictions of the future. We can argue about what policies should be or what technologies might be developed. However, we do not know these things. The Exxon projection of 4% is no more accurate than anything produced by the IPCC. Basically, don’t treat 23 year future projections as if they are anything close to reality just because they confirm your bias.

Bob Burban
Reply to  chadb
January 5, 2017 9:37 am

“The future’s not what it used to be” – Irish aphorism

Reply to  chadb
January 5, 2017 12:38 pm

As I said before your dreams are not realistic for a long term energy plan.
ExxonMobil have to make business plans to make investment decisions around the world, they do this making adjustments every year to stay in business, apparently successfully since they are the biggest private company in their business . Business plans cannot make assumptions about some magic breakthrough, otherwise the government would fine them for exaggerating their profits to increase stock prices (Gee I recall the fool Attorney General for NY is already accusing them of something like that that). Believe it or not Energy companies like Exxon Mobil have teams of the brightest and most highly paid scientists and engineers working on Technology to provide energy for the future even beyond fossil fuels. Trust me they were the larges holder of Us coal reserves in the 80’s when coal conversion looked attractive at 100 dollar a barrel crude. The challenge in the oil business is that there is a long lead time between making business decisions and realizing results. I recall in the late 60’s there was the announcement of oil finds in Alaska which we are still enjoying although production has been recently declining because Obama has restricted additional development to fill the Alaska pipeline.
I don’t think any of the magic breakthroughs you dream of are realistic, but that is just my opinion based on 50 years working in the energy business on transportation fuels and chemical feedstocks, and electricity generation. Unfortunately in this endeavor I have worked on numerous Research projects including biofuels, coal liquefaction, coal gassification, cellulosic ethanol, municipal waste conversion and other super high temperature concepts which have failed misearbly either economically or just because the process really did not work, like government financed Range Fuels (which failed).
Based on my experience I tend to be skeptical of the numerous wild claims of breakthroughs which come out of universities and other sources everyday. Fortunately I have also worked on many development projects that have also been successful and the pride of the team is rewarding to experience even though they have yet to find a replacement for the huge demand for fossil fuels .
Chad, you may have different experience regarding replacements for fossil fuels or oil, if so please share them so we could be more optimistic about alternative fuels, especially liquid transportation fuels which should not be conflated with electricity generation. They are quite different and present different challenges until we have a useful battery and a greatly expanded electricity capacity in the grid which will not happen soon. .

Retired Kit P
Reply to  Catcracking
January 5, 2017 3:20 pm

“especially liquid transportation fuels which should not be conflated with electricity generation. ”
I agree at the present time. Ten years ago we were looking at High Temperature Gas Cooled (HTGCR) to produce hydrogen for refineries and electricity.

Retired Kit P
Reply to  chadb
January 5, 2017 3:10 pm

“I don’t believe their multivariable predictions of the future.”
Chad is lying, he depends on these predictions so his power company can keep his lights on and oil companies to fill his tank so he can get to his job of manufacturing pixie dust.
With 100% confidence, I predict that 0 % of Chad’s food water, sewage treatment and energy needs will be from his pixie dust. Surely Chad will point to failed prediction without understanding the purpose.
People who have the responsibility for meeting society’s needs make conservative predictions about the future. For example, many years ago a large number of nuke plants were ordered based on increasing demand. When I was in high school nuclear power was an exciting career choices.
Because of the association with nuclear weapons, anti-nukes said it was a failed technology citing the number of nuke plants cancelled because of TMI. I checked, 1/3rd of the nukes plants in the US were cancelled before TMI because demand for power had leveled off.
When Bush was POTUS, the US NRC received letters indicating 30+ application for new nuke plants and existing nuke plants were extending their license for 20 more years. Demand was increasing and the cost of natural gas was going through the roof. Of course demand leveled out and fracking resulted in lower natural gas prices.
So while 100% of the demand for power has been met, the prediction of the mix depends between coal and gas depends on economics.
Wind and solar predictions are different. Wind and solar are not built based on demand or economics but on the desire for pixie dust solutions. Pixie dust works well for make believe problems. Wind and solar is Mickey Mouse.
Another way to say this is that there is not a compelling reason for wind and solar to be part of the power mix. I think there are compelling engineering and environmental reasons for wind and solar to not be part of the mix.
Yes, I am biased. Working in the power industry for 40 years I tend to be biased based on thermodynamics and engineering.

January 9, 2017 7:37 am

I’ve recently done an audio book called “how the west was made” by Rodney Stark.
In it he details how in the middle ages-he doesn’t give a specific date, water and wind power was being adapted by the Europeans. He documents two points that I found interesting and related to this discussion.
1. It was at one point that every 70 feet or so on the Seine River there was a water mill. Granted the power extraction is low because the Seine doesn’t have the drop of other river, but where are those water mills today?
2. With wind power so many wind mills were put up that lawsuits were generated over ‘wind stealing’. Or to put it another way, there were to many windmills and all the power that could be generated from them was extracted.
Now I grant that with efficiency of machines going from unoiled wood parts to properly machined, lubricated metal parts that todays water and wind generated power is more efficient. But since say 1300 or energy per capita has gone up what x100? x1000? so any increase in efficiency has been over taken by increased consumption. Which is a long way to go to suggest that there just isn’t enough wind energy – or hydro- to generate the power needed for modern man.

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