In Search of the 3% Renewable Energy ‘Tipping Point’.


Guest post by David Middleton

In order to search for the 3% Renewable Energy ‘Tipping Point’, we must ascertain a definition of the phrase…

Definition of tipping point

: the critical point in a situation, process, or system beyond which a significant and often unstoppable effect or change takes place


Let’s see if we can find  a “critical point in a situation, process, or system beyond which a significant and often unstoppable effect or change takes place” anywhere in this pile of greenschist…


Renewable energy at a ‘tipping point’

A SHIFT IN THOUGHT Washington may be showing less interest in alternative fuels, but the worldwide picture is dramatically different.

The Monitor’s Editorial Board

JUNE 26, 2017 —Should the world promote economic growth or fight climate change? That model of “either/or” thinking may be losing its validity faster than even some experts have imagined.

While fossil fuels – coal, oil, gas – still generate roughly 85 percent of the world’s energy supply, it’s clearer than ever that the future belongs to renewable sources such as wind and solar.

The move to renewables is picking up momentum around the world: They now account for more than half of new power sources going on line.


Christian Science Monitor

“While fossil fuels – coal, oil, gas – still generate roughly 85 percent of the world’s energy supply,” it’s clear that wind (1.6%) and solar (0.6%) are part of the “other renewables” that accounted for 3% of global primary energy consumption in 2016.

Figure 1.  2016 primary energy by source (l).  1965-2016 primary energy consumption and % solar/wind (r).  Source: BP Statistical Review of World Energy June 2017

Now there does seem to be a ‘tipping point’ in this passage, a logical ‘tipping point’:

President Trump has underlined fossil fuels – especially coal – as the path to economic growth. In a recent speech in Iowa, a state he won easily in 2016, he dismissed wind power as an unreliable energy source.

But that message did not play well with many in the Hawkeye State, where wind turbines dot the fields and provide 36 percent of the state’s electricity generation – and where tech giants such as Facebook, Microsoft, and Google are being attracted by the availability of clean energy to power their data centers.


If “that message did not play well with many in the Hawkeye State,” how did Trump “easily” win Iowa?  Could it be that many in the Hawkeye State are also fond of coal-fired electricity because it’s cheap?


  • Iowa, the largest producer of ethanol in the United States, had 25.9% of the nation’s fuel ethanol manufacturing capacity in 2016.
  • Iowa ranked third among the states in consumption of liquefied petroleum gases (LPG) in 2014, in part because of heavy use of LPG in the industrial sector for such as activities as drying corn crops and in the residential sector for heating.
  • Coal’s share of net electricity generation in Iowa declined from 76% in 2008 to 47% in 2016, but coal is still the state’s largest source of net electricity generation.
  • In 2016, Iowa ranked second among the states in net electricity generation from wind and third in net electricity generation from all nonhydroelectric renewable energy resources.
  • Wind provided 36.6% of Iowa’s total electricity generation in 2016, a larger share than in any other state. Wind was second only to coal as an energy source for electricity generation in the state.

Last Updated: March 16, 2017


I wonder how the “tech giants such as Facebook, Microsoft, and Google” will power their Iowa data centers with “clean energy,” when nearly half of it comes from coal?

The question “what happens when the wind doesn’t blow or the sun doesn’t shine?” has provided a quick put-down for skeptics. But a boost in the storage capacity of batteries, and a dramatic drop in their cost, is making their ability to keep power flowing around the clock more likely.


And Santa Claus is coming to town.  We’ll put batteries in the speculative future ‘tipping point’ category.  With an up-front price $200/kWh, batteries need a much deeper “drop in their cost” because the “ability to keep power flowing around the clock” needs to actually be certain, not just “more likely.”

Is it just an inability to conjugate verbs with these people?

The advance is driven in part by vehicle manufacturers, who are placing big bets on battery-powered electric vehicles. Although electric cars are still a rarity on roads in 2017, this massive investment could change the picture rapidly in coming years. China, whose cities are choked by air pollution, may lead the way.

“Renewables have reached a tipping point globally,” sums up Simon Virley, who studies the world’s energy markets for the international accounting firm KPMG.


“Could change the picture rapidly in coming years” does not equate to having “reached a tipping point globally.”  Furthermore, “battery-powered electric vehicles” aren’t going to put a significant dent in oil consumption for two reasons:

  1. Growth in oil demand for petrochemicals, aviation, freight and maritime use will dwarf any savings in passenger cars, buildings and power generation.
  2. The growth in electric vehicle sales has been spectacularly linear with no indications of acceleration.
Figure 2. Growth in oil demand for petrochemicals, aviation, freight and maritime use will dwarf any savings in passenger cars, buildings and power generation. (Source IEA)
Figure 3. US and global PEV sales.

2011 US PEV Sales

2012-2016 US, 2014-2016 World PEV Sales

Even ARS Technica is starting to catch on:

According to a recent report from the International Energy Agency (IEA), 2016 was a record year for electric vehicle (EV) sales. More than 750,000 EVs were sold worldwide last year, compared to 547,220 sold in 2015.

But the gains are overshadowed by the distance that electric cars still have to go—although more than 2 million EVs now travel the world’s roads, they only make up 0.2 percent of the total light-duty passenger vehicle share around the world. And the growth of the number of electric cars on the roads actually slowed in 2016 compared to 2015 (60 percent in 2016 versus 77 percent in 2015), leaving policy makers and sustainable growth advocates wondering how to continue to grow the global fleet to meet climate change mitigation goals.

ARS Technica

It’s estimated that 600 million EV’s will be needed by 2040…

Still, electric vehicles only made up 0.2% of total passenger light-duty vehicles in circulation in 2016. They have a long way to go before reaching numbers capable of making a significant contribution to greenhouse gas emission reduction targets. In order to limit temperature increases to below 2°C by the end of the century, the number of electric cars will need to reach 600 million by 2040, according to IEA’s Energy Technology Perspectives. Strong policy support will be necessary to keep EVs on track.


The average U.S. vehicle is driven 15,000 miles per year. The average PEV consumes 30 kWh per 100 miles.   This works out to 4,500 kWh/yr per PEV.  600 million PEV’s would consume 2.7 million GWh/yr of electricity.  This is equivalent to 62% of the average total U.S. electricity generation from 2010-2016.  There are about 263.6 passenger vehicles in the U.S.  If the entire U.S. fleet was converted to PEV’s, it would consume the equivalent of 27% of our current annual electricity generation:

PEV% of Pass. Cars  PEV’s  PEV (GWh)  % US GWh
1%                                      2,636,000                  11,862 0.3%
2%                                      5,272,000                  23,724 0.5%
4%                                    10,544,000                  47,448 1.1%
8%                                    21,088,000                  94,896 2.2%
16%                                    42,176,000                189,792 4.4%
32%                                    84,352,000                379,584 8.7%
64%                                 168,704,000                759,168 17.4%
100%                                 263,600,000            1,186,200 27.3%

Adding 27% to the load while degrading the reliability of the grid… You literally can’t make this up.

While there’s a long way to go, the trend lines for renewables are spiking. The the pace of change in energy sources appears to be speeding up – perhaps just in time to have a meaningful effect in slowing climate change.


“The trend lines for renewables are spiking”… Where?

Figure 4. Primary energy consumption (million tonnes of oil equivalent). Source: BP Statistical Review of World Energy June 2017

Even if a plot a logarithmic y-axis, “the pace of change” doesn’t appear “to be speeding up.”

Figure 5. Primary energy consumption (million tonnes of oil equivalent) logarithmic y-axis. Source: BP Statistical Review of World Energy June 2017

Having failed to find anything resembling a ‘tipping point’ in the CSM article, I expanded my research horizon and found the answer… I was using the wrong definition of ‘tipping point’.

‘Tipping point’ is apparently just a journalistic cliche.


200 journalism cliches — and counting

By Carlos Lozada February 27, 2014

Identifying journalistic cliches has become a favorite Washington parlor game. But might it not also open a rare window onto the struggles of writers and editors trying to think outside the box?

Over the past few years, some colleagues at The Washington Post and I have played our own parlor game, assembling a list of verbal crutches, stock phrases, filler words, cliches and perpetually misused expressions that we should avoid in The Post’s Sunday Outlook section — or at least think hard about before using. The initial list received some attention last year on the media blog Romenesko, triggering many more nominations.

Below is the latest, expanded version, which reached 200 entries on July 10, 2014. Feel free to suggest new entries (or arguments for why something should be taken off the list) in the comments section, or tweet at us: @CarlosLozadaWP or @PostOutlook. We’ll keep adding to it.

And believe me — this is not your father’s list of journalism cliches.

The Outlook List of Things We Do Not Say


Hastily convened

Much ballyhooed


Shrouded in secrecy

Since time immemorial

Tipping point

Inflection point

Point of no return

The [anything] community

If history is any guide

If past is prologue

The devil is in the details



As usual, any and all sarcasm was purely intentional.

Be sure to tune in next week for…

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June 27, 2017 1:20 pm

The tech titans count Pacific NW hydro as clean, even though Green Meanies don’t. It also has the advantage of being cheap and, with aluminum smelting gone, abundant.
That’s why they build their server farms in Oregon and Washington.

Reply to  Gabro
June 27, 2017 6:53 pm

The trick is to make a profit and virtue signal at the same time.
Quebec has plentiful hydro electricity. It can easily de-carbonize. Ontario relies much more on fossil fuels. It is committing economic suicide by signing a cap-and-trade deal with Quebec and California. Quebec probably thinks this is funny. link
When Alberta proposed shipping oil through the existing Trans-Canada Pipeline, the plan was aggressively nixed by Quebec. link
Alberta is getting shafted by British Columbia (BC) and Quebec. Alberta should separate from Canada and join the United States. link
BC and Quebec, and for all that matter Ontario, are more interested in their environmental ideological purity than they are in playing fair with the rest of the country. Too bad. Canada is a really excellent country. Too bad if anything were to happen.

Reply to  Gabro
June 28, 2017 12:34 am

Hydro power is certainly green and renewable.
Some new dams can damage the environment.

Eustace Cranch
Reply to  Griff
June 28, 2017 5:21 am

As opposed to millions of acres clear-cut and bulldozed for bird-shredders and cookers.

June 27, 2017 1:39 pm

Just look at what other countries are doing …
China is building one coal-fired power plant every 7 to 10 days, while Japan plans to build 43 coal-fired power projects to replace its shuttered nuclear units.

Reply to  Neo
June 27, 2017 4:57 pm

China has also announced it will not employ any additional wind turbines…so much for the so called green energy leader.
We should really stop using the warmista terminology for such sources and wind and solar…they are not very green. What they are is intermittent. As in unreliable. And must…MUST…be 100% backed up with non-intermittent sources of generating capacity…meaning fossil fuels.
So much amnesia one must have to be a warmista.
This is the term that anyone interested in the truth should use for wind and solar:
Intermittent sources.

Leonard Lane
Reply to  Menicholas
June 27, 2017 11:26 pm

Menicholas. how about Intermittent/unreliable sources?

Reply to  Neo
June 27, 2017 9:18 pm

China’s actual coal consumption fell 2014 to 2015, and again 2015 to 2016.

Reply to  gregfreemyer
June 27, 2017 9:19 pm

It is replacing inefficient older plants with more efficient newer ones. But the main reason for the drop is that its economy took a nosedive.

Reply to  gregfreemyer
June 28, 2017 8:23 am

>> It is replacing inefficient older plants with more efficient newer ones. But the main reason for the drop is that its economy took a nosedive.
Natural gas saw a reduction in the increase of use, but it still grew the last couple years:comment image
The Chinese gov’t has set a goal the gas go from 6-7% of total energy to 10% of total energy by 2020. In part, that means less coal being burned. Also less diesel as they use CNG/LNG fueled vehicles more and more. They have 5 million CNG/LNG vehicles on the roads now. I would love to see a recent projection about their future usage.

Reply to  gregfreemyer
June 28, 2017 10:24 am

Just today I see:
China has set a target of increasing the share of natural gas in energy consumption from 5.9 percent in 2015 to 10 percent in 2020, an average annual increase of 4.1 percent.
So far this year, China’s output and imports of the fuel are running at more than double the annual rate needed to reach the official target.
The biggest gainer has been imports of LNG, which are up 38.4 percent in the first five months of 2017 to 12.86 million tonnes, while pipeline imports have dropped 4.4 percent to 12.65 million tonnes.
The drop in coal usage I’m sure is partially triggered by China’s economy, but there sure seems to be an intentional aspect to it.

Eustace Cranch
June 27, 2017 1:49 pm

When friends and family refer to a Tesla as a “zero-emissions” vehicle, I remind them that around here (Richmond VA) they’re coal-powered. With a little nuclear thrown in.
Most electric vehicles in the U.S. are still fossil-fuel powered; only the location of the energy source is changed.

Reply to  Eustace Cranch
June 27, 2017 2:16 pm

If only that was all that’s changed. Rather than use a superb high tech IC engine to convert fossil fuel into propulsion the scheme is now to lose half of the energy through turbine/transformer/transmission line losses and store in ecologically disastrous batteries.

Reply to  cephus0
June 27, 2017 6:48 pm

Exactly, cephus0! Media types don’t seem top get that.
Oh, that’s supposed to +1.

Joe Crawford
Reply to  Eustace Cranch
June 27, 2017 3:54 pm

Eustace, you might also remind them of the Swedish study that effectively said the manufacture of the Tesla battery generates as much CO2 as driving a gas vehicle for 8 years. (re:

steven F
Reply to  Joe Crawford
June 27, 2017 8:56 pm

I went back to the original study to see what it said.
All the information in the Wattsupwiththat canticle was from a news article not the actual study. The study and news article are very different.
The study didn’t compare gas cars to battery cars. All the study did was summarize all the Battery manufacturing CO2 emission studies done and combine the data into one estimate Of Co2 released for processing, manufacture, and recycling.
I then pulled from the study the worst case CO2 number for material processing, manufacturing, and recycling of lithium batteries. That worked out to a total of 281kg co2 per KWh of battery capacity. In comparison one gallon of gas (american E10) produces 31kg CO2 and diesel produces 27.8kg CO2.
A car getting a40 MPG would consume 77.5 gallons of gas or 69.6 gallons of diesel to generate the same amount of CO2 produced by making one Tesla 100KWh battery. There is no question as to what the conclusion of the study would have been if they compared gas or diesel cars to (which they didn’t do). You would have to drive about 3000 miles in regular to produce amount of CO2 generated by producing one 100KWh tesla battery.
Note I did’t adjust the calculation for the amount of CO2 generated to make the engine and transmission of gas of diesel powered cars. I would guess that if I did there would be little to difference between the electric cars and fossil fuel powered cars. I also posted the link to the study so you can check it out yourself.

John MacDonald
Reply to  Joe Crawford
June 27, 2017 10:03 pm

Popular Mechanics has a posting today that questions the 8 years. By their calcs they can only get 2.5 years. They think the Swedes cherry picked their comparison numbers.

Bill Murphy
Reply to  Joe Crawford
June 28, 2017 1:49 pm

StevenF: “one gallon of gas (american E10) produces 31kg CO2”
You need to check that out; can’t possibly be correct. I’ll let the chemists here give the exact numbers, but here is an approximation. A gallon of gas weighs about 2.72kg. The O2 to burn it comes out of the atmosphere and Oxygen is about 1/3 heaver than carbon. If ALL the weight of gas was carbon (it’s not) and was combined with O2 to make CO2 that would be less than 10kg of CO2, so all your numbers are off by a factor of more than 3. Even if all the CO2 produced in making a gallon of gas were added in (drilling, pumping, refining and transporting) I seriously doubt it could equal 31kg/gallon since the energy released in the combustion of C and O2 is roughly proportional to the weight of CO2 produced that would mean that gasoline requires twice the energy to produce than is available when it’s used. I don’t see how that could be economical. Willing to be convinced otherwise, but need to see the math first.

Steve Keppel-Jones
Reply to  Joe Crawford
June 29, 2017 5:48 am

I think steven F also lost another factor of 10 in his comparison of batteries to gas. If we go with his figure for CO2 per gallon (31 kg, although as Bill Murphy and the EIA point out, the actual number is more like 9 kg), and 281 kg per kWh of battery, we would end up with 28100 kg per 100 kWh of battery, and only 2387 kg per 77.5 gallons of gas. So many math errors!
If we correct some of the errors and assume that the 281 kg per kWh of battery is correct as given, then we would need 3122 gallons of gas to produce as much CO2 as 100 kWh of batteries. That’s about 125,000 miles of driving at 40 mpg, which could easily last you 10 years if you don’t drive across the country every year…

Reply to  Eustace Cranch
June 28, 2017 9:45 am

I call them zero-emissions-here vehicles.

June 27, 2017 2:08 pm

Actually, the only tipping point renewable energy producers will encounter is when they account for enough percentage to destabilize the grid. And batteries have a problem other than cost – batteries, in case i need to remind, STORE energy, they do not PRODUCE energy. The wind can stop for a period far beyond the capacity of any battery storage capacity, and after the wind comes back, what’s going to recharge all those batteries? Iowa probably has soaked up more govt subsidies than any other state, and I wonder where they get their power from when the winds die down?
The cost of a non-dispatchable power has to include the backup capacity that must be in reserve, essentially a duplication of capacity.

Reply to  arthur4563
June 27, 2017 2:10 pm

Poor insulation from the environment and the green blight encroaches on human habitation and natural sanctuaries.

Reply to  arthur4563
June 27, 2017 3:05 pm

Here in Quebec, a recent study revealed that government subsidies for the purchase of E Vs is a really bad idea. If every passenger car (excluding sports utilities and mini vans)were converted to electric units, the net reduction in CO2 emissions would be 5 percent. Since Canada produces 2percent of the world’s CO2, the net reduction would be 0.1 percent. Why bother?

Reply to  Trebla
June 27, 2017 3:28 pm

so 30% of your population can have a little something to feel good about

Reply to  arthur4563
June 27, 2017 5:00 pm

The other big problem with batteries that ought to be mentioned when the price is discussed is the lifetime of them. They are worthless garbage after a certain number of charge/discharge cycles.

Reply to  Menicholas
June 27, 2017 5:01 pm

OK, maybe not worthless garbage.
Garbage with some small value as scrap, although they are also toxic scrap.

Reply to  Menicholas
June 27, 2017 5:03 pm

And then there is the whole “whoops my lithium battery caught on fire and burned my house down/gave me third degree burns” thing.

Reply to  Menicholas
June 28, 2017 1:47 am

What do I do with the drawer full of duff rechargeable batteries I have in my sitting room?

June 27, 2017 2:09 pm

The clean, green political myth sustained through obfuscation.

June 27, 2017 2:14 pm

The biggest blunder in Middleton’s argument about electric cars is that he is projecting a future growth based on past growth. Electric car costs are anything but steady as she goes. There are three main events that all have the ability to lower battery costs even lower than today ($150 per kWhr per GM, $190 per kWhr per Tesla statements). It’s an article of faith that once battery costs hit $100 per kWhr, the era of the gas powered personal vehicle is over. Electric cars are so much more efficient and practical and cheaper to operate and to fuel than gas powered vehicles, that they will dominate despite, not because they are “low emission vehicles.” Don’t confuse electric cars with wind and solar – their future is certain. Due to sheer economics.

Reply to  arthur4563
June 27, 2017 3:15 pm

4563, a few counter observations. Battery costs are driven by materials much more than manufacturing scale. Been dealing with energy storage business since 1994. Musk is crazy with his $1 billion subsidized gigafactory. Batteries don’t provide the vehicular range for a general purpose car, and likely never will based on fundamental electrochemistry. EV’s are not more efficient. See the Chevy Volt example (provides all the analytic details) in my The Arts of Truth ebook. Hybrid Prius is lower cost and better MPG equivalent than Chevy Volt. Easily proven fact in the book example.

Michael darby
Reply to  ristvan
June 27, 2017 3:33 pm

Ristvan says: ” EV’s are not more efficient. ”

1) A Nissian Leaf holds 30 kwh in it’s fully chared batteries.
2) A Nissian Leaf can go 107 miles on a charge
3) A gallon of gasonline has 33.4 kwh of energy.

Please point me to where I can get a car that does better than 100 MPG.

Reply to  ristvan
June 27, 2017 3:57 pm

MD, read the ebook example. You have made the same classic logic mistake as the EPA did. Fruit salad analysis.
Electricity has to be generated. It does not arrive at an EV charger deus ex machina. The average coal generation efficiency is 34%. That generated electricity has to be transported to the charging point, with minimum losses of 10% and maximum of 30% depending on transmission/distribution grid details. Then there are battery charging losses,,which is why the Volt battery has a dedicated, liquid cooling to partitioned radiator system. Apples to apples, not fruit salad comparisons, The correctly calculated EPA MPGe for the MY 2012 Chevy Volt is 35MPGe. The biggest, least efficient 2012 Prius was 42 MPGe. The smallest most efficient Prius was 50MPGe. Facts.

Reply to  ristvan
June 27, 2017 4:04 pm

Somehow you missed the point that, in most places, the charge in those batteries came from burning fossil fuels. You neglect the inefficiencies in getting the electrical power generated at a coal, oil or gas-fired plant all the way to the outlet in your garage into which your Leaf is plugged, thence into its batteries.
You also failed to mention at what average speed you need to drive in order to travel 107 miles, and what weight you’re carrying. If under those conditions your trips never exceed 53 miles one way, and you’re not in a hurry and don’t need to transport anyone or anything other than yourself, then maybe a Leaf is indeed for you.

Hoyt Clagwell
Reply to  ristvan
June 27, 2017 4:16 pm

Michael Darby- The flaw in your reasoning is that while a gallon of gasoline may have 33.4 kwh of energy in it, getting that much energy out of it is a whole different matter. That’s because of the efficiency of converting gasoline into electrical energy. A lot of that energy is wasted as heat and friction in the conversion. If I gave you a gallon of gas and a generator to charge the batteries with, you would likely get about a 20% charge of the batteries. Maybe 33% if you used electricity from a power plant that was converting fossil fuel into electricity. You would not get anywhere near a full charge. Here’s an article I found that explains it a little better.
Meanwhile, a fuel efficient car could likely get 25 to 33% efficiency out of a gallon of gas without the power plant.

chris y
Reply to  ristvan
June 27, 2017 4:21 pm

Michael Darby-
A Nissan Leaf gets *up to* 107 miles for the 30 kWhr battery in optimum conditions.
But this ignores the charging losses of about 20%. You consume 35 – 36 kWh to store 30 kWh in the battery.
This also ignores the reduced range due to cold weather (20%), and A/C or heat (10%).
You actually wind up pretty close to a 1970’s compact diesel pickup that averaged 50 mpg in upstate NY.

Michael darby
Reply to  ristvan
June 27, 2017 4:29 pm

Ristvan, you make the classic mistake of ignoring the physics of energy conversion. An electric motor coverts input energy into mechanical energy much more efficiently than a heat engine of any type. You are moving the goal posts when you change the subject to electrical generation. The EV doesn’t “generate” electricity, and the gasoline vehicle doesn’t “generate” gasoline. Strictly from a consumption point of view the EV is much more efficient than a heat (internal/external combustion) engine. Please take a refresher course in physics, as you seem to lack any knowledge of energy conversion technology.

Michael darby
Reply to  ristvan
June 27, 2017 4:32 pm

Ristvan: “The correctly calculated EPA MPGe for the MY 2012 Chevy Volt is 35MPGe. The biggest, least efficient 2012 Prius was 42 MPGe. The smallest most efficient Prius was 50MPGe. Facts.”

You want facts? The EPA MPGe for a Nissian Leaf is: 114 MPGe:

Michael darby
Reply to  ristvan
June 27, 2017 4:35 pm

Hoyt, you are correct when you say, “getting that much energy out of it is a whole different matter.”

Electric motors are way more efficient than heat engines.

Michael darby
Reply to  ristvan
June 27, 2017 4:37 pm

Gabro says: ” the charge in those batteries came from burning fossil fuels. ”


Not if your primary electrical power comes from….
1) hydro
2) nuclear
3) wind
4) geothermal or
5) solar

Michael darby
Reply to  ristvan
June 27, 2017 4:42 pm

chris y: a 1970’s compact diesel pickup that averaged 50 mpg in upstate NY will not get 50 mpg with snow on the roads, low tire pressure, windy conditions, etc. Remember “optimum conditions” apply to both the diesel and the EV.

Michael darby
Reply to  ristvan
June 27, 2017 4:47 pm

Dave Middleton, Not all people are like you. For example, owning ***ANY*** vehicle in NYC is not cost effective.

Reply to  ristvan
June 27, 2017 4:48 pm

You left out on purpose my clause, “in most places”. The US gets about 2/3 of its electrical power from fossil fuel and 20% from nuclear.comment image?c=240

Michael darby
Reply to  ristvan
June 27, 2017 4:57 pm

Middleton, please remove “Pumped storage”….it’s not a source of energy.

Michael darby
Reply to  ristvan
June 27, 2017 4:58 pm

Careful there Middleton, President Bone-spurs calls NYC “home”

Michael darby
Reply to  ristvan
June 27, 2017 5:03 pm

” drawing an inside straight?????”

Three words blow that away.

Location, location, and loacation.
For example, the Pacific Northwest.

Michael darby
Reply to  ristvan
June 27, 2017 5:05 pm

“I didn’t put it on the list… The EIA did.”

Well, you should be ashamed of yourself for trusting our government.

Rick C PE
Reply to  ristvan
June 27, 2017 5:06 pm

Michael Darby, Rud, David anyone: How many miles would I get per charge with a Leaf or Tesla if I want to drive in comfort on a 0 F Wisconsin winter day (or a 105 F Texas summer day)? Seems to me that I’d have to trade quite a few miles for heat or A/C.

Michael darby
Reply to  ristvan
June 27, 2017 5:06 pm

“where did I see that before?”

From the guy who’s “Vietnam” involved STDs

Hoyt Clagwell
Reply to  ristvan
June 27, 2017 5:08 pm

Michael, if electric cars are so efficient, why are they built so small and light? The answer is that the efficiency comes from the engine having to move less weight and push less air around. If electric cars were truly more efficient they would be the same size as conventional cars with internal combustion engines. When Tesla builds a full size SUV, I might believe they have approached an equivalent level of efficiency.

Reply to  ristvan
June 27, 2017 5:16 pm

Michael darby June 27, 2017 at 5:03 pm
I’ve lived in the Pacific NW for 66 years, during which time hydro has waxed, then waned. Environmentalist are doing all they can to ruin the great gift the rivers have given us. Wind farm operation severely hampers proper use of hydropower. The windmills are a plague.
We’ve foolishly turned out backs on nukes and coal, so that the windmills have to rely on hydro for backup power. The “renewable” tail is wagging the reliable hydro dog.
It’s insanity.

Michael darby
Reply to  ristvan
June 27, 2017 5:18 pm

Hoyt: ” why are they built so small and light? ”

Ever been to Europe? I guess not, because they’ve already made cars there “small and light” with gas/diesel engines.

Reply to  ristvan
June 27, 2017 5:19 pm

In Oregon, 47% of our electrical power comes from coal and gas.

Reply to  ristvan
June 27, 2017 5:23 pm

Hey Michael,
Nice trolling, and welcome aboard.
But you conveniently neglect to mention that nuclear plants and any new hydro capacity are actively renounced by the green energy crowd.
If warmistas who think we need to cut CO2 emissions were in favor of a massive shift to nuclear, a lot of opposition from people like the ones who frequent WUWT would evaporate.
But they are not.
They oppose it strenuously.
And in green states like California, they are actually dismantling dams that store water for hydro power…they do not consider it green.
And the vast majority of the country and the world have no ability to have any hydro capacity at all.
Like NYC.
And most of the places where there is abundant water in large rivers as well as the geographic conditions to dam them at elevation and create useful amounts of power…have long since done so.
You arguments are completely disingenuous.
Yes, electric motors are very efficient, clean and silent. And also simple and long lasting. in fact, I love electric motors, and electric everything for that matter.
I have been employed designing, troubleshooting, maintaining, and repairing electrical machinery and control systems.
But at the root of all of these discussions is the CAGW meme. Ignoring that little factoid when making your point does not make you correct…it makes you a troll.
It makes you disingenuous.
Oh, and I notice that in your litany of “rebuttals’ you had nothing to say about the fact that the range of electric vehicles is quite limited. Or about the energy density of batteries vs gasoline, or about the charging time.
Put in enough capacity to go 350-400 miles and the thing becomes so darn heavy it loses much of it’s economy.
Need to drive fast or far or need a truck?
The forget about electric.

Michael darby
Reply to  ristvan
June 27, 2017 5:28 pm
Michael darby
Reply to  ristvan
June 27, 2017 5:32 pm

Menicholas: “nuclear plants and any new hydro capacity are actively renounced by the green energy crowd.”

So?……please keep the politics out of this technical discussion.
If you can show me that a heat engine can be more efficient than an electrical motor, please continue to post, otherwise get lost.

dan no longer in CA
Reply to  ristvan
June 27, 2017 5:37 pm

The pumped storage quantity is a negative number in the EIA list. That’s because it is a net loss in the system, but big enough to display.

Reply to  ristvan
June 27, 2017 5:40 pm

Please stop telling me what to do. Thanks in advance.
All discussions related to global warming, energy and transportation are political to some degree, and these days that is a very large degree.

Reply to  ristvan
June 27, 2017 5:41 pm

Oh, I did not notice your comment about getting lost.
I shall no longer afford you even a slight amount of civility or respect, you lying dipshit.

Michael darby
Reply to  ristvan
June 27, 2017 5:45 pm
Michael darby
Reply to  ristvan
June 27, 2017 5:49 pm

Menicholas: “these days that is a very large degree.”

In your mind maybe but not the rest of the world.

Michael darby
Reply to  ristvan
June 27, 2017 5:52 pm

Menicholas: “you lying dipshit.”

Who said “When you resort to name calling you’ve lost the argument?”

Reply to  ristvan
June 27, 2017 5:53 pm

Keep talking, you are making a fool of yourself real fast derby.
You arguments are weak and your attempts at trolling these threads are pathetic.

Reply to  ristvan
June 27, 2017 5:58 pm

“Who said “When you resort to name calling you’ve lost the argument?””
I have no idea, but when you presume to tell people what they are allowed to talk about, and tell them to get lost, it is not an argument, or even a discussion.
What are you, about 16 years old derby?
Older than some of the trolls, I suppose, but I wonder if you have ever even driven a car outside of your mommies driveway?

Reply to  ristvan
June 27, 2017 6:02 pm

My stats are from the State of Oregon, Dept. of Energy.
Whom are you going to believe, the original official source, or Wiki?
But in any case, David’s inside straight odds hold, even in the most hydro-reliant region of the country.

Michael darby
Reply to  ristvan
June 27, 2017 6:03 pm

Menicholas: “I have no idea”
Follow the link and find out.

Michael darby
Reply to  ristvan
June 27, 2017 6:08 pm
D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  ristvan
June 27, 2017 6:13 pm

LOL!! An .SVG file created by “Alfalfa1”!
Or, we could use Gabro’s pie chart, created by, ummm, oh yeah! the state of Oregon:

Reply to  ristvan
June 27, 2017 6:14 pm

You’re the one who rightly said never to trust federal guvmint stats. I don’t.
I don’t trust my state guvmint’s states, either, but I can walk into their offices more easily than I can to EIA’s to challenge them, as I’m wont to do in Oregon.

Michael darby
Reply to  ristvan
June 27, 2017 6:23 pm

D. J. Hawkins: ” 2015, 68% of Oregon’s utility-scale net electricity generation came from conventional hydroelectric power plants and other renewable energy resources.”
Makes Gabro’s pie chart (47.2% coal + gas) funny.

Michael darby
Reply to  ristvan
June 27, 2017 6:26 pm

Gabro, irrespective of “government” numbers,you know full well that Oregon exports electricity to Cali et al. It has surplus hydro right?

Reply to  ristvan
June 27, 2017 6:58 pm

“Follow the link and find out.”
Fat chance.
Like I said, good trolling, and you managed to deflect attention away from what I said while at the same time rilin’ me just enough to be distracted from that.
Like all warmistas, you run away from any discussion that you find inconvenient.
But it was you that brought up nuclear, and hydro, even though you and your ilk are doing everything you can to prevent any addition of those two very clean sources of power.
I hope you stick around and become a regular…most of the trolls are nowhere near as talkative and it takes days to get this much hypocrisy out of them.
Maybe you should go back to where you entered this thread and tell us again what your actual point is…and keep it coherent this time, eh?

Reply to  ristvan
June 27, 2017 7:19 pm

Michael darby June 27, 2017 at 6:26 pm
I know about interstate transfers in some detail.
OR used to sell hydro power to CA in the summer to run its a/c, and we imported power from CA in the winter. Our surplus hydro was only seasonal, as should be obvious.
Lately however, we have exported less because CA uses “Green” power in summer, but suffers shortages the rest of the year. Renewables have made a hash of both OR and CA power production.
The difference between the two percentages might be attributable to OR and WA sharing hydro production. WA’s hydro total is higher because of Grand Coulee and the other main stem Columbia and Snake River Dams which lie totally within WA State.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  ristvan
June 27, 2017 7:20 pm


D. J. Hawkins: ” 2015, 68% of Oregon’s utility-scale net electricity generation came from conventional hydroelectric power plants and other renewable energy resources.”
Makes Gabro’s pie chart (47.2% coal + gas) funny.

The EIA graph under “Electricity” doesn’t even have a slot for coal which the state lists as 33+% of electric generating capacity. I think Oregon knows better where its electricity is coming from. Stop being a twit.

Michael darby
Reply to  ristvan
June 27, 2017 7:20 pm

Menicholas: “Fat chance.”

Your loss, the person that made that statement should have earned your respect long ago.

I will “run away” from anybody that starts name calling. If you are unable to conduct a reasonable discussion without calling me names (i.e. dipshit) …. why continue? Besides that, I’m now a “warmista” a “troll” and what next?

If you want to go back to the “begining”, good.

Here it is….

Electric vehicles are more efficient than gasoline powered vehicles.

Now, I’ve provided real world data from the Nissian Leaf. It gets over 100 miles per gallon of gasoline-equivalent.

Prove me wrong, but go away if all you can do is call me names.

Reply to  ristvan
June 27, 2017 7:27 pm

D. J. Hawkins June 27, 2017 at 7:20 pm
If he quit doing that, what else would Michael have to do?
Good catch on the coal issue, which is big in OR, because of the need to back up our national forests worth of windmills. I didn’t bother to read Michael’s link, since I know and trust OR’s data, having used it since the 1970s.

Michael darby
Reply to  ristvan
June 27, 2017 7:28 pm

D. J. Hawkins: “Stop being a twit.”

Are you starting with name calling?….seriously?

The state lists coal as 33%, and the EIA says 68% came from hydro-renewable.

Which one is correct?

Reply to  ristvan
June 27, 2017 7:30 pm

Derby, I will refresh your memory before I move on…you apparently have trouble with details such as the temporal order of events.
You told me shut up and go away.
At that point you conceded the argument, because you did not just ignore or fail to address what I said, you told me not to say it!
Too bad i already had.
It is all right there.
In any case, like I said, stick around.

Michael darby
Reply to  ristvan
June 27, 2017 7:34 pm
Michael darby
Reply to  ristvan
June 27, 2017 7:37 pm

Menicholas, I conceded nothing, and I did not call you names.

Reply to  ristvan
June 27, 2017 7:41 pm

If you want to get pedantic about typos, you can have good fun with me, I admit.
The site has no edit pane, and my phone has a window about a quarter inch high in which to see what was typed in.
But speaking of pedantry…what is a Nissian Leaf?
“Now, I’ve provided real world data from the Nissian Leaf”
It has been amply pointed out that that this number is a figment of someone’s imagination.
It takes no account of the actual amount of fuel needed to make, or to transmit, or to distribute the power in the battery, or of the rather large percentage losses involved in charging.
Since the only reason we are all here discussing is this is because or bedwetting and pants pissing by alarmists about harmless plant food added to the air, and the huge chain of events that explain why this is, and what the actual agenda of the UN IPCC is, that makes zero sense.
Well, one thing was revealed that seems interesting…a trolling puissant warmista who is so thin-skinned he starts crying when someone calls him a name.
Hah! That’s a laugh.
Now I have heard everything…a warmista who objects to name calling!

Michael darby
Reply to  ristvan
June 27, 2017 7:51 pm

LOL, LOL, LOL @ Menicholas…

“what is a Nissian Leaf”
You’ve already lost the arguement due to name calling……
Better luck next time.

Reply to  ristvan
June 27, 2017 10:55 pm

Michael darby:
Electric cars predate the internal combustion engine. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries electric cars were displaced by fossil fuel powered cars when the internal combustion engine was invented.
The displacement occurred because fossil fuel power cars have advantages of over electric cars. Those advantages include greater range and much more rapid refueling.
The advantages remain and there is no foreseeable way for them to be overcome.

Simply, electric cars are of only of historical interest but – like steam locomotives – there are a few enthusiasts who still use them. Oh, and there are also sales reps. such as you who promote the use of electric cares to enthusiasts and suckers.


D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  ristvan
June 28, 2017 6:01 am


The state lists coal as 33%, and the EIA says 68% came from hydro-renewable.

Which one is correct?

The state figures are for consumption, the EIA figures appear to be for production. Which leads us to:


It’s not happening anytime soon. The target is for 2040. And the article acknowledges that about 33% of current consumption is from coal plants, mostly in Utah, Montana, and Wyoming. Gabro’s chart is for last year so that coal consumption is pretty current. I can’t wait until they turn off the interconnect (assuming it’s that easy) to the coal plants and then watch their electricity costs spiral out of control just like South Australia.

Reply to  ristvan
June 28, 2017 9:53 am

Mike, as always, you drive right past the point without seeing it.
You assume that the electricity needed to charge those batteries is created with 100% efficiency.
In the real world, more than half the energy needed to create that electricity is lost by the time it makes it to your battery.
I also notice that you are only looking at the efficiency of the motor itself, you ignore the discharge and conversion losses inside your vehicle.

Rob Bradley
Reply to  ristvan
June 28, 2017 10:14 am

You are correct about losses in the generation of electricity. The same thing happens when you extract hydrocarbons out of the ground. You need to pump them, transport them, and refine them. It adds up to a significant amount of wasted energy getting that gallon of gasoline into a vehicle’s tank.

paul courtney
Reply to  ristvan
June 28, 2017 1:00 pm

Pretty entertaining watching the gish galloper who thinks he’s winning the “darby”.

Paul Penrose
Reply to  arthur4563
June 27, 2017 3:25 pm

Electric vehicles would be great except for two issues: batteries and electricity distribution. Battery technology has really not improved much in the last 50 years. Yes, modern lithium batteries are generally an improvement over NiCads and lead-acid technology, however only modestly. Power density is still a factor of at least 2x too low, they are too sensitive to low temperatures (like those experienced in many of the northern states), take too long to charge, and degrade too quickly (as a function of charging cycles). I have seen no demonstrated technology which solves all these problems and is anywhere close to HV manufacturing.
Electricity distribution is the next issue. There is no way the current grid could handle a large increase in the usage of EVs. Capacity of the distribution system would have to be roughly doubled from what it is today in order to replace a significant portion of IC vehicles in use (not including future increases). If we made a concerted effort to start that project today, we might be able to complete it in 20 or 30 years, but only if the greenies don’t oppose it at every turn; which they will.
Until these problems are solved, EVs will continue to be a niche market, despite their obvious other advantages.

Reply to  Paul Penrose
June 27, 2017 5:36 pm

Paul Penrose,
Not just transmission capacity but also generation capacity would need to be increased.
Electric cars, if everyone had them, would tend to get plugged around the same time of day as people got home from work.
With 25% of existing usage needed, and needed mostly all at once, not spread out over the day as total current demand is, would a 255 increase in generating and transmission and distribution capacity be enough?
Just curious…it will be a very long time before we need to worry about it.
Lots of people need large vehicles, could not afford the time to go real slow to stretch out the range, and/or need to travel long distances in a day.
Recharging away from home becomes very problematic very quickly as numbers increase.
The best idea I have heard is having some ability to rapidly switch them out.
But that would require that the most expensive and fastest to wear out part of a car be the equivalent of a propane can? A commodity to be freely exchanged? That will be quite a trick to work out the details on.
And then there is the question of interchangeability between brands of vehicles…good luck on that one!
It aint nuthin’ like just around the corner, that much is for dang sure.
A niche market for some time to come.
The solution may be electric roads of some sort.

Reply to  Paul Penrose
June 27, 2017 5:37 pm

Sorry…225 should be 25%.

Reply to  arthur4563
June 27, 2017 3:36 pm

Don’t confuse electric cars with wind and solar – their future is certain. Due to sheer economics.

Economics, while an issue, is not what’s keeping electric cars from dominating the industry. Even if you could produce Li-ion batteries for free, they would be a poor substitute for gasoline.
Limited capacity, slow recharge rates, degraded by high and low environmental temperature, limited lifespan with or without charging cycles, their failings are legion. And they would need to overcome most or all of them to be a viable replacement for gasoline.
Such technical advances or likely in time, but not certain, and clearly are not coming in the next decade.
This doesn’t even concider that gasoline is currently a relatively cheap energy source. No one (rational) would switch to electricity at a time when the Greens own obsession with ‘renewables’ is causing electrical prices to ” Necessarily Skyrocket” in many locations.
If EV’s are to become more prominent in the industry any time soon, it would probably be because of developments in other technology then batteries. Fuel Cells, Super Capacitors, something like that.
Frankly, the thing I really can’t understand is why Hybrids haven’t made more headway. You have many of the advantages that Greens claim they want without giving up the utility and convenience of a gas powered vehicle. The only thing I can come up with is the noted “Everything I Demand, or Norhing” attitude that permeates everything Green. Hybrids arn’t ‘zero emission’ and therefore don’t signal enough virtue.
It’s the same reason that converting energy production to Nat Gas, Nuclear, or Hydro isn’t acceptable to Greens, no matter how much Eeeevil CO2 it would cut. They ‘know’ only renewables can save the world, and they’ll hold their breath till they get them.

Michael Jankowski
Reply to  schitzree
June 27, 2017 4:22 pm

The Toyota Prius is immensely popular. It has made headway. Too many other hybrids are versions of conventional models with minimal mpg improvements and much higher pricetags.

Reply to  schitzree
June 27, 2017 5:16 pm

MJ, agree. We still drive a Ford Escape 4wd with class 1 tow (a small frame rail SUV, NOT a crossover) hybrid, MY 2007. Same hybrid architecture as Prius. Little known except tominsiders ( I was one then) Ford traded its Euro diesel tech to Toyota for Prius hybrid tech, period. No future royalties either way. Our Ford Escape hybrid was the very first US SUV hybrid. Wonderful vehicle, going now on 75k miles with almost no problems (one $20 battery temp sensor excepted. The big problem was finding a dealer with amhybrid trained mechanic.). Paid for itself day one on the then hybrid fed tax credit. Then has paid for itself again in fuel savings. Not only less MPG than the comparable v6, the hybrid Atkinson cycle I4 (lower torque, but who cares if you also have a 72 HP equivalent electric machine) uses regular, the HP/ tow equivalent Escape V6 uses premium. Where we are, the regular/premium gas price difference is always over $1/gallon. We also use 1/3 less gallons. Conclusion, most folks flunked basic math by not buying this hybrid then.

Reply to  schitzree
June 27, 2017 5:42 pm

MJ, to advance your commentary, the Prius architecture was radical. First, engine idle off at stop. That required a new auto transmission design. There were two choices, CVT (Prius) or DCT. Ford decided on DCT (electronic controlled dual clutch transmission, with two shafts and electronically controlled real clutches, one for even gears and one for odds–across the entire line by 2018.) Think either way electronic manual with auto neutral so electronic engine off at stop. 5-7% mpg gain. DCT by engine off and elimination of hydraulic auto clutch friction estimated by Ford 2012 to save ~8% by itself by 2018.
Second, regen engine braking. Use the Electric machine to slow the car, and feed the generated electricity back to the battery. That is the most fun thing on my Ford hybrid display. ~9% mpg gain.
Third and most important, trade an Escape Otto cycle V6 engine (200 hp) for an Atkinson cycle I4 (130 hp, 15% less torque). Who cares. Torque comes from the 72 HP electric machine.
Am still amazed more do not understand the engineering of full hybrids.

Reply to  schitzree
June 28, 2017 8:30 pm

MJ, true about the Prius. It’s one of the only Hybrids I see regularly. I’ve read good things about them.
Istvan, thanks for the info on the Ford Escape. Do you get much cold and snow were you are? And if so how does the Escape handle them?
We get plenty of both here in Northern Indiana some years. It’s why my last new car was an 07 Jeep Grand Cherokee. Great vehicle, but she isn’t light on the gas.

Jim Allen
Reply to  arthur4563
June 27, 2017 3:44 pm

Unless electric cars adopt exchangeable batteries like forklifts, they’ll never replace all cars in the near term. No one is going to sit at the gas station for 4 hours. Suppose you want to get to the football game in an hour, but your teenager forgot to plug in the car last night… Will everyone rent gasoline powered cars for vacations? What if you want to pull your boat to the lake for the weekend? Do you strap another battery onto the roof to generate the additional power for towing? Do you buy three times the battery you need in case you want to take the camper into the mountains for the weekend? The internal combustion engine has many more years ahead. Until batteries can store as much energy in the same space and mass as gasoline, and be replenished in a similar period of time or less, they just don’t make sense. Battery power needs a miracle to succeed right now.

Reply to  Jim Allen
June 28, 2017 10:03 am

Since batteries degrade over time, you are going to have to work out a system in which batteries are graded based on how much life is left in them, and the difference in value between the pack you are picking up and the pack you are dropping off is added to the cost of recharging the batteries.

Curious George
Reply to  arthur4563
June 27, 2017 4:27 pm

Arthur, I am with you. Electric propulsion is highly efficient, simple and reliable. All we need now is a new kind of trees that grow electricity (probably a Genetic Modification needed, so Europeans are out of luck). Plant a few trees in the back of your truck and you can go anywhere.

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Ulaanbaatar
Reply to  arthur4563
June 27, 2017 5:30 pm

“The biggest blunder in Middleton’s argument about electric cars is that he is projecting a future growth based on past growth”
The biggest blunder when claiming there is a ‘tipping point’ for renewables or electric cars is that they are doing exactly what you accuse David of doing, with one difference: there is no past indication that anything is tipping anywhere with these technologies. They are bumbling along by force, not desire.
‘Projecting the past’, when it comes to renewables and electric cars, is more like ‘inventing a past and present that they wish had happened but didn’t and isn’t’.
Chemical storage of energy is a stupid thing to do at scale once it is available in the form of electricity. It is fantastically expensive and in many (if not all) cases, dangerous. It should be stored in capacitors once in electrical energy form. The reasons are simple: very high charging and discharging rates, and near infinite recharging cycles. The chemical battery business is doomed by advances in super capacitor technology.
Renewable energy like wind and solar will always be a low value source. Mandates to buy the energy, needed or not, as in California, are doomed as well. Producers should only be paid for power that is needed at the time. That is the only long term viable generation system. There should be no reward for generating power for which there is no market. This economic reality alone will kill the PV energy market unless the panels have embedded super capacitors – something that is theoretically possible but does not presently exist. I will have no problem supporting such a technology. It might even be cheap one day.

Reply to  arthur4563
June 28, 2017 5:08 am

EV more practical to refuel?

Reply to  arthur4563
June 28, 2017 9:48 am

“It’s an article of faith”
That says it all.
The so called economics of electric cars is and will always be, a myth.

June 27, 2017 3:00 pm

Iowans love the SUBSIDIES and corporate welfare. They are grubby takers (I used live there…). The fact that stupid left-wing tech giants are being drawn there—karma’s a b…. They deserve to be destroyed by their greed. Farmers and ranchers are some of the biggest recipients of government handouts.
(Wyoming isn’t any better—I heard something about uranium complaining Trump is keeping them from doing deals with Iran, terrorist headquarters via the travel ban.)

June 27, 2017 3:04 pm

Nice post. Renewables have two systemic tipping points in the first sense of the term.
1. When subsidies are removed and renewable investment crashes.
2. When penetration reaches sufficient levels that intermittency causes grid crashes into blackouts as in South Australia last year.

Reply to  David Middleton
June 27, 2017 3:18 pm

Yup. Which was the point of my comment. Again, nice post.

Tom Halla
Reply to  ristvan
June 27, 2017 4:05 pm

All too true. Guessing what the current US administration will do on “renewables” is a fool’s bet.

June 27, 2017 3:05 pm

“Growth in oil demand for petrochemicals, aviation, freight and maritime use will dwarf any savings in passenger cars, buildings and power generation.”
I’d pull maritime out of that list. It will stay fossil, but there is a move to LNG that is just getting kicked off. I don’t see oil based consumption growing significantly in maritime from this point forward. As of 2020, LNG is simply going to be cheaper than oil for large ship fuel usage.
From memory, I recently read 6% of maritime users want to convert to LNG by 2020. That’s a reaction to the fall 2016 new UN Low Sulfur emission regulation that kicks in 2020. There is no grandfather clause in the regulation. Ships of all ages have to meet the new regulation (or I assume pay a fine).
Ship owners have to do one of these 3 things:
– Install expensive sulfur scrubbers that lower the emissions from the cheap Residual Fuel Oil they currently use (~20% plan to do this). The scrubbers also have maintenance issues and are not considered a great option.
– Quit buying cheap Residual Fuel Oil and start buying low sulfur fuel instead. They can wait until 2020 and make that change the day the regulations kick in. (Most owners plan to do this, but the claim is the fuel is much more expensive, more like the cost of diesel.)
– Retrofit their ships and fuel tanks to use LNG (I think this was 6%)
So, why LNG instead of low sulfur fuel? Cost. Compare on a per mmBtu basis:
LNG sold at Sabine Pass by the tanker load – ~$7/mmBtu all in cost currently and that’s with a good bit of profit for the LNG train operator. They are actually currently being forced to sell the spot tanker loads for closer to $5/mmBtu (or less). The spot market for LNG is very weak except in winter.
Diesel in bulk (at the refiner) is close to $1.50/gallon, or about $10.50 / mmBtu. So that’s 50%-100% more than the cost of LNG in bulk from an energy perspective.
Large ships buy fuel 100,000 gallons or more at a time. It just isn’t going to make sense in the long run for them to buy low-sulfur fuel if it is going to cost anywhere near $1.50/gallon in bulk. When ordering new ships, they are often now ordering them with LNG dual fuel capability. Once most ports offer LNG as a fueling option, they will start buying ships that only burn LNG.
In the US, there are 3 ports that already offer LNG as bunker fuel: Port Fourchon, LA, Jacksonville FL, Seattle/Tacoma WA. Houston, Las Angeles, and even Detroit are looking into it.
By 2020, you can expect most of the world’s major ports to have LNG bunkering as an option.

Reply to  gregfreemyer
June 27, 2017 3:33 pm

Knew about the sulfur/resid rule. Had not thought about the bunkering economics. Thanks for the education. Dual fuel means going to spark ignited diesels, not a big retrofit.

Reply to  ristvan
June 27, 2017 4:09 pm

I think the big issue is the fuel tanks. They have to go in and spray a layer of insulation on all the internal and/or external surfaces. For the internal surfaces they then have to apply a non-porous membrane. (LNG is stored at -154 Celsius so insulated fuel tanks is mandatory).
Another issue I haven’t read much about is the energy density of LNG. It takes almost 2 gallons of LNG to have the same BTUs as 1 gallon of residual fuel oil. They need to make sure they can still carry enough fuel to get from place to place.

Keith J
Reply to  ristvan
June 27, 2017 6:30 pm

Bi fuel is another easier option. NG has a high antiknock index and a rather high lower flammable limit. So up to 90% of the energy can be NG mixed with intake air. At ignition, a small quantity of diesel will burn the NG.
This is old, Proven tech. When the NG tank runs dry, diesel is the sole fuel.
Benefits are economy and low particulate emissions. Negatives are higher NOx emissions.

Steve Keppel-Jones
Reply to  ristvan
June 29, 2017 9:32 am

If ships stop burning all that residual tar, what will they do with the leftovers? I guess it could be used for road tar…

John in Oz
June 27, 2017 3:16 pm

In Oz we would need to be very selective on when to recharge our EVs (see for an example of how irregular our installed base of 4.3GW of wind power is.
It’s not only the lowering of battery price that needs to change. There is also distance travelled/charge, recharge time, availability of recharge points and how the tax system must change as fossil fuel imposts reduce.

Reply to  John in Oz
June 27, 2017 6:16 pm

Winds tend to slacken in the evening and even more overnight, when most cars would need to be recharging.
No sun then either.
Oops…how unfortunate.
No, seriously.
Having tens and hundreds of millions of batteries to top off could store a lot of intermittent power…if it was available when needed.

June 27, 2017 3:28 pm

Europe believes that bigger wind turbines will allow them to compete without subsidies. They are planning 300 meter, 13-15MW megaturbines for offshore installation. I am sure they can build and install them. Keeping them running might be cost prohibitive.

Reply to  Keith
June 27, 2017 3:36 pm

I don’t think that is mechanically possible with minimally acceptible service life. The axial bearing cracking problem becomes insurmountable. See guest post True Cost of Wind at Climate Etc. for details.

Walter Sobchak
Reply to  ristvan
June 27, 2017 6:24 pm

Link please.

Reply to  ristvan
June 28, 2017 10:09 am

I wonder if they could build a turbine with two sets of blades. One on each end of the shaft. Offset the blades so they don’t shade each other.
Would at least eliminate the problem of torque on the shaft. What with having all the weight on one end of your axle.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  ristvan
June 28, 2017 6:19 pm

The problem is I don’t believe you’ll be extracting any more energy from this lash-up. You create a very complicated system of vortices behind the primary blade set that generates tremendous turbulence. That’s why you can’t just drop wind turbines right behind each other. Spacing is between 3 and 10 rotor diameters. You might do better to just extend the shaft through the generator and put a counterweight on the end. But now you’re moving all that useless mass…

Curious George
Reply to  Keith
June 27, 2017 4:35 pm

That’s an elegant way to get rid of whining bird- and bat-enthusiasts. No nosy biologist counting carcasses at the foot of the turbine.

CD in Wisconsin
Reply to  Keith
June 27, 2017 5:09 pm

Keith/Ristvan: I’ve often wondered how much the corrosion of saltwater/salt spray and salt air will take their toll on offshore wind turbines in terms of maintenance costs and the turbines’ life span. Do wind turbines make even less sense offshore because of the corrosion issue?
Inquiring minds want to know. Thanks in advance.

Keith J
Reply to  CD in Wisconsin
June 27, 2017 6:19 pm

Yes, marine corrosion is a problem. Bearing steel doesn’t like that environment. Protecting the mast is the most troublesome as this is plain old steel. You know they never finish painting the Golden Gate Bridge, it is a constant process.

Reply to  CD in Wisconsin
June 27, 2017 6:19 pm

Just wait until a very severe hundred year storm (or something) causes a blackout that actually destroys the means of generation, rather then just the transmission and distribution lines.

Reply to  CD in Wisconsin
June 28, 2017 12:36 am

Well consider, the world’s first offshore windfarm just got retired after its expected design life
corrosion wasn’t a problem over those 25 years.

June 27, 2017 3:43 pm

Renewables ARE the energy source of the future — as long as one includes nuclear in whatever form comes along in the next 20 years. Maybe not the renewables we see today — not klutzy solar panels that barely hit 20% conversion, wind turbines that mar so many vistas. Definitely more hydro anyplace we can find water falling on high places and running to low places.
Petroleum will become a solely a lubricant and a manufacturing raw material — seldom wasted by burning. My guess is that coal will be liquefied for easier handling and cleaner burning and, like today, only used for the heaviest lifting of power generation in countries not yet able to afford or keep up with nuclear.
There is no need to knock current efforts to install alternatives — they are no threat to science or climate skepticism. They are absorbing huge amounts of subsidizing tax dollars for little effect — but in the long run are harmless if rolled out without threat to the grid.
Automobiles will go electric once the battery problems are resolved (we need a little breakthrough there, but not a major one). Electrifying autos will require more electrical generation. Heavy trucks, trains, ships and planes are the transportation power-source problem to solve.
If there are breakthroughs — high efficiency solar or even just batteries one magnitude better (cheaper, faster, deeper storage) we will see a real shift. Of course, the real breakthrough will be nuclear – a new fission or a breakthrough fusion.
Coal will be replaced by Natural Gas everywhere it can be fracked to the surface and will be the transition fuel from coal, wood, biomass burning. I suspect there will be breakthroughs in CO2 capture that make sense as a bridge technology as well.
The idea that renewables will somehow “save the planet” or resolve the climate question is nonsense — but we will shift to them for power generation in my children’s lifetime.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
June 27, 2017 4:09 pm

Renewable drivers, not converters. The conflation of terms has forced a developmental hazard.

Curious George
Reply to  Kip Hansen
June 27, 2017 4:16 pm

Kip, I agree, but I have minor nitpicks. Nuclear is surely not ‘fossil’ in the sense of ‘fossilized something’, but neither it is renewable. The hydrocarbon seas of Titan are probably not ‘fossil’ either. I wonder how much of oil, natural gas, and methane clathrate are ‘primordial’ just like uranium and thorium.

dan no longer in CA
Reply to  Curious George
June 27, 2017 5:47 pm

Nuclear may not be renewable, but if it will last 300,000 years, what’s the difference?

Reply to  Kip Hansen
June 27, 2017 4:33 pm

“Heavy trucks, trains, ships and planes are the transportation power-source problem to solve.”
The heavy truck problem seemingly has a known solution. As an example:
In the US 35 billion gallons/year of diesel road taxes are paid.
At the same time, the waste industry says they can produce 19 billion diesel gallon equivalents (DGE) of renewable natural gas (RNG) from biogas collected at waste sites. And that they can double that to 38 billion DGE of RNG by having farmers grow switchgrass on their second tier land and mixing that into the existing waste stream.
That RNG can be (and is already) pumped into the existing national natural gas pipeline system. Then it can be pulled out by CNG fuel stations, or at LNG production plants. 100’s of thousands of trucks on US roads already burn CNG/LNG instead of diesel.
But China is the global leader with 230,000 LNG fueled trucks and about 5,000,000 CNG fueled vehicles.
The US waste industry is aggressively pursuing RNG as truck fuel. In May of 2016 they produced 16 million EGE (ethanol gallon equivalents) that was used as truck fuel. In May of 2017, it was 22 million DGE used as truck fuel. That’s a 40% jump in one year.
The energy laws passed under Bush call for 16 billion gallons of renewable fuel from cellulosic sources by 2022. Ethanol from corn doesn’t qualify, but RNG does. It’s not realistic the the US will hit that 2022 target, but the EPA is pushing hard for the waste industry to step up to the plate and produce as much as they can.

Reply to  gregfreemyer
June 27, 2017 7:12 pm

Farmers would never grow a crop of anything on their land and then gather it up and haul it to a landfill.
It takes time and energy and depletes soil.
You can never get something for nothing…unless maybe it was left buried in the Earth millions of years ago and all you need to do is dig it up and burn it.

Reply to  gregfreemyer
June 27, 2017 7:20 pm

Hey, they went from 16 million to 22 million, although to went from EGE to DGE there for some reason.
Ethanol has far less energy per gallon that diesel, so the increase must be more that 40% in energy.
But to get to 16 billion from 16 million is a 100,000 % increase.
Still a ways to go.
But, not to worry…they can just issue fines when fuel that does not exist is not produced in amounts that comply with jackass mandates.

John MacDonald
Reply to  gregfreemyer
June 27, 2017 11:27 pm

Chevron and Shell tried to solve the cellulosic puzzle 20 years ago. They gave up in frustration. No economics, no scale up, no efficient biology. Switchgrass is a pipe dream.

Reply to  gregfreemyer
June 28, 2017 8:05 am

>> although to went from EGE to DGE
Sorry typo. EGE in both cases is the accurate number. 1 DGE = ~1.6EGE. But EGE is how the EPA reports the data.
Look for D3 fuel related info. 99% of D3 fuel (cellulosic fuel) is RNG.
>> Farmers would never grow a crop of anything on their land and then gather it up and haul it to a landfill.
The idea is the waste industry would buy it, add it to the mix and see 2x production of RNG. They then sell the RNG for a profit.
Exactly the same concept as farmers growing corn for ethanol, but the research is showing the manure + switchgrass => RNG pathway to be a much better method than corn from ethanol.
I haven’t seen any studies of switchgrass added directly to a landfill. So I can’t say for sure it sees the 2x production gain seen in manure digesters.
>> But, not to worry…they can just issue fines when fuel that does not exist is not produced in amounts that comply with jackass mandates.
That’s effectively what the EPA is doing. 2016 target was 211 million EGE. Landfills, etc get D3 RINs instantiated in their name for each EGE produced. The major oil refineries have buy x D3 RINs per year or pay a waiver fee. You can consider the waiver fee a fine. ~$40M in D3 waivers sold by the EPA last year.
2016 $1.33 33,677,010
So the production was 33.7 million EGE below the EPA set goal.
I don’t know the cost of 2017 D3 RIN waivers
>> Chevron and Shell tried to solve the cellulosic puzzle 20 years ago.
They were trying for liquid fuels. Still little or no progress. This is methane that naturally is generated from cellulosic sources in landfills, manure ponds, sewage plants. Collect it, clean it, pump it into the national natural gas pipeline. It’s happening now, and 40% growth per year will get us to 1 billion EGE/year in about 3 years.
Ignoring switchgrass, its all known technology. The problem 10 years ago is there was no user base for the RNG. Today in the US we have 100 of thousands of CNG/LNG fueled vehicles. The EPA is treating RNG as fungible. A producer can pump it into a natural gas pipeline in Colorado and a user can pull in out in Los Angeles and as long as there is a paperwork train connecting them, claim they are burning RNG.
>> no technological advance can make the sun shine in the middle of the night or the wind blow on a dead calm day.
RNG is stored energy. Functionally the same as fossil natural gas. No sunshine / wind concerns.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
June 27, 2017 6:10 pm

no technological advance can make the sun shine in the middle of the night or the wind blow on a dead calm day.
renewables are literally the past, not the future.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
June 27, 2017 6:21 pm

Kip, for some of us, absorbing and wasting huge amounts of tax dollars is a problem in it’s own right.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
June 27, 2017 6:37 pm

“There is no need to knock current efforts to install alternatives — they are no threat to science or climate skepticism. They are absorbing huge amounts of subsidizing tax dollars for little effect — but in the long run are harmless if rolled out without threat to the grid.”
The more I think about this sentence the more incongruous it seems.
The increased cost of power and the wasted tax dollars are a huge part of this whole issue.
And without CAGW alarmism, there is zero rationale for the subsidies nor justification for the tripling or more of power costs ( in places with the most significant intermittent sourced installed capacity)…so far!
If costs for power have gone up so much in the places where they are going whole hog in for intermittent, how much will they have gone up when they get to the point that the proponents want to have?
The cost and the subsidies are part and parcel of the entire sc@m and power grab.
We have a window of opportunity to sweep this crap aside now…the subsidies should be ended along with the mandates to force this power onto the market and so jack up prices.
Without the corruption of science, the whole rationale for the subsidies evaporates.

June 27, 2017 3:48 pm

The ‘tipping point’ to ‘renewables’ is the tipping point to disaster.

Curious George
June 27, 2017 4:09 pm

‘Tipping point is apparently just a journalistic cliche.’ Yes, as used here. It can be precisely defined in a chaos theory. No one seems to have bothered to do that. You would need EQUATIONS, something that the Scientific American dropped many years ago. I wonder if it was a part of a coordinated effort.

June 27, 2017 4:12 pm

Ah, the third trimester. This threshold of “viability” is well established in diverse applications, notably in human and civil rights circles.

June 27, 2017 4:26 pm

“Tippling point” is obviously what they meant to say. To want renewables above 1%, we’d have to be drunk out of our minds.

Tsk Tsk
June 27, 2017 4:28 pm

The average U.S. vehicle is driven 15,000 miles per year. The average PEV consumes 30 kWh per 100 miles. This works out to 4,500 kWh/yr per PEV. 600 million PEV’s would consume 2.7 million GWh/yr of electricity. This is equivalent to 62% of the average total U.S. electricity generation from 2010-2016. There are about 263.6 passenger vehicles in the U.S. If the entire U.S. fleet was converted to PEV’s, it would consume the equivalent of 27% of our current annual electricity generation:

That’s OK. We’ll charge all those cars at night when nothing is competing with them for the output of the solar panels.

Reply to  Tsk Tsk
June 27, 2017 6:22 pm


Keith J
June 27, 2017 6:12 pm

Fox Mulder wanted to believe. Dr. Dana Scully was partnered with him to balance the kooky with science.

June 27, 2017 6:33 pm

When an electric car can keep it’s charge at -22 degrees Fahrenheit so my husband can get home from work’with heat, make the 13 hour trip to see relatives in one charge (or fill up as fast as I can refill my gas tank and the kids can run to the bathroom), can tow my 3000 lb pop-up camper to the mountains at 10000ft elevation and back without blocking traffic (we stay for 4 days, and there is no electricity there, and it’s approximately a problem 3 hour drive there), can maintain a charge in 105 degree Fahrenheit heat with A/C, comfortably fit the 5 of us, and we can actually buy it without going into debt, then we’ll talk. Otherwise it’s not going to meet my needs. (And by not going into debt, I mean costing $15000 or less. We drive cars til they drop, and usually buy them when they have about 75k miles or more on them.)

Reply to  wouldrathernotsay
June 27, 2017 7:56 pm

Wouldrathernotsay: And you certainly shouldn’t buy an EV that doesn’t meet your needs. However, someday you will be able to buy a new EV that: can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in under six seconds, has a range of 215 miles (4 hours), can be charged while you eat (20 minutes) for about $7 (vs about $20 for gasoline today and $40 in the recent past), and has almost no moving parts to maintain.
And that day IS today. The $35,000 Tesla Model 3 is being delivered this year. Of course, the 20 minute recharge requires a Super-Charging Station that isn’t found on every corner. However, the cost of such stations today is comparable to the cost of the parking space the car occupies while being charged. Parking spaces are found on every corner and charging stations could come with them.
The Model 3 and other EVs probably won’t satisfy most customers today, but it is conceivable that a used Model 3 with a new battery could be your next used car. That is why the market cap of Tesla is currently larger than for GM or Ford.
On the other hand, the era of rapid battery innovation may be over and incremental improvements may be slow. Air travel improved tremendously until jets appeared around 1960. The Concorde was a commercial failure and cruising speed hasn’t increased in the last half-century.

Tsk Tsk
Reply to  Frank
June 27, 2017 8:37 pm

Has a range of 215 miles under ideal conditions with no draw on the batteries for environmental controls. Can be recharged in 20 minutes to something significantly less than 100% of that best case 215 mile range. And has a battery pack of dubious life. Tesla has an irrational market cap for the same reason that tulips were in vogue a few centuries ago.

Reply to  Frank
June 28, 2017 10:13 am

How many times can the batteries take the stress of super charging before exploding?

Reply to  wouldrathernotsay
June 28, 2017 5:19 am

But most drivers travel less than 40 miles to work, with 13.6 miles being the average commute
and 95% of rural trips are under 50 miles.

Reply to  Griff
June 28, 2017 9:26 am

But “most drivers” is NOT me. You obviously don’t understand basic statistics. Just because “most drivers travel less than 40 miles to work”, that doesn’t mean that A LOT of people drive much further. Your assertion that the range of EVs is adequate for “most” drivers because the average trip distance for “most” people is within their capability is just a bogus argument.
What is someone suppose to do if they need to drive 350 miles in one day? Or if they need to drive all day in 100 degree heat running chores? EV won’t work for he vast majority of people who live in L.A. or much of the USA.
The gasoline powered car is the greatest invention for personal freedom ever invented. Distance is no longer an obstacle–ever since the dawn of time, distance has been a barrier for humans.
If EVs were so great then they would be selling like hot cakes. Instead people argue about their virtues ONLINE endlessly.

June 27, 2017 6:36 pm

Is that a galaxy or a pie in the sky?

June 27, 2017 8:10 pm

What’s PVA?

Reply to  J. Philip Peterson
June 27, 2017 8:12 pm

I’m looking at the charts and all of the sudden PVA comes up with no definition…

Keith J
Reply to  J. Philip Peterson
June 27, 2017 8:15 pm

Photovoltaic array. Should be PA 😉

June 27, 2017 8:25 pm

“Tipping Point” does not have any rational definition nor explanation.
Yet, the closest resemblance comes from the film “The Day After” where the courageous and somewhat befuddled climate scientist portrayed by actor Dennis Quaid utters the quintessential phrase of the Climate Crisis ‘Momentium’, “… we have hit a critical desalinization point!” Hahahahahahahahahahahahah

June 27, 2017 9:36 pm

Sorry Frank, but that 750 mile trip is going to mean I have to recharge 3-4 times, which will add another hour to 1.5 hours to an already exhausting 13 hour trip. In 100 degree heat, family of 5. and if I need to recharge between towns, because I miss-judged how much charge I have left? No thanks. The middle of Kansas or New Mexico is not a good place to run out of fuel.

Reply to  wouldrathernotsay
June 28, 2017 9:52 am

wouldrathernotsay: Yes, I can see that misjudging how much further you can drive out in the middle of Kansas and New Mexico is a serious issue – especially when you are measuring bouncing fuel with a float. I’m just not sure why you think that problem will be relevant to a future EV, when current models already monitor the location of charging stations within range of your battery and provide turn-by-turn directions to the optimum station. (Cell phone coverage out there was spot last time I was there.) And when fast charging stations are as cheap and could be as ubiquitous as parking spaces wherever there is enough demand.
The demands of an occasional 750-mile trip in one day may dictate your personal choice of vehicle. Others may choose to avoid the higher-cost fuel noise, low reliability, and inconvenient, expensive maintenance required by an internal combustion engine over the inconvenience of charging. For people like you, who keep their cars “forever”, cutting your cost of fuel in half (and possibly much more in the future) could be an important factor, allowing you the opportunity to avoid the dubious pleasure of a 13-hour family car trip in a single day. If the lifetime of a battery is 3000 cycles (potentially 600,000 miles), your battery could easily outlast any internal combustion engine.
The point is that you could – but may not – have viable EV choices when you acquire your next vehicle with a radically different set of trade-offs than you have today. It is difficult to imagine what that world will be like, just like you couldn’t imagine life with PC or the internet or a cell phone with more computing power than your first PC when you were growing up. The market capitalization of Tesla indicates that knowledgeable investors think EVs could be as disruptive as these technologies. They may be wrong.
One thing we can be sure of today is that EVs will roughly double CO2 emissions in areas where electricity is produced by coal, will roughly halve emissions where electricity is produced by natural gas, and won’t be reliably charged (or charged more cheaply than gasoline) if we depend too much on intermittent renewables (instead of nuclear) to further lower emissions.

June 27, 2017 10:40 pm

I just have a feeling (from my BS meter – common sense meter) that that 3% will be closer to 2% in the near future…

Peter W.
June 27, 2017 10:56 pm

It’s all about freedom. In 1970 my eighth grade American History teacher in junior high school said that what made America different from the Soviets was that if “I wanted to jump into my car and drive to New York tomorrow, I’m free to do it.” Oh, I went to school in West Los Angeles.
I’m now 60 and spent a good many years driving 140 miles a day on L.A. freeways commuting back and forth for work. My last commuting car was a 2007 Honda Fit–it went 318,000 miles before it was destroyed by a 6 foot long piece of metal that some clown dropped on the 5 Freeway one night. I got about 36.5 miles per gallon driving that Fit and the only repairs needed were new front wheel bearings, adjusting the valves, spark plugs, two clutches and tires. That’s it. And it only cost $14,500 new.
I’ve now have a nice Toyota RAV4. And if I want to drive across the country tonight, I can. If I had an EV, I couldn’t. That’s what this global warming #@#@ is all about–control. As in, “No you CAN’T drive wherever you want tomorrow and burn up 100 gallons of gasoline!”
Tell me again why I need to buy an EV car? Or why we NEED expensive subsidized “renewable” electricity?
It’s all about what the Soviets had in 1970. I prefer freedom.

June 27, 2017 11:03 pm

Here in South Australia many folks have finally reached their tipping point-
and our Groupthink watermelon overlords who hitched their star to these unreliables are looking increasingly desperate and panicky.

Reply to  observa
June 28, 2017 5:02 am

As the price of electricity goes up, people will use less, raising the price further which will again decrease the use. After a while, people will pay a lot of money to support the unused infrastructure and the new stone age begins. But the lights will be on in the government buildings.

Reply to  Robert
June 28, 2017 6:54 am

Have seen this in several jurisdictions already. Incentives to improve efficiency that lowers demand and forces price increases to pay the cost of maintaining the service at an acceptable level. It’s a real thing.

June 28, 2017 12:38 am

Rather than looking at this as 3% of all energy across the globe, look at those countries which have been rolling out renewables longest and actively supporting the move to renewable energy.
Germany, Spain, the UK are all well past the tipping point, Australia is at it.

Reply to  David Middleton
June 28, 2017 6:40 am

But what you haven’t asked is: how much of it do they use? what’s their average bill?
and how many consumers have their own renewables?
and there may be change on the way in terms of prices…

Peta from Cumbria, now Newark
June 28, 2017 1:10 am

It gives me brain-ache just thinking about the muppetry going on here – this is not a situation where you get Tipping Points.
They are using the words simply to sound intelligent, educated & caring and in doing so just indicate how spectacularly dumb they are. Or desperate for a shag.
Maybe renewable energy is getting less expensive but with 2 epic provisos.
1. Its done on the back of very cheap Chinese labour & energy
2. Its done with a Governmentally Guaranteed market (price) for every paltry Joule these shiny new toys produce.
Without those 2 things, RE is a joke.
Government subsidy (tax payer’s $$$) is what’s doing the ‘tipping’ and they are lying (actually or by omission) if they don’t acknowledge that.
Now, what could go wrong there………….

June 28, 2017 1:11 am

There is a lot of arguments for and against these electric cars. I think that we will see a radical change in car ownership before they become a seriously viable mode of transportation.
The new generation do not seem to be buying anywhere near as many cars, often opting for public transport. Once we accept the idea of auto-driven cars, and make it work (and we can if we want to) I predict that we’ll be hiring cars like taxis, ie when we need them. The problem of charging them, or more likely exchange of batteries, will be solved easily by companies selling these services.
The free market economy will win again, with no need for government intervention!

Barry Sheridan
June 28, 2017 5:14 am

Apart from the disappointing dispute between Mr Darby and Mr Menicholas this was an interesting thread. Electric cars are great and I would be happy to have one but the drawbacks as noted here make them of limited use. Perhaps one day we will have the ability to store, use and recharge a battery within a time frame that imitates the ice and petrol tank, but to date we are far from that goal. Thanks to all who contributed.

Reply to  David Middleton
June 28, 2017 12:25 pm

My dad used to drive a Dodge Powerwagon (surplus from WWII) when he was in high school.

June 28, 2017 5:15 am

I have an electric car. Best damned drive I’ve ever had and serves 100% of my uses. What I’ve not driven is not worth a mention..
The small fact over 1.5 KWh of electricity is required to produce every single litre of “gas”=(9.556 KWh) from crude is always avoided. (15% of the total energy)
This changes everything you assumed.
The average mpg(US) towards a like-for-like car consumes say 10 miles/litre and “the average EV” uses 3KWh for 10 miles (I’m @ 2 KWh). The gas car used 1.5KWh of electricity.
When it comes to the pricing of crude vs. electricity vs. vehicle efficiency v.s. the quality of the drive. I pity the fuel trolls.
Here in the UK, fuel is £1.16/litre, (16p/mile) & electricity is £0.10/KWh, (2~3p/mile). It’s a freaking no-brainer.
My car is 4yr’s old & 40K miles, Savings over gas: £0.13*40,000 = £5,200. Paid servicing is £100/yr. Extras: A set of tyres. It cost me £16,500 new in 2013.
Yes, I will buy another. This one is paying for it.

Reply to  Andyj
June 28, 2017 10:16 am

You are ignoring the fact that you lose up to half the energy from electricity before it ever gets to your battery.
You are correct that electricity is cheaper than gas. Considering that in UK, about 90% of the cost of that gas is taxes.

June 28, 2017 6:29 am

In real life, electric vehicles use more than 300Wh per mile. Even little hatchbacks are more like 400Wh. The general mix of personal vehicles when you include SUVs and trucks will be over 500Wh/mi. A truck with mud tires and a lifted suspension that gets about 8mpg today will take over 1kWh/mi. Ten cents a mile is still a pretty good deal. The tires probably cost more than that.
And it is hard to imagine a future where passenger vehicles are electric but commercial and industrial vehicles aren’t.
Add these in and the increase in electricity consumption is probably over 40%. Then replace most air travel with hyperloops and that gives you a few more percent.
Replace all gas and oil space heating with electric and you increase electric load by another big chunk.
Because these loads can be scheduled to some extent, they will make it easier to integrate more renewables. Some utilities already have programs demonstrating the concept. They determine the cost of electricity to your vehicle in real time and your vehicle decides when to charge. Sounds complicated, but the user interface is very simple. Saves money for the vehicle owner and for the grid. “Demand response” schemes like this are much cheaper than using standalone batteries owned by the utility.
There will still be times of the year when all renewable output is low for weeks at a time. The easiest solution to this is likely to slowly transition the natural gas system to hydrogen. The existing geologic gas storage system can hold about a month worth of energy. Gas turbines can be made that burn any mix of gas and hydrogen.
Doing all of this today is possible, but would be expensive. As technology improves, the costs will go down.

Reply to  vboring
June 28, 2017 6:37 am

Areas currently with a high level of renewables don’t have periods of weeks with low resource… days at most and not many of them.
For example the number of days in Germany which are cold, low wind and cloudy averages 8 per year… and Germany is connected to most of western Europe, including Norway’s hydro resources very soon.
but yes, UK and Germany are looking at power to gas…

June 28, 2017 6:34 am
June 28, 2017 6:35 am

Major problem is that the wind turbines produce AC at varying frequency and voltages. This cannot be fed directly into the mains. So it is rectified to DC and then inverters turn it into
AC at the correct frequency and voltage, so it can be fed into the mains. If you use battery back up, you will also have to have inverters to do the same.
But if you use a DC grid, the energy can be fed into the grid more directly straight from the rectified AC, if at the correct voltage. And the energy from the batteries, ditto. Substantial reduction in energy losses with all the inversions, and no inductive losses in the HV power lines.
Edison was right, the USA should have stayed with DC. Perhaps with the marvels of modern “science”, all the household gadgets could be converted to run on DC? Solves a lot of problems, no tipping points.

Reply to  dudleyhorscroft
June 28, 2017 8:59 am

The DC stuff I’ve seen for distribution is ultra high voltage to cut down on resistive losses. This one on the West Coast is 500,000 vdc:

June 28, 2017 6:36 am

Perhaps I should have added “sarc”?

Gary Pearse
June 28, 2017 7:53 am

Well, at some point we should recognize that electric vehicles will have to become a growing percentage, no question. It doesn’t mean that we need high cost, unreliable renewables to electrify transportation, though, and indeed it is a mathematical certainty that we will, before too long, need go to the atom for our energy, no question. However, it is the nature of post normal argument that we are perversely and vehemently attracted to alternatives to ‘no question’ positions.
A good start to a realistic analysis would be to try to make our best estimate of what volumes (years’ worth) and at what prices fossil fuels would be available for transportation. Will they be available under acceptable conditions in 2075, say. As David points out we will need then for other uses, too.
Next, do we honestly have to do an analysis to determine the viability of solar/wind renewables in terms of cost, reliability and land resources required to feed the transportation needs? Well this again would be arguing against a ‘no question’ situation.
I can see localized uses for solar/wind/battery applications – maybe small clusters along certain highways with few towns for recharging EVs. Base-load, no way.

June 28, 2017 9:44 am

I wonder how much of an acceration in sales of electric vehicles we could get if we eliminated the subsidies.
Not just the subsidy in the purchase price, but fix the fact that electrics aren’t being taxed to help build the roads they use.
PS: Electric cars, being heavier, do more damage to the roads than do fossil fuel powered cars.

Reply to  MarkW
June 28, 2017 10:33 am

Getting rid of EV subsidies and taxing them just like their fossil fuel cousins would cause the bottom to drop out of EV sales. This has already been observed. Most people aren’t willing to virtue signal if it costs them real money.

D. J. Hawkins
June 28, 2017 3:49 pm

Who is Tanya Zwick and why is she posting nonsense? I’ve seen her all over the site lately.

Reply to  D. J. Hawkins
June 28, 2017 6:35 pm

The same kind of nonsense post happened a few weeks ago on WUWT, but it was under a different name. They just copy and past a portion of the text of the article, with no comment. Strange. No method to this madness that I can see.

June 28, 2017 6:51 pm

Speaking of tipping points, this may be the beginning of one:
First, we see that Oklahoma taxpayers got screwed royally over the deal that was made to encourage the construction of windmills in the state.
But it looks like Oklahoma has taken steps to stop this insanity in the future (see below), although the subsidies already contracted for are still going to cost Oklahoma taxpayers dearly. Oklahoma had no need to subsidize and build windmills. It all came about because of the CAGW lie.
“The Windfall Coalition campaign comes the same week [Oklahoma] Gov. Mary Fallin signed into law House Bill 2298, which stops the zero-emissions tax credit for new wind projects July 1. Projects before then will still be able to qualify for the 0.5 cents per kilowatt hour tax credit. The credit can be carried forward up to 10 years and is refundable at 85 percent of its value.
The Windfall Coalition wants lawmakers to put a tax on wind generation, saying wind generation in the state should be treated like taxation on oil and gas. Fallin proposed a 0.5 cents per kilowatt hour tax on wind generation in her executive budget, but the proposal hasn’t picked up much support at the Legislature.
The coalition’s campaign comes after a national pro-wind group, American Wind Action, had a direct-mail campaign on the benefits of wind energy in the state.”
end excerpt
What a huge fraud these renewables are!
I’ve noticed that American Wind Action has been buying advertisement time on Fox News in the last week or two. Maybe the windmill industry is feeling some heat from somewhere.

Warren in New Zealand
June 29, 2017 3:13 am

I think she is hotlinking directly to WUWT from whichever social media she is using. Sucking up bandwidth

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