Monumental, Unsustainable Environmental Impacts

A line of turbines on metal lattice legs catch the breeze at the Cowley Ridge wind farm in southern Alberta. The 23-year-old facility, Canada’s first commercial wind project, is being decommissioned. TED RHODES / CALGARY HERALD

Replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy would inflict major land, wildlife, resource damage

Paul Driessen

Demands that the world replace fossil fuels with wind, solar and biofuel energy – to prevent supposed catastrophes caused by manmade global warming and climate change – ignore three fundamental flaws.

1) In the Real World outside the realm of computer models, the unprecedented warming and disasters are simply not happening: not with temperatures, rising seas, extreme weather or other alleged problems.

2) The process of convicting oil, gas, coal and carbon dioxide emissions of climate cataclysms has been unscientific and disingenuous. It ignores fluctuations in solar energy, cosmic rays, oceanic currents and multiple other powerful natural forces that have controlled Earth’s climate since the dawn of time, dwarfing any role played by CO2. It ignores the enormous benefits of carbon-based energy that created and still powers the modern world, and continues to lift billions out of poverty, disease and early death.

It assigns only costs to carbon dioxide emissions, and ignores how rising atmospheric levels of this plant-fertilizing molecule are reducing deserts and improving forests, grasslands, drought resistance, crop yields and human nutrition. It also ignores the huge costs inflicted by anti-carbon restrictions that drive up energy prices, kill jobs, and fall hardest on poor, minority and blue-collar families in industrialized nations – and perpetuate poverty, misery, disease, malnutrition and early death in developing countries.

3) Renewable energy proponents pay little or no attention to the land and raw material requirements, and associated environmental impacts, of wind, solar and biofuel programs on scales required to meet mankind’s current and growing energy needs, especially as poor countries improve their living standards.

We properly insist on multiple detailed studies of every oil, gas, coal, pipeline, refinery, power plant and other fossil fuel project. Until recently, however, even the most absurd catastrophic climate change claims behind renewable energy programs, mandates and subsidies could not be questioned.

Just as bad, climate campaigners, government agencies and courts have never examined the land use, raw material, energy, water, wildlife, human health and other impacts of supposed wind, solar, biofuel and battery alternatives to fossil fuels – or of the transmission lines and other systems needed to carry electricity and liquid and gaseous renewable fuels thousands of miles to cities, towns and farms.

It is essential that we conduct rigorous studies now, before pushing further ahead. The Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Energy and Interior Department should do so immediately. States, other nations, private sector companies, think tanks and NGOs can and should do their own analyses. The studies can blithely assume these expensive, intermittent, weather-dependent alternatives can actually replace fossil fuels. But they need to assess the environmental impacts of doing so.

Renewable energy companies, industries and advocates are notorious for hiding, minimizing, obfuscating or misrepresenting their environmental and human health impacts. They demand and receive exemptions from health and endangered species laws that apply to other industries. They make promises they cannot keep about being able to safely replace fossil fuels that now provide over 80% of US and global energy.

A few articles have noted some of the serious environmental, toxic/radioactive waste, human health and child labor issues inherent in mining rare earth and cobalt/lithium deposits. However, we now need quantitative studies – detailed, rigorous, honest, transparent, cradle-to-grave, peer-reviewed analyses.

The back-of-the-envelope calculations that follow provide a template. I cannot vouch for any of them. But our governments need to conduct full-blown studies forthwith – before they commit us to spending tens of trillions of dollars on renewable energy schemes, mandates and subsidies that could blanket continents with wind turbines, solar panels, biofuel crops and battery arrays; destroy habitats and wildlife; kill jobs, impoverish families and bankrupt economies; impair our livelihoods, living standards and liberties; and put our lives under the control of unelected, unaccountable state, federal and international rulers – without having a clue whether these supposed alternatives are remotely economical or sustainable.

Ethanol derived from corn grown on 40,000,000 acres now provides the equivalent of 10% of US gasoline – and requires billions of gallons of water, and enormous quantities of fertilizer and energy. What would it take to replace 100% of US gasoline? To replace the entire world’s motor fuels?

Solar panels on Nevada’s Nellis Air Force Base generate 15 megawatts of electricity perhaps 30% of the year from 140 acres. Arizona’s Palo Verde nuclear power plant generates 900 times more electricity, from less land, some 95% of the year. Generating Palo Verde’s output via Nellis technology would require land area ten times larger than Washington, DC – and would still provide electricity unpredictably only 30% of the time. Now run those solar numbers for the 3.5 billion megawatt-hours generated nationwide in 2016.

Modern coal or gas-fired power plants use less than 300 acres to generate 600 megawatts 95% of the time. Indiana’s 600-MW Fowler Ridge wind farm covers 50,000 acres and generates electricity about 30% of the year. Calculate the turbine and acreage requirements for 3.5 billion MWH of wind electricity.

Delving more deeply, generating 20% of US electricity with wind power would require up to 185,000 1.5-MW turbines, 19,000 miles of new transmission lines, 18 million acres, and 245 million tons of concrete, steel, copper, fiberglass and rare earths – plus fossil-fuel back-up generators for the 75-80% of the year that winds nationwide are barely blowing and the turbines are not producing electricity.

Energy analyst David Wells has calculated that replacing 160,000 teraWatt-hours of total global energy consumption with wind would require 183,400,000 turbines needing roughly: 461,000,000,000 tons of steel for the towers; 460,00,000,000 tons of steel and concrete for the foundations; 59,000,000,000 tons of copper, steel and alloys for the turbines; 738,000,000 tons of neodymium for turbine magnets; 14,700,000,000 tons of steel and complex composite materials for the nacelles; 11,000,000,000 tons of complex petroleum-based composites for the rotors; and massive quantities of other raw materials – all of which must be mined, processed, manufactured into finished products and shipped around the world.

Assuming 25 acres per turbine, the turbines would require 4,585,000,000 acres (1,855,500,000 hectares) – 1.3 times the land area of North America! Wells adds: Shipping just the iron ore to build the turbines would require nearly 3 million voyages in huge ships that would consume 13 billion tons of bunker fuel (heavy oil) in the process. And converting that ore to iron and steel would require 473 billion tons of coking coal, demanding another 1.2 million sea voyages, consuming another 6 billion tons of bunker fuel.

For sustainability disciples: Does Earth have enough of these raw materials for this transformation?

It gets worse. These numbers do not include the ultra-long transmission lines required to carry electricity from windy locations to distant cities. Moreover, Irina Slav notes, wind turbines, solar panels and solar thermal installations cannot produce high enough heat to melt silica, iron or other metals, and certainly cannot generate the required power on a reliable enough basis to operate smelters and factories.

Wind turbines (and solar panels) last just 20 years or so (less in salt water environments) – while coal, gas and nuclear power plants last 35-50 years and require far less land and raw materials. That means we would have tear down, haul away and replace far more “renewable” generators twice as often; dispose of or recycle their component parts (and toxic or radioactive wastes); and mine, process and ship more ores.

Finally, their intermittent electricity output means they couldn’t guarantee you could boil an egg, run an assembly line, surf the internet or complete a heart transplant when you need to. So we store their output in massive battery arrays, you say. OK. Let’s calculate the land, energy and raw materials for that. While we’re at it, let’s add in the requirements for building and recharging 100% electric vehicle fleets.

Then there are the bird and bat deaths, wildlife losses from destroying habitats, and human health impacts from wind turbine noise and flicker. These also need to be examined – fully and honestly – along with the effects of skyrocketing renewable energy prices on every aspect of this transition and our lives.

But for honest, evenhanded EPA and other scientists, modelers and regulators previously engaged in alarmist, biased climate chaos studies, these analyses will provide some job security. Let’s get started.

Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org) and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power – Black death.

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279 thoughts on “Monumental, Unsustainable Environmental Impacts

    • I love this site. There are science [snip] making comments that other science[snip]are wrong and that their position of[snip]science is real.

      One thing that opposing science [snip] cannot [snip] is that if the planet is not warming why are 90% of glaciers retreating (source American Geological Survey)? By the way, I will give you all a clue, heat melts ice. When [snip] the data gathered by the American Geological Survey’s data please refer to a reputable institution that provides data that shows that heat is not melting the glaciers. Not just opinions and please, please leave out the personal attacks.

      Reply: “please, please leave out the personal attacks.” Ah ha ha ha ha ha ha ha omg, the self-awareness is lacking in this one. This comment would normally just be trashed, but it’s kind of fun to let it through after processing. Anyway steve, in the future, if you don’t call us names we won’t make fun of you.~ctm

      • Steve you misguided jackass,
        If you had a single clue in your dang-fool empty head, you might stop and ask yourself why you are up nights pissing your panties about having less of one of the most destructive natural forces on our way-too-cold planet.
        Anyone with a lick of sense knows that the less of our planet covered in frozen wsstelands, the better and more hospitable Earth is for the important things…those being living irganisms.
        Why do you hate plants and animals?

      • Do you deny the numbers in the article. If so compute and post YOUR numbers, and see if “renewable” energy is possible and practical.

        Until then please refrain from labeling the author as denying science..

      • Oh dear, the estimates show 700 million + tons of rare earth metals required for the magnets. Shame there is only 140 million tons of rare earth oxide reserves known in the world

      • steve, “if the planet is not warming why are 90% of glaciers retreating ”

        Well, presently the heat is enough to melt them. Even when the heat is reduced it may be enough to melt them further.

      • steve,
        You do seem to be ignorant about sceptics.
        No one here is seriously claiming that there has been no global warming. The debate is about its cause and effects.
        During the Little Ice Age, glaciers were advancing. At least one – and maybe more – Alpine village was destroyed by an advancing glacier. The LIA lasted for centuries and ended around 1850. So, almost by definition, there would be warming in the 20th century, and the glaciers would start to retreat.

        Nearly half of the warming had occurred by 1945, and that was clearly natural – an inevitable rebound from the LIA. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think SUV’s and mass air travel had really taken off by 1945. So, an obvious explanation for the second leg of warming (1980 to 2000) was that it was caused by exactly the same thing that caused the pre – 1945 warming. Oh, yes, and the Medieval Warm Period. And the Roman Warm Period. And the Minoan Warm Period. And the dramatic warming associated with the start of the Holocene. In short, the climate is pretty well always changing. So how can we be sure the 20th century warming was purely caused by increasing CO2?

        Most sceptics will agree that CO2 has caused some amount of warming, but it is small. The peer reviewed science shows estimates of CO2 caused warming steadily getting smaller. Taking into account the observed warming, including the pause, and also the possibility of strong negative feedbacks in the climate system, I think the warming caused by a CO2 doubling is well under half a degree C. The IPCC predictions of multiple degrees of warming by the end of the century are becoming increasingly unsustainable – sheer fantasy, some might call them.

        So, steve, if you actually have any valid points to make, I’m sure people will be happy to debate them with you.
        Chris

    • Excellent paper. https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2997420

      It casts grave doubts upon an underlying requirement of the AGW religion ie that fossil fuel emissions cause increases in CO2 emissions.

      The paper examines the detrended correlation between fossil fuel emissions and CO2 concentration using multiple Monte Carlo simulations to account for the uncertainty in CO2 emissions data on an annual basis and finds no correlation.

      There is a small r**2 of .6 correlation between the source data without detrending. However because both series are increasing, the correlation reflects the simultaneous increase rather than the amount of increase in each year for the two variables. There is no correlation between the annual increase in the two variables.

      “We find that detrended correlation analysis of annual emissions and annual changes in atmospheric CO2 does not support the AGW hypothesis because no evidence is found that changes in atmospheric CO2 are related to fossil fuel emissions at an annual time scale. The finding raises important questions about the IPCC carbon budget which apparently overcomes daunting problems in the measurement of much larger natural flows to describe with great precision how annual emissions are distributed to gains in atmospheric and oceanic carbon dioxide (Bopp, 2002) (Chen, 2000) (Davis, 2010) (IPCC, 2014) (McGuire, 2001). These carbon budget conclusions are inconsistent with the findings of this study and are the likely result of insufficient attention to uncertainty, reliance on climate models and “net flows” (Plattner, 2002), and of
      assumptions, circular reasoning, and research bias likely to be deeply embedded in the carbon budget
      procedures (Edwards, 1999) (Ito, 2005) (Munshi, 2015a) (Munshi, 2016).”

    • Actually, I haven’t really seen any empirical evidence that the issue of atmospheric CO2 impacting climate has anything to do with what is happening. The attack isn’t on CO2, it is on the production of energy which happens to be generated mostly by carbon based fuels.

      The attack on energy is a direct effort to suppress human population. There is far more evidence that the planet is moving towards colder, not warmer, and there is far more evidence that people die from hypothermia far more easily and in larger numbers than from heat injuries. Thus the attack on energy is to freeze those that would be vulnerable to cold – the old, the sick, and the poor which happen to make up a fairly large portion of the population.

      And if you have noticed that science and data have had little to no affect on the “non-debate,” it is because climate is not the issue, world population is the issue, and the effort to drive down the population is only using climate as a smoke screen. The elite and their hand picked politicians, along with their supporting cast of “climate alarmists” will survive because they will have the resources to do so while those that have to rely on what will be left of the energy production system will most likely not. And as it gets colder and people finally catch on, there won’t be the resources necessary to rebuild a dependable industry, or will there be the capacity to grow the food to support those that still survive because they live in semi-tropical areas, thus the population finally will bottom out at the under 1 billion that seems to be someone’s belief that we should be at. At that point, remarkably, it will become okay to use carbon fuels for energy production.

      We really should be fighting the monster, not its shadow.

      • Bob,
        I always think of the “Opportunity Cost” when someone is advocating using my paid taxes to study something, whether it is Nessie (the Loch monster) or episodic weather events caused by fluctuations in solar energy.
        So go ahead and study whatever you want. Use your money.

        Today, the “Opportunity Cost” I favor is doing away with shaming little students whose parents are not attempting to pay for school lunch.

      • John, I’ve used my own money for over 4 years to study solar energy fluctuations and earthly effects. Many thousands of dollars and late nights daily went into building, maintaining and testing a functional solar model of the weather and climate, that’s updated daily.

        My opportunity cost was foregoing expensive equipment repairs, and the lost income from staying home not earning anything to do what I think is the right thing to do. You can consider that opportunity cost to me to have been in the range of $125K to $500K+, from lost opportunities as an electrical engineer. No one can say I didn’t sacrifice to earn my solar-climate knowledge.

        The prevailing idea that variable solar weather dynamics should be ignored is the root of all wrong POVs. The solar cycle influence is 100% of the energy source for the ocean. Solar energy variability impacts the weather every day. The power of the Sun caused the warming of the early and late 20th century.

      • They shouldn’t because those fluctuations cannot be reliably predicted and thus not be used a basis for policy. Take that from somebody studying this for half a century.

      • However, solar energy fluctuations and cosmic rays are being used, in a manner, to promulgate policy changes, because they do exist, and have an effect on climate. It’s simply that their contributions are not fully understood nor recognized.
        True, they are not predictable, yet their impact remains. We should be aware of their past effects so that when they do recur we can account for the effects.

      • Isvalgaard – “They shouldn’t (include fluctuations in solar energy, cosmic rays …) because those fluctuations cannot be reliably predicted and thus not be used a basis for policy.”

        I can’t believe you made this statement.

        It seemingly adheres to the fictitious “Eraser Property of Variables” that an engineering school chum (who flunked out and later went into psychology) invented just before he flunked Calculus II for the third time.

        To wit:

        “If one finds that an equation or relationship is too complex, unwieldy, contains unknowns, or is just beyond ones ability to solve – then simply erase some of it, – it doesn’t matter which parts – and then solve what remains.”

      • However, solar energy fluctuations and cosmic rays are being used, in a manner, to promulgate policy changes, because they do exist, and have an effect on climate. It’s simply that their contributions are not fully understood nor recognized.
        They are not recognized because their contributions are trivially small. If they were large there would not be ‘debate’ about them.

    • Here’s a website I just ran across:

      http://www.currentresults.com/Weather/US/number-hot-days-cities-summer.php

      I live in Memphis. It says that between 1981 and 2010 Memphis averaged 54 days over 90F degrees per summer. And actually the historical average is 69 days according to Accuweather.

      We have had 2 days over 90 this summer. Two. According to the Accuweather historical record, 13 days over 90F would be normal for this date.

      The forecast is that the next two will be under 90F so we will be 15 behind normal. Only nine days out of 31 are forecast to be 90F or above for July when the historic record has an average of 90 or better every day of the month.

      1981 to 2010 was already showing fewer days over 90F than the historic record does.

      It has been very cloudy this spring and summer. I also note that cosmic rays are way up, in fact they appear to be at historic levels according to the University of Deleware Bartol Research Institute Neutron Monitor Program.

      Correlation does not mean causation. But I haven’t heard any other theories attempt to explain the gradual cooling we have had since the 80’s that correlate as well as the high levels of cosmic radiation in SC 23 and 24. So by default, I’m going with cosmic radiation as the leading contender until I hear a better explanation.

      • Jasper Kirkby explains what CERN has found with respect to cosmic radiation causing cloudiness. What he does not seem to be aware of is the recent studies showing the greening of the earth and how that might better mimic pre-industrial times.

      • davidgmillsatty – Do not worry after adjustments and homogenization there will be 55 days above 90F this summer.They will use the temperatures recorded at Nuevo Laredo, Tx (1200Km away) to adjust the Memphis readings.

      • Afternoons May through October have been getting cooler for those states east of the Rockies from the Gulf of Mexico north to the Canadian border for over 80 years, and most of those all the way back to the 19th century:

      • “Correlation does not mean causation. But I haven’t heard any other theories attempt to explain the gradual cooling we have had since the 80’s that correlate as well as the high levels of cosmic radiation in SC 23 and 24. So by default, I’m going with cosmic radiation as the leading contender until I hear a better explanation.”

        There’s a correlation? The entire data series comparison is haphazard, with some periods of warming [cooling] coinciding with either increasing or high CRs and vice versa. There’s actually less WV in the atmosphere now since the El Nino ended, with visibly fewer clouds. It also cools faster at night with fewer clouds.

        It warmed since the 80’s by the way, warmed by three high TSI solar cycles 21-23 followed by the 2015 TSI SC24 spike that fueled the 2016 El Nino. The present cooling is due to falling SC24 TSI into the solar minimum, expected 2019-20. Expect the next El NIno after SC25 ramps up, 2020-22.

      • the gradual cooling we have had since the 80’s
        Since there has been no cooling [as per you Figure] the rest of your comment does not seem interesting. Perhaps one could note that your graph of cosmic rays is based on a non-representative station [Oulu]. Other stations generally don’t show this variation.

      • I happen to know the Oulu station data overall isn’t that much different except for the 2008-9 minimum, and the very minor differences are not important to my explanation.

        If you think the differences are important at the annual level please demonstrate. If you have a specific CR data timeseries link that covers the 1964-present period, where the data is accessible in daily monthly or annual form in the manner Oulu provides, then I’ll happily use it. Seriously; pony up with a better source or its Oulu. I don’t care about cosmic rays anyway so big deal.

      • Lief it is clear that Memphis has cooled or the historic record would not be higher than the records of 1981- 2010. According to the graph posted above by NOAA most of the US has cooled. I just look at real temperature data from Mercury thermometers. Screw the hockey stick.

        The fact is simply that recorded temperatures show most of the highest temperatures in the US states were recorded before 2000. Here is a list of each state and the highest temperatures ever recorded by state:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._state_temperature_extremes

        The highest temperature ever recorded was in Death Valley in 1913.

        You may not find the temperature record interesting but it is what it is. And in Tennessee where I live the highest temperature was in 1933.

      • That is a cool site Leif thanks. Bookmarked it and eventually will add it in to see the difference, after cross checking both sources for best consistency with solar wind data.

      • Lief that is why I put up the daily average high temps of Memphis in the summer. That is climate not weather. We have daily averages of 69 days of temps over 90 degrees. Our weather is not close to hitting our climate averages and hasn’t been for a long while.

      • Thanks for Cherry picking Lief. Your graph from 1973 to present looks a lot like the NOAA graph that was posted for that time period. But you omitted 1900 to 1973. So your graph goes up while NOAA’s goes down.

      • But you omitted 1900 to 1973.
        Nonsense. I showed 1973-Now and 1900-Now. You may grok that 1900-1973 is a subset of the second graph, so not omitted. With the trend determined two different ways. Both show warming since 1980, not cooling.

      • A maximum temperature number is a hard number to manipulate or fudge. And so I am going with the graph Steve posted since temperature manipulation is widely known. I think it better represents climate over time than the graphs you show.

      • I suspect the only cooling you are seeing is in high temperatures and that your low temperatures have risen. The best explanation is the Gray feedback process for higher CO2 levels. You get warmer nights/winters and cooler days/summers. This would also explain your data.

      • @ Richard M.

        Clouds are a much better explanation because their ability to create forcings are much higher than CO2 as Kirkby points out. And yes it appears at looking at the data, the nighttime average temps are higher and the daily average temps are lower.

        As Kirkby also points out sulfuric acid is the major cause of cloud droplets in the industrial era but during the pre-industrial era it was due to trees. But we have had a substantial increase in vegetation since 1985 (according to NASA and due to CO2 fertilizing) and a Yale study two years ago showed that the planet had 3 trillion trees not 400 billion as once thought. So perhaps Kirkby is underestimating the amount that plants cause cloudiness and the effect of GCR’s which really affect the way trees cause cloudiness.

        So my bet on lower high temps due to clouds, not CO2. And also that there is good evidence to support Svensmark.

      • @davidgmillsatty … one of the ways Gray feedback works is to reduce summer/daytime warming by the formation of more clouds. I wouldn’t put much stock in the cosmic ray hypothesis without seeing better correlations than has been observed.

      • Kirkby clearly says CERN has proven that GCR’s are the means by which biogenic particles form clouds. In the modern era, with clouds being formed by sulfuric acid that has not been the case. But we don’t have acid rain like we once did in the US. We don’t have industrial pollution like we one had. And we have had lots of greening of North America in the last 30 years. So it seems to me that the increase in cloudiness here is most likely due to biogenic particles which form cloud droplets from GCR’s.

        There is not a single commenter that commented on Kirkby’s findings at CERN. Not a single one. Sounds like bias to me. But then we know of Lief’s bias.

      • There is not a single commenter that commented on Kirkby’s findings at CERN. Not a single one. Sounds like bias to me
        All he found was that you need to keep the instruments clean. The GCR idea is a dead horse. Why keep flogging it? GCRs have been steady for as long as we have been measuring them, while temperatures have soared. Here is the GCR intensity at Kiel (Germany, Northern Hemisphere):

        and at Hermanus (South Africa, Southern Hemisphere):

      • Lief how can you say that what he found is that you need to keep the instrument clean?

        I just explained what he said in the video above. You obviously did not watch it. He clearly says the GCR’s cause cloud droplets to form out of biogenic particles. He says that most cloudiness today is caused by sulfuric acid from pollution and GCR’s do not cause sulfuric acid to form cloud droplets. So you would not expect GCR’s to have much effect in today’s atmosphere but they did before the industrial age. That is what he says the CERN research shows. Now if he did not say that in the video above please feel free to correct me.

        This is from his research in the CERN cloud chamber.

        And what I wonder is whether his opinion that most cloud droplets today are caused by sulfuric acid (at least in the US) when there hasn’t been a word about acid rain (in the US) in decades.

      • davidgmillsatty July 6, 2017 at 4:05 pm
        Lief how can you say that what he found is that you need to keep the instrument clean?
        Because that is what he considers the most important lesson from the CLOUD experiment:
        http://www.atmos-chem-phys.net/10/1635/2010/acp-10-1635-2010.pdf
        “the most important lessons for the CLOUD design include the stringent requirement of internal cleanliness of the aerosol chamber, as well as maintenance of extremely stable temperatures (variations below 0.1 ◦C).”

        I just explained what he said in the video above.
        The video is activism, not science.

        His most glaring error is to show a Figure that shows how temperature [given by 18O] purportedly correlates with GCRs:

        He compares the temp proxy with the GCR flux AFTER it has been corrected for the change of the Earth’s magnetic field [by removing a 200-yr running mean], but what matters is the uncorrected flux, the actual flux that gets into the atmosphere [right hand panel, red curve].

        Etc, etc, etc. The Svensmark hypothesis is a dead horse.

      • You still did not address his findings about sulfuric acid and biogenic particles and GCR’s.

        He says GCR’s cause biogenic particles to create cloud droplets. He further says that before the industrial age this was the primary ways clouds formed. Do you care to address this or not?

      • The video is not activism Lief. He is discussing the findings of the Cloud research and their publications.

        What his findings appear to show is that Svensmark’s theory is not dead, but more like in hibernation. And my point is that as the greening of the earth continues, the hibernating bear will waken. And may be stirring already.

      • Sure looks like activism to me, even had you under its influence.
        Svensmark’s hypothesis is dead because the close relationship he found over solar cycle 22 has not held up since [or before, for that matter]. On longer time scales one may note that the trend in GCR flux has been upwards the past 60 years as solar activity has declined [predicting cooling] while over the same time the globe has warmed. Unfortunately, bad science takes a long time to die.

      • How is it activism?

        What the results showed was that Svensmark was right with respect to his theory that GCR’s cause clouds to form (when biogenic vapors occupy the atmosphere in the absence of sulfuric acid). CERN proved that part of his theory whether you like it or not.

        If you don’t like it, get your own cloud chamber, repeat the experiment and come up with a different result. Otherwise you are the one promoting activism in dismissing the result.

        How much GCR’s affect climate is going to have to be seen when we get a less polluted atmosphere since today’s the atmosphere has been contaminated with sulfuric acid which also produces clouds which has been the case since the industrial revolution.

        Consequently you can’t say Svensmark’s theory is wrong or dead.

        I do question Kirkby’s apparent implication that sulfuric acid contaminates the vast majority of the atmosphere of the planet. Perhaps he’s right. But if there are places where there is next to no pollution produced sulfuric acid, then GCR’s are creating those clouds and they are affecting the climate even now.

      • Cosmic Rays do form condensation nuclei, but not enough to make any dent in the weather [several papers on that, see e.g. http://www.leif.org/EOS/No-Cloud-Cover-GCR-Link.pdf, “The contribution of CR to ‘climate change’ is quite negligible”] so Svensmark is wrong that they are the main driver of weather [and in turn climate], simply because the variations of the weather/climate do not match the predicted pattern. To make a video to claim otherwise in face of the lack of evidence is activism.

      • This may also be helpful: http://www.leif.org/EOS/GCR-Climate-Corr.pdf
        “No compelling evidence to support a cosmic ray cloud connection hypothesis using the satellite cloud data (ISCCP, MODIS) with long- or short-term (Fd) studies”.
        Perhaps in the distant future some small effect will be demonstrated, but Svensmark’s claim is not about some tiny effect, but that the GCRs are the MAIN and DOMINANT driver of climate.

      • That is not the complete answer. The complete answer is that they have not been a major factor in weather or climate since the industrial age contaminated the atmosphere with sulfuric acid; but before that they were, and will be once again, when sulfuric acids in the atmosphere fall to much lower levels than sulfuric acids are today.

      • Very funny and a bit touching. Svensmark et al. are claiming [e/g/ in “The Chilling Stars”] that the current global warming is due to the [actually increasing] cosmic ray flux. Now, Shaviv and Veizer [2003] are in your camp: “In that article, we deliberately stated,”we emphasize that our conclusion about the dominance of the CR Flux over climate variability is valid only on multi-million-year time scales””. If so, the GCR discussion is irrelevant for debate over modern climate. Not to speak about the uncertainties in our ‘knowledge’ about both GCRs and Climate multi-millions of years ago.

      • And of course vegetation is part of the process as well. The less the vegetation of the planet the less effect GCR’s will have and vice versa. Since NASA has shown there has been a marked increase in vegetation since 1985, one would expect GCR’s to be playing a more important role today than they did even that short time ago.

      • I am glad you find their work touching.

        As a litigator for 35 years one thing I do understand is advocacy and I know it when I see it. What advocates do when the opposition has a test or runs an experiment and the opposition has results advocates don’t like is to avoid a faithful replication of the test or experiment if they think a faithful replication might prove the result they don’t like. So what advocates do instead is to unfaithfully reproduce a test or experiment, or just criticize the process or the result.

        And of course to me that is what you are obviously doing. And it really is sad to see scientists today stooping to advocacy (and I am not singling you out at all) rather than science. Do science and faithfully replicate the work of others whenever feasible.

        If Kirkby’s results are sound then it would be expected that GCR’s don’t consistently track climate in the atmosphere of today given the fact that global vegetation has been low for the past several centuries and sulfuric acid levels have been high. But GCR’s would be very instrumental in a global climate in atmospheres dominated with biogenics, and who is to say that will not be the case in the very near future. It does seem plausible that the Maunder minimum could have been responsible for the little ice age even with lower vegetation levels than today (if lower global vegetation even was the case then).

        And of course there may be other particles which in an atmosphere containing neither sulfuric acid or biogenics might also cause clouds to form when hit with GCR’s. It would be interesting to see those experiments done to see what might have happened long before plants arose during times of low volcanic activity.

        Of course a very practical application of the CERN findings would be to cloud seed arid regions of the earth with biogenics to see if clouds will form if those areas lack atmospheric sulfuric acid. So to me this is good science not only from a theoretical perspective but also from an applied perspective.

      • I am glad you find their work touching.
        What I found touching was your gullibility by being taken by their activism.
        Even the strongest defenders of the GCR effect agree that it is not relevant for today’s climate, but only on a “multi-million” year time scale.

      • Thanks again for the zero substance slam.

        Again your response is nothing but advocacy. You still have not refuted the findings of Cloud’s experiments in their cloud chamber or even Svensmark’s findings in his. Because you can’t replicate their experiments and can’t find anyone who has and has come up with different results.

        All you can do is point to their process or their results and conclude they are moot or in disagreement with the work of other scientists who did not attempt to replicate their work either. I am beginning to wonder whether in all your 50 years of experience you ever spent a day in actual laboratory actually doing chemistry.

        Seems like with your advocacy skills you might have missed your calling. You should have been a defense attorney. You have the advocacy ploy that I mentioned down pat. Defense attorneys are infamous for refusing to replicate tests that would run the risk of proving a Plaintiff’s testing to be correct.

        And as I said it is a shame that science has turned into an advocacy forum.

        But again your advocacy relies on an accepted historic temperature record before it can conclude that there is a temperature/gcr mismatch.

        Hell, we can’t seem to get the temperature record agreed upon so what your critics or Svensmark supporters think seems unfounded. How can anyone say there is or is not a GCR correlation with temperature when so many people disagree about the temperature record?

        That was the point of this article. https://wattsupwiththat.com/2017/07/06/bombshell-study-temperature-adjustments-account-for-nearly-all-of-the-warming-in-government-climate-data/

        You didn’t comment on it that I could see.

        The real point of Svensmark’s work is that GCR’s cause clouds to form, and if so, it is pretty idiotic to say clouds have no effect on temperature or to assume that they do not have any significant affect on temperature.

        And one more thing, since 70% of the earth is covered with water, and clouds form over water a long way from sulfuric acid or land created biogenics, it begs the question of what are the particles that water produces for cloud condensation and what affect does GCR’s have on those particles if any. I guess we will have to wait on studies for that.

        I am not convinced by Kirkby’s assertion that GCR’s have a very limited impact on cloud creation today. A cynic would say he said that to give homage to the global warming fund gods. Kirkby has always been a bit more political than Svensmark, but he does get the funding Svensmark doesn’t.

      • Thanks again for the zero substance slam.

        Again your response is nothing but advocacy. You still have not refuted the findings of Cloud’s experiments in their cloud chamber or even Svensmark’s findings in his. Because you can’t replicate their experiments and can’t find anyone who has and has come up with different results.

        All you can do is point to their process or their results and conclude they are moot or in disagreement with the work of other scientists who did not attempt to replicate their work either. I am beginning to wonder whether in all your 50 years of experience you ever spent a day in actual laboratory actually doing chemistry.

        Seems like with your advocacy skills you might have missed your calling. You should have been a defense attorney. You have the advocacy ploy that I mentioned down pat. Defense attorneys are infamous for refusing to replicate tests that would run the risk of proving a Plaintiff’s testing to be correct.

        And as I said it is a shame that science has turned into an advocacy forum.

        But again your advocacy relies on an accepted historic temperature record before it can conclude that there is a temperature/gcr mismatch.

        Hell, we can’t seem to get the temperature record agreed upon so what your critics or Svensmark supporters think seems unfounded. How can anyone say there is or is not a GCR correlation with temperature when so many people disagree about the temperature record?

        That was the point of this article. https://wattsupwiththat.com/2017/07/06/bombshell-study-temperature-adjustments-account-for-nearly-all-of-the-warming-in-government-climate-data/

        You didn’t comment on it that I could see.

        The real point of Svensmark’s work is that GCR’s cause clouds to form, and if so, it is pretty idiotic to say clouds have no effect on temperature or to assume that they do not have any significant affect on temperature.

        And one more thing, since 70% of the earth is covered with water, and clouds form over water a long way from sulfuric acid or land created biogenics, it begs the question of what are the particles that water produces for cloud condensation and what affect does GCR’s have on those particles if any. I guess we will have to wait on studies for that.

        I am not convinced by Kirkby’s assertion that GCR’s have a very limited impact on cloud creation today. A cynic would say he said that to give homage to the global warming fund gods. Kirkby has always been a bit more political than Svensmark, but he does get the funding Svensmark doesn’t.

      • So you posted another zero substance slam.

        You simply can’t replicate the work that Svensmark and Kirkby have done in their labs and the only thing you and their critics can do is attack their process or their results.

        Like I said that is advocacy not science. Maybe you missed your calling as a defense attorney. They love this advocacy ploy. They never take the risk of replicating an experiment a plaintiff has done for fear of proving the plaintiff’s test was valid.

        It is so obvious Leif.

        Your arguments about Svensmark and Kirkby are getting weaker by the day as your lack of actual experimental laboratory evidence show anything to the contrary.

        Your argument is further weakened by reliance on the “temperature record” which itself is proving extremely debatable and was pointed out once again in this post:

        https://wattsupwiththat.com/2017/07/06/bombshell-study-temperature-adjustments-account-for-nearly-all-of-the-warming-in-government-climate-data/

        Since the temperature record is highly debatable any conclusion that cosmic radiation and temperature correspond or don’t is going to be debatable as well.

        But what does seem to be beyond legitimate debate is the proof that cosmic radiation does form clouds under the right conditions, and that being the case, it seems quite idiotic to say cosmic radiation does not affect climate on short term time scales.

      • it seems quite idiotic to say cosmic radiation does not affect climate on short term time scales.
        The strongest defenders of the idea [Shaviv and Vezier] emphasize that the effects may only be felt on million-year time scales. I think they would object to be called idiots. In any event, there is no observational evidence for recent climate change due to GCRs.

      • If they create clouds they “affect” short term climate. Climate would be vastly different without clouds. And I guess we will see how much they “change” climate in the short and long term. What your argument really is that they don’t increase or decrease clouds very much in the short term. If Vizer and Shaviv are right, the affect GCRs on climate is very large when we go through the spiral arms of the galaxy or even clearly noticeable when we travel through spurs. But that does not mean that their affects can not be noticeable at other times when the solar system is not as heavily bombarded with GCRs.

        And what Kirkby said is that they are the primary creator of clouds when sulfuric acid is not as abundant in the air as it now. So his opinion is that they usually affect climate much more than the are now.

      • What your argument really is that they don’t increase or decrease clouds very much in the short term.
        Direct observations over the last ~40 years show that there is no correlation between GCRs and low clouds [and albedo to boot], which is why Svensmark’s hypothesis has been observationally falsified, and why it makes little sense to keep flogging that dead horse.
        BTW, that energetic particles cause condensation nuclei [“clouds”] was already shown by Wilson in 1911 who got the Nobel Prize in 1927 for that. Kirkby brings nothing new to the table, except pointing out that one should keep the chamber clean.

      • E.g. http://www.leif.org/EOS/Clouds-GCR-Temps-Palle.pdf
        “the simplified scenario of cloud amount governed by solar activity (GCR) alone, is not valid as trens in cloudiness go the opposite way to predicted”.
        Now, you can always apply some special pleading that perhaps there are other effects that obscure the GCR-Cloud relationship, but that only means that it is not a significant issue for the present climate, which is all that counts. Who cares what the relationship was a million years ago?

    • “They shouldn’t because those fluctuations cannot be reliably predicted and thus not be used a basis for policy. Take that from somebody studying this for half a century.”

      I won’t take your word for anything anymore after I found out your view is 100% wrong.

      Solar energy fluctuations are readily and reliably predictable, but just not by you. ;)

      I’m not claiming to predict what the sun will do, but what its effect will be under variable activity levels.

      The very real temperature effects of TSI fluctuations are not mysterious or difficult, regardless of your 50 years! The only difficulty is your built-in bias against it and self-imposed blindness to it.

      We do agree on cosmic rays.

      • The very real temperature effects of TSI fluctuations are not mysterious or difficult
        Of course not. There is a real effect on the order of 0.1K due to the solar cycle variation of TSI.

      • My F10.7cm to TSI models for this year have consistently come in under 1% error. The method applied to SSNs yields a more accurate and better time resolution TSI reconstruction than your annual data method.

        The same method can be applied to predicting future TSI for a given future SSN regime.

        I am counting on you for the best possible amplitude estimate for SC25, from which I can develop an estimate for TSI and SST.

        Later, TSI and SST can be better estimated after the SWPC SC25 first forecast comes out.

        Most cycles follow a very basic pattern of a short rapid annual rate of increase in TSI that drives the first cycle ENSO, followed by the TSI climb to the maximum with one or more TSI spikes that follow major SSN spikes, that subsequently drive ENSOs if sunspot numbers were high enough long enough.

        It’s very deterministic, and it’s not very hard to understand or do.

      • My F10.7cm to TSI models for this year have consistently come in under 1% error.
        1% of 1361 is 13.6 W/m2. TSI have never varied that much.

        The same method can be applied to predicting future TSI for a given future SSN regime.
        Since everything [F10.7, TSI, SSN, GCRs, etc] is correlated, once you posit one of them the others follow. No big deal, everybody knows that.

        I am counting on you for the best possible amplitude estimate for SC25, from which I can develop an estimate for TSI and SST.
        so can everybody. BTW, my best estimate for the SSN for SC25 is 127 (v2 scale), but with the usual caveat that it is a bit too early for a good estimate.

        Most cycles follow a very basic pattern of a short rapid annual rate of increase in TSI that drives the first cycle ENSO, followed by the TSI climb to the maximum with one or more TSI spikes that follow major SSN spikes, that subsequently drive ENSOs if sunspot numbers were high enough long enough.
        ENSOs have nothing to do with this; the rest is common knowledge.

        It’s very deterministic, and it’s not very hard to understand or do.
        On the contrary, it is VERY hard to understand why the sunspot cycle behaves the way it does. As I said: once you have the SSN, even armchair pseudo-scientists can rather successfully estimate all the other indices, just from curve-fitting without understanding any of the physics. You are probably not an exception.

      • As usual your assumptions are in your way.

        My F10.7cm to TSI models for this year have consistently come in under 1% error.

        1% of 1361 is 13.6 W/m2. TSI have never varied that much.”

        You distorted again and threw out another strawman argument.

        Any decent reasonable person should have recognized that the 1% error is the difference between the modeled TSI and the actual TSI, not some made-up “1% of the whole of TSI” BS you made up!

        Useful forecasting with SSNs & F10.7 is easy because of the correlations, and I do it very well.

        It’s very deterministic, and it’s not very hard to understand or do.

        On the contrary, it is VERY hard to understand why the sunspot cycle behaves the way it does. As I said: once you have the SSN, even armchair pseudo-scientists can rather successfully estimate all the other indices, just from curve-fitting without understanding any of the physics. You are probably not an exception.”

        This is another distortion of what I said. Let me be clearer: I don’t predict the sunspot cycle, so whether it is VERY hard [I’ll bet it’s not as hard as you are making it out to be] or not is irrelevant to my discussion. Haven’t you realized I use other people’s SSN predictions, not my own? That’s your job.

        You assume I don’t understand the physics. How so? and what if I didn’t, since all I have to know is TSI follows SSN, and how they correlate with F10.7cm, making your badgering over it also irrelevant.

        It’s true that what I do isn’t very hard to understand or do, and that’s the beauty of it, its utter simplicity.

        Everything about what I say is true and what you do is try to distort it. I fully get this is your turf battle.

      • Any decent reasonable person should have recognized that the 1% error is the difference between the modeled TSI and the actual TSI,
        If that different is 1% [13.6 W/m2] I [and any reasonable person] would say that the model has utterly failed as that difference is 100 times larger than the solar cycle change of [annual] TSI. So your 1% is not very impressive.

        all I have to know is TSI follows SSN, and how they correlate with F10.7cm
        sure, everybody know how they correlate, so you don’t bring anything to the table.
        In http://www.leif.org/research/EUV-F107-and-TSI-CDR-HAO.pdf you can see what we know today about this. What is of interest is not what can be fitted [because every curve can be fitted to any other curve] but why the fit is not always as good as we want. What causes the deviations or misfits? That is of intens interest, not than we find a fit that we like.

      • “If that different is 1% [13.6 W/m2] I [and any reasonable person] would say that the model has utterly failed as that difference is 100 times larger than the solar cycle change of [annual] TSI. So your 1% is not very impressive.”

        That is utter nonsense that has no bearing on what I discussed, and absolutely does not get to the point, is something I never said nor implied nor would I suggest my error is about.

        It is not based on 13.6 W/m^2, rather the actual F10.7cm & TSI averages over equal timeframe(s).

        “you don’t bring anything to the table.”

        Like you would know.

      • As it is unlikely that you would bother looking at slide 52, I show it here, so you can’t miss it:

        Now show us yours [where you get the 1% from]

      • Slide 52. Are you now using the RMIB composite and using it’s scale too? There’s nothing there showing any accuracy of anything to 0.007%. No percentages posted there either.

        Slide 61. I’ve learned something else besides the F10.7cm-TSI time lag that applies to your puzzlement.

      • There’s nothing there showing any accuracy of anything to 0.007%.
        The width of the band of several indices is 0.1 W/m2 which you may see is 0.007 of 1363.
        I use RMIB’s base to remove any quibbles about me fudging the baseline. But you can shift the base by a couple of W/m2 if you want to. Does not change anything.

        Slide 61. I’ve learned something else besides the F10.7cm-TSI time lag that applies to your puzzlement.
        There is no time lag. And the SORCE TSI simply has wrong calibration [of course LASP will deny that]. The strange behavior in 2014 is caused by the very large sunspots at the time, depressing TSI and increasing F10.7 and the SSN. Nothing mysterious there. The puzzle was that if you believed SORCE then the Sun would be doing something strange [just when we are looking]. If you go with RMIB, there is no such appeal to strangeness as everything fit nicely and upholds our understanding.

      • Leif this is a piece of cake.

        Use today’s 90 day F10.7cm, 76.7 sfu = 90d_F107.

        Today’s SORCE 90 day_TSI = 1360.7912 (calculated from daily TSI)

        Model 90 day TSI = (1+12%)*(0.0127*90d_F107)+1359.7 = 1360.7907

        The 12% represents the estimated TSI degradation factor over the statistical ave of 2003-2015, which I have varied downward from 14% in two years.

        % error = (actual 90d_TSI -predicted TSI)/(max range of monthly TSI)

        max range of monthly TSI = max monthly TSI – min monthly TSI

        max range of monthly TSI = 1361.8859 – 1361.2710 = 1.6149

        % error = (1360.7912 – 1360.7907)/1.6149 = 0.03%

        The 179 day model since 1/1/2017 has a % error today of 0.43%

        This formula has a limited F10.7cm range of effectiveness, up to where the relationship with TSI goes non-linear, but that range represents a very high percentage of the data. My other models take it from there.

      • this is a piece of cake.
        Well, not a very tasty one…
        Several things wrong:
        1) % error = (actual 90d_TSI -predicted TSI)/(max range of monthly TSI)
        is not the error. The error is [actual-predicted]/actual, i.e. in your case 0.000037%, nowhere near the 1% you claim. In addition you shouldn’t compare 90-day averages with monthly ranges. At least, the two time intervals should be the same.
        2) the degradation is not 12 or 14% [=177 W/m2], but 25 parts per million per year = 0.0325%/yr or 0.49 W/m2 total since 2003. The correct formula [taking the actual degradation into account, which is in fact an over-compensation for degradation: TSI is becoming too big, is TSI = 1359.87 + 0.00988 * F10.7.
        3) the 0.43% is not very impressive, but is meaningless anyway per 1).

        In any event, all you are doing are curve fitting with no physics and no predictive power.

      • “If you go with RMIB, there is no such appeal to strangeness as everything fit nicely and upholds our understanding.”

        I’ve wanted to work on RMIB for comparison, it’s imported now. SORCE is daily and it works for what I’m doing, but the one thing I’ve felt was necessary is to verify my basic findings with other TSI data.

        Doubtful anything will differ except the value of my warming threshold. In other words there will be a RMIB equivalent to SORCE of 1361.25, and some differences in the correlation equations, nothing major.

        There was no appeal to strangeness when I discussed the SORCE non-linearity wrt F10.7cm. The SSA-faculae control over TSI is a well-known principle no matter what instrument measures TSI, so I expect the same non-linearity wrt F10.7cm. We’ll see.

        Bedtime.

      • “to an accuracy of 0.007% or 136 times better than your claimed accuracy.”

        Perhaps you missed last night, @9:47PM, we both posted a comment, mine here

        ‘Computed the old-fashioned way, (actual-model)/actual, the 0.03% => 0.00004%’

        The 0.00004 is 0.000037 rounded up, and compared to your 0.007%, is 189X BETTER!

        So yes, my curve-fitting is better – far and away better – than yours! Very predictive too!

        “In addition you shouldn’t compare 90-day averages with monthly ranges. At least, the two time intervals should be the same.”

        You don’t read well. The 90 day figures I use are computed are using data from the same time frame.

        The 90-day F10.7cm is a running calculation updated daily, and the model results using it are compared to the 90-day TSI averaged over the exact same days as the 90-day F10.7cm average was computed from, updated and incremented ahead one day every morning.

        “…the degradation is not 12 or 14%…”

        I DID NOT SAY it was 12-14%. The 12-14% factor accounts for it – not the same thing as you claimed I said.

        “the 0.43% is not very impressive, but is meaningless anyway”

        First off, the error method (method #1) used for that is based on the absolute maximum amount monthly SORCE TSI actually varied 2003-2017, giving a larger number than the standard error method, which I find more useful. Both methods work and are equally valid.

        The 0.43% cited (using method #1) that you weren’t impressed by equates to 0.000518%, 13.5x better than your 0.007%!

        The RMIB data came with this link, ftp://gerb.oma.be/steven/RMIB_TSI_composite/TSICDR2016.pdf, where in the paper, curve-fitting and regression models are paramount. So why you are demonizing me over it?

        “In any event, all you are doing are curve fitting with no physics and no predictive power.”

        My models are very predictive because I understand the physics, and the math. In Dec 2015 I successfully predicted the Dec 2016 SORCE TSI, which ended up at 1360.8154, based on the SWPC F10.7cm flux forecast, using my models. The F10.7cm predicted value was 90.2, and the ‘low’ forecast was 81.2. From that I pegged the Dec 2016 TSI value to be between 1360.8455 (-.002% error) and 1360.7312 (0.006%).

        That was my very first go-round, and the error one year out was still less than your 0.007%!

        In conjunction with that forecast I used another regression model I made for TSI-SST to predict in 2015 that 2016 would not be a record year, at at time when no one else in the world was talking about such a steep temperature drop-off. The SST drop made it to just over 97% of the way to my predicted value!

        What were you saying about ‘no predictive power’?

        This entire exchange illustrates that you’re a know it all who doesn’t, and that you are very willing to distort and smear what I say, no matter what, even over uncontroversial matters.

        My regression models are better than yours, at least 10-100X more accurate.

        Still want to argue with me over who has the more accurate TSI models?.

      • So why you are demonizing me over it?
        I’m not. Just pointing out that the curve fitting you are doing is trivial.
        Still want to argue with me over who has the more accurate TSI models?.
        I am always willing to educate. BTW, the accuracy you claim 0.0005 W/m2 is 14 times the precision of the SORCE instrument, so is clearly spurious. Perhaps you should be congratulated by predicting something much better than it can be measured…

    • @ lsvalgaard July 5, 2017 at 8:13 am

      “It ignores fluctuations in solar energy, cosmic rays
      As they should for good reasons.”

      Of course lsvalgaard, because the generation of unreliable energy from wind and sun only relies on the weather, and as everyone knows the sun rarely affects the weather.

      Isn’t that how it goes?

  1. Good article, points out the insurmountable problems preventing useful, reliable renewable energy (wind, solar has similar problems and only works part of the clear days).
    It is time for adult supervision and adult decision making in the vital energy sector in our economy.

    • Agree,good article – someone should write a similar speech for Trump to deliver to the nation at the proper time. This would get much negative attention, but also positive reactions from most people, and most republicans (conservatives). Somebody has to get this word out to the nation.
      It might spark some desired actual debate on the subject of energy and climate and land use,truth, etc. in this country.

    • Since Congress extended the PTC until 2020, I see little point to trying to stop the insanity. Obviously, the people elected are more concerned with being Santa Claus to the wind industry than serving their constituents. If they can claim “jobs”, “tax revenue” and so forth, many Americans are so uneducated and uncaring that they only care what’s in it for them and never, never, never ask what the cost. They simply do not care. It gets them money. It gets the very rich donor class much more money. Americans settle for getting 50 cents, middle man gets $500,000 and a billionaire gets another billion and somehow they are too stupid to understand the economics. All they care about is the 50 cents. It is mind boggling.

  2. Winds surely have impacts on climate and weather. And winds are energy. But when we pull energy from the atmosphere at the scales talked about here, wouldn’t the impact to our weather (yea even climate) be deleterious? I.e., by trying to be “green” we have hosed ourselves and Mother Earth.

    • The winds do have a lot of energy. Energy that is used to transport many things, moisture, airborne sediments and a good bit of biologic material (seeds). By extracting energy from the air by slowing it down we allow all these transported materials to drop out of circulation and locally effect the environment down stream from these devices.
      The other issue is that many of these sites involve areas where concentration of air flow is greatest such as passes between mountains or hills, places where wildlife tends to migrate through.

      Locations out at sea….bad idea, not so much environmentally but a very poor economic choice. Anyone who has ever studied the effects of an acidic-salt-fog environment will attest to such. Icing is another issue entirely. The weight alone of accumulated ice can bring these beasties down. Of coarse if the desire is to employ crews of men to continually service these devices by scraping and painting them 24-7-365 then it is a perfect make-work effort, although such labor might be more productively employed.

      • Acidic salt fog is caused by the combination of combustion exhaust and salt fog. The SO2 and other sulfuric compounds create sulfuric acid fog. Albeit a very weal acid, yet corrosion is greatly increased due to the effect. Every coastal zone with shipping and industry experiences the effects.

      • @ rocketscientist July 5, 2017 at 9:20 am
        Their effect on the local environment is more like a breakwater or drift fences setup to reduce windblown erosion.

        Sorry, I thought we were talking about climate.
        To our west 10 miles or so there are dozens of wind turbines.
        To our east 14 miles or so there are dozens more.
        All were placed long after we arrived. There have been no climate changes that we have noticed, nor changes in the weather either. Is there a study that shows there is a noticeable effect? I mentioned a read one a few years ago that said ‘No’, but I will be happy to read another.

        The neighbors and us would be pleased if the wind would slow a little. It keeps knocking the cherries out of the trees, knocks the veggie plants about, and brings limbs down over power lines.
        One has to be quite close to a drift fence or windbreak for it to be suitable for service. We prefer to not live that close to a towering wind thing.

      • They just retired the first ever offshore wind farm which had been operating since 1991 at the end of its planned life.

        Strangely it had not rusted away, stopped due to corrosion, or been abandoned due to high maintenance costs.

        The actuality of over 3,500 offshore turbine around Europe shows your argument invalid.

    • It is like ocean-going ships passing through large ocean currents.
      Has shipping slowed the currents?
      A few years ago there were a couple of articles about the issue of pulling energy from the atmosphere. The conclusion was — no. I did not save links. Sorry.

      • Mr. Hultquist,
        No, wind turbines are specifically design to extract energy from the moving air. Wind turbines are not transient objects passing through the stream. They are parked right in the middle to block and absorb as much of it as practicable. Their effect on the local environment is more like a breakwater or drift fences setup to reduce windblown erosion.

      • Since incident solar energy is what powers the winds on the planet, consider this: The total of all energy produced by humans in one year is equal to one hour’s worth of sunlight falling on the earth. Not going to be important.

      • Maybe not pulling energy, but slowing and redirecting some of the wind should have an effect. Does anyone doubt that skyscrapers affect wind currents and speed?

      • @Sheri;
        I agree that there will almost certainly be local effects. I recall seeing something about slower local surface winds leading to higher local ground temperatures but I don’t know how solid that was. In the grand, global scheme of things it would be irrelevant.

  3. The Department of Energy needs to be immediately shutdown entirely, and the Federal EPA should also be shutdown with each state determining its own pollution standards.

    All wind, solar and bio-fuel programs and subsidies need to abolished and existing wind/solar fascilites need to be demolished as these are all a complete waste of money and drive up energy and food prices.

    We should exploit and expand all available domestic fossil fuel reserves and immediately pass Thorium MSR safety standards, which will allow the private sector to develop LFTR technology.

    China will have commercial LFTRs online from 2030, and if the US doesn’t have its own LFTRs before then, most Western manufacturing will be move to China to take advantage of much cheaper and unlimited energy, cheap labor costs, low taxes and limited regulations.

    Here is a IAEA LFTR presentation China made in Vienna late last year showing how they’ll have commercial LFTRs by 2030:

    https://www.iaea.org/NuclearPower/Downloadable/Meetings/2016/2016-10-31-11-03-NPTDS/05_TMSR_in_China.pdf

    • The real pushback to producing LFTRs is coming from the fossil fuel industry not from the government. If the fossil fuel industry got on board, the government would change in a heartbeat. You think they would figure out that LFTRs would be great for making synthetic fossil fuels and they would get on board. But they seem clueless.

  4. Turnabout is fair play. It is long past time an environmental impact review was done on green prayer wheels.

  5. When i was running a business I learnt how to make quick decisions.

    (a) Does the proposed solution actually solve the problem?
    (b) is it cheaper than another proposed solution that solves the problem?

    Renewable energy fails because holistically taken it doesn’t actually reduce CO2 emissions at all, and the alternative – nuclear power – is overall massively less environmentally costly and its cheaper.

    It really is a no brainer.

    • “…nuclear power – is overall massively less environmentally costly and its cheaper”

      Until something goes catastrophically wrong. I wouldn’t be surprised if Fukushima eventually bankrupts Japan. I think the current estimated cost for cleaning that mess up is $188 billion, and the estimate seems to double every 3 years.

      • But let’s not throw the baby (nuclear power in all its permutations – think LFTR too) out with the bath water. And don’t put your emergency backup power systems below sea level in known tsunami areas.

      • But the problem with nuclear is that man is involved. Man is always going to eff up, so when that happens with nuclear, the results are epically catastrophic.

        As an example. TEPCO estimates that it will take 40 years to clean up the Fukushima mess. Of course, they have no idea what they are talking about because they have no idea what they are doing. They don’t even know where the 3 melted cores are. Everything now is just a knee-jerk response trying to put out fires. For example, it took 3-4 years to remove 1535 spent fuel rods from reactor 4. There are approx 1500 more in reactors 1-3, and they haven’t started removing those yet.

        Everything they do is like chopping Medusa’s head into pieces. only to have each piece grow into a new hydra monster. For example, they built a subterranean ice wall around the plant to try to keep the highly radioactive groundwater from migrating to the Pacific, but it doesn’t work. Yet it did cause the ground water level to rise so close to the surface underneath the plant that workers in those areas have to stand on lead plates.

        Another example. The approx. 1000 water tanks that they built onsite to hold highly radioactive water emits bremsstrahlung radiation that makes the whole tank farm a giant x-ray machine from which.workers cannot be shielded.

      • I forgot to mention that the rising ground water beneath the plant tends to liquify the soil, which destabilizes the reactor buildings. If an earthquake causes any of reactor buildings 1-3 to collapse, their spent fuel pools sitting 100′ in the air could end up on the ground. Without water to cool the fuel rods, their zirconium cladding will ignite and burn releasing much radiation into the atmosphere, and it is impossible to extinguish such fires. Also, skyshine from the fuel rods could likely make the area so radioactive that no one would be able to work there to try to remediate the situation.

      • When Sadaam torched the Saudi oil wells, all the “experts” said they’d burn for 5 years. “Red” Adair had them all out in 6 months if I recall. Total cleanup costs at TMI were pegged at about $1 billion. You can stop waving the bloody shirt now.

      • TMI didn’t melt down. Fukushima and Chernobyl did. Over $1 billion has been spent just on the second containment building at Chernobyl, and they haven’t even started to decommission the reactor yet after 3 decades. I am confident the 3 meltdowns at Fukushima will cost trillion$.

        btw Red Adair was only part of the Kuwaiti operation, and his technique was fairly crude. The Hungarians mounted MIG 21 engines on a tank chassis that extinguished oil well fires in about 15 seconds.

      • You have to understand that all three nuclear disasters were caused by using water as a coolant.

        LFTRs use molten salt as a coolant which can stay liquid for a 1000 C without pressurization. And the fuel is dissolved in the molten salt. So it is a radically different design. And if the LFTR loses power, a salt plug that is kept frozen by a cooling fan, melts when the fan loses power, and the molten salt drains by gravity to a drain tank where criticality is not possible.

        Humans can’t screw it up. It is walk away safe.

        And long term waste is made near impossible by using thorium. Long term waste is any element over an atomic weight of 239. Thorium is 232 so the odds of it picking up enough neutrons to reach 239 without fissioning are infinitesimally small.

      • davidgmillsatty says: “Long term waste is any element over an atomic weight of 239.”

        David is ignorant of the fact that the U233 produced by neutron capture by thorium has long lived fission products. For example 99Tc, 126Sn, 93Zr, etc.

      • davidgmillsatty says: ” a salt plug that is kept frozen by a cooling fan, melts when the fan loses power”

        Can you provide me with a link to the data/results on a test of this event?

  6. From the article: “3) Renewable energy proponents pay little or no attention to the land and raw material requirements, and associated environmental impacts, of wind, solar and biofuel programs on scales required to meet mankind’s current and growing energy needs, especially as poor countries improve their living standards.”

    I think renewables are a non-starter based on the above point alone. Imagine a world covered in windmills.

    Now, imagine none of that is necessary to meet our current and future energy needs. Nuclear energy can provide all we need for thousands of years without producing CO2 or defacing the entire landscape of the Earth. The nuclear waste can be dealt with easily and at reasonable cost if disposal is necessary. The only reason it hasn’t been dealt with up to now is because of a lack of political will.

    There’s no need to blight out landscape and kill our wildlife using windmills. There are far better practical solutions available to us today.

    New Windmill Farms should be banned, and those currently up and running should be decommissioned as soon as possible. They are killing wildlife every day. Stop this madness.

    • How? The billionaires and millionaires OWN this—even having a lot of money and power does not help. There was a wind plant put in near where I live that had a lot of wealthy landowners fighting it. Everyone in the town nearby hated the people who ended up putting it in, yet none of that did a bit of good. The stupid, worthless, except to make lots of six and seven plus figure handouts to ranchers and tax credits to corporations, things went in. I will NEVER go to that area again. It is so like the old west, where the rich and powerful just destroyed anyone who got in their way. I fully admit these corporations are definately old west—greedy, uncaring, and willing to do anything to get their way.

  7. If we didn’t have cheap fracked oil and gas, what would we be doing right now?

    We have the experience of the OPEC oil boycotts. link It had a big effect on the cars we drove. link

    Brazil moved heavily into biofuels. link

    There was a lot of work on solar and wind. The Canadian government was promoting cars fuelled by natural gas. link

    I would say that the system remembers the lessons of the oil boycotts and hasn’t caught up with the current reality.

    Off topic: I note this story on Michael Mann’s lawsuit against Tim Ball. It seems that Mann has committed contempt of court by refusing to produce evidence. That should be bad for him but we don’t have a court ruling yet.

    • Thanks for the Mann/Ball link CB, info on this is difficult to find. I can only hope it is true – “Only possible outcome: Mann’s humiliation, defeat and likely criminal investigation in the U.S”

    • The OPEC oil boycotts are why we have these stupid things. Denmark panicked and thought pinwheels could replace oil and starting throwing turbines up everywhere. The idiocy took root, and off we went.

  8. Volvo, the Chinese-owned automotive group, on Wednesday said all new Volvo models from 2019 would be either fully electric or a hybrid.

    The country has built (or under construction) coal powered electricity plants beyond current needs. Now building and selling the EVs and building the charging grid and stations will provide jobs for many and improve the approval aspects of the current Government.
    Coal = Electricity = China goes green
    What’s not to like?

    • So Volvos will become remotely polluting vehicles. The amount of energy to move an ‘electric’ volvo is the same as or possibly more than a gasoline Volvo. That energy now has to be transmitted to all the homes with electric cars probably doubling the output requirement of the domestic power supplies and leading to surges in demand at night as cars recharge. Electric cars are not as easily scaleable as non-engineers appear to think.

      • I’m unfamiliar with the number of engineers in the current Government of China.
        I’ll guess the non-engineers therein are more concerned with staying in control than in being engineeringly efficient.
        Many NGOs and climate activists will cheer at the news that China is leading the green parade.
        Will the big media players cheer or write pieces about “remotely polluting?” And the new coal plants are cleaner than the old ones. They will claim that too.
        Folks used to call the Chinese ‘inscrutable’ — is that still allowed?

    • Hybrids make absolutely no sense to me. For a 10 mpg boost (over similar ICE cars) you have to replace the battery pack every 7 years or so. Those are comparable in cost to replacing a gas/diesel car’s engine, which are very reliable and can last 2-3 times as long.

  9. we have to get this right –

    “this plant-fertilizing molecule” is wrong; CO2 is plant FOOD

    • Yes, I saw the plant-fertilizing thing too. As a reactant in photosynthesis describing CO2 as plant food is apt for the same reason as describing carbohydrates as human food.

    • “CO2 is plant FOOD” … and extending that even further, CO2 is Life Food

      The Carbon Cycle cannot complete without CO2, it is necessary for all living things. Most noticeably, it is the extraction of Carbon from atmospheric CO2 through photosynthesis by plants and/or phytoplankton, that provides the Carbon of Carbon Based Life Forms.

      The unintended consequence of burning fossil fuels is the increase of atmospheric CO2 that is freely available to feed global life. Carbon Dioxide is the base of the food chain.

  10. Economical energy made formation of Silk-Sabine vaccines viable to all of the world. Gone is the iron lung and problems with treating effects of polio.
    Smallpox? Same.
    AIDS? Manageable as long as technology persists.
    The driving force of modernity is economical energy. This energy makes division of labor optimized to the benefit of those on top of learned circles. Destroy this foundation and the fall from the top will be most apparent.

    • Economies which have installed large percentages of renewables have seen growth… renewables don’t damage them.

      • 1. Just because an economy has grown doesn’t indicate whether renewables have helped or hurt it. The latter is likely the case.
        2. The main article is about environmental damage, which is indisputable.

      • I see growth as positive…

        when it does not involve an increase in CO2 (and it need not)

  11. Without fossil fuels necessary to create, maintain and replace windmills, solar panels and bio fuel plants, as well as the productivity (standard of living) provided by said fossil fuels to afford it – “renewable energy” would not be possible. Other than hydro power, alternate energy sources are too diffuse to be collected without expending a lot of energy from fossil fuels. Even aside from issues of intermittent power and the requirement of huge amounts of land – a world that runs on energy using only the energy collected by renewable sources would rapidly grind to a halt. In other words, in order to have a world that runs only on renewable energy, we’re going to have to burn more fossil fuels than ever.

  12. Notice no Plan B for the unlikely event that mankind’s carbon emissions are largely
    eliminated.
    Why do the global warming hysterics call their solution “renewable energy.”? What they actually want is “low or no carbon energy.” Whether an energy source is characteized as “renewable” may have absolutely no significance on whether using it makes any sense. For example, suppose one must choose between wind and natural gas. Both types of power generators have a finite lifespan before needing replacement. Let’s suppose that natural gas reserves will be depleted in 60 years. If the lifespan of the gas turbine and the wind turbine is less than 60 years, what possible economic benefit can be gained by using the wind versus the much cheaper gas turbine? The fuel supply for either turbine will outlast the turbine itself. Therefore nothing whatsoever would be gained by choosing wind because “the wind will always be there,” since in a practical sense, the gas will always be there for this gas turbine’s lifespan as well. Disregarding carbon concerns, the choice should be based on the qualifty of the energy produced (which strongly favors gas) and the cost (ditto).

    • Arthur4563, you seem to ignore the problem. Are you going to build gas turbines 59 years from now because they are “economic?”

      • No, because a life-cycle cost analysis will show that there will be no gas the year after it is built. Actually, once the gas production peaks, the cost will start going up and gas will become uneconomic long before it is exhausted.

      • OK, You lost me there. Why wouldn’t we build them 60 years from now if they’re economic?

      • @Clyde Spencer- I’m pretty sure all the fossil fuels ran out back in the 80’s when they said they would, didn’t they?

      • John,
        The Peak Oil Theory says that there will be a time when production starts to decline. The first peak was predicted by Hubbert for about 1970 for the US. The peak, for conventional oil, came to pass. That was why OPEC was getting so obscenely wealthy. What has happened since then is that new technology has allowed unconventional (oil that is not pooled in traps) to be accessed economically. While it is still hydrocarbons that are being produced, the change in technology is fundamentally similar to solar or fusion breakthroughs. We will probably never “run out” of fossil fuels, but the time will come when they will become too expensive to burn. They will have to be reserved for lubricants and feedstock for chemicals.

  13. Assuming all of these numbers are correct, writing up a description doesn’t get the message across. The only way the populace can grasp it is with graphical representations.

  14. Do a quick web search for solar and wind. You will find dozens and dozens of web-sites and articles extolling the virtues of “clean” renewable energy and how they are now “cheaper” than “dirty” gas and coal. Has the media always been this mendacious and we are just now getting around to realizing how they lie about almost everything?

    • The fastest way to come to terms with the incompetence of the media is to read an article about something you know well. Not all of them are mendacious. Stupidity and groupthink explains more.

    • “You will find dozens and dozens of web-sites and articles extolling the virtues of “clean” energy and how they are “cheaper” than “dirty” gas and coal.”

      And yet, you will find little to no information on the internet about how all human life on earth would be negatively impacted in the event that gas, oil and coal were completely abandoned as energy resources.

      I find it odd that those advocating for a zero carbon emissions refuse to extoll the virtues of laboring the majority of every day in the dirt in order to feed oneself. Not too mention the certainty of infrequent or non-existent medical care, traveling only by foot, bicycle, sail or horse–in addition to enduring hot summer days or freezing winter temps, without the use of devices powered by coal generated electricity.

      Do they lie or is it simply…omitting the truth?

  15. “Moreover, Irina Slav notes, wind turbines, solar panels and solar thermal installations cannot produce high enough heat to melt silica, iron or other metals, and certainly cannot generate the required power on a reliable enough basis to operate smelters and factories.”

    This is a misstatement. Slav (2017) claims that solar THERMAL installations cannot smelt metals. There is nothing to prevent photovoltaic or wind turbine electricity from being used to smelt metals, other than the intermittency problem, should we walk away from fossil fuels.

    • I also read someplace that Wind and Solar create an issue with processing Aluminum which requires large ammounts of electricity for purification. Anyone know if this is true??

      • Bryan,
        That is the intermittency problem mentioned. Smelters can’t tolerate having the power cut at unplanned times or they risk damage to the facility. Plus, it can take a long time to bring the furnaces up to the proper temperature and an intermittent electric supply would make it very difficult to get there, let alone maintain it.

      • Rob Bradley,

        Hint: learn the difference between the word “foundry” and “smelter”

        A smelter is a subset of a foundry. A professional commercial foundry. Not the dinky-@ss “How to make a simple backyard foundry for less than $20, for melting pop cans, and casting aluminum” that you directed me to.

    • There is nothing to prevent photovoltaic or wind turbine electricity from being used to smelt metals, other than the intermittency problem, should we walk away from fossil fuels.

      Photovoltaic or wind turbine electricity can smelt metals? You just pull this statement out of your cheeks? Tell yourself another fairytale.

      A solar field or wind farm cannot create enough electricity to run one aluminum foundry. Only coal and oil can do that (or nuclear or hydroelectric). The major of the world’s major aluminum producers put their foundries and factories beside dams for that reason. I remember reading, but cannot verify, that all of Australia’s aluminum foundries use 3% of that country’s electrical energy.

      Here’s Jack Lifton, world expert on technology and rare earth metals, discussing the problem: minutes 4:00 thru 7:00 here. I’d listen to the first eight minutes.

      Energy needed to produce aluminum
      US Energy Information Administration
      https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=7570

      Aluminum production in the United States generally takes two forms, with very different energy requirements. Primary production involves making aluminum products from raw material or ingots, which is highly energy intensive, especially electricity intensive. Secondary production involves recycling aluminum scrap to form new products, a significantly less energy-intensive process. Aircraft use primary aluminum because of quality and consistency restrictions, while beverage cans and automotive castings often use secondary aluminum.

      • MRW,

        The aluminum ore doesn’t care or know the difference between hydroelectric or photovoltaic electricity. It is all electrons! The reason that hydroelectricity has been preferred (over even fossil fuels) is economics. However, if you are depending on an intermittent form of energy, and it shuts down while you have a batch of molten metal, the operator risks having the metal solidify in the furnace and risks damaging the furnace when it changes phase.

        If you do a little research you will discover that steel is routinely produced with electric arc furnaces these days. Again, as long as the requisite number of electrons are provided, the job gets done. What is important is the scale of the operation and the economics. Should we be foolish enough to abandon fossil fuels, there is little doubt in my mind that we will have to pay more for metals and things fabricated from them.

    • Sorry electricity can melt any metal. This video is of a home built induction furnace melting metals.

      This link is an article about the worlds largest induction furnace.

      Another option is the electric arc furnace
      http://castingssa.com/the-worlds-largest-coreless-induction-furnace-abp-induction/

      Industrial electric arc furnace temperatures can be up to 1,800 °C (3,272 °F), while laboratory units can exceed 3,000 °C (5,432 °F).”

      The big problem with melting metal is that if the heat source is lost the the ceramic crucible and other parts of the furnace can crack. This problem can occur on coal powered furnaces as well as electric furnaces. Also electric furnaces can bee more efficient since it can be entirely closed and insulated while melting the metal. IN coal blast furnaces you cannot fully seal the furnace because air must be injected to fuel the fire and the exhaust must be released. Better insulation can help prevent cracking of the crucible.

      Aluminum oxide ore is converted to aluminum with electricity. Its a very efficient process. Blast furnaces cannot be used to melt aluminum due to the air that is needed to fuel the fire. Recently engineers figured out how to use the same process too cover iron oxide ore to iron. This could replace all coal powered iron smelters in the future. The Key to this breakthrough is a new electrode material that can withstand the oxygen and heat generated in the process.

      https://www.donaldsadoway.com/ds_projects/environmentally-sound-metal-production/

  16. As far as the Bird/Bat issue goes, I’ve looked into it at several facilities. What I found is that, in Bird friendly habitat, each turbine is responsible for the death of 1 or 2 birds per year and in Bat territory, 3 or 4 Bats per year. Now that might not seem like much but extrapolated out to the proposed number of turbines equates to
    183,400,000 turbines would potentially kill 366,800,000 birds and 733,600,000 bats annually, possible more if placed in Prime bird habitat

      • Given the number of turbines proposed, most would not be offshore; there isn’t nearly enough “offshore” available.

      • There have been reports that speculated that off-shore windmills have caused harm to whales, too, with their constant vibrations and noise in the water, so birds and bats may not be the only wildlife victims of windmills.

        Windmills and their effects on sea life should also be a subject of study.

      • The costs of placing energy production in a remote area are exorbitant, and off shore falls into this category. Firstly there are the transmission costs of getting that energy to where its needed and the maintenance of those lines. Then tack on the periodic daily maintenance of the structure itself that is required. Now also come the environmental issues. One must factor the huge energies created in an ocean based storm with large waves. Add on icing for all the locations where winter causes ice build-up. Ice can cause failure of these machines due to weight alone.
        Now realize that this site must be serviced by men wearing marine protective equipment from a boat, not quite as simple as driving up in a pick-up truck.

      • Good idea TA, while you are studying offshore wind turbines, make sure they also study the effects on marine life from offshore drilling…..oh, and don’t forget to find out if spills and blowouts affect marine life too.

      • “while you are studying offshore wind turbines, make sure they also study the effects on marine life from offshore drilling…..oh, and don’t forget to find out if spills and blowouts affect marine life too.”

        Oil in the ocean is perfectly natural..Oil seep off of Santa Barbara is eons old, and the Pacific hasn’t died.Nature takes care of it.

      • Mr. Bradley,
        You merely mention the periodic maintenance of the internal components in 6, 9, or 12 month needs. You then posted a paper on the maintenance of the blades themselves. My comment was not on how often you need to inspect the blades from erosion or icing, but the tower itself. These towers are made typically from steel. Ask the US Navy about corrosion control on its ships. Each boat has a gang (bigger boats have several) whose sole responsibility it to walk from stem to stern scraping and painting, and when they arrive at the stern they return to the bow to begin again.
        The advancement in design of electrical generation wind turbines is still evolving and so are the maintenance requirements. Off shore location will not make any of them easier.

      • rocketscientist: ” These towers are made typically from steel. Ask the US Navy about corrosion control on its ships.”

        How about we ask the oil companies about their oil drilling platforms?

      • Rob Bradley wrote.

        They can float you know:

        That’s lucky because otherwise, by 2100 and 100 foot of sea level rise the traditional turbine blades would be dipping into the water.

        I suppose for the floating variety we’ll just have to let out the mooring lines a little at a time.
        That’s easily accomplished from out solar powered boat . . .

      • “Oil in the ocean is perfectly natural….OK, so then why do they close fisheries when there’s an oil spill?”

        For the same reason they fight naturally-caused forest fires – to limit the damage. There was probably more damage caused by the oil dispersant (Corexit) they used in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill than if they had just let nature take care of what they couldn’t mop up.

      • “There was probably more damage ”

        Probably?
        ..
        You sound just like a “climate scientist.”

      • Rob,
        Son, your ignorance of the subject is exceeded only by your arrogance. The percentage of surface area of the oceans is not important; the amount of shoreline is. All the power must be transmitted to the land where the vast majority of us humans live. Of course we can lay cables on the ocean floor, however the distance from windmills to the shore must not be too great or else the transmission losses will become too great. On the land we can overcome this by increasing the voltage, but there is a practical limit under the water. Not only that, but millions of heavy power cables snaking across the ocean bottoms will surely have negative consequences to the marine life there. I’m sure you don’t what that. No, power must be generated as close as possible to the load (consumer), putting solar and wind at a great disadvantage (among many disadvantages). Stop being a Green Peace stooge and learn how things really work.

      • Paul Penrose says: “Son, your ignorance of the subject is exceeded only by your arrogance”
        ..
        Paul suffers from his inability to think out of his warm and comfortable box. Use your imagination. Take the electrical output of a floating wind turbine for the electrolysis of H2O to create hydrogen. Collect the hydrogen and bring it onshore. Use a fuel cell to make electricity from the hydrogen.
        ..
        When and if you break free of your shackles of negativity, you’ll learn that the creative use of technology will make your fear of change obsolete.

      • The Nysted study of offshore wind on a migration route showed 1 bird casualty in around 230,000.

        EU regulation carefully checks to see turbines do NOT go up in prime bird habitat.

    • Rob Bradley,

      make sure they also study the effects on marine life from offshore drilling…..oh, and don’t forget to find out if spills and blowouts affect marine life too.

      I guess you missed this in your studies: At Least 200,000 Tons of Oil and Gas from Deepwater Horizon Spill Consumed by Gulf Bacteria
      http://www.rochester.edu/news/show.php?id=4362

      Researcher John Kessler, of the University of Rochester, said the hydrocarbon-eating bacteria removed the majority of the oil and gas trapped in underwater layers more than a half-mile below the surface.

      • Rob,

        From your link; “The study itself uses two models to estimate coastal bird mortality. The carcass sampling model attempts to answer a seemingly simple question: for every bird corpse found during clean-up efforts, how many bird bodies were missed, due to factors such as scavenging, or the bird dying at sea, or decomposition? The other model, called the exposure probability model, attempts to quantify how many birds of each species would have encountered the oil, given the size of the slick at any given time and estimated population densities.”

        The models say it is worse than we thought so “DONATE NOW!!”

        /Sarc

  17. I think this article misses an important point. In a hundred years or so there will be no alternative. Taking the long view the fossil fuel boom is short lived and has a finite lifetime. If there is to be any energy hungry civilisation in 500 years time it is going to have to be powered using renewable energy. So the question people should be working on is how to do it and how to make the transition.

    • Easy,
      Don’t vilify Carbon Based Fuels and raise their prices via Carbon Taxation. Make use of the cheap abundant energy to create the needed infrastructure on a Low Cost basis. Otherwise all you are doing is doubling the cost of creating the alternative infrasturcture…The phrase “Cutting off your nose to spite your face” comes to mind (Killing your economy in order to save it… Kind of like Fighting for Peace or F—ing for Virginity)

    • I agree with your premise that in the long run there will be no alternative to developing other energy sources. Human history has consistently shown, however, that necessity is the mother of invention. And then of course there is nuclear power which provides already provides the alternative you seek.

      What the article raises is that present forms of renewable energy are presently a misnomer. No matter how hard advocates of solar power and wind push, they fall well short of perpetual motion machines for human beings.

      • Again known Uranium deposits will only last for a couple of hundred years. Nuclear energy is not a
        long term solution. The only two long term viable sources of energy are solar and nuclear fusion with
        deuterium. We know how to make solar panels but no-one has any viable plans for deuterium based nuclear fusion. Relying on wishful thinking for the future of humanity does not seem like a sensible option.

      • I’m more than happy to adopt nuclear energy as a temporary solution for the next couple of hundred years. And if nuclear technology stands still in that time then maybe the stone age lifestyle awaits future generations. Hey, at least mankind escaped the primordial ooze for a while. No biggie.

      • I would argue that laziness is the actual mother of invention. Inventions are made to make life easier, to allow people to expend less energy in accomplishing work and play and to give one more free time to think up ways to make money while expending the least amount of effort.

      • Another possibility could be Thorium based Nuclear Power Generation. It is at least as close as Cold Fusion and probably much closer. That and the simple fact that there is far greater announts of material available for Thorium based power production than there is for Uranuim based energy production, potentially enough for thousands of years

      • @Germinio
        You present a very naive view of resource availability for uranium. Did you study at the Paul Erlich School of Futurecasting? In the 1950’s, we were supposed to run out of oil by the 1980’s. In 1973 Erlich said we’ll run out of oil by 2030, and all other fossil fuels by 2050. Would you care to take a bet on that being true?

      • Germinio: Yes, a perfect solution. If you hate humanity and care nothing about the reality of energy on demand. Energy from weather can only work if we bury humanity under trillions of tons of steel, concrete, copper, composite materials, etc.

        I am curious—there’s a constant comment stream about oil and coal running out, but apparently iron, bauxite, copper, concrete, chemicals for composite blades, rare earths, lithium, and so forth are limitless. We will never run out of the materials to build and maintain millions of wind turbines.

      • We have enough thorium to last thousands of years. It is easily bred into U232 and 233 both which fission. We have four times the thorium that we have of U238 and breeding thorium in the thermal spectrum has been done very successfully when we were not very successful at breeding U238 into fissionable Plutonium239. And the moon and the asteroids are full of thorium. So we will have plenty of it for eons.

      • David M: Now, if we had way to use it that wasn’t still in the fantasy stage or prototyped stage, that might be useful. Actually fission would be ideal, if that wasn’t also in the realm of science fiction at this point.

    • Market systems got us this far and market systems are the only way we’re going forward-if, in fact we are!

      • davidgmillsatty, if my memory of history is correct, didn’t the “free” market give us such things as child labor in the early 1900’s before law (Fair Labor Standards Act in 1938) prohibited it?

      • “How well has it [the Market] done with healthcare?”

        I would argue that a Free Market has never been tried in U.S. healthcare.

        I think my former U.S. Senator, Dr. Tom Coburn, had a very good idea about healthcare in the USA. He said the one thing that would reduce costs more than anything else would be to make the costs of healthcare transparent, so people could compare prices for medical services.

        This would have the effect of companies lowering their costs in order to compete in a transparent market. I think it is a great idea, and it can be done whether Obamacare is repealed or not.

        Btw, in case you didn’t know, there are large differences in what is charged for the same procedure in different hospitals.

        Naturally, the healthcare lobby will not be in favor of price transparency. So expect a lot of pushback for any such proposal.

      • TA says: ” I would argue that a Free Market has never been tried in U.S. healthcare.”
        ..
        TA does not realize that the “free” market provided us with Mylan’s Epipen priced at more than $600.

        TA does not realize that you can get a syringe and the drug for less than $10.

    • Given our abysmal record at predicting the future, and our splendid record of coming up with solutions just in the nick of time, it would seem better to focus on the now, plan for the near future, and place our bets on human ingenuity. Just like we have always done.

    • Germinio: ” … how to do it and how to make the transition”

      If the quest to transition is valid, the first step would be to leverage our existing energy infrastructure not dismantle it.

  18. There is stil nuclear power and coal along with all the other energy sources available at varying costs. Perhaps practical fusion might also be in existence. Also, presumably wood will be availableas a fuel. Trust your engineers to provide!
    l

    • I definitely would exclude wood as an energy source, all you are doing is depleting the carbon sink and producing CO2 as you burn it.

      • Here’s a suggestion Bryan A. Take a walk in a forest. Look around for the dead trees that have fallen down. Examine them closely. They rot. Guess what. When they rot, they release CO2 and energy. Now, if I take that fallen tree, and burn it for heat, I get “energy” out of it. I release CO2, the same amount of CO2 that would be released if the tree sat on the floor of the forest and rotted.

      • Locating dead fall trees is one thing, the logistics of harvesting and relocating them to areas of accessible transport without damaging others in the process is quite another. There is a reason why Logging prefers clear cutting large areas rather than taking 1 tree in 20 30 or 50 and trying to figure a way to remove it cleanly.

      • While economics plays a role in the decision for clear cutting, it is my understanding that some species of trees produce saplings that are shade intolerant. They tend to regenerate in burn areas. Thus, to replace the harvested trees, they have to grow in the open.

  19. Solar energy farms and wind farms consume more energy in their construction, maintenance, backup and decommissioning than they can ever produce in their lifetimes. That’s why they always lose money without government subsidies and set-asides. In addition, they kill wildlife, destroy natural habitat, and pollute landfills; and their rare earth/cobalt/lithium mines poison vast quantities of ground water. There is nothing economic nor environmental about wind and solar power. The resources currently being wasted on wind and solar power would be much better spent on adding scrubbers to existing coal plants in China and India, and to new ones they are building around the world. That would be an actual significant environmental benefit to the world.

      • Griff, I see you are branching out from comedy to pantomime. Oh yes they do. Oh no they don’t.

        That’s inaccurate. Oh no it’s not. Oh yes it is.

        Happy with the rest of Mike’s post are you Griff?

      • That is simply not possible to show. The “how to lie with statistics” crowd has so sullied the data that I doubt we will ever know how much energy is involved in wind turbine construction. I’m sure that was the plan.

      • https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2012/feb/29/turbines-energy

        “The average windfarm produces 20-25 times more energy during its operational life than was used to construct and install its turbines

        Wednesday 29 February 2012 09.00 GMT First published on Wednesday 29 February 2012 09.00 GMT
        Critics of wind energy often claim that the energy used to construct a wind turbine outweighs the energy produced during its lifetime in operation. This is not correct. An evidence review published in the journal Renewable Energy in 2010, which included data from 119 turbines across 50 sites going back 30 years, concluded that the average windfarm produces 20-25 times more energy during its operational life than was used to construct and install its turbines. It also found that the average “energy payback” of a turbine was 3-6 months.”

        And no, I just didn’t have time to refute the rest, Forrest

    • I like the prospects for Solar Power Satellites. As soon as we get routine access to space, that is. I think once civilians start doing things in space, they are going to want electrical power and I think small solar power satellites would be an excellent choice.

      Once humanity got a little experience with solar power satellites, I think we could increase their size dramatically and use them to power industry in space and on the Moon, and provide electricity to the Earth’s surface.

      My favorite design is the Solar Power Satellite Balloon. It would be put in orbit folded up and would be inflated once in orbit to a size of one-mile in diameter by using about 40 pounds of Helium gas.

      Solar cells would cover the entire outside of the balloon so half of the ballon’s solar cells would be in sunlight all the time and active pointing would not be required.

      SSI.org has a lot of good information on solar power satellites, if you are interested.

      There are alternatives to windmills in Earth’s future. Much better alternatives, actually.

      • TA have you ever put anything into space? Your cavalier response indicates, NO. Many of these pie-in-the-sky, Popular Mechanics, type concepts are simply not practical.
        Firstly, how would you get the “energy” from the satellite to Earth, microwaves? The losses are laughable.

      • The only way to get the power down from space is to use a focused microwave beam. This beam will dot eh same thing your home microwave does to food cook it. How do you prevent a flock of birds from flying into a beam they cannot see a mile above the surface.? And how do you protect people and animals on the ground. Also most of the energy would be lost win trip down the surface.

      • rocketscientist wrote: “TA have you ever put anything into space? Your cavalier response indicates, NO.”

        As if that is relevant. Most people have not “put anything” into space. That doesn’t keep them out of the discussion. At least until maybe now?

        rocketscientist wrote: “Many of these pie-in-the-sky, Popular Mechanics, type concepts are simply not practical.”

        Very little is practical now, since NASA gave up the Space Shuttle. We can’t even put an American astronaut on the Space Station without buying a seat on a Russian Soyuz. But, at some point in the future it will be practical to think a little bigger as private launchers make more progress. NASA might even get humans back into space in a few years.

        rocketscientist wrote: “Firstly, how would you get the “energy” from the satellite to Earth, microwaves?”

        Yes, of course.

        “The losses are laughable.”

        You are wrong. You should go read the material at SSI.org.

      • steven F wrote: “The only way to get the power down from space is to use a focused microwave beam.”

        Yes.

        steven F wrote: “This beam will do the same thing your home microwave does to food cook it. How do you prevent a flock of birds from flying into a beam they cannot see a mile above the surface.? And how do you protect people and animals on the ground.”

        The microwave beam will be spread out over a large enough area that it will be harmless to wildlife. It will not be like sitting inside a microwave oven.

        steven F wrote: “Also most of the energy would be lost in the trip down to the surface.”

        Some would be lost but enough would reach the surface to make it a viable concept.

        Are you guys going to make me break out my solar power satellite studies? I haven’t looked at them in years, but I suppose I could review them if necessary. Or does anyone care? Unfortunately, these studies are printed on paper and I don’t have any internet links for them that are free.

    • Wind farms get decommissioned? I recently saw something about a 20 year old one in Australia that was in line for decommissioning but I don’t think it happens in this country. If so I’d like to see the costs.

  20. None of this will matter if the nut job in North Korea decides to have a live nuclear test on a nearby country. The U.S. response would probably make the discharge from Pinatubo look like a mere puff of smoke.

    • Yes, it’s too bad our previous leaders allowed the North Korean situation to get to this point where we are faced with few options.

      If China doesn’t rein in Kim Jung un, then our only options are to put ourselves at the mercy of a madman armed with nuclear weapons, or war, to take his nuclear weapons threat away.

      I doubt Kim Jung un is going to moderate.

      When all options are exhausted, which will probably be soon, then we should plan for war because the longer we put it off, the more horrible it is going to be.

      War today with North Korea could kill millions of people. War in three years with North Korea could kill ten times that many people. So we are left with little choice other than to try to cut our losses and stop this problem sooner rather than later.

      If it’s going to be war, then we should set up evacuation drills for Seoul and cities in Japan, and literally evacuate millions of people out of those cities.

      And during the second or third evacuation, we should attack North Korea and eliminate them as a threat.

      This will get as many people out of harm’s way as possible. Kim has forced this upon us. We don’t want this madman raining nuclear weapons down on the United States. He’s almost capable of doing that.

      U.S. national security elites, across three different administrations, failed us miserably with respect to North Korea. They did nothing while this crisis developed.

  21. Where to start?

    the power lines?

    Europe is criss crossed by new HVDC power lines connecting countries and transmitting renewable energy.

    The space? Space for solar?

    Are there no rooftops, parking lots, reservoirs or irrigation canals? Old airfields or poor quality pasture (which remains available to animals)? all these are used right now. and then there’s solar film coming you can put on office block sides/windows…

    Space for wind?
    for the new 8Mw and 12MW offshore turbines and the floating turbines?

    The wind doesn’t blow enough? The sun don’t shine?

    Germany has an average of 8 days a year both dull and with low wind. Delhi has 300 perfect solar days a year. There is a huge area of empty middle west USA with 45% wind capacity…

    People have run the sums on this… Sweden did it for its net 0 carbon by 2045… Hawaii did it for its 100% renewables by 2042, Germany and the whole EU ran the figures for 80% renewable energy by 2050.

    Renewables work, they are predictable and the cost is going down. New offshore wind in Germany just started tenders with no subsidy.

    Go back and do your homework on renewables… this is a poor effort!

    • Lots of rooftops … But without a way to open them from the grid, rooftop solar creates overpower problems for Grid Transmission.

      Poor quality pasture (which remains open for animals)? … Covering them with Solar Panels kind of covers the area for animals doesn’t it? It is difficult to grow a habitat in the shade of a solar panel. The last time I checked Plants need Sun and CO2 to thrive.

      The wind doesn’t blow enough? … There is a finite tolerance for to little wind or to much wind where turbines need to be guarded and taken off line, or require additional power to Spin Up to speed from a stop or kept spinning in the cold so the mechanisms don’t freeze up.

      The Sun doesn’t shine? Ayup, 12 hours in every 24 hour period has No sun and 6 hours the angle of incidence is too low for anywhere near nameplate maximum generation.

      Germany has an average of 8 days a year both dull and with low wind? And how many dull nights or too windy days/nights do they have that precludes utilizing solar and/or wind?

      There are Huge areas of empty middle US.. Unfortunately these areas will be required for Corn production for BioFools which causes logistical problems for field cultivation.

      Delhi has 300 perfect sunny days. Ayup, Delhi sits at 28deg N which IS optimal for Solar Power production, unfortunately most of the global populace sits higher than that. Also, unfortunately Delhi has Zero Perfect Sunny nights. And Solar energy production will drop during the Summer Monsoon Season

      During the Summer Monsoons, 1/2 the months of July and August is covered by Rain and >1/4 of September

      • Here’s the UK NFU (farmers association) on grazing and solar panels
        https://www.nfuonline.com/cross-sector/farm-business/energy-and-renewables/energy-and-renewables-news/solar-lamb-or-pv-chicken/

        “New guidance compiled by the NFU and published by the BRE National Solar Centre shows how solar farms can be combined with continued agricultural land use for small livestock such as sheep, chickens or geese.”

        You might note Germany is connected to a number of other nations with high capacity HVDC lines (e.g. Norway).

        Yes, there are constraints on grids… but local solar used locally works fine. and the grids are being developed…

      • Why is it always “being developed”? Call me silly, but I think this is all a fantasy. None of the huge developments ever appear. It’s always just down the road……Like global warming.

      • I have never, ever seen any fact base rebuttal of my points from your good self.

        Just stuff like the above.

        do feel free to advance some facts…

      • Griff: Tis impossible to “introduce facts” when one side of the debate gets to declare what is and is not factual. If one side calls all the shots and ignores reality, there’s nothing one can say. It’s confirmation bias so deep and strong there is nothing on earth that can shake the faith. It just can’t be done. Why bother? You would tell me a turbine was not burning if it was dropping flaming pieces from it’s blades. You BELIEVE. I’ve seen this before—reality has no part.

    • Griffy: You need to check a map. The USA is slightly larger than all of Europe combined. Scaling up always involves more than just making a bunch more turbines and power lines.

      Interesting you mention “zero carbon goals”. I just read Norway’s shooting for that—WHILE SELLING OIL AS ONE OF THEIR MAJOR EXPORTS. So, it’s a case of “we’re virtuous, we don’t use oil” but we’ll sell billions of barrels to you heathens that do. What an interesting moral case. Totally lacks believability.

      Get back to use in 2045, 2042 and 2050 and then we’ll check if this happened and what it cost. Until then, it’s more fiction from the renewable junkies.

    • Griff, tales out of Mother Goose. But believe them if it makes you feel more virtuous.

      Driessen is 100% correct. Until the logistics are done on supplying this energy that you and your ilk think is snap-crackle-pop ready, the thinking is just a pipedream.

      The Google scientists (Stanford) who were charged with solving the renewable energy issue with Google’s endless dough behind them quit the project after four years.

      Renewable energy ‘simply WON’T WORK’: Top Google engineers
      Windmills, solar, tidal – all a ‘false hope’, say Stanford PhDs

      http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/11/21/renewable_energy_simply_wont_work_google_renewables_engineers/

      Their conclusion:

      Even if one were to electrify all of transport, industry, heating and so on, so much renewable generation and balancing/storage equipment would be needed to power it that astronomical new requirements for steel, concrete, copper, glass, carbon fibre, neodymium, shipping and haulage etc etc would appear. All these things are made using mammoth amounts of energy: far from achieving massive energy savings, which most plans for a renewables future rely on implicitly, we would wind up needing far more energy, which would mean even more vast renewables farms – and even more materials and energy to make and maintain them and so on. The scale of the building would be like nothing ever attempted by the human race.

    • If Sweden (net 0) and the others, Hawaii, Germany, and the Whole EU will be at least 80% renewable within 35 years … if they can show that they can do it (and it will make their economies better, as you say), why the hell do you feel you need to jump up and down to try to get others to join?

      Sweden will lead & be successful. When this happens (and we know it will ’cause you say so), won’t else everyone jump on the bandwagon when they see the beginnings of the success? Within 25 years Sweden will be the obvious shining star …. so what idiot won’t want to attach themselves to the Sweden model of energy redevelopment?

      Why the need to push, Griff?

      • I’m not cheerleading…

        I’m merely presenting the facts on this in an arena where they are apparently not widely known.

        Apart from some parts of the US, this bandwagon is up and running at an ever faster pace worldwide.

        That’s what I’m trying to tell you – this article is pointless because the actual installed and successfully running base for renewables and plans actively being pursued long since got over the imaginary obstacles posited and are off and away…

        This is a second industrial revolution – apparently large parts of the US are going to sit it out.

      • I guess we should thank you for your input and point that we will be able to catch up in the future given all the breakthroughs the Europe will be making for us.

        Sweden can implement the successful framework (something like 1/2 of its energy from hydro, 1/3 from nuclear, the rest from import wind, import wave, & biofuels), then we can then just follow suit.

        Except where I come from hydro is not defined as sustainable/green source … damn. I guess we need to either change the terminology/definitions OR tear out the dams and build nuclear reactors to replace the lost supply. Which should we do? It’s a conundrum.

  22. If the article had left out the vacuous points 1 and 2, and started in at point 3 – “Renewable energy proponents pay little or no attention to the land and raw material requirements, and associated environmental impacts, of wind, solar and biofuel programs on scales required to meet mankind’s current and growing energy needs”
    it would have been a much better, and more widely read, contribution to debate.

  23. I have always loved that delicious irony that out future depends on something that can’t even manufacture itself!

  24. Is the data available on the total number of megawatt-hours of electricity fed into the Canadian grid by the Cowley Ridge Wind Farm during its 23 year lifetime?
    This is an essential component needed to compute the energy return on energy investment, i.e. the electrical energy generated compared with the energy needed to establish, maintain and dismantle the same wind-farm.
    The reason this ratio is important is that the whole global economy works on the basis of energy provided by the 9% of the economy which is the energy generation and distribution sector. This sector has a return ratio of 11 to 1.
    If the windfarm did better than this the world economy can accomplish more, if worse than this, the world economy must shrink.

    • TransAlta claims the wind farm was producing 53,500 MW-hr per year with a name plate capacity of 19.5 MW. That would be an average of about 2,750 hours per year, or a capacity factor of about 31.2%. The rest is left as an exercise for the student.

  25. SUSTAINABLE REALITY

    If you like your energy sustainable,
    You must first make the climate trainable.
    With sun day and night,
    And the wind always right…
    I think it just might be attainable!

    Solar and wind are renewable,
    But only on small scales prove doable
    They can kill birds and bats
    And displace habitats…
    True ecologists find that eschew-able.

    We would, likely, employ keener vision
    Funding hydro and nuclear fission.
    (The molten salt kind,
    For our peace of mind)
    And solar storm-proofed grids of transmission.

    Affordable energy, for the third world poor
    Will unlock that vital, virtual door
    To an affluent life,
    A job and a wife
    With less children than folks raised before.

    So, curtailing overpopulation
    Is not about “limiting nations
    On what they can do
    Which emits CO2”…
    It relies on industrialization!

  26. So far from the fairyland fantasy that advocates of wind turbines live in with little to commend them except as subsidy farming implements, the fast developing North Sea windmill comedy proceeds apace. Within two years of their installation and the alledged twenty five year lifespan these turkey masts were supposed to last, more than a 120 are already coming loose from their seabed foundations and developing dysfunctional leans.
    This is going to prove horribly expensive for someone and those foolish enough to have provided insurance for these looney towers in the expectation of reasonable profits are developing a sweat and looking to unload the costs – three guesses who is going to be asked to bail them out.
    At costs of some £50k a day for the barge that is required to grab each of the leaning each towers of the North Sea while its adjustable bolts are readjusted this is going to be a costly and unending task, assuming the erosion beneath the base isn’t so far gone repair is still possible.
    And to add to the catalogue of failings I suggest Griffy takes a look at the latest pictures from NASA of the plumes of sand and mud being washed out from the wind farms trailing debris 20 to 25 miles from each subsidy farm. As these farms are located on shallower plateaus which fish also need to spawn, washing a rain of displaced debris and then running heavyweight barges over these banks is doing no end of good for fish stock futures. But hey, out of sight, out of mind!

    But still we can close our eyes and mind and believe these monstrous wastes of money are any kind of use in providing any kind of future. Or we can look at reality and stop snorting fairy dust or lining our pockets with poor people’s money…delete as appropriate.

    • They are not coming loose from their foundations…

      I believe at most a couple of sites have had problems in the past… but new technology, monitoring etc proceeds and this is unlikely to be a problem in the future. You tell me how many this has actually happened on – there are over 3,500 offshore turbines in Europe.

      A Danish offshore wind farm just got retired after working successfully since 1991
      http://www.maritime-executive.com/article/worlds-first-offshore-wind-farm-being-decommissioned

      Evidence suggests offshore wind is good for fish and seals after construction finishes… fishing boats can’t get close to the turbines, providing a refuge. As you should know, seals off Norfolk have been tracked preferentially feeding around the Sheringham shoals wind farm…

      • Funny, a couple of bad things happen with oil and gas, and the enviros scream. Let a few wind turbines burn, fall over, throw blades, kill raptors and “no big deal”. Methinks it’s not about bad things happening, but rather about the faith one has in their unfailing support for a failed idea.

  27. Driessen is at his comic best on this one. Environmental damage from wind turbines? Really?

    I suppose all those 90,000 wind turbines installed in the US up to now (approximate number) never had an EIR study. That’s a mandated Environmental Impact Report.

    Very strange, it is, that no Environmentalst anywhere found an environment impact that could block the turbine installations.

    The EIRs are public information. One could look them up.

    Driessen is hilarious. And very, very wrong.

    • Depends on the definition of environment. They are ugly as sin, tend to make undesirable noise and vibrations, and kill birds and bats. Those things happen to be included in my definition of environment.

    • Tell us about the kill waiver that the feds created for turbines….

      Or tell us that it didn’t happen.

      Your reality, your choice.

    • Go ahead Roger, look them up. First, you will find it isn’t quite as easy as you assume. Second, check out all the exemptions. Third, notice that you don’t get all the knee-jerk objections from Green Peace and their friends like other projects do. It’s not a level playing field, even if you ignore the subsidies.

    • EIR and EIS for federal projects, describe in great detail the impacts on many aspects of the environment. One could look it up.

      Let’s name a few of the environmental impacts we DONT see from wind farms:
      Radiation, acidic releases into waterways, soapy or organic foams into waterways, hydrocarbon leaks or spills into the ground, particulate matter (PM, whether PM10 or PM2.5) released into the air, lead poisons into the ground or water, PCBs, arsenic, elevated cooling water temperatures of lakes or rivers or oceans, NOx and SOx emissions.

      Instead, wind farms allow approximately 95 percent of the surrounding land to continue with whatever activity was there before: growing crops, grazing cattle or other livestock.

      In many cases, the wind turbines are placed on marginal land (along ridges) that have zero other uses.

      For Paul Penrose re finding EIRs to read, I am no Harry Potter in Internet searching, yet I manage to find hundreds of wind-farm EIRs quite easily. Of course, I actually type the words into a search engine and hit ENTER. Just a thought.

      • Did I mention other environmental impacts that wind turbines DONT have?

        No mining for coal to burn, no transporting coal via noisy trains, no miner deaths in the mines, no mining and processing uranium into fissible material with all the environmental degradation that entails, no birds killed from high-speed collisions with giant cooling tower structures (like at Nuclear Plants).

        Why is it the anti-wind crowd is so opposed to the few birds killed by old-style wind turbines, but are perfectly ok with all the birds killed by impact with power plant smokestacks and nuclear plant cooling towers?

        I’ve always wondered why some birds are more important than others.

      • “I’ve always wondered why some birds are more important than others.”

        It’s simple. Hypocrisy. Go stand in front of the mirror and say it (hypocrisy) three times and it will stick … you won’t have to wonder any more.

  28. http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/kimberley-sunmine-oilsands-teck-1.4178082

    What I find particularly disturbing is that the CBC national broadcaster, has the headline: Seeing the light: Oilsands, mining companies watch B.C. solar project with intrigue

    It was basically bankrupt before being built, and I understand the city of Kimberly has been trying to sell the project to the private sector, but no takers yet.

    Let’s just deal with the raw economics of this recent 1 Mw solar PV installation in Kimberly, BC. $5.3 Mil Cdn to build a 1 Mw name plate project. That is extremely expensive even if it produced electricity 95% of the time. But it only has (at most) about a yearly 23% efficiency factor. Probably more about 20% if the maintenance and repairs are factored in. So on a yearly average of 8760 total hours, at best, it can only deliver about 2,200 Mw/hr which even at a retail price of $100 per Mw/hr, makes for gross earnings of $220,000 per year on a $5.3 Mil up front sunk capital cost. With a 20-25 year lifespan (if lucky) and declining output over the years, this clearly doesn’t add up for any kind of ROI for a grid connected install that justifies this project. This would be equivalent to spending well over $20 Mil per 1 Mw of base load up time 95% capacity factor from a Nat Gas install. Clearly, the economics just don’t work yet for this type of renewable energy. Maybe for a remote off grid site like an aboriginal reservation on diesel power, but this doesn’t make economic sense to subsidize this type of grid connected renewable energy.

  29. When we are discussing how “wind can deliver X amount of energy”, we must remember it’s really “wind can provide X amount of energy when the wind blows”. All other times, it produces nothing.

  30. Good article. Thanks.

    80% of all energy produced in 1800 was from wind. It wasn’t enough to fuel the Industrial Revolution that started in earnest 2-3 decades later.

    • Well, certainly a lot of water got pumped by windmills in 1800, but most of the energy came from draft animals and water wheels. Why do you suppose we measure power today in horsepower?

  31. After all this discusasion can we at least drive a nail into the coffin of biofuel. It produces little if any savings in CO2 releases, it costs too much, it uses too much water, its excessive fertiler needs produces polluted run- off water and it drives up the costs of corn, meat and many other foods. There is no need to extend our gasoline supply. All federal subsidies and incentives have to stop, and the whole idea needs to have a stake driven through its heart. As a bonus maybe we can save the Monarch Butterfly.

    • Well ethanol from corn is largely a US boondoggle, a relic of plans for energy indepedence pre shale oil.

      Get rid of it.

  32. “has been unscientific and disingenuous. It ignores fluctuations in solar energy, cosmic rays, oceanic currents and multiple other powerful natural forces that have controlled Earth’s climate since the dawn of time, dwarfing any role played by CO2. It ignores the enormous benefits of carbon-based energy that created and still powers the modern world, and continues to lift billions out of poverty, disease and early death.

    None of this is actually based on evidence is it Paul? It’s just PR rhetoric isn’t it?

    “It (presumably Paul is referring to the global cabal of renegade researchers and their evil masters) assigns only costs to carbon dioxide emissions, and ignores how rising atmospheric levels of this plant-fertilizing molecule are reducing deserts and improving forests, grasslands, drought resistance, crop yields and human nutrition.”

    Any evidence for: “improving forests, grasslands, drought resistance, crop yields and human nutrition”?
    No, of course not. But that’s not not what PR needs. (Paul aparently has accreditation in Public Relations from the PRSA).

    “Renewable energy companies, industries and advocates are notorious for hiding, minimizing, obfuscating or misrepresenting their environmental and human health impacts. They demand and receive exemptions from health and endangered species laws that apply to other industries. They make promises they cannot keep about being able to safely replace fossil fuels that now provide over 80% of US and global energy.”

    All of this unsubstantiated, unscientific, disingenuous spin and you then have the gall to come out with: “It is essential that we conduct rigorous studies”

    Paragraph after paragraph of textbook PR.

    But well done; for the life of me I can’t work out whether you actually believe this stuff?

    • “tony mcleod July 5, 2017 at 5:11 pm

      None of this is actually based on evidence is it Paul?”

      Real funny you talking about evidence. Can you show the evidence that ~3% of ~400ppm/v CO2 is driving atmospheric warming, which is warming the oceans, which is destroying the Great Barrier Reef? I didn’t think so…

    • All of the evidence you desire is publically available. It doesn’t come to find you, and tear off you blinders and remove your earplugs. You have to make an effort. And in that effort you may learn something. Common sense.

      • Thank for your helpful words Russ. It’s just that when I go looking I find stuff like this:

        and this

        https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/zPIMPXtEXGrmqaBzxfJwNl7mFORgOOrMXBjS03Z_Do3ZH7ZsBwypPdPz0-nlI8jChwBZG-11jGb5hYw=w1366-h638-rw

        Sure signs the Arctic sea-ice is melting astonishingly fast – just as predicted. That is going to result in a reducing global albedo. Do you think that could affect the rate of warming? Like a feed-back?

        Do you have any links showing cooling or expanding ice? If you do It would be a relief to see them.

      • “Russ R. July 5, 2017 at 10:10 pm”

        Hard evidence, observation based evidence, where? Anything I have read about that ~3% of ~400ppm/v of CO2 is output from a computer model.

      • “tony mcleod July 6, 2017 at 12:37 am”

        The header information from the first data file at the site you link to.

        # Total Northern Hemisphere sea ice area calculated like
        # Uni of Illinois’ Cryosphere Today http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/
        # That calculation includes:
        # – area of gridcells is 625 km2, overestimating area in low latitudes and
        # underestimating ice in the Arctic Basin
        # – ice of all concentrations is included. No cut-off (like 15%) is used.
        # – sea ice area includes ice on lakes.
        # – concentration of the ice in the Pole hole is estimated from the ice around it
        #
        # The main difference is:
        # – Based on NSIDC UNCALIBRATED F18 sea ice sea concentration.

        Sea ice on LAKES, estimates and UNCALIBRATED F18 sea ice concentration. The site seems unreliable to me.

  33. However else solar power affects the world, I dearly wish that some local businesses — my preferred supermarket, for a start — would opt to get at least some of their power needs from panels installed over the parking lots. Shade for my car on hot clear days, rain- and snow-shielding on others. Please!

  34. Paul

    In the US we need more legislators willing to put the interests of their citizens above rent seekers and ideologues. This entire scam is the Great Leap Forward revisited. Fight on

  35. David Wells’ numbers on wind turbines strike me as way off. Assuming 2 MW turbines operating at 24% capacity factor, 160,000 TW-hr total output would require 38,052,000 turbines, not 183,401,000. The total weight of materials he gives for the turbine itself (tower, nacelle, blades, generator) is 546.9 billion tons. that would put the weight of each turbine (assuming his number is correct) at 2,991 tons. The weight of an actual 2 MW turbine, the Gamesa G87 (https://en.wind-turbine-models.com/turbines/548-gamesa-g87) is given by the manufacturer as 386 t (which, I assume, is metric, making it equal to 425.6 short tons). According to this site (https://www.wind-watch.org/faq-size.php), the base weight is over 1,000 tons of steel reinforced concrete. To me, as an engineer, that sounds more reasonable than the 2,500 tons Mr. Wells’ figures imply.

    On the other hand, the spacing requirements for wind farm (10 rotor diameters stream-wise, 3 laterally) for the 87 meter diameter Gamesa would give a farm size (using my numbers) of 3.34 million square miles. That’s 88% of the land area of the United States. Further, according to this source (https://docs.wind-watch.org/Larwood-bladethrow-paper.pdf, page 12), the probability of a blade throw is somewhere around 0.001 to 0.01 per turbine per year. We would then expect from 38,000 to 380,000 cases per year of a 6.2 tonne (6.84 short ton) blade being chucked through the air. That’s like the crash of a Cessna Citation 525 CJ3+ business jet. Imagine 38,000 to 380,000 of those every year, and what the probability of casualty would be.

    Mr. Wells may have overestimated things, but that doesn’t mean that there’s anything sane or sustainable about wind power.

    • I note that 2MW is actually small for a turbine these days and that UK onshore capacity is 27%, higher offshore at 30% (where 8MW turbines are installed).

      There is a significant portion of mid-west America with 40% and better capacity.

      So, given there are bigger turbines out there and higher capacities, I think the figures are even further off from David Well’s figures than your excellent summation suggests…

      • Yes, I think they are further off as well. I did a very quick search on actual turbine output and other things, and picked the 2 MW turbine mostly because it had a lot of data available. 4 MW turbines are much more common, and would drive up the total mass figures (despite slightly reducing the number of turbines required, since the base weight requirement is a function of both the mass of the turbine and its height). I’m not sure about the ubiquity of 40% capacity factor onshore in the US, thought it does seem to be available offshore in the US.

        Adjusting the number of turbines for 40% rather than 24% capacity leads to a number of turbines 4 MW turbines of 11,416,000. But the argument made in the article still stands. The concrete in the bases for these turbines alone would constitute 123% of the entire world’s annual concrete production. That would have to be added on top of the current production. And, it might be noted, concrete production involves the release of a huge amount of CO2 into the atmosphere – around 900 kg/tonne of concrete. Building this infrastructure in one year would add 29% to the global CO2 emissions. But then, it couldn’t be done in a year.

        The global equivalent of gross domestic product in 2017 (http://statisticstimes.com/economy/countries-by-projected-gdp.php) is estimated at $126.69 trillion. The capital cost of a large wind turbine is about $2 per watt. That amounts to $91.4 trillion, or 72% of the world GDP. Energy cost has long averaged 7% of GDP, so we would expect phasing in of wind in no less than 10 years. It would be much longer, of course, since a 10% per annum addition to capital cost is not sustainable for 10 years. The reduction in fuel cost is actually fairly small over that time.

        The 800 pound gorilla in the room, however, is energy storage cost. The best we can do today is lithium ion batteries (pumped water storage would require the creation of inland oceans too large to imagine). With the very optimistic 40% wind turbine capacity factor, we would need to be able to store 60% of the energy required to run the world, or 96 billion MW-hr. Lithium-ion batteries can store about 250 W-hr/kg, so we would need 384 trillion kg of them to do the job. The low end cost today is $7.50/kg. So the battery cost would be $2,880 trillion, or 227% of the world GDP.

        This is, of course, a low-ball cost. The planet simply can’t support it.

  36. The few etailed articles on this subject that I have come across so far seem to downplay the concerns of this post — concerns such as land-area requirements and intermittent sun/wind. So, I would definitely like to see more assessments of a large-scale renewable power generating infrastructure.

    One article I skimmed claims that land use per kw/hr of electricity would be about the same for solar and coal, which just seems wrong intuitively, as well as contradicting what this post claims.

    Come on, folks, I want to see realistic assessments, NOT dreams that temper the harsh realities out of view. Do we really want a world of bird-blasting-whale-vibrating turbines and solar-panel-paved landscapes? … all to reduce the presence of a little atmospheric gas?

  37. Paul Mackey
    Umm, “known reserves” is a term that has to be understood, with emphasis on “known” then on the criteria for viability of extraction.

    I am astounded at the “rare earth” mineral deposits being discovered in Ontario, Quebec, and Labrador in Canada, with serious proposals to extract and refine.

    As for “alternative energy”, I want to see all-in economic calculations, which will vary for different cases. For example, BCTel/Telus has been using solar for a long time to reduce need to schlepp fuel to mountain tops to run radio repeaters – obviously a niche application where the cost of other options is very high. Similarly, Anthony Watts justified solar for the family house because the marginal rate at peak demand times was very high (IIRC $0.93 per kwh, an order of magnitude above SW B.C.). And solar, plus in a few cases wind, are being explored for remote communities now running diesel gensets, though they must include the cost of storage for such intermittent power sources. (That will depend on hilliness to build reservoirs up hills to pump water up to then run back down through turbines.) Etc.

  38. Argue back and forth as much as you want. There will be peak oil. Demand with outstrip supply. If the alternatives are not developed & ready to take over, what then?

    • Geoff July 6, 2017 at 2:30 pm :

      We’re not going to run out of fossil fuels in our lifetimes and when that day comes (if ever) we can be assured that the world will cope just fine. That’s what free markets and trade are for. Humans are inventive…that’s how we have survived and prospered so well…although the stromatolites probably just look upon us as a flash in the pan (and they would be right)!

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