# The big slide in renewable energy tells the real story

No, renewables are not taking over the world anytime soon.

Guest essay by Bjørn Lomborg

We have spent the last two centuries getting off renewables because they were mostly weak, costly and unreliable. Half a century ago, in 1966, the world got 15.6% of its energy from renewables. Today (2016) we still get less of our energy at 13.8%.

With our concern for global warming, we are ramping up the use of renewables. The mainstream reporting lets you believe that renewables are just about to power the entire world. But this is flatly wrong.

The new World Energy Outlook report from the International Energy Agency shows how much renewables will increase over the next quarter century, to 2040. In its New Policies Scenario, which rather optimistically expects all nations to live up to their Paris climate promise, it sees the percentage increase less than 6 percentage points from 13.8% to 19.4%. More realistically, the increase will be 2 percentage points to 15.8%.

Most of the renewables are not solar PV and wind. Today, almost 10 percentage points come from the world’s oldest fuel: wood. Hydropower provides another 2.5 percentage points and all other renewables provide just 1.6 percentage points, of which solar PV and wind provide 0.8 percentage points.

Neither will most renewables in 2040 come from solar PV and wind, as breathless reporting tends to make you believe. 10 percentage points will come from wood. Hydropower provides another 3 percentage points and all other renewables provide 6 percentage points, of which solar PV and wind will (very optimistically) provide 3.7 percentage points.

Oh, and to achieve this 3.7 % of energy from solar PV and wind, you and I and the rest of the world will pay – according to the IEA – a total of $3.6 trillion in subsidies from 2017-2040 to support these uncompetitive energy sources. (Of course, if they were competitive, they wouldn’t need subsidies, and then they will be most welcome.) Most people tend to think about electricity for renewables, but the world uses plenty of energy that is not electricity (heat, transport, manufacture and industrial processes). Actually, if the world miraculously could make the *entire* global electricity sector 100% green without emitting a single ton of greenhouse gasses, we would have solved just a third of the total global greenhouse gas problem. As Al Gore’s climate adviser, Jim Hansen, put it bluntly: “Suggesting that renewables will let us phase rapidly off fossil fuels in the United States, China, India, or the world as a whole is almost the equivalent of believing in the Easter Bunny and [the] Tooth Fairy.” We need to get real on renewables. Only if green energy becomes much cheaper – and that requires lots of green R&D – will a renewables transition be possible. References Data for graph: “A brief history of energy” by Roger Fouquet, International Handbook of the Economics of Energy 2009; IEA data DOI: 10.1787/enestats-data-en, and World Energy Outlook 2017, unfortunately not free, https://www.iea.org/weo2017/ The world emitted 49Gt CO₂e in 2014, and all electricity/heat came to 15Gt or less than a third, http://cait.wri.org/profile/World. ## 396 thoughts on “The big slide in renewable energy tells the real story” 1. What % of the. Public knows these numbers, or even the broad truths they represent? It ‘s worth sharing on social media. • Trebla says: Even if renewables do become much cheaper, the 800 pound gorilla is energy density. You would have to cover vast areas of land to accommodate low energy density renewables such as wind and solar in order to make a meaningful contribution to the world’s energy requirements. Then there is the problem of manufacturing, transporting and installing wind turbines. They don’t generate enough energy to create themselves. • Geoff Sherrington says: Trebla, We knew this energy density problem 40 years ago, but some upstarts failed to learn from the history of the past. Geoff. • Johannes Herbst says: “They don’t generate enough energy to create themselves.” Not true, e.g EROEI (Energy returned on Energy invefsted) of wind turbines over the complete life cyvle including de-installation ist about 15 to 70, depending on the site. • I suggest a new unit – the Scot. To provide the renewable energy for the UK via windmills you need Scotland to be completely covered in windmills. Scotland is 32% of the UK land area. Tourists would have to be dodging the big blades as they travel the whisky trail. It’s worse with biofuels. Many years ago it was calculated that New Zealand would have to devote its entire agricultural land (currenlty feeding 88 million people) to growing fuel biomass. To replace just petrol and diesel in NZ would take between 1/3rd and 1/2 of the agricultural area. Starvation anyone? • karl says: Try putting a nuclear plant on your roof or at sea. BTW — the nominal nuclear facility of 2200 MWe is about 25 square kilometers counting security offsets. 25 square kilometers in the US southwest is 26,000 MWh versus 50,000 — with no fuel cost, no radioactive waste, and no need for anti-terrorist measures. • Gabro says: Karl, And millions of dead birds and bats, meaning more insects which need to be killed by FF-based pesticides. • Walter Sobchak says: Karl: Nuclear plant at seas? Every day the US Navy has hundreds of of them. • george e. smith says: I wonder if Johannes figures are based on installed name plate full operating power or on actual T/GWhrs delivered to the grid over the life time. Simplest way to test that is to have a wind turbine replicate itself, including building all the machinery and other assets required to obtain all the raw materials. Remember, all the available assets are busy supplying OTHER things, so they aren’t available to mine ores or anything else for a wind turbine. It’s usually called zero-base budgeting. Put a fence around a windmill and allow in nothing but the wind, and let’s watch it duplicate itself, using only its own energy and all the raw materials on the planet in situ. We know it’s possible with existing energy sources, because we got there from nothing but our hands (and food). G • Gabro says: Walter Sobchak November 26, 2017 at 7:57 pm The active USN has ten nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and 71 nuke submarines. At any one time, fewer than half of them are at sea, often closer to a third. Your point is of course valid, but your numbers are off. Dozens, yes, just. Hundreds, no. • karl says: @ Walter Ummm — nope about 86 actually Extremely specialized — to only supply drive propulsion and have water water everywhere and they are no larger than 100 MWe for Super carriers and about 44 MWe for Subs Try again • karl says: @ Pete Ever see cows grazing inside the Fence of a nuclear Facility? Or a house built under one (Solar roof PV) Or cars parked under one? On one actually cleaned, demolished, and the land reclaimed after it has been in operation? Let me know • Gabro says: • Eric says: You’re wrong about energy density. You only need an area the size of the texas panhandle to meet all of America’s energy needs. But its not going to take that bc 95 million homes are eligible for solar. THATS how this country will get off oil and gas. Oh, and you can get paid a crapload of money to help. I’ll make you a multimillionaire in 2-3 years powur.com/eric.weerstra/join • schitzree says: Here’s the thing about nuclear power. It doesn’t need to sit in the sun, so you don’t NEED to put it on your roof. In fact, having to put a power generator on your roof is normally concidered a bad thing. That’s not what roofs are there for. Surprising, I know. ~¿~ • Samuel C Cogar says: Excerpted from article: Half a century ago, in 1966, the world got 15.6% of its energy from renewables. Today (2016) we still get less of our energy at 13.8%. I really don’t believe that claim of …. 15.6%, ….. and here is why. The estimated world population in 1966 was ….. 3,420,677,923 And 15.6% of 3,420,677,923 humans is equal to 533,625,756 humans. So, what they are claiming is that in 1966, 2,887,052,167 people were getting all their energy needs via fossil fuels, hydro or nuclear ……. and only 533,625,756 people were getting all their energy needs via renewables (wood, dung, whale oil, wind mills, domesticated animals). • Samuel C Cogar says: If being perpetually hungry is a “clue” to being “energy” deprived, …. then: In 2012, 501 million people, or 47 percent of the population of sub-Saharan Africa, lived on$1.90 a day or less, a principal factor in causing widespread hunger.

795 million people were hungry worldwide.
https://www.worldhunger.org/africa-hunger-poverty-facts/

• Eamon Butler says:

”KARL November 26, 2017 at 7:08 pm
Try putting a nuclear plant on your roof or at sea.”

You probably wouldn’t look too smart with an IWT on your roof top either. That aside, it’s not necessary. Nuclear is far more efficient, and reliable.
LIFTRs have very little waste and no military use. The technology was abandoned, in order to pursue the military capability of what we now have today. Also, while I don’t think it’s out of the question that wind turbines / solar, would be subject of a terrorist attack, I think they would be down their list of priority targets. Says more about how useless they (REs) are really. They’re more likely to be attacked by the disgruntled locals, whose lives have been made a misery by them.

Eamon.

• MarkW says:

karl, radioactive waste is only a problem because our government has banned reprocessing.

• karl says:

@Gabro

They are outside the security perimeter.

Such obfuscation it is unbelievable.

Of course they could be pictures of Cooling towers that are non-nuclear — many look the same.

Or, they could be sites where the reactor vessel and fuel were never loaded.

Name the plant, and give an aerial view instead of Bullshit ground level — those cows could be a mile away.

I can see the cooling towers of Three Mile Island from the I-83 Bridge over the Susquehanna River in Harrisburg PA — That is 10.39 miles from the plant.

• Geoman says:

Indeed – energy density is the only thing that matters. I get so sick and tired of reading silly articles like this one.https://www.nbcnews.com/mach/science/why-wave-power-may-be-next-big-thing-green-energy-ncna823281

How many articles have you read that make the same phony, silly claims about renewable energy?

1) an experimental device that is entirely unproven will result in massive changes to the energy mix?
2) The device seem absurdly complicated and expensive, and nowhere does anyone thing to compare the value of the energy harvested to the cost of the device that is used to harvest.
3) “Provide power to millions of homes.” Do they even realize that powering homes is a small percentage of our total energy usage?
4) “Wave energy has vast, untapped potential.” It is untapped because it is uneconomic.
5) An estimate of the total energy POTENTIAL as the size of the resource. The size of the resource doesn’t matter. The energy potential of every exercise bike in the world is probably enormous, but the cost of hooking them to the grid would be prohibitive.
6) Bunch of federal money tossed at it. If the energy and economic potential was that great, private money would be beating a path forward.

You can look at energy as a result of converting order to disorder. Atoms are very ordered – splitting them creates disorder and energy. Fossil fuel molecules are very ordered. Breaking them apart creates smaller disordered molecules.

Renewable energy, is by its very nature, highly disordered. It is the waste product of other, order destroying processes. Trying to create order from disorder results in losses due to the entropic nature of the universe. there is very little we can do to change this. Wind, waves, same deal. Hydro works because you are gathering the remains of order from a vast area – the Hoover dam isn’t the mechanism for hydropower – it is the entire Colorado River basin that generates enough power to exploit successfully.

• Bryan A says:

Solar PV is 6-8/5/200
Solar PV Max is 2/5/200
Solar Thermal (Ivanpah) is 14-16/6/300 + Gas fired back-up 8-10 hours per day to keep Salt Molten
Wind is 16/6/180

• RWturner says:

So now the benchmark for reliable and efficient energy is whether it can go on your roof or whether cows can graze underneath it? Wow, it’s a good thing that the hard working men and women providing the nation with energy aren’t that dumb.

• Ray in SC says:

Karl,

”Extremely specialized — to only supply drive propulsion and have water water everywhere and they are no larger than 100 MWe for Super carriers and about 44 MWe for Subs.”

US Nimitz class carriers have two 550MW reactors while US Los Angeles class submarines have a single 165MW reactor. It matters not whether the turbines drive a prophlsion shaft or a generator, they are producing massive amounts of power in quite small packages. Based on Ivanpah, you would need about 10,000 acres of solar panels to power the carrier and good luck powering the submarine with solar.

• ripshin says:

Karl,

You can easily find nuclear plant that are surrounded by obvious farmland. Not sure if plowed fields are scientifically equivalent to those grazed by cows, but, if so check out (Google Maps satellite view provides good overviews):

1) Wolf Creek Generating Station
2) Callaway Nuclear Power Plant
3) Cooper Nuclear Station
4) Point Beach Nuclear Plant

Or, for housing in close proximity to Nuclear:

1) Braidwood Generating Station
2) Millstone Power Station
3) Susquehanna Steam Electric Station
4) McGuire Nuclear Station

I could list dozens more, but I felt like these sufficed to prove the point.

rip

• D. J. Hawkins says:

@karl;

BTW — the nominal nuclear facility of 2200 MWe is about 25 square kilometers counting security offsets.

I call BS here. Put up or shut up.

• D. J. Hawkins says:

@karl;

Name the plant, and give an aerial view instead of Bullshit ground level — those cows could be a mile away.

Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station in NJ sits on 800 acres. That’s a lot more land area than most nuclear plants use. Using Google Maps, the closest residence is only 1.06 miles away, well within your “security offset”.

• Sunsettommy says:

Karl,

I live right by the Hanford Nuclear Reservation,that has was home to several old reactors from the 1940’s and 50’s,but now home of the Columbia Generating reactor.

“The Columbia Generating Station nuclear facility is the third largest electricity generator in Washington, behind Grand Coulee and Chief Joseph dams. Its 1,190 gross megawatts can power the city of Seattle, and is equivalent to about 10 percent of the electricity generated in Washington and 4 percent of all electricity used in the Pacific Northwest.”

https://www.energy-northwest.com/ourenergyprojects/Columbia/Pages/default.aspx

The Reservation is huge BECAUSE the government wanted to to be in secret,but later encompasses a large area of semi desert land to protect wildlife and plant life. It has a large mountain range and the Columbia river flowing through it.

“The Hanford Site consists of 586 square miles, which is about the same size as half of the state of Rhode Island”

“Rattlesnake Mountain is 3600 feet high, which is the same height as when you get to the top of Snoqualmie Pass on Interstate 90 in the Cascade Mountains

“Rattlesnake Mountain is also the highest mountain in the United States without any trees on it”

“On top of Rattlesnake Mountain, scientists once recorded a 150 miles per hour gust of wind”

a lot more here:

http://www.hanford.gov/page.cfm/funfacts

• Sunsettommy, how are all the leaky underground tanks at Hanford doing? You know, the ones that aree poised to contaminate the Columbia river?

• “They don’t generate enough energy to create themselves”. How true, the amount of energy to run a smelter to produce quality metals is huge.

• Y’know, there really are bits and pieces of knowledge that those of us who grew up as redneck hillbilly country boys are carrying around in our heads that may be among the mysteries of life to those who grew up in more urban settings. Such as the amount of good, arable land that is needed to adequately provide for just one old horse. Or mule, even.

• Samuel C Cogar says:

You got that right, ……. ThomasJK.

Like the song stating …… “A country boy can survive” …….. because “redneck hillbilly country boys” had to learn during there adolescent years …… if they had hopes of surviving their adult years.

• Robber says:

This analysis by Bjorn Lomborg should be headline news in the mainstream media, but will it get a mention?

• ChrisC says:

Lomborgs analyses and position on all things related to climate change *should* have been the dominant public position for the last 20+ years. But, alas, his prescriptions don’t call for action which lines the pockets of already wealthy plutocrats.

• Goldrider says:

It might if he submits it to the Wall Street Journal, Investor’s Business Daily, Breitbart or Drudge.

• WTF says:

• “WTF November 26, 2017 at 3:58 pm

Look like you live up to your ID choice.
A completely baseless claim, without citation, links or any proof whatsoever. A classic kindergarten sandbox bully taunt.

An especially taunt, amazing since the alarmists run amok and turn themselves inside out trying to defame Bjorn Lomborg; precisely because they are unable to argue against his rational statements.

Bjorn uses the IPCC alleged science and preposterous claims.
Bjorn uses the actual numbers submitted by nations.
Bjorn uses actual electricity generation values admitted to by industry and governments.
While Bjorn, since he does support the CAGW position, also promotes the “nameplate” claims for renewables.

Now, to actually rebut Bjorn, you will have to provide numbers and calculations from industry and international agencies; not those back alley paid trollop sites like dizzyblog, whop bad, skzzsscience, etc. etc.

We’re waiting wtf.
Utterly without any expectations.

Terrific, if non-shocking and unsurprising article, Bjorn!
That inefficient non-profitable renewables’ handwriting has been on the wall for several decades.

• WTF says:

Theo,
Thanks for the tortured response. It’s useless shoving yet more evidence under your noses since this is a denier site and therefore immune to logic and the reason why scientists don’t engage with you.
Please try getting a science degree and submitting a paper in the real world for peer review like any decent scientist does. So far your alternative evidence has fallen flat.

• karl says:

Lomborg’s post is crap.

He ignores many facts

1. The slide started in 1850 — about the time Oil was discovered and came into popular use (just because it is convenient doesn’t mean it’s efficient)

2. The geometric growth of renewables in the last decade

He also conveniently does not scale the actual TOTAL ENERGY consumption worlwide

It’s crap

• Gabro says:

Karl,

Growth has not been “geometric”. There would be no growth in “renewables” at all without state subsidies.

It has all been squandered, at a cost of trillions in treasure and tens of millions of lives lost to energy starvation.

• MarkW says:

WTF, thank you for admitting that you have no evidence to back up your position.
karl, it’s useful because it’s efficient.

• karl says:

@ gabro

chart the installed capacity per year for the last decade worldwide for SOLAR and WIND

Then attempt to find a linear fit

You CAN’T — the increase is geometric

But go ahead and try anyway

Dare you

• Geoman says:

I find it fascinating that supporters of Green energy can’t follow the clear logic of the post. I understand their confusion, and let me clear things up for them – they have been lied to. And when all they read are lies, the truth seems revolutionary.

No – wind and solar are providing very little of our total energy, and likely will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. There is no disputing the numbers. You only think this is not true because the number are constantly misreported.

Have you every wondered why solar and wind are always reported at nameplate value? That is to say, we always discuss a 1 or 2 MW windmill, but they never bother to convert that number to MWhrs, which is an actual measure of electricity produced? Or how about how they will say something smart sounding like “enough energy to power 5,000 homes”? Why do they say that specific thing – how many homes it might power? That is a deliberate lie to make you think they are accomplishing something – 5,000 homes? that seems like a lot. but it isn’t, really. See the lie is that homes use most of our energy. They don’t. never have.

No, unfortunately (and believe me that it pains me to say this) solar and wind will amount to very little in 20 years. There is all sorts of science, and measurements, and graphs that support this fact. Likely the future will be 50% natural gas, 30% nuclear, 10% hydro, and 10%…everything else.

• Catcracking says:

Yes, would be great for the NYT meanwhile the TV is focused on who baked the pecan pie.

• karl says:

This is total bollocks

Renewables provided 15% of US electricity generation in 2016

Nuclear provided 19.7%

By the end of 2018 — Renewable electricity generation will exceed nuclear in the US.

• Gabro says:

https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=427&t=3

Fossil fuel use dropped from 2015 levels in 2016, because of the war on coal. Here is the so-called “renewables” breakdown. Note that 44% of the total was from hydropower, more than from wind and way more than solar:

Renewables (total) = 14.9%

Hydropower = 6.5%
Wind = 5.6%
Biomass = 1.5%
Solar = 0.9%
Geothermal = 0.4%
Petroleum = 0.6%

When you consider total energy use, ie fossil fuels for transportation, industrial processes, home heating, etc., “renewables” aren’t a pimple on the posterior of US production and consumption.

• clipe says:

By the end of 2018 — Renewable electricity generation will exceed nuclear in the US.

“This is total bollocks”

• Gabro says:

Karl,

Why are you responding to me re. nuclear? I said nothing about it. But regarding your response to Clipe, you failed to note the nuke plants under construction and planned. If nuke power generation does drop next year, it will be temporary.

https://www.nei.org/Knowledge-Center/Nuclear-Statistics/US-Nuclear-Power-Plants/New-Nuclear-Plant-Status

I pointed out that the plurality of “renewables” is hydro, which at the very best is not going to grow.

There is only one dayummm person in this thread, and it sucks to be he.

• Obviously your Google is different to mine! The US National Academy of Sciences gives the following: fossil fuels 81%, nuclear 9.5%, renewables about 10%. Other countries (China, Japan, UK) are researching or commissioning new nuclear technologies, including micro-nuclear stations (UK) and (my favourite for the future) thorium reactors. This not to overlook the considerable effort to harness fussion which is, at last, looking like it will succeed, especially the very clever Canadian system.
Biofuels have many disadvantages, especially the fact that you often have to expend more energy to grow, harvest, concentrate, and process the stuff than you get out of burning it. And the cost has never been competitive. Wind is caparicious, dangerous to wildlfe and visually terribly polluting. Solar may be competitive, but just how much land do you have to cover to generate a useful amount of electricty? About 1/3rd of the total land area of any particular country. As for the future, an electrical engineering friend of mine once said: “Just wait until their hairdriers die. See how green they are then.”

• Gabro says:

Det,

Do you refer to BC company General Fusion’s version of the US NRL’s LINUS design?

• Bryan A says:

BUT the Lion’s share of that “Renewable Generation” was from Biofuels (wood) which the last time I checked required reducing the Carbon sink from harvesting trees and producing CO2 from burning the wood

• karl says:

@ Gabro

I posted plants that came online

In the US it’s ZERO net, and declining

2018 Renewables will consistently generate MORE electricity yearly than Nuclear

[???? .mod]

• Gabro says:

karl November 26, 2017 at 9:39 pm

Wanna make a bet on share of nuclear v. wind, solar, biofuel and geothermal in 2018?

• AndyG55 says:

Did you know that in 2016 in Germany, Wind and solar provided only provided 2.1% and 1.2% of total energy use?

https://s19.postimg.org/vapx1cs37/germany_energy_mix.jpg

That really is PATHETIC for the money spent.

A total waste of time and money that could have been gainfully spent in many other areas, areas that would actually BENEFIT mankind.

And all for ZERO purpose. Total idiocy !!

• LdB says:

Karl if you would like to see the problem you could look at Australia and Western Australia given we have the largest percentage of houses with roof PV solar.
The numbers are even set to double
http://reneweconomy.com.au/australian-solar-capacity-now-6gw-to-double-again-by-2020-2020/

Want to guess how much that translates to in power generation

As of April 2017, there was a total of 1.67 million PV installations in Australia, covering 21 per cent of suitable rooftops, which is the highest penetration of rooftop solar in the world. In total, these solar installations collectively generate 8,400 gigawatt hours of electricity each year, which meets approximately 3.3 per cent of Australian demand.

If this doesn’t work in Australia it isn’t going to work anywhere or obviously we just need more houses 🙂

• Geoman says:

LdB – indeed.

The question is can you reduce total fossil fuel usage using solar power? Answer is yes, of course you can, just not very much.

For electricity consumption – homes represents only 37% of total electricity usage. That drops to 10% of the total energy consumed. For a variety of reasons, transportation, industrial, and commercial users will not be using much wind and solar any time in the foreseeable future.

• RWturner says:

I actually think you may be too slow to realize that the vast majority of renewable energy in this nation comes from hydroelectric dams, despite multiple people pointing that out. Try to keep up.

• Ray in SC says:

“There is only one dayummm person in this thread, and it sucks to be he.”

Thanks for he laugh Gabro and yes, it must suck to be Karl.

• AndyG55 says:

“covering 21 per cent of suitable rooftops”

Go to Google Earth some time, and see if you can find that 21% except in small isolated clumps.

I call BS on it.

• D. J. Hawkins says:

@karl;

The following from the EIA web site for the US for the year 2016:

Natural gas = 33.8%
Coal = 30.4%
Nuclear = 19.7%
Renewables (total) = 14.9%

Hydropower = 6.5%
Wind = 5.6%
Biomass = 1.5%
Solar = 0.9%
Geothermal = 0.4%

Petroleum = 0.6%
Other gases = 0.3%
Other nonrenewable sources = 0.3%
Pumped storage hydroelectricity = -0.2%

Renewables are NOT more than nuclear. Any other devoid-of-fact drivel you care to share?

• Dave Kelly says:

karl at November 26, 2017 at 6:52 pm

Per your comment “Renewables provided 15% of US electricity generation in 2016”.

Bull. Like most “renewables” advocates you’ve inflated the your “renewable” numbers by including “Conventional Hydro” into your “renewables” figures… knowing full well the EIA does not include “Conventional Hydro” in under a “Renewables” Category.

The EIA generation figures for 2016 renewables are as follows:

Renewables:
Wind 226,872 GWh (5.5% of Total Gen)
Solar (Utility Scale) 36,594 GWh (0.9% of Total Gen)
Solar (Small Scale) 19,467 GWh (0.5% of Total Gen)
Solar (Total) 56,062 GWh (1.4% of Total Gen)
Wood Biomass 40,504 GWh (1.0% of Total Gen)
Other Biomass 22,136 GWh (0.5% of Total Gen)
Geothermal 17,417 GWh (0.4% of Total Gen)
Total Renewables 362,990 GWh (8.9% of Total Gen)
(Both Utility & Small Scale)

Conventional Hydro 265,829 GWh (6.5% of Total Gen)
Hydro & Renewables 628,819 GWh (15.3% of Total Gen)

The truth…. in 2016 the kinds of renewable technologies you advocate (wind and solar) only accounted for 6.9% of the U.S. total generation in 2016.

Don’t try to sell me a used car son.

• DonM says:

Gabro,

Karl will only gamble with OTM … other peoples money.

If he finds OTM backing I’ll be happy to take part of the bet … 2:1 odds that renewable electricity generation/use will not be greater than nuclear.

• DonM says:

O.K. …. 10:1

• LdB says:

@ AndyG55
If it isn’t 21% then report the largest case of corruption .. here is the link you can open a case of front page
https://www.ccc.wa.gov.au/

You see you, me and every other Australian paid a rebate to make this happen.

You can’t really fudge the numbers without committing a crime.

• LdB says:

I also tried what you suggested I picked random suburb areas in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth on google Earth and I actually got numbers greater than 30% in all but 1 case in Sydney. So my limited random testing sort of says the numbers are right.

2. Dave in Canmore says:

Great article with one small quibble :”report from the International Energy Agency shows how much renewables will increase over the next quarter century,”

It doesn “show” how much, it estimates how much.

Big difference!

• Dr K.A. Rodgers says:

Bjorn’s English is much better than my Danish.

• george e. smith says:

I’d like to know just what Detnum bases his enthusiasm for fusion energy; given that nobody has proved that a continuous controlled fusion cycle is even theoretically possible, let alone shown a design of one which is guaranteed by design to operate and produce net energy availability at finite unit sizes, so we don’t have to build transmission systems from one humungous global fusion power plant.

So far it appears that practical fusion power plants are about 860,000 miles in diameter, and need to be built about 93 million miles away from residential areas for safety.

G

• Jack is back says:

Sun lol

• Matt Bergin says:

George I fully agree. I have said for nearly 50 years that we won’t have a sustainable fusion reaction until we can control gravity.

• notfubar says:

Practical (safe, self-sustaining & economic) fusion plants for electrical generation were 30 years in the future when I was a kid. 30 years later, they were 30 years away again. Thirty years later, still waiting. I think my flying car will arrive at least 30 years before the fusion plants.

• Auto says:

notfubar
Isn’t Elon Musk announcing a flying car – powered by solar and leprechaun belches – tomorrow?
He still has problems with the power lead, though.

Auto
Mods – Yes, it is /Sarc. Leprechauns don’t belch – perish the thought!!

3. Earthling2 says:

Before fossil fuels, and particularly coal, much of the world ran on another renewable. Horses/Animal power, and slavery. We have greatly reduced both due to fossil fuels.

• MDS says:

Our society and economy could not be supported by horse power. Today, the world uses about 20 TW of power—20 X 10^12 Watts. A horse delivers around 735W of power, so we’d need around 30 billion horses working all the time to maintain that—multiply by 3 because horses are not machines and call it around 90 billion horses to be housed and fed and maintained (more than 10 horses per person on the planet. I suspect we’d mostly starve just trying to feed them——and just think about the cleanup 🙂

• getitright says:

A most illuminating concept.
Simple math and a dose of clearly exposes the stupidity of the CC gang.

• The number of productive arable acres needed to provide for one horse is several times greater than the number of productive acres needed to provide for one human being. The ratio is roughly related to the ratio of the weight of the two creatures.

And forget about trying to use money in calculations. There’s an easier, more accurate way.
Use energy out as a percentage of energy in.

Arithmetically the EROEI can be written as:

{\displaystyle EROEI={\frac {\hbox{Energy Delivered}}{\hbox{Energy Required to Deliver that Energy}}}} EROEI = \frac{\hbox{Energy Delivered}}{\hbox{Energy Required to Deliver that Energy}}

That is factored on process energy that is applied by humans, not on the energy content of the resource that is used as an input to the process.

• mikesmith says:

A horse eats as much grain as five men, roughly, so 90 billion horses would be like a human population of 450 billion persons.

• AGW is not Science says:

At least then it would be abundantly CLEAR that “renewable energy” really is “horse manure.” LOL.

• Gabro says:

We also used wind, water, wood and whale oil. Fuel for the animals and slaves of course was also renewable.

When coal started replacing wood, human population, health and wealth took off. More so when oil and natural gas were added to the mix.

The only realistic replacement for FF is nuclear, not “renewables”. And more hydropower dams, but they’re a no-no for envirowhackos too.

• Jer0me says:

And our use of fossil fuels directly led to the saving of the whales. You know, the sort of thing greenpiss keeps banging on about (or would if they if they weren’t obsessed with ‘carbon’, anyway).

• mikesmith says:

There is a finite number of good sites for hydro-electric, most of the best sites are in use already, and since most hyropower facilities rely on dams, they will silt up within several generations, so not really renewable.

Solar and wind are intermittent, so they require always-ready backup, which will frequently be called upon, among other problems. Nuclear really does look like the only viable substitute for FF (assuming, perhaps too optimistically, an unlimited supply of uranium from seawater), and it is a substitute we will have to resort to during this century as FF become increasingly depleted. (Someone is probably going to mutter something about 250 years of coal at this point, but, no, this DOE number is highly misleading for various reasons.) Most of the money we throw at “climate change” research would be much better spent on next generation nuclear power research.

• Ill Tempered Klavier says:

While it is unfortunately true that nost good hydro sites are in use, Siltation is not really a problem. Redervoir lakes can be dredged as needed much the way harbors are. No biggy.

• Gabro says:

All good sites aren’t yet taken, as the massive Chinese projects show, but in the near future they might be. Some great sites in Chile are off limits because of environmentalist objections, and in the US we’re insanely breaching productive dams.

• Crispin in Waterloo says:

There is a lot to be said for wave power and tidal power. Both are renewable and both are vast. Plus they don’t disturb the land environment.

• lee says:

Then of course there is the lost land behind the dam wall. The greenies don’t like that.

• Earthling2 says:

There is still a huge potential in run of river Small Hydro, with no large storage dam, perhaps only a 24 hour supply which is a definition by the greens themselves. British Columbia, Scandinavia, the Alps of Europe are just a few case examples of well planned and executed reliable renewable energy. This should be embraced by the ‘greens’ as it should be by any skeptic. Plus it could easily be upgraded to a Pumped Storage facility utilizing it’s existing infrastructure to a higher capacity factor than just the base water flow alone. And for a fraction of the cost of a huge expensive L-ion grid battery. A grid battery at best is only going to supply a slug of energy for 15 minutes while getting some other form of FF generation up to spinning capacity. A small hydro asset is going to generate at its design capacity for as long as the water flows.

You do need sufficient head, with a wetter weather and hilly/mountainous terrain. Where that criteria is met, as it is over a fair bit of the good Earth in many countries, this is a stable supply of very ‘green’ electricity with very little negativity in environmental impact. Pressurized water is also available for domestic/irrigation as well as fire fighting in forested areas. There is a lot of small/medium watersheds flowing downhill all over the globe and there is a lot of opportunity to develop this resource to add to the renewable mix and is a high energy density as long as the water flows. Plus the civil works & infrastructure will easily last a century or more if designed properly. A much better ROI and energy density than either wind or solar. If we can’t all support this, then we deserve to go back to the horse and buggy age.

• MarkW says:

Since hydro power requires a change in elevation, siltation will eliminate the ability of dams to store water, meaning the hydro power will be directly related to the flow of the river at that instant in time. No more ramping up and down to match changing power requirements.

• notfubar says:

Gabro is correct. As Petr Beckmann used to say: “More Nukes, Less Kooks.”

• Geoman says:

mikesmith – there are a finite number of suitable sites for all renewable power sources, just like there are for hydro. That is something that keeps getting missed when they estimate the total size of the renewable resource – a vast majority of sites included in that estimate will never be developed. They are ecologically sensitive, too far from markets, of special importance, private land, or the resource is there, but not economic.

Just like the estimates of total coal resource, or total gas, or total hydro, of total anything else – at best we will extract only a % of the total, likely a small %.

• Auto says:

Earthling2 November 27, 2017 at 1:34 am

“There is still a huge potential in run of river Small Hydro, with no large storage dam, perhaps only a 24 hour supply which is a definition by the greens themselves.”

Absolutely.

Even on the Thames, running through Southern England, there is a small-scale hydro-plant – Osney Lock Hydro.
http://www.osneylockhydro.co.uk/
Locally supported and [mostly] locally-owned, supporting community led action [yes, ‘on climate change’].
I do have a very small stake in it. Get 4% before tax, though.

And there is another – very recently commissioned – downstream from Osney, using Archimedean Screws, and estimated to extract 1.6 Gwh a year. http://www.lowcarbonhub.org/ refers.

Neither huge power-concentrators; but, I suppose, every little helps.
Every little fossil fuel left in the ground for use tomorrow, that is, helps.

It doesn’t green our planet [but 1.6 Gwh is not a lot of CO2!].

Auto

4. TA says:

From the article: “Most of the renewables are not solar PV and wind. Today, almost 10 percentage points come from the world’s oldest fuel: wood”

I feel better about my wood-burning stove now.

• The best solar collector ios a plot of firewood.

John Seymour

• karl says:

Actually a combined solar PV and thermal with state of the art technologies incorporating underground thermal energy storage and an IR pass through PV substrate — allows for the capture of approximately 30-40% of the solar irradiance.

The highest PV only electrical efficiency is 22.5% of solar irradiance — based upon 1000 watts per square meter — so 225 watts/square meter. — which is 450 watts per commercial panel (2 square meters) and slightly less for your average residential panel (1.85 square meters)

http://news.energysage.com/what-are-the-most-efficient-solar-panels-on-the-market/

again ignorance rears it’s stupidity

• karl

The highest PV only electrical efficiency is 22.5% of solar irradiance — based upon 1000 watts per square meter — so 225 watts/square meter.

And that 1000 watts/m^2 occurs how many hours a year in how many areas of the country? You only get 1000 watts/m^2 near noon on a clear day at low latitudes or through the summer months in mid latitudes, using tracking mounts and with low humidity and no clouds. Did I mention winter?

• george e. smith says:

“””””…..

The tech is called a parabolic trough reflector. — Duh …..”””””

Well Karl, it shows what little YOU know about solar energy collection of any kind.

Anybody using a parabolic trough to collect solar energy, either for thermal energy or PV, has their head truly up a place where the solar energy is minimal.

A parabolic trough reflector — Duh ! is just about the worst reflecting collector design you could use.

Yes trough reflectors are quite useful, but they are NOT parabolic in cross-section.

You need to get yourself some education in Non-Imaging Optics (NIO) before spouting off cutely about parabolic troughs.

So when and where did you last install a parabolic trough solar collector ??

G

• Bryan A says:

Karl,
Wouldn’t trust that site as far. as I could throw their Solar Calculator. I ran it 3 times with three different houses of varying roof sizes and orientations. Every time…Congratulations, you can save up to $82,000 just by spending$36,000 to have our system installed on your roof. WHAT A JOKE.

• karl says:

Truly parabolic troughs are parabolic — ones that are not parabolic are not.

For distributed home generation concentrated solar thermal parabolic troughs with a pass through semi transparent PV cover (yes they do exist) can convert 30-40 % of the solar irradiance to useable electricity and heat.

In my day job I have to understand parabolas quite well, also creeping waves, travelling waves, dielectric permittivity (or constant versus vacuum if you prefer), computational fluid dynamics, atmospheric wake effects, multiple types of enhanced/modified predictive algorithms that mainly descend from the traditional Kalman filter.

So I pretty much know WTF i’m talking about

• Matt Bergin says:

“Karl …So I pretty much know WTF i’m talking about”
Sorry Karl, no you don’t

• Bryan A says:

Karl,
Since I can’t install Solar on my roof (without a $30,000 complete roof rebuild) I would have to have a structure built (similar to an awning) with a concrete footing large enough to handle the panels in a side yard that is 10′ X 50′. This structure would cost me$50,000 – $60,000 prior and in addition to the solar installation. Suddenly their$30,000 installation costs me $90,000 total to save$82,000???
My point was related to your linked site’s Calculator. Regardless of what roof I chose, how much or little southern exposure was available, I could ALWAYS save the same $82,000 over 20 years. Very untrustworthy. It looked like nothing more than a sales pitch. • RWturner says: Anyway — solar is cheaper than wind and coal That might be the dumbest thing anyone’s said on this post. Solar must be so much cheaper than coal that it explains why Peabody is selling off all of their coal mines and putting up solar panels. 5. TA says: People promoting windmills and solar thermal are going to look really stupid in time. Let’s hope that isn’t too far in the future. • Earthling2 says: Solar thermal is probably the only solar that really makes sense. You probably meant Solar PV TA? Just think how many square m2 of solar PV panels you would need to heat domestic water or home heating equivalent with solar PV electricity, compared to passive thermal solar that just heats water up thermally for domestic/heating. I use an old black 100′ garden hose in a make shift box with some 4 mil plastic covering it when camping, for cheap. We should probably be promoting solar thermal over solar PV, if efficiency and cost for the third world are required. • TA says: “Solar thermal is probably the only solar that really makes sense. You probably meant Solar PV TA?” No, I meant solar thermal because it kills birds. I don’t have a problem with solar PV for individuals. I do have a problem with covering vast stretches of land with commercial solar PV. All this is so unnecessary. And destructive of the environment. • TA says: I think using black piping for heating water is an excellent idea. 🙂 • jake says: He means CSP – Concentrated Solar Power is the term. PV provides electricity only while CSP can provide either or both. Commonly it is mostly understood as electricity producer, white it provided heat for centuries – remember that enemy naval fleet the Greeks were supposed to burn to destruction. • Greg says: TA, it seems that you are referring to concentrated solar for electricity generation , like Ivan Pah. Solar thermal refers to producing heat ( thermal ) energy , not electricity. It is about 4 to 5 times more efficient Here’s one I made earlier 😉 https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chauffe-eau_solaire#/media/File:Autoconstruction_panneau_chauffe-eau_solaire_CESI.jpeg Heat exchangers out of AC units make excellent and efficient absorbers for heating water. http://solaire-chauffe-eau.info/photos/albums/userpics/10001/normal_panel-side-lagging-sm.jpg • karl says: @ TA — solar thermal is not just mirrors at a building Are you that ignorant and uninformed? The best Thermal Solar are actually combined with PV and use a parabolic focused on a tube that is connected to an oil based heat exchanger. The tech is called a parabolic trough reflector. — Duh • george e. smith says: The very notion that EM radiant energy; the Emperor of energy media should be applied by first converting it to waste heat; the garbage dump of the energy spectrum, just makes my flesh creep. You start with high class energy, and you immediately subject it to the Carnot cyclic energy in-efficiency of a heat engine powered power supply. And just think what the Carnot efficiency of a typical wind turbine is. G • TA says: “TA, it seems that you are referring to concentrated solar for electricity generation , like Ivan Pah. Solar thermal refers to producing heat ( thermal ) energy , not electricity.” Yes, Ivanpah and plants like that was what I was referring to. Ivanpah produces heat energy, too. That’s what kills the birds. I like your refrigerator coil setup. 🙂 • TA says: “@ TA — solar thermal is not just mirrors at a building Are you that ignorant and uninformed?” But you seem to agree that my “solar thermal” does include mirrors pointed at a building, and I mentioned that black tubing was a very good idea for heating water, so I think I covered all the bases, except maybe for your parabolic trough reflector. Your personal attack is noted and is not appreciated. • RWturner says: These mooks don’t even know the difference between CSP and thermal solar. What else can you say about this topic to a person this ignorant? • RWturner says: Just to clear it up, solar thermal explicitly refers to simple solar heating water systems that have used essentially the exact same technology for 50 years. It is not the same as concentrated solar power, despite the confusion stemming from several ‘green’ websites. Solar thermal provides heated water on the residential or community level, CSP provides electricity. The confusion on the two is a clear indication that you have no clue what you are talking about. http://bringsolarhome.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/diagram_solar-thermal.jpg http://www.ren21.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/17-8399_GSR_2017_Full_Report_0621_Opt.pdf • Bryan A says: Mr Turner, According to the great and powerful WIKI https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_thermal_energy Solar Thermal energy systems DO include passive thermal as you have indicated and and concentrated thermal as both TA and Vukcevic have indicated. • Bryan A says: And as far as energy density goes, for example, the Ivanpah Facility has 3 heliostats producing just over 300MW of electricity and still requires 8-10 hours consistant Fossil back-up to maintain the molten salt. The facility sits on 5 sq mi of area. The Diablo Canyon NPP produces 2200MW and sits on 12 acres. Ivanpah would need to have 21 heliostats to rpoduce the same 2200MW of electricity but would require 35 sq miles of area AND would STILL need Fossil Fuel Gas fired back-up for 8-10 hours per day to maintain the molten salt. 6. Just look at California – high electric costs and the entire east part of the state is littered with failed solar. wind and geothermal projects. Maybe they should clean up the mess and then add it to the actual total cost? • Barbara says: EIA / California State Energy Profile Current information on energy sources used in California to supply the state’s energy needs. https://www.eia.gov/state/print.php?sid=CA Includes renewables. • karl says: Failed wind is from the 70’s Modern wind is surpassing expectations. FACTS • notfubar says: Wind in the 1970s worked just fine as long as the subsidies kept coming. Once the [gravy] train stopped running, their output didn’t pay for their maintenance, so when they broke down, they were left to rot. Turn off today’s subsidies (robbing the masses to support rich people’s rooftop solar and corporate wind farms) and repeal the renewable mandate ‘must build whether it works or not’ laws so they have to compete on a level playing field, and wind and solar are more expensive than nukes for actual output. Natural gas is the cheapest right now (and will be for decades unless idiot ban fracking), so that’s what will get built.. • AndyG55 says: Once this idiotic CO2 hatred dies a natural death, coal will also make a come-back. 7. Bryan A says:$3.7 T for 3.6%…at that rate it will take a Mere $110T to reach the vaunted 100% for the existing electricity supply. Then another$200+T to reach the unelectrified masses also another $120T to electrify existing transportation AND another$200T to energize the transportation in those currently “Unenergized” sectors.

• Alan Robertson says:

Inflate the money and zero out the debt.

Do I have a future in the legislature?

• Auto says:

“Alan Robertson”,
You sound like Jeremy Corbyn.

Have I discovered your secret identity – and so win a complete Works of Mao Tse Tung [Mao Zhe Dong for our younger readers, I believe] – in Hampsteadese ?

Auto – possibly a bit /Sarc, mods, in truth.

• Mark B. says:

Go Gore demanding 90 Trillion is underselling the cost? Describes every liberal program ever.

• Ray in SC says:

Karl,

”3.7 Trillion would be $12.3 Trillion installed PV based on the 30% tax credit.” Wrong,$3.7T would provide $5.3T if the PV was 30% subsidized. The raises the question of why you would not include the subsidy as part of the cost of the panel. It is a cost and someone has to pay it. “the current RESIDENTIAL cost per installed watt is less than$3 — ACROSS the entire US“

Wrong, the cost of $3/kw is after subsidies. The actual cost is closer to$5/kw. You can’t deduct the subsidies twice although I say they shouldn’t be deducted at all.

”That would be 4 Trillion Watts installed solar PV — 4000 Gigawatts. Even at only 10% of capacity that would be 400 GIGAWATTS

Let’s do the math with corrections and without hiding cost in subsidies.

$3.6T /$5/w = 720GW

When you take into account a 20% capacity factor we are left with 144GW.

$3.6T / 144GW =$25/W

”1 single Gigawatt of Nuclear costs 13.6 Billion”

$13.6B / 1GW =$13.6/W

Cost for 144GW of nuclear = $1.96 trillion dollars. Land area for nuclear = 30 acres / GW * 144GW = 4320 acres (17.5km2) Land area for solar (using Ivanpah example). (400MW * 0.2 capacity factor) / 3500 acres = 23kw/acre 144GW / 23kw / acre = 6.3 million acres (25,500 km2) Summary for 144GW of power. Nuclear:$2T, 17.5km2 area, 24 hour output.
Solar: $3.7T, 25,500km2 area, 12 hour output (max), backup power not included(!!!). • karl says: Bull – S 3.7 Trillion would be$12.3 Trillion installed PV based on the 30% tax credit

the current RESIDENTIAL cost per installed watt is less than $3 — ACROSS the entire US That would be 4 Trillion Watts installed solar PV — 4000 Gigawatts Even at only 10% of capacity that would be 400 GIGAWATTS — more than all the Nuclear we have in the US — for comparison 1 single Gigawatt of Nuclear costs 13.6 Billion So to get the same amount of electrical generation would cost 5.4 Trillion — not counting subsidies — and would take over 100 years to install Not to mention — there isn’t enough Uranium production capacity to support current world usage FACTS • MrPete says: Karl, that’s solar capacity. Not solar delivery. You have to derate all solar numbers by the reality that solar can’t generate at capacity very much of the time. Plus, you have to supply a backup supply to cover 100% of solar capacity anyway to cover the gaps, OR have a new storage technology that doesn’t yet exist. (Closest thing I like is the new “flow” batteries… long life, easily expanded. Pretty costly and not very great energy density, yet quite promising.) In Germany for example, peak solar is more than half of total use. But average? About 1/10 of that. Not surprising. It’s night half of the time, and stormy or fall/winter/spring much of the time. A good data source for much of this: https://www.energy-charts.de/energy.htm?source=all-sources&period=annual&year=2016 • Matt Bergin says: Karl the big problem is that there are 16 hours of little or no production from solar PV every sunny day and less if the weather is cloudy or your roof is not situated properly. Totally and completely useless without fossil fuel backup. A complete waste of my tax money. Not to mention the environmental disaster solar PV production creates. You also have to include the cost for the replacement of all of the cells every 25 or so years. Not even close to viable. • Bryan A says: Considering the average house uses 10,766KWh per year, 897 KWh per month or 30 kwh per day, The average household would need to produce$3 per watt x 30,000Wh daily requirement that needs to be produced while the sun is up and not too shalow in the sky. Thats a cart-load of cash

• Ray in SC says:

Karl, My reply to your ‘facts’ is misplaced (by me) just above your post. It is lengthy so I won’t repost it here.

8. Ed Zuiderwijk says:

Furthermore, there is no ‘global greenhouse gas problem’.

• John from Europe says:

From that point on it went wrong with the greens.

9. Christopher D Hoff says:

I see the commitments to reducing mans carbon footprint as U.N. commitments in support of genocide.

• The architects of Obamacare, especially Dr. Peter Singer, long for an 80% reduction in human population to “save the planet.”

• The architect of Obamacare was Mitt Romney when he was governor of Massachusetts.

But at some point we are going to have figure out how to provide health care to all Americans.

In one year of Trump, my daughter’s health care plan went from $110 a month to$700 and that is with a $1,000 in “subsidies” per month. So she will probably end up using her$1000 a month subsidy (ridiculous) to pay for insurance to which she has a $7500 a year deductible before insurance pays a thing. In other words the insurance company will get$12,000 in annual premium from government subsidies and likely pay not one thin dime to a single health care provider.

• TA says:

“The architect of Obamacare was Mitt Romney when he was governor of Massachusetts.

But at some point we are going to have figure out how to provide health care to all Americans. ”

I think one solution has already been figured out, it just needs implementation.

https://www.bizjournals.com/wichita/news/2017/03/08/atlasmd-founder-featured-on-fox-news-program.html

This doctor in Kansas formed his own healthcare association and his customers pay approximately $50-$100 per month in healthcare costs and all of their normal medical expenses are covered. Add $10 per month for each child you want covered. He has also managed to get huge reductions on drug prices. And he did this all while Obamacare is still in effect! The governor of Mississippi heard about this program and has decided to try to implement it statewide in his state. Trump has eliminated some of the regulations in the healthcare field which ought to help this kind of enterprise a lot. Let’s see what Mississippi does with this plan. • @ TA one doctor? Whoopie do. Doctors could have done this for decades. Except they didn’t because they like being on the insurance tit. Scott and White in Tyler, TX had a similar program 30 years ago. Never caught on. The medical establishment wants insurance dollars not patient dollars. • 2 Remy. True but Romney was the first politician to implement this give away to the insurance industry. • karl says: Every other first world country manages to cover their citizen’s health care — without going bankrupt. Germany has been doing it since 1898 — with the requirement that INS COS are non-profit. Imagine if the US was like that — 30% savings off the bat. — I personally know dual citizens that FLY BACK TO GERMANY to have their kids — because the maternity and hospital care IS BETTER THAN THE US. But… doctors in Germany, and most everywhere else in the world are seen as professionals — like electricians – auto mechanics etc. Not as the puffed up GODS that they have created in the US. Ask yourself why there are only 119 medical schools in the US. Ask yourself why the AMA has tried to stop Nurse Practitioners and Physician’s Assistants from gaining the right to perform more procedures and write RX. It’s all about the MONEY. Scarcity — and INSCO kickbacks for RX. Medicare for all — my 70- something parents love it • Interesting karl. You false-valued love and terrible engineering and absurd economics trying to justify and propagandize the unicorn-horn worth of renewable energy is matched by your preference for universal taxpayer-funded, government-controlled health care, eh? • Gabro says: Karl, There are only 16 medical schools in Germany. Do the math. • @ Gabro — That makes us look even worse. The US healthcare system ranks No 37 according to the World Health Organization. France and Italy are at the top. They pay half per capita on healthcare that the US does. • mike says: Healthcare is hugely inflated, misdirected and over regulated in the US. e.g. spouse has stage 4b cancer with initially bad markers and especially bad real estate. Standard treatment in the US is ~$50,000/mo and 99% failure in 24 mo (not 50%). Best care in the US is ~$100,000/mo and 90%-99% failure in about 30 months. We pay under$1000/mo overseas for various cheap pills, IV, and I do the literature research. Going strong over 90 months….

• Gabro says:

davidgmillsatty November 26, 2017 at 7:59 pm

You believe the WHO? What are their criteria?

Why do French and Italians come here for operations they can’t get at home or will die waiting for?

Of course Americans also go to other countries for simple procedures which are cheaper there, if you haven’t been paying the taxes to support the subsidies.

10. Something wrong with the IEA link; it does not go to where it says. If you do go to the IEA report indicated, it is very upbeat about renewables. eg

Bright future for renewables
Renewables capture two-thirds of global investment in power plants to 2040 as they become, for many countries, the least-cost source of new generation.

Rapid deployment of solar photovoltaics (PV), led by China and India, helps solar become the largest source of low-carbon capacity by 2040, by which time the share of all renewables in total power generation reaches 40%.

In the European Union, renewables account for 80% of new capacity and wind power becomes the leading source of electricity soon after 2030, due to strong growth both onshore and offshore.

• squiggy9000 says:

You have pretty dreams. Totally unrealistic, but pretty nonetheless.

• I don’t claim to know Nick’s dreams – they may very well be populated by unicorns and butterflies.

Most of the dreams (and firm intentions) of Greens, however, would give Pol Pot nightmares. He only killed off one fifth of the humans under his thumb – they want 99% (minimum, some demand 100%).

• Bryan A says:

and 1% to 2% is a 100% increase…so what’s your point?

• RWturner says:

And if you went from having 2 functioning neurons to 4 functioning neurons, that would be an increase of 100%!

• Yirgach says:

Nick,
The part you should be interested in is the pay for part used by the author, ie “data from 1971 – 2016 and projections”. Not the smarmy PR part which is free, but you knew that now, didn’t you…

• So have you read the pay for part? Any parts you’d like to quote?

• Yirgach says:

That’s actually a good question.
Should we trust those authors who have access to the paywalled data or others who just like to make snarky comments? No /sarc here.

• John B says:

The problem is of course that “all renewables” includes dams for hydro. One of my big bugbears is that people constantly imply that the figure refers to solar and wind only. It’s dishonest.

• Mark B. says:

Then the question is , “Is the dishonesty due to ignorance, incopentence or deceit?”

• John B says:

Mark, I think deceit. Those pushing renewables know that hydro is the big end of the stick and yet they almost always use graphics showing wind farms or solar. This to me is a deliberate attempt to mislead and give the impression that wind and solar are bigger players than they are.

• karl says:

Solar power generation enjoyed another year of very rapid growth in 2016, with a 29.6% increase. Its overall share of global power generation remains low (1.3%), but that share has more doubled in just three years. Solar is starting to have a noticeable impact in terms of sources of power generation growth, contributing more than 20% of the growth of global power in 2016.

https://www.bp.com/en/global/corporate/energy-economics/statistical-review-of-world-energy/renewable-energy/solar-energy.html

Global nuclear power generation increased by 1.3% in 2016, or 9.3 million tonnes of oil equivalent (mtoe), marginally increasing its share of global energy from 4.4% to 4.5%

https://www.bp.com/en/global/corporate/energy-economics/statistical-review-of-world-energy/nuclear-energy.html

SO — WOW — JUST WOW

Solar produces as 30% as much power as nuclear WORLDWIDE

AT the 29% growth rate — SOLAR will exceed nuclear in 5 years.

Lets look at wind (could only find electricity generation)

The worldwide wind capacity reached 486’661 MW by the end of 2016, out of which 54’846 MW were added in 2016. This represents a growth rate of 11,8 % (17,2 % in 2015). All wind turbines installed worldwide by the end of 2016 can generate around 5 % of the world’s electricity demand.

http://www.wwindea.org/11961-2/

Based on the 5% electricity consumption — that puts wind POWER at 1.3% of total world POWER production

wind is only growing at ~13% per year so in about 8 years it will equal Nuclear

So just solar and wind will provide more than double the POWER generation worldwide as nuclear, and almost half the worldwide electricity consumption (generation) in 10 years.

Probably more as vehicles move to hybrid and electric

• John from Europe says:

Karl: only when the sun is clearly visible over the solar cells and when the wind blows at least 6 bft.
So, wow.
Get back to us when you solved that problem.

• Bryan A says:

Solar power generation enjoyed another year of very rapid growth in 2016, with a 29.6% increase. Its overall share of global power generation remains low (1.3%), but that share has more doubled in just three years. Solar is starting to have a noticeable impact in terms of sources of power generation growth, contributing more than 20% of the growth of global power in 2016

So basically it went from 1% to 1.3% or a .3% increase in the total mix (WOW, Better watch out Snail or Solar will pass you by)

• RWturner says:

SO — WOW — JUST WOW

Solar produces as 30% as much power as nuclear WORLDWIDE

AT the 29% growth rate — SOLAR will exceed nuclear in 5 years.

And it is 5 degrees warmer here than yesterday, so by this time next week it will be over 100 degrees! Uhh herp derp…

• Sheri says:

It also shows huge increases in China, India, etc and huge decrease in Europe, indicating the Third World is heading toward First World industrialization while the fools in Europe are going green and dark.

• Bryan A says:

Probably axing the forest for BioFuel generation.

11. squiggy9000 says:

Only if green energy becomes much cheaper – and that requires lots of green R&D – will a renewables transition be possible.

But how will we make the wind blow all the time? And 24 hours of sunlight will kind of suck for us astronomy buffs.

• joelobryan says:

Easy, Green R&D will give us with unicorn farts and pixie dust, if we just give green R&D enough of our money .

More seriously,

The cost of R&D of course shouldn’t be recouped in the cost of subsequent production.
That would violate a core Liberal principle of hiding how much their schemes actually cost the public.

• The trade winds ar blowing all the time. So you should install wind turbines in floats along the equator in the Pacific.

It will even help to find the Equator for Tourists and Equator christenings.

We then only need fossil fuels during El Ninos, when the wind stops.

• karl says:

Wind blows all the time somewhere — and most of the time at 330 feet altitude EVERYWHERE — remember, hub height of most modern turbines is 100 meters

wind speed increases as 1/7th power with height

so, wind speed at 100 meters is 1.9 TIMES as fast as wind speed at 1 meter — that equals 8 times the power

the energy in wind increased as the cubed power of wind velocity

( the braking force of wind — the force applied to the blades of a turbine = 1/2 rho v^3

where rho is the mass of 1 cubic meter of air (1.222 kg) and v is wind speed in meters per second)

current wind speed maps

(US)

http://www.intellicast.com/National/Wind/Current.aspx (don’t see a zero at the surface ANYWHERE

UK

https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/public/weather/wind-map/#?tab=map&map=Wind&zoom=5&lon=-4.00&lat=55.71&fcTime=1511730000

Not a zero to be found

Europe

http://www.intellicast.com/global/wind/current.aspx?region=europ

No zeros

Australia

http://www.intellicast.com/global/wind/current.aspx?region=austr

no zeros

wow —

• AndyG55 says:

German wind production as percentage of nameplate 2015, 2016

Less than 10% for nearly 30% of the time

Less than 16% for half the time

Less than 30% for 80% of the time

PATHETIC. !!

• Matt Bergin says:

Karl Have you added to your calculation the loss of wind force at height due to the reduction of air density. As a point most of the wind generators in southern Ontario are sitting stationary right now as there is no wind here at this time. So I know of at least one spot in the world with no wind.

• Lars P. says:

Wind blows all the time somewhere

sure, you just need to bring it from there where it blows to where it is needed
-> huge investments needed in infrastructure
-> high generation variances – windpower depends on the cube of wind speed -> increased instability
-> increased transportation costs
-> still no guarantee for continuity, weather can be consistent over wide area -> need of backup installations
http://euanmearns.com/can-offshore-wind-be-integrated-with-the-grid/
https://s24.postimg.org/axf2jesqd/Untitled.png
Figure 3: Hourly onshore and offshore wind generation with total generation scaled up to meet total demand, Denmark, 2014-2016.

• RWturner says:

Wind blows all the time somewhere

Ah hah! Must be the same logic you used to start drinking when you woke up.

12. The forthcoming energy crisis will be caused by fossil fuel depletion and inability to deploy a viable replacement. I realize I sound like a broken record, but I can’t see a way out. Our descendants will be in trouble if we don’t develop something or reduce population.

• Spend the trillions of dollars from subsidies on developing a viable method of colonizing planets, fusion power sources and vat grown protein.

• Nuclear generated electricity. In 5 years you will probably be able to order a 100 MW nuclear unit made in China, using an approved design, from Amazon. And for just 50% more than the same nameplate capacity would cost you in wind turbines. Except that you will have power 95% of the time.

You’ll just have to arrange for licensing.

• squiggy9000 says:

Not so sure about nuclear (though not against it). But at the rate they’re building coal power plants I’m sure the price of those will drop.

• I can visualize a future in which nations like Pakistán, Zimbabwe and Cuba are powered by nuclear plants. Whether that’s positive, time will tell.

• They are working on Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors, which can be built on an assembly line and shipped all over the world. Too bad China will get to be the producer of reactors that were proven at Oak Ridge in the 60’s and 70’s.

Too bad a socialist country like China (nationalized real property, nationalized banks and nationalized corporations for the most part) is kicking capitalism’s ass.

• Russ R. says:

david…

Too bad a socialist country like China (nationalized real property, nationalized banks and nationalized corporations for the most part) is kicking capitalism’s ass.

So big plans are equivalent to big achievements? Socialism is always superior to capitalism over the short term. Nothing motivates like fear. But fear does not elevate. And eventually it starts to feed on itself, instead of inspiring. Capitalism brings forth start-ups that grow into industries that did not exist decades ago. Socialism crushes that innovation, because it threatens those currently in power. Socialism will never win the economic race. It is human nature use force to limit the benefits of innovation, to those that are “more equal”.

• TA says:

“Too bad a socialist country like China (nationalized real property, nationalized banks and nationalized corporations for the most part) is kicking capitalism’s ass.”

It’s not really that capitalism (Free Markets) is losing to socialism because Free Markets have not been tried in the energy production field. Goverment is picking and choosing winners and losers and the Chinese government is making better choices than the U.S. government.

• Russ. By 2025 computers and robots will be able to do everything better than humans. Where does an employer get the incentive to hire a human?

• karl says:

That modular pebble bed reactor does not exist and won’t in 5 years.

1. The fuel pellet tech for pebble bed is not yet mature — and the Chinese and Indians have been working for 15 years on it

2. Shandong isn’t online yet — it was started in 2011 — it’s 2017 — snicker

keep on dreaming

China brought 34 GW of solar online in 2016

China brought 24 GW of solar online in 2016

— and 4 GW nuclear in 2016 ( 4 single 1000MWe reactors)

https://www.nei.org/Knowledge-Center/Nuclear-Statistics/World-Statistics/World-Nuclear-Power-Plants-in-Operation

So far in 2017 CHina is on track for 50 GW solar

https://electrek.co/2017/10/19/china-breaking-all-solar-power-records-aiming-for-50gw-in-2017/

Oh, and 1 (1000 MWe) in 2017

https://www.nei.org/Knowledge-Center/Nuclear-Statistics/World-Statistics/World-Nuclear-Power-Plants-in-Operation

None of which are pebble bed

Pebble Bed tech has been failing since 1994 — when south africa first started the tech

• Russ R. says:

@david.. 2025 is human obsolescence year? Computers and robots are going to do everything better than humans in 7 years? Robots are still good for repetitive tasks, but not general tasks. They can’t even do the things that I have to do for free, such as shop, or drive a car. And for most people their job is several orders of magnitude more complicated than those “easy tasks”. The automated car is coming, and should be much more common by then. But 99% of jobs that are not assembly line, or routine repetitive tasks, will not be replaced by robots by then. They will do dangerous jobs and unskilled labor first. And producing them and repairing them will continue to require humans for at least several decades to come.

• RWturner says:

Any robot or computer that can “do anything” better than a human in the year 2025 will probably cost a huge sum of money, and that will be your incentive. Will fast food companies pay someone minimum wage or pay for a $2M robot? I think they will wait for the costs to come down, the timeframe is probably closer to 2050. • MDS says: As the cost of developing fossil fuel resources rises (and it will over the long term) then alternate energy production will gradually become more economically ad politically viable. This is not a matter for central planning—very very few things are. • I’m not into central planning. I ran away from a communist dictatorship. • Russ R. says: If we are free to choose the best methods for energy production, distribution, and usage, we will select the ones that meet OUR needs the best. If we allow bureaucrats to decide what they think we should have, we will pay more and get less. And the majority of us will be poorer, so that a small majority will benefit. That is why we must reject central planning, and embrace innovation and the freedom to select the products that deliver what consumers want. Subsidies are an inefficient means of spending scarce resources. That needs to stop. And if other countries are using subsides on imported products, those products should be taxed an amount equal to the subsidy. Our current use of fossil fuels will last us well into the future. If you went back into the 1850’s and took a poll on future energy supplies, and what should be done about it, you would not get plans that would have been more effective, than letting the future take care of itself. The same applies to us today. We have the same ability to forecast the future, as they did then. • China is proving socialized planning really works when the government owns the land and the banks. They don’t have to worry about pesky things like needing condemnation proceedings to build a railroad. That is why they have been able to put in 20,000 miles of high speed rail that goes 200 mph or better. That is why the have the fastest train on the planet. And why they can build 3 Gorges Dam, without having property owners complain. Or build the longest bridge in the world or build a huge aqueduct from the wet south to the dry north. Or why their scientists now have the fastest computers on earth. Looks to me like China changed the game. We probably could not even build the interstate highway system now, given how poorly we seem to be maintaining it. And the only computers we seem to be really good at building are the ones that can spy on us. • Russ R. says: @david.. 2016 per capita gdp USA$57,500.00
2016 per capita gdp china $8,120.00 Central planning really works for those who own the assets. The government of china is very good at maintaining control over a population that has little opportunity to exploit the unique talents of the individuals. If you are born into power, very little is required of you, and you will have a comfortable life. If you are born into poverty, you will live and die in poverty. China is the current equivalent of the USSR in the 1970’s. Plenty of international intimidation and propaganda distribution. But internally sowing the seeds of their own destruction. • @ Russ. This last week we find out that Bezos, Gates and Buffet are worth more ($248 billion) than 160 million Americans. That was before Bezos made 2.4 billion last week on his stock. We could probably knock out 50 or so other billionaires and then see how the rest of us do against the Chinese.

• Gabro says:

davidgmillsatty November 26, 2017 at 5:21 pm

People’s wealth in stocks and bonds don’t count toward GDP, except for dividends and interest paid, or capital gains when sold.

Before attempting to criticize capitalism, you ought to learn something about it.

• Russ R. says:

@david.. Bezos, Gates, and Buffet got rich by creating companies that employed 1000’s of people, and created $billions of dollars for investors, suppliers, and customers. That is why capitalism when allowed to flourish is always superior to socialism. People doing what is in their best interest are much more careful with the money they earn, than bureaucrats will ever be. Not only do they create wealth for themselves but they spread it around to other stakeholders in the business, and those that benefit by purchasing the products or services they provide. Making a 200mph train, with public money does not even provide more value than just taking an airplane. The airplane travels at 600mph, can go to any destination that the CUSTOMER wants to go to, and can avoid weather, animals on the tracks, and landslides that can all impact rail travel. Not to mention all the people that were forced to sacrifice their land, and their mobility for a train they will get no benefit from. Train crossings are still killing people, and forcing people to go out of their way into a bottleneck of train crossings. We don’t have high speed rail because it will benefit a minority of the public, and be paid for by the majority. Another boondoggle that is not flexible for a changing world. But their world for the chineese won’t change much, because the bureaucrats will prevent options, instead of letting the public decide what they want. • Crispin in Waterloo says: Russ R It is obvious you don’t know much about living in China. You are spouting shibboleths. Taking the high speed train is faster and more convenient than passing through two airports. The cost of living is about 1/3 that of the USA. Urban incomes (half the population) are much higher than in rural areas. What is the median income in the U§A? Gates made his money by lying and spying, assisted by his government. That three men control more wealth than 50% of the population is beyond scandalous. Talk about sowing the seeds of destruction! That Buffet and Gates are now giving away huge amounts of money is admirable provided it is not used to influence politics (buying governments, state capture etc). But such excessive wealth is no way to run a railroad. • Gabro says: davidgmillsatty November 26, 2017 at 5:21 pm Please cite the source for your assertion regarding Bezos, Gates and Buffet re 160 million Americans. To me it seems improbable that the average net worth of the least wealthy half of the US population is only$1550 per person. Or a bit more if you consider only adults. With four members of a household, that would be $6200. Thanks. https://www.federalreserve.gov/newsevents/speech/yellen20141017a.htm Wealth includes the values of homes, automobiles, personal valuables, businesses, savings, and investments. The net worth of US households and non-profit organizations was$94.7 trillion in the first quarter of 2017, a record level both in nominal terms and purchasing power parity. Divided equally among 124 million U.S. households, this would be $760,000 per family. However, the bottom 50% of families, representing 62 million households, average$11,000 net worth.

• @ Gabro — Maybe that is a real criticism of how we calculate GDP as in fraudulent.

• Russ R. says:

@crispin..You are correct that I don’t know much about living in China. Just what I read. It does not matter what the specifics of China are. It only matters that the humans living their have normal human aspirations, that will be denied to them by their government. The people will chafe under the yoke of Socialism, and they will either accept it, and forge ahead without hope, or will reject it and feel the power of the State, such as those who fought for Liberty, in Tienanmen Square. It does not matter which path is taken as long as the communist remain in power. The government will treat the people as resources to be used and disposed of as required, and the people will grow to resent it.
Train stations and airports are the same. The only difference is that airports can be anywhere, and stations can only exist on the track line. Just as likely to switch trains as airplanes. The only difference is planes are more likely to not stop at every station along the route, like trains frequently do. And if you like trains so much, maybe you are fine with a 200mph train coming down your block several times a day, on its way to its destination. I have planes flying over my house at altitude and if its cloudy I don’t even notice.
David does not understand the difference between “accumulated wealth” and yearly income. It appears you also are unaware of the difference. The net worth of the United States is $128 trillion as of 2014. So the 3 billionaires that you are so offended by possess roughly a tenth of one percent of that. The per capita income of the US is roughly 7x the per capita income of China. If I were to magically raise your pay by 7x tomorrow, would you think that was good for you personally or not? Economic systems either incentivize people to work harder and work more efficiently, or not. You may want to learn something about Bill Gates before you publicly slander him. He formed a company and produced a popular product line. We all got wealthier because he, and many more like him got wealthy. He does not hide his wealth in his mattress. He has most of it still invested in his company that produce products that people want and are willing to pay for. When he spends his wealth, someone else benefits when he pays for the product or service. When he saves it, the banks have more money to loan to homeowners, car buyers, and everyone else that borrows money. When he donates it to charities, he helps others that need help. The creation of products and services that others want to buy, is the difference between our current society, and a hunter-gatherer society. And life was short and violent in those days. • RWturner says: Costs of nuclear power probably won’t go up as long as regulatory costs don’t. The cost of nuclear could actually decrease with more streamline regulations. Not to mention that people have been saying this about oil/gas for decades and new technology keeps extending when this will happen. • Lee L says: Reduce population … surprising how little the greenies will address this point. what is cheaper…reducing demand (population) or replacing coal? I’d say it will be a LOT cheaper and safer than scarring the landscape with solar and wind gizmos or implementing dangerous untried geoengineering schemes to, instead, pay for free contraception the world over, but especially in India, Africa and China. And a little research in this area might also provide new technology to implement this. Completely voluntary but free. • develop something or reduce population ====================== the population density of cities is directly related to energy supply. remove the energy and you remove the people. • Mike Maguire says: “The forthcoming energy crisis will be caused by fossil fuel depletion” Actually, that is the main legit reason to cut back on the use of fossil fuels……….so that they will last as long as possible. With an increasing world population and demand for energy, along with(ideally) the undeveloped/poor countries ramping up their energy use as they partake in the benefits that this has created for the developed world, the supply of fossil fuels could be substantively drawn down later this century. There could be much more undiscovered oil, natural gas and coal than currently estimated so there is tremendous uncertainty. However, regardless of how much is left, when supplies of something diminish, the price goes up. If/when the supplies of fossil fuels go down, they WILL become more expensive unless something unknown throws a big monkey wrench into that historically reliable relationship. Then, we could have a new set of fundamentals……..all speculative at this point in time. If the cost of using fossil fuels soars, renewables could be much more competitive. That actually is an objective for some right now(greatly boost the cost of fossil fuels) but not based on rational supply/demand, efficiency, scientific or even environmental criteria……….just politics. With regards to the real world and current price of oil in the commodity markets. We have clearly made major, probably multi year lows in the price of the liquid energies. The close near$59/barrel in crude on Friday was the highest close in 16 months. The spike low in January 2016 looks like it will hold for many, many years. The low in July 2017 of $44 in the December contract looks pretty solid too. Much of this is related to fundamentals. Demand has been picking up. Crude, gasoline and heating oil supplies have been getting drawn down. Gasoline supplies in the US are the lowest in 2 years, though still historically robust: https://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/hist/LeafHandler.ashx?n=PET&s=WBCSTUS1&f=W Heating oil in storage has quickly dropped to the lowest in 3 years and near the middle of the historical range. A continuation of this trend, with a cold Winter in the Northeast US and Europe could make for some serious upside price pressure: https://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/hist/LeafHandler.ashx?n=PET&s=WDISTUS1&f=W Crude in storage had been massively increasing and setting new record highs by a wide margin…….until early this year. They are still historically high but have dropped 100 million barrels just since April of this year. That represents the biggest drop in US crude oil stocks over such a short period ever: https://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/hist/LeafHandler.ashx?n=PET&s=WTESTUS1&f=W Both heating oil and crude closed at their highest price since the early Summer 2015. Gasoline is lagging the price of heating oil by 3c, mainly because of the slightly less bullish supply/storage dynamic. It appears that an increase in demand is a big factor for the bullish draw downs in storage for the liquid energies. With regards to natural gas in storage. Though currently in decent shape. We are down over 100 billion cubic feet from the huge 5 year average and down over 300 bcf from last years record high storage at this time. http://ir.eia.gov/ngs/ngs.html • Mike Maguire says: “The close near$59/barrel in crude on Friday was the highest close in 16 months”

Sorry about that, should be the highest close in 28 months………almost 2.5 years!

• RWturner says:

Stored global crude oil is actually highly speculative, but regardless, the stored crude should be normalized to demand. When it’s properly reported it’s reported as days of oil. 2 billion bbl in storage is different when burning 50,000,000 bbl per day compared to burning 100,000,000 per day.

• Barclay E MacDonald says:

A profoundly fundamental problem is that these are predictions for 2040! A mere 20 years ago we could not have predicted WUWT would exist, let alone be the most viewed site on Global Warming, or Climate Audit would exist or that the US would be producing > 9 million barrels of oil/day, equal to Russia or Saudi Arabia, and have a 100 year supply of natural gas.

• fernandoleanme November 26, 2017 at 9:41 am
The forthcoming energy crisis will be caused by fossil fuel depletion and inability to deploy a viable replacement. I realize I sound like a broken record, but I can’t see a way out. Our descendants will be in trouble if we don’t develop something or reduce population.

Nonsense.

That’s akin to your ancestors back in the late 1800s wasting time worrying about your use of heat and energy.

There are sufficient known reserves for another hundred plus years; before America and others dip into oil shales.
Not to forget the massive reserves of methane in our solar system.

It certainly doesn’t matter that we turn methane into CO2; CO2 ends up as sedimentary rocks fairly quickly.

Nor are Western civilizations producing excess people. Good luck dealing with those third world causes.

Let the descendants deal with their problems real time with modern, to them, solutions. Any alleged solutions cooked up today will be archaic in twenty years and absolutely primitive in 100 years.

• The problem I see is that cornucopians can’t deliver a business plan to show how they will extract those hypothetical “reserves” they claim are out there. Meanwhile I try to make a living figuring out where to get the stuff at a reasonable price, and I can’t find much worth going after decades from now. Problem is that many countries can’t afford the price, and our demand for inputs is overwhelming, thus the world economy crashes at the current population level.

• “fernandoleanme November 29, 2017 at 11:19 am

The problem I see is that cornucopians can’t deliver a business plan to show how they will extract those hypothetical “reserves” they claim are out there. Meanwhile I try to make a living figuring out where to get the stuff at a reasonable price, and I can’t find much worth going after decades from now.”

Swapping fake straw men, fernandoleanme.
• First it’s running out of oil/gas/coal,
• Then it’s the prices of oil/gas/coal going too high,
• Then your counter argument is that leaving far in the future problems for future people to solve is suddenly “cornucopia” as you switch the future for here and now…

Truly sloppy thinking there, Fernando.

There are plenty of decades before any of your doom fantasies become a problem.

“fernandoleanme November 29, 2017 at 11:19 am
Problem is that many countries can’t afford the price, and our demand for inputs is overwhelming, thus the world economy crashes at the current population”

What!?

Say what!?

That comment does not make any sense.
Countries can’t pay the price?
What price?

Demand for inputs?
What inputs?

Just another strawman spinning fakery.

• Gabro says:

Fernando,

Human population is on track to stabilize at a sustainable level.

• Carbon BIgfoot says:

fernandoleanme there is no such thing as fossil fuels. I did a back of the envelope calculation after your post. Lakatos & Lakatos-Szabo recently recalculated that a Trillion Barrels equivalent to 135 Billion Tons of oil harvested since the mid-nineteenth century. If you take the top 20 dinosaurs estimated weights from 100 to 1 ton–quick average being generous 10 ton per dino with 50% being bone 5 tons/dino. 135×10^9 divided by 5/tons suggests 27 BILLION ANIMALS AT EXTINCTION. I submit that we never had that many and if we did we would have run out of CARBON FUELS years ago.
Over the years the FF Theory, which was a MYTH FOSTERED by J.D. Rockefeller to support his business, is a false paradigm. It also would not account not for the abundant methane calthrates the Japanese are trying to mine off their coasts and that exists elsewhere in our oceans— did not synthesize from dead flesh.
It is time for you to embrace the Abionic Theory and our planet’s perpetual, renewable carbon cycle.
I’d give the links for all of the above information but I’m lazy.
One final note Mars has oil seeps and Titan has oceans of liquid methane. NO DINOS THERE!

• The issue isn’t when we run out of oil. The issue is when will demand drive prices so high they start hurting poor country economies and the problem spreads due to the resulting instability and poverty. I’m thinking of a country such as say Jamaica, or Pakistan.

13. Nice post. Crisp bite of reality.

14. ddpalmer says:

Only if green energy becomes much cheaper – and that requires lots of green R&D – will a renewables transition be possible.

And the thing that many proponents of renewables forget is that spending a lot on green R&D does not mean that any advances in cost or reliability will result.

Money spent on R&D is not a guarantee of any usable results.

• RWturner says:

Same could be said for fusion. Over $1 Trillion invested, 0 Joules of energy produced. 15. MDS says: I’ not convinced we have a CO2 “problem”, although in niche areas I see a role for things like wind and solar—in places where there is no power grid or an ability to deliver fuel in a reliable way. For the near-term future, I see hydrocarbons as the best, most economical way to fuel most of society, and this can be further extended through the use of things like solid oxide fuel cells in combination with electric motors, which convert hydrocarbons to electricity with little to no toxic emission and a higher efficiency use of the energy. In fact, such technology could allow us to virtually eliminate the power grid and the frailties associated with it. Distributed power generation is a much harder target for entities like terrorist organizations, and could make homes virtually immune to weather interruptions. But I do think all government subsidies should be terminated—from every politically chosen industry. • Trebla says: Fossil fuels are a priceless treasure that we were extremely lucky to benefit from over the past 150 or so years. The real crime is the shameful waste of these resources due to their inefficient use. This is where governments should really be stepping in. For example, regenerative braking should be mandatory on all fossil fuel powered automobiles. Stop-and-go driving really wastes braking energy for no valid reason. A Toyota Prius gets better mileage in the city than it does on the highway. My new gas furnace is 96.5% efficient and replaces an older 65% efficient unit. This is the way we should be going on all energy fronts. A side consequence would be reduced CO2 emissions which would make the green crowd happy as well. • John Harmsworth says: This is a simplistic answer. In reality there are costs to add or alter technology in order to improve efficiency. In the history of Western economic development, the market has determined what will be offered and the price. People then made a decision according to their best interests. This was sufficient to produce great progress. How can the government make correct decisions for all when all have different needs and resources? The government should do less and get the Hell out of the way! • Robert Austin says: Unfortunately, you will probably lose most of the savings from the high efficiency unit when it breaks down and requires expensive repairs. • Sheri says: Robert: My 60% efficient furnace died. Thus, I now have a 96% efficient one. It has had one service call in 5 years and that was because the installer reversed the inlet/outlet pipes. Now it works very well. Will it die in the future—sure, all things go to the landfill sooner or later. Would I have replaced the furnace with a cheaper 60% efficient one? Nope, I’m fine with this one. • A C Osborn says: How much did your 60% boiler cost and how long did it work for. How much did your new boiler cost in comparison. Let me give you my example. Old Simple Bolier £250 – lasted 22 years with one £50 repair only replaced due to unavaliable £20 spare part. Equals £15.00/annum New Condensing Boiler cost$600 – broke down 3 times in 7 years costing a further £450 and finally the MotherBoard died at 7.5 years. Equals £125/annum
Improvement in Gas bills with the new boiler, less than 5% per annum in no way pays for the new boiler.
Replaced the broken condensing boiler with a new even more expensive one hoping to get more than 10 years out of it.

So good luck with your new boiler I only hope it does a lot better than mine.

• Carbon BIgfoot says:

MDS well informed comment. BLOOM ENERGY fuel cells already are doing Distributed Power. Modular Thorium Reactors will do the same if we can ever get a demonstration unit permitted.

16. joelobryan says:

On Hansen’s quote above:

““Suggesting that renewables will let us phase rapidly off fossil fuels in the United States, China, India, or the world as a whole is almost the equivalent of believing in the Easter Bunny and [the] Tooth Fairy.”

If Hansen had had the integrity to be totally honest he would have said:
Suggesting that renewables will let us phase rapidly off fossil fuels in the United States, China, India, or the world as a whole is almost the equivalent of believing in the Easter Bunny and [the] Tooth Fairy.

17. Jim says:

A vast majority forget that human life expectancy has increased more in the last 50 years than it did in the previous 200,000 years of human existence. In 1950, life expectancy was 47 years. In 2011, it was 70.

Why? Fossil fuels and the freedom they gave us to diversify and specialize. We are constantly bombarded with the evil of fossil fuels and their negative impact on our health but those negatives, and they are real, need to be balanced against the massive gains we have made in the quality and quantity of our lives.

• squiggy9000 says:

In other words it really IS “fossil fuel’s” fault the human scourge is around to bother Gaia!

• Problem is we are using fossil fuels at a very high rate. In 50 years they’ll be very expensive unless something comes along to replace them.

• Paul Blase says:

What you forget is that this increase in cost is in itself the best incentive to develop replacements! There are, in fact, many possible replacements for fossil fuels, but they all – at present – uneconomical.

• Rchard P says:

I have been told for over the last 45 years that we well be dead from over population, all of the coal will be gone, all petroleum would be exausted, fusion power will be a reality, and that we have to wait only 10 to 20 years for it to happen. Well, none of that has occurred. Now it is time to let progress work as it normally does without interference from the central governments, for none of them have been able to solve any issues that pertain to the economy. Reality is not a model, and the laws of physics sre immutable. When something is needed to replace something an economical solution will be found, for nothing is sustainable if it isn’t economically sustainable.

• tony mcleod says:

Paul Blase
“There are, in fact, many possible replacements for fossil fuels”

If you mean stuff we need to grow or actually make – then no, I don’t think you’re comparing apples with apples. Nothing can replace stuff you just need to find. You could say nuclear I suppose, but that still needs one of these. Hard to see anything other than liquid hyrocarbon powering it. Maybe algae ponds? lol

https://hips.hearstapps.com/roa.h-cdn.co/assets/cm/14/47/546b3b8de6795_-_actrosminingtruck-lg.jpg

• @ Tony Actually Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors, when they get built, will make excellent replacements for fossil fuels.

• Lars P. says:

Do you think all that fossil fuel on Titan (about 100 times more then known reserves on Earth) comes from dead dinosaurs who migrated there or was there a non biotic process that created it?
Do you think there are no such processes on Earth?
Does any Carbon, Hydrogen atom disappear from the Earth when we burn that fuel?

• tony mcleod says:

Jim
“balanced against the massive gains we have made in the quality and quantity of our lives.”

How is that going for the other 10 million species?

• Russ R. says:

Far better than it went for the dodo bird, the woolly mammoth and many other animals that were on the diet, for a mentally superior hunter-gatherer. We now have the ability to catalogue and value the diversity of life on this planet. We can take steps to protect animals before they are driven to extinction.
When we were living without the leverage gained by the use of fossil fuels, we would eat what was available to be eaten. And that frequently meant extinction for animals that we found beneficial to hunt.

• Jim says:

Good point, “not well” would be my answer.

The alternative being a return to hunter gatherer for man at greatly reduced numbers.

We are a consuming, expanding species, it’s in our nature and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.
The real answer would be population control, how many people the planet can sustain, I would venture it is significantly less than we currently have. Neither fossil or renewables will change that.

• Latitude says:

“How is that going for the other 10 million species?”

You do realize that has more to do with taxonomy than ecology?

• tony mcleod says:

Agreed Jim. Some can see the dilemmas, some can’t.

• tony mcleod says:

Lattitude
I’m talking ecologically. I don’t really care that much for dodos, nor polar bears for that matter. Losing a handful of charismatic creatures is not really that significant and anyway is just a symptom. The problem is loss of habitat.

habitat
noun
the natural home or environment of an animal, plant, or other organism.

Key word: natural. Humans have taken over so much of the aparatus, whole ecosystems are being eclipsed.
The question then becomes whose habitat are we actually eclipsing?

• John B says:

Well, we could have a lottery, or just kill people when they hit 45. How about licences so the elite can breed but the lower classes don’t?

• tony mcleod says:

John B November 26, 2017 at 3:23 pm
Well, we could have a lottery, or just kill people when they hit 45. How about licences so the elite can breed but the loer classes don’t?

A licence to shag? Good luck enforcing that. Genocide is the only humane option.

Like all population spikes, mother nature will take care of it.

• Mark B. says:

Pretty good. Have many species went extinct before man arrived on the scene? We may never know. The fossile record isn’t that good.

• RAH says:

Nature has it’s ways of changing those imbalances eventually.

• “tony mcleod November 26, 2017 at 11:25 am

“Jim
“balanced against the massive gains we have made in the quality and quantity of our lives.”

How is that going for the other 10 million species?”

Yet another trite inane claim?

Conservation is alive, well and has been quite functional for well over a century.
That is, real conservation, not the silly sham organizations feeding on gullible donors.
https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R42992.pdf
https://wsfrprograms.fws.gov/Subpages/GrantPrograms/SFR/SFR.htm

Those countries that burn their forests and lands for use as arable lands along with their encroaching urban habitats are the only places where wildlife are truly endangered.
Yes, there are countries where animals are exterminated for poacher profits and government graft. The locals, who also supply the poachers, consider wildlife as impossible often incompatible neighbors. It’s not a hard decision, one garden or dead elephants/whatever.

Given that CO2 is a foundational component for plants and therefore a substantial food component to all animals; recipient animals are thriving quite well

• “tony mcleod November 26, 2017 at 3:18 pm
Lattitude{sic}
I’m talking ecologically. I don’t really care that much for dodos, nor polar bears for that matter. Losing a handful of charismatic creatures is not really that significant and anyway is just a symptom. The problem is loss of habitat.

habitat
noun
the natural home or environment of an animal, plant, or other organism.

Key word: natural. Humans have taken over so much of the aparatus, whole ecosystems are being eclipsed.
The question then becomes whose habitat are we actually eclipsing?”

A serial self embarrassment fakir..

So!?
Cite examples of where “habitat loss” is actually exterminating wildlife?
Be specific!

These generic pampered urbanite pronouncements of yours are quite ridiculous without specifics.
• What habitat!?
• Where is that habitat located!?
• How did that habitat change, exactly!?
• Exactly what species are endangered/impacted/exterminated!?
• Exactly how did the changes affect those animals!?

So far, you’re all unsupported specious internet claims without reality.

• tony mcleod says:

ATheoK
The concept of habitat loss seems a novel one for you. Really?
How can you not exterminate wildlife if you harvest their habitat? Not saying this is a good a bad thing, just saying.

• John B says:

I really didn’t think the /sarc tag was required.

Every time someone talks about “population control” they ignore a basic fact. Either you are going to have to kill people or you are going to have to restrict breeding. So come on all you wanna be totalitarian despots, be open and honest for a change and pick one. How do want to do this?

• Mark Luhman says:

The human race only occupies three percent of the planet. The entire body mass of all humans are match by that of ants, yet I never heard anyone claimed there there are to many ants.

• Carbon BIgfoot says:

Tony like the hundreds of thousands of birds assassinated by windmills and fried near solar panels?

• Lars P. says:

Jim says: November 26, 2017 at 12:06 pm
We are a consuming, expanding species, it’s in our nature and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.
The real answer would be population control, how many people the planet can sustain, I would venture it is significantly less than we currently have. Neither fossil or renewables will change that.

Basically on all continents the population is at about replacement level, no longer growing with one notable exception: Africa. Possibly natality will go there also down soon with increased standard.
We are doing well on the planet partially thanks to the increased CO2 😉
I have read sometime ago an estimation, I think it was from Freeman Dyson, that the increase of CO2 from 280 ppm to about 400 ppm in the atmosphere did brought an increase of about 15% in food production.
http://www.co2science.org/data/plant_growth/plantgrowth.php

• Bryan A says:

tony mcleod

November 26, 2017 at 3:39 pm

John B November 26, 2017 at 3:23 pm
Well, we could have a lottery, or just kill people when they hit 45. How about licences so the elite can breed but the loer classes don’t?

A licence to shag? Good luck enforcing that. Genocide is the only humane option.

Like all population spikes, mother nature will take care of it.

This is a very typical statement for a liberal…
Kill all those that don’t agree with your point of view. (genocide is the only humane option)
Probably wouldn’t agree with that process if the first to go were those who believe that AGW is dangerous.

• tony mcleod says:

Bryan A
Are you saying you “probably” would agree or “probably” wouldn’t agree genocide?

• Chuck in Houston says:

John B wrote “Every time someone talks about “population control” they ignore a basic fact. Either you are going to have to kill people or you are going to have to restrict breeding.”

Another perspective – Perhaps people will kill you instead. Once started, this sort of thing tends to get out of hand. /sarc

18. Jim says:

A vast majority forget that human life expectancy has increased more in the last 50 years than it did in the previous 200,000 years of human existence. In 1950, life expectancy was 47 years. In 2011, it was 70.

Why? Fossil fuels and the freedom they gave us to diversify and specialize. We are constantly bombarded with the evil of fossil fuels and their negative impact on our health but those negatives, and they are real, need to be balanced against the massive gains we have made in the quality and quantity of our lives.

• So what? Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors could replace all fossil fuels using the CO2 out of the air. We really don’t need them. We need to go to energy that is a million times as dense — nuclear.

I really get tired of the fossil fuel industry arguing about energy density when fossil fuels have minimal energy density compared with nuclear.

We could power all our ships with nuclear. Maybe someday even planes if we can figure out shielding. The fossil fuel industry just holds us back. The sooner it is gone the better.

• Carbon BIgfoot says:

Thorium is nuclear– admittedly lest dense but considerably safer, which will allow community installations much less costly and would eliminate the connection to the grid, or only in a stand-by emergency.

• “Jim November 26, 2017 at 10:00 am
A vast majority forget that human life expectancy has increased more in the last 50 years than it did in the previous 200,000 years of human existence. In 1950, life expectancy was 47 years. In 2011, it was 70.

Why? Fossil fuels and the freedom they gave us to diversify and specialize. We are constantly bombarded with the evil of fossil fuels and their negative impact on our health but those negatives, and they are real, need to be balanced against the massive gains we have made in the quality and quantity of our lives.”

As, all too many people assume that 1950’s 47 years life expectancy was the extent for natural life. It is not.

Factored into that 47 years of life expectancy are WWI, WWII, Korean War, 1919 influenza, polio, Yellow Fever, malaria, and an utter lack of quality antibiotics fighting infections across the board.

Penicillin was a game changer, so are the less than all encompassing world wars, better sanitation, DDT controlled infectious carriers, clean water, inoculations against diseases resistant to antibiotics, etc.

Will the next 50 years see that people getting old are less frail? Stronger? Improved innovation? Improved dexterity? Mental gains not losses?

An incredible number of Civil War soldiers lived to advanced ages. Reducing the number of lives lost too early has not accomplished great benefits for elder citizens, other than just allowing people to live to their natural life spans.

• Gabro says:

Life extension towards its end has helped a bit, but most of the increase in average longevity is from lowered infant and child mortality. Fewer war deaths among young men and among civilians starving in sieges also helps, as has the end of famines, thanks to capitalism.

19. Griff says:

Once again I see someone using ‘energy’ as a measure because using the total energy figure including oil and heating hides the real and continuing increase in renewable electricity, which is mostly wind and solar.

a false picture of the dramatic change going on in the world.

• Tom in Florida says:

That false picture is yours.

• John B says:

Rubbish Griff. Check the figures and you’ll see that the Chinese alone are planning some 61 Terawatts worth of new hydro dams in the Himalayas. By 2030 when their electrification is complete renewables will account for around 25% of Chinese electricity generation. About 1/4 of that will come from wind and solar, 3/4 from hydro.

• RAH says:

Once again Griff argues against numbers without using numbers.

• Wind and solar are less than 1% of the global primary energy demand /(in Germany 3,1%). In many countries it will be difficult to even double that amount.

Anyway – just peanuts.

• RWturner says:

Still, experts predict output from the nation’s nuclear plants will still outpace renewables for the full year, due to such seasonal variation as less water flowing through dams in the drier summer months.

And again, you are simply too slow to realize or purposely confuse that the VAST MAJORITY of this renewable energy comes from hydroelectric dams.

The wind energy industry will come crumbling down in the next decade as wind farms are already reaching their life expectancy (if they are lucky). Wind farms in harsher climates are already becoming defunct after a mere decade. How much more capacity will be installed as subsidies go away and states are faced with replacing these AND installing new capacity?

https://instituteforenergyresearch.org/analysis/states-reevaluate-wind-energy/

• AGW is not Science says:

“The U.S. Energy Information Administration said Thursday that electricity production from utility-scale renewable sources exceeded nuclear generation IN THE MOST RECENT MONTHS for which data is available. That’s the first time renewable sources have outpaced nuclear since 1984.

The growth in renewables was fueled by scores of new wind turbines and solar farms, as well as recent INCREASES IN HYDROELECTRIC POWER AS A RESULT OF HEAVY SNOW AND RAIN IN WESTERN STATES LAST WINTER. More than 60 percent of all utility-scale electricity generating CAPACITY that came online last year was from wind and solar.

In contrast, the pace of construction of new nuclear reactors has slowed in recent decades amid soaring costs and growing public opposition. Nearly all nuclear plants now in use began operation between 1970 and 1990, with UTILITIES STARTING TO RETIRE SOME OF THEIR OLDER REACTORS.

STILL, EXPERTS PREDICT THAT OUTPUT FROM THE NATIONS NUCLEAR PLANTS WILL OUTPACE RENEWABLES FOR THE FULL YEAR, DUE TO SUCH SEASONAL VARIATION AS LESS WATER FLOWING THROUGH DAMS IN THE DRIER SUMMER MONTHS. Also, nuclear plants tend to undergo maintenance during spring and fall months, when overall electricity demand is lower than in summer or winter.”

So, to summarize,

“In the most recent months” – cherry picked data to come up with a meaningless metric

“increases in hydroelectric power” – so, not “renewables” that you tout, the usual eco-fascist hated hydro is the real contributor to even the meaningless, cherry-picked metric of the “most recent months”

More than 60 percent of added “capacity” was wind and solar – so, another meaningless metric (“capacity”) which largely translates into only a small factor of actual “output,” but cleverly phrased so the ill-informed will equate it with the reason for the “exceeding of nuclear,” which is a cherry pick and still based on increased hydro power, not all that wasteful wind and solar crap

Utilities “starting to retire” older reactors, and government over-regulation and “green” obstructionism stalling the addition of additional nuclear capacity, is the only reason even the cherry pick is possible. An aggressive investment in nukes would make “renewables” look like the sorry non-contribution they really are mighty fast, since unlike “renewables” nukes are dispatchable, consistent, reliable power.

“Still, experts predict” that when the full year is considered, this is all a bunch of headline grabbing BS – Nukes will still outpace “renewables” the majority of which is hydro anyway. And this is because…the hydro production will drop due to “less water flowing through dams in the drier summer months,” which tells you where the “renewable” “output” really comes from (hint: NOT wind mills and solar panels).

• Russ R. says:

In many parts of the world animal dung is used for heating and cooking. It is convenient and produced “regularly”. Griff does not want his favorite ancient technology compared against this other ancient technology. It would be quite embarrassing if after all the money spent on wind and solar, it was still below BULLSHIT on the pecking order of energy products.

• AndyG55 says:

You mean this false picture of Germany’s wind, 2.1% and solar, 1.2% of energy use?

https://s19.postimg.org/vapx1cs37/germany_energy_mix.jpg

Subsidies cannot last forever, even under a socialist system

When subsidies are removed, wind and solar will gradually just FADE AWAY, (leaving the taxpayer to tidy up the mess.) !

20. StephenP says:

Can you make steel for all these windmills without using carbon, (as coke)?
How much CO2 is produced for making each windmill?

• John Harmsworth says:

Depends if you count the politicians ,media flacks and climate “scientists” supported by this idiocy. Presumably they exhale.

• karl says:

Less than mining, refining, and transporting U3O8, coal, oil, etc.

21. tony mcleod says:

Half a century ago, in 1966, the I only got 15.6% of my liquid requirements from drinking water. Today I get less at 13.8%. Meh, I’ll just stick to Kool-aid.

• AndyG55 says:

“Meh, I’ll just stick to “Klimate” Kool-aid.”

Intravenously. 😉

An addiction that disables rational thought.

• tony mcleod says:

SQUAWK

• AndyG55 says:

Thanks for the proof. McClod.. ZERO rational argument or self-thought.

• Bryan A says:

At least He knows what he meant to say. That is all that matters to him.

22. ScienceABC123 says:

Actually belief in the Easter Bunny or Tooth Fairy is much more believable than 100% renewable energy sources. But I’m an Engineer and belief in the Easter Bunny or Tooth Fairy doesn’t require suspending the laws of physics.

• tony mcleod says:

Well aren’t you a silly-billy. 300 years ago was 100% renewable energy sources. Law of physics intact.

• Tom in Florida says:

But who wants to go back to the life of 300 years ago?

• RWturner says:

Never discount unforeseen technology — graphene incorporated PV and batteries. But the unforeseen does not justify subsidies and R&D on technologies that we know are a waste of resources, in fact they divert resources away from actually bringing that dream to fruition.

• Bryan A says:

300 years ago the Renewable Eneerg Source was cut down forests to build fires for a global population of around 600m people. In today’s population of 7.4B those same 600M would be around 12% of the total energy used so in reality, not much has changed. We simply found better (more energy dense) energy sources for the increased populace. If we hadn’t discovered and exploited newer higher density energy sources the entire world would resemble Haiti

• Patrick MJD says:

“tony mcleod November 26, 2017 at 11:30 am

Well aren’t you a silly-billy. 300 years ago was 100% renewable energy sources. Law of physics intact.”

In the UK there is an area of forest called “The New Forest”. It’s called that because *ALL* the trees that were there were cut down, either for heating and building. A *NEW* forest was created by planting trees. So, would you think that if there was another source of energy/material to use instead of wood, would the original forest still be there?

• Sommer says:

Here’s a statement from the PWU.ca website.
WIND AND SOLAR
It is time for Ontario to curtail further investments in wind and solar generation until the costs and benefits are clearly defined and understood.
Billions of dollars have been spent on intermittent wind and solar and for backup natural gas generation. These new sources of supply are heavily subsidized by ratepayers and are significant contributors to Ontario’s rising electricity prices.
Unspecified costs for smart grid/emerging technologies and transmission/distribution infrastructure necessary for integrating and managing variable electricity production and changing consumer demand will drive the price /kWh up even further.
By 2030, ratepayers and/or taxpayers will be paying for the decommissioning and waste management costs for some of this wind and solar generation.
Building more wind and solar generation will increase GHG emissions. These intermittent sources require backup more than 70% of the time, a role played by carbon emitting natural gas generation.
No more wind and solar generation should be built. Any future investments should be based on affordability, solid cost benefit analyses and realistic targets.

• RWturner says:

As they are decommissioning wind farms early and solar PV is ridiculous in a climate like Ontario, they are finally waking up to reality.

• Sheri says:

Good point, ScienceABC123!

23. I Came I Saw I Left says:

“Most of the renewables are not solar PV and wind. Today, almost 10 percentage points come from the world’s oldest fuel: wood”

I believe poo is big part of that 10%. Not just wood.

• RWturner says:

To me, that’s like using natural gas for electricity production instead of direct heating where it is by far more efficient, and I say this despite profiting from natural gas electricity. Turkey waste would be most efficient as fertilizer.

• V, the Israeli article is both misleading and a waste of valuable agricultural resources. It concerns poultry litter. That is a mix of high nitrogen poultry excreta, spilled feed, shed feathers, and poultry pen bedding (straw, sawdust, stover, whatever.). Excreta by itself would have almost no combustible matter, unlike ruminant dung from high cellulose ruminant feed.
In the US in poultry raising country used litter is applied to the fields as a high nitrogen, medium phosphorous plus organic matter (builds soil carbon) fertilizer. No different than the manure spreading of dairy bedding on my dairy farm. On the farm, we now let the bedding ferment in manure pits to semi liquify it. Makes for more even spreading from high horsepower pumped spray tanks on no/minimum till fields, rather than the old chain belt screw spreaders that clump, requiring subsequent immediate harrowing.crop rotation, we now plow then harrow only every second or third year. Makes a big difference over time in soil quality. Tangibly darker soil, better moisture retention, less erosion evidence.

• AndyG55 says:

Down here, a lot of chook poop ends up in “Dynamic Lifter”.

Do you guys have that brand over there?.. STINKS. !!

• vukcevic says:

Hi Rud,
I do recall from my early years that practice was to put about a foot or more of compressed straw & manure at the bottom of a newly dug up trench for planting row of grapevine cuttings. I vaguely remember that chicken manure was avoided on account of being too strong or whatever.
p.s. few days ago my sibling from Canada decamped (for the winter) with his golf clubs to his apartment at the Sunrise lakes golf club, a very odd development that, I’m sure crocks can’t be too far away….
while at the same time my younger daughter in two days time is in on her way via Calgary to Yellowknife, of all places, and day or to later another 150 miles further north, flying to all of her destinations. Fortunately the forecast temperatures are somewhat above normal, but still a bit of a concern, although her employers take good care of their people.

• reminds me that I need to clean the chicken coop out tomorrow. I just add it to the compost pile.

• I Came I Saw I Left says:

“I do recall from my early years that practice was to put about a foot or more of compressed straw & manure at the bottom of a newly dug up trench for planting row of grapevine cuttings.”

Sounds like hugelkultur

24. izybit says:

You know that the Fossil Fuel sector received ~5 Trillion in subsidies just last year, right?

I wonder who pays you…

[???? .mod]

• izybit

You know that the Fossil Fuel sector received ~5 Trillion in subsidies just last year, right?

I wonder who pays you…

Well, we know none of the 92 billion paid to the CAGW catastrologists was received here. Please, if any skeptic has gotten paid for their efforts, let the rest how you did it – know so we can repeat the process. Seriously though, I do wish you would read your prompt cards properly. Is 5 trillion the latest propaganda for subsidies for fossil fuels? It does seem to change every week, but can never actually be quantified, since the number is fake news.

• Sheri says:

Izy: No subsidies. Who kept you from learning the difference between a tax credit and a subsidy. ALL busineses get tax credits as do many individuals. Now, if you want to remove ALL tax credits and go straight percentage of gross income, fine. That will eliminate those credits for oil and all the other tax cheats claiming mortgage credits or medical costs. Can’t be having any of that, can we?

• Gabro says:

The fossil fuel industry pays taxes.

• Gabro says:

Does that preposterous lie really make sense to you? The US economy was about 18 trillion in 2015.

In fact, US subsidies to the fossil fuel industry totaled $20 billion in 2015. So you’re off by a factor of 250, which ia about par for the socialist environmentalist course. • That number is illusory Gabro. Last time I dug into it (EIA), there were not any actual subsidies. But, there are a plethora of inventive accounting twists which included: • Charging all 19 DOE laboratories and their expenses as Fossil Fuel subsidies. • Renewable tax rebates are applied as subsidies towards the fossil fuel industry. • There are multiple claims that depreciation/depletion accounting are subsidies to fossil fuels; which overlooks that depreciation is a tax credit and that many businesses benefit from depreciation/depletion credits. • Future “estimated” social costs of CO2 are also listed as a subsidy; without a reality check anywhere. • Fuel taxes have been included in the subsidy list as have other “infrastructure” maintenance costs. EIA has been hiding their “sources” deeper and deeper over the last few years. EIA seems determined to not provide an accurate accounting. The IEA’s twisted logic is even more devious. • Gabro says: OK, but to suffice it to say that$5 trillion per year is ludicrous.

• RWturner says:

It says a lot about a person when they believe incredible lies instead of mere sophistic lies, which are harder to detect. You need to know something about the topic to spot a sophistic lie, but you could be a complete laymen with just an inkling of common sense to point out an incredible lie. Looks like izybit is suffering from that good ol fashion green programming and they will likely continue to believe the myths that are foundational to that programming.

25. Michael Jankowski says:

“…We need to get real on renewables. Only if green energy becomes much cheaper – and that requires lots of green R&D – will a renewables transition be possible…”

And that opens the door for cries for subsidies and taxation to support R&D or artificially deflate prices.

• Sheri says:

So let Tom Steyer pay for it along with Gore and businesses like Apple, etc. Let THEM demonstrate a 100% renewable business with NO line to the grid. Let them dump millions into the development. THEY want it, they can pay for it. No more using other’s money.

• I guess you would not want the fossil fuel industry spending a couple of billion dollars to bring liquid fluoride thorium reactors online which could actually make fossil fuel replacements and power all the ships on earth with nuclear and power all the grids for the next several thousand years.

What pisses me off about the fossil fuel industry as they are probably the most anti-nuclear group of all. They insist we have wars all over the planet for oil and won’t lift a finger to make nuclear viable. Instead they just want to bash renewables.

• RWturner says:

What pisses me off about the fossil fuel industry as they are probably the most anti-nuclear group of all. They insist we have wars all over the planet for oil and won’t lift a finger to make nuclear viable. Instead they just want to bash renewables.

Though I find it somewhat credible that somewhere in some time that a coal baron funded anti-nuclear movements, it’s quite dubious to claim that the fossil fuel industry is the most anti-nuclear crowd. It’s quite loony to claim that the fossil fuel industry is somehow making us “have wars all over the planet for oil”.

Back in reality, people in the fossil fuel industry simply want to make a buck. That’s why the world’s largest investors in solar and wind are fossil fuel corporations, because governments subsidized it and they would be stupid not to take advantage of it. I’d imagine that these same corporations have also invested some in nuclear, as long as there was money to be made off of it. These grand delusional conspiracy theories seem to envision Dr Evil types sitting around plotting on how to thwart perpetual motion machines while still making enough money to build their volcano bases.

26. John Dowser says:

“Only if green energy becomes much cheaper – and that requires lots of green R&D…”

Yes, well, but that’s the same reasoning being used by those insisting on the $3.6 trillion in subsidies. That serious, rapid R&D would only take off when awash in cash and research funds. The internal combustion engine was developed late 18th century when people were burning fuel for steam instead but it was only until 1930 cars ran on this new invention. It’s assumed new green R&D needs to acceleration beyond “warp speed”. Hence the trillions acting like fuel for some economical steam engine as if all technological progress runs like a kind of train? • RWturner says: What? The first gasoline powered vehicle was built in 1885. I must have missed the part in history where a global governmental agency was formed and pushed for global investment in gasoline ICEs in order to create the world we have today. 27. Mark - Helsinki says: “We have spent the last two centuries getting off renewables because they were mostly weak, costly and unreliable. Half a century ago, in 1966, the world got 15.6% of its energy from renewables. Today (2016) we still get less of our energy at 13.8%.” Around 75% of “renewable” is burning trees and garbage (plastics inks, cartons wood waste and so on). I’d like that to be stated far and wide with the word “renewable) 28. Scott says: Nice propaganda piece.. • John F. Hultquist says: Propaganda: -not objective; -presenting facts selectively; -using loaded language; -seeks and emotional rather than a rational response; -uses allegations or rumors; -meant to promote an activist agenda; Perhaps, Scott, you could enhance your short comment by explaining how the author goes wrong in this “nice propaganda piece.” • RWturner says: Don’t hold your breath on anything pertinent coming from the low information crowd. 29. Gunga Din says: A question. Just what is the definition of “renewable” energy? The Sun? It’s just there. And it’s dying a slow death. The wind? The Sun has a lot to do with whether or no the winds blow. The rotation of the Earth is said to be slowing down (though I don’t know of proposals to tap into the Earth’s for energy.) Coal. That’s formed from long dead trees and things, right? New coal should be forming all the time. The same for oil. Natural processes should be forming more “fossil fuel” everyday. The CAGW’ers talk as if natural processes stopped a million or so years before Man showed up. Just what is the definition of “renewable energy” really? Energy where the Government burns it’s green and the likes of Al Gore reaps it? 30. Steve Case says: Actually, if the world miraculously could make the *entire* global electricity sector 100% green without emitting a single ton of greenhouse gasses, we would have solved just a third of the total global greenhouse gas problem. There isn’t a greenhouse gas problem. • AndyG55 says: Could do with significantly MORE atmospheric CO2, though. 31. renewables prior to 1800 32. JPGuthrie says: As far as I know, all energy is renewable. The CO2, water, and other substances emtted by burning fossil fuels end up being absorbed by plants and other living things, which in turn create more sources of energy. The plants cut and fed to horses two centuries ago were non-fossilized biological matter, the same stuff we use to power vehicles and plants, only much fresher. 33. Extreme Hiatus says: Except for hydro – and even that has qualifications – there are no ‘renewables.’ Unless you think that replacing wind turbines and solar panels and batteries is the ‘renewable’ part. As for being ‘green’ the net costs and impacts of manufacturing, installing, maintaining, replacing and disposing of them – not to mention their impacts on the wildlife and areas where they are installed – makes that suggestion a complete a total joke. And an extremely destructive and expensive joke. We truly do live in Orwellian times and modern so-called environmentalists are the worst kind of dumbed down Party members. • Sheri says: Wind and solar are free fuels, but the traps we use to catch it are not free and NOT renewable. Storage is definately not free and not renewable. Only the weather is free and using it for fuel is rather insane if you think about it. Everyone knows weather is not predictable and is always changing. • RAH says: Well sails seem to work reasonably well. That is as long as you don’t have to navigate in confined waterways and the tides and winds are right when your ready to leave port. • karl says: Really? Lithium is recycled all the time, so is carbon fiber, aluminum, steel, gold, silver, copper, silicon, and rare earth metals Never seen coal recycled — seen many environmental disasters caused by fly ash pools failing and flooding cities Seen the scarring of the land from open strip coal mining and tailing piles growing up in central PA (have you) Can you point me to a coal recycling facility? — how about a uranium recycling facility ( reprocessing non-spent fuel isn’t recycling ) Natural Gas recycling Plant? Didn’t think so Dumbed down my A$$— learn some science • Bryan A says: Coal could certainly be recycled (as carbon) by planting fast growing Ash and Poplar trees, harvesting them, and sinking the carbon rich trunks back into those tailed out open pit mines. • A C Osborn says: Just how brainwashed is poor karl. “Seen the scarring of the land from open strip coal mining and tailing piles growing up in central PA (have you)” He obviously hasn’t seen the pictures of the Rare Earth Element mines in China. 34. John Kirby says: Shouldn’t we consider wood to be a form of solar energy? • could say the same for coal–just long stored solar energy. • Joel O’Bryan says: Will the renewal of new coal beds, as in the carboniferous and permian, ever happen again? • R. Shearer says: Its formation also involved the application of heat and pressure, so one could also say it’s part geothermal. • Peat beds still form and accumulate, wood no longer forms coal as bacteria have evolved, that can digest cellulose, digesting the bulk of the wooden accumulation, which ended the coal forming process. • Gabro says: Richard, IMO that was fungi, not bacteria, but I could be wrong about that. Termite gut bacteria certainly do break down cellulose. • karl says: No it is stored chemical energy that REQUIRES combustion with oxygen to release the stored energy. Solar energy is EM radiation can either cause the excitation and flow of electrons in photo-voltaic media, or can be absorbed as thermal energy into a heat sink — then used to heat an expanding medium and drive a turbine. 35. John Kirby says: @ Extreme Hiatus, At some arrays, in deserts, greass has started to grow in the shade of the PVs, and sheep have been able graze there. In Spain • “John Kirby November 26, 2017 at 5:22 pm @ Extreme Hiatus, At some arrays, in deserts, greass has started to grow in the shade of the PVs, and sheep have been able graze there. In Spain” Sheepdip. Tell us how nutritious shaded grass is. Tell us about sheep crawling under PV arrays to crop their grass? There is a huge difference between a few sheep grazing along the edges contrasted against the massive loss of arable/developmental land. One wonders, given the failure of a number of Spanish solar companies, if those arrays are functional or defunct which is why sheep are allowed. • John Kirby says: Hi Atheok, I think the point of the article was that a desert area, Almeria, was able to sustain sheep and goats. It was a minor point but it is interesting, When you consider how much desert there is America. The solar arrays I see being installed are too low to allow sheep and goats under them. The stand need to be at least 5f high. • “John Kirby November 27, 2017 at 11:56 am Hi Atheok, I think the point of the article was that a desert area, Almeria, was able to sustain sheep and goats. It was a minor point but it is interesting, When you consider how much desert there is America. The solar arrays I see being installed are too low to allow sheep and goats under them. The stand need to be at least 5f high.” Then the point of your earlier comment is that sheep and goats can be raised in Spain’s desert areas? Nor can America’s Mojave/Sonoran/Owyhee/Great Basin/Black Rock/Chihuahuan deserts along with all of the various high deserts, be compared to Spain. 36. jpatrick says: I’ve got some of that old renewable wood burning in the wood stove right now. In the process of clearing up deadfall this winter, I’ll probably round up about 10 cords. At that point I can then think about harvesting millable logs. 37. Joel O’Bryan says: The graph is of a ratio. Misleading because the denominator rises bigly. 38. Jeff B. says: LFTRs are the solution. We only need the will power. 39. karl says: Not to mention in ~1850 — WHEN THE SLIDE BEGINS OIL was discovered Renewables worldwide have increased by 16% year over year for the past decade https://www.bp.com/content/dam/bp/en/corporate/pdf/energy-economics/statistical-review-2017/bp-statistical-review-of-world-energy-2017-renewable-energy.pdf Actual generation capacity installed (not nameplate) of renewable power generation capacity us more than any other source worldwide http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/10/25/global-renewable-power-capacity-overtakes-coal-as-500000-solar-p/ You sir are full of excrement • Eric H. says: You are one disingenuous troll Mr. Karl…From the article you linked and conveniently left out; “However, the actual amount of power produced by renewable electricity generators was still significantly lower than that from coal, accounting for 23pc of global power production, compared with almost 40pc from coal plants. This is because power plants do not generate at their full capacity all the time, with sources like wind and solar able to generate at their maximum capacity only when the wind blows or the sun shines.” You continue to drone on about how ignorant everyone on this site is and you still haven’t dealt with the obvious quote above which has been mentioned by several other “ignorant” posters. • RWturner says: Oil was discovered in 1850? Time to rewrite err revision the history books folks. Actual generation capacity installed (not nameplate) of renewable power generation capacity us more than any other source worldwide Would you care to provide us with anymore gut busters? There is a type of capacity that you are lacking, but at least it results in incidental humor. • joelobryan says: karl, your ignorance is breathtaking. Renewables cannot replace the base load sources like nuclear. Both sides are spewing nonsense lies. Wind and solar PV are crap. Maybe 10% is the best they can do on an annual average basis. Above that, instability and skyrocketing prices for electricity. • karl says: FACTS China brought 34 GW of solar online in 2016 China brought 24 GW of solar online in 2016 — and 4 GW nuclear in 2016 ( 4 single 1000MWe reactors) https://www.nei.org/Knowledge-Center/Nuclear-Statistics/World-Statistics/World-Nuclear-Power-Plants-in-Operation So far in 2017 CHina is on track for 50 GW solar https://electrek.co/2017/10/19/china-breaking-all-solar-power-records-aiming-for-50gw-in-2017/ Oh, and 1 (1000 MWe) in 2017 https://www.nei.org/Knowledge-Center/Nuclear-Statistics/World-Statistics/World-Nuclear-Power-Plants-in-Operation you were saying???? • karl says: 24 GW wind 2016 • karl says: Your ignorance is breathtaking Baseload is bull -s in a distributed generation architecture Also — tell that to DENMARK — where wind has produced their entire electrical consumption on more than 3 occasions since 2015 They had to sell the excess power Germany and the rest of Scandinavia • Gabro says: Karl, Three whole occasions! Summer Sunday holidays? Do you have any idea how silly you sound? Denmark relies on the FF-powered European grid for its base load. Please, get a grip. Your brain has been hijacked by Green Goon lies. Without subsidies, there would be no wind and solar farms. They’re not economical and never will be. And physically incapable of powering modern society and economies. • karl says: And your ignorance is massive A 400 km by 400 kn array of solar PV can provide more than the Entire US electricity consumption yearly ( 32,000 Tera-watt hours), at a conservative 5 Kilowatt hours per square meter and an efficiency of 12% – which is bottom of the barrel the desert southwest averages 7 Kilowatt hours per square meter per day – BTW Of and 160,000 square kilometers is 1.6% of the land are of the US Not to mention panels can be installed off-shore — over parking lots, on top of buildings. Talking about parking lots — estimates range from 100 million to 2 billion spaces http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/08/arts/design/taking-parking-lots-seriously-as-public-spaces.html If we take the middle — 1 billion parking spaces — at the average parking space is 25 square meters So, that gives us 25 BILLION square meters of parking spaces to cover @ the US average of ~ 4 kilowatt hours per day (total conus average per day 1998-2005) That = 12 billion kilowatt hours per day -@ 12% efficiency — 4400 Terawatt Hours just from covering parking spaces ( that’s 15% of our electricity consumption) Underground Thermal energy storage, Battery banks and electric vehicle charging will cover load leveling issues • karl says: @ Gabro Do you not realize that Denmark only needs to triple the current generating capacity from wind, and the will consistently cover their entire electricity consumption at greater than 95% of the time? If you add underwater compressed air energy storage, as well as mega banks of lithium air or aluminum graphite battery storage http://www.pocket-lint.com/news/130380-future-batteries-coming-soon-charge-in-seconds-last-months-and-power-over-the-air to level load and store excess — they would have 100 percent consumption covered! • Matt Bergin says: Karl show renewable’s working and delivering 100% of required power without using fossil fuel backup and we will believe you. Otherwise it is B*llSh*t. • Gabro says: karl November 26, 2017 at 9:11 pm Sorry, but that’s a pipe dream. And even if possible in Denmark, which it isn’t, a large industrial power such as Germany, France or Britain couldn’t get by on wind. • RWturner says: I’m convinced that no amount of education will work on karl, he needs deprogramming. We’re starting to see grid failures already due to the amount of renewables on the grid, particularly with wind, and these types of zombie cultists only want to unintentionally inflict more hardship on society. “The key differentiator between the 28 September 2016 event and the other three events is that there was significantly lower inertia in SA in the most recent event, due to a lower number of on-line synchronous generators,” the report said. In other words, shutting down base power generators and replacing them with windmills was a dumb idea, not thought up by an engineer or physicist, but by a politician, and this is the result you get. Coming to a European market near you! I can’t wait to see what pseudo-news article he refutes me with. • Dave Kelly says: karl @ November 26, 2017 at 7:45 pm Regarding you statement “The US electricity renewable generation share was 19.35% in the first quarter of 2017” Ahh… Karl. You never learn do you son? Still quoting “Clean Technica” and don’t understand why you can’t get your facts straight. OK…well here we go again. 1) “Clean Technica” developed it’s Spring of 2017 19.3% figure by inflating its “renewable” generation figures. Specifically it combined the EIA’s “conventional hydro” generation figures with the EIA’s “non-hydro renewable” figures. The EIA does not include conventional hydro in it’s definition of a renewable (Ironically, nor do most progressives). As of August 2017, the Year-To-Date (YTD) combined hydro/renewable number production figure had dropped to 18.2% — of which only about 8% was from utility and small scale wind & solar “renewable” assets. Bottom line: In YTD 2017, 0nly 8% of U.S. generation has been produced from the renewable assets you advocate. 2) According to the EIA, as of August, the TYD demand for electricity in the U.S. dropped 7.2% relative to 2016 (the August figures are the latest figures published). So it’s hardly surprising the percentage of total generation produced by both hydro and renewables assets increased slightly in the YTD. This occurs, in part, because: A) U.S. Renewable contracts are “take or pay” and thus are insensitive to demand; B) A number of states have “renewable standards” that uneconomically mandate additional renewable use… ignoring the economic disaster they’re creating for their states; and C) The solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) is due for a substantial drop in 2019 with a complete phase out in 2021. So the solar guys, are desperate to sell as much solar as they can between now and 2019. Bottom line: In YTD 2017… production using less expensive fossil assets were pared back to make way for more expensive renewable assets due to contractual, State regulatory, and federal tax credit reasons — not due to economics. 3) The bulk “your” definition of any increase in renewable production since YTD 2016 occurred due to a 10.6% increase in hyro generation in YTD 2017. “Non-hydro renewable” generation increased by only 3.8% relative to a YTD 2016. 4) While there has been a modest 947 GHw an increase in total renewables production (due it item 2 above) don’t get too excited – this only represents 0.093% of 2017 YTD production. 5) Wind production actually dropped by 3.8% relative to YTD 2016… So I wouldn’t go around betting on a “renewables” revival… since wind is the cheapest of the renewable assets promoted by so-called “progressives”. Incidentally the drop in wind production isn’t entirely surprising given the production tax credit (PTC) for wind is set to expire at the end of 2019… no one want’s to get caught investing in what would likely be an unsubsidized wind asset. 6) I’m happy to concede that the combined production of wind/solar generation did increase by 7.4% or 1,554 GHw relative to YTD 2014… but this “news” isn’t too exciting given the increase only represents 0.057% of total U.S. generation… and there is an on going “rush” to cash in on the expiring solar subsidies. 40. devon936 says: 3.6 trillion for subsidies? Really?? https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/doe-officially-hits-sunshot-1-per-watt-goal-for-utility-scale-solar reports$0.06 per Kwh utility solar. WITHOUT SUBSIDY
https://yearbook.enerdata.net/electricity/electricity-domestic-consumption-data.html Reports about 22,000 Twh electricity use globally in 2016. 3.7% of this is 814 Twh or 814,000,000 kwh. at $0.06/kwh thats 48.8 million or 0.0000488 trillion again WITHOUT SUBSIDY 100% would cost 1.32 billion or 0.00132 trillion. again WITHOUT SUBSIDY NO, this does not include the obvious sun doesn’t shine at night or when very cloudy argument but does a 3.6 trillion price which is 73,770 times the current cost make any sense? even if we assume the real cost is 1000 times actual to account for energy storage and inefficiencies thats still 73 times too expensive. Take a minute to read the provided articles, THEN prove me wrong…. go • D. J. Hawkins says: They haven’t released any details on the tenders, so no one knows the committed costs. Also, “…authorities will now evaluate the proposals for technical and economic viability.” Long way from the first shovel-full of sand getting shifted. • Gabro says: Karl, A buddy of mine is working on the Chile project. As always, your numbers are pure pie in the sky. • devon936 says: My bad forgot a few 0’s 3.7% would cost 48.8 Billion. 100% would be 1.32 Trillion so actual is 73 times less expensive and assume practical cost is 10 times actual still looking at 7.3 times cost. still outrageous numbers • karl says: If you mean outrageous as in outrageous BS in the original post — I agree • MrPete says: Devon, there’s one crucial word you missed: “dispatchable.” Solar and wind are not dispatchable. It’s in the report you cited. It means any estimate of cost for these sources is wildly off base… because until we have realistic technology for long-term grid-scale storage of generated solar/wind power, they do NOT substitute for traditional power. I see that Allan Macrae talks about this below as well. Also, all of your “without subsidy” statements are “without subsidy, in theory.” In reality, the 30% ITC subsidy exists (until 2019), making these investments artificially profitable. And yeah, you’re off by “a few zeros” and off by an entire model. 🙂 My turn to have fun guesstimating costs 😀 😀 You conflated cost per kWH and installation cost. We just hit$1/W installed cost. The world has around 7000 GW of electric generation capacity. At $1/W, and ignoring the dispatchable issue, that much capacity would cost 7 trillion dollars. VERY roughly, using Allan Macrae’s 5% replacement factor (ie you need 20x as much solar to replace traditional), this produces a guesstimate of 7*20 = 140 trillion dollars to actually replace other electric sources. (And remember, we’re only talking electricity, not all power.) And that is an investment that must be repeated about every 20-25 years. To be realistic, what is needed is capacity to store several days — probably 1-2 weeks (to survive a bad storm in any given area) — of non-dispatchable power. Doing a rough guesstimate using your 22,000 TWh number, that’s 2/52*22000 = about 850 TWh of storage. Vanadium Redox-Flow batteries are one of the more advanced storage methods being developed. Below is a link to a realistic cost analysis, which works out to$70/kWH per year. Thus, 850 TWh of storage using this technology will have an annual cost of 850 * 10^9 Tera/kilo * $70 = 60 trillion dollars a year. As you can see, the problem with actually using non-dispatchable power sources is the energy storage cost. Bottom line for my rough guesstimates using realistic data, in 2017 numbers: Electricity generation use: 22000 TWh, using 7000 GW of generation capacity. Cost to install 100% solar for the world: 140 trillion dollars, repeated every 20-25 years ANNUAL cost to maintain storage capacity for 2 weeks: 60 trillion Total 25 year cost: 140 + 25*60 = 1640 trillion dollars Do I believe those numbers? Not for a second. Technology will advance, and we won’t actually do this because it makes no sense… we will find another way. My guess: nuclear, possibly fusion. • MrPete says: Oops. Here’s the link for cost estimate of VRB (Vanadium Redox-Flow Battery) technology. https://www.omicsonline.org/open-access/a-comparison-of-the-capital-costs-of-a-vanadium-redoxflow-battery-anda-regenerative-hydrogenvanadium-fuel-cell-2090-4568-1000140.php?aid=65007 Oh, and here’s a rough guesstimate of$/KWh for solar+VRB tech, assuming:
– NO growth in demand (constant 22 PWh) or generation capacity (7 TW)
– Same assumptions above
– NO inflation etc; no maintenance costs for solar

Annual outlay for the technology (not including labor, or maintenance on solar):
Solar: $140T / 25 years =$5.6 T/yr
Storage: $60T TOTAL:$65T (rounding down) for 22PWh
Remove 12 zeros from each side and you get $65 for 22KWh. Only$2.95 per KWh!

What a deal.

Sanity check:
“Only” 100% Solar: $7T / 25 years =$0.28T/yr for 22PWh, 1.2 cents per KWh
19x estimate to cover lack of 100% generation most of the time: $133T/25 -> 24 cents per KWh 2 weeks of storage estimate ->$60T/yr -> $2.72 per KWh Optimistic Blue-Sky Adjustments: a) 1/3 of populated areas never have clouds or storms (for 1/3 of 19x, no multiplier needed): So instead of 19x we have (19 * 2/3) = 12.66, so line 2 is (7*12.66/25)/22 = 16 cents per KWh b) populated areas use 80% of power during the 8 hrs of best sunlight, which is “constant” all year (ridiculous I know but this is being optimistic), c) only 1/3 of populated areas need 2 week storage; 1/3 need 1 week storage; 1/3 need overnight ==> NOTE: this overrides (b) because storage is most-needed on those days with no useful sunlight. We still purchase and maintain sufficient storage for the stormy days, even though not used on nice days. So avg storage is ((1/3*2/52)+(1/3*1/52)+(1/3*1/365))*22PWh = 443GWh, only$31T/yr
Optimistic scenario: 1.2 cents/KWh for 100% solar + 16 cents/KWh for lack of generation + $1.41 storage Optimistic Blue Sky Total:$1.59 per KWh

Bottom Line: Without dispatchable power, it’s ALL about storage costs.

41. opus says:

42. https://wattsupwiththat.com/2017/10/22/weekly-climate-and-energy-news-roundup-288/comment-page-1/#comment-2643835

Quote from the SEPP article – TWTW Oct 21, 2017:

“Number of the Week: 2.2 million workers needed to replace 52 thousand? One of the sillier essays in Politico stated: “And as jobs go, coal mining is now a tiny sliver of the U.S. economy, employing about 52,000 Americans last month, down 70 percent over three decades… By contrast, the solar and wind industries employed almost 10 times as many Americans last year, and they’re both enjoying explosive growth.”
If this essay is correct (it is not, and the definitions are vague), the energy industry that employed only 52,000 in mining produced 30% of the US Electricity in 2016, but wind and solar required 520,000 employees to produced 7% (6% wind and 1% solar). To generate the electricity produced by the coal industry, the wind and solar industries would need 2.2 million workers. Who can afford such inefficiency?”

My comment:

WHAT IS GRID-CONNECTED WIND POWER REALLY WORTH?

Wind power is intermittent and non-dispatchable and therefore should be valued much lower than the reliable, dispatchable power typically available from conventional electric power sources such as fossil fuels, hydro and nuclear.

In practice, one should assume the need for almost 100% conventional backup for wind power (in the absence of a hypothetical grid-scale “super-battery”, which does not exist in practical reality). When wind dies, typically on very hot or very cold days, the amount of wind power generated approaches zero.

Capacity Factor equals {total actual power output)/(total rated capacity assuming 100% utilization). The Capacity Factor of wind power in Germany equals about 28%*. However, Capacity Factor is not a true measure of actual usefulness of grid-connected wind power. The following paragraph explains why:

Current government regulations typically force wind power into the grid ahead of conventional power, and pay the wind power producer equal of greater sums for wind power versus conventional power, which artificially makes wind power appear more economic. This practice typically requires spinning backup of conventional power to be instantly available, since wind power fluctuates wildly, reportedly at the cube of the wind speed. The cost of this spinning backup is typically not deducted from the price paid to the wind power producer.

The true factor that reflects the intermittency of wind power Is the Substitution Capacity*, which is about 5% in Germany – a large grid with a large wind power component. Substitution Capacity is the amount of dispatchable (conventional) power you can permanently retire when you add more wind power to the grid. In Germany they have to add ~20 units of wind power to replace 1 unit of dispatchable power. This is extremely uneconomic.

I SUGGEST THAT THE SUBSTITUTION CAPACITY OF ~5% IS A REASONABLE FIRST APPROXIMATION FOR WHAT WIND POWER IS REALLY WORTH – that is 1/20th of the value of reliable, dispatchable power from conventional sources. Anything above that 5% requires spinning conventional backup, which makes the remaining wind power redundant and essentially worthless.

This is a before-coffee first-approximation of the subject. Improvements are welcomed, provided they are well-researched and logical.

Regards, Allan

* Reference:
“E.On Netz excellent Wind Report 2005” at

43. Eric says:

[snip . . . content free posts that use derogatory language are boring. Make your point without being insulting. Thanks . . . mod]

• Re Musk’s super-battery – ya, that’ll work!
NOT!!!

• TA says:

“to power 30,000 homes”

How many homes are in South Australia?

• Patrick MJD says:

There are about 1.5 million people in SA.

• vukcevic says:

Irony of it is in printing Tesla’s name on the battery packs.

• Patrick MJD says:

The battery is 200km north of Adelaide. How much loss over that 200km?

• A C Osborn says:

Powers 30,000 homes for how long?

44. DC Cowboy says:

I’m a little ignorant here, can someone explain why burning wood is considered ‘renewable’ energy?

• Matt Bergin says:

Cut down a tree. Plant a tree. Renewable.

• DC Cowboy says:

I get that, but, since the ‘new’ tree is not directly related to the tree that was cut, why would it be considered ‘renewable’. Especially given the length of time it takes to grow, cut, and season/process a ‘new’ tree for burning.

The other aspect that bothers me a little is that, when the public is presented with the % of ‘renewable’ energy being used, the implication is that these are also ‘green’, non-polluting sources of energy (like wind/solar). Wood burning (especially in its wood stove/open flame variety) is not ‘green’. In many respects is dirtier than burning coal.

• Matt Bergin says:

I wasn’t saying it is right but that is what they believe.

• DonM says:

tree is considered as part of the natural carbon cycle.

using underground carbon is not considered as part of the natural carbon cycle.

… biased by time frame of puny humans

45. Because the trees grow again “Naturally”, or can be maintained at the same level, but not to meet all energy needs, unsustainable in volume, Just a bit of enrgy, and at more CO2/KWh than coal, loads of particulates, when we have clean low CO2 gas. Why?

BTW the US is decarbonising fastest in the world by replacing coal with clean shale gas at 40% the CO2/KWh. So Brits are burning unwanted American wood pellets in 3GW of old coal power stations, instead of converting to unsubsidised clean CCGT, so producing more CO2 than coal/KWh at twice the price with 100% subsidy. But wood burning renewables have an advantage that they are available to harvest those subsidies, and to the grid, 24/7, unlike the 8/7 intermittents. Recommend both of these links. Note when slavery ended, rapidly reducing need for carbohydrate power from people or draught animals.

Doug LIghtfoot’s slide on agararian economy power sources linked below, and Colin McInnes’ if I am allowed 2.

• Gabro says:

An overlain graph of human population explosion would also be instructive.

46. Steve says:

How is wood considered a clean energy source or a renewable fuel? It releases carbon the same as fossil fuels. The only difference between wood and coal is that one is 65 million years older than the other.

• D. J. Hawkins says:

@Steve;

The theory (not saying I agree) is that trees “use” CO2 that is already circulating in the biosphere, while fossil fuels are taking CO2 that was in the ground and putting it in the air, increasing the load in the biosphere.

It upsets the delicate balance, doncha know? /sarc

• DonM says:

its not considered clean….

it is not controlled by the Exxon or any of the other evils.

politically, some regions can make a profit (and renewable jobs!!!!), so it is defined as renewable.

• Retired Kit P says:

Actually wood is very clean for making electricity. Wood waste and excess biomass is a big environmental problem. Making electricity is a byproduct of handling that problem.
Heating with wood with a managed wood sources is another example of a clean use of wood. This assumes a good wood stove.

47. Retired Kit P says:

Fire, fire, fire! Fire on the flight deck!
This is why I am a trained fire fighter. As a young nuclear trained navy officer I was the division officer responsible for refueling helos on the two reactor nuclear cruiser I served on. However, all my real fires were electrical.
“Try putting a nuclear plant on your roof or at sea.
BTW — the nominal nuclear facility of 2200 MWe is about 25 square kilometers counting security offsets.”
Fire, fire, fire! Your house is on fire!
Suggesting that a roof of a home is a good place for a power plant indicates poor reasoning skills.
The foot print of a steam plant is relatively small. All power plants are industrial areas with security to protect valuable equipment.
The is a very small part of the population with poor reasoning skills. Sometimes we call them terrorists and sometimes they are teenage boys with rifles. This is why the power industry needs security.
The power industry in general and the nuke I worked turned part of the property over for public use as recreation areas. Duke power has a very profitable property development business. There are a lot of million dollar homes looking at nukes and coal plants on man made cooling lakes.

48. Edward Katz says:

This is a terrific breakdown of numbers not only from Bjorn Lomborg but also from many other bloggers. These are the type of figures that are anathema to the Greens, who need to consider them soberly for once.

49. bill hunter says:

cows may graze under a solar installation but they won’t have much grass to eat