Despite ‘green dreams’, EIA report projects fossil and nuclear fuels provide 83% of total world energy in 2040

Guest essay by Larry Hamlin

The latest EIA 2017 IEO report projects world energy consumption to increase by 28% from 2015 through 2040.

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Non OECD countries (the developing nations-China, India, etc.) account for about 84% of this increased energy use with non OECD Asia making up the majority of this energy use growth.

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Significant growth (43%) in natural gas use is projected in meeting the worlds total energy increase through 2040.

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Petroleum and other liquid fuels use growth (18%) continues but at a slower pace than natural gas.

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Coal energy use is projected to be stable during this period with declines in China offset by increased use in India.

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Renewables (hydro, wind, solar, geothermal, other) is the fastest growing energy source with wind, solar and natural gas supplying most of the electricity sector growth.

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Renewables are projected to supply 31% of world electricity generation in 2040 the same as coal with hydro representing 53% of the electricity renewable energy total.

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In 2040 fossil (petroleum and other liquids, natural gas and coal) and nuclear fuels are projected to supply about 83% of global total energy consumption with 9% from renewables (wind, solar, geothermal, other) and 8% from hydro.

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OECD countries (the developed countries-U.S., Europe, etc.) are projected to reduce CO2 emissions in the period between 2015 and 2040 while the non OECD countries are projected to be increasing CO2 emissions by about 5.5 billion metric tons in this period.

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U.S. year 2040 CO2 emissions are projected to be lower than 2015 emissions and about 19% below peak CO2 levels of year 2005 which were about 6 billion metric tons of CO2.

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Increased use of natural gas derived from fracking technology is replacing more costly coal sources and driving reduced OCED projected CO2 emissions as well as reduced rates of increased CO2 emissions from non OECD countries.

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Coal energy use continues to create the majority of global CO2 emissions.

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The EIA 2017 IEO report clearly demonstrates the continued dominance of fossil fuels in providing the huge majority of global energy consumption many decades into the future as well as showing that renewable energy will not control the future of world energy consumption despite much flawed hype to the contrary.

Additionally the report shows the huge role that the energy market price driven increased use of natural gas is playing in reducing OECD nation CO2 emissions while significantly lowering the rate of growth of CO2 emissions of the non OECD nations from 3% to 1% per year after 2015.

This reports results strongly suggest that it is absurd for global governments to demand that the world cough up trillions of dollars in mandated programs to reduce CO2 emissions and increase renewable energy use when fracking technology has produced such dramatic benefits in lowering market price based energy costs while increasing more economic use of significantly lower emissions fuels.

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145 thoughts on “Despite ‘green dreams’, EIA report projects fossil and nuclear fuels provide 83% of total world energy in 2040

  1. This is pretty much old news – I saw this report some months ago.

    To be realistic, renewables have reached a tipping point in terms of replacing fossils fuels. Solar power has now been proven to be 50% cheaper than coal in some countries. Fossil fuel advocates are trying to preserve the status quo but the world is moving on. So let’s not talk about ‘green dreams’ but ‘green reality’…

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-09-19/tipping-point-seen-for-clean-energy-as-monster-turbines-arrive

    https://mankindsdegradationofplanetearth.com/2017/12/30/solar-power-becoming-worlds-cheapest-form-of-electricity-production-analysts-say-someone-somewhere/

    https://mankindsdegradationofplanetearth.com/2017/12/30/solar-delivers-cheapest-electricity-ever-anywhere-by-any-technology-someone-somewhere/

    • Absolutely!

      If you look at electricity in the developed world and in India and China, then renewables are advancing at an enormous rate.

      Also look at the decline of coal – plants closing in the US and an end date for all coal power set in half a dozen European countries.

      and there isn’t a car maker on earth without a major EV building programme…

      • Griff,
        Morgan Motors seems not – yet – to have announced any EV building programme.
        Small volume, and aspirational . . .

        Auto

    • No solar and wind power are NOT cheaper, because they requires 100% back-up of reliable and despatchable power to be on-line and available at all times.

      This is a double expense, so wind and solar must be calculated ON TOP OF the price of maintaining that back-up supply.

      Wind and solar CANNOT EXIST without that back up supply.

      End of story.

      • There is a lot of work on ammonia as fuel. The idea is that wind power could electrolyse water when there’s no demand from the grid. The resulting hydrogen could be used to produce ammonia. The ammonia could be used in fuel cells to directly generate electricity or as fuel for internal combustion engines. Ammonia thus becomes a transportation fuel.

        Ammonia as an energy storage medium has the advantage that it is easy to store, unlike hydrogen. Tanks are cheap. That gives ammonia a huge advantage over batteries. Whereas batteries might provide power for hours, ammonia could provide power for days or weeks.

        Here’s a link to a story about advances in ammonia production. In particular, it is important that the process be able to ramp up quickly to take advantage of the intermittent nature of wind power.

        As far as I can tell, there are no technological breakthroughs required for ammonia fuel to become practical. It was used in WW2. link The thing that will, or will not, make it practical is the price of fossil fuels. As long as natural gas and oil are cheap, there’s no point in using ammonia. There’s also no point in trying to use wind and solar.

        If, and only if, fossil fuels become much more expensive, wind power, coupled with ammonia, could provide a viable alternative.

        Here’s a link to a story about a farmer spending a million bucks to develop an ammonia powered tractor plus the required infrastructure. If the tractor were to go into production the price would come down a lot but I can’t see it ever becoming cheap.

        In the farm context, one answer to high fuel prices could be no till farming. Also in the 1970s some farmers were using biological processes to create ethanol to power their tractors. Currently, some farmers use manure to create fuel. link Farmers have options that the rest of us don’t have. The caveat is that all the wonderful things that theoretically could be done take time, energy, and resources. Just because you ‘could’ build a methane digester, that doesn’t mean that it’s a good idea to do so. :-)

      • Have you not heard of electric battery? Car makers, mobile makers, solar panel makers, aircraft makers,all are pushing battery development. Battery watt per mass capacities continue to increase as costs decrease. Australia has Tesla battery backing the national electric grid. Other power storage means are subject to intense search and development as companies wish to lead in new forms of storage.

      • Eric,

        “Australia has Tesla battery backing the national electric grid.”

        That’s a tad bit of an exaggeration.

      • Has anyone heard, read or know as to how all the “wind turbines” have been or are performing/functioning during the current bout of extremely cold temperatures and heavy snowfall?

      • Battery back up is a poor way to back up power on the grid. Unless a very large power amplifier is used to convert a Direct Current into an Alternating Current (with <90% efficiency) pulling energy from a DC battery onto an AC grid takes reactive power, but the power shortage causes a drop in frequency and the reactive power from a capacitor bank depends on the square of the frequency and the only compensation available is for the voltage at the node where the DC power is pulled onto the grid to sag (which further reduces reactive power from a local capacitor bank, but pulls more from other places on the grid). This is why, during that big blackout in SA, the wind turbines were running at capacity, but the collapse of the voltage at their grid node caused them to drop from the grid– the electrical power could not be pulled onto the grid and the power that could not be taken by the grid accelerated the turbines towards critical over speed, so the turbines were feathered and produced power went to zero.

        The straightforward solution is simple, but not inexpensive– the DC generators in the wind turbines power a large DC motor that turns a synchronous generator (preferably a massive, slow turning generator like those driven by hydraulic turbines [more inertia means more frequency support and those generators can tolerate relatively large speed excursions, up to 10%]) that supplies electrical power, frequency support, and voltage support. This will solve the problem of Wind and Solar being only fare-weather friends of the grid that abandon it whenever there is a crisis.

      • I remember a device I saw years ago to protect a large computer complex from AC voltage variations.
        The device consisted of an AC generator that was powered by an AC motor. The momentum of the generator covered over any short term voltage drop or spikes. Long term (more than a few seconds) were handled by battery. I believe the batteries were connected via converter to the AC generator of the above mentioned device, rather than being fed directly to the computers.

    • A simple question , ivan

      How close would YOU choose to live to a large wind turbine.

      You know they will never come to your inner city ghetto, but how about you think of other people for a change..

      oops.. that’s not your thing, is it, ivan

      Other people don’t matter to you.

      • And let me guess, you would NEVER choose to live near a big wind turbine.

        Go on I dare you to take a holiday from your safe inner city ghetto and go and live within 500m of a big turbine for 6 months.

        But you won’t , will you. !!

        That is for OTHER people to put up with.

      • “Australia has Tesla battery backing the national electric grid.”
        If such a battery existed (it doesn’t) it would have to provide power for all the hours of darkness and for everywhere where the wind is not blowing, which could easily be everywhere. The minimum load on the “national electric grid” occurs at around 4 am, and the amount required at that time is 18,000 megawatts (source: National Energy Market Dashboard at http://www.aemo.com.au). In the highly unlikely event of wind blowing almost everywhere, there would still be a need for gas or coal-fired power generators running in order the maintain the stability of the AC frequency of the system (50 cycles/sec). The Tesla battery would only hold up the power supply in part of the State of South Australia for a few minutes, which might be long enough to fire up some gas backup, or the vast array of diesel generators now being deployed at great expense. Always assuming that these have enough diesel to keep going. Total national supply of diesel on-shore and is quoted to be 30 days, but could be a lot less. This is a big country ….
        The other huge mistake that the enthusiasts above have made is to assume that the huge amount of battery power they think exists has actually arrived fully charged and remains charged. The reality is of course that even if there was a breakthrough in battery cost and efficiency, a battery sufficient to back the national grid would need to take all of the national grid to charge it up.

      • I pick the coal fired plant. Pollution is almost non-existent in newer plants and the power is available and cheap 24 hours a day.

    • From the first link:

      Because energy costs vary widely from country to country, it’s difficult to make firm conclusions about when renewables might be able to overtake fossil fuels on the grid.

      It seems that for YOU “it’s NOT difficult to make firm conclusion”, why? Are you more competent than he?

      • Give it time my friend. It is so *SNIP* obvious thatvrenewable energy pays off in the long run. You pay the initial up front costs on the infrastructure and then almost zero long-term costs.

        profanity with substitute characters is still profanity – Mod

      • No ivan. Wind will ALWAYS require 100% back-up from REAL RELIABLE power stations.

        They will NEVER be cheaper, because that MUST have that back-up

        Are you really that SNIP that you don’t understand that??

        Andy, stop with the personal insults discuss in a civil manner – MOD

      • Ivan doesn’t appear to realise that in comparison to FF and Nuclear there is no “Long Term” renewables other than Geo & Hydro.

      • There goes ivanski with his lies.
        Renewables have larger long term costs than does fossil fuel power.
        The reason for this is many fold.
        Maintenance is higher because you need many, many more units to get the same total power.
        You need to maintain whatever is going to be used for back up when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining.
        Life expectancy for a solar cell is way below that of a fossil fuel plant.

      • “No ivan. Wind will ALWAYS require 100% back-up from REAL RELIABLE power stations”.

        The REAL problem with this situation is that western govts are struggling to persuade energy providers to build NEW nuclear or gas power stations, as existing stations reach end of life. In the UK, the govt had to promise EDF a price per unit that is way above the current price for electricity. When critics pointed this out, the govt said that this simply reflected the predicted cost of energy when the plant comes online.

    • Ivan, these articles are from the investment bankers who put together the deals on financing green energy projects. They make millions in commissions pushing these investments on the same type of people who used to buy the junk bonds.

      In these deals, the investment bankers take 5.0%, somebody is guaranteed to make money on their 15%, and the other investors lose their 80% of the investment. Just like happened in the junk bond days.

      That is green energy today.

      • Biggest load of piffle I have heard in a long time. People and business wouldn’t invest in green energy unless they can see a ROI. What the fossil fuel advocates don’t like to see – or admit to -are that the costs of renewables are falling year-on-year as the uptake AROUND FHE WORLD increases. Americans and others on this site might decry it but the ROW is moving forward in implementing renewable energy based on the economics.

      • ivankinsman “People and business wouldn’t invest in green energy unless they can see a ROI.”

        Behold the mighty Ivan; mind reader to the masses! What was the ROI on Andrew Carnegie’s investments in public libraries? While it is likely your assertion is mostly correct, it is not entirely correct.

        “What the fossil fuel advocates don’t like to see – or admit to -are that the costs of renewables are falling year-on-year as the uptake AROUND FHE WORLD increases.”

        I am an energy advocate. I don’t much care where I get it, but energy is very important to me. When I go to a gasoline filling station I don’t say, “Oh, look; fossil fuel!” Instead, I look at the price and to an extent also the brand since some gasolines seem quite a bit better than others.

        “Americans and others on this site might decry it but the ROW is moving forward in implementing renewable energy based on the economics.”

        I don’t care much what the ROW is doing. The first citizens of the USA, and my ancestors, escaped from ROW.

        Much of Europe has little or no fossil fuels of any kind. Their choices are constrained to use someone else’s coal (Germany), oil (middle east), natural gas (Russia), or wind and solar. They face different choices.

      • Most people do not have such an egocentric selfish viewpoint. Some people prefer to take a more sociable communal approach to life. If Trump persists with his approach then the ROW will penalise the USA for having a free piggy back ride on global efforts to check AGW. Then let’s see how your wallet looks.

      • ivankinsman says “Last month, Portugal ran solely on renewable power for four days in a row.”

        Congratulations, I think. “After publication, it was pointed out that some fossil-fuel-generated power is used, for example, for pumping in hydro schemes. Notwithstanding that element, Apren says, renewable energy generated enough power to meet Portugal’s demand over the four days.”

        Perhaps there’s not a lot of high-energy-demand industry in Portugal. “Portugal has the highest emigration rate as a proportion of population in the European Union….Historically Portugal would rank as the nation with the highest unemployment rate in both Europe and EU “

      • It’s easy to make money when government forces people to buy whatever you produce at whatever price you want to charge.
        Let’s not forget forcing your competitors to cover your shortcomings at their expense.

    • The big myth of Wind and Solar is that all the cost is upfront and that they will eventually pay that off and everything after that is gravy. It’s not true. Wind requires constant maintenance and inspections, and neither is very easy when your power house is on the top of a three hundred foot ladder.
      I will be very surprised if any wind farm lasts twenty years past the end of subsidies. It’s why they insist on such long term contracts before building. At least in Ontario.

      Solar is much better than wind, but I believe there have been articles here that show the man-hours needed to keep them functioning at full efficiency is much higher per mega-watt than conventional power plants.

      • Germany is leading the way? Perhaps you should speak to Merkel about those grid issues, and her economy since giving way to renewables.

        “The online German business daily Handelsblatt here writes that European wind energy company Siemens Gamesa will eliminate 6000 jobs.

        That means the German-Spanish company will shed more than a fifth of it 26,000 workers. This is the latest bad news slamming the green energy industry in Germany and Europe. Over the years Germany has seen almost every major solar panel and equipment manufacturer become insolvent. Spain too has been hit hard by renewable energy insolvencies.

        Once ballyhooed as the sector for the future, German solar and and wind energy industry has taken huge hits. The country’s last remaining major solar manufacturer, Bonn-based Solarworld, earlier this year announced it would file for bankruptcy. Solarworld’s demise was the last of a spectacular series of solar manufacturer bankruptcies that swept across Germany over the past years, with names like Solon, Solar Millenium and Q-Cells going under.

        Now the bloodbath is expanding to the wind industry, a branch of green energy that looked far more feasible in Germany than solar energy did.”

      • ivankinsman on December 30, 2017 at 6:50 am
        The times are a changin my friend. Germanyt is leading the way in renewable energies and the US should be worried that they will become the technology leaders, along with China, India etc

        Worried? Naahhh. They are welcome to being the “leaders” in unworkable, unecological, insanely anti-growth “technology”. More power to them (pun definitely intended).

      • Germany abandoned nuke power due to voter pressure and since then has been making up for the shortfall by buying in power from France. Guess how France generates its electricity.

      • Germany won’t be leading anything going forward it hasn’t been able to form a government in 10 weeks since the election. The big problems for forming a coalition government are immigration and closing coal mines :-)

    • We will put that in the same nonsense box as the wind report-

      “Green Activists Withdraw Adverts Which Falsely Claim Price Of Wind Energy Has Fallen By 50 Per Cent”

    • Unfortunately since “renewable” in most cases also means “intermittent”, we are not comparing like for like. The way to settle this debate is quite simple: require intermittent generation sources to include their own energy storage capability so they can bid to supply a given minimum amount of power for a given fixed period of time. Currently, large thermal plants can promise to supply close to 100% of their rated output for months at a stretch. In contrast intermittent sources can not credibly promise to supply even 50% of their rated power for a single 24-hour day.

      In the current regulatory environment, the problems caused by intermittent generation sources fall on the grid operator to solve, usually by throttling down a thermal plant. Running large thermal plants at lower utilization rates than they are capable of increases the capital cost component of each unit of power produced and sold. This increase is passed on to the rate payers.

      When intermittent capacity is increased to avoid periods of very low or no output, you can then have periods when total intermittent sources produce more power than current demand and you either have to essentially waste it, or again depending on regulations, throttle other sources back to zero and even pay some other market to take your surplus. With exactly this situation occurring in Europe, Norway is paid to serve as Europe’s battery because it’s own power is 100% hydro. In the US we lack sufficient hydro to smooth out a similar penetration of intermittent sources.

      Again, I think intermittency should all be responsibility of the generation facility to solve with local energy storage. With the limitations of current storage technology, that would reduce intermittent sources to bidding on relatively short term contracts, essentially competing with single cycle gas peaker plants. Whether they could compete on cost is an interesting question, but one that should be settled by the market. If they can’t the investors should take the loss rather than the ratepayers.

      • In The IT domain of ITIL, uptime is ‘availability management’. What you start with is the Service Level Agreement, or SLA. Lets see the wind and solar Sources produce infrastructure that an contractually bind SLAs at a 99.999% level, to start the discussion.

      • Alan, all that you wrote is correct. You make excellent arguments but that is really not the point with people like Ivan and Griff. Having debated across the table with such folks for over 30 years, although on different environmental issues, I know them to be grossly naive and amazingly arrogant. They truly believe the rest of us, or anyone not fully supporting their latest orthodoxy, are not just wrong but stupid or corrupt. They will even attack you for daring to question one of their “high priest” in the green religion. Several groups spent several weeks demanding my bosses fire me or demote me at least because they heard I had taken Rachael Carlson name in vain. What I had done was question a paper that the Rachael Carlson Society had written. What they didn’t bother to notice was I was THE reviewer and had also supplied the Society with all the original research papers they claimed to summarized. My argument was that the Society had grossly misused the research and had ignored all my review comments before publishing the paper. When my bosses had me explain in a meeting with my critics, those attacking me didn’t say a word, they just walked out. They continued to attack me, though not on the same issues, until several years after I retired from the game.

    • Solar is only cheaper because of government subsidies for solar and regulations that make coal more expensive than it otherwise would be.
      PS, to be honest, which you and Griff never are, you have to include the cost of either the back up power or storage technology for when the sun isn’t shining or clouds are getting in the way.

    • Ivan writes: “The times are a changin my friend. Germanyt is leading the way in renewable energies”

      And Volkswagens…

      “and the US should be worried that they will become the technology leaders, along with China, India etc.”

      Why? I think you are confusing or conflating technology with application of that technology. It is not clear why anyone should worry that someone else will be a leader. Once the Germans have invented dirt cheap solar power and the supercapacitors and room temperature superconducting storage rings then we’ll simply make our own thanking them for their leadership.

      • Economics doesn’t tend to work like that. First entrants tend to become the dominant players e.g. Microsoft and Apple. Admitting that you want America to play second fiddle is a very weak approach…

      • “First entrants tend to become the dominant players”

        Ah…… so are saying that Coal will be the winner. :-)

        Once subsidises, feed-in mandates and the scientific idiocy of the anti-CO2 agenda have been relegated to the trash where they belong,

        …. I’m sure you will be correct.

      • ps.. Bill Nye needs you help on the other thread.

        Surely you of all people, his intellectual equal, must defend him. ! ;-)

      • First entrants only become dominant when they have a superior product.
        There are even more examples of first entrants going bankrupt when others enter the field.

      • Ivan: Europeans have already taken the lead on building Large Hadron Colliders. Good for them, I suppose.

    • So I guess “monster” turbines work when the wind doesn’t blow. And solar panels work at night and on cloudy days, producing energy that can’t be stored because batteries haven’t been perfected. Why then are “renewables” failing in Germany and South Australia? Why has Denmark said “uncle” to more wind? Why have energy costs skyrocketed everywhere that “renewables have been employed?

      • R2Dtoo wrote
        “Why then are “renewables” failing in Germany”

        I don’t see renewables failing in Germany. Maybe the German companies are going bankrupt that are supplying the equipment but the Chines suppliers are only too happy to supply. The following website posts a glowing picture of renewables in Germany.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renewable_energy_in_Germany

        The above website gives about 10% for wind and solar of total energy for Germany; of that 21% of the electricity generation is wind and solar. i really don’t understand the whole concept of renewables. I do understand the concept of intermittent renewables. However the term renewable seems irrelevant. The earth will never run out of coal nor nuclear fuel , nor gas, nor oil nor biomass. Even geothermal will never be completely used up because the earth will not freeze for another 2 billion years and geothermal is the one resource that we have hardly begun to tap. Perhaps we should replace the term renewable with the term non pollutable. If that is accepted then biomass would not be in the new category . I dont like to think of biomass being a green energy anyway cause it pollutes when we burn the stuff.

  2. So they predict that $trillions more will be wasted on subsidising intermittent wind and solar energy. Surely some of the powers-that-be will have learned lessons between now and 2040. Or will they all still have their greedy snouts in the renewable energy trough?

      • “businesses that will be OK are those that don’t need customers:”
        =======
        the Ozzie’s have solved their energy problems. switch to businesses that don’t need customers. businesses such as growing money on trees.

      • C. Paul Barreira
        December 30, 2017 at 6:21 am · Reply
        Are not these developments ( he is talking about Australia) precisely what so many want? A lower standard of living is essential to green ideology (recall the debate between Ian Plimer and the holder of the chair of climate change at Adelaide University, name forgotten and source lost; it was the latter’s final argument, having lost everything else). And industry, likewise. Governments, not least in South Australia, have pronounced themselves post-industrial—with academic and media support. Indeed, the SA government must be greatly relieved that General Motors among others no longer manufactures vehicle in their own state as well as over the border. The end may or may not be nigh but it is visible—and then things start all over again, for there is no end, there are no solutions, just continuity. Perhaps if some cultural development occurred that overcame today’s infatuation with novelty some improvement in the standard of living might be possible. But it is unlikely in a throw-away society in which repairs are no longer possible (electric kettles in the kitchen are a case in point: very short-lived). No hope resides in the present.

        The above comment from Mr Barreira from the above site tells how bad it is in Australia right now because of high energy prices caused by the greenies. I live in Ontario Canada and the electricity megawatt pricing is similar. Ontario will soon follow Australia to the poor house because of 3 main stupid policies that politicians have adopted around the world ( but not in China nor India). Those 3 policies 1(Close down all the cheapest sources of power like any coal plant. 2) Give 20 year government guaranteed contracts to any producer of wind or solar at a preferential high guaranteed rate. 3) Tax or carbon debit any carbon producer so high that eventually the firm has to move so that they can make a profit. Look around the world The successful countries are the ones with the cheapest energy rates. Japan is a special case because they went completely nuclear not having much of any other sources. The whole Japanese society and economy are reevaluating their nuclear strategy after the tsunami that destroyed 4 nuclear reactors and caused the semi permanent shutdown of 2 others. I knew there was another reason besides toxic fuel as to why nuclear plants should not be built. For your information: In the early days of the nuclear industry it was decided that it would be cheaper to use the radioactive isotopes to produce the nuclear fuel because the American and Russian militaries already had working nuclear plants that were designed with using the radioactive isotopes. If the world had decided to use non radioactive isotopes instead their eventual cost of building the plants would have been cheaper but they would have had to start over with a completely new design. The earliest nuclear plants went ahead and used the military design plants that used radioactive isotopes and the world has been stuck with the consequences ever since. I throw up my hands of the folly of humankind.

      • I like the following comment from the above website

        C. Paul Barreira
        December 30, 2017 at 6:21 am · Reply
        Are not these developments ( he is talking about Australia) precisely what so many want? A lower standard of living is essential to green ideology (recall the debate between Ian Plimer and the holder of the chair of climate change at Adelaide University, name forgotten and source lost; it was the latter’s final argument, having lost everything else). And industry, likewise. Governments, not least in South Australia, have pronounced themselves post-industrial—with academic and media support. Indeed, the SA government must be greatly relieved that General Motors among others no longer manufactures vehicle in their own state as well as over the border. The end may or may not be nigh but it is visible—and then things start all over again, for there is no end, there are no solutions, just continuity. Perhaps if some cultural development occurred that overcame today’s infatuation with novelty some improvement in the standard of living might be possible. But it is unlikely in a throw-away society in which repairs are no longer possible (electric kettles in the kitchen are a case in point: very short-lived). No hope resides in the present.

  3. Despite all their wishes, wind and solar can ONLY ever be a niche market.

    Those markets that have been forced beyond their economic feasibility, eg..Germany, Denmark, South Australia, will collapse at some time in the not too distant future… there is only so much tax-payer funding to keep them alive.

    I’m guessing that once people realise the economic stupidity of wind and solar, and that CO2 is an absolute necessity for life on Earth at considerably higher levels than it currently is, then fossil fuel percentage, with a small percentage of nuclear, will end up considerably more than 83%.

  4. What is not mentioned here, is that Primary Energy Consumption is much higher. Wind and solar worldwide do not even reach 1% of that primary consomption.

    Primary Energy Consumption inlcludes mining, construction and production of cement etc.

    One wind turbine Needs 10,000 metric tons of concrete for the foundation, plus the same amount of gravel. the towaer itself Need 2000 ton of concrete.

  5. What is not mentioned here, is that Primary Energy Consumption is much higher. Wind and solar worldwide do not even reach 1% of that primary consomption.

    Primary Energy Consumption inlcludes mining, construction and production of cement etc.

    One wind turbine Needs 10,000 metric tons of concrete for the foundation, plus the same amount of gravel. the towaer itself Need 2000 ton of concrete.

    • Not for nothing, but what kind of batting average does the EIA have with their predictions? Especially their predictions that reach over 20 years into the future?

      • Has anyone ever done a watts/acre calculation for all of these renewables? Seems to me we will have to (with all due respect to Sherwin -Williams Paint Co.) “Cover the Earth” with solar panels, wind mills and bio ponds in order to begin to provide the energy we require.
        Although I am far from wealthy like those on Cape Cod but I don’t want to have my “view” spoiled either.
        And renewables “steal” maintenance money from the conventional power plants that must stay on-line to provide back up – I read that ERCOT (Energy Resource Council Of Texas) has that concern.
        I recently passed a 60 lane bowling center and wondered how many Kwh it takes to operate that facility and how many windmills/solar cells would be required.

      • The best places for both wind and solar are often far from where most people live, which means that either solar and wind have to be put in 2nd or 3rd rank sites, or you are going to lose a lot of power in transmission.

  6. Unless global warming removes the seasons then that’s always going to put a limit on how much solar power can be used in America and europe. Because when power is needed the most (during the winter months) then solar power deliver the least. So the need for oil and gas is not going to end soon. lt will be interesting to see how much this current cold weather in America will boost its need for power

    • “Because when power is needed the most (during the winter months)”

      In the southeast, summer is when power is needed most. A/C takes more electricity than existing heating systems. My winter bill is %40 of my summer bill.

      • Of course your winter bill is small. It doesn’t get very cold there, and it doesn’t stay cold for long.
        When I lived in Iowa, my winter bills were twice my summer bills. We had a gas heater that was about 90% efficient. It needed a fan to blow the exhaust up the stack, as the air was no longer warm enough to rise on it’s own.

      • And that is one reason why the hog industry moved from NC to Manitoba. It is cheaper to heat the barns in winter than to cool them in summer. Manitoba has reliable and cheap hydro power (98% of our use).

    • I live in northern Ohio and my house has a nice south-facing roof that would be perfect for solar panels. I took a quick look at the roof a few minutes ago and noticed that there is currently about a foot of snow on my nice south-facing roof. Do solar panels come equipped with solar heaters to melt off the snow in the winter? If not, they might be too useful around here for about 4 months of the year.

  7. NG is great, but they go a bit overboard on their enthusiasm for it. As soon as all the nonsense about “carbon pollution” subsides, uneconomic unreliables will die off, and coal will be back, going head-to-head with NG, which is as it should be.

  8. The roll back in subsidies has already begun. In the UK new Renewable development is dropping like a stone.
    Germany and Europe have already announced reductions.
    Those increases will never be met.

  9. Gotta love the last chart where a clear upward trend in real data suddenly changes into stability for a couple of years and then a decisive downward trend in projections. China giving up coal is always “just about to happen”

  10. It is high noon in New England as I write this. My 10KW of solar panels are producing 80W of output as I write this. Must have something to do with the weather aka snow on them. They are mounted on a steep sloped roof, so I have hopes that the snow will melt and slide off by Easter.

    In the meantime, I am relying on nuke, ng, coal, and hydro to power this computer.

  11. Just got mandated energy source report from my electric supplier for Q3 2016 – Q2 2017:

    Coal: 34.39%
    Natural Gas: 26.02%
    Nuclear: 34.63%
    Oil: 0.19%

    Renewable:
    Captured methane: 0.31%
    Hydroelectric: 1.06%
    Solar: 0.15%
    Solid waste: 0.48%
    Wind: 2.49%
    Wood/biomass: 0.24%

    Of course, this is going to change because the Democrat-controlled Maryland legislature passed a law requiring 25% from renewable sources and the Public Service Commission mandated a tax subsidy for a wind farm off the coast of Ocean City. Supposed to increase electric costs by 25%. I also believe our nuclear plant at Calvert Cliffs is scheduled to close sometime soon.

  12. Most of the comments on this topic take as a given that out-of-control global warming is a threat to humanity that can and should be mitigated by human intervention. Take away that premise and this discussion is a colossal waste of time. Let a free market determine the best mix of sources of power. Does anyone really believe that bureaucrats can optimize any process?

    • “Does anyone really believe that bureaucrats can optimize any process?”

      Yes, they have done a great job of optimizing the process skimming money from government tax receipts.

  13. On the calmest darkest winter night the most snow covered pile of coal will still burn. When wind and solar can do that, my friends, I will take notice. Otherwise,”renewables” will always run second, or not at all, QED.

  14. What about those states that put up all their solar farms, to have them now covered in snow. Do they have to wait for spring to have these panels again producing electricity? Maybe those states are just not good contenders for solar.

  15. Richard Bell said
    “The straightforward solution is simple, but not inexpensive– the DC generators in the wind turbines power a large DC motor that turns a synchronous generator (preferably a massive, slow turning generator like those driven by hydraulic turbines [more inertia means more frequency support and those generators can tolerate relatively large speed excursions, up to 10%]) that supplies electrical power, frequency support, and voltage support. This will solve the problem of Wind and Solar being only fare-weather friends of the grid that abandon it whenever there is a crisis.” This doesnt solve the backup needed for the solar power and also the cost of implementing this DC motor addition to wind turbines would be so expensive that no for profit firm in the world would do this. That would mean more government expense just to be able to have wind backup energy when even more energy can be taken out of the ground by natural gas extraction at an extremely lower cost. Your idea will never happen. Keep dreaming greenies.

  16. The only way for the greenies to have been able to continue their so called green revolution was to invent the AGW hypothesis and have the politicians give out tax payer dollars in subsidies for wind and solar and pass laws outlawing CO2. Without the foregoing the so called green revolution would have been impossible. Even that said, total intermittent renewable energy( which means only solar and wind) will never go above 35% of all the renewable energy and this total of renewable will never go above 17% of all energy use in 2040 as the original article says. Of that hydro will supply 8% so that leaves 9 % for the rest of the renewables including intermittent renewables. That means even by 2040 the intermittent renewables (wind and solar) will only be .17 x .35 = 6% of all energy use!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Of course that doesn’t mean I wont buy an electric car. The maintenance on electric cars is so much less. What it does mean is that the original energy sources for the electricity for the electric cars will be overwelmingly non solar and non wind based.

    • Maintenance for electric cars is only less if you don’t include the cost of replacing your battery pack every few years.

      BTW, maintenance costs for my families two cars over the last few decades.
      Oil changes 2 or 3 times per year $30 or so, when I don’t have the time to do it myself.
      Replacing wheel bearings.

      Electrics have wheel bearings, and given that they are heavier, the bearings would probably cost more.
      Engines are more complex than motors, however they are so well built these days that the engine will outlast your battery pack by a decade or more.

      • The total lifetime cost of gas for ICE vehicles exceeds the cost to replace the main battery plus the lifetime cost of running the car via electricity. Also with regenerative braking the lifetime cost of brake maintenance is afr less on an electric car. Electric cars dont have engine coolant to replace nor engine oil nor transmission oil plus electric cars have a lot less sensors that need replacing. Not to mention no radiator to worry about nor differential nor any complicated auto transmission( electric motors have only 1 gear) . An electric motor is lot simpler than a gasoline motor and hardly anything wears out in an electric motor.
        Look at the following site. it found that over a 5 year period, an electric car saved almost a $1000 US per year. However that doesn’t include replacement cost of the huge electric battery of the electric car. So all in all if you plan on keeping the electric car for 15 years then assuming then you will have to change the battery after 7 or 8 years assuming 20000 km a year the $15000 you save on maintenance and electricity versus gas
        will be more than having to replace the battery once in your vehicle lifetime. However higher costs from taking it to a dealer after the warranty period is over will eat up some of that savings but overall you will be ahead in an electric car. Now if they can only get the range higher before recharging I WILL BUY ONE

        https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/loans/electric-hybrid-gas-how-they-compare-costs-2015/

      • That’s nice, comparing total life time cost for one technology vs. one expense of another technology.
        Why don’t you just go ahead and admit that you have no intention of debating honestly.

      • The fuel savings is almost entirely due to the fact that gasoline and diesel are taxed to build roads, while electricity gets a free ride. If electrics ever get above the level of hobby, government will find a way to eliminate that subsidy as well.

  17. Existing fossil fuel generation could likely meet 100% of demand at economical cost. The higher cost Solar and wind generation is 100% wasted.

  18. In the UK they crow about the high percentages that they intermittently attain with wind and solar.
    In the UK they crow about the near extermination of coal fired electricity and with it the extermination of the coal mining technology, communities and way of life. (A lot of green urban Londoner ethnic loathing of northern “scousers” mixed up in this.)
    But what has really been achieved?
    The same greens are uncomfortably quiet about the greater and greater reliance on gas.
    And the fragility and vulnerability of energy supply connected with this.
    Especially since the same greens protest religiously and mindlessly against fracking for gas in the UK.
    A few weeks ago gas prices in the UK spiked almost 50%.
    This is because several events harming UK gas supply all happened at the same time:
    – Explosion in a gas facility in Baumgarten Austria where Russian (yes those untermenschen – suck that up you racist lefties!) pipelines supplying most European gas, enter Europe
    – Damage to a major Norwegian gas platform
    – Damage to a gas interconnector from Holland
    – Damage to a gas pipeline from the Forties gas field in the North sea
    – Stupid decision last summer to close down the subsea gas storage facility in Rough, Yorkshire

    These things all came together and illustrated that the result of Britain killing off it’s coal power and miners, is that the nation of Britain has its trousers round its ankles in regard to security of energy supply.
    Windmills, solar panels and batteries are not going to make any significant difference to that loss of security.
    A prolonged very cold spell in January or February will make this reality impossible for even the Guardian newspaper to hide.

    • Mark
      I agreed with M Thatcher’s trimming of the excessive power of the coal miner unions.
      But I don’t agree with the extinction of the coal mining industry for bogus political reasons.

      The coal issue reveals hypocrisy of the left wing media that is deeper than any coal seam. During the fight with Thatcher’s conservatives they were hysterical in their support of the miners. But now that the coal miners are facing actual green holocaust and complete annihilation, those same media talking heads are silent about the coal miner communities.

  19. Unless there is major fusion breakthrough it is obvious fossil fuels will be major energy source for a long time.

      • Nuclear can and will take over in a few decades when we start running low on fossil fuels. Not all of us live in the USA

      • World wide, there’s enough coal/oil/gas to last for a few centuries.
        If for political reasons, you decide to switch to nuclear before you need to, that’s your problem.

  20. I continue to be amazed by the ability of the greens to pretend they have a solution. Apparently you really can fool many of the people ALL the time.

    • I continue to be amazed by the ability of the greens to pretend we have problem.

      (apart from low atmospheric CO2 levels.)

  21. “You can’t fix stupid”, Ron White

    My prediction for 2040 is that wind and solar will approach 0%. The reason is making electricity with wind and solar is stupid. You can not fix that.

    I worked in the power industry as an operator then an engineer for more than 40 years. The reasons we did things are transparent for those who keep and open mind.

    In the US, a large hydro project has not come on line during my career but hydro is not going away. Besides power we get flood control, navigation, recreation, and irrigation. During the depression many projects were built to create jobs. Currently we are near Hoover Dam and enjoy camping at Lake Mead National Recreation Area.

    Hoover Dam will still be producing power in 2040. It only has a 23% capacity factor and used lots of concrete.

    So clearly lack of new generation, creating jobs, low capacity factor, footprint, changing the environment, and the amount of raw materials are silly reason to be against hydro.

    Most of the world’s power is produced with steam. The trend is toward larger plants and plants that last longer. Availability is near 100%

    So what about wind and solar. The first issue is economy of scale.

    I spent part of the day with voltmeter and jumpers troubleshooting multiple electrical problems on our 20 year old motorhome. I have ruled out one $60 part but not fixed the problem. Last week I paid $160 to have a circuit board refurbished because because it is no longer made.

    The point is things get old and stop working. The cost of fixing a power systems has to be compared to the value the power that can be produced.

    This where economy of scale comes in. That $60 relay might be in a 4kw PV system, a 5 MWe wind turbine, 1000 MWe nuke plant, or a 1500 MWe nuke.

    When the PV or wind turbine stop working, oh well. By 2040 they will be dead. The steam plants will pick up the slack.

    • “I spent part of the day with voltmeter and jumpers troubleshooting multiple electrical problems on our 20 year old motorhome.”

      Similar to my weekend. I still have a Fluke 77 DVM from the mid-1980’s, used it to troubleshoot a 25 year old engine controller that might be due to a relay (also 25 years old) or corroded solder joints on the circuit board.

      • Michael

        I now have DVM envy. I use the free ones from Harbor Freight.

        Many do not understand the multiple modes of aging failures. Thermal cycles and vibration is the enemy solid state controllers. Since retiring to a motor home, I have had four electric blanket controllers stop working. The last one occurred while trouble shooting the 12 vdc to 120 vac issues. My wife said she smelled smoke from the bedroom. There are some interesting RV fire videos on youtube.

        Considering the multiple failures, grounding may be an issue. I have also discovered the three fuse protection systems that is the result of too many lawyers in the US. The truck frame comes with the engine, transmission, and associated wiring with fuses all over the place. The motor home adds more stuff with wiring and fuses. Then each electrical component has a fuse.

        So when I turn something on and it does not come on, there are five obvious places to look. Even more fun are things that stop working and then start again.

  22. Ivan, I can spell nous correctly. Maybe you mean something else you imagine you possess?

    Can you spell DISGUSTING? Because that is what describes the manufacture of wind and solar. Both those industries would not be cost efficient anywhere but China for the simple reason that they both produce egregious pollution during manufacture. In the case of solar their running and decommissioning involve toxicity that has NOT been factored into environmental or fiscal costings or honestly admitted anywhere by advocates.

    Rare earth metals to create wind ‘power’.
    Leaching of poisons into our water tables during use of solar ‘power’.
    No plans for the disposal of acres of toxic waste panels.

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2012/aug/07/china-rare-earth-village-pollution

    “Into this huge, 10 sq km tailings pond nearby factories discharge water loaded with chemicals used to process the 17 most sought after minerals in the world, collectively known as rare earths.”

    If this ‘industry’ existed in the USA the costs to prevent runoff and dispose of same would raise the costs beyond your fevered imaginings. Just for magnets that work.

    Solar panel pollution:

    Huge amounts of electricity used in their creation. Which means coal-fired in China:

    http://energydesk.greenpeace.org/2016/07/13/china-keeps-building-coal-plants-despite-new-overcapacity-policy/

    Then the pollution from their manufacture:

    http://solarindustrymag.com/online/issues/SI1309/FEAT_05_Hazardous_Materials_Used_In_Silicon_PV_Cell_Production_A_Primer.html

    ” .. the byproduct of polysilicon production, silicon tetrachloride is a highly toxic substance that poses environmental hazards.”

    Just one PV byproduct in an unregulated landscape(no pun intended – puns are probably illegal in China).

    Then their transportation, using container ships which are the greatest actual polluters in the entire transport system:

    http://www.industrytap.com/worlds-15-biggest-ships-create-more-pollution-than-all-the-cars-in-the-world/8182

    Then the cost, both financial and environmental of their installation, maintenance, degradation before useful-endlife and disposal:

    https://web.stanford.edu/group/sjir/pdf/Solar_11.2.pdf

    Which underplays all the problems but points them out.

    The problems of creation, maintenance and disposal and the costs of the solutions.

    Result: They pollute egregiously and will never pay for themselves monetarily or in energy invested even if they ran 100% efficiently, for the 25 years claimed, 24 hours a day 365 days a year with zero degradation.

    You will note my emphasis on environmental pollution. A subject dear to me for over 50 years and one that has been utterly ignored by the current crop of concerned citizens in favor of demonizing the very substance that allows them, their children and their parents to grow and flourish.

    DISGUSTING behavior.

  23. After decades of virtue signaling, false propaganda, and literally $T confiscated and spent on sun and wind power they only account for a few % of energy used. We’re talking about roughly 25% of the Industrial Age in its’ most technology productive time and rewables only providing a miniscule amount of the energy to drive it yet people insist on banning fossil fuels. Propaganda is a powerful weapon.

  24. Since both Solar and Wind farms extract energy from the local environment, what happens to the weather in the vicinity, when a significant percentage of that driving energy is intercepted?
    Assuming 90% efficiency (pipe dream), Just how much energy is available if the majority of habitable land was covered in Solar panels and Bird macerators?

    • Ivan, how is it possible for mankind to degrade the earth when it is mankind that judges such a thing in the first place? “Degrade” has meaning only in the mind of a human. The Earth doesn’t care! You seem to be anthropomorphising the Earth.

      • Ok so we are the only cognizant worthwhile species inhabiting this planet? Do you really honestly believe that? If you do then I suggest you put yourself out of your misery…

      • Do you never get bored with having to sleep on a rubber sheet, you poor little bedwetter?

        Get out of your mummy’s basement into the real world, get a girlfriend (or boyfriend if that’s your thing), get a job and above all else get a life, FFS!

  25. The biggest complaint about “fossil fuels”, particularly petroleum-derived fuels, has always, always been the huge, obscene, undeserved profits of those industries. Industries that were never, at least in the United States, subsidized. Quite the opposite. Until the Reagan administration, oil prices were regulated by the government, resulting in the shortages that price controls always produce. The Left is fond of pointing to things such as the depletion allowance as “subsidies,” which is more a betrayal of their view of the relation of individuals to the State (if the State doesn’t take money from individuals, it is a “subsidy” or gift – which means that the State owns the lives and efforts of everyone) than any economic facts.

    Fossil fuels, in any context free of government meddling, have always been enormously profitable. That means they have delivered more value to their consumers than the cost of their production. Solar, wind, and even hydroelectric cannot make a similar claim. Neither can nuclear, thought it is unclear as to why. The U.S. regulation of nuclear is enormously burdensome. I know of a TRIGA reactor that has been seeking re licensing for a decade – and that is the safest reactor ever built in the U.S. Endless lawsuits by “environmental” activists cost stupendous amounts of money in delaying the completion of any nuclear power plant project. But we really don’t, to my knowledge, have a complete understanding of the end-to-end economics.

    With fossil fuels, it is an exercise left to the student, as they said in engineering school. And it’s a very straight line to the conclusion that they are the best thing we have.

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