Renewable Energy Sources 24-31% More Feeble than Expected

Guest ridicule by David Middleton

Low-carbon energy transition requires more renewables than previously thought

Date: 2018-05-04

A new study by ICTA-UAB analyzes the impacts on lifestyles of substituting fossil fuels for cleaner energies.

Considering the planned use of renewable energy sources, societies would have between 24% and 31% less net energy per capita.

The transition to a low-carbon energy society will require more renewable energy sources than previously thought if current levels of energy consumption per capita and lifestyles are to be maintained. This is one of the main conclusions of a study recently published in Nature Energy by Lewis King and Jeroen van den Bergh of the Institute of Science and Environmental Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB).

Following the Paris Agreement…


Read the rest here

Better yet… How about less “renewables” and more coal, natural gas and nuclear power? This will avoid the 24-31% shortfall without breaking a sweat.


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Thomas Homer

“Low-carbon energy transition requires more renewables than previously thought”
Before refining those requirements, let’s be sure to tackle step 1.
– Step 1 – dismantle existing fossil fuel energy infrastructure
Once complete we can get started with step 2.


When done with step 1, we will start to think about how we might implement step 2.

When done with step 1, we will think about how to dig all the mass graves without fossil fuel powered earth moving equipment.

Bryan A

With the open pit coal mines still open pit, burying the mass dead in mass graves would require no digging at all just a workforce to shovel the tailings back into the pit. Must be the jobs Obummer promised.

Crispin in Waterloo

When done with step 1, we will start to think about how we might implement step 2.”
By candlelight.


As I have been preaching for 20 years, if you are not advocating for more nuclear and hydroelectric power, you are not serious about reducing greenhouse gas emissions.


Unless your goal actually is to get rid of most of the humans on this planet.


Oddly, the people who claim there are too many people aren’t volunteering to vacate the planet, but they are volunteering others to do so.
Their definition of “renewable power” has nothing to do with energy.


MarkW, the bottomline, if you have been paying attention is that unless someone figures out fusion, you cannot reach the goals the UN-IPCC claim are needed without nuclear and hydroelectric. When environmentalist stood up and screamed about CAGW and then the next week demanded an important hydroelectric dam be taking off line and remove I knew their goals were not saving the planet.

James Bull

Our elder son when in the 5th year of secondary school talking to his classmates came to the conclusion that 1st year students were a renewable resource and therefore should be used as a means to power the school, he and his friends never did work out how this was to be done or notice that if you cut off the roots the top will eventually die as well.
James Bull

Tom Halla

True. Wind and solar just don’t work, given the intermittency problem. Storage isn’t practical, either. I conclude the hardcore greens like wind and solar because they will not sustain industrial society.


or both.

Tom H wrote:
“True. Wind and solar just don’t work, given the intermittency problem. Storage isn’t practical, either.”
The article should be entitled:
“Renewable Energy Sources 95-100% More Feeble than Expected”
Look up Substitution Capacity in Germany:

Tom Halla

Allan M, as the conventional backup has to be both available and the same capacity as the “renewwables”, prayer wheels and solar are redundant and only serve to distort the pricing of the grid service power.

You mean…. Prayer wheels don’t work either?????
Aw, Rats!

William Ward

The Solution Already Exists
Neither wind or solar will ever be able to replace “fossil fuels” or play any large role in our energy needs. Wind and solar are fools’ errands.
Hydroelectric is only good if you have a river nearby to dam up – most that would be good for hydro have already been utilized – and hydro has negative environmental impacts.
The Green movement and the Climate Alarmists are completely in a coma regarding the solution that is the heir-apparent to “fossil fuels” and that is Thorium.
3 elements are useful for nuclear energy: Uranium, Plutonium and Thorium. Only Uranium and Plutonium are useful for nuclear bombs and for this reason the military ignored Thorium. Our civilian nuclear energy is an outgrowth of the military application and so it is not based upon Thorium, but instead on Uranium and Plutonium.
However, an experimental reactor using Thorium was developed and it ran at Oak Ridge National Labs in the 1960’s. It was called the MSRE (Molten Salt Reactor Experiment) – specifically it was a Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor (LFTR).
LFTR/MSR architectures are intrinsically safe. They operate at atmospheric pressure or very low pressure. They are run at very high temperature but in a bath of molten salt. The salt expands as it heats up. As it expands the nuclear reaction slows down – so it is self-regulating. The MSRE was started up and shut down each work day quite easily. They do not have the same problems our current nuclear reactors do that are based upon high pressure steam to cool the reactor. While there are other very compelling technologies in the LENR/LANR (Low Energy Nuclear Reactions/Lattice Assisted Nuclear Reactions) arena that might prove to be a “miracle” source of energy – today, Thorium is the silver bullet, dream solution to our energy needs. A golf ball sized sphere of Thorium is all each human would need for all of their energy needs for their entire life. Thorium is abundant in the Earth’s crust. Humanity could get its power for tens or hundreds of thousands of years without denting the supply.
Here is a list of companies that are moving quickly to commercialize versions of this reactor. All of the designs are modular – use mass production techniques similar to what are used in the commercial aircraft manufacturing industry. Units are built in factories and then shipped to their final destination in pieces on a barge. This architecture even allows for the current stockpile of used nuclear fuels to be burned up in the process. Yet very few know about it. How can this be so?!
These companies are focusing on India, China and Asia Pacific where regulation is favorable to the implementation. The Chinese government has thousands of Scientists and Engineers working on a Manhattan style project to innovate Thorium/MSRs. So does India. TerraPower is Bill Gates’ company – partnered with China. It is sad and pathetic that the USA is a dead-zone for the deployment of this technology. Especially considering that it was invented in the US. The US regulatory environment is completely hostile to new nuclear technology – and none of our representatives are doing anything about it.
NASA engineer Kirk Sorensen has many videos about LFTR on YouTube. It is interesting to note that it was a serendipitous event that Kirk saved all of the records about the MSRE from destruction. Kirk and his team just happened to be visiting Oak Ridge on the day all of the documents about the program (several pallets) were being loaded by fork lift onto the truck to the incinerator! A miracle technology that was forgotten and then almost lost.
If Climate Alarmists really believed in their own narrative – and if reducing CO2 was truly an existential requirement for humanity – then they would not be playing around with solutions like solar and wind – they would have already been beating the drums for LFTR/MSRs.


you didn’t get the memo, did you?
cheap, reliable, abundant energy would be the ultimate doom of the planet, as far as warmunist are concerned. The equivalent of giving a machine gun to a 5 year-old. Humans are sinful, and must repent, and do not deserve an Eden of energy and machines doing all the work for them.


“if current levels of energy consumption per capita and lifestyles are to be maintained. “
The Big IF in play.
No secret that it is the green elites who are controlling the Climate Hustle. And the unspoken end game is to greatly reduce energy consumption per capita.
Their vision is they simply see the future of the devloped nations as a 2 class society. It is the Left’s controlled solution to the eventual end of easy oil and gas, cheap energy. Yes, there will be a tiny class of skilled technocrats, engineers, doctors, but it will be a small middle-class compared to today in this vision. Destruction of the present dominant middle-class, and its hold on democratic institutions of government and civil liberties are key milestones on the march to their green socialism.
Witness Venezuela. Even highly skilled specialist doctors have not been spared from the socialist revolution’s effects. Many have left. Those that remain can’t even buy a loaf of bread with their paycheck — highly skilled doctors and surgeons. Meanwhile Maduro and his inner circle and his generals no doubt are living well.
The Serfs (you and me) are to live a meager existence and be kept in-line with hand-outs, and if those fail a police state. Meanwhile the elites remain safe in gated, guarded mansions, traveling in private jets, and yachts. So they can’t have us serfs using up all the fossil fuel they’ll need for their jet to take them to Cannes, or skiing in Switzerland, or their Yacht waiting for them in the British Virgins Islands.

Tom O

You wouldn’t consider the possibility that sanctions preventing development might have created just a little of the problems presented to Venezuela, would you? Probably not.

D. J. Hawkins

Since it was unilateral, by the US, no, I wouldn’t think it likely. Most especially since the majority of the sanctions were against individuals, not corporations, Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. and the Venezuelan government being notable exceptions.

Tim F

There are no sanctions preventing development. There is only seizure and nationalization preventing development. I have direct experience in beautiful country destroyed by these fascists. It is the future of any country following their path.


More renewables would also be required because they never generate more than about 30-40% of nameplate capacity on average.
Why don’t they propose going back to horse-drawn cartage for moving things and people about? Think of all the green-jobs shi*-shovelers that would be needed!


Just made a comment. Went into the bit-bucket. Not even the “awaiting moderation” note.
WordPress continues its shadow moderation of comments that contain keywords. This has nothing to do with AW’s moderation settings or actions by the WUWT mods. These are likely filters that are invisible to him or the mods set up under-the-hood by WordPress.
This is going on “behind the curtain” at WordPress. Delaying the posting of comments or sending them to the bitbucket greatly limits impact. Even if they are fished out and posted many hours later by the moderators, the delay limits visibility.
Twitter does something similar. Twitter delays certain tweets to high impact followers (those with a huge number of followers). This delay greatly diminishes the probability of a tweet getting shared, forwarded or commented on, preventing it from “trending.” Scott Adams clearly documented this insidious behavior at Twitter.
WordPress is quite likely playing this game too.

M Courtney

Everyone’s scared.
It’s brave of WordPress to allow this site to exist at all.


Umm…. Joel, if you’re referring to your comment posted at 12:52, above, it’s there. You’ll have to be more explicit.
Sometimes my comments get delayed for no reason and then show up later, but I’m on an antique computer that sometimes can’t keep up with the pace of the net.


It has nothing to do with the computer or internet. WordPress knows its there because if I try to re-post, it flags back as “duplicate comment detected.”
WordPress just sends selected comments, based on keywords and the commenter, to be buried deep into the Spam bucket. This is a hidden filter to AW and the mods. It is not the same as to the moderate list. Finding them in the Spam folder for the mods is a lot more work than reviewing comments flagged for “awaiting moderation.” Once the moderator digs it out of Spam folder and approves it, it goes to the spot in the comment history where its time stamp. But this could be many hours after it was posted.
There’s a difference. A big difference.

Jeff Alberts

“Sometimes my comments get delayed for no reason and then show up later, but I’m on an antique computer that sometimes can’t keep up with the pace of the net.”
The speed of your computer is irrelevant once you click the “post comment” button.


Why dont we take a leaf out of our ancestors book and use horses to generate power when the wind doesnt blow.
They might even make a form of transport 🙂


And – for some – food, when they cannot generate power?
I have no problem with a Cheval stew.
Prefer beef, just. But no problem.
However, this is purely pandering to the Pol Pots of pernicious premature posthumous presentation of present pre-existing proper people.
Auto – no apology for apposite alliteration.


Plenty of wild hogs around in many places. Farmers are fed up, because the hogs ruin good farmland and damage crops. There is NO season or limit on them. Just cook the meat thoroughly.


This is exactly what happens when people are sold nameplate statistics and get capacity factors instead.

Peta of Newark

What does this actually mean…

Considering the planned use of renewable energy sources, societies would have between 24% and 31% less net energy per capita.

Considering what. Who is doing this considering, What are they considering. Why is that word even there?
“the planned use”
Whose plan? Mr Trump, Kim from North Korea or Nicholas Stern
What is unplanned use of newable sources?
How *do* you unplan anything? How do you anticipate the unplanned and get the answer= 24%
Possibly: Electrocuted firemen. Smashed up and incinerated wildlife. Blinded air-plane pilots. Folks driven nuts by infra-sound. Toxic tailing ponds in China
Which societies. Kalahari Bushmen, Gnomes of Zurich or Las Vegas casino managers & clients?
How is it possible to bundle that lot together to get this 24% figure
“net energy”
Go on then, please tell us what gross energy is and how each individual capita of any/all societies can tell the difference
Its complete garbage from the very outset – these people are off their heads.
Too many iced doughnuts in the morning coffee break I suppose. Such are the perils of eating sugar.

Tim F

It is so awesome you were able to string together so many strawmen in a single post. Congrats

Smart Rock

mmmmm. Eating slice of cake soaked in Rogers Golden Syrup. Very tasty. Makes me happy. Humans have evolved liking sugar. Because it’s good for us! Yum.

I think time of service is ignored in much of this discussion.


I wonder if these figures include transport of the raw materials for and manufacturer of items like windmills, their htransport to the site, their installation, and maintenance. Lots of gas and deisal fuel there I bet aside from the manufacturing and the energy required for that. Same for solar.


I for one would like to see the Vestas Facility in Colorado only use a Tesla Semi fueled by wind farm power to make deliveries.
That would be eye opening on the availability, reliability, and overall usefulness of wind power!


They have four facilities in Colorado. So…4 trucks?

Jeff Alberts

“deisal fuel”

Clay Sanborn

Carbon is a non-issue made up for political expedience; i.e. scams.

Yup. More solar will really help with that night time thingy.


The woke Progressives who are so fixated on “renewable” and “sustainable” only want to propose solutions that are economically socialistic in nature.
Several generations ago, the economist Ludwig von Mises proved without a shadow of a doubt that the perfect socialist economy was “impossible” (his words). This is because socialism by its very nature destroys the most important economic factor by which the economy functions: it destroys price information.
So, work Progressives are pushing for sustainability by moving towards public policies that are themselves economically unsustainable. We see this in simple examples: wind power that only can become a reality when the true total price of wind power is suppressed by subsidies of all kinds, paid for by customers and taxpayers.
see for example:
Calculation and Socialism | Joseph T. Salerno

Mises was indeed correct.
However, there is not one price, but two prices — a bid, and an asked — each the outcome of completely different processes — and socialist structures destroy the coherent formation of both.
But that refinement aside, his prediction of the collapse of the USSR was spectacular.


USSR collapsed only because some ruler began to care about people. When you don’t, and herd them properly, socialism can stay forever.
Socialism doesn’t really destroy all price. Prices are natural thing for human. Socialism use inefficient, crude prices (time spend waiting, “favor” to get served before others, changing shoes for food, etc.), but prices are still there, so some real economy still work.

DeLoss McKnight

Do these estimates include the power needed to lift third world countries out of poverty to enjoy a power usage per capita similar to the present first world countries? Somehow I doubt it. When are the social justice warriors going to be woke to the soft racism of impoverishment due to reduced or no energy available to the third world due to scarcity and cost?

“A new study by ICTA-UAB analyzes the impacts on lifestyles of substituting fossil fuels for cleaner energies.
Considering the planned use of renewable energy sources, societies would have between 24% and 31% less net energy per capita.”
This report is insane – where do they get these imbeciles?


From institutes of higher learning.


Aren’t those wind turbine blades made with resins?
And aren’t those resins derived from carbon-based sources?
Yeah, so how is this NOT a carbon-based energy plan?

And how does one transport the components of a wind turbine to its destined location? And with what sort of equipment does one assemble a wind turbine?
Do men dressed in loin cloths heave the parts into place, using logs as rollers and hand-built inclines made of stone? And do these loin-clothed men attach the parts together using vines, carefully hand-tied with great mastery of knots? And when the wind isn’t blowing, then what?
I could go on, but …


Can’t use logs. That would harm trees.

Gary Pearse

Science and Environmental Technology! A spurious use of the word ‘science’, and … technology IS engineering. With the advent of the space age, people were so enthralled with engineering that engineering associations had to act to stop frivolous use of the word engineering, which, after all, is a legally defined and licensed professional discipline.
Garbage collectors became sanitary engineers … soap ads advised their product was engineered to lift the dirt but keep moisture in… etc. One that went the other way because of the elevated status of engineering was the appellation ‘rocket scientist’ …ah that would be rocket engineer. This one is still with us today.
Up until recently, ‘scientist’ was a more general term largely used by journalists and the lay public. Einstein was a physicist, Linus Pauling was a chemist, Ehrlich was a biologist (and should have stuck to that). Science was used collectively to cover the sector.
With the irreparably politically corrupted social ‘sciences’ they stole the word ‘science’ to try to engrandize what it was they were doing. Climate ‘science’ was a recent invention (when I first typed the term only a dozen years ago, WORD underlined it in red. Yes, there was work done by Arrhenius and Tyndall and Calendar but they didn’t call themselves climate scientists. Even I studied paleoclimatology as a geology student in the 50s (part of the reason I’m a sceptic of what is being put forward these days). The venerable science of geology got taken down into the morass of mediocrity by universities changing the name to …earth science, gagh. Such protesreth-too-much apellations as Deutche Demokratishe Republik come to mind.


Once upon a time sitting in an appropriation committee the chairman was frustrated so asked the audience if they had any suggestions for cutting the budget. They had just been discussing educations, a large portion of most state budgets. We were facing at least a 25% shortfall in state revenue. I raised my hand and said, I had gone to school in the SE USA from first grade through the first two years of college with no air-conditioning so why not turn the AC off in schools. I initially expected laughter but many there were my age and also had not had AC in their schools. Teacher union representatives were literally speechless. The Legislators were not happy with the union because in the face of revenue shortfalls they were demanding ever more money.


Non-renewable technology, and renewable green drivers, offer niche solutions to hard problems, not including the prophecy of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming. Commercial applications range from site-specific time and space-variant energy production to the artificial green blight.


The wind and solar industry employs about the same number of people as either gas or coal. That employ provides 1600 kW at the heat plants, vs. 16 kW at wind and solar. Are we stupid or what?

24 – 31%???
Sure it’s not 23.999 – 31.001%, or were they just being conservative?

Here’s a fun estimation technique — zequals.


The accuracy of so many of the climate caastrophe claims right on down to single digits always amazes me.
As an old farmer who had to deal with the real world and Nature in the raw whilst trying to earn a living despite everything that Nature can and does throw at farmers and farming, most of which comes out of left field as the Americans say, if I got within ten percent of any estimates made any time from a few weeks to a few months beforehand, I was doing OK.
Getting to within 5% or less in my estimates done well before an event or a harvest was almost a stroke of genius.
So a quoted and precise 24% to a 31% range in the estimates merely brings a roll of the eyes and an accelerated move onto the next subject that might at least have some semblance of integrity and honesty incorporated somewhere in their structures.

Stevan Reddish

This issue of claimed precision far exceeding what could possibly be known reminds me of a bathroom scale my wife recently bought. It is the 1st digital scale we have ever had. The display indicates weight in pounds to 1 decimal place.
However, I noticed my weight never varied by even a mere tenth of a pound when I tried to get the weight of a small parcel. I tested the scale’s sensitivity by weighing myself with and without a 12 oz. soda in my hand – no change in the indicated weight of 170.4 pounds. I tried holding a 24 oz. weight. Now the scale indicated 172.6 pounds.
It seems the scale is rounding to the nearest kilogram, but mathematically converting the number of kilograms to pounds, calculated to the nearest tenth of a pound!

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dodgy geezer

…Considering the planned use of renewable energy sources, societies would have between 24% and 31% less net energy per capita….
I don’t believe this!! I would expect MUCH less energy per head.
I expect they’re counting renewable energy generated when it’s not needed as available energy. In practice, if you tried to do it, the energy distribution systems woudl collapse and we would have zero energy per capita…

John F. Hultquist

This site:
. . . is for the region of Oregon and Washington where the Bonneville Power Administration is the balancing agency. The chart updates every 5 minutes.
At about 11 AM local time today (May 7), wind declined. Shortly after lunch, it gave up entirely.
For lunch, I had pizza and beer — output quickly ramped up and improved throughout the afternoon.


Just wait until night-time solar panels arrive, powered by the CMB—that’s going to change everything!


almighty backradiation can warm the planet, it surely can power some night solar panel. Hell, we are talking about ~350 W/m² all night long, whatever direction you face, where-ever you live on Trenberth’s flat Earth. That’s more than the sun, which only gives us 240W/m².