Physics Reveals ‘Green’ Energy Sources Are Unrealistic And Unsustainable

From The Federalist

March 29, 2019 By The Federalist Staff

Can existing “green” energy match the efficiency of fossil fuels? Mark P. Mills, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, shares his new report on The Federalist Radio Hour, where he examines the physics behind green energy proposals. Mills shows why the world is no where near ready to undergo this “urgent” transition demanded by climate change alarmists.

“You have to recognize what Mother Nature, the physics, permits and doesn’t permit,” he said. “New discoveries will come from basic science, not from subsidies for yesterday’s technologies. We didn’t get the internet by subsidizing the rotary phone.”

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160 thoughts on “Physics Reveals ‘Green’ Energy Sources Are Unrealistic And Unsustainable

  1. Need I say more?

    Among the reasons:
    Scientists have yet to discover, and entrepreneurs have yet to invent, anything as remarkable as hydrocarbons in terms of the combination of low-cost, high-energy density, stability, safety, and portability. In practical terms, this means that spending $1 million on utility-scale wind turbines, or solar panels will each, over 30 years of operation, produce about 50 million kilowatt-hours (kWh)—while an equivalent $1 million spent on a shale rig produces enough natural gas over 30 years to generate over 300 million kWh.
    Solar technologies have improved greatly and will continue to become cheaper and more efficient. But the era of 10-fold gains is over. The physics boundary for silicon photovoltaic (PV) cells, the Shockley-Queisser Limit, is a maximum conversion of 34% of photons into electrons; the best commercial PV technology today exceeds 26%.
    Wind power technology has also improved greatly, but here, too, no 10-fold gains are left. The physics boundary for a wind turbine, the Betz Limit, is a maximum capture of 60% of kinetic energy in moving air; commercial turbines today exceed 40%.
    The annual output of Tesla’s Gigafactory, the world’s largest battery factory, could store three minutes’ worth of annual U.S. electricity demand. It would require 1,000 years of production to make enough batteries for two days’ worth of U.S. electricity demand. Meanwhile, 50–100 pounds of materials are mined, moved, and processed for every pound of battery produced.

    • “It would require 1,000 years of production to make enough batteries for two days’ ”

      With nowadays technologies and production facilities, batteries last between 5 to 8 years and need replacement after that, so it is not even possible to do better than 23 minutes worth of US electricity demand.

      • Unless your “battery” is Hydro Pumped Storage. Of course you will need enough solar PV cells and Wind Turbines to not only supply you with your daylight energy needs but also to “Pump” recharge your hydro “Battery” for night time use during the day.

        • Hydro pumped storage is remarkably efficient in terms of energy loss over the cycle. The main problem is : dams and reservoirs involve flooding valleys and there is always some “unique” variety of snail or orchid in any valley you want to flood.

          So shoot ! There goes your last attempt to save the planet and end the “sixth mass extinction of life” because you can not kill a snail or squash an orchid.

          • Pumped styorage is not particulary efficient. First, power must be transmitted many miles to the pumped storage facility and back again,losing power along the way, and as I recall, one loses 25% of the power received at the pumped storage facility in pumping the water up to the high reservoir and it then when it drives the turbine to recover the power.

        • And here we have Australia’s Leader of Labor, Bill Shortbus proclaiming that we’ll be encouraged (forced) to shift 50% of cars to electric within 11 years or somesuch nonsense.

          Clueless. We won’t get close, but it’d be a hoot to see what the traffic (and the power grid) looks like on first couple of 40C days.

          • Simple solution build 2,000,000 electric vehicles and eliminate all but 1,999,999 ICE vehicles. Suddenly EVs have a greater than 50% market share. /sarc

          • yeah heard that n spat my coffee the other day.
            shortarse is just trying to sneak the greentards votes and stating finlands got 80% leccy cars
            so we should too…in a land where rural people travel 200k just to get groceries(and thats NOT as bad as many spots) so you shop and then you need to go to the vet for eg and the cars flat as a tack. any reports on how the leccy dears handle 40+c heat and duststorms massive corrugations and potholes and bulldust ?
            guess is not well.
            if our grids are borderline now than boofybills plans to stick chargers all over might get some feedback from the grid provider soonish.
            meanwhile the blocked a fund assist to renew turbine blades in a coal plant to make it more efficient,, but throw money at wind/solar with a life of under 25yrs at best when coal will last 50.
            theres some ferals need shooting and theyr not out in the bush

    • Except that, for all the celebrated energy content per kg of hydrocarbon fuel, approximately 75% of that energy is entirely wasted to the atmosphere in internal combustion engines.

      Electrical energy stored in a battery, with current lithion ion battery technology is essentially 100% useable at the wheels of the vehicle. Stored electrical energy in fuel cell vehicles or aircraft (yes, FCAs are already in development) provide more than 60% useable motive power out of that stored, more than twice what hydrocarbon fuels can deliver.

      The fact is that battery powered and hybrid electrics and fuel cell powered vehicles are all vastly more efficient than hydrocarbon powered internal combustion engines. Current energy storage capacity, whether hydrogen or battery, already provides useable range comparable to IC vehicles and aircraft. And the cost of fueling any electric vehicle or aircraft is vastly less than the cost of fueling hydrocarbon vehicles or aircraft.

      The fuel cost per gallon of gas equivalent for the electric vehicles and aircraft currently runs no more than about $1 per GGE … with current gas prices in the US today running nearly three times that, and much more in Europe.

      Dissing electrically powered machines is bad science and engineering, as well as bad economics.

        • Try getting all the major auto manufacturers and all the major aircraft manufacturers to recant the laws of physics to explain to ideological know nothings. The laws of physics do indeed prevail.

          • You mean the laws of physics that point out that batteries don’t have the power density needed for air flight to be practical. Automobiles as well.

          • Try mining enough lithium or nickel or rare earths to actually replace the hydrocarbon powered fleet (or even half) and you will cause ecological devastation not seen since the fall of the Berlin wall or before. This stuff does not grow on trees.

      • Your uninformed comment is beneath reply.

        These are proven physics facts, not made up ideological bias as this post above and your comment rely upon.

        • Sheer ad hominem.

          Goes with the fallacies in your energy comment, especially the false gge (gasoline gallon equivalent) costs.

          No portion of your comment addresses the obstacles and failures identified in the article above.

          PS: We discussed airplane use of batteries days ago.

        • Your uninformed comment is beneath reply.

          … but I’ll reply anyway because I’m a beneath replier. I will make up for that by not citing anything specific you said, nor providing a specific rebuttal to anything you said. As I say, your uninformed comment is beneath reply. So there. Consider yourself not replied to !

        • It is amazing what can be asserted when you just make stuff up shamelessly, pay zero attention to actual facts, and pretend you know what you are talking about.
          Huh, Duane?

        • “Your uninformed comment is beneath reply.”

          And yet, here is your reply! And mine…

          Nothing published on a blog is proven physical facts; rather, they are claims. The claim may accurately reflect something that is true but in my opinion that would be rare.

          Have you conducted your own science experiments? Probably not. You believe in the words of someone else.

          Maybe these words on turbine efficiency:

          https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/materials-science/turbine-efficiency

      • Maybe you would like to give the efficiency of processes involved in producing electricity needed to charge the batteries Duane.
        When you have done that consider just how efficient nuclear power is and is capable of being with new technology.

        • Unicorns create the electricity and put it straight into the battery.
          We’ve also created room temperature super conductors so resistive losses no longer exist either.

          • And Unicorns have also to produce the batteries, to extract all the stuff needed for that (cobalt, nickel, lithium …) and to recycle them.

            An electric car’s battery production induces as CO2 emission as an internal combustion car which has been driven 100000km (more for some Tesla models which battery weight 600 to 800km).
            In addition, after 100000km or so (from 5 to 8 years of ownership), you have to change the battery.

            Furthermore, in a country where the electricity is produced at 80% by fossil fuel power stations (petroleum, gas, coal, …) an electric car emits indirectly as CO2 as a diesel fueled car.

            Actual pollution :
            – Overall, electric vehicles decrease local pollution, but since they are heavier, they also increase the emission of microparticles from tires and brakes.

            References (in French) :
            https://www.cairn.info/revue-le-journal-de-l-ecole-de-paris-du-management-2010-4-page-14.htm#
            http://la-haut.e-monsite.com/blog/realite-de-la-voiture-electrique.html

            Unicorns still have to work hard to make this dream a reality.

      • And the cost of fueling any electric vehicle or aircraft is vastly less than the cost of fueling hydrocarbon vehicles or aircraft.
        Because , and only , there is not the massive tax there is on hydrocarbon , And there is the kicker the ‘success of EV’ will mean the end of the ‘free ride ‘ from tax it currently gets . You see this tax is used across a wide range of areas and so there will need to be big cuts or EV will need to ‘share the tax burden ‘
        So no longer any saving , so what is left ?

        • The only ‘electric’ aircraft I ever read about basically ‘burned up’ its batteries on its one-hour flying time. After each flight, the batteries had to be replaced and rebuilt. Shades of the “Mercedes AA class car”!

      • Sadly batteries do not create electricity – they simply store it.

        When you have a battryt that can giv a car 1000miles range on one charge, and last thelifetime of the car, I’ll bite.

        And ask you where you got the unobtanium to make it.

        • You just asked for a car which will last no more than 5 years. That is probably the way the market is going.

          Though theoretically possible it has been decade since I’ve managed to buy a lead acid battery which lasts 5y for my ‘cicle. Two years seems to be about the most you can expect.

          • I usually get between 3 and 4 years by getting one with higher CCA. Sometimes I get credit toward a new purchase because a battery fails prematurely. I’ve found that Walmart has good prices and a good warranty.

            It’s not a bad practice to just change them out every couple of years to avoid being stranded.

        • Leo, why does a Brit like you need to drive 1000 miles in one go? The 200 miles that the latest versions of electric cars do should cover your needs pretty well, especially with > 100 kW/h chargers now coming onstream: after doing 200 miles between breakfast and lunch you could then do another 200 miles before dinner (chance would be a fine thing in the UK…)

          Oh and while you’re here, there’s one thing I’ve been meaning to mention for a long time: in your online article against renewables you incorrectly state that the late David McKay’s book on which you lean so strongly is entitled “Reneweable Energy without the Hot Air”. It’s actually called “Sustainable Energy without the Hot Air”, and is actually pretty positive about the impact of renewables, while slamming fossil fuels – something that would make the late Sir David not very welcome at WUWT.

          Your “Gridwatch templar” website is great, though, at showing the major (and economically competitive) contribution now made by renewables in UK electricity generation, despite what the geezer from the Manhattan Institute claims about their being “unrealistic”. Keep up the good work.

          • Notice how easy it is for billovitch to tell Leo (or anybody else) that billo knows what’s good enough for ya, he knows better than Leo what should satisfy Leo. That’s how it works for billo, just tell us all what’s good enough for us and we’re certain to stop wanting more than the bare minimum (as determined by billo).

            Billo, how are we at WUWT gonna make David welcome, dig him up?

            No need to wait to make your silly comments, Leo posts here all the time. We love to hear from EV enthusiasts telling us the best thing about EV’s- namely, the worst things that renders them useless is solved by something “now coming onstream.”

            Another EV enthusiast who loves renewables, ignorance really must be bliss.

      • Duane, read the Chevy Volt example in ebook The Arts of Truth. The thermodynamically correct MPGe is 35mpg, not the EPA’s ‘official’ and absurdly incorrect 60.

      • First when you talk about costs for gas/diesel and electricity, strip out taxes on both before comparing them. Taxes are an artificial cost and constitute a large part of the cost of gasoline and diesel in many areas of the world. Much less so for electricity. GGE needs to be without taxes.

        You are no doubt correct on efficiencies of electrics. Almost all the power fed to the motors accelerates the vehicle. In fact, diesel-electrics are more efficient than pure diesels in delivering power, especially at low rpms and are used in locomotives and ships. My sailboat has a diesel electric sail drive.

        But the big question is where do the electrons come from to charge the battery and how much power can I store? If I plug my Tesla in on a still night, what power source is pushing them down the wire? Around where I live it is from a nuclear plant, so I guess I’m green. In Portland its no doubt coming from hydro so they are green. If I live in Oklahoma City and even with all the solar and wind farms around, it is coming from a coal or NG powered plant. Not green!

        So even though more efficient in delivering the power once it is stored in the car, getting power to the car isn’t so efficient. The fact that renewables are notoriously unreliable, need a 100% backup source and have transmission losses, getting the power from the source to your house makes it not as great as you claim. And don’t even think about driving your electric car inside the Polar Vortex in January.

        I personally think electrics make complete sense around a city for short hops, but for longer hops maybe not so much. Trickle charging a car in the city won’t stress the grid nearly as much as charging a Tesla from low to full in an hour.

        Also please stop on the electric airplanes. We are not going to be flying a B-777 from JFK to Tokyo on electric engines anytime soon. Small trainers and very short hops for smaller commuters.. yes. Keep in mind you need a 45 minute reserve right now for any IFR flight, so a 15 minute flight is really an hour.

        • Electric aeroplanes are possible, with unlimited range. You just have to think outside the box to make them work. The extremely simple answer comes from the way Greens tend to “think” and the concept of pushing water uphill for power storage: The plane has a tank of water high in its fuselage, and an empty tank low in its fuselage. To start the electric engine, water is allowed to flow from the top tank to the bottom tank through a generator. Once the plane is in the air, the top tank will of course start to run out (enough water for a long flight would be far too heavy), so it simply flies upside-down until the water has all flown back.

          Easy.

          • Gee, why haven’t we thought of this before!
            All those wasted years in engineering school trying to figure out how much energy it would take to roll the aircraft upside down and lift the lower tank back to the high position.
            Hey, here’s an even better strategy. Just launch your aircraft from really high mountains and they can glide all the way.
            I should have tried this years ago. It’s so much easier to propose half of a solution!
            But, then I realize I’d have to work in politics …TANSTAFL!

          • Don’t forget the wind turbine on top to charge the battery in flight! Engineers always forget that simple fix.

      • Duane, generation to wheel for both FC (from electrolysis) and ICEs is around 20-30%, for electric around 60%.

        • Please let me know where you have found a fossil fuel power plant that is 60% efficient and a distribution grid that can move the energy all the way from power plant to the battery, and charge the battery with 0% losses. Oh yea, discharge the battery and run the motor with 0% losses as well.

      • “approximately 75% of that energy is entirely wasted to the atmosphere in internal combustion engines.”

        Uh, no, it’s not. In fact, modern ICE engines are so efficient they’re having to start putting electric heaters in diesel cars because there’s not enough usable waste heat to keep the cabin warm.

        And lets’s not forget heating, where burning gas in a furnace is far more efficient than burning it in a power station and using electric heaters.

      • Duane-

        Yes, electric motors are more efficient than IC engines. But that says exactly zero about the subject of the article.

        Do you have a plan in mind? Is it sustainable? Is it realistic? Please enlighten us.

      • Duane:

        The specific energy of gasoline is 47.5 MJ/kg. Assuming your 75% wastage figure is correct (pessimistic for modern engines), the effective value is 11.9 MJ/kg.

        The specific energy of a fully charged lithium ion battery is about 0.8 MJ/kg. Assuming only 10% wastage (optimistic), the effective value is 0.72 MJ/kg.

        So gasoline’s effective specific energy is still over 15 times that of lithium ion batteries. So your argument about higher efficiency compensated utterly fails. Volumetric energy density (MJ/liter) has pretty much the same ratio.

        In the 1970s, I had professors who assured me that practical fuel cells were just around the corner. Over 40 years later, I’m still waiting (and there has been intensive R&D in the mean time).

        Your argument that electrical is practical for airplanes is particularly ludicrous, given that the weight and size of the batteries, or the compressed hydrogen tanks, adds a constant extra load on the flight motor to provide the extra lift force.

        You obviously have never actually worked through the numbers on this at all. It’s a bad idea to take the press releases from green groups at face value.

      • :already provides useable range comparable to IC vehicles and aircraft.: That dear sir is debatable. Let me know when I can travel 400 miles, fill up in minutes, run the heater and the rest of the electrical devices and keep the vehicle for 300,000 mile without any major expenses.

      • :75% of that energy is entirely wasted to the atmosphere in internal combustion engines.: You as in heat and gases or potential mechanical out?

      • I suppose that all depends on where you draw the system lines. You seem to draw the line inside of where the fuel comes from. If you also include the energy or additional costs of using Hydrogen, or reforming Methane for fuel cells then the efficiency goes way way down.
        I work in the aerospace business, and only college experimental studies are looking seriously looking at electric planes, AND THEY ARE NOT EVEN CLOSE to anything practical.
        If it were practical and economical (any money to be made by it) it would be being pursued by private industry.

      • This nonsense is only true where there is a 100% efficient means of generating electricity. Converting it into a form that can be somewhat efficiently transmitted long distances. Converting it back into a form that can be used to charge a battery without blowing it sky high. Used to charge a battery. Used to discharge a battery, and then finally used to power an electric motor.

        By the time you add up all the inefficiencies and losses between power plant and battery, you find that fossil fuels do win out over all.

        BTW, your claim that you can get energy into and out of a battery with 100% efficiency, and then run a motor with 100% efficiency just shows that your only goal is to promote and indoctrinate, because the truth be not in you.

      • Lets not forget that half to two thirds of the cost of gasoline is taxes in the US and much more elsewhere.
        Looks like your flunk economics as well as physics.

        • MarkW:

          Not even close. Europe maybe, but not in the US. See here.

          The United States federal excise tax on gasoline is 18.4 cents per gallon and 24.4 cents per gallon for diesel fuel.[1][2] The federal tax was last raised in 1993 and is not indexed to inflation, which increased by a total of 73 percent from 1993 until 2018. On average, as of January 2017, state and local taxes and fees add 31.04 cents to gasoline and 31.01 cents to diesel, for a total US average fuel tax of 49.44 cents per gallon for gas and 55.41 cents per gallon for diesel.[3]

          Current unleaded prices in Atlanta, GA are around $2.65/gal; The average federal+state taxes amount to 18.7% of that. Georgia federal+state fuel taxes are a little higher than the average above: 49.99 cents per gallon on gasoline, which means my fillups are 18.9% taxes.

          This of course does not include the corporate income taxes refiners and retailers must pay, but I still don’t see how we get anywhere close to 50-67%.

      • EVs are about 60% efficient from the grid to the wheels at optimum rpm and load. The efficiency of creating the electricty to power the grid varies greatly depending on the method of electrical generation. Filling my car’s rank with petrol is virtually 100% efficient.

        That you obfuscate those figures by neglecting the losses incurred to charge the batteries says a lot about you, and none of it isgood.

      • Duane,

        Efficiency is great provided you can actually get the power in the first place. It doesn’t matter if your system is 98% efficient if you can only get enough power for 10% of it. And that’s kind of what the entire podcast is about – you CANNOT get enough electricity in the first place. Even if you were able to reach 100% efficiency, there isn’t enough source in the first place.

        ICE is relatively inefficient, but we have an overabundance of fossil fuels, so it’s not as much of an issue.

      • Duane,
        You have made many incorrect statements here. Just let me clear a few up. Electrical energy is lost as heat in the wiring leading to the control electronics, in the control electronics, in the wiring leading to the motors, and in the windings of the motors themselves. The batteries themselves heat up as well, especially at higher current draws (which is why they must be cooled in an EV). This heat all represents losses in the system efficiency. I would be very surprised if EVs had better then 90% efficiency in best case scenarios (no A/C, heating, or lighting). The efficiency goes down at night and when the A/C or heating systems are used. In winter driving conditions, EVs may not be any more efficient than ICE vehicles.

        And as good as modern batteries are, they still have internal resistance and will self-discharge even if not in use. So while your EV sits there, the batteries will slowly discharge. This is a loss of energy and must be counted against the efficiency claims. It may not be a lot per day, but it does add up over time. Unless you have a leak in the gas tank, ICE vehicles don’t exhibit this behavior (evaporative losses are nearly nonexistent in modern vehicles due to air quality laws).

        There is also no question that hydrocarbon fuels are a far denser energy storage medium than current electrical battery technology, and it’s more portable. Maybe some day that will change, but right now there isn’t even a theoretical way forward to do that. It’s fun to dream and fantasize, but that won’t get the job done.

      • You got a few things wrong there. You cannot get anywhere near 100% efficiency from an electric motor. They lose a lot of energy to the atmosphere as heat. That fan inside every motor is there for a reason. Gas prices are inflated by tax which EVs currently do not pay, but will have to in the future because the government cannot afford to lose the revenue from millions of vehicles. Hydrogen loses a lot of efficiency in manufacture and storage, although not in the vehicle, so I doubt it is more efficient. The problem with batteries is the low energy density per kg of weight compared to hydrocarbon fuels, which is why you will never sea a battery powered passenger airliner. More weight needs more lift, which needs more power, which needs more batteries, which need more lift and so on.

      • Duane,
        “The cost of fueling an electric aircraft is vastly less than for fueling hydrocarbon aircraft” Complete nonsense unless you are talking about model aircraft flying around a small area. There are very significant amounts of energy needed to power various systems on aircraft other than it’s actual flight including hydraulics to lift the undercarriage and power flight controls, control the flaps, anti icing of the leading edge surfaces and wind screens, radar and communication systems. You will never see current airline aircraft powered electrically. You obviously know nothing about aviation – As a former airline captain and with 54 years flying experience I do know something about it.

        • Duane,
          i should have gone a bit further here. Once you enter could and the temperature falls below 10 C you must use engine anti-icing and once ice starts to form on any part of the aircraft that part of aircraft anti icing has to be used. It is ludicrous to suggest that once entering icing conditions that a battery supply could generate enough immediate heat to protect the aircraft. You obviously have never encountered these conditions like I have. What about lightning in severe thunderstorm conditions with an all electric powered aircraft? I don’t even want to think about the stupidity of such a scenario

          • I mis spelt there, could should have been cloud. You would have no idea how quickly ice can build up on props and other parts of an aircraft, especially between 15000′ and 25,000′ and the idea of multiple props on wings driven by electric power shows you have no idea of handling engine out situations on multi-engine aircraft and the control problems by having engines or motors too far along the wing which you are advocating in your multiple electric engine aircraft. Don’t tell me Boeing and the others are going to produce electric airlines because that is total nonsense.

      • Duane,

        you seem to have ignored the source of the battery’s power. Electricty generated by, using best technology, combined cycle gas turbines at 60% efficiency or so, many plants are around 40 to 45% efficient. Add to that losses in transmission, distribution and conversion and I think you’ll see that electric vehicles are not so good after all.

        You’ll note that I have not mentioned wind, solar or nuclear, this is because the elctricity generated by those sources do not contribute to charging electric vehicles as they do not react to load increase. Only gas, oil, coal and hydro (if not used as base load power) can react by increasing output that the change from i.c. to e.v load will add to the grid.

      • Electrically powered machines are probably the first choice for stationary applications. Unfortunately, they have several big drawbacks when used for propulsion.

        • William – “they have several big drawbacks when used for propulsion.” Yeah – the extension cord tends to get tangled!

      • By definition, 1 gallon of gas is equivalent to roughly 33kWH. The current average cost of electricity in the US is roughly $0.12 / kWH so 1 GGE is … 33kWH x $0.12 / kWH = $3.96…not “$1 per GGE” as you state.

        In Germany, electric power costs roughly $0.30 / kWH so power there is close to $10 per GGE.

        If you are off by an order of magnitude on your math, why should I believe anything else you say?

      • You forgot that hydrogen storage isn’t nearly as dense as liquid fuels like gasoline or diesel. The energy densities between a gaseous fuel versus a liquid fuel and how much of each can be easily stored in a vehicle like a car should be taken into account. (For the purposes of calculating the amount of fuel needed, I am ignoring the differences in energy efficiency of ICE verses Fuel Cell Electric and assuming for now that they are the same.)

        Gasoline has an energy density of 45MJ/kg, or 29,000 BTUs/pound.
        Hydrogen has an energy density of ~120 MJ/kg, or ~61,100 BTUs/pound.

        if a vehicle has a 20 gallon gas tank, then the tank holds 120 lbs of fuel, or 3,480,000 BTUs. An equivalent hydrogen fuel load would be 56.9 lbs. The 20 gallons of gasoline takes up 20 x 231 cubic inches/gallon, or 4620 cubic inches, or 0.075 cubic meters. That’s not a very large space.

        How much space will hydrogen take up? That depends upon how it is stored, and at what kind of pressures it’s being stored. From some of the FCVs I’ve seen you may not be able to store enough hydrogen to equal the range of that for gasoline. Since I don’t have that info, I cannot begin to hazard a guess as to the volume required to store the equivalent amount of hydrogen. If the volumes were the same, I can hazard a guess that the hydrogen storage ‘tank’ is likely to weigh a lot more than a gas tank due to the pressures required to store the hydrogen in that volume.

        Can anyone expand on this?

      • “Except that, for all the celebrated energy content per kg of hydrocarbon fuel, approximately 75% of that energy is entirely wasted to the atmosphere in internal combustion engines”

        So what as that’s what we do economically and efficiently now although if you want to get rid of hydrocarbons in power generation that leaves nuclear fission or solar and wind with that 1000 years of Gigafactory production [US only?] and all the energy that goes into installing all that and scrapping the current invested inertia.

        At the same time as your Gigafactory/s are attempting that they also have to churn out batteries for all the inertia vehicles we have and replace them all every 10-12 years and hold that thought sober people. Where are all those spent incendiary devices going to be stored because the jelly rolls are largely being dumped in landfill at present unlike spent lead acid batteries. Also the energy going into providing superchargers everywhere let alone home chargers to replace the servos is really mind boggling too.

        Electric motors are quite efficient but before they get to use the precious solar and wind power there’s the transmission and distribution losses as well as 2 lots of losses charging and discharging all those Gigafactory 2170 lithium lego bricks (4410 of them in a Tesla Model3 would you believe?) at both ends of the supply and demand chain and by that stage you’ll be saving no dreaded plant food whatsoever at massive cost.

        A BMW exec recently stated they can build an ICE car for the same price as a suitable battery pack bearing in mind the cooling charging and monitoring that goes into the electric motor ready pack. They’re not like the Energiser Bunny shoving in some AA alkalines although they all end up the same way.

        All that is simply an exercise in digging holes and filling them in again to satisfy the feelgood and pecadillos of technical and economic illiterazzi. Venezuela here we all come if they persist with the impossible in anyone’s lifetime although yellow vests will put an end to such physics denial long before that.

        • Speaking of batteries for a national backup….

          The author supposes a 7 day backup of approx 2 Terawatts or 336 billion kW/h.

          Bottom line was
          “…The National Battery
          Putting the pieces together, our national battery occupies a volume of 4.4 billion cubic meters, equivalent to a cube 1.6 km (one mile) on a side. The size in itself is not a problem: we’d naturally break up the battery and distribute it around the country. This battery would demand 5 trillion kg (5 billion tons) of lead….”

          and with 80 million tons of known reserves worldwide, that could be a problem.

          Anyway, I summarized the hell out of this and his assumptions.

          https://dothemath.ucsd.edu/2011/08/nation-sized-battery/

    • You forgot to mention that hydrocarbons are also eco-friendly, since they produce food for plants.

  2. Yeah, just because you can do something in your back yard or on a few acres of land, say, does not mean that you can do it worldwide on a mass scale.

    Hey, I have a great idea: My working dog is really strong, and he can pull me a couple blocks to the neighborhood market to buy groceries, in a little red wagon. All it costs is enough food to keep him healthy and at his current level of fitness to pull me and my groceries.

    So, if each person had their own working dog and a little red wagon, each person could cut down on the use of fossil fuel, by using their dog-pull set up. Really, all it takes is a good strong dog and a wagon.

    Why do climate deniers fail to see great promise in this?

  3. One common misconception is that electricity is an energy source. This leads to the false conclusion that electric cars, etc are “green”.

    Electricity is not a source of energy. Rather, it is a delivery mechanism, similar to a pipeline. Electricity carries energy from one place to another, but is is not a source.

    Thus, the idea that electric vehicles or electric power will reduce pilution is false. Polution is determined by how the energy is produced, not by how it is delivered.

    • Yogi Berra would have said “Some things are so obvious, nobody knows about them.”

      Electricity is not a source of energy. Rather, it is a delivery mechanism…
      I’ve known this for the 50 years since I got my Engineering degree, but never thought to use that fact in a discussion with a Prius driving academic. 🙂

      It now goes to the top of the list!

  4. If we had a requirement that green energy infrastructure be built using green energy, everyone would immediately see how unrealistic is green energy. And if you don’t use green energy to build out green energy infrastructue, then you’re making the emissions problem worse. Yes, over the long term blah blah blah, but don’t we have an immediate crisis?

    • We did not get the internet by subsidizing any kind of phone, for that matter.

      we did not get the internet by subsidizing GM corn.
      we did not get the internet by subsidizing stem cell research.

      Don’t see where he is going with that.

      • The Internet, or more specifically, TCP-IP has virtually replaced the old dedicated twisted pair and switching systems of the telephone network. That did not come about by subsidizing the then existing technology of phone companies. No amount if subsidies to that technology would have led to the technology used today. So the question becomes, why are we trying to ‘revolutionize’ power generation by subsidizing wind turbines, which date back centuries, and solar power, which is over a half-century old?

        If you really want a breakthrough, assuming one exists, subsidize ideas that are radically different from what has ever been tried.

      • You touched a raw nerve. (Fortunately I retired in time.) To invert the observation:

        Kodak did not lose its position as a top 3 US company because of a better camera; it was eclipsed by the development of a better telephone!

        (For those youngsters who want to say “But, but….; remember Kodak invented the digital camera.)

        • Kodak failed to proceed with the development of digital. They were hide-bound to stay with the film business. Just another failure of management. In the late 70’s, they were told that digital was the coming thing. None listened.

  5. What would the landscape of a wind-solar-powered civilization, on the scale of the United States, look like?

    What would the visual landscape be like? What would the sonic landscape sound like? What sort of clean-up and maintenance duties would be required to keep the technology working? What would the savings be, really, considering that back-up systems, based on conventional power generation, would be absolute necessities?

    I envision a very, … very cluttered, ugly, messy looking civilization, with lots of pain-in-the-ass maintenance and upkeep, including cleaning up bird blood-and-guts, and fried birds. And this would probably be the least of the problems.

    We really don’t want to go there.

    • Robert Kernodle: “What would the landscape of a wind-solar-powered civilization, on the scale of the United States, look like?”

      I’d like to see the proposed landscape if Puerto Rico alone were to establish it’s energy independence with solar/wind.

      • CA would need to cover almost twice the area of the Sequoia National Forest with panels to supply the daily need, double again to allow for battery back-up recharging, and Twice that if using Wind Turbines. ALL of which could be accomplished with 10 nuclear generation sites twice the size of Diablo Canyon (on around 240 acres total)

  6. Take a lipo battery such as found in an electric car. That battery might cost say $10,000. That battery will hold about 50 kWh of energy. Cycled 1000 times over its lifetime that is 50 MWh of electricity. At 10¢ a kWh it will cost you an extra $5000 to recharge the battery over its lifetime. In total $15000 for 50 MWh.

    Now go out and buy that same $15000 worth of gasoline. This is about 5000 gallons at current prices. Each gallon has 33 kWh of energy, giving you 165 MWh of electricity.

    So, unless electric cars are 3x as efficient as gas cars, which they are not, especially given the extra battery weight and new IC engines, the market is not on the side of electric vehicles.

    • Ferd, this is an interesting post. I like the comparisons. I would think you need to add the cost of an IC engine to make the comparison fair and more balanced. It is kind of difficult because the IC engine still has useful life long after the battery died. I’m guessing the ICE is still a better deal.

      • I compared the battery cost to the insignificant fuel tank cost in an ICE vehicle. The cost of the ICE itself should be compared to the cost of electric motors.

        Certainly for bicycles and motorcycles, the ICE is cheaper than electric motors, even before you consider battery costs.

        You can buy a 1hp gas engine kits for a bicycle for about $100 that has a range of about 100 miles.

        A 1hp electric bicycle kit with 100 mile battery range is over $1000. 10 times as much.

        The gas bike is going to have a greater fuel cost, but you can refuel in minutes while the electric takes hours. A real difference when you want to use the bike only to discover it needs fuel/recharge.

        Given that time is money, it may be cheaper to pay more to refuel quicker.

        • Yes, your last statement is very often true, especially when small-capacity fuel/energy storage is nearly the only option.

          A small “commuter” motorcycle won’t even have a 3 gallon tank. Yet, that’s usually well over 100 miles. And can be refilled at any of the gazillion petrol stations in a few minutes. Unlike e-cars with their large, standardized, high-current, high-power recharge port, the lil’ batteries on e-bike conversions are charged at positively glacial rates. It makes a difference.

          Just saying,
          GoatGuy ✓

    • Mr. Berple, … your calculations are a wee bit off (but significantly enough for a comment)

      1 gal = 3.785 liters
      3.785 liters × 0.708 kg/L (gasoline) = 2.68 kg/gal
      2.68 kg × 44,000,000 J/kg = 117,900,000 J/gal (thermal)
      118 MJ × 25% Carnot = 29.5 MJ motive energy per gallon
      29.5 MJ ÷ 3.6 MJ/kWh = 8.2 kWh/gallon

      That result is ¼ yours. Thus the 5,000 gallons has the “if it were electricity” potential of 41,000 kWh of electricity. At 10¢/kWh that’s $4,100 in electricity. The cost of 5,000 gallons at $2.80/gallon (mid-America, not Kalifornia) is $14,000 bucks.

      The 41,000 kWh, at 50 kWh/charge = 820 charge-discharge cycles.
      The $10,000 divided by 41,000 kWh is 24.4¢/kWh. If only used for 820 charges. If used for the Tesla-determined 1,600, it works out as 12.2¢/kWh “storage surcharge” for the batteries.

      12.2¢/kWh + 10¢/kWh ≈ 25¢/kWh (just saying) for electromotive use.
      1 kWh equals about 3.5 miles, so
      25¢/kWh ÷ 3.5 = 6.9¢/mile for electricity.

      By comparison, the 5,000 gallons of gas at (our new car’s) 27 MPG, and $2.80/gallon works out to 10¢/mile. And this is without the 135,000 miles of engine-fuel-oil-service that the ICE powered car WILL statistically require, compared to an almost complete lack of that for the e-vehicle.

      Just saying.
      This is before tax-credits and greenwashing subsidies applied.

      GoatGuy

      • Goat Guy: Nicely done. I did the same thing a while back using compressed natural gas vehicles vs EV’s. Not quite as sophisticated as your analysis. I may have to go back and “do it your way”. It appears that we’ll be looking at inexpensive natural gas for a few decades. CNG would be most cost effective (oil, NG, electric) until we have upgraded the grid with a few thousand small scale modular reactors. The “rewiring” costs associated with home charge stations for EV’s are huge at this point in time. The big saving with CNG is that it can be burned directly in the vehicle and the investment cost of converting natural to electricity is avoided. Naysayers argue that the conversion efficiency of combined cycle gas turbines is 2X as efficient as a CNG ICE but there should be room for some technology improvement. If wind and solar junk power continues to be added to the grid the $0.10 you used will be long gone…if it isn’t already. Isn’t a national average closed to $0.15? CNG, Bad idea? What say you?

        • Duane, you might want to take a look at this.
          There’s some significant energy loss in converting natural gas to electricity, then squeezing it into a wire, and running it through a series of transformers to at outlet at every home to charge a battery. The real problem isn’t the energy loss it’s the $money!
          Here’s a easy to use table for comparing Compressed Natural Gas,, Diesel, and electricity to gallon equivalent gasoline.
          Fuel Unit Conversion GGE
          CNG @ 3000 psi Gallons @ 3000 psi 0.239 GGE = CNG gal @ 3000 psi x 0.239
          CNG Hundred cubic feet 0.877 GGE = CNG ccf x 0.877
          Diesel Gallons 1.155 GGE = Diesel gal x 1.155
          Electricity kWh 0.031 GGE = Electricity kWh x 0.031
          Gasoline Gallons No conversion needed GGE = Gasoline gal

      • “12.2¢/kWh + 10¢/kWh ≈ 25¢/kWh (just saying) for electromotive use.
        1 kWh equals about 3.5 miles, so
        25¢/kWh ÷ 3.5 = 6.9¢/mile for electricity.”

        Average USA Kwh I found is 13.8 cents, LA 18 cents, NYC 21 cents. The “big city price-where the electric cars congregate” at 20 cents:
        12.2 +20=32.2/3.5=9.8 cents (essentially same as gasoline at $2.80 gal).
        Note: wholesale gasoline NY Harbor barges last week about $2.00 gal).

  7. The reason the internet grew and became what it did, essentially overnight in relative terms, is because the US government purposefully stayed out of the way on regulations and taxes. Same with the EU.

    Until now. The EU now wants to tax URL links apparently. Many countries are trying to wall-off the open internet, including China, Turkey, Russia, and some places you wouldn’t expect like New Zealand to block “unapproved” content.

    Of course most famously in the US was Obama’s attempt to impose FCC Title II regulatory oversight under the guise of Net Neutrality claims. That was solution searching for problem that the free market had already worked out, yet the real reason was to bring government control to an area it wasn’t in control of., just as Obama did for healthcare. If Title II on the internet providers had been done 20 years earlier, we’d still all mostly be on dial-up modems with 28.8K connections on chatting on AOL and CompuServe bulletin boards. Title II heavy hands from FCC bureaucrats would have protected the land-line telecoms from the onslaught of high-speed broadband competition and wireless that has devastated the land-line telco business and would have ensured generous lobbying kick-backs to Washington’s politicians who could grant favors for cmapaign cash.

    The counter lesson to internet’s innovation (and the lowering data prices while vastly increasing services and competition) has been the electric power industry.

    As Warren Buffett has noted, wind and solar only exist because of out-right subsidies, tax breaks, and allowing customers to get added charges on electric bills for renewable supports. His Berkshire Hathaway Energy has invested $16 billion in renewable energy and owns 7% of the country’s wind capacity and 6% of its solar as on 2016 Today those numbers are even higher. The big wind power lobbying arm in DC for favorable tax treatment is the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). Many of the companies like GE (that makes the wind turbine generators) have a seat on the AWEA board. AWEA member companies have been collecting huge federal subsidies over the last few years. In December 2015, the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation estimated that the renewal of the production tax credit would cost U.S. taxpayers about $3.1 billion per year from now through 2019. That subsidy pays wind-energy companies $23 for each megawatt-hour of electricity they produce.

    “MidAmerican Energy Company, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, has a seat on American Wind Energy Association’s board. Berkshire’s subsidy total: $1.5 billion — and it’s primed to collect lots more. In April 2016, the company announced plans to spend $3.6 billion on wind projects in Iowa. (In 2014), Berkshire’s CEO, Warren Buffett, explained why his companies are in the wind business. “We get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That’s the only reason to build them,” he said. “They don’t make sense without the tax credit.”
    Read more: https://www.nationalreview.com/2016/06/wind-energy-subsidies-billions/

    Electric consumers in California and New England states, where state-level regulations and limits on in-state fossil fuel produced power, and demands for renewable energy by politicians are making for the highest electricity costs per KWhr in the lower 48 states. Even Texas, where there has been massive wind power build out, such that it is by far the largest wind energy producer by state, the electric costs could be much lower than the 11c/KWHr consumers typically pay there due to Texas’s ready supply of in-state produced natural gas. There wouldn’t be single wind turbine in Texas still turning within a year if the subsidies were shut-off. And the companies that own the wind turbines that pay upwards of $50K/turbine/year to private land-owners would be bankrupt.

    The $23/MWHr subsidy for wind energy produced has severely perverted the market and produced some expensive outcomes. In 2014 and 2015, according to the Energy Information Administration, during times of peak demand, the average wholesale price of electricity was about $50 per megawatt-hour. Because of perverted competition, in winter 2015-2016 Texas’ peak wholesale electricity prices averaged $21 per megawatt hour (21c/KWHr). On the national level, wind-energy subsidies are worth nearly half the cost of wholesale power, and in the Texas market, those subsidies can actually exceed the wholesale price of electricity. That result is why grid operators will sometimes pay wind farm owners to halt the turbines and “buy” their unwanted power. Those are the Rentseeking things that makes wind and solar invested Billionaires like Tom Steyer and Warren Buffett so bullish on solar and wind power.

  8. How to produce your own free electricity with a flashlight and a flat mirror !

    Take a 100W flashlight with a 100% reflective parabolic mirror inside and put it in front of a flat mirror 99% reflective.

    The total radiative flux from the flashlight towards the mirror will be :
    – 100 (1 + 0.99 + 0.99² + …) = 100 /(1 – 0.99) = 10000W
    – put a 100W solar panel next to the flat mirror, facing the flashlight and plug its output into the flashlight battery holder.

    Et voilà !

    Each family can have a free and eternal 9900W power plant !

    (OK, this is an April Fool’s Day joke, but who knows, perhaps some green activist would buy it 🙂 )

    • That is only slightly more fantastic than my lunar panel. My grant application was for research money needed to investigate the low, but real energy available from lunar light.
      My application fell down apparently, when I revealed the array would only have to be the size of the USA to power my local post office.

      • Yes, Rob, but did you point out that at the time your lunar array would be operating the post office would be shut and hence using a lot less power?

        If you factor in that consideration we can probably shrink the foot print down to only one or two states.

  9. Large scale wind power sufficient to replace fossil fuels globally would lead to the extinction of many flying species.

      • If you look at the figures given by anti wind campaigners… say ‘save the eagles’ for US eagle deaths, then look at Audobon society population stats, you will find the US eagle population is apparently becoming extinct repeatedly in each decade…

  10. Along with the finite battery life it is important to understand that the advertised life of a bird chopper is typically 30 years. The mean time to failure tends to be 6 to 18 months. The repair cost exceeds the harvested energy value. This is a losers game for idiots. Before I retired, I built the repair facility testing dynos.

  11. Hook wind power to the farm lobby in Iowa, Medicaid, and social security and it can become a perpetual motion (policy) machine.

  12. If most of the planet’s land mass was carpeted with wind turbines, what would be the effect on the climate? I would think that removing energy from the atmosphere on such a large scale would reduce the incidence of violent storms. The truth however, is that no one has the faintest clue what the effect would be. Predicting that wind turbines would not be practical or cost effective was easy though.

  13. We didn’t get the internet by subsidizing the rotary phone.”

    Ouch!

  14. For those that believe it is possible for Wind and Solar to provide 100% of just the energy needed for electricity in the US Build a 100% Wind/Solar house. A house that uses ONLY wind and/or Solar and has no back up other than a battery. NO, ZERO fossil fuel allowed. A wood stove is also not allowed. Live in it for five years and see what happens.
    Have gone on several vacations in northern WA, staying in a cabin – NO electricity other than a solar panel on the roof and low voltage LED lighting. After three days of rain/overcast, etc. you can’t even charge a cellphone. My son is a building contractor. He has to have a 6KW generator to prevent the generator from tripping when the Table saw is running and someone else starts a hand saw.
    A fellow Amateur Radio operator has placed a solar panel on his roof with sufficient capacity to provide his average capacity. This instillation includes a set of repurposed lead acid batteries like those used in telephone companies for emergency power. The battery consists of 12 cells each about 12” X 18” X 36”. Expensive, yes, but with proper maintenance last 20 to even 40 years. Problem is that Average daily use is not even close to daily peak use. Thus, when the sun is not shining, and the grid is not available he has his choice, NO heat or NO Refrigerator/Freezer. NO Air conditioning or NO Refrigerator and NO Stove. Worse, that battery only lasts 24 hours with these restrictions. To last several days it is NO Heat, Refrigerator, Freezer, Stove, and then limited use of lights and TV/Radio. If you want that stuff 24/7 then buy a NG Generator.
    Do the Math. Calculate what happens for the hypothetical loss of power for a development where every home has a solar panel on the roof providing 150% of daily average power designed to back feed the grid. However, when the line from substation feeding this community loses power they will lose power or be very restricted in their power use. Even if every have had a backup battery, after they went dead if there is no sun there is no power. Worse, with or without the batteries, at the peak hours (5PM – 7Pm) there will be insufficient power from all of these homes to power the stoves, Furnace/air conditioner, Refrigerators and all of the other loads. Peak loads can be as much as 10 times average daily load.

  15. I’ve heard the argument that the greedy industrialists stand in the way of spreading the good, clean electric cars, but when you look how fast efficient and useful technology spreads globally, technology like the internet, you can see that the argument is false. If “green” solutions were efficient and useful, everybody would have adapted voluntarily decades ago, without any government push necessary.

    • In reality most people care little about what powers their car, cost and availability are the prime concerns .
      You could use hamster sweat and most would be OK , if costs and availability work for them .

        • Given the quality of TV sets available at the time, the difference in signal quality between VHS and Betamax couldn’t be seen anyway.
          Being able to record an entire movie on a single cassette was much more important.

    • “If “green” solutions were efficient and useful, everybody would have adapted voluntarily decades ago, without any government push necessary.”

      They are, and they wouldn’t have.
      Because like any emerging tech, economies of scale are required to bring down the costs of that tech to the end user.
      That takes time and subsidy.
      And says nothing about the fact that they are “efficient and useful”.

  16. It seems so obvious — if something really is good, then everybody will be using it.

    Everybody is NOT using solar/wind. Obviously, these are NOT so good, then [understatement].

    But how do you teach children who believe in Santa or the Tooth Fairy NOT to believe in Santa or the Tooth Fairy?

      • “The truth” immediately expiates belief?

        Not likely.
        Without young children’s rapid overlay of information over old information, near impossible.
        Belief overrules facts, truth, logic and common sense.

      • Yes, that’s what I was getting at, ATheoK,

        Simply telling the truth does NOT imprint the truth. In fact, I think the truth’s effect on deep beliefs is to cause a gathering of defenses to strengthen those deep beliefs.

        This is exactly what I think we are seeing with climate alarmism and green-energy idealism. All the truth in the world probably will not sway the deep believers. I’m not sure what, other than total failure of those beliefs applied, might change those minds.

        Hence, my solution … to create a separate civilization for climate alarmists. But now I am believing in Santa. (^_^)

        • Just look at the number of people who believe that this time, they will be able to get socialism to work.

        • Not rven total failure will change their belief. The failure will obviously be the result of man-made climate change. If the world grows cold, climate change! We obviously hit a tipping point and earth responded by creating a cold environment. A warming world? Clearly our fault. If the temperature stays within tight boundaries, the effects of our sins are hiding somewhere (probably in the oceans), and any day now the climate will go boom! and devestate all life on earth.

          Nothing can prove them wrong. They are the saviors of Mankind, and nothing, absolutely nothing, will convince them otherwise.

  17. The first thing to consider is that in crisis you can find ‘opportunity’ and a energy crisis is not different and the greens known full well renewable cannot meet need as it is . But they also known that ‘opportunity’ for there madder and badder ideas , such has total ban on any personal owed powered transport , very limited if any flying and meat to be become ‘usual ‘ in most diets.
    Are only possible ‘opportunities’ which the name of ‘saving the planet ‘ and dealing with an energy crisis can bring about .
    The inability of renewable to run a modern world is for them not a ‘problem ‘ but a positive ‘feature ‘

  18. The arab oil embargoes woke us up. In the 1970s we did a lot of seriously motivated work on renewable energy. It was like an existential crisis. Then oil got cheap and available again. That was good because it became obvious that there was no realistic renewable option.

    We’ve been working on renewable energy for a long time. Nothing has panned out. The low hanging fruit has been picked. There’s no reason to believe a simple, economical, solution will be found any time soon.

    As many people have pointed out, if renewable energy was actually feasible and cheap, the developing world would adopt it in a heart beat.

    People can blather on about theory until the cows come home. The proof is in the pudding though and I don’t see any pudding.

  19. Truth is a weird thing…

    Truth is… that continually and modestly aggressively installing PV in locales particularly suitable to it, is a good idea, whether we’re trying to be Green(ish) or not. There are so many things extra power can be used for.

    • Aluminum smelting
    • Hydrogen production
    • Grid-load reduction
    • Local power offsets
    • Daylight summer air-conditioning offsets
    • Reverse osmosis production of either potable or ag-useful water from saline

    Likewise, the same for wind power. If (not boondoggle!) high output locations are tapped, then the per kilowatt-hour investment cost tends to be minimized, and the power every much as useful as if generated from fossil fuel sources.

    HOWEVER, it also is abundantly clear that most high-output, high-efficiency, high-GDP economies are growing at still-remarkable rates, and that the renewable opportunity-implementations also need bolstering with nuclear (especially) and other electable-production generation capabilities (natural gas seems to hold very high promise.)

    I say “lets do it all”. It is definitely not an either-or kind of world.
    Not at all.

    Just saying,
    GoatGuy ✓

    • California has plenty of sunshine and is desperate for water.

      So how come we don’t see massive solar powered desalination plants? This would certainly solve the “duck curve” problem that is threatening California as well as the massive problem of salt build up in the soils.

      Yet we don’t see this, which argues strongly that there is massive BS going on with regard to the practicality of solar power.

      • I accept the merit of your argument. Deeper down though, the duplicity of not using sometimes abundant power (of any source) to desalinate water, but instead to whine and complain and threaten and quiver, grandstand and showboat … seems to be the norm here in Kali.

        Using the Israeli proven numbers (basically about 2.5 kWh per cubic meter of desalinated water, including pumping from a saline source and return of the ultra-saline brine, unless dubbed useful for local further dehydration-to-salt), and the fact that your average cheaper-than-better-but-still-pretty-good solar panel of 1 m² generates a bit under 1 kWh/day of power (more like 300 kWh/year), it means that each m² of dirt can generate 150 cubic meters, 150,000 liters, 39,600 gallons, which is ⅛ of an acre-foot of agriculturally viable irrigation water. PER square meter of PV.

        A typical arid-as-a-desert California, 3 acre-feet per acre are applied over the season for almonds; at ⅛ acre-foot per m², this converts to 24 m² per acre or 260 ft² or 0.6% of one acre’s land area for one acre’s worth of irrigation water for a whole season.

        Again, I honestly don’t see why this is not more widely known — or done — and especially given the favorable economics of it. Maybe it is because the large-ish reverse osmosis plants aren’t spending the taxpayer’s money on electricity, but amortization of the finicky equipment and having environmentally regulation-required hard-hat wearing, soft-palmed, perky / enthusiastic / freshly-graduated environmental engineers pushing mice around, to log the statistics and ensure that things are endlessly copacetic.

        Just saying,
        GoatGuy ✓

    • After several decades of heavy government investment into solar, it accounts for about 2.3% of the total electricity produced in the nation. Now do you really think the total cumulative investment to produce that 2.3% was cheaper than had that 2.3% been from coal or natural gas instead?

      • By my estimate, using the largest solar plant in the US and using hard to find costs, the true cost of solar electricity in CA is $0.81/kWh

      • Okay that seemed off by a factor of 10 and sure enough found that it is $0.08 per kWh. This was calculated using the best year for Solar Star in CA, and assuming the efficiency and operating costs would not change (also using the installation cost of the next largest solar plant in CA since I couldn’t find the cost of Solar Star).

        I just checked by last electric bill and the cost of electricity was $0.07 per kWh, cost of the fuel to generate electricity was $0.024 of that. So despite my state mandating a 30% capacity factor for electricity produced by wind by next year, my electricity is still 1 cent cheaper per kWh than the best location for solar PV.

        • Another thing to consider is, this cost of electricity was calculated using a break even price. So for 20 years of production, the break even price would be $0.08 for each kWh sold. The $0.07 I’m currently paying is residential retail, not break even price.

        • Your State didn’t mandate a capacity factor did they? How do they propose to enforce it?

  20. Where is the solar or wind equivalent to a 6-pound gallon of gasoline that I can easily carry (or even 5 gallons), that I can put in a 2 ton vehicle and propel it 20 miles or more at 60+ mph complete with passengers and payload? And refuel as fast as I can pour or pump in more gas?

    Oh yeah I know where – in the greenies’ dreams, that’s where.

    • solar or wind equivalent to a 6-pound gallon of gasoline.
      ≠=========
      a good ebike battery costs $500 and can store 0.5 kWh of power. You only need 66 of these batteries to equal the 33kwh of power in a gallon of gasoline.

  21. This article assumes the best possible solar and wind utilization rate (average energy out compared to maximum nameplate rating of the device) numbers which is not realistic. The numbers quoted are for the best possible locations for wind and sun gathering.

    In German wind and sun gathering systems provided less than 20% of the nameplate rating of the wind and sun gathering equipment.

    To provide 20% average grid demand, in Germany there needs to be five times nameplate rating of wind and sun gathering equipment installed.

    The problem is the output power from wind and sun varies from near zero to 100%.

    When the output is near 100%, all other electrical power supplies must be shutdown, including shutting down 20% more efficient combined cycle natural gas power plants.

    There is a roughly 10% to 15% loss of grid efficiency as the total amount of wind and sun power exceeds roughly 10% to 20% of total grid load.

    The problem with the “renewable” power sources of wind and solar is their intrinsic volatility coupled with their poor capacity utilization rates of only 17.4% for wind and 8.3% for solar (average values for Germany).

    Roughly 30% of the energy generated is lost in energy storage systems in conversion losses and battery loses.

    The battery systems efficiency degrades with time. The batteries have a lifetime of 7 to 10 years.

    The green calculations do not include the energy cost to build the green stuff.

    http://notrickszone.com/2015/02/04/germanys-energiewende-leading-to-suicide-by-cannibalism-huge-oversupply-risks-destabilization/#sthash.8tE9YRDj.PSllYaQF.dpbs

    The coming age of power cannibalism…Germany on the verge of committing energy suicide

  22. In Norway electric cars outsell traditional ones

    “Norway, a wealthy European nation of 5.3 million, has provided big incentives to boost electric car sales. It waived hefty vehicle import duties and registration and sales taxes for buyers of electric cars to boost sales. Owners don’t pay road tolls and use bus lanes in congested city centers.
    The perks, however, are to be phased out in 2021. Norway’s Parliament has voted to require that all new cars sold in the Scandinavian country be electric by 2025.”

      • Using bus lanes and not paying London congestion charge, I would be off to the nearest electric car dealer first thing tomorrow morning.

      • If this is the result of their dedication to ‘saving the climate,’ then shouldn’t they be capping the wells, ending their exports of fossil fuel derived products, and shutting down their fossil fuel industry?

        It doesn’t make much sense to do otherwise.

    • Due to natural advantages of topography and annual precipitation Norway has abundant hydro capacity supplying 98% of national electricity demand (2015 Wiki).
      The party likely to be the next government of Australia has an energy policy that uses Norway as a model, Australia being the flattest and driest inhabited continent on the planet notwithstanding.
      Go figure.

    • Norway uses Swedish hydroelectric as their battery.

      Norway is a small country that is ideal for wind gathering and Norway sells wind turbines.

      That is why Norway is full speed ahead into the scam.

      • This article at joanne nova’s, provides an Australian example that shows mass use of battery powered vehicles will require massive changes to the electrical grid and more power generation to power up the vehicles batteries.

        http://joannenova.com.au/

        Each electric car needs about $2000 per year in extra network and generation:
        The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) released a warning in 2013 that electric cars will cost a lot more than just the purchase price and the electricity:

        New “fat” batteries on EV’s draw so much current we need a whole new grid:
        New bigger batteries need two days to charge at 7kW which is like adding “three new houses to the grid” and that’s the good option. If consumers want to fast charge (who wouldn’t) the 50kW option is like adding “20 homes”. (Vector, New Zealand Report 2018)
        Ten million cars fast-charging at the same time would be like adding 200 million homes to the grid.

        • Norway: 4.3 million people on 365,000 sq. km.
          This is about the same number of people as Kentucky in a country the size of Montana.
          About the population density of Oregon or Maine.
          With a very long windy coastline.
          Wiki page on Norway says they have more hydro capacity than total power demand.
          ” In 2015, hydroelectricity generated 144 TWh and accounted for 97.9% of the national electricity demand”
          Wind:
          “Wind power capacity was 838 MW in 2015 and is expected to increase by 1,000 MW by 2020”
          Net exporter of power.

          Just sayin’.

          Sweden wiki page says they have about equal hydro and nuke capacity, 61TWh, and about 15 of wind and 13 or “other”.
          They are a net exporter.

    • Re Vukcevic -In Norway subsidies per EV amount to around $3500 while in Norway 99% of electricity produced (required to daily refill the EV battery) comes from abundant reliable hydro power.
      How will EV’s work when ( not if) the wind does not blow for 2 to 5 days in a row in a 100% renewable based electricity system as proposed by Australian Greens in their recently released Climate Policy document?

  23. There’s a big industry out in the wild, one that doesn’t spare much in attempts to nuke the concurrence with whatever can lower the cost of exploitation: -Aviation.

    Those guys have big research teams and can hire whoever they’re pleased to carry research in any direction. Result ? Green powered airliners are nowhere on the future production lines.

    Yes, they display ridiculous concepts to keep the green noise factor low however the inside story is completely different.

    All optimizations are based on carbon burning engines. Concessions leading to inherently unstable airframes at all but cruising portions of flight. But that’s another story.

    Bottom line, there’s a reason why Tesla, Airbus and other Boeings are distinct companies serving customers with very different and mutually incompatible visions of transport and beliefs.

    It’s not because you could run cordless drills and airport crew buses on batteries that you can do it with airliners.

    Greens don’t have the monopoly of top-notch engineering and there are no conspiracy theories behind the laws of physics.

    Even if to an uneducated crowd they might look pretty much the same. Which is what greens efficiently exploit in their quests for easy free money.

  24. Climate Change:
    A religion, a belief system that has no bases in science, physics or any of the other hard sciences. Using Psychology and Sociology to achieve their end – Total Control of the world economy.

  25. Y’all need to think outside the box. Casket, in this case.

    ‘Green’ energy sources are realistic and sustainable. Your problem is you are hung up on 7 billion people. Think 300 million. Then it all falls into place.

    You are superfluous. Your family is superfluous. Your community is superfluous. Imagining a future with you in it is decadent. Resistance is futile.

  26. There’s a fair amount of BS in this report. I don’t have time to detail all the BS, but there’s:

    1) The statement that $200,000 of Tesla batteries can store the energy in a barrel of oil. That’s basically BS. Try burning a barrel of oil, “recharging” it, and burning again the same oil that was previously burned. Doesn’t work too well. The Tesla batteries can do that thousands of times.

    2) The comparison of the weight of gasoline to the weight of batteries is basically bogus too. A gasoline car needs an engine (plus cooling system) and a transmission. So the comparison should be the weight of the gasoline plus the engine (plus cooling system) plus the transmission to the EV batteries plus EV motors. (Then throw in trying to get equivalent acceleration. Ever see a Tesla versus a big-block Chevelle on a drag strip?)

  27. “Tesla P100D 1/4 mile record is 10.44 sec. Challenger Demon is quicker at 9.65 sec.”

    Here’s a video with a 850 HP Demon running racing fuel versus a Tesla:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OFmFr5boXvw

    But you’re missing the point. The point is, in order to be comparable in *acceleration* to an electric car, the gasoline car needs to be have a frickin’ powerful engine (not to mention, for the Challenger, a honkin’ heavy duty clutch and massive differential). To count only the weight of the fuel versus the weight of the battery–and to completely ignore the much heavier engine/transmission or engine/clutch/differential versus the very lightweight electric motors)–is to compare apples to oranges. Which was probably Mark Mills’ purpose.

    P.S. For the Challenger, a massive *exploding* differential:

    https://www.tflcar.com/2019/02/dodge-demons-destroyed-rear-differentials/

    😉

    • But you’re missing the point. The very reason engineers built the muscle car is for the frickin’ powerful engine, heavy duty clutch, massive differential, exploding nitro fuel and ear-popping roar. You’re comparing Angela Gossow with Taylor Swift. Yeah Angela has demonic voice :-0

  28. “But you’re missing the point. The very reason engineers built the muscle car is for the frickin’ powerful engine, heavy duty clutch, massive differential, exploding nitro fuel and ear-popping roar.”

    I’m not missing that point. That’s just like the Tesla engineers put the Ludicrous mode in…to be ludicrous. (Which is apparently beyond “insane”.)

    https://www.wired.com/2015/07/teslas-new-ludicrous-mode-makes-model-s-supercar/

    Mark Mills’ report compared the range per pound of *fuel* for battery electric automobiles versus gasoline automobiles. But perhaps if he was an engineer (as I am)–or perhaps if he wasn’t trying to put spin on the situation–he’d realize that cars don’t go anywhere if they are just a tank filled with gasoline. Or batteries in the platform. A gasoline car needs and engine and transmission…or a clutch and differential…to go anywhere. And the batteries need motors, of course.

    So the proper comparison is the range in miles per the total pounds of everything it takes a gasoline automobile to go somewhere versus the range in miles for everything it takes a battery electric vehicle to go somewhere. If Mark Mills had done that, it’s a much closer comparison.

    And then if the comparison was on the basis of *acceleration*, the comparison would be even closer. It looks to me like the Tesla can beat the Demon on an 1/8th mile strip (or zero to 60 mph) but the Demon beats the Tesla on a 1/4 mile strip (or zero to 120 mph). Personally, if I had $100,000+ to spend on a car…I wouldn’t buy either. I’d buy…a used Jaguar, and spend the $100,000+ on repairs:

    There’s a beaut!

    🙂

  29. I pulled up behind a Tesla S at a traffic light a few weeks ago.

    I drive a 2016 Shelby GT350. 526hp.

    When the light turned green, he was gone like a rocket ship in a space movie. I was stunned. I’d say his acceleration was 2X mine, maybe more. Off the line, they are astounding.

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