Pathway 2045—Edison’s Roadmap to Energy Hell (1)

Guest post by Rud Istvan,

California WUWT reader Cal B alerted Charles the Moderator to a new document just published by Edison International, the holding company parent for SoCal Edison, the largest electric utility for southern California. Cal B asked if WUWT posters might like to take it on? In his usual charming fashion, CtM got me (after some initial reluctance) to volunteer today over a lunch overlooking South Florida’s Intercoastal Waterway. The key was his sensible solution to my ‘too big a subject’ objection—break it into parts! So this is the first of six parts.

My reasons for agreeing were several.

First, most of the technical difficulty issues buried in Pathway 2045 I previously covered, albeit at posts over at Judith Curry’s Climate Etc and/or in my ebook Blowing Smoke. So there was not a whole lot of new research required.

Second, it is stunning that an electric utility could foist such technical and economic nonsense onto its California customers. One presumes it was forced by coming California requirements imposed by Newsom worse than the crazy 2030 requirements to which SoCalEd already crazily responded in 2017.

Third, as WUWT matures and changes from just the climate science to the climate politics, it is attracting new readers that may not be familiar with long past technical analyses. This is an opportunity to “bundle’” the big ‘Green New Deal’ energy fact picture together again.

This first part provides a ‘30000 foot’ overview of the whole thing. Pathway 2045 to Zero Net Carbon California comprises five separate ‘solution’ parts:

  • 1. Decarbonize electricity
  • 2. Electrify transportation
  • 3. Electrify buildings
  • 4. Use low carbon fuels
  • 5. Sink remaining carbon

Decarbonizing electricity either means renewables or nuclear. SoCalEd does NOT propose nuclear. They propose renewables. That raises ‘only’ three small problems. Renewables are not economically viable without massive subsidies. Renewables are intermittent, requiring additional backup capacity for when the wind does not blow or the sun does not shine. Renewables provide no grid inertia. Renewables are therefore a proven an economic disaster, as California’s high electricity rates already prove. But SoCalEd doesn’t care—their revenues will rise bigly and their regulated utility returns are ‘rate guaranteed’.

Electrifying transportation (Tesla) also runs into three problems. First, the required grid capacity increment is enormous. Second, vehicles like work pickups or class 8 tractors cannot be electrified, despite Tesla’s imaginary promises to the contrary—all battery, no cargo capacity. Third, there are serious lithium and cobalt resource constraints.

Electrifying buildings beyond what exists today (some HVAC, lighting) has two problems. Existing buildings or their subsystems would essentially have to be torn down/out and replaced, but NOT at SoCalEd cost. Maybe owners will balk at their expensive wishful thinking. Second, places yet more need for Capex to expand grid capacity beyond vehicle electrification, since most commercial buildings do NOT have enough surface exposure for self sustained solar or wind.

Using low carbon fuels should mean nuclear. SoCalEd means more than natural gas fired CCGT in place of coal, a transition already happening for economic reasons. They mean biofuels and hydrogen (e.g. fuel cells), for which they have apparently studied neither the carbon chemistry nor the energy thermodynamics.

Sinking remaining carbon means either forestry or ocean iron fertilization (geoengineering). SoCalEd’s northern California electric utility partner PGE has gone into bankruptcy for causing forest fires that destroyed carbon sinks. And the fires around LA this fall suggest SoCalEd isn’t much better at preserving them. Part 6 will discuss whether the plan might be for SoCalEd ratepayers to pay extra for carbon credits to wherever to plant trees or fertilize barren oceans.

In sum, this is SoCalEd’s version of the Green New Deal. Pigs cannot fly no matter how much lipstick is put on them. The stock is a strong short. California is a strong short. There are three climate response crash test dummies in the world today: Australia, UK, and California. This new position paper by the largest California electric utility leapfrogs California into first crash dummy place.

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November 8, 2019 2:13 pm

Even if the IPCC’s fake science was right, not one of the proposed solution parts make any sense. Given that the IPCC’s fake science is so wrong it’s an embarrassment to all legitimate science, this new green insanity would be laughable if not for the trillions of taxpayer dollars they want to waste on virtue signaling and the insane amount of inertia behind the big climate lie.

Reply to  co2isnotevil
November 8, 2019 9:38 pm

What happens to a 500MW coal fired power station genny on a grid when it cannot get the appropriate spin load, say an Alumina smelter’s pot line?

No 50/60Hz snych signal?

No Grid signal?

No Grid?

This is what we are “planning” to try out in Australia on our eastern seaboard. Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide. This is most of the population and is a very BIG experiment. Watch this space.

Reply to  Geoff
November 8, 2019 9:59 pm

did Australia learn nothing from the fiacso in South Australia ?

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Greg
November 9, 2019 3:49 am

Nope! Australian politicians and “scientists” are taking ques from Greta Thunberg, Jane Fonda and XR.

Reply to  Greg
November 9, 2019 4:08 am

No. Total denial, excuses and passing blame. A joke.

John Q Public
Reply to  Greg
November 11, 2019 8:54 pm

I hope the wine is ok…

James Hein
Reply to  Greg
November 12, 2019 2:55 pm

Nope. As a South Auzzie myself I regularly check out sites like:

This shows that for the past week (and more) NSW has not yet had a minute where they have not relied on Queensland to provide both power, and also flow through power to Vic, SA and Tasmania on a semi-regular basis.

When the temps rise and QLD needs the power for themselves the rest of the country (except WA perhaps) will fail and I’m expecting a total Eastern Aust blackout this summer. Watch this space because when it happens we won’t be able to.

Jim Gorman
Reply to  Geoff
November 9, 2019 10:27 am

You might explain to non-electrical folks what frequency and inertia have to do with the grid. It is more than just inaccurate clocks.

Paul Penrose
Reply to  Jim Gorman
November 10, 2019 12:26 pm

A/C power transmission is not a simple concept to explain, unfortunately. No matter how I try, the layman’s eyes just glaze over. I always end up saying “Because it is a complex engineering problem, you should not leave power grid planning up to politicians, activists, and 16 year old girls. Consult the real experts that have the proper training and experience.”

Reply to  Paul Penrose
November 11, 2019 6:55 pm

If you really want to see their eyes glaze over, try explaining the benefits and caveats of 3-phase, for example, how a 3-phase delta connection with no neutral can supply power to a load.

Rhoda R
November 8, 2019 2:30 pm

Isn’t Germany also a member of that Climate Crash Test Cadre?

Krishna Gans
Reply to  Rhoda R
November 8, 2019 2:38 pm

At least we are Crash Test Dummies 😀

JRF in Pensacola
Reply to  Rhoda R
November 8, 2019 3:25 pm

RR, correct on Germany in terms of electricity rates.

Reply to  Rhoda R
November 8, 2019 4:40 pm

Denmark and Germany are WAY ahead of UK in terms of renewable self destruction.

Germany in particular is a classic case of “the people are stupid enough to believe we run off renewables when we generate more from dirty brown coal and nuclear”

Germans like to believe what their political leaders tell them. Its a feature of them.

Reply to  Leo Smith
November 9, 2019 6:17 am

Don’t believe what the TV says.
Just look at the German election results over the last few years.
Voters are giving a very hard message.
One could even call the Thuringia election recently “Texit”.

Roger Knights
Reply to  Rhoda R
November 8, 2019 8:44 pm

“Isn’t Germany also a member of that Climate Crash Test Cadre?”

And Spain and Ontario. (Also a Central American country whose name I’ve forgotten.) Plus Georgetown TX.

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Nairobi
Reply to  Roger Knights
November 9, 2019 4:07 am

I agree about including Ontario. They don’t produce any CO2 for power generation save in scattered northern communities. It is all nukes, hydro, a tiny bit of biomass and a small fluctuating amount of wind power with a trace of PV. The latter two have double the price of electricity, retail.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo but really in Nairobi
November 9, 2019 6:09 am

“and a small fluctuating amount of wind power with a trace of PV. The latter two have double the price of electricity, retail.”

So even small amounts of windmills and solar increase the cost of electricity.

It’s just amazing that the politicians don’t seem to be able to understand the consequences of their actions. I guess they have tunnel vision and all they can see are windmills and solar farms and disasters happening all over the world. The voters need to snap them out of this trance. I suppose they will when the price of electricity climbs high enough. I hope that’s not too late.

John Q Public
Reply to  Roger Knights
November 11, 2019 8:57 pm

Costa Rica? It is the only one with enough money and liberalism to try it. Nicaraugua is marxist, but cannot afford it.

Planning Engineer
November 8, 2019 2:32 pm

Looking forward to the rest of the series. Thanks for taking this on.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Planning Engineer
November 8, 2019 5:01 pm

PE, wait til you see part three. Central is the duck curve you taught me.
Was just accepted by CtM.

Logic and Reason
Reply to  Rud Istvan
November 9, 2019 5:05 am

With Ca’s mandated solar requirement starting Jan 1, that duck will get so fat it can’t walk. I have argued ad nauseam that adding more solar without backup is a destructive exercise.
Unfortunately most people do not understand how things work. Electricity is magic.

Sam Pyeatte
Reply to  Logic and Reason
November 9, 2019 1:29 pm

Most people assume the “politicians” know what’s best, and the politicians assume they know more than the “real” engineers when it comes to power production and delivery. (Agenda 21)

Reply to  Planning Engineer
November 8, 2019 6:36 pm
November 8, 2019 2:34 pm

First flaw in the quick read is “serious lithium and cobalt resource constraints.”

That is resource illiteracy repeated ad nauseam. There is no constraint in lithium except in the short run and even there the major producers are grappling with plunging prices.

Reply to  ResourceGuy
November 8, 2019 3:21 pm

I’ve read that the rare earths needed to create the electric motors are in short enough supply in that they are effectively owned by the chinese. Very similar to the 90’s era argument promoting oil drilling in the US as opposed to sending money to places that don’t like us. In the current era sending money to china for the rare earths needed to electrify transportation is practically the same problem. Even if the rarity of lithium is a typo or misunderstanding, rarity of needed raw materials is still problematic.

Reply to  randomengineer
November 8, 2019 3:51 pm

Sorry, but scarcity is my research area. Don’t rely on the “often repeated makes it true” trap. It may also be an example of the linear thinking and extrapolation problem in human thinking processes.

tsk tsk
Reply to  ResourceGuy
November 8, 2019 4:15 pm

The resources appear to be there for rare earths but the commitment to extract them in the volume required isn’t. Even the Chinese are getting a little tired of the tailings, and the west’s anti-nuke stupidity (Throium byproduct) additionally constrains extracting them there.

Jim C
Reply to  ResourceGuy
November 8, 2019 4:25 pm

I’m interested in this. If we’re to install enough batteries here in the Uk to enable us to survive on renewables throughout our largely sunless (though admittedly windy) winters, how much storage would it take, and – with current battery technology – what ARE the resource requirements?

I know there’s some pumped storage sites in the Scotland that could be exploited, assuming the Scots don’t mind drowning the associated valleys. But all the estimates I’ve seen for what would be required in terms of costs are all over the map.

Do you know of some rigorous studies that dig into this deeply, that look at the lithium and rare earth reserves (and yes, I know not all rare earths are actually all that rare) and come up with some believable projections?

Capell Aris
Reply to  Jim C
November 9, 2019 1:07 am

Based on National Grid’s FES 2019 ‘Two Degrees’ scenario, the UK will need a minimum of 1 TWh of storage, and perhaps even more.

But that still leaves the inertia problem – an enormous challenge.

Given the short life of renewable generation plant, the high costs of the first generation build will just roll on down the generations.

A C Osborn
Reply to  Jim C
November 9, 2019 1:24 am

Dig back through some of the older posts at

He and Roger (who died last year) did great analysis on various backup schemes.

Reply to  Jim C
November 10, 2019 1:08 pm

Hi Jim,

While apparently not addressing the resource demands directly, some idea of the scale of grid scale storage required to enable the total ‘low carbon’ pipe-dreams for the UK can be gleaned from the seminal ‘Sustainable Energy Without the Hot Air’ by the late David McKay:, and in particular the Fluctuations and Storage chapter:
Another (far more concise) resource are the GWPF papers on:
1.grid scale storage:
2. battery storage for rooftop solar:
The take away message is that the pipe dream of grid scale energy ‘storage’ is not viable any time soon, quite aside from lithium or rare earth constraints, real or imagined.

Reply to  ResourceGuy
November 8, 2019 4:56 pm

It’s not necessarily absolute scarcity but what it takes to utilise the resource and their relativities-
There’s no scarcity of water on the planet with our oceans but it’s a whole new ball game should you want fresh water on land where it is scarce. Like the physicist calculating that to store 2 days of US current power demand for the renewables dream would take 1000 years of Tesla’s gigafactory production (link anyone?). Then you want to batterify transport and renew all the worn out batteries on top of that at the same time? That’s the scarcity problem although not the mind altering drugs by all accounts.

Reply to  ResourceGuy
November 8, 2019 5:04 pm

I agree, since historically we have just relied on China to supply their rare earths. Actually they aren’t that rare; it is just that we in the West are loathsome to support mining and it was so cheap to just buy them from China. That will change. As for Lithium, there is certainly no shortage of that. Bolivia alone could supply a big chunk of it for yeas to come if they really wanted to, but their newly reelected presidenti is a bit of a pain to any major development. They could be a very wealthy South American nation if they get that right. Chile too, if they can sort out their politics and equity for their people. Cobalt might be a bit tighter for the long term if I understand that market correctly.

Ron Long
Reply to  Earthling2
November 8, 2019 5:28 pm

Right on, the Lithium Triangle covers salars in Argentina, Bolivia, and Chile. As regards cobalt, remember the Central African Copper Belt, most well-mineralized in the Congo, like Tenke Fungarame, has a lot of cobalt. I have also had assay results of 1,000 to 2,000 ppm Co from the similar redbed copper-vanadium-cobalt-uranium deposits in the Neuquen Basin of Argentina. Rare earths are nasty products to produce because they have a lot of nasty traveling companions, which reminds me of the Official Trona Joke (Trona is a phosphate produced from dry lake beds west of Ridgecrest, California, and it is associated with a terrible smell): Herbie and his girlfriend were out in Herbies car in Los Angeles and making out, and getting quite hot, and Herbies girlfriend says “oh Herbie, kiss me where it stinks”, so he drove her to Trona.

Reply to  ResourceGuy
November 9, 2019 11:22 am

OK, so please indulge me on the vast rare earths resources available in the continental US or are under complete US control, sufficient to provide for a major electrical future, as opposed to buying these elsewhere. Meanwhile:

Yes we all understand that on a planetary scale many resources are available but on a strategic level to a country, not so much. The strategy of owning and controlling vast national resources that are unassailable by foreign actors and/or entanglements and so on isn’t the same problem as noting that some region in the congo seems to have e.g. enough cobalt for the next ‘n’ years. If/when the congo region becomes unstable, price havoc and direction of US forces etc are involved.

Unless you think we have billions$ in military hardware near the persian gulf because we don’t have enough parking. The military’s function is to enforce peace etc. US forces aren’t oil guardians per se, but regional stability is in fact a strategic concern and this has to be accounted for.

In my initial comment I had noted that the ‘meme’ of the day way back when was sending money to people [for oil] that don’t particularly like us [or may develop a distaste, such as Iran], and I’m failing to grasp how this is a fundamentally different problem. Sending money outside the USA on oil or sending it outside on cobalt, there’s no change: we’re still sending money out and subject to the whim of unknown politics.

So does the US have the resources needed to electrify transport etc for the next 100 years? If the rest of the world decides to do other things does the US have the reserves needed to pursue a particular vision?

Joel O’Bryan
Reply to  randomengineer
November 8, 2019 5:28 pm

Elon Musk, to his credit, did not base Tesla’s tech on permanent magnet motors exactly to avoid the Rare Earth issues with China.

Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
November 8, 2019 10:43 pm

Elon came to the Tesla gig when it was already way more than a gleam in the eye, and failing ? Can we attribute that decision to Mr Musks foresight, or was it already baked in ?

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Fanakapan
November 9, 2019 12:03 am

Elon built Tesla from the ground up. A visionary. Yes.
Genius? Yes.
Like Nikola Tesla? Probably. Who died in near poverty.

Reply to  ResourceGuy
November 8, 2019 3:57 pm

One constraint on lithium and other rare earth metals is that they are murder on the environment to extract. Much much worse than CO2.

leo smith
Reply to  ResourceGuy
November 8, 2019 4:51 pm

I think it is very easy to extrapolate from limited knowledge to make a case either way when you have skin in the game: as an engineer educated before magic money tree cornucopianism i do cost benefit analysis.
What counts is whether cheap oil, cheap cobalt or cheap lithium runs out first, irrespective of how much there may left in the ground

And how you fail to defend yourself with ‘renewable’ tanks when someone with fossil powered ones crosses your border…

Reply to  leo smith
November 8, 2019 5:02 pm

Cheap cobalt, relative to oil, never existed.

Reply to  David Middleton
November 8, 2019 5:50 pm

The market demand for cobalt never existed to the extent of global commodities that drove the global economy like oil. Therefore the investor response for new cobalt supply never ballooned. When you suddenly say cobalt is vital, markets and investors have a lag time for response from a low infrastructure starting base. We do not live in a just in time mining world.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  ResourceGuy
November 9, 2019 12:06 am

Cobalt reserves for the amount batteries need are rare.
Only the fool thinks otherwise.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  ResourceGuy
November 9, 2019 3:47 am

And expensive.

Reply to  ResourceGuy
November 9, 2019 10:33 am

Cobalt lacks open pit economies of scale on the order of copper. Give it a sustained price gain and there will be more, a lot more. But it does take time to assemble the investment and risk takers. It’s the overshoot of supply that produces the zig zag pattern of supply response across time. Short of all that it’s just a backwater commodity market.

Reply to  ResourceGuy
November 9, 2019 6:05 pm

Reserves are a reflection of what market demand was without full exploration and investment response to new markets. A tiny market has relatively tiny reserves compared to immense extrapolations.

Reply to  ResourceGuy
November 13, 2019 2:24 pm
Michael Jankowski
Reply to  ResourceGuy
November 8, 2019 6:02 pm

“…That is resource illiteracy repeated ad nauseam. There is no constraint in lithium except in the short run…”

Constraint in the short run? Your own link says, “…the industry has two to three times more supply than needed… lithium producers are in a nightmare of their own making by having processed too much of the white metal, too fast…”

The 12-18 month short-term issue is OVERSUPPLY, not constraint. WTF are you running your mouth about when it comes to “illiteracy” and criticizing other peoples’ alleged misunderstandings on things like solar when you got your own link completely backwards? Seriously, this is griff-level failure or worse.

And your link also doesn’t address potential constraints long into the future (e.g., 2045) that are the subject of this posting, not the next 12-18 months. Extra dumbo points for that.

Reply to  Michael Jankowski
November 9, 2019 6:01 pm

Scarcity in mineral commodities tend to be of concern in the short run but in the long run capacity responds to reach long run equilibrium with long run demand. The story link refers to the periodic over supplied market in the short run that knocks back prices in contrast to the public’s ongoing scarcity story line. The linked story also demonstrates the risk to investors in adding capacity especially in limited markets where demand increases are not fully known or guaranteed for business plans or financing. The typical pattern is a zig zag of supply response toward a long run price that never actually meets original expectations because of technical change and possible substitution. That is why supply response lags and the scarcity story of the ill informed continues on. Investors in new capacity and their lenders aren’t as dumb as the public and policy planners who have no skin in the game. But even these savvy investors get it wrong in that zig zag pattern of the market and they also don’t see all the other players in the game bringing on other supply. The market is really a series of missteps getting eventually to the efficient solution. And in the long run it’s technology that redirects the game in alternate directions making new winners and losers. It is rather hard to teach this in blog posts but it helps to have an open mind to begin with.

Reply to  ResourceGuy
November 8, 2019 11:21 pm

The big issue with lithium batteries is what do we do after they are depleted.

Lithium batteries can’t go to landfill as the cobalt etc would leech into the ground.

Assuming they could go to landfill, if/when ICE’s are completely banned and we are all driving around in electric vehicles needing replacement batteries every 5 years or so, there isn’t enough land available to bury all of them.

Nor can they be completely recycled at the moment.

And don’t even think about how much “renewable” electricity the world would need to produce to keep these cars on the road.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  ResourceGuy
November 9, 2019 9:17 am


It is ironic that environmentalists are concerned about the use of fossil fuels and then complain about the potential consequences of using batteries! They need to get their act together.

John Q Public
Reply to  ResourceGuy
November 11, 2019 8:59 pm

Yes, but cobalt is another story.

J Mac
November 8, 2019 2:38 pm

Apparently, the engineers and cost analysis experts were thrown out of the room when the utopian Pathway 2045 was ‘visualized’ and inscribed in the holey Green Book.

Mickey Reno
Reply to  J Mac
November 9, 2019 7:54 am

A good, reliable battery, just like Utopian perfection, is difficult, if not impossible to obtain. BUT, if we discover the miracle mineral called “unobtainium” I’m relatively confident that we’ll be sitting pretty. I suggest we go to other worlds to look for it, hopefully with attractive tall blue chicks as a clue that we’ve found it. But wait, if those world’s have floating islands in the sky, maybe we should figure out how THAT happens, and see of we might use that force as our energy source, instead?

I tell you, stupid sci-fi pisses me off much more than does anything related to CO2 emissions from humans burning fossil fuels.

November 8, 2019 2:51 pm

Lomborg has shown us that full compliance with Paris would have no measurable change on temperature by 2100 at all.
What more do we need to know and this would cost 1 to 2 trillion $ a year for a big fat ZERO dividend for the next 80 years.
Who doesn’t understand any of this? Anyone?

tsk tsk
Reply to  Neville
November 8, 2019 4:16 pm

The current majority party in California and the House of Representatives.

November 8, 2019 2:52 pm

My new mission in life is to attend regional SCE “public” events and ask two questions. “How many of you are engineers? How many of you are lawyers?”

Qualifications? I watched from across the valley as SCE reenergized the South Mountain circuit that started the Maria Fire while we were enduring the last of three unnecessary power outages a few miles to the south in the Estaban circuit.

November 8, 2019 2:55 pm

“as WUWT matures and changes from just the climate science to the climate politics”

To the left it’s always been about politics:

“We’ve got to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing.” -Tim Wirth, leftist senator, 1993

It’s bs. Potential massive economic destruction and a major lowering of the standard of living is the cost of the dreamed of de-industrialization policies. In no way is the leftist lunacy on climate change “the right thing to do.”

But the word has gotten out that it is … the right thing to do. So leftists of all stripes are willing to argue unreservedly for the “science” regardless of whether they find it to be dubious.

Thus, we got this from them:

“We have to offer up scary scenarios… each of us has to decide the right balance between being effective and being honest.” -Stephen Schneider, lead ipcc author, 1989

So that’s what they’ve been doing ever since >> “offering up scary scenarios.” Countless times they have cried wolf with predictions of doom that never come any where near true, like this:

“Entire nations could be wiped off the face of the Earth by rising sea levels if the global warming trend is not reversed by the year 2000.” -Noel Brown, ex UNEP Director, 1989

Curious George
November 8, 2019 3:01 pm

SoCalEd’s primary objective is not to supply electricity to customers. It is “to play it safely”. In the last two weeks there were safety blackouts throughout California (except for San Francisco). I understand it; should a power line spark a wildfire, according to California judges, the utility is fully responsible even if there was no negligence.

The 2045 plan is a message to all southern Californians to get either a generator, or a windmill, or solar panels – and a big battery backup. You may be without power for days, easily.

I wonder if the California Public Utilities Commission can be charged with criminal negligence? Their utilities seem to behave totally unprofessionally.

Reply to  Curious George
November 8, 2019 3:42 pm

Where’s the EIR for this 2045 plan? My projects FAIL because some traffic engineer projects an intersection to fall a “service level” below where it currently is. This IDIOTIC plan will crash everyone’s “service levels” to that of the Stone Age. Where were the Public Hearings? And the Debate? Where was the Transparency? Why wasn’t the Public told they’re signing up for a third world existence in CA?

I am so OUT of this State. Perhaps even sooner than my current plan.

tsk tsk
Reply to  Kenji
November 8, 2019 4:19 pm

The Bay area has become the property crime capital of the US. One of the most popular items stolen is laptops. So a simple question: What use is a laptop when you have no electricity?

Reply to  Curious George
November 8, 2019 9:28 pm

More nonsense.

“Curious George November 8, 2019 at 3:01 pm
SoCalEd’s primary objective is not to supply electricity to customers. It is “to play it safely”. In the last two weeks there were safety blackouts throughout California (except for San Francisco). I understand it; should a power line spark a wildfire, according to California judges, the utility is fully responsible even if there was no negligence.

A) “I understand it; should a power line spark a wildfire,”
• a) exactly how does a powerline spark a fire?

• Power lines are run throughout America and frequently experience high winds; yet most do not “spark a fire”. The reason is because, by local laws, California’s utilities have been spending maintenance money on other than maintenance!
That lack of maintenance is why winds cause power lines to break, and spark where they hit the ground.

B) “according to California judges,”
Exactly where is this legal decision?
In one particular sweep of fires, one particular California Utility was found at fault. Leading the politicians and other to demand payments for property destruction. Litigation regarding citizen deaths have not progressed that far.

To sum up; ‘judges can not make law!'</i

C) ” the utility is fully responsible even if there was no negligence.
The one court trial found the utility at fauld through NEGLIGENCE!. Otherwise, that utility would not be ‘at fault’.

Yes! Californians with common sense got that message loud and clear.
The problem is California cites and fines people for clearing away brush and trees. The property destruction that did occur is the direct fault of California’s failure to:
1) Control forest debris
2) Allow citizens to control their local brush and forest debris.
Both are right up there in unicorn fantasy land when the brush and forests are composed of plants, like creosote bush, that ignite like gasoline covered plants. Plus they burn hot enough to ignite flammables 20 to 50 feet away, without Santa Ana winds.

i) California’s utilities are controlled by the government.
ii) Utilities get their funds through electricity rates charged to customers.
iii) California government demanding payment from the utilities is highway robbery against the citizens who paid the rates and taxes initially!

iiii) Lawyers (ambulance chasers) are seeking clients to sue the utilities for really big money. Much like the tobacco and asbestos lawsuits.
Eventually the utility will be forced to escrow huge amounts of money to pay off those harmed and suing.

iiiii) As other similar lawsuits demonstrate so well, lawyers will pocket most of the monies obtained from the utilities while the utilities are forced to surcharge customers in order to pay off the lawsuit debt.

iiiiii) Leaving the utilities still stuck under the laws to spend money on bogus projects (e.g. renewables) and the maintenance will not be performed.

Joel O'Bryan
November 8, 2019 3:15 pm

I like to take the Problem-Solution approach to Democrat’s climate change policy.

Problem: California implementing unrealistic electricity goals for the grid resulting in skyrocketing electric costs for consumers.

Solution: U-Haul rental (cheapest)

1st Alternate Solution: Penske rental (next cheapest)

2nd Alt solution: PODS, u-box it, moving company.

3rd Alt solution: professional movers. (most expensive)

That’s 4 solutions for Californians to choose from based on escalating cost to GTHOC.
Ain’t capitalism great?

tsk tsk
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
November 8, 2019 4:21 pm

Just as long as they leave Cali insanity where they got it. Otherwise I’d encourage a massive migration into California from some other specific large cities. Hey, the U-Haul rates are dirt cheap to SF.

Joel O’Bryan
Reply to  tsk tsk
November 8, 2019 5:39 pm

Two UHaul vendors here in Tucson are advertising dirt cheap rates to rent equipment TO Cali. Everytime I drive by and see those signs I wonder “Why are Cal pols so oblivious to the outflow of talent and labor they have created?” But then I remember Forest Gump’s mother, “Stupid is, as stupid does” and I’v answered my question.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
November 8, 2019 5:37 pm

I chose options 1 and 3. PODS didn’t service northern NV. I used Enterprise for the items United wouldn’t handle, primarily gun safes and literally a ton of ammo. I like those Isuzu diesels! And undoubtedly CA is safer now without all those gun safes.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  KaliforniaKook
November 8, 2019 11:38 pm

My gun safe and its meager contents goes via a personal Wells-Cargo trailer behind my P/U truck.
The Leftist idiots here in USA have NO idea what they are talking about when they talk gun confiscation in the US. Seriously, these idiots have no idea… just like they have no clue on climate and energy. Absolutely No clue about what they speak.

And what I have is but a mere tiny, tiny small few guns compared to many Texans I know. And the government knows of none of that. None. Zero. Nada. Zilch.
Really. Really. I kid not.
And as California descends into Energy poverty and protest chaos, the Left will ensure Cal has the most restrictive gun laws it can bring to bear.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
November 9, 2019 9:32 am

You said, “And as California descends into Energy poverty and protest chaos, the Left will ensure Cal has the most restrictive gun laws it can bring to bear.”

That is a good thing! Then California will be as safe as Mexico, whose gun laws put Australia to shame.

November 8, 2019 3:17 pm

It is and has been obvious to me for many years that none of these EC-cheerleaders are serious about real savings. Buildings, especially housing is built no differently than grand dad did it. Having built my own house with knowledge from many years working with expanded polystyrene foam, engineered vapor barriers, and insulation labs, I know it is child’s play to cut heating and cooling costs by 50-70%. I knew this in 1970 when I built my house. I taught my brother in Marquette Michigan who cheated the propane company to about 1/4 of the expected use. There is not a single coherent building code to incorporate what is known and even easy. We are still focused on finding some way of heating a leaky box. Meanwhile, another 50 years worth of leaky boxes have been built. When they even begin talking about the low hanging fruit I may believe they are serious. Otherwise, it’s just a money scheme and politics. The typical California home as well as most states is barely beyond 1950 in thermal design.

Reply to  Mark
November 8, 2019 3:35 pm

Very true. If you want to cut power requirements, generally the best way is conservation.

First off, my wife can’t keep her fingers off the programmable thermostat or won’t turn off a light, so I had to design around it. LED lights have been a godsend and the introduction of instant on, dimmable and warmer light has helped as well. I have 8 outdoor spotlights that used to be125w each.. now 150w total. All the bulbs in the house are now LED. The place can be lit up like a Christmas tree for pennies on the previous dollar.

Going to very high efficiency HVAC systems has saved tremendously. I don’t follow her around like a puppy anymore resetting the thermostat every time she sets it. New windows and attention to leaks saved a ton. Instant hot water heaters are a benefit. Just have take the plunge and pay attention to detail.

John F. Hultquist
Reply to  Mark
November 8, 2019 4:10 pm

50 years . . .
Our house was built in 1981 as an all-electric — we are near the hydro power of the Columbia River in Washington State. I have noticed things that could have been done during the design and building that would have made for a better house in an energy-wise sense. The cost would have been more, but not a lot.
To re-do things is expensive. Thus, they do not get done.
For us, buying a parcel and building a new house, then selling the existing place would be an interesting possibility. That, of course, doesn’t improve the house built in 1981.

Reply to  Mark
November 8, 2019 4:43 pm

Mark….. insulation requirements in Southern California are nothing like Michigan. Most people could live without any artificial heating or cooling. Uncomfortable in some locations for certain parts of the year but not unmanageable. That doesn’t mean good insulation isn’t a wise choice though.

leo smith
Reply to  Mark
November 8, 2019 4:54 pm

I think it is very easy to extrapolate from limited knowledge to make a case either way when you have skin in the game: as an engineer educated before magic money tree cornucopianism i do cost benefit analysis.
What counts is whether cheap oil, cheap cobalt or cheap lithium runs out first, irrespective of how much there may left in the ground

And how you fail to defend yourself with ‘renewable’ tanks when someone with fossil powered ones crosses your border…

leo smith
Reply to  Mark
November 8, 2019 4:59 pm

USA has always been backwatd on energy efficiency..why? Simple. Because energy has been cheap. Because USA has plenty of energy!
In short everything is as it should be. God is in his place amd all is well!

November 8, 2019 3:19 pm

California’s politics is being run (funded) by the wealthy people who live on the coast where no heating and no air conditioning are no problem. No one else matters.

James A. Schrumpf
Reply to  Sean
November 8, 2019 4:49 pm

Victor Davis Hanson had a podcast relating to that topic a while ago. Basically, he pointed out that the lawmakers passing CAs new regulations live where it’s practically 72F year round and the ynever turn on the AC.

Contrast that with the folks in Salinas who gather in the Walmart for AC because they can’t afford to pay the electric bill.

Reply to  James A. Schrumpf
November 8, 2019 7:49 pm

VDH is from the Central Valley and so he has first hand knowledge and experience of the deleterious effects the elite’s BS laws have on the inhabitants there.

M__ S__
November 8, 2019 3:20 pm

I didn’t see it, but there must be a magic wand involved in their assumptions.

November 8, 2019 3:24 pm

Existing buildings or their subsystems would essentially have to be torn down/out and replaced …

To upgrade an existing building to R2000 standards, it would have to be gutted and the basement floor would have to be torn up. New construction to R2000 standards is much more expensive. Retrofitting R2000 is eyewateringly expensive. link

Someone in my town tore down a poor sad little house and built a net zero house. All the construction was custom. I am told that it cost a million bucks. My guess is that it is 1200 square feet.

The trouble with retrofitting is that it is all custom work and therefore expensive.

JRF in Pensacola
November 8, 2019 3:31 pm

Electrifying transportation presents a national security issue as well. An impaired or destroyed grid means nothing moves. No food, goods, first responders, etc. unless they use “old school” fossil fuels.

Reply to  JRF in Pensacola
November 8, 2019 4:09 pm

And…electric tanks, bombers, fighters, etc. Stupidity. When the oil business has been destroyed (collateral damage?) how do we defend the nation?

Reply to  Jimb
November 8, 2019 7:00 pm

Almost every product in the US is dependent upon oil, from aspirin to insulation on electrical wiring. Almost every job is dependent on products derived from oil – how much plastic is used in healthcare? Most pharmaceuticals, themselves, are synthesized from oil. How do you make computers, phones, synthetic clothing, shoes, etc. without materials derived from oil? Teslas EVs? Not without lightweight plastics, and a myriad of plastic components, rubber polymer for tires. The list is virtually endless. Destroy the oil industry and there’s nothing to manufacture, nothing to sell. Food will be scarce without fertilizers, pesticides, farming equipment, transportation…

In short, you won’t need to defend the nation. Destroy the oil business and we won’t have one to defend.

Moderately Cross of East Anglia
Reply to  Jimb
November 9, 2019 3:25 am

Are you sure anyone will want to invade and take over an unmitigated catastrophe ?
My guess is that any evil minded foe will just chortle and say “nothing to see here” and move on to something better.
We seem to be in a race to see which stupid bunch of world leaders screw their country first – with the green sickness well established in the UK don’t discount GB inc. being the first down the collapse of civilised life eco-toilet.

Reply to  JRF in Pensacola
November 8, 2019 4:09 pm

And…electric tanks, bombers, fighters, etc. Stupidity. When the oil business has been destroyed (collateral damage?) how do we defend the nation?

Reply to  JRF in Pensacola
November 8, 2019 5:40 pm

Hmmm, how do you pump those fossil fuels into the vehicles without electricity?

JRF in Pensacola
Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
November 8, 2019 10:42 pm

Many gas stations in Florida are required to have backup generators or transfer switches to hook up a generator. (Many of our grocers have backups, as well.) Don’t know about other states. A grid failure will be very disruptive but I expect that gas in retailers’ tanks will become available one way or another. But other impacts must be managed and they will be a challenge.

Jon Le Sage
November 8, 2019 3:34 pm

The bottom line is that SoCal Edison as well as PG & E (pacific graft and extortion) don’t really care.. They will do whatever the state mandates them to do.. And that is 100% renewables, which by the way are far from being renewable, by 2045.. Every dime spent will be passed on to the rate payer. We, here on the central coast, are paying an average of .24 cents per kwh.. and will continue to go up.. Currently 10% of our states electricity is generated from Diablo Canyon which is scheduled to go off line in 2025. We will also be losing the Helms pumped storage hydro electric power, because it uses off peak power from Diablo Canyon to pump water from the lower reservoir at night during off peak hours back up to the upper reservoir.. in addition to that, we are getting 6% of our electrical supply from coal powered plants in Arizona and Utah. By 2030 or earlier we will be down 16% of our electrical power supply.. Phasing in EV’s during this period of time will increase demand on our electrical grid with no net increase in supply.. Now, to top it all off, our governor is threatening to take over PG & E.. Wow, a failed state taking over a failed public utility. We will virtually be without any base load electrical power.. We will be looking at chaos in our large metropolitan areas.. This is not going to end will for the residents of this state…

bruce ryan
November 8, 2019 3:35 pm

there are legitimate reasons electric transportation is a ways off. But your statement is not one of them. The Tesla truck is capable of hauling heavy loads.
Now there is battery availability and grid infrastructure to be focused on. Believe me when I say electric cars and trucks are coming. And when you have one you will find it pretty neat.
Nuclear would be the best way to ensure the power to feed the little demons though.

Reply to  bruce ryan
November 8, 2019 4:15 pm

Oh, Lord, I hope not. But the function of government nowadays seems to be to force people to do expensive stupid things, and tax them to pay for it. Electric vehicles are slick looking, alright. But you can’t just pull in to a service station and fill up like I can with my ICE powered car.

tsk tsk
Reply to  bruce ryan
November 8, 2019 4:23 pm

Batteries aren’t coming and physics isn’t forgiving.

Reply to  bruce ryan
November 8, 2019 4:51 pm

Electric trucks might be feasible for short haul trucking, but their range is much inferior to diesel; not realistic for long haul.

leo smith
Reply to  bruce ryan
November 8, 2019 5:07 pm

The problem boils down to energy density. A plane can carry enough fuel to fly round the world – wth no payload.An electric vehicle can run for at best a couple of hundred miles before needing a time consuming recharge.

If that is acceptable performance then at a significantly higher cost, an electric vehicle plus nuclear power station will reduce CO2 emissions.
If reducing CO2 emissions is in fact a remotely relevant thing to do…

Rud Istvan
Reply to  bruce ryan
November 8, 2019 5:14 pm

According to Musk. But not far and not often. See just submitted part 3 of 6.

Reply to  bruce ryan
November 8, 2019 5:53 pm

I’m going on my 600 mile loop tomorrow. It will take me 10 to 12 hours for the 6 or 8 site visits that I have scheduled. I need to do this in the daylight hours … tell me how I am going to be able to do it with electric powered transport (it will be 32 degrees when I leave and will be an average temp of about 42 degrees throughout the entire day).

One of my options would be to rent space and have a second car to switch to half way through. I would need to raise rates by 30% to make this work, which means that I would lose 75% of business which means that I would have raise rates by another %120 which means that I would have no clients.

Get me an electric car that can accommodate my needs and I will find it pretty neat. I’ll save $160 per month on fuel so It will pencil out if the electric vehicle life cost is less than about $24,000. I agree, that would be pretty neat.

James A. Schrumpf
Reply to  bruce ryan
November 8, 2019 5:58 pm

Just looked at the Tesla “pickup truck.” That. Is not. A pickup truck. It’s got no bed. What there is looks to be smaller than the back seat of the 1968 Chrysler Newport I took my driver’s test in.

It’s very stylish and very modern, but you aren’t going to put a load of 8ft 2x4s back there, nor two yards of gravel.

But its got a lot of charging ports for your battery pack work tools. It’s also claimed to be able to tow 300,000lbs. How far, I wonder?

It’s a dilettante’s plaything, and it looks like it.

Trying to Play Nice
Reply to  James A. Schrumpf
November 9, 2019 6:36 am

The towing load for pickups has a lot to do with how strong the frame/unibody is. How long can it tow 300,000 lbs before it falls apart?

Patrick MJD
Reply to  bruce ryan
November 8, 2019 6:28 pm

Tesla will not release the data regarding the size and weight of the battery. With working truck the dead weight of something like a battery is subtracted from the working carrying capacity of the whole vehicle. As the energy stored in the battery is used up, the vehicle weighs the same, unlike a diesel powered vehicle.

Good luck with a Tesla truck in remote outback Australia. Might take a week to charge the battery with solar.

Reply to  bruce ryan
November 8, 2019 8:35 pm

Ok, consider this:

Let’s suppose they have a battery capable of powering an electric pickup:

The truck’s body cannot be a lightweight, thin aluminum skin. The bed, at least, must be steel and have heavy duty shocks.
It must be able to carry a reasonable size load.
It must be able to go at least 150 miles on a charge.
It must not be priced much more than an ICE pickup. The market for a hundred thousand dollar plus pickup would be small.

If they could do that, then why aren’t they putting that battery in a lightweight Tesla, and getting 500 miles, or more, on a charge? The answer is, they can’t offer all of that in a single package. I suggest you don’t hold your breath waiting for Tesla pickups taking marketshare from the Ford F-150.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  jtom
November 9, 2019 3:42 am

Exactly! And is the most popular vehicle sold in America, one every few seconds. Tesla’s pipedream.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  jtom
November 9, 2019 7:12 am

“If they could do that, then why aren’t they putting that battery in a lightweight Tesla, and getting 500 miles, or more, on a charge?”

That reminds me of the ad I saw the other day for a new all-electric Ford Mustang. It’s electric motor supposedly puts out 900 horsepower! Drop the horsepower down and get more mileage. I don’t know why anyone would need 900 horsepower, other than to show off.

The auto industry apparently isn’t taking CO2 seriously as they are putting out numerous models that have internal combustion engines of well over 400 horsepower. Four hundred horsepower is appropriate for a vehicle like a GMC Yukon full-sized SUV. Smaller cars probably don’t need that much horsepower. But, it’s always nice to have the option. 🙂

I guess the auto industry is offsettng these increasing ICE horsepower numbers with their hybrids and full-electric vehicles. More power to them. I just don’t want some ignorant politicians mandating the kind of car I drive, or anything else, for that matter.

Reply to  Tom Abbott
November 9, 2019 9:53 am

I have a 450hp V8 sedan. Necessary? Hell no. Fun? Hell yes!

Let the market sort this stuff out.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Mystral
November 11, 2019 3:10 am

Pointless in Aus with legal open max speed limits off 110kph, ~70mph.

John Q Public
Reply to  jtom
November 11, 2019 9:07 pm
Trying to Play Nice
Reply to  bruce ryan
November 9, 2019 6:30 am

“The Tesla truck is capable of hauling heavy loads.”

We’ve had that statement debunked on WUWT before. The heavier the load, the more batteries needed, which means the vehicle is heavier and needs more batteries just to move. I don’t know what you consider heavy but I’m sure most logistics managers would not agree with you. How many Tesla trucks have Knight-Swift, JB Hunt and Schneider National ordered?

Michael F
November 8, 2019 3:53 pm

I have personal experience of the Australian Crash Test Dummy. It is now in the final stage of decay. Pensioners and old people are having their electricity service cut off at alarming rates but there are State Premiers (Governors for US States) how still persist in destroying (physically) coal fires power stations. The dummy is dead but the Greens and left-wing politicians still want it resuscitated. They still haven’t noticed the head injuries or the catastrophic injuries to the torso. Only when the dummy is in fragments will our politicians notice that there is something wrong.

Reply to  Michael F
November 8, 2019 5:24 pm

But Tim has all the answers for you because he’s an unbiased academic-
The Gretaheads are coming out of the woodwork thick and fast now and there’s an air of desperation about them all with their media lapdogs. Something’s got them all riled up.

November 8, 2019 4:09 pm

What else would you expect from a Marxist/Socialist government? Money is not not an object when 1. You are saving the world, and 2. When it’s OP’s money…. namely the wealthy and corporations. It is interesting to note that none of the save the world green schemes in California have been voted on by the people. All are top down mandates using funky verbiage and reasoning to skirt the state Constitution around taxation by citing environmental emergencies and claiming the money stolen will only be used to mitigate the damage caused. Along with that add a blatantly biased Federal circuit court and you have a totalitarian state. Unfortunately there is so much money in California …. an economy only exceeded by a handful of nations …. they can get away with it. For now, but it won’t/can’t last forever.

Larry Hamlin
November 8, 2019 4:24 pm

This stupid scheme is pure climate alarmist politics and will only led to degraded grid reliability, power shortages, blackouts, high costs, etc. I’m sure this driven by politics at the state government level.

Reply to  Larry Hamlin
November 8, 2019 7:08 pm

Don’t you SEE the business opportunity this presents?

November 8, 2019 4:32 pm

Climate action may be difficult but as long as it is based on the science of carbon budgets, it would be hard to argue with. Just a matter of optimizing the method to be used to comply with the carbon budget in the most efficient and economic way given the options.

Russ R.
November 8, 2019 4:54 pm

A “Roadmap” implies there is a road from “here-to-there” that you can travel on with a suitable transportation device.
They don’t have a road and they don’t have a method of transportation.
They only have a destination that is worse than their current location.
Too bad they are too dumb to understand that “good intentions” do not provide tangible methods to meet your goals. A modern day enactment of “The Emperor’s New Clothes”.
In most of the country the first cold snap would put an end to this silliness.

November 8, 2019 4:54 pm

One question: am I going to live long enough to see the end of this egregious nonsense?

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Sara
November 8, 2019 5:32 pm

Dunno. How old are you?
I am now 69 and have been fighting this since discovering it by accident in 2011 (first WUWT post then was a revelation). I plan to live long enough to win this thing bigly. A six part series contributed per CtM in just a few days is only illustrative of my resolve.

Reply to  Rud Istvan
November 8, 2019 10:32 pm

Looking forward to your posts Rudd. Stanford de-commissioned their natural gas fired central station a couple of years ago. It appears that they are adding more PV to their generation portfolio.

Title: Stanford University Comments on SB 100 Joint Agency Report Process

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Rud Istvan
November 8, 2019 11:47 pm

I’m 57. I’m a retired USAF officer, USAF Academy grad, Civil Eng + PhD biologist.
At 18 yo, I swore an oath to defend the US Constitution against all enemies; foreign and domestic. Pres Ronald Reagan personally handed me my officer’s commission on 30 May 84.
I’ll fight the Socialist Warren’s and Marxist Sander’s to my grave with my last breath.

Joel O’Bryan
November 8, 2019 6:08 pm

The problem of course is Cal is rapidly destined to become the Puerto Rico of the West.
– Fiscally in arrears.
– Soon a Declining educated and young tech population due to out migration.
– Terrific beaches to visit only.
– Nice weather for the most part.
– A Totally stupid and corrupt political class.

Cal meet Puerto Rico including the language barrier.

November 8, 2019 6:08 pm

The CA state government acts like they are these great “green environmentalist” about the air, while they have sucked the Colorado River dry for over 75 years, promoting a population living in a desert (LA and surrounding area), destroying natural habitat and wildlife….so millions now pollute the area with car exhaust and require massive electrical grid support…then deny the clean option of nuclear energy…. yet in central/northern CA, where the farmers need to divert river water to irrigate fields to grow the food to feed this population, they throw up every “snail darter” or whatever critter they can locate which is unknown out side the zoological world to block “the annihilation of a species…..What a farce. in the early 2000’s some of them figured the evaporation rate from water flowing across the desert north of Palm Springs was so high, they had to build covers over the duct to block the sun…should have used solar panels…maybe they have now… Turn off that water sucked out of the Colorado River for hundreds of miles and things would get really dicey. Look Close, CA is the least Green state in the union.

Beta Blocker
November 8, 2019 6:14 pm

Before reading the Southern California Edison white paper, I will repost a comment from August 2019 concerning Vanadium-flow redox batteries:

Capital costs, and replacement & disposal costs, have been the big bugaboo with the current generation of grid-scale lithium-ion storage batteries. Vanadium-flow redox batteries are now being promoted as the solution to wind and solar’s intermittency issues. Here is an article from Forbes about the WattJoule V-flow battery.

“The latest technology to emerge is the vanadium redox battery, also known as the vanadium-flow battery. And the best one seems to be from WattJoule, especially because their cost is so much lower than other V-flow batteries.”

In announcing their decision to close Diablo Canyon by 2025, PG&E’s management in San Francisco claimed that reaching 70% renewable electricity for California by 2030 is doable. But they didn’t say how exactly that goal could be achieved, only that it could be done.

It would not be unreasonable to demand that PG&E do a hard dollar engineering feasibility study to determine what specific steps must be taken to reach 70% renewable electricity for their customers by 2030, including how much grid-scale battery storage must be purchased and installed.

If the WattJoule V-flow system is the best that will be available throughout the 2020’s, then the 70% by 2030 engineering study should use that system as the cost basis estimating source for California’s grid-scale battery storage requirements.

What if PG&E says no to such a demand? If that is the case, then the California Independent System Operator (ISO) should to be given direction and funding to perform this study.


Here in the US Northwest, 20 GW of coal fired capacity that currently serves the region will be retiring within the next decade. The region’s politicians want the replacement power to come exclusively from wind and solar backed by batteries.

Our regional power planners know right now that wind and solar can’t get the job done and that if more gas-fired capacity isn’t allowed, then much of the ‘replacement power’ must come from aggressive energy conservation measures.

November 8, 2019 6:32 pm

“Renewables are not economically viable without massive subsidies.”
In short,
“Renewables are not economically viable”.
There are some purposes that renewables are fantastic for.
Number one would be boosting water heating because the heated hot water is a bit like a short term safe battery storage just of heat.
Charging small electronic batteries.
Possibly backing up hydro power by repumping the water up when not needed.
The rest seems to be a total scam.
To feed it into a grid without making the grid unstable is an issue in itself.
Finding a use for it when it is in is another.
There is very little said of how spare energy is disposed of given most of it cannot be stored.
Perhaps a Utility person with more knowledge could comment.
The main stream seems to gloss it over

November 8, 2019 6:46 pm

“Third, as WUWT matures and changes from just the climate science to the climate politics…”
I’m out of here.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Brian
November 8, 2019 8:12 pm

bye, whimp

Reply to  Rud Istvan
November 10, 2019 5:30 am

This site has to move away from climate science. It has lost the scientific argument. When that happens, it devolves into the politics of the climate.

Roger Knights
Reply to  Brian
November 8, 2019 9:09 pm

I think by “political” he meant analyzing the cost-effectiveness of Green New Deal proposals, which isn’t that big a change.

November 8, 2019 6:49 pm

why is no one designing a replaceable battery pack…pull into the charging station, pull out the dead and push in a fully charged battery and drive on…it will look ugly… for a while…
we switch out propane tanks on the grills and forklifts and industrial motor equipment all the time…
i don’t believe in man-made global warming, but the chatter I read seem silly regarding vehicles…design a “slide in/slide out” battery pack and a recharge could take less time than pumping a tank of gas.

Steve Reddish
Reply to  Deacon
November 8, 2019 8:44 pm

Propane tanks don’t loose capacity with each fill/discharge. Batteries do. No one will want to make that first swap out on their new EV, when they will give up their new battery for a half-worn-out one.


Reply to  Deacon
November 9, 2019 5:26 am

Sounds great… on paper… to people who don’t bother with details. Swapping out a half ton battery on vehicles with disparate form factors is in no way comparable to putting a nozzle in a hole and squeezing the trigger to fill up a tank. Have you ever gotten your oil changed in the time it takes to fill your tank? Didn’t think so. Swapping out batteries would be similar if not longer, and more expensive due to specialized manpower or automation needs.

November 8, 2019 7:03 pm

Economics of Nuclear Reactor“-
by Prof. David Ruzic,
Prof of Nuclear, Plasma and Radiological Engineering,
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Start here – WILDLY PROFITABLE (as shown against a gas plant) after 13 years (14 min 55 secs in)

Flight Level
November 8, 2019 7:06 pm

Electrified transport: The forces of nature watching lithium battery powered aircraft lining downwind and the thunderstorm says to the downdraft “Hold my beer” …

Roger Knights
November 8, 2019 9:16 pm

I hope WUWT will run a refutation of this UN document. (Or has it done so already?):
Here’s a paragraph by a commenter, M. Clark, on the Seeking Alpha financial site, followed by quotes from the UN paper:

UN Climate Change News, 6 September 2018 – A major report released by the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate finds that many people are significantly under-estimating the benefits of cleaner, climate-smart growth. Bold climate action could deliver at least 26 trillion USD in economic benefits through to 2030, compared with business-as-usual.
“Climate action and socio-economic progress are mutually supportive. Yet, despite some encouraging momentum, we are not making progress fast enough. Climate change is running faster than we are.”, said António Guterres during remarks at the launch of the report.

Key ref: The 2018 Report of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate
extracts from summary:

“We are entering a new era of economic growth. This approach can deliver growth that is strong, sustainable, balanced, and inclusive. It is driven by the interaction between rapid technological innovation, sustainable infrastructure investment, and **** increased resource productivity ****.”

This is our ‘use it or lose it’ moment. Investing the US$90 trillion to build the right infrastructure now will deliver a new era of economic growth. […] Getting it wrong, on the other hand, will lock us into a high-polluting, low productivity, and deeply unequal future.

Smarter urban development: Better urban planning and strategic infrastructure investment, *** particularly the expansion of public and non-motorised transport networks ***, can overcome bottlenecks to economic growth – such as congestion and air pollution – for more liveable cities.

A circular industrial economy: From 1970 to 2010, annual global extraction of materials grew from almost 22 to 70 billion tonnes […] Today, 95% of plastic packaging material value—as much as US$120 billion annually—is lost after first use.13 Policies which encourage more circular, efficient use of materials (especially metals, petrochemicals and construction materials) could enhance global economic activity, as well as reduce waste and pollution.

and lastly

But, overall, we are still not making progress fast enough toward a new climate economy. The policy hand-brake is still on. Policy-makers are not taking sufficiently bold action to escape the legacy economic systems. [..] Fossil fuels as a share of final energy consumption remains stubbornly around 80% – roughly the same percentage as at the beginning of the 1990s. […] Mixed policy signals and hedging is slowing the momentum driving the new growth approach. It also triggers market uncertainty and increases stranded asset risk. […] The cost of hedging – taking action, but too slowly and with mixed signals to the market – is rising.

November 8, 2019 10:00 pm

Nice and concise and to the point. Very digestible and good length for a blog article.

November 9, 2019 1:08 am

Hmmm.. plenty of places where renewables supply large percentages of the power, without bankrupting anyone… and with falling costs and a continued improvement in the tech there is absolutely no reason why southern California shouldn’t easily move to renewable power.

the statements as to why this plan won’t work are just assertions based on faith and political opinion, not technological fact and economics.

Capell Aris
Reply to  griff
November 9, 2019 6:33 am

‘the statements as to why this plan won’t work are just assertions based on faith and political opinion, not technological fact and economics.’

Obviously: a statement made by someone who has made no attempt to scan the literature on renewable generation.

Reply to  griff
November 9, 2019 7:19 am


There are some assumptions in the plans to meet CA’s goals-

Some of them are going to be discussed in SF-

“The California Energy Commission (CEC), the California Public Utilities Commission
(CPUC), and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) will conduct a joint workshop
to discuss technologies and inputs for technical analysis to inform the joint agency
report required by Senate Bill (SB) 100, the “100 Percent Clean Energy Act of 2018″ (de
León, Chapter 312, Statutes of 2018).
Monday, November 18, 2019
9:30 a.m.”

For more information:

Russ R.
Reply to  griff
November 9, 2019 7:55 am

Totally ignoring the reality of their situation.
Energy density is the key problem that “renewable” cannot overcome. Fossil fuels are renewable energy from thousands of years, converted to chemical forms. It can be released with great power, without devoting huge resources to:
– to capture current low density energy
-convert it to a usable form
-transport it to where it is needed
-AND store it for use when it is needed and the low energy source is a non-energy source.

If food and drinking water cost 10x what they currently do it would not bankrupt the majority of the developed world. We would sacrifice less important things and devote more of our resources to those important factors. But by sacrificing we would all have to do more, and get less for our efforts.
Some of the things that we would have to sacrifice are things that keep people alive in earthquakes, fire storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding, and other severe natural occurrences.
Lives would be lost, because we chose the wrong path in providing basic necessities for our lives. Thankfully the free market provides for us the most efficient methods, if we let the combined intelligence of the consumers and suppliers “subsidize the good, and not support the wasteful.”

Bureaucracies cannot do this as well, and no matter how good their intentions are, they never will be able to process the needs and incentives of the masses, the way those masses can. And in the case of humans “good intentions” are always biased to “what is good for me and my tribe”.
Which always translates to reward my group, by taking from those outside my supporters. Taking resources from those that created the value of those resource, and giving it to me and mine, because we are more incentivized by a “system of political power” to take, than to earn.
The genius of elections is the opportunity to change the current thief in charge, for one that will increase his support by making things a little better for more people. Which usually requires the thief to take less of the money that will now be to expand operations, hire more people, and improve the lives of those that produce goods and services that customers are willing to pay for, to make their lives better.
CA seems to reject that notion and is moving in the opposite direction.

Bryan A
Reply to  griff
November 9, 2019 2:39 pm

2 questions…(I’ll ask the first now and await a reply (if one ever comes) prior to wording and asking the second)
1) Given that 97% of Climate scientists agree, what percentage of the population at large feels similar?

CC is bad
CC will be apocalyptic
CC needs to be tacked in less than 12 years.
Immediate transformation of society is required.

November 9, 2019 1:10 am

The thing to remember is the object is not to replace current energy production levels with a ‘green’ supply , but to have supply limited to such an extent that massive usage reductions are required to match the possible supply.
Hence de-industrialization which forms part of the ‘return to Eden’ ideology of the greens.

For example they know EV cannot do the job , but that is the point with EV or nothing that means very few people get to have a car in the first place.

Heribert Hofer
November 9, 2019 10:18 am

Lithium batteries can not be completely recycled. It is an ecologic desaster.

Patrick MJD
November 11, 2019 3:11 am

Griff, the gift that keeps giving!

Johann Wundersamer
November 21, 2019 4:42 am

“This first part provides a ‘30000 foot’ overview of the whole thing. Pathway 2045 to Zero Net Carbon California comprises five separate ‘solution’ parts:

1. Decarbonize electricity
2. Electrify transportation

“Electrifying transportation (Tesla) also runs into three problems. First, the required grid capacity increment is enormous. Second, vehicles like work pickups or class 8 tractors cannot be electrified, despite Tesla’s imaginary promises to the contrary—all battery, no cargo capacity.”

– and then there’s the Firefighters electro mobilising helicopters dilemma : huge waterbags / big batteries | vice versa

How Helicopters Fight Wildfires in California |

Johann Wundersamer
November 21, 2019 4:47 am

There are three climate response crash test dummies in the world today: Australia, UK, and California –> There are five climate response crash test dummies in the world today: Australia, UK, California, Denmark and Germany.

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