Surprising science – There’s no such thing as clean energy

Meticulous Research Review Questions Environmental Impacts and Feasibility of “Green Energy” Transition

A meticulous new review published in the scientific journal, Energies, conducted by a team of Irish and US-based researchers including CERES researchers, raises surprising and unsettling questions about the feasibility and the environmental impacts of the transition to renewable energy sources. Concern for climate change has driven massive investment in new “green energy” policies intended to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and other environmental impacts from the fossil fuel industry. The world spent US$3,660 billion on climate change projects over the eight-year period 2011–2018. A total of 55% of this sum was spent on solar and wind energy, while only 5% was spent on adapting to the impacts of extreme weather events.

Surprising environmental impacts

The researchers discovered that renewable energy sources sometimes contribute to problems they were designed to solve. For example, a series of international studies have found that both wind and solar farms are themselves causing local climate change. Wind farms increase the temperature of the soil beneath them, and this warming causes soil microbes to release more carbon dioxide. So, ironically, while wind energy might be partially reducing human “carbon emissions”, it is also increasing the “carbon emissions” from natural sources.

Photographs showing two different kinds of “wake effect” at off-shore wind farms off the shores of Denmark. (a) Photograph by Christian Steiness shows the wake effect of cold humid air passing over a warmer sea surface, adapted from Figure 2 of Hasager et al. (2013), reproduced under Creative Commons copyright license CC BY 3.0. (b) Photograph by Bel Air Aviation Denmark – Helicopter Services shows the wake effect of warm humid air passing over a cooler sea surface, adapted from Figure 2 of Hasager et al. (2017).  Reproduced under Creative Commons copyright license CC BY 4.0.

Green energy technologies require a 10-fold increase in mineral extraction compared to fossil fuel electricity. Similarly, replacing just 50 million of the world’s estimated 1.3 billion cars with electric vehicles would require more than doubling the world’s annual production of cobalt, neodymium, and lithium, and using more than half the world’s current annual copper production.

Solar and wind farms also need 100 times the land area of fossil fuel-generated electricity, and these resulting changes in land use can have a devastating effect on biodiversity. The effects of bioenergy on biodiversity are worse, and the increased use of crops such as palm oil for biofuels is already contributing to the destruction of rainforests and other natural habitats.

Perplexing financial implications  

Surprisingly, more than half (55%) of all global climate expenditure in the years 2011‒2018 was spent on solar and wind energy ‒ a total of US$2,000 billion. Despite this, wind and solar energy still produced only 3% of world energy consumption in the year 2018, while the fossil fuels (oil, coal and gas) produced 85% between them. This raises pressing questions about what it would cost to make the transition to 100% renewable energies, as some researchers suggest.

As lead author Coilín ÓhAiseadha says: “It cost the world $2 trillion to increase the share of energy generated by solar and wind from half a percent to three percent, and it took eight years to do it. What would it cost to increase that to 100%? And how long would it take?”

World energy consumption by source, 2018. Data from BP (2019).

Daunting engineering challenges

Engineers have always known that large solar and wind farms are plagued by the so-called “intermittency problem”. Unlike conventional electricity generation sources which provide continuous and reliable energy 24/7 on demand, wind and solar farms only produce electricity when there is wind or sunlight.

“The average household expects their fridges and freezers to run continuously and to be able to turn on and off the lights on demand. Wind and solar promoters need to start admitting that they are not capable of providing this type of continuous and on-demand electricity supply on a national scale that modern societies are used to,” says Dr Ronan Connolly, co-author of the new review.

The problem is not easily solved by large-scale battery storage because it would require huge batteries covering many hectares of land. Tesla has built a large battery to stabilize the grid in South Australia. It has a capacity of 100 MW/129 MWh and covers a hectare of land. One of the papers reviewed in this new study estimated that, if the state of Alberta, Canada, were to switch from coal to renewable energy, using natural gas and battery storage as back-up, it would require 100 of these large batteries to meet peak demand.

Some researchers have suggested that the variations in energy production can be evened out by building continental electricity transmission networks, e.g., a network connecting wind farms in north-west Europe with solar farms in the south-east, but this requires massive investment. It is likely to create bottlenecks where the capacity of inter-connections is insufficient, and does not do away with the underlying vulnerability to lulls in sun and wind that can last for days on end.

Hurting the poorest

A series of studies from Europe, the U.S. and China shows that carbon taxes tend to lay the greatest burden on the poorest households and rural-dwellers.

Although the primary motivation for green energy policies is concern over climate change, only 5% of climate expenditure has been dedicated to climate adaptation. Climate adaptation includes helping

developing countries to better respond to extreme weather events such as hurricanes. The need to build climate adaptation infrastructure and emergency response systems may conflict with the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, because fossil fuels are generally the most readily available source of cheap energy for development.

With regards to indigenous peoples, the review highlights the fact that all energy technologies can have severe impacts on local communities, particularly if they are not properly consulted. Cobalt mining, required to make batteries for e-vehicles, has severe impacts on the health of women and children in mining communities, where the mining is often done in unregulated, small-scale, “artisanal” mines. Lithium extraction, also required for manufacturing batteries for e-vehicles, requires large quantities of water, and can cause pollution and shortages of fresh water for local communities.

As lead author, Coilín ÓhAiseadha, points out: “There was worldwide coverage of the conflict between the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the Dakota Access Pipeline, but what about the impacts of cobalt mining on indigenous peoples in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and what about the impacts of lithium extraction on the peoples of the Atacama Desert? Remember the slogan they chanted at Standing Rock? Mni Wiconi! Water is life! Well, that applies whether you’re Standing Rock Sioux worried about an oil spill polluting the river, or you’re in the Atacama Desert worried about lithium mining polluting your groundwater.”

Overview of the paper

The review, published in a Special Issue of the journal Energies on 16 September, covers 39 pages, with 14 full-color figures and two tables, detailing the breakdown of climate change expenditure and the pros and cons of all of the various options: wind, solar, hydro, nuclear, fossil fuels, bioenergy, tidal and geothermal. For the review, the researchers searched meticulously through hundreds of research papers published throughout the whole of the English-speaking world, in a wide range of fields, including engineering, environment, energy and climate policy. The final report includes references to 255 research papers covering all of these fields, and it concludes with a table summarizing the pros and cons of all of the various energy technologies. Research team members were based in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, and the United States.

The review was published as an open-access peer-review paper and can be downloaded for free from the following URL: https://www.mdpi.com/1996-1073/13/18/4839 .

The full citation is as follows: ÓhAiseadha, C.; Quinn, G.; Connolly, R.; Connolly, M.; Soon, W. Energy and Climate Policy—An Evaluation of Global Climate Change Expenditure 2011–2018. Energies 2020, 13, 4839.

Funding: C.Ó., G.Q., and M.C. received no external funding for works on this paper. R.C. and W.S. received financial support from the Center for Environmental Research and Earth Sciences (CERES), while carrying out the research for this paper. The aim of CERES is to promote open-minded and independent scientific inquiry. For this reason, donors to CERES are strictly required not to attempt to influence either the research directions or the findings of CERES. Readers interested in supporting CERES can find details at  Link.

A meticulous new review published in the scientific journal, Energies, conducted by a team of Irish and US-based researchers including CERES researchers, raises surprising and unsettling questions about the feasibility and the environmental impacts of the transition to renewable energy sources. Concern for climate change has driven massive investment in new “green energy” policies intended to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and other environmental impacts from the fossil fuel industry. The world spent US$3,660 billion on climate change projects over the eight-year period 2011–2018. A total of 55% of this sum was spent on solar and wind energy, while only 5% was spent on adapting to the impacts of extreme weather events.

Surprising environmental impacts

The researchers discovered that renewable energy sources sometimes contribute to problems they were designed to solve. For example, a series of international studies have found that both wind and solar farms are themselves causing local climate change. Wind farms increase the temperature of the soil beneath them, and this warming causes soil microbes to release more carbon dioxide. So, ironically, while wind energy might be partially reducing human “carbon emissions”, it is also increasing the “carbon emissions” from natural sources.

Photographs showing two different kinds of “wake effect” at off-shore wind farms off the shores of Denmark. (a) Photograph by Christian Steiness shows the wake effect of cold humid air passing over a warmer sea surface, adapted from Figure 2 of Hasager et al. (2013), reproduced under Creative Commons copyright license CC BY 3.0. (b) Photograph by Bel Air Aviation Denmark – Helicopter Services shows the wake effect of warm humid air passing over a cooler sea surface, adapted from Figure 2 of Hasager et al. (2017).  Reproduced under Creative Commons copyright license CC BY 4.0.

Green energy technologies require a 10-fold increase in mineral extraction compared to fossil fuel electricity. Similarly, replacing just 50 million of the world’s estimated 1.3 billion cars with electric vehicles would require more than doubling the world’s annual production of cobalt, neodymium, and lithium, and using more than half the world’s current annual copper production.

Solar and wind farms also need 100 times the land area of fossil fuel-generated electricity, and these resulting changes in land use can have a devastating effect on biodiversity. The effects of bioenergy on biodiversity are worse, and the increased use of crops such as palm oil for biofuels is already contributing to the destruction of rainforests and other natural habitats.

Perplexing financial implications  

Surprisingly, more than half (55%) of all global climate expenditure in the years 2011‒2018 was spent on solar and wind energy ‒ a total of US$2,000 billion. Despite this, wind and solar energy still produced only 3% of world energy consumption in the year 2018, while the fossil fuels (oil, coal and gas) produced 85% between them. This raises pressing questions about what it would cost to make the transition to 100% renewable energies, as some researchers suggest.

As lead author Coilín ÓhAiseadha says: “It cost the world $2 trillion to increase the share of energy generated by solar and wind from half a percent to three percent, and it took eight years to do it. What would it cost to increase that to 100%? And how long would it take?”

World energy consumption by source, 2018. Data from BP (2019).

Daunting engineering challenges

Engineers have always known that large solar and wind farms are plagued by the so-called “intermittency problem”. Unlike conventional electricity generation sources which provide continuous and reliable energy 24/7 on demand, wind and solar farms only produce electricity when there is wind or sunlight.

“The average household expects their fridges and freezers to run continuously and to be able to turn on and off the lights on demand. Wind and solar promoters need to start admitting that they are not capable of providing this type of continuous and on-demand electricity supply on a national scale that modern societies are used to,” says Dr Ronan Connolly, co-author of the new review.

The problem is not easily solved by large-scale battery storage because it would require huge batteries covering many hectares of land. Tesla has built a large battery to stabilize the grid in South Australia. It has a capacity of 100 MW/129 MWh and covers a hectare of land. One of the papers reviewed in this new study estimated that, if the state of Alberta, Canada, were to switch from coal to renewable energy, using natural gas and battery storage as back-up, it would require 100 of these large batteries to meet peak demand.

Some researchers have suggested that the variations in energy production can be evened out by building continental electricity transmission networks, e.g., a network connecting wind farms in north-west Europe with solar farms in the south-east, but this requires massive investment. It is likely to create bottlenecks where the capacity of inter-connections is insufficient, and does not do away with the underlying vulnerability to lulls in sun and wind that can last for days on end.

Hurting the poorest

A series of studies from Europe, the U.S. and China shows that carbon taxes tend to lay the greatest burden on the poorest households and rural-dwellers.

Although the primary motivation for green energy policies is concern over climate change, only 5% of climate expenditure has been dedicated to climate adaptation. Climate adaptation includes helping

developing countries to better respond to extreme weather events such as hurricanes. The need to build climate adaptation infrastructure and emergency response systems may conflict with the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, because fossil fuels are generally the most readily available source of cheap energy for development.

With regards to indigenous peoples, the review highlights the fact that all energy technologies can have severe impacts on local communities, particularly if they are not properly consulted. Cobalt mining, required to make batteries for e-vehicles, has severe impacts on the health of women and children in mining communities, where the mining is often done in unregulated, small-scale, “artisanal” mines. Lithium extraction, also required for manufacturing batteries for e-vehicles, requires large quantities of water, and can cause pollution and shortages of fresh water for local communities.

As lead author, Coilín ÓhAiseadha, points out: “There was worldwide coverage of the conflict between the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the Dakota Access Pipeline, but what about the impacts of cobalt mining on indigenous peoples in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and what about the impacts of lithium extraction on the peoples of the Atacama Desert? Remember the slogan they chanted at Standing Rock? Mni Wiconi! Water is life! Well, that applies whether you’re Standing Rock Sioux worried about an oil spill polluting the river, or you’re in the Atacama Desert worried about lithium mining polluting your groundwater.”

Overview of the paper

The review, published in a Special Issue of the journal Energies on 16 September, covers 39 pages, with 14 full-color figures and two tables, detailing the breakdown of climate change expenditure and the pros and cons of all of the various options: wind, solar, hydro, nuclear, fossil fuels, bioenergy, tidal and geothermal. For the review, the researchers searched meticulously through hundreds of research papers published throughout the whole of the English-speaking world, in a wide range of fields, including engineering, environment, energy and climate policy. The final report includes references to 255 research papers covering all of these fields, and it concludes with a table summarizing the pros and cons of all of the various energy technologies. Research team members were based in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, and the United States.

The review was published as an open-access peer-review paper and can be downloaded for free from the following URL: https://www.mdpi.com/1996-1073/13/18/4839 .

The full citation is as follows: ÓhAiseadha, C.; Quinn, G.; Connolly, R.; Connolly, M.; Soon, W. Energy and Climate Policy—An Evaluation of Global Climate Change Expenditure 2011–2018. Energies 2020, 13, 4839.

###

If you would like more information about this scientific review paper, please contact (available Monday‒Friday, 10h‒18h GMT):

Ronan Connolly at +353 89 250 1433 (phone or WhatsApp) or ronan@ceres-science.com  

Coilín ÓhAiseadha at +353 89 245 4313 (phone or WhatsApp) or coohais@gmail.com


https://www.ceres-science.com/content/Renewables.html

94 thoughts on “Surprising science – There’s no such thing as clean energy

    • Dark energy is what you are looking for. Dark energy produced by generation plants consisting of dark matter. String theory describes these processes. Prices to be adjusted by cosmic inflation. Dark energy does not require any land usage nor are there any negative consequences. It is almost as if it isn’t even there.

        • interesting question

          white sunlight in the visible spectrum has all the colors we know off in it – you can simulate by additive mixing the various light-sourced colors of the visible spectrum

          black (or rather a dark gray) may result from substractive mixing of the various paint-sourced colors in our visible spectrum

          and then…

          a white surface reflects all the colors from the visible spectrum

          a black surface absorbs all the colors from the visible spectrum

          so although black and white are opposites, somehow all the colors of the visible spectrum are involved with the existence of both…

          … never thought about it that way…

  1. Yup – see Statement 2, published 19 years ago. We’ve known this since ~forever.

    https://electroverse.net/new-little-ice-age-instead-of-global-warming-by-dr-theodor-landscheidt/#comment-22385

    OUR THREE MAJOR STATEMENTS MADE IN 2002*
    Statements 1 and 2 below are by now accepted as true by competent scientists and engineers.
    Statement 3 is looking increasingly probable, as there is increasing evidence of the beginning of global cooling.

    In 2002 co-authors Dr Sallie Baliunas, Astrophysicist, Harvard-Smithsonian, Dr Tim Patterson, Paleoclimatologist, Carleton, Ottawa and Allan MacRae published the following which are correct to date:
    http://www.friendsofscience.org/assets/documents/KyotoAPEGA2002REV1.pdf

    1. “CLIMATE SCIENCE DOES NOT SUPPORT THE THEORY OF CATASTROPHIC HUMAN-MADE GLOBAL WARMING – THE ALLEGED WARMING CRISIS DOES NOT EXIST.”
    See Michael Shellenberger’s 2020 confession “On Behalf Of Environmentalists, I Apologize For The Climate Scare”. https://quillette.com/2020/06/30/on-behalf-of-environmentalists-i-apologize-for-the-climate-scare/

    THE CATASTROPHIC ANTHROPOGENIC GLOBAL WARMING (CAGW) AND THE HUMANMADE CLIMATE CHANGE CRISES ARE PROVED FALSE
    By Allan M.R. MacRae, B.A.Sc.(Eng.), M.Eng., January 10, 2020
    https://thsresearch.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/the-catastrophic-anthropogenic-global-warming-cagw-and-the-humanmade-climate-change-crises-are-proved-false.pdf

    2. “THE ULTIMATE AGENDA OF PRO-KYOTO ADVOCATES IS TO ELIMINATE FOSSIL FUELS, BUT THIS WOULD RESULT IN A CATASTROPHIC SHORTFALL IN GLOBAL ENERGY SUPPLY – THE WASTEFUL, INEFFICIENT ENERGY SOLUTIONS PROPOSED BY KYOTO ADVOCATES SIMPLY CANNOT REPLACE FOSSIL FUELS.”
    See Michael Moore’s 2020 film “Planet of the Humans”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zk11vI-7czE

    CO2, GLOBAL WARMING, CLIMATE AND ENERGY
    by Allan M.R. MacRae, B.A.Sc., M.Eng., June 15, 2019
    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2019/06/15/co2-global-warming-climate-and-energy-2/
    Excel: https://wattsupwiththat.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Rev_CO2-Global-Warming-Climate-and-Energy-June2019-FINAL.xlsx

    Allan MacRae published on September 1, 2002, based on a conversation with Dr. Tim Patterson:
    3. “IF [AS WE BELIEVE] SOLAR ACTIVITY IS THE MAIN DRIVER OF SURFACE TEMPERATURE RATHER THAN CO2, WE SHOULD BEGIN THE NEXT COOLING PERIOD BY 2020 TO 2030.”

    Allan MacRae modified his global cooling prediction in 2013:
    3A. “I SUGGEST GLOBAL COOLING STARTS BY 2020 OR SOONER. BUNDLE UP.”
    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/12/02/study-predicts-the-sun-is-headed-for-a-dalton-like-solar-minimum-around-2050/#comment-1147149

    THE REAL CLIMATE CRISIS IS NOT GLOBAL WARMING, IT IS COOLING, AND IT MAY HAVE ALREADY STARTED
    By Allan M.R. MacRae and Joseph D’Aleo, October 27, 2019
    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2019/10/27/the-real-climate-crisis-is-not-global-warming-it-is-cooling-and-it-may-have-already-started/

  2. How long before the carbon haters realize that molten salt nuclear reactors are, far and away, he cheapest and cleanest power generators of this century.

      • They didn’t wait for efficient solar, battery, or wind. So, you can’t give them the benefit of that doubt.

        Carbon is not the only thing they hate; THEY need a common enemy to feel OK & to thrive; you and ColMosby are members of THEIR common enemy.

      • Mark:
        It has already been done, A number of prototypes have already been built and a fair bit of development is in work in progress. Sadly there is a dearth of of solid investment in the R&D. in this area. Moltex in Canada had to resort to Crowd Funding by which it successfully raised millions; so there are sensible people out there.
        Meanwhile the Greens have been playing on all our fears of nuclear which has escalated legislative costs enormously and starved it of energy investment now being diverted to the intermittent.

        • Can’t wait to see them start popping up everywhere, because they are so cheap and so clean.

          Ok, so they cause a few brain tumors, thats a bit of a downside, but they are cheap and clean.

          • Actually, low level radiation is beneficial. link The linear-no-threshold theory of radiation is another b***s*** theory made up by folks with PhDs, too much confidence, and no supporting data.

    • They hate nuclear more than coal. Their real goal is to make everyone use much less energy, except for them, of course. They can still fly around in their private jets to conferences in exotic locations but nobody else can.

    • ColMosby,
      Carbon haters will never accept nuclear, they are committed to “free” energy from wind and solar, and that any day now a miracle in physics will provide affordable storage. Not unlike you. You will never accept the fact that in the next 20 years molten salt reactors won’t be perfected, deployed and in commercial operation. Supplying an equal to the wind and solar three (3) percent of energy in the next 30 years? Maybe, let’s hope so. (Note: I’ve posted my timeline several times and asked for yours. You might gain some credibility by putting together some dates).

  3. My small urban community is something like an Earthly Paradise. Why? Because we can afford to care about the environment. Why can we afford to care about the environment? Because we have inexpensive fossil fuels, that’s why.

    The greenies and Marxists aren’t actually that good at evaluating complex problems. They are likely to focus, geeklike, on one thing and ignore everything else. Also, they are so well educated that they have learned to ignore the glaringly obvious.

      • Like their socially progressive (i.e. monotonic) counterparts, infamous for their wicked solution, civil and human rights violations, environmentalists don’t do nuance. It’s a quasi-religious (“ethics”) thing given the faith and philosophy of their mortal gods and goddesses. Kneel and bray for their good humor.

  4. I doubt they even defined “clean”. It’s fun to use their own green sophistry against them, but they will simply ignore this like they do everything else, it’s easy to do when living in a mass delusion.

  5. It’s too bad that the world didn’t decide that next gen nuclear wan’t the preferred option back in the early 2000’s. If we had done that with the trillions wasted on renewables that can’t even be recycled without more expense, then we would just be coming on line with a lot of carbon neutral electricity. Which would have at least a 50 year life term, instead of renewables that have an effective 20 year life span. Not that carbon neutral really matters, but if that is what they really want, then there is only 1 option which is nuclear.

    Even if we wanted to, we can’t replace fossil fuel high density energy with low density solar and wind electricity with all the resources that they would require to even get to 50% replacement of FF’s. It turns out (no surprise) that wind and solar also use an enormous amount of FF’s not only for all the mining and processing to getting them built and installed, but to have them backed up by FF plants anyway. So they don’t want a solution to FF’s, otherwise advanced nuclear would be the only option worth spending a lot of money on. If everyone refuses to ignore the obvious, and not even report on it, then all this puny output of renewables was for not. It made not a wit of difference to anything, except make some people (and China) very rich. There is a giant fraud going on, not only with renewables as a solution, but that a trace invisible gas is any threat to the good Earth. They got absolutely everything backwards.

  6. In southern Alberta and southeastern B.C., we mine most of Canada’s metallurgical (steel making) coal, which gets shipped to China. Since we have lots of wind, we are now bringing it back in the form of windmills. I don’t know what the carbon payback of a windmill is, but it’s quite an experiment in carbon emissions going on here. Those things are, indeed, massive pieces of steel – high as a 15 storey building, just one of them would be a major project in any industrial park in the city, and most wind farms have 30 – 50 of them. And then we’re building 3 or 4 wind farms per year. And that’s just western Canada.

    • Yes, it’s an attempt to assemble existing knowledge into one broad overview. You are already aware of all of this, but so many other people are not.

  7. Wind farms increase the temperature of the soil beneath them, and this warming causes soil microbes to release more carbon dioxide.

    Groan! Really? Trying to out bullshit the Climate mafia isn’t going to work.

      • Do you understand soil respiration?

        Tiny organisms in the soil digest nutrients to provide themselves with energy, and release carbon dioxide as a product of metabolism. And their metabolism increases with increasing temperature.

        Nothing to do with worm farts, and no need for more grants! This is very basic biology, and the paper provides references for further reading.

    • The research literature demonstrates the warming effect of wind farms and the resultant increase in soil respiration, which causes an increase in emission of carbon dioxide from the soil.

      The paper provides a citation for every statement in this article.

      Read the paper?

  8. As lead author Coilín ÓhAiseadha says: “It cost the world $2 trillion to increase the share of energy generated by solar and wind from half a percent to three percent, and it took eight years to do it. What would it cost to increase that to 100%? And how long would it take?”

    It would literally cost all of the money in the world.

    “Add in checking accounts, savings accounts, money-market accounts — not quite physical money, but you can make a bank transaction digitally and use that as money,” and Desjardins said the total amount of money easily accessible in the world economy grows by several multiples. This is called broad money, and according to the CIA World Factbook, and the global total is in excess of $80 trillion.

    % Wind & Solar  Incremental Cost (Trillions USD)  % All the money in the world
    0.5%  $                                                               –   0%
    3%  $                                                          2.00 2.5%
    100%  $                                                        79.60 99.5%

    And take 318 years…

    % Wind & Solar  Time (years)  % of 12 years
    0.5%                                                                   –   0%
    3%                                                                    8 66.7%
    100%                                                                318 2653.3%
    • Precisely. But whenever I say it will be costly, people say, “Oh, but solar panels are getting cheaper every year.” As we say in Hiberno-English: “Sure, it’ll be grand!”

  9. Will no nation on the planet do the most rational thing and attempt to supply all of it’s citizens with the most cost effective electricity available (regardless of technology). Supply this modern world essential while ensuring that any unwanted effects from its generation are kept within reasonable and practical (not onerous) limits, to best empower this nation to a more profitable, brighter and happier future.
    Is all of our modern world to be subordinated to this useless worship of ‘sustainability’ and all the ineffectual inefficiencies, grief and endangerment to human, avian, and animal life it brings.

    • I’ve come to the point of hoping this is all the very clever conniving of a politically powerful few for their own sensed benefit, whether to overturn the current civilization to install a socialist beehive regime under their own direction or at least meanwhile to profit personally through their holdings in the promoted “sustainable” means. Otherwise its all a much more general commentary on the stumblebum nature of human judgement/practice that so regularly lacks any real foresight and sense of proportion in undertakings that is in no way complimentary to our supposed sophisticated modern/educated abilities.

      So perhaps a large helping of humility should occupy our dinner plates.

  10. Unfortunately as I see it and many others on here & elsewhere, there are currently NO alternatives yet to standard Fuels of Gas, Oil, Coal, Nuclear-Fission & Hydro; we wish there were! National Grids or Portable energy such as Diesel for shipping etc.
    Nuclear-Fusion still a long way off if even ever achievable, meanwhile so called Renewable Energy (Solar/Wind) is too energy-weak, works only with reasonable levels of Sunlight & Wind supplies asynchronous outputs (requiring BaseLoad usually Fossil-Fuel support = FF’s by Proxy) & are environmentally damaging in themselves (kills Birds, Bees, Bats Insects, infra-sound not great for any nearby living thing) requiring FF’s from Design, Mining/muster materials, Land-Clearance, Commission, Maintenance/Fault-Finding, Repairs/Spares provisioning, to Decommissioning (if possible) and LandFill (or Sea fill!) and are not anything like the answer & can’t be manufactured w/o FF’s (we don’t see them providing the energy to make themselves, do we, yet?); and are very heavily subsidized. Solar & Wind have their place, such as in remote areas away from a grid, but not as the only methods to generate a reliable stable national grid.

    So why has Boris just promised the impossible for the UK, does he understand or being led to believe by those companies rubbing their hands together?

    Does anyone really know if Solar & Wind provide at least the same FF energy put in to make through as above to disposing of them? I’ve seen estimates from negative to 20times; who do we believe?

  11. “It has a capacity of 100 MW/129 MWh and covers a hectare of land.”

    I believe you’ll find that this battery is only good for one hour at peak load. What do you do the rest of the night? It’s meant to cover short-term variability, not long-term power generation (a battery isn’t a generator by the way).

    • I reckon it can store about 1/265 of the state’s mean daily electricity consumption – ie almost 5 minutes’ worth. But you’re welcome to do your own calculations from available data for annual electricity consumption for South Australia. Let me know if you find any different, please!

      • I wrote a couple of years ago in a local (South African) news blog:
        “On the huge Tesla battery for South Australia I wrote on BizNews:
        Let’s do the arithmetic. Australia’s stats department gives South Australia’s power consumption in 2016 as 326 petaJoules. At 278 Gigawatt-Hours per pJ, this gives an average consumption by the state as about 248 GWH per day. Now this runs out to 10345 Megawatt-hours per hour. So, if this Musk battery really does supply 129 MWh, it will therefore supply the state for 129/10345 hours, or about 44 seconds. So what, exactly, does spending this HUGE amount of money actually SOLVE?”

    • The drivers are renewable. The technology, converters are not, and are, at best, marginally reusable and recyclable. Perhaps what was once a bat gauntlet, will serve as anthropogenic “trees” to house the survivors and Green refugees. That said, save a bird, whack a wind turbine.

  12. Probably the best article, with all the main ideas compiled and documented, that I’ve read so far about this subject. Kudos to the authors. The references are also a gem inside the article.

  13. Dark accounting, political myths, shared/shifted responsibility aside, the Green Blight, gray technology, is why it is imperative to force acceptance of the CO2 anthropogenic forcing of climate cooling… warming… change, undeniable, unfalsifiable. Environmentalism has evolved since passage of the Twilight Amendment; the establishment of the Pro-Choice, selective, opportunistic, politically congruent quasi-religion (“ethics”); and rationalized through liberal (i.e. divergent) license and ideology, and em-pathetic appeal. Deja vu. They construct straw clowns, but people aren’t so green. There are other choices.

  14. intermittency. Run a generator up a mountain railroad track when there is excess. When the wind and light fail let it wend its way down the track generating as it goes.

    • How many tonnes of a train load would you need, and what height would you need to raise it to, to store enough electricity to power New York City for 12 hours?

  15. This may be a bit off-topic, but the European Parliament just voted to increase its climate ambition. They intend to reduce CO2 emissions by 60% instead of 40% by 2030. It was a close vote, with the right-wing parties voting against it.

    https://tinyurl.com/yxqe2uo8

    If they truly believe they can do this with wind and solar and not nuclear, they may eventually be in for a very unpleasant surprise. The green groups and political parties in the EU are obviously celebrating this, but the economic price to be paid may be quite substantial.

    They need more nuclear to do this, not less. So what is Germany doing? They are shutting down their nuclear plants. Let us remind ourselves here that this is the same continent that gave us two world wars. For all the things Europe does right (food, wine, high performance and luxury cars, etc.), they demonstrate that they are equally adept at getting even bigger things wrong.

    Nothing like find things out the hard way.

    • It’s an ambition target they haven’t hit a target yet, they missed 2020 target by 2.5%. So what do you do if you fail to hit a target double down and set a more ambitious one to fail even worse. What is amusing is they can’t understand why the rest of the world doesn’t want to follow them.

    • They plan to do it using natural gas. Yes, I know it is stupid but it is their only option in the framework set by them. And remember – clues are in small print. Look carefully at rules of Green Deal – nuclear is not considered green (France has big problem with meeting renewables share), we look only at big “polluters” (most of the house heating in Germany is now natural gas but it does not count), etc.

  16. “international studies have found that both wind and solar farms are themselves causing local climate change.”

    This, among other things discussed in this article, have been patently obvious to engineers. Amazingly, much of the ignorance is being displayed by scientists, their learned societies, physics departments in universities…

    Certainly, it would be of immense benefit to science and society if scientists in climate consulted, and even deferred to, engineers on the perceived problems and solutions to them if necessary.

    Productive scientists are dreamers, which has proven to have been great for society in the past. Engineers, however, have to cleave closer to the realities of not only doableness but the economics, public health and safety of what they are doing. It is no surprise that the excursion into ‘engineering’ (and God save us from ‘geoengineering’ and ‘social engineering’) by activist science has been singularly a failure and the most massively costly ‘project’ ever rolled out by humankind.

    This total failure to accomplish anything positive let alone solve a half-baked perceived harm, which by any reasonable measure is turning out to be a net benefit, while at the same time impoverishing 100s of millions of people and killing hundreds of millions of creatures, will be an object lesson forever, revalidating the commanding importance of cost benefit analysis of solutions to rigorously defined problems with attendant pilot plant designs and operation and technical-economic feasibility studies. We haven’t yet been provided with enough solid data for a back-of-envelope scoping study.

    After spending over $3 trillion, no individual can tell us within 400% what climate sensitivity to a doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere is. The Great Global Greening, which has added 20% more living plant mass to the earth’s biosphere (and related bumper crops), came as a complete surprise to climate change experts. So far, this wonderful gift of fossil fuel burning is the only palpable sign of real climate change and, despite the knee-jerk negative reception it has received from the consensus, it is a boon to nature’s diversity and habitat, a rebuke to the ‘extinction worriers’ and a decidedly strong shift of CO2 to the benefit column of the ledger.

  17. As I said on the last post: the plague of first-order thinking.

    No concern for what else happens. The mindset is “we must fix this, here’s a way to do it”, even if the consequences of the action are worse than what you’re trying to “fix”. Far too prevalent in the world today.

    • Where is the falsifiable proof that there is a problem the needs to be fixed? The problem only exists in the minds of the climate modelers whose models have never been subjected to verification and validation and in the minds of consumed the koolaid and to whom “fighting climate change” and “saving the planet” has become a religious belief.

      • That’s a completely different discussion. Just for the sake of argument, and only in the context of what I said, the mindset of first-order thinking leads to dangerous actions.

        It’s exacerbated by people whose mindset assumes that whatever they’ve decided is a “problem” actually is, regardless of evidence.

    • the plague of first-order thinking.

      That’s a good way of describing it. Most people and governments can only focus on a single problem at a time and can only consider one solution by its effects on the problem, regardless of unintended consequences on other aspects.

  18. I believe engineers at Google examined Renewables (Unreliables) back in 2014, and came to the conclusion that they could never replace fossil fuels and nuclear.

  19. Just to let people know, here in France there is a crowdfunding site for a new documentary to be made about the windmill gravy train.

    https://www.documentaire-et-verite.com/projet/eoliennes-casse-du-siecle/

    The title roughly translates to “Wind turbines – Swindle of the Century”.

    Just to make it clear, the people behind the project are far from being some “right wing, oil supported, think tank”, in fact they are all in agreement about the changing climate, but they are also in agreement about the worthlessness of these machines.

    Stick a translator on their website to find out more.

  20. Any smart, inquisitive high school student using basic arithmetic, a spreadsheet and the Internet could in a short while determine that solar, wind and biomass (in any form or combination) are a hopeless failure and gigantic waste of money for powering a modern economy. One just has to ask insightful, data-focused questions, ignoring the incessant hype and misinformation. This present analysis just adds to the extensive list of experts and laypersons who have realistically examined the data and concluded the same.

    Sorry to disappoint Griff, et al., who apparently have never gone through this exercise for themselves. Of course, low information automatons like Griff don’t value independent thinking. They have already been assimilated into the Borg collective.

  21. So it cost $3.66 trillion to enable solar and wind energy to supply 3% of the world’s energy demand. If this was a linear trend, $122 trillion would be needed to convert 100% of the world’s energy to wind and solar, IF there was enough wind and sunshine available to be converted to electricity at relatively low efficiency. This is about 6 times the USA’s GDP, meaning that AOC’s estimate of $92 trillion was a little low, and the USA would spend all its industrial production for 6 years to set up the Green New Deal, with nothing left for little niceties like food. Mmm, no thanks!

    If nothing is done about sea level rise, at a rate of 2.5 mm/year the sea level would rise by 200 mm, or a little less than 8 inches, by the year 2100. How much would it cost to build an 8-inch-high seawall around all “vulnerable” low-lying areas over the next 80 years? Probably less than $3.66 trillion, and spread over 80 years that would be about $46 billion per year, or about 0.23% of US GDP. That seems like a much more worthwhile investment!

    • Approximately $2 trillion was spent on wind and solar, and the share of electricity consumption that they generated increased from 0.5% to 3.0%, i.e. an increase of 2.5 percentage points. So, to get to 100%?

  22. From the article: “The world spent US$3,660 billion on climate change projects over the eight-year period 2011–2018.”

    What a huge waste of money and effort to fix a CO2 problem that has never been shown to exist.

    A science fraud of historic proportions.

    Obviously, many human beings are easily led astray by misinformation.

    We’ll get an idea of the percentage of their numbers in the coming November 3, presidential election. Are the morons outnumbered, or do the morons outnumber the sane? A lot will hinge on the answer to that.

  23. The French had a character in a book a French knight tilting at windmills that he believed were dragons.
    If my memory serves me correctly Cervantes was his name.

    We need now some characters that will take on this new crop of dragons and slay them.

    • You got almost everything wrong. He believe the windmills to be giants.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don_Quixote
      “Don Quixote is a Spanish novel by Miguel de Cervantes. It was published in two parts, in 1605 and 1615. A founding work of Western literature, it is often labeled “the first modern novel” and many authors consider it to be the best literary work ever written.”

      You should know more about it if you want to be a cultivated person.

  24. WJob:
    Wonderful analogy!
    However it’s Miguel Cervantes’ Spanish novel about Don Quixote and his faithful servant Sancho.
    Hey! Maybe now it’s M. Mann and sidekick B. Nye racing around saving the planet from imaginary evils?
    But instead of a sword he’d use a hockey stick (of course!). LOL

  25. Solar power is pretty unreliable. I have solar panels on my house, and they produce electricity during the day, but none at all at night.

    I’m sure there’s something wrong with them.

    • You’ll need to hook up some floodlights powered by a gas generator to light them up at night. Then they’ll produce power 24 hours a day!

  26. Much worrying if molten salt reactors would work. Also much worrying about Small Modular Reactors (SMRs). But when you think about it, every nuclear submarine has a SMR. It has to be small to fit inside the hull, and they are churned out by the dozen.

    See https://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/non-power-nuclear-applications/transport/nuclear-powered-ships.aspx for some info re nuclear powered ships – mostly submarines.

    Above all, remember that a nuclear power plant is just another means of boiling water.

  27. Spending on climate adaptation not only also covers the case where the climate change is natural, so is actually the best precautionary principle. but is also cheaper.

    The GDP boost to high latitude countries from CO2 and warming can easily pay for adaptation in Africa.

  28. While the article, and most of the comments, are 100% correct, they are 100% a waste of (electronic) ink. Why? Who was it said, “The issue is never the issue.”? Because protesters don’t want the “problem” solved, if it were solvable, there wouldn’t be an issue to protest, and they lose. In fact, this “Climate Change” scam is the perfect “problem” to spark a revolution, since it’s not a problem to begin with of course there are no viable solutions. The fact that their “constructive alternative” would require and/or result in a reduction of the human population by ≥80% is a feature, not a bug.

    • That’s 80 million times a million dollars. As Bernie Sanders would say, it’s “yuuuge”. Or, as Mr Trump would say: “Billions and billions and billions and billions …”

      It’s almost four times the entire GDP of the United States ($21 trillion in 2019). More than four times the GDP of the European Union ($18 trillion). About 5.5 times China’s GDP ($14 trillion).

      Is it plausible?

  29. You’re right. Harjanne & Korhonen (2019) do a good job of debunking the word “renewable”. See reference in the paper. But don’t yell at us, please, write to your policymakers.

  30. Thanks for all the very insightful and witty comments! My co-authors and I are delighted to see the review generate such a lively response among people who are already so well-informed.

    If you are perplexed by the way climate expenditure is being allocated, please do as follows:
    Read the full research paper.
    Share with friends, colleagues and policymakers.
    Challenge them to “Respect science!”

    Please share!
    Thank you!

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