The truth behind renewable energy

Previously published in the October 2020, issue of International Cement Review

Can renewable energy sources supply the world with a large share of the energy it requires? While some environmentalists advocate the total replacement of fossil fuels by solar, wind and battery power, Dr Lars Schernikau explains why this is impossible.

by Dr. Lars Schernikau, HMS Bergbau Group, Germany & Singapore

Photo: A young man burning electrical wires to recover copper at Agbogbloshie, September 2019; Wikipedia Free License

Today we hear and read about the climate crisis every day, driven by well-funded campaigns. But we hear little of the perils of switching from conventional energy to wind, solar and battery-powered vehicles. It appears that every second person has become an atmospheric physicist understanding that carbon dioxide is the main driver of global warming and switching to renewables will save us from devastating hurricanes and floods reaching the ceilings of our dream seaside properties. Every other person appears to be an energy specialist being certain that wind, solar and battery-powered vehicles will be a happy, safe and environmentally friendly way to power our everyday electricity and transportation needs. However, little could be farther from the truth.

The author is all for sensible use of renewable energy and for reducing everyday energy waste. Society needs to invest in additional filtering systems, cleaner transportation and mining operations that minimise the negative impact on the planet. Moreover, many trees should be planted. However, are current climate actions good for the environment? Are today’s wind and solar technologies the solution to our energy problems? This article aims to take the reader on a journey away from current standard thinking.

Current and future energy needs

Today, close to 8bn people live on Earth and they feed 80 per cent of their hunger for energy with hydrocarbons or fossil fuels (see Figure 1). Wind and solar make up an estimated two per cent of 2018 primary energy, the remainder largely comes from nuclear, hydropower and some biomass. This is in sharp contrast with the 2bn people that inhabited the Earth only a 100 years ago and had just learnt how to spell “oil and gas”. Of today’s world population, there are at least 3bn with no or only erratic access to power. In the next 50 years, a further +3bn people could be added, and as a result, the pure number of people plus the additional air conditioning equipment, new electronic gadgets, cars, aeroplanes and space travel, will increase the demand for energy dramatically.

Extrapolating the trends shown in Figure 1 to the future, it becomes questionable that non-hydro renewable sources such as wind and solar will provide the energy required in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way.

The media says the share of solar and wind will grow exponentially but does not mention the growth of electronic waste shipped to Africa that comes with it. And it certainly does not mention that solar and wind technology can literally never be the main source for the world’s power generation due to their low energy density and the issues described below.

Figure 1: A Life without Fossils is Decades Away[1]

ERoEI, energy density and intermittency: en-masse deployment of wind and solar is detrimental

The now-famous documentary “Planet of the Humans” from Michael Moore, which has 9m views on YouTube, illustrates this problem very well.

Solar and wind power are not new energy sources – we had to “wean off” low efficiency wind- and solar-based power to fuel humanities technological revolution. While there is nothing extraordinary or revolutionary about these power sources, their efficiency has greatly improved over recent decades. Moreover, these sources are getting close to their physical limits. The Schockley-Queisser Law states that a maximum of 33 per cent of incoming photons can be converted into electrons in silicon photovoltaic (PV) with modern PV reaching 26 per cent. In wind power, the Betz Law states that a blade can capture up to 60 per cent of kinetic energy in air. Modern wind turbines reached 45 per cent.

The era of 10-fold gains is over.[2] There is no Moore’s Law in energy and therefore, what is seen in the domain of computers, cannot be expected from energy. Costs will not continue dropping and it is time that a whole-system view is taken when looking at solar and wind or any form of power generation.

The three key problems of wind and solar generation are:

  • their variability, or intermittency
  • extraordinarily low energy return on energy invested (ERoEI)
  • low energy density (see also Figure 2).
Figure 2: Wind has very low energy density with density in Asia even lower than Europe[3]

Virtually every solar panel and every windmill requires a back-up for times when the wind does not blow, or the sun does not shine. The German press proudly presented that at around 13.00h on 4 July 2020, 97 per cent of Germany’s power demand was sourced from renewables for one hour (see Figure 3). However, it was not reported that:

  • During the same hour, 22 per cent (~15GW) of power demand was waste energy that had to be exported or dumped across German borders, likely at negative prices.
  • At around 21.00h on 18 July 2020, ~16 per cent of Germany’s power demand was sourced from renewables for one hour (nil per cent from wind and solar, all from reliable biomass and hydro).
  • During that hour on 18 July 2020, about nine per cent (~4GW) needed to be imported from surrounding countries at high prices because Germany did not produce enough power (see Figure 3).

There is no area practically large enough to ensure that there is always wind or sun. It happens every few years, probably at least once a decade, when a continent such as North America experiences a full day or two of no sun or wind anywhere.

The logical requirement for back-up capacity for all variable renewable energy (VRE) and all consequences that come with it need to be considered when costs are compared to fossil or nuclear power. However, virtually all cost comparisons published use the so-called levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) measure that only considers investment, operations and fuel costs. Fuel costs for wind and solar are of course virtually zero. However, LCOE fails to consider the other cost categories.

Figure 3: Record: 97.2% renewable power in Germany on 4th of July 2020 (left) vs. a typical summer period in Germany during July 2020[4]

The true cost of solar and wind has to include:

  1. Back-up costs (profile costs): cost originating from “temporal” deviation between generation and demand. Includes cost of batteries, decline in conventional power utilisation, increased ramping and cycling.
  2. Interconnection costs: costs originating from “spatial” deviation between generation of variable renewable energy (VRE) and power demand, includes grid/ interconnections management costs, and balancing costs.
  3. Material and energy costs: costs for energy and materials to build solar and wind capacity (the ERoEI is far too low for wind and solar).
  4. Efficiency losses: costs associated with efficiency losses from underutilisation of conventional backup power.
  5. Spatial costs: costs related to the space required for VRE (energy density is far too low), crop land, forests, effected bird and animal life, changing wind and local climate, noise pollution, etc.
  6. Recycling costs: higher recycling costs of VRE and back-up capacity after its useful life.

Contrary to popular belief and press, costs for conventional energy as backup and the resulting efficiency losses of conventional energy explain, amongst others, why the total cost of variable renewable energy always increases with more installed capacity beyond a certain point. This point varies by country and region, but one thing is sure: Germany is far beyond this point, which explains the country’s high power prices (see Figure 4).

Figure 4: Global prices for power – power in Germany is the most expensive[5]

Figure 5 illustrates the misleading LCOE measure used in the popular press and by most governments, and compares it to the still incomplete but better value-adjusted LCOE (VALCOE) from the IEA, which was first published in 2019. In January 2020 the prestigious Institute of Energy Economics Japan (IEEJ) published its 280-page ‘IEEJ Energy Outlook 2020’ and raised concerns about renewables’ rising unaccounted-for integration costs, concluding that LCOE is not capable of capturing the true cost of wind and solar.

Germany has become aware that it needs conventional power despite its large wind and solar capacity installed. However, Germany decided to exit coal power in addition to exiting nuclear power. Despite Germany’s Environment Minister, Svenja Schultze, proudly claiming in July 2020 “We will solely rely on wind and solar for our country’s power generation”, Germany, very quietly, is building new gas-fired power plants as back-up. Gas is a legitimate fuel with many positive properties, but Germany does not have any itself. Despite gas’ “clean” transportation and combustion, we know that gas is typically more expensive than coal, more difficult and expensive to transport than coal since it requires pipelines or LNG, and generally more difficult and sometimes dangerous to store. So, why is Germany shutting down its existing coal mines, coal-fired power and nuclear plants and is now building new, gas-fired ones? The response usually is greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions because gas emits about half the CO2/kWh during combustion than coal, so the switch is supposed to save the climate.

If we adhere to the popular, but in the author’s view, misinterpreted global warming theory, what appears to be a lesser known fact is that gas supply results in methane leakages during production, processing and transportation (methane is an 84 times more potent GHG gas than CO2 over 20 years, and 28 times more potent over 100 years). This has been documented in several studies, including Poyry’s 2016 German study on ‘Comparison of greenhouse-gas emissions from coal-fired and gas-fired power plants. It was also picked up by Bloomberg in a January 2020 article discussing methane leakages associated with LNG. Methane emissions vary widely, but there are many instances – as also documented by a Total Gas sponsored study from 2016 – when GHG emissions are higher for gas than for coal. The study states that “with 95 per cent confidence, US shale gas may emit more GHGs than Colombian hard coal.”

  • Gas emits about half of CO2 compared to coal during combustion.
  • Gas emits more CO2eq (mostly in form of methane) during production, processing and transportation. This includes, but is not limited to, leakages and energy requirements for LNG processing and transportation.
  • Total gas CO2eq emissions are on par with or higher than coal, depending on the turbine type, location and the source and type of gas.

Gas is a good and necessary fuel in the power mix, but if global warming theory is to be believed in, one must be consistent and not spend tax payers’ money switching from coal and nuclear to gas when even by one’s own admission it will have no positive impact on ‘the climate’. Methane emissions are neither measured nor taxed. Is this fair for coal or for the environment or the everyday citizen that pays the taxes?

Figure 5: Levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) and value-adjusted LCOE (VALCOE) for solar PV and coal-fired power plants in India[6]

Battery technology is not capable of grid storage for power

If gas is not the solution, then what is? What about those great batteries? It is true that an affordable and sustainable storage system would be the solution to wind and solar’s intermittency issue (but not to the issues of energy density or ERoEI). Over the years, batteries have become far more efficient and the recent move towards electrical vehicles has driven large investments in battery “gigafactories” around the world.

The largest known and discussed factory for batteries is Tesla’s US$5bn Gigafactory in Nevada, which is expected to provide an annual battery production output of 50GWh in 2020. By 2021 CATL in China is expected to double that. Berlin’s Gigafactory 4 will start producing electric vehicles in 2021-22. These factories will provide the batteries for our future cars and also provide backup batteries for houses, but what about their environmental and economic impact? Figures 6 and 7 summarise the environmental challenges of today’s battery technology. The three main issues with any known battery technology are:

  • energy density
  • material requirements
  • recycling.
Figure 6: Comparing mineral needs for renewable technology (IEA 2019 data)[7]

Energy density

Hydrocarbons such as oil, gas and coal are one of nature’s most efficient ways to store energy. Today’s most advanced battery technology can only store 2.5 per cent of the energy that coal can store. The energy that a 540kg, 85kWh Tesla battery can store equals 30kg of coal energy after combustion. A Tesla battery must then still be charged with power (often through the grid) while coal is already ‘charged’, albeit only once.

In addition, you can calculate that one annual gigafactory production of 50GWh of Tesla batteries would be enough to provide back-up for 6min for the entire US power consumption (and then no Teslas to drive). Today’s battery technology cannot be the solution to intermittency.

Material and energy requirements

Next comes the question of the energy inputs and materials required to produce a battery. The required materials include lithium, copper, cobalt, nickel, graphite, rare earths & bauxite, coal and iron ore (for aluminium and steel).

Additionally, energy of 10-18MWh is required to build one Tesla battery, resulting in 15-20t of CO2 emissions assuming 50 per cent renewable power. Assuming conservatively that 1-2 per cent of mined ores end up in the battery in the form of metals, one Tesla battery requires 25-50t of raw materials to be mined, transported and processed (see Figure 7).2


This is slowly hitting the main-stream media.[8] The first larger batches of retired and unusable wind farms and solar panels are hitting landfills and insufficient recycling plant capacities. There is not yet an affordable, large-scale way to recycle wind blades. The electronic waste we create is already a devastating problem for landfills outside Accra (Ghana), Nairobi (Kenya) and Mombasa (Kenya).

Figure 7: case in point – energy density and environmental impact of Tesla batteries

A New Energy Revolution

“What do we do now? Are we all doomed?” A young engineer asked the author this question after one of the latter’s presentations when he realised that currently there is simply no viable alternative to conventional energy from coal, oil, gas and nuclear. It is concerning that young people are taught in school to fear the slight warming of about 1˚C during the past 150 years. At least half of the past warming is natural, caused by the sun as we are coming out of the Little Ice Age that ended roughly 300 years ago. The other half, or less, may be ‘human-caused’, which includes the heat all consumed energy produces that is released into the biosphere plus the greenhouse-gas CO2. The additional greening – and therefore biomass – created by this additional CO2 is rarely spoken of. That the warming effect of CO2 declines logarithmically with higher CO2 levels is not published by mainstream media either. A catastrophe is not looming, but real pollutants to the environment and the waste created by humans are a concern – and this is where resources should be focussed.[9]

On global warming and the upcoming catastrophe, the IPCC confirms as follows:

  • IPCC 2020 Climate Change and Land, p9, A2.3: “Satellite observations have shown vegetation greening over the last three decades …. Causes of greening include combinations of an extended growing season, nitrogen deposition, carbon dioxide (CO2) fertilisation …”
  • IPCC 2013 Climate Change, Chapter 2, p235: “There is limited evidence of changes in extremes associated with other climate variables since the mid-20th century.” ȗ IPCC 2018 Third Assessment Report 14, p771: “In climate research and modelling, we should recognise that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.”
  • On the tuning of climate models – that are the sole basis for today’s energy policy – the Max Planck Institute, Germany, writes in April 2020: “When we were faced with a model system that was bound to fail at reproducing the instrumental record warming, we chose an explicit approach where the past temperature trend is a tuning target.” Moreover, Bjørn Lomborg, who runs the Copenhagen Consensus Center thinktank, explains in his recent book ‘False Alarm’ many interesting scientific facts. He states “Climate change is real, but it’s not the apocalyptic threat that we’ve been told it is.”

Either way, even if people believe that catastrophic predictions for global warming are the correct way to approach environmentalism, this article highlights that wind and solar – while certainly being appropriate for applications such as heating a pool, and thus earning a place in the energy mix – cannot and will not replace conventional power.

As Michael Shellenberger, Time Magazine Hero of the Environment 2008, said in an article published in Forbes in May 2019: “The reason renewables cannot power modern civilisation is because they were never meant to. One interesting question is why anybody ever thought they could”. His recent book ‘Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All’ details his rationale.

What is needed in the next one or two centuries is a ‘New Energy Revolution’. Future energy may be completely new, possibly more renewable, and fusion- or fission-based, but will have little to do with wind and photovoltaic. To reach this New Energy Revolution, more must be invested in education and base research (power generation, storage, supra-conductors, etc) while simultaneously investing in conventional power to make it more efficient and environmentally friendly. There will be the need to invest in fossils to clean them up, not divest from them. This is the most sensible path to save the planet from the negative impact that human existence has on it. However, please consider, humankind has never been better off than today. Shouldn’t we celebrate this fact?

About the author:

Dr. Lars Schernikau, born and raised in Berlin, Germany studied at New York University and INSEAD in France before earning his PhD in Energy Economics from Technical University in Berlin. Lars has extensive knowledge and experience in the raw material and energy sector. Lars has founded, worked for, and advised a number of companies and organizations in the energy, raw material, and coal sectors in Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas. Before joining the world of energy and raw materials over 15 years ago he worked at Boston Consulting Group in the US and Germany. He published two industry trade books on the Economics of the International Coal Trade (Springer, available on Amazon) in 2010 and 2017. He is a member of various economics, energy and environmental associations including the non-profit CO2 Coalition in the US. He is a regular speaker at international energy and coal conferences and advised governments and leading energy organizations on energy policy. Lars can be reached at 

[1] Prepared by Lars Schernikau: primary electricity converted by direct equivalent method. Source: data compiled by J David Hughes. Pre-1965 data from GRUBLER, A (1998) Technology and Global Change: Data Appendix. Post-1965 data from BP, Statistical Review of World Energy (annual publication).

[2] MILLS, M (2019): The “New Energy Economy”: An Exercise in Magical Thinking. New York, USA: Manhattan Institute, 26 March. www.

[3] Global Wind Atlas: [Accessed 24 April 2020]

[4] Schernikau analysis based on Agora Energiewende – [Accessed 20 July 2020]

[5] STATISTA (2019): Global electricity prices in 2018, by select country – statistics/263492/electricity-prices-in-selected-countries/

[6] WANNER, B (2019): Is exponential growth of solar PV the obvious conclusion? – commentaries/is-exponential-growth-of-solar-pv-the-obvious-conclusion

[7] IEA (2020): Clean energy progress after the Covid-19 crisis will need reliable supplies of critical minerals –

[8] MARTIN, C (2020): Wind Turbine Blades Can’t Be Recycled, So They’re Piling Up in Landfills – www. wind-turbine-blades-can-t-be-recycled-so-they-re-piling-up-in-landfills

[9] PETERSON, J (2020): What Greta Thunberg does not understand about climate change – https://”.

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Steve Case
October 18, 2020 6:27 pm

Yet another post on why Solar and Wind aren’t going to power the world’s economy.

When I asked my favorite liberal, smart guy, way more brain cells than me and talented in many fields, “Do you really think that wind power and solar panels can power the world’s economy?” I got a simple “Yes” for an answer. He’s one of many, the brain washing is complete. We are in for a very unpleasant and bumpy ride. I suppose I should wish that he’s right, and utopia is right around the corner, but I sincerely doubt it.

Rod Evans
Reply to  Steve Case
October 18, 2020 11:22 pm

Steve your bright friend was right he just failed to be clear in what he meant.
Your question, can wind and solar power the world? Was answered yes, but the missing part of the answer was “down”. As in “Yes, wind and solar can power the world down”.
The “COGS” do not see a world that expands continually, they see a world where the scale of human activity is constantly decreasing.
In his mind your friend was completely right. That is what we are up against.

Reply to  Steve Case
October 18, 2020 11:46 pm

Alan Tomalty wrote:
“Why is it that in every jurisdiction in the world that has got serious about renewables the electricity prices have quadrupled?”

The wind power component of the total electricity mix has in some cases more than quadrupled – in Alberta at one time it was 20 cents /KWh, almost TEN TIMES the price of conventional coal-fired power.

To your question of why?

1. Facts:
The intermittency problem of wind has been known since ~forever. Storage of electricity is not a practical solution and may never be economic or sensible. We’ve known these facts long before the beginning of global warming mania, yet trillions of dollars in scarce global resources have been squandered by politicians on intermittent, non-dispatchable wind power, which has served only to reduce the reliability of the grid, drive up power prices and increase winter mortality among the elderly and the poor.

2. Why?
Most politicians are uneducated in the sciences and to a significant degree are vain, incompetent and corrupt. They love big, expensive projects because those provide them with the greatest opportunity for graft. They want to get re-elected, and “donations” from wind power producers given them the funds to run their re-election campaigns (plus a bit more for the family). They can rely on the support of environmental extremist organizations which have also been bought off by Big Green. When trillions of dollars per year are siphoned off to support wind power, there is lots of graft to go around.

Tim Gorman
October 19, 2020 5:03 am

I am *always* amazed at how our rural ancestors knew more than current so-called “climate scientists”.

In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s farmers used windmills extensively to pump water from wells for their livestock. But they knew just how intermittent the wind could be. So they invested in “backups” by damming up small creeks and in capturing rain runoff in small ponds. Somehow this knowledge has been “lost” by the elites we have leading us today. It’s because so many of these elites have no actual real world experience and little historical knowledge of reality to draw upon to use in judging their conclusions on how we should live today.

Joel Snider
Reply to  Tim Gorman
October 19, 2020 3:37 pm

They weren’t hampered by what they wanted to believe – they just acted on empirical reality.

Reply to  Steve Case
October 18, 2020 11:52 pm

In science, the ability to correctly predict is perhaps the only objective measure of one’s competence – and the greens have NEGATIVE CREDIBILITY based on their terrible predictive track record.

My expertise is in energy and the earth sciences, and I have an excellent predictive track record – see below for a partial list of our correct predictions from 2002.

The greens, however, have been WRONG about every major prediction they have made on global warming, wilder weather, ocean acidification, green energy, etc., etc.

Regards, Allan


We confidently wrote in 2002:

“Climate science does not support the theory of catastrophic human-made global warming – THE ALLEGED WARMING CRISIS DOES NOT EXIST.”

“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.”

PEGG, reprinted in edited form at their request by several other professional journals, THE GLOBE AND MAIL and LA PRESSE in translation, by Baliunas, Patterson and MacRae.

October 19, 2020 1:11 am

Weren’t you “confidently” predicting global cooling by now?

September 2020 was the warmest September on record, NOAA disagrees…

Reply to  Loydo
October 19, 2020 2:22 am

So only one month then?

Still cooler than the MWP, the RWP, etc.

Reply to  Graemethecat
October 19, 2020 3:28 am

Yep , Poor loy is incapable of comprehending that the Earth is actually in a rather COOL period of the current interglacial..

And that is DESPITE knowing that there has only been a degree or so of natural warming since the COLDEST period in 10,000 years.

His cognitive non-functionality and confusion are quite bizarre. !

Reply to  Loydo
October 19, 2020 4:53 am

Nino34 Index is now MINUS 1,2C – bundle up!

Patience, grasshopper! I prefer predictions that look forward in time. Much more difficult. 🙂
Cooling will initially be sporadic, as I have written many times over the years.

According to NOAA and today’s GWPF, La Nina has arrived.

Told you in August 2020, earlier as well (Published 2002, updated 2013 and 2019 paper and … ):
Check out NIno34 temperatures, again down to Minus 0.6C – winter will be cold. [now minus 0.8C]

By Allan M.R. MacRae and Joseph D’Aleo, October 27, 2019

October 19, 2020 7:57 am

Loydo specializes in not understanding what it reads.

October 20, 2020 2:55 pm

“It’s very difficult to make predictions, especially about the future.” –Yogi Berra

Reply to  Loydo
October 19, 2020 9:00 am

That’s because they manipulated the past to make it cooler so today looks warmer. Plenty of NOAA and other source temperature measurements from 10, 20, 30, 50 or 100 years ago that when overlain with today’s historical record from NOAA and others show the past has been cooled significantly. Why and for what purpose, other than fraud to make the global warming issue a crisis.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Loydo
October 19, 2020 10:49 am

“September 2020 was the warmest September on record, NOAA disagrees…”

Where? There is no global temperature.

Tim Gorman
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
October 19, 2020 2:08 pm

And what does “warmest” mean? The highest maximum temperatures? Or the highest minimum temperatures? Here in the Bread Basket of the central US we had one of the coolest August’s and September’s ever as far as maximum temps go. No days over 100degF. None. Zip. Nada. Zilch.

Just goes to show that NOAA’s “global average temperature” is meaningless.

Reply to  Loydo
October 19, 2020 1:36 pm

NOAA says NO
Look here

Tim Gorman
Reply to  Krishna Gans
October 19, 2020 3:47 pm

It’s still averages all the way down. Who knows what the “average” is actually telling you?

Loren C Wilson
Reply to  Loydo
October 19, 2020 3:46 pm

90% of the current interglacial has been warmer than September, 2020. When the ice melts enough for the 2-3 meter sea level increase during the Holocene Optimum, then we can talk about global warming. And there is no tipping point because the temperature and CO2 have been higher during most of the Earth’s four billion+ year history. We and the polar bears are still here.

Harry Passfield
Reply to  Steve Case
October 19, 2020 1:38 am

Bet your ‘smart-guy’ friend has never had to power up more than his iPad/HiFi. If he went to look at a smelting plant or other heavy industry in action I think he’d change his mind – or his nappies (diapers, if you insist).

Tim Gorman
Reply to  Harry Passfield
October 19, 2020 5:04 am

And then spend the next day in a slaughterhouse. He’d never look at the plastic wrapped hamburger in the store in the same way.

Alasdair Fairbairn
Reply to  Steve Case
October 19, 2020 8:46 am

Your liberal smart guy had obviously been infected by the CAGW Meme which acts as a virus and renders those infected incapable of thinking rationally on matters of energy. It can infect those of high intelligence just as much as others and may be diagnosed by observing reactions to inconvenient questions with often an aggressive ad hominem response, and a propensity to suppress discussion.
I have met many on the internet.
It is a serious matter having now reached pandemic levels with little prospect of a vaccine soon.

Zig Zag Wanderer
October 18, 2020 6:30 pm

Has anyone provided irrefutable evidence that renewable energy sources generate more energy than they require in manufacture, installation and maintenance over their lifetime?

Mark A Luhman
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
October 18, 2020 7:00 pm


Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
October 18, 2020 8:53 pm

Here’s a link which I trust. It discusses Energy Return On Energy Invested (EROEI).

It gives two values of EROEI for wind and solar, unbuffered and buffered. Unbuffered means it doesn’t matter when you get your electricity. Buffered means it matters and you have to take measures to make sure you have energy when it’s needed.

Unbuffered wind actually has quite a good EROEI. For solar, it’s OK. The buffered case is still positive but it’s low enough that it’s over the EROEI cliff.

The EROEI cliff is the point at which you expend so much energy getting energy that there isn’t enough energy left to power society’s needs. In other words, the economy collapses and billions of people die.

There are numerous articles and papers which demonstrate that we can’t power civilization with wind power (or solar) because it would take too much land. example I haven’t seen any that take EROEI into account. In other words, those articles and papers are way too optimistic.

If we expand Dr Schernikau’s article with references to EROEI and land use, we find that wind and solar are wildly impractical, even if we take some of the greenies’ numbers at face value. Yes, wind power has a nice EROEI if you don’t care when you get your electricity, and no, it doesn’t even matter.

Chris Hanley
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
October 18, 2020 9:49 pm

“… Any attempt to adopt an Energy Transition strategy by substitution of intermittent [PV] for base load power generation in countries like Switzerland or further north will result in unavoidable net energy loss …”. (Ferruccio Ferron 2017)
The findings have been disputed but if PV in areas of moderate insolation are not net energy sinks they are close to it.

October 18, 2020 6:41 pm

America has to become Energy Wise. We have more Btu’s available from our coal supplies than we have from natural gas and oil combined.
Lets use our coal for electricity production. Lets use our natural gas for building space heating and by industry to produce and process all those products we consume daily. Lets use our oil for transportation and by those industries that need oil in the products they produce. Lets put our renewable (solar & wind) generated electricity into it’s own grid network providing electricity to our growing EV market. If the wind stops blowing and the sun goes down and the batteries run out of juice, it’s time to park for the day. But the rest of America will have 24/7/365 dependable electricity available.
Clean coal is possible.
Natural gas can be consumed much more efficiently.

Lets get Energy Wise!!

Dennis G Sandberg
Reply to  Sid Abma
October 18, 2020 10:59 pm

Sid, Agree that coal should be used for electrical generation, but it would only happen if the government required it, just like wind, solar and ethanol. It’s only used because of government mandates and subsidies, grid priority, accelerated depreciation schedule, low interest loans, tax free etc. The government would be serving their citizens much better if they encouraged coal instead of worth less than nothing RE. Coal plants are great once they are up and running, but too capital intensive to build, same as nuclear. Fractured gas has completely changed the energy dynamic for the next 50 years. Let the markets decide not Washington DC.
Note: your “plan” for the EV toys for rich boys is fine. Totally unworkable just what we need.

John F Hultquist
October 18, 2020 6:45 pm

This is well written and referenced. I can think of dozens of people that should read it, but won’t. The governors of California and Washington State (where I live) are examples.
Global warming adherents have become “climate cult” religionists. Their horse left the gate and crossed the finish line of their fantasy. Convince them their view is bizarre and imagined imagery, if you can.

Martin Cropp
October 18, 2020 7:20 pm

What a great post

Pat from kerbob
October 18, 2020 7:23 pm

Someone please come explain it to Justin Trudeau

His Liberals messed up Ontario and learned precisely nothing from doing so

Reply to  Pat from kerbob
October 18, 2020 9:04 pm

Actually, I think they’re still smarting after Kathleen Wynne’s defeat in Ontario. I note that Doug Ford has given up on being Trump lite and has started sounding like the only adult in the room. He’s learning French and, to me at least, that means he’s going to be the Prime Minister eventually.

Ian Coleman
Reply to  Pat from kerbob
October 19, 2020 12:31 am

Hello Pat. I suspect tht Gerald Butts, Justin Trudeau’s environmental Svengali, former executive with the World Wildlife Fund, cleaned up pretty good in Ontario’s green energy revolution. This was a gigantic rip-off of Ontario taxpayers, and dramatically raised energy prices in Ontario, but rest assured that the suppliers of the wind turbines made many dollars. I would dearly love to see Gerald Butt’s bank statements during the purchase and licensing of those wind turbines, because I’ll bet he collected some very big fees.

Maybe you caught Mr. Butt’s testimony to the Justice Committee during the hearings about the SNC-Lavalin affair. What was impressive in a sick kind of way was how confidently and fluently Butts lied. He said things that no one in the committee room could possibly have believed ( Most noticeably that Minister Wilson-Raybould’s transfer from Justice had nothing to do with SNC-Lavalin), and yet he was able to speak these lies without a flinch or a blush. That’s the guy we’re dealing with here. Trudeau is just his cat’s paw.

Al Miller
October 18, 2020 8:00 pm

The real question here is why are our governments , ostensibly here for the good of the people, backing these hare brained schemes? Our own governments have become our worst enemy. I have come to realize to some degree the rot that President Trump is trying to rid us of.

October 18, 2020 8:02 pm

I think if someone did the thermodynamic calculations and a true NEPA study of the total energy expended and environmental affects in creating, use and decommissioning/recycling of the tech in any “green” energy source vs. conventional power from fossil fuels, the most likely scenario would be the Business As Usual coming out the winner by a mile. As the green curtain is pulled away from all the hype and hope it will only become more apparent that it’s all a bunch of unicorns and unobtainium and a massive environmental catastrophe that lurks just out of sight today.

October 18, 2020 8:36 pm

Excellent post. Should be a must read for anyone sold on renewables as a primary source of energy.

Dennis G Sandberg
October 18, 2020 8:39 pm

Germany has been proudly proclaimed as the leader in RE innovation. Showing the world the pathway to a clean and secure energy future through the success of their “energiewende”. Here’s 4 items that tell the truth about it’s hopeless failure.

Item 1 Germany is finally getting realistic about wind
Onshore wind: Not > 3% growth per year during next 3 years, probably 1/2 that if “technology-neutral tenders” are under-subscribed. No way will they be at 65% renewable by 2030…especially as old obsolete turbines installed beginning in 2000 lose their 20 year feed-in tariff and become uneconomical to maintain.

The new darling in cool, cloudy, north latitude Germany is solar, but only marginally so.

Item 2 Germany paid 176 billion euros for renewables with a market value of 5 billion.
Because wind and solar farms get a guaranteed price for 20 years, they have no need to innovate, do research, or please customers, who paid them 176 billion euros for electricity with a market value of just 5 billion euros from 2000-2016 (Vernunftkraft 2018).

Item 3 Cleaning up the German renewable mess won’t be cheap or easy
The concrete pedestals, which form the foundation of wind turbines, would also have to disappear. In a large plant, this base can quickly cover more than 3,000 tons of reinforced concrete and often reach more than twenty meters deep into the ground. According to the German building code, wind turbines have to be “completely dismantled” – and the explanations to the law make it clear that dismantling includes the foundations.
The complete removal of the concrete base can quickly cost hundreds of thousands of euros…
Other sources suggest the old propeller blades can be recycled but it doesn’t seem so great either, unless you like the idea of combusting resins to produce cement:
A previous study that was commissioned by Scottish National Heritage (SNH) forecasted that there would be a need to ‘recycle’ approximately 225,000 tons of rotor blades by the year 2034. Something similar is happening in Germany, where the rotor blades are ‘reprocessed’ in industrial scale factories and then shredded and mixed with other waste. The final product is then used in cement manufacturing facilities as fuel.

Item 4 Germany has too much wind and solar but not enough grid capacity
Germany is pretending it will build 400 km of transmission lines per year for the next 10 years.
For years Germany annoyed neighbors like the Netherlands, the Czech Republic and Poland by sending surges of electricity through their networks. They’ve now taken short-term measures to reduce the disruptions until the necessary transmission links are built. The operators’ grid infrastructure plan foresees up to 4,000 additional kilometers of transmission lines by 2030.
Cement production also happens to be “one of the largest sources of industrial process-related emissions”

Reply to  Dennis G Sandberg
October 19, 2020 5:24 am

…wind turbines have to be “completely dismantled”

My suspicion is that the companies who own the turbines will syphon off the profits they’ve made and then conveniently go bankrupt before decommissioning costs need to be met. Or perhaps I’m being cynical…

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  DaveS
October 19, 2020 1:50 pm

I think the “profits” consist of tax credits and subsidies. Any money that is earned by selling the power trickles in at the same rate and over the same period of time that power trickles out.
The people putting these things in are power companies, governments, corporations owned by people like Warren Buffet, and a few huge for-purpose corporate entities.
Amazon owns some.
Google was involved in Ivanpah, but said they will not be investing in any more of them because their engineers determined that there is no way to make them profitable if not for the subsidies.
From what I have gathered, there may not be any rules in place that will force many of these wind farm owners to decommission the units as they wear out. But one thing is for sure…we are gonna find out, because they do not last a real long time.
You can click on the various wind farms in this article to get a rundown on the particulars:

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Dennis G Sandberg
October 20, 2020 3:23 am

Those reinforced concrete foundations seem like they ought to be able to be repurposed for something…like maybe built something underneath them…great bomb shelter roof…20 meters of concrete!

John Sandhofner
October 18, 2020 8:39 pm

“The reason renewables cannot power modern civilisation is because they were never meant to. One interesting question is why anybody ever thought they could”. I too have wondered why intelligent people, even those in the energy business, thought this was the way to go. My former employer, PG&E, has bought into the idea big time and has wasted a lot of money and resources while they ignored maintaining their electrical facilities which are prone to starting wild fires. Not a smart move.

October 18, 2020 8:50 pm

I believe that one day, some really smart feller working in his garage, may just figure out how to make renewables work. But if he’s held back by burdensome rules and regulations, or a lack of incentives and freedom imposed by liberals, it’ll never happen.

Reply to  Alan
October 18, 2020 11:15 pm

How perceptive you are! Just putting the finishing touches to the proposal and will be submitted to Anthony in a couple of weeks.

A vertical city (15 000 population, everyone has a view) which generates around 500MW continuous power, 500 megaL of water per day in 55% relative humidity environment (more water in higher RH air) and vents 30GW of surface heat upwards.

It runs 24/7 and requires no energy input, simply inverts the temp profile of the atmosphere in the structure and uses the surface heat at altitude to drive the process. IP has been lodged.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  JasonD
October 19, 2020 12:16 am

How much does it weigh and what material is strong enough to support the base?
What is the wind loading during a storm? Tornado? Snow loading?
What anchors it?

Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
October 19, 2020 2:59 am

You sound upset?

Tim Gorman
Reply to  JasonD
October 19, 2020 5:12 am

He’s not upset, just realistic. Your proposal is something from the realm of science fiction. You would be better off burying the structure in the ground rather than trying to build it up from the ground.

Cue the Morlocks.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  JasonD
October 20, 2020 4:21 am

Consider what is involved in construction of some of the tallest buildings we have now.
Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world, and to attain this height they made it a tapered spire.
The foundation is supported by 192 piles that are each 1.5 meters (~5 feet) in diameter, and extend 50 meters (~164′) into bedrock.
The concrete had to be specially made to withstand extreme pressure (like all such structures) and each batch strength tested.
They had to pour it only at night and mix it with ice so it would cure properly. Any cracks would have jeopardized the entire structure.
There is stronger concrete than was used, but the strongest is about twice the compressive strength of what was used here.
The base of a building has the entire weight bearing down on it.
Even at the these heights, all sorts of challenges exist in the design and maintenance.
It takes several dozen guys 3 to 4 months to wash the windows, and a machine has to do the upper parts of the spire.
Entire floors have to be set aside for fire refuge, every 12th one in this case.
The elevators are some of the fastest in the world, and there are dozens of them. There is a limit to how long a steel cable for an elevator can be, so such structures have to have places where one switched to another elevator to make it from top to bottom or vice versa.

For many types of designs and locations, huge mass dampers must be installed to counter wind swaying and seismic events.
Taipei 101 has 380 1.5 meter piles extending 80 meters into the ground.
8 of the structural columns are packed with 10,000psi concrete, some of the strongest ever made.
And concrete gains strength over time, which limits how fast such structures can be constructed.
For Taipei 101, they needed to install a 660 metric ton steel pendulum mass damper near the top. There are also two smaller ones higher up.
It is 18 feet in diameter and suspended from cables.
To serve 101 floors it uses 61 elevators.
Not sure how, but that one has elevators that go from the 5th to the 89th floor in 37 seconds.

These are buildings though.
They are not cities.
They take up a city block at the bottom.
In design and construction techniques and materials, they push what is feasible to the limits, and do so at enormous cost.
As we saw with the WTC, unexpected events can bring down even the largest and strongest buildings.

We have steel and we have concrete.
And physics.
And safety regulations.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Alan
October 19, 2020 12:50 am

NEWSFLASH: This is not the 19th century and the problem is not how to make a lightbulb that works.

Quiet now, sonny…the adults are talking.

Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
October 19, 2020 10:55 am

You sir, sounds as you’re against freedom that’s under attack everyday and holds science back. You can read about it everyday on sites like this. I’m fully aware this is not the 19th century. But with thinking like yours, that’s likely whee we’re heading.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Alan
October 19, 2020 1:06 pm

If that is what it sounds like to you, trying listening better.
Because you just made that up in your head.
Show me where the “Puttering around in the garage” police are today, or any other day.
The real problem is lunatics who insist we stop using the energy that powers our civilization, figuring that some “solution” to the facts is right around the corner waiting to for someone to stumble on it.
Pay attention: The problem is that sun and wind are diffuse energy sources. Low density. We use high energy densities, and we use it where we need it, not where it happens to be.
No one in a garage is going to advance battery technology and storage capacity and cost and limited lifespan, by tinkering in a garage, by more than over 100 years of cumulative improvements have done with all the people and money and time that have been put into since the first dry cell batteries were marketed.
Any more than someone will develop the first Mr. Fusion® compact portable power generator in their mom’s basement.

And we do not need them anyhow., because any day now Cap’n Hydrino is gonna give us all the unlimited free energy we need. We know that cause he said so.

Charles Higley
Reply to  Alan
October 19, 2020 9:20 am

Sure, a garage researcher might find a way to make renewables work, but how do you solve the fact that the sun sets and the wind blows? This requires a huge amount of stored energy for the rest of the day and also requires that the renewables have to take in energy and store more than half of their electrical out.

Add to that the burden of adding a lot of marginally useful electric vehicles and you need even more renewables as well as more storage because many will charge their cars at off hours.

Plus, making huge batteries leads to very costly dangers from short circuits and failures, not to mention the pollution from construction and non-recyclability. And, you can forget storing enough energy for 3–5 days of no sun or wind, which is what often occurs after a hurricane moves through an area or we have a stationary high pressure system in the winter. People would die.

“(methane is an 84 times more potent GHG gas than CO2 over 20 years, and 28 times more potent over 100 years)”

This is a meaningless statement as it is not mentioned that methane is about 1 ppm and CO2 is >400 ppm. And, why does the effects decrease with longer times? It gets weaker????

It should be pointed out that both CO2 and methane have half-lives in the atmosphere of about 5 years. So, methane in the atmosphere today would be at what concentration a 100 years from now? It would be 20 half-lives later, at (1 ppm times 0.5^20th power) or 1 ppt, part per trillion, which would make it equivalent to 0.8 ppt, yes that’s ppt, of CO2. Yeah, that’s truly scary, NOT. And, if methane stays around 1 ppm, it would be 84/400 of CO2’s effects or 21%.

And methane emissions are not going rampant from all the fracking because it behooves the natural gas people NOT to lose their product before it is sold and the purchaser has the same incentive not lose their purchase.

However, the CO2, methane, and water vapor in the atmosphere, which are supposed to be warming Earth’s surface, are claimed to be in the upper tropical troposphere, called the “hotspot.” This region has never been detected after decades of looking and NASA reports that this region has been cooling gently for over 30 years.

Furthermore, the upper tropical troposphere is about -17 deg C and the surface at 15 deg C. Any downwelling IR radiation from these gases would be reflected back upward by the surface as the energy levels of the surface equivalent to -17 deg C would already be full. This is exactly why a cold object cannot heat a warmer object.

Ask the simple question, do you warm the walls of the room you are in or do the walls warm you? Clearly the walls are colder than you and your body IR is absorbed by the walls as all energy levels up to room temperature are full but not those up to body temperature. Thus, the walls cannot warm you. They do keep you warmer than being outside the room (colder area) because the wall-you temperature difference is rather small, at 22 versus 37 deg C, or a 15-degree temperature gradient.

Go outside on a clear night and you are radiating 37 deg C IR at space and space has zero temperature (only matter can have temperature). Thus, you will shed heat from a 37 to -273 Deg C (absolute zero) gradient, a 310 deg C gradient. Stand under a tree that is 0 deg C that night and your temperature gradient becomes 37 to 0 deg C or only 137 degree gradient. Your temperature gradient is decreased by 88% and you lose heat less rapidly. An umbrella would have the same effect.

It is important to not forget that the climate models do not do night-time. They assume daylight 24/7 and then divide solar input by 4 as an adjustment due to no night. However, these “GHGs” are more accurately called “radiative gases” as they are saturated during the day, both absorbing and emitting energy, and thus have no real effect, except perhaps that of re-emitting IR radiation upward to space, thus cooling the day a little by intercepting and scattering a small amount of solar energy input.

However, at night, with no solar input, these gases readily convert energy in the atmosphere to IR, emitting in all directions, and downwelling IR will be reflected, as the atmosphere is almost always colder than the surface. This is why the air cools so rapidly after sunset, with the air itself shedding energy upward, and why little breezes kick up so quickly in the shadows of scudding clouds on a sunny day. The air in the shadows cools and creates light breezes.

Last point, CO2 has very limited IR absorption-emission bands, with equivalent temperatures of IR given off by matter at 800, 400, and -80 deg C. All would be activated in sunlight, as the source of sunlight is thousands of deg C. Emitted IR would then go out in all directions, such that CO2 decreases solar input ruching the ground. At night, CO2 can only use the -80 deg C band, which means nothing on the surface can absorb this, everything being warmer, and the IR reflected up to space.

This is why CO2 is being found to be the world’s best refrigerant. Not only does it work well in a gas-liquid conversion method typical of refrigerators, being cheap, nonflammable, and nontoxic, but it is also always working to cool its environment by shedding -80 deg C IR.

October 18, 2020 8:56 pm

There are two fundamental problems with wind and solar – they cannot deliver power under load and on a continous basis and both can be totally destroyed at any time if hit by severe enough weather. Really big lines of thunderstorms and severe hurricanes and cyclones totally demolish them. Wind turbines cannot be designed against vertical shear and gear box failures around the world are the result of severe turbulence and abrupt wind changes and usual start in the bearings.
Lightning , hail and icing also contribute to these failures and the wind turbine industry are very good at not publishing the true data on all of them. Any major city will require around 80% of peak power even at 4 AM on a winter morning which cannot be provided by wind and solar. Neither forms of power are able to provide Reactive power to the grid in any measureable quantity and where needed and this is absolutely essential for voltage control.
For a simple demonstration of not handling load, try pushing a battery powered mower into longer than normal grass and watch it stall and imagine powering an electric train network from wind or solar power and watch as each time a train starts to move from a station needing 25,000 AC volts, the voltage drops and the load on the system is too great. Those pushing this nonsense have never bothered to understand the physics behind electromagnetic energy.

Tim Gorman
Reply to  R.K.
October 19, 2020 5:13 am


October 18, 2020 8:58 pm

Great read.

Izaak Walton
October 18, 2020 9:33 pm

The claim “that solar and wind technology can literally never be the main source for the world’s power generation due to their low energy density” is nonsense.
After all all fossil fuels are nothing more than an efficient battery storage system
for solar. Photosynthesis is only about 5% efficient while solar cells are almost
25% efficient. So we know there is several to compactly store solar energy in a form where it can be readily reused (coal, oil, gas) so who is to say there isn’t a new one waiting to be discovered.

Nor does the author address what he thinks will happen when the fossil fuels run out. We will have to use renewables then whether we like it or not.

Reply to  Izaak Walton
October 18, 2020 10:24 pm

“so who is to say there isn’t a new one waiting to be discovered. “

Where is it?? .. FANTASY or crossing your fingers… does not supply electricity

“when the fossil fuels run out”

A LONG time in the future, plenty of fossil fuel left..

peak this or that just keeps getting further into the future.

Then there is nuclear and its derivatives.

Your arguments are empty.

The comment

“that solar and wind technology can literally never be the main source for the world’s power generation due to their low energy density”” is a totally correct statement.

UNRELIABLE, and way too often way too low to be even considered.

Reply to  Izaak Walton
October 18, 2020 10:27 pm

“We will have to use renewables then whether we like it or not.”

Perhaps in a few hundred years, wind and solar might be actual usable !

Reply to  fred250
October 18, 2020 11:59 pm

“Perhaps in a few hundred years, wind and solar might be actual usable !”

If we find a way to capture and store the incoming energy for a few hundred years until enough accumulates to be useful.

Bill Toland
Reply to  Izaak Walton
October 18, 2020 10:34 pm

Izaak Walton, if fossil fuels ever run out, we will not be using renewables to replace them. I know greens don’t like nuclear power but to pretend that nuclear power doesn’t actually exist is bizarre.

Dennis G Sandberg
Reply to  Izaak Walton
October 18, 2020 11:10 pm

Izaak, three things about each of your comments: Huh, what & wrong or add /sarc

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Dennis G Sandberg
October 19, 2020 12:46 am

What he ^ said.

Reply to  Izaak Walton
October 18, 2020 11:57 pm

Fossil fuels energy density is greatly more than that of wind or solar. Wind and solar might be used to provide the energy needed to create synthetic (fossil like) fuels but they can never become energy dense themselves. Fossil fuels were (probably) created over millions of years from low energy density sources (mainly sunlight) being slowly concentrated at some low efficiency. The wood of trees is more energy dense than the sunlight used to power their creation because that sunlight is gathered, day by day, over years of time. Much more energy (low efficiency) is undoubtedly required to convert the finally grown trees into energy dense coal,

Izaak Walton
Reply to  AndyHce
October 19, 2020 12:49 am

Light is perhaps the most energy dense fuel source there is thanks to E=mc^2. If you had a
kilogram of light then you would have 9×10^16 Joules. Unless you have a supply of anti-matter
handy you aren’t going to get any better than that. And if natural processes can convert light
into fossil fuels why can’t we? Sandia Labs for example estimate the amount of solar fuel that
we can technically produce as 2500TW and in contrast it forcasts energy consumption in 2100
at 45TW. See
for details.

Reply to  Izaak Walton
October 19, 2020 3:59 am

We would all love to know how you propose to store light.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Graemethecat
October 20, 2020 4:46 am

Plant trees.

Tim Gorman
Reply to  Izaak Walton
October 19, 2020 5:19 am

You keep forgetting the one variable in your equation that is the most important – time.

As has been pointed out to you, energy from the sun *can* be stored – but it takes time, lots of time, to do so with low efficiency storage.

If you have a high-efficiency way to store the sun’s energy then tell us what that is.

Reply to  Izaak Walton
October 19, 2020 8:14 am

Just when I praise Izaak for reaching a new low in stupidity, he steps up and tops (or is that bottoms) himself.

Claiming that since an individual photon has a relatively large amount of energy is nothing without also considering the concentration of photons.

What is it about progressives and their desperate need to demonstrate how smart they are, while at the same time proving beyond a doubt how little they actually know.

Reply to  Izaak Walton
October 19, 2020 8:18 am

PS: Assuming the 2500TW is correct, that value still has to be spread out over the entire surface of the earth. Beyond that, the best solar panels are only about 20% efficient, and that’s on the first day. Efficiency drops off as they age.

Izaak Walton
Reply to  MarkW
October 19, 2020 10:48 am

If you read the Sandia Report the figure of 2500TW is what
they call “technologically accessible” by which they mean
on readily accessible land. The actual figure if you consider the entire surface of the earth is much higher at 89000TW.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  MarkW
October 19, 2020 12:50 pm

The fog on my bathroom mirror is technically recoverable to use for my next shower.
Good luck with doing it.

Reply to  Izaak Walton
October 19, 2020 1:13 pm

That is rubbish, photons have no mass as they are weightless. If they had mass they couldn’t travel at the speed of light or in a non vacuum just below it. To talk of a kilogram of light is to believe in a different universe and laws of physics

Reply to  Izaak Walton
October 19, 2020 1:34 pm

LOL, and the alarmist say that it isn’t THE SUN causing the highly beneficial warming out of the LIA…

D’OH !! Izzy, you really have put your foot in your gob, haven’t you.

You even forgot to take the other one out first !!

So funny ! 🙂

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Izaak Walton
October 19, 2020 12:39 am

If there was some way to store wind and solar that allowed unlimited storage near the point of use or the point of production, first calculate the efficiency of conversion for both storage and retrieval.
Then figure out the area required to be covered by wind and solar to create all needed energy for everything we use energy for, when the wind is blowing and the sun is shining.
Then figure out percentage of time wind is blowing hard enough and it is sunny enough to provide all the energy needed.
Then multiply the land area needed for all the extra wind and solar needed to store all the energy needed for when the Sun is not shining and the wind is not blowing.
Add up all the turbines and panels needed for all of the above.
Figure out economic cost of all the land needing to be cleared and put aside forever.
Figure out the environmental cost of all the displaced wildlife, plus all the wildlife killed by ongoing usage of all those turbines and panels/mirrors.
The figure out the energy needed to clear all that land.
Then figure out how people will live near turbines that disrupt our health and sleep and peace of mind.
The figure out the amount of materials needed to build all the machines and factories needed to clear the land, build the panels and turbines, and move all the people that currently live in places where all those turbines and panels/mirrors and magical unlimited energy storage infrastructure will go.
The figure out how long panels and turbines last and figure out where we will get materials to replace them regularly, and to do so forever.
While you are at it figure out how to use only electricity for things we currently do not know how to do with only electricity, like mining, running big construction machinery, and anything else in this category.
Then ask why?
Why are we doing all of that, and have we just used more energy and caused more environmental destruction than any theoretical (and highly, laughably dubious) effect of CO2 caused global warming?

Then figure out who is gonna do all that mining and construction, considering everyone in the developed countries is being promised a free college education and can do whatever they want with their lives, and few are choosing mining and construction and working in giant factories?

After is is all built and done, figure out how long we can find an unlimited supply of raw materials to harvest a limited amount of wind and solar, since those collectors have a short lifespan so will need to be replaced forever?
The look around and see if there is any wildlife or farmland left with the whole planet covered in panels and turbines and mines and factories?
And again ask why?
Then discover that it was all for nothing because *surprise* the skeptics were right all along, as they have always been right, and every prediction of alarmists has always been wrong, for 30+ years running.
Cry and feel shame at having destroyed the planet to save it…all for nothing.

Reply to  Izaak Walton
October 19, 2020 8:09 am

Trying to claim that solar works because both solar and fossil fuels are ultimately sourced from the sun has got to be the dumbest thing you have ever written. And that’s saying something given your track record.

As to what we use when fossil fuels run out, well we have 400 to 500 years before we have to worry about that. Considering the scientific knowledge that has been gained during that time, trying to predict what will be used at the time is just a fool’s errand. Though you are undoubtedly fool enough to try.

If we were to limit ourselves to current technology, we could easily shift over to nuclear power and rely on that for the next 10,000 to 100,000 years.

Bob boder
Reply to  MarkW
October 21, 2020 11:08 am

We will have the flux capacitor by then.

Dennis G Sandberg
October 18, 2020 11:12 pm

Sid, Agree that coal should be used for electrical generation, but it would only happen if the government required it, just like wind, solar and ethanol. It’s only used because of government mandates and subsidies, grid priority, accelerated depreciation schedule, low interest loans, tax free etc. The government would be serving their citizens much better if they encouraged coal instead of worth less than nothing RE. Coal plants are great once they are up and running, but too capital intensive to build, same as nuclear. Fractured gas has completely changed the energy dynamic for the next 50 years. Let the markets decide not Washington DC.
Note: your “plan” for the EV toys for rich boys is fine. Totally unworkable just what we need.

October 19, 2020 12:18 am

If all these alarmist scientists stopped blathering on like a one string banjo and instead got to work to find way to scrub C02 from vehicles, power stations etc they may contribute something positive instead of their moronic doom and gloom. The one thing that does work well, is heating water using sunlight. If the “clever scientists” had put their minds to it, all parts of the planet with good sunshine, particularly in the southern hemisphere would now have solar water heating. Here in Africa I have solar panels that heat water to over 70c – if all houses had them the electricity usage for heating water would drop[ dramatically. If all tar roads built had piping laid beneath the surface, this vast amount of hot water could be piped to homes – a huge electricity saving.

October 19, 2020 12:25 am

The usual nonsense…

Just glancing through this… look at that wind energy density for Europe – highest level shows off European Atlantic coasts and Baltic…

Of course Germany and all other grid connected states export/import energy – that’s by design. UK is building additional HVDC connectors to take advantage of that… this isn’t a purely national market. and you might note that France has to export nuclear electricity at cheap/negative rates at weekends/holidays and low demand periods…

Besides, the grid batteries, pumped storage and renewable hydrogen generation are designed to soak up any temporary renewable surplus…

‘Germany has become aware that it needs conventional power despite its large wind and solar capacity installed’ no it has not! I notice no citation here…

The major use for grid scale batteries id frequency response and covering power up/down of (utterly predictable) change in renewable supply.

I don’t have time to go on (first cup of coffee time!) but in short there isn’t a sentence here which cannot be contradicted by actual example.

Reply to  griff
October 19, 2020 1:56 am

“but in short there isn’t a sentence here which cannot be contradicted by actual example.”

That is always the way with YOUR posts griff.

You live in a gullible little FANTASY world, totally devoid of any semblance of know what is going on around you.

Germany.. MOST EXPENSIVE electricity in the world…. and riding on a knife edge. !

Could take out all of Europe WHEN it fails. !

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  fred250
October 20, 2020 4:42 am

And their early turbines and panels are already starting to reach the end of their useful lifespan.

Are they really gonna just replace them all when so far they have not even done what the original goal was, to reduce CO2 emissions?

It is mind boggling that it is not clear to the people in charge of entire countries and their energy infrastructures that REs are a boondoggle that will never achieve the intended endpoint.
But nuclear can and does where it is used.

And natural gas from fracking is sure a lot better than coal for many purposes.
The article states that Germany does not have any of it’s own gas resources, but a quick look at some maps shows that much of Germany has shale deposits under the ground.
Another map of assessed shale gas resources shows none there, but does that just mean they have never done the assessments?

Reply to  griff
October 19, 2020 2:05 am

Despite all the hype from mindless shills like griff……

… and the billions spent on environmental and avian destruction….

Germany’s primary energy consumption from wind and solar were just 4.4% and 2% in the first half of 2020

Gas 27.7% and Oil 33.9% do all the heavy lifting !

With coal providing some 14%

Right-Handed Shark
Reply to  griff
October 19, 2020 3:27 am

“Grid scale batteries” are science fiction. Show me one installation can can provide power to a city for 24 hrs on a day when there is no wind or sun. Just one.

Tim Gorman
Reply to  Right-Handed Shark
October 19, 2020 5:21 am

He/she can’t. This has been pointed out in at least three threads that I know of and it seems to go in one ear and out the other with no retention in the middle.

Reply to  Right-Handed Shark
October 19, 2020 8:23 am

In griff’s world, if there’s a press release, then it’s proven that the product is both successful and already in widespread production.

Climate believer
Reply to  griff
October 19, 2020 5:36 am

“I don’t have time to go on (first cup of coffee time!) but in short there isn’t a sentence here which cannot be contradicted by actual example.”

…..this isn’t “”, just in case you got your tabs mixed up.

Carl Friis-Hansen
Reply to  griff
October 19, 2020 6:34 am

Griff, when you have finished your coffee:

France has to export nuclear electricity at cheap/negative rates at weekends/holidays and low demand periods…

Griff, I was not aware of that.
Please provide more information.

I also speculate how France managed the grid in the past, when there was little inter connection and virtually 100% nuclear. – It would be helping my overall understanding if you can explain this to us.

Reply to  griff
October 19, 2020 8:22 am

Offshore wind is more energy dense than onshore wind. True, but so what? Neither is dense enough to be viable source of energy and both suffer from the problem of intermittency.

What is it about progressives and their insatiable need to believe that having a government do something is proof that the something will both work, and be a good idea in the long run.

Reply to  MarkW
October 20, 2020 6:00 pm

Mark W
That is not true. Wind’s so called density is affected by the pressure patterns and frontal systems not whether wind is blowing over sea or land, in fact wind is often stronger over land because of orographic uplift where it rises over hills and mountains and has to increase speed. The wind gradient is caused by differences in pressure and how far the isobars are apart and that depends on where the centres of highs and lows are, not whether they are over sea or land.

Reply to  griff
October 19, 2020 9:44 am

Flat lie, griff. The world’s largest grid backup battery, at the Hornsdale power reserve in Australia, has enough storage to produce 300 MW for only 10 minutes or a very small 75 MW for just 3 hrs. It cost almost $100 million. To back up the output of a solar arry the size of a nuclear plant to get through a dark night would require 80 of these $100 million dollar batteries and even that wouldn’t be nearly large enough to get through a period of winter cloudiness (or calm wind conditions). So what do the Australians actually use this grid battery for? To back up wind for a very short period – just long enough to bring a natural gas plant on line when the wind dies down. There is no such thing as a battery, pumped storage, or hydrogen storage that can back up a grid powered by unreliable renewables. You totally made that up.

You know very well that Germany has seen some (recent )entire months (in the winter) when lignite (dirty coal) provided more power than wind and solar combined yet you choose to lie about it. Why? What’s in it for you so important that you would lie in a (feckless) attempt to convince people of something that isn’t true?

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Meab
October 19, 2020 1:59 pm

If there was some way to store it, Germany would not be selling it at a loss, below market value, when they have an excess, and then paying a premium price to import power back when they run short.
The problem with the idea of pumped storage is, on a large scale, you would need a giant reservoir at the bottom of the dams as well as the one at the top.
If anyone has built that, I am curious to hear about it.
Where they are doing it it is small scale compared to grid power for a country or even a whole city.
Lots of things work in theory, and in fact have working units here and there.
Like compressed air.
The problem is scalability.
And cost.
And such issues as…how to you make a reservoir at the bottom of a hydroelectric dam?

Climate believer
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
October 20, 2020 7:58 am

The largest pumped-storage hydropower station in Europe is La Muela II, Cortes de Pallás, Valencia. I don’t know if that qualifies as large scale.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Climate believer
October 22, 2020 2:30 am

A larger point might be that there are few locations with hydropower dams.
But power is needed everywhere there are people.
Additionally, getting dams approved even where it is possible to build them has proven impossible in recent years in many places.
In the US, there is more talk about dismantling them than building any new ones.

Dennis G Sandberg
Reply to  griff
October 19, 2020 10:13 pm

griff, I’ve invited you to respond to my comments on your postings before, I’m not yet ready to write you of as a hopeless cause. Here is my response to each of your sentences above. we have an opportunity here to get into some depth instead of superficial blabber so here’s hoping you reply.

The usual nonsense….
Just glancing through this… look at that wind energy density for Europe – highest level shows off European Atlantic coasts and Baltic…(Therefore, this is where all wind power should originate, correct)?

Of course Germany and all other grid connected states export/import energy – that’s by design. UK is building additional HVDC connectors to take advantage of that… this isn’t a purely national market. (by design or by necessity in order to keep building more turbines)? Generation should be located as close to load as practical, correct)?

Nothing new about HVDC for moving large blocks of power long distances despite the high cost. (Best economics if run at capacity 24/7, not from sources that only produce power less than half the time correct)?
and you might note that France has to export nuclear electricity at cheap/negative rates at weekends/holidays and low demand periods… (so what you’re saying this is by design if it’s from RE but a problem if it’s from nuclear, correct)?
(If storage “for weekends, etc” was economically feasible the best location for utilization is at central power stations, especially nuclear, correct)\?

Besides, the grid batteries, pumped storage and renewable hydrogen generation are designed to soak up any temporary renewable surplus…(It costs twice as much to store as to generate RE for minutes, four times for hours, 10 times for days, but that’s OK, right). Note: I haven’t crunched any numbers for hydrogen but It’s at least twice as expensive as gas/diesel)

‘Germany has become aware that it needs conventional power despite its large wind and solar capacity installed’ no it has not! I notice no citation here…(so you don’t know about how the auction procedure was started two years ago and wind generation installation is at about 1/8 the rate in under feed in tarrif? so you “cancel culture that fact”, correct)?\

The major use for grid scale batteries id frequency response and covering power up/down of (utterly predictable) change in renewable supply (Good work, griff, a sensible statement, so now we go to conventional power for the majority of the production while the ½ trillion euros investment sits idle waiting for sunshine and breezes, and that’s a good thing correct)?

I don’t have time to go on (first cup of coffee time!) but in short there isn’t a sentence here which cannot be contradicted by actual example. (Now you can contradict my comments, but like all libs you cancel culture and change the subject.

Ian Coleman
October 19, 2020 12:54 am

Here in Canada we experience a recurring phenomenon we call “night.” I don’t want to get into the details (which are highly technical) but during periods of night, solar cells don’t work.

Also in Canada, the wind is inconstant. Moreover, its inconstancy is unpredictable.

What I would like to see is the electrification of Rimbey, Alberta (population 2500) with wind power. Buy the land for the turbine towers, buy the towers, install them, connect them to a grid throughout the town, and add to the bill the costs incurred to the citizens of Rimbey arising from the inconstancy of the electric supply. See if you could do all that for less than a hundred million dollars. Then extrapolate from those costs to get a figure for the bill you’d have to pay to use wind to provide electricity to the remaining 35 million Canadians. Just do it. The technology exists. The only snag is finding the will. There is of course no problem finding the money, as the Government of Canada has an infinite supply.

Don Perry
Reply to  Ian Coleman
October 19, 2020 6:58 am

The nights also start to get very long about this time of year, just when energy demands for heat start to also get very high.

October 19, 2020 1:25 am

Interesting post, but it lets itself down with this nonsense: “methane is an 84 times more potent GHG gas than CO2 over 20 years, and 28 times more potent over 100 years”

Global Warming Potential is a purely hypothetical concept. The above numbers are nothing more than outputs from GCMs. As such, the above statement requires us to accept that the GCMs accurately and precisely replicate the climate. They do not. These models are run in huge “ensembles” of meaningless random variation. Each one is called a “realisation”.

Therefore the modelphiles calculate the average of meaningless random variation. They assume the average of meaningless is meaningful.

Getting back to the real world, as characterised by the likes of Popper. There is no practical way to measure the Global Warming Potential of methane. If it cannot be measured, it cannot be observed. If it cannot be observed, it cannot be tested. If it cannot be tested, it cannot claim to be scientific.

Global Warming Potential is nothing more than faith in the models, and will never be anything else. When the author refers to Global Warming Potential, he lets himself down.

Harry Passfield
October 19, 2020 1:40 am

““What do we do now? Are we all doomed?” A young engineer asked the author this question after one of the latter’s presentations when he realised that currently there is simply no viable alternative to conventional energy from coal, oil, gas and nuclear.”

Must have been a very young ‘engineer’ – or one of very little brain and even less imagination.

Harry Passfield
October 19, 2020 1:43 am

After seeing the picture at head of post – and even more of young black children in DRC working for mineral extraction I am left with a (serious) question: Does BLM support renewable energy?

Leo Smith
October 19, 2020 1:46 am

I am delighted that the conclusions I came to 10 years ago are finally now being taken up and publicised. Now perhaps I can let others take over.

You can read what I wrote back then.

And the web site I set up to gather data on wind and solar variability

Gautam Kalghatgi
October 19, 2020 2:19 am
October 19, 2020 3:05 am

Excellent, Dr. Lars Schernikau!
A timely and alarming reminder about the ongoing crippling of the global energy management.
This article should be distributed to all bewildered politicians eagerly sawing on their own branch.

October 19, 2020 3:35 am

There IS a way to get 100% renewable. I show this in several ways on this web site.

Happy to discuss it or write an article for you.

This solution can get 80-95% of the fuel gone without any battery, only using gasoline or 10 other fuels.

The key is making fuels and solar thermal coupled to this New Engine Type.

Nowhere has anybody expressed this concept on the internet. It has lower costs than conventional tech and both sides can agree. 3-10x lower CO2 than an EV. No drive battery needed. NOT electric based, but can be a generator.

Yes, I am an engineer. Master in Mech Eng.


Reply to  Brian
October 19, 2020 8:30 am

I just finished reviewing the site given. All hype and no information.
A total waste of time.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  MarkW
October 19, 2020 1:10 pm

Another Cap’n Hydrino?
Does he have a video with a tank of boiling water?
You need that to prove you found a new fundamental force of nature that everyone else has overlooked.

Reply to  Brian
October 19, 2020 12:41 pm

Poor lad has been watch “Back to the Future”

Tell you what Brian, , get back to us once you have something more than empty propaganda on the web site.

At the moment it looks like just another CON-job.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Brian
October 19, 2020 1:11 pm

Linus Pauling was a Nobel Prize winning chemist.
And vitamin C still cannot cure any disease except scurvy.

Carl Friis-Hansen
October 19, 2020 3:36 am

Thanks to Dr. Lars Schernikau.

It amazes me that a prominent person like Dr. Lars Schernikau has not been able to inject more rational thinking into the Big Green.
I can only assume Big Green is not about being of service for mankind and environment.

From having been part of Big Green in the 1980s, I learned you were “forced” to play-along with any excuse (bending the truth) for a selling point. If you didn’t play along, your employment would be terminated. That is not totally fair, as bending the truth is unfair to the customers.
This play-along thing later expanded to virtually any other industry being sub contractors to the Big Green.
Later the play-along was made the moral correct choice, which in politics and general consciousness is ranking higher than economics and physics.

Dr. Lars Schernikau include some moral points against relying on wind and solar, but a more pronounced emphasize on the immorality of pushing industrial expansion of wind and solar, would be even more helpful in persuading those who have difficulties recognizing physics and realistic economics in connection with energy production.

October 19, 2020 4:38 am

I’ll tweet this to Boris Johnson in UK who is committing us w/o understanding the full issues involved IMO to be totally Wind Power some time in the utopian future!!

October 19, 2020 10:09 am

Molten Salts Reactors using thorium are the answer to future power – not solar/wind. CO2 is not a reason to justify solar/wind. YouTube has recent videos on Thorcon….Flibe….Copenhagen Atomics. Electric power that is local is preferable to a grid with huge high voltage power lines. Cheap electricity is preferable to expensive.

October 19, 2020 11:03 am

How many solar panels do I need to melt the glass for one whiskey bottle?

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Batttan
October 19, 2020 1:15 pm

I foresee a lot of reuse in a solar and wind powered future.
Or we go back to using ceramic jugs with xxx on ’em.

October 19, 2020 10:50 pm

Mombasa is in Kenya, not Mozambique. Simple errors such as that discredit this tome. Please fix it.

October 20, 2020 12:54 pm

Update: Five, I say FIVE SunCedll ™ reactors up and running in-house at BrLP presently:

DON’T say you didn’t ‘receive advance notice/warning on this tech’ … SOME of you (as it turns out) are just “beyond teachable”.

Hydrino Validation (the following is from: ). There are multiple techniques wherein each one alone can prove the existence of hydrino including:

• Electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy: electron spin flip, spin- orbital coupling, and fluxon coupling energies.

• Raman spectroscopy: molecular hydrino rotational transitions.

• Infrared spectroscopy: molecular hydrino rotational transitions

• Gas chromatography: faster migration than any know gas, higher thermal
conductivity than that of any known gas.

• X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy: total bonding energy of hydrino with only a
single peak corresponding to a single molecular orbital.

• Electron beam emission spectroscopy: rotational-vibrational energies of molecular
hydrino gas and molecular hydrino trapped in a ionic lattice.

• Extreme ultraviolet (EUV) spectroscopy: extreme ultraviolet continuum radiation
with a 10.1 nm cutoff corresponding to the hydrino reaction transition.

• ToF-SIMS Spectrum of K2CO3-KCl (30:70 wt%) getter exposed to hydrino gas and having upfield shifted MAS NMR spectral peaks.

Again, see this link for more info on the above analytical techniques:

October 20, 2020 2:19 pm

In South Australia , even though they have 3 times their demand in nameplate wind power , they are still required to keep gas and diesel plants running to provide a stable sychronisation base and help ride though dips in supply. This is on top of the rather expensive battery.

The much talked about battery actually spends most of its time playing arbitage games, charging at low prices and selling back into peaks while retaining a reserve for its stabilisation role. Its a nice little earner and not surprising it was expanded. Its a giant leech on the side of the electical consumers in SA.

October 21, 2020 11:22 am

Energy intensity and intermittency means you can’t collect enough weather based energy to match fossil burning. Why we need steam engine to decouple labour from the means of production and become modern developed economies. Windmills and watermills couldn’t do that.

Nuclear is more intense energy source than fossil fuel so can sustainably meet the greatly increased demand of a developed world when fossil fuel is exhausted, without subsidy. But that doesn’t give them easy susbsidy profits andcontrol over how much clean enrgy wecan use….

Developed governments, except the more rational TRump US government, want to impose alternative enrgy to reverse ecomomic development in the developed nations, the only countries that have signed up to self harm in this way, whereas the majority of emitters, responsible for 90% of the supposedly problematic CO2 emissions, are nor required to. Rather they expect developed countries to give them money for not doing it.

The goal is to impoverish already developed economies to ensure the mass of people are impoverished by renewable law so they can be more easily controlled, wholly avoidable but the aim of the UN through the gambit of climate change and the wholly exagerrated and as yet undetected fairy tale of CO2 in the climate change we observe to be at wholly natural levels and rate of change in fact. Makes no sense?

Check up on UN Agenda 21 to better understand why all this makes no sense to anyone except politicians, and those lazy minded “sounds good” types who believe what they are told without checking reality against the claims.

They have your future planned, by laws they will make, based on the pseudo science they have and will create to justify it . “Following the science” sound familiar? I knew the climate change deceit, but not the 50% re wilding. This is what you are really up against. A new Marxist world order created by the UN imposed by a centralised global elite , of which climate change was the first means of gaining control over national governments and thus their economies, whose GDP is wholly geared to their level of energy use. Conytrol CO2 and you control the wealth of nation states.

Why the elites support globalisation, it doesn’t affect them and gives them more power over their people.. This is NOT one of their fairy tales. It’s real. You can read UN Agenda 21. It’s their plan for you.

Here’s the document:

And here is what it means to you:

October 23, 2020 3:43 pm

-Tesla’s gigafactory=50 x 10^9 Wh’s/year AND USA’s use=3.99 x 10^12 kWh’s/year= 3.99 x10^15 Wh’s/year
50 x10^9/3.99×10^15 =5/3.99 x 10^5=1.25 x 10^-5 => the % of energy a gigafactory would cover in a year.
-Minutes/year =60min x 24hours/day x 365days/year=525600 minutes/year
ERGO 525600 min/year x 1.25×10^-5= 6.58 minutes ~ 6 minutes and 33 seconds

October 23, 2020 4:16 pm

“…Today’s most advanced battery technology can only store 2.5 per cent of the energy that coal can store. The energy that a 540kg, 85kWh Tesla battery can store equals 30kg of coal energy after combustion.”
1 kWh~ 860 Calories
1 kg coal ~ 5320 Calories~6.2 kWh
ERGO 85kWh Tesla battery/6.2 kWh coal ~ 14 kg’s of coal which is 14kg coal /540kg tesla battery ~2.6%

The 2.6% is in agreement of “…Today’s most advanced battery technology can only store 2.5 per cent of the energy that coal can store…”

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