Guest “energy transition… pft!” by David Middleton
The United States Energy Information Administration is a national treasure! This morning, I was poking around in the latest Monthly Energy Review and I downloaded Table 1.1 Primary energy overview. It tabulates monthly and annual US primary energy production and consumption since 1949. I plotted up the primary energy consumption.
“Renewable energy” includes hydroelectric, wind and solar power. A quick look at this graph should tell anyone with at least two functioning synapses in their brain (the typical brain has trillions of synapses) that this is the dumbest thing ever said:
Democrat Joe Biden’s remark that he would “transition” away from oil in the U.S. in favor of renewable energy drew quick attention Thursday night from President Donald Trump, who saw it as a boon to his election chances in key states.
“I would transition away from the oil industry, yes,” Biden said in the presidential debate’s closing minutes under peppering from Trump. “The oil industry pollutes, significantly. … It has to be replaced by renewable energy over time.”AP
Despite an “investment” of about $380 billion from 2004-2015, “renewable” energy consumption only increased by 3.6 quadrillion BTU. That’s $105.56 per million BTU (mmBTU). The wellhead price for natural gas is currently around $3.30/mmBTU and the US residential price has averaged $10.55/mmBTU since 2014.
If it was actually possible to replace fossil fuels with “renewables,” at $105.56/mmBTU, it would cost just under $8.5 trillion to replace 80.4 quadrillion BTU of fossil fuels. Depending on when he was misstating his own agenda, Mr. Biden says this must be done by 2025, 2035 or 2050… periods of 5, 15 and 30 years… $1.7 trillion/yr, $566 billion/yr and $283 billion/yr respectively.
If that isn’t funny enough, here are the same data as percentages of total primary energy consumption.
In 1949, 9% of our primary energy consumption came from real renewable energy (hydroelectric power). In 2019, the share has only grown to 11% as the result of massive “investments” in “renewables” (mostly wind & solar). Over the same time period, the fossil fuel share has only dropped from 91% to 80%, with most of this due to to the growth of nuclear power generation from 1970-1990.