No Amount Of Incremental Wind And Solar Power Can Ever Provide Energy Independence

From the MANHATTAN CONTRARIANFrancis Menton

Here’s the single most important function of this blog: Saying the things that are patently obvious but that just can’t be said these days in polite society. Yes, it’s The Emperor’s New Clothes every day here at Manhattan Contrarian.

With war raging in Ukraine following Russia’s invasion, there is a renewed concern in many quarters for “energy independence.” Until recently, the sophisticated countries of Europe had thought the whole idea to be passé. They built large numbers of wind turbines and solar arrays, while simultaneously banning fracking for natural gas and shuttering electricity plants that used coal and even those that used no-carbon nuclear. Suddenly, at the very worst possible time, they found themselves completely dependent on Russian gas for heat and reliable electricity. In the U.S. it’s not nearly so bad (yet), but the combination of the Ukraine invasion with the Biden administration’s resumption of Obama’s war on fossil fuels has also left the U.S. vulnerable to an oil and gas price spike on world markets, whose supply side has been artificially reduced by government hostility to production of fossil fuels.

So what’s the answer? If you are a member in good standing in American media/academia/environmentalist/Democratic Party society, the answer is obvious: Just build more wind turbines and solar arrays until you have enough. These facilities will count as “domestic” electricity generation, and therefore will quickly lead to “energy independence.” What could be easier?

So permit me to say the blindingly obvious: No amount of incremental wind and solar power can ever provide energy independence. Electricity gets consumed the instant it is generated. Electricity is consumed all the time, and therefore must be generated all the time. Indeed, some of the peak times for electricity consumption occur on winter evenings, when the sun has set, temperatures are very cold, the wind is often completely calm, and the need for energy for light, heat, cooking and more are high. During such times, a combined wind and solar generation system produces zero power. It doesn’t matter if you build a thousand wind turbines and solar panels, or a million, or a billion or a trillion. The output will still be zero.

And calm winter nights are just the most intense piece of the problem. A fully wind/solar generation system, with seemingly plenty of “capacity” to meet peak electricity demand, will also regularly and dramatically underproduce at random critical times throughout a year: for example, on heavily overcast and cold winter days; or on calm and hot summer evenings, when the sun has just set and air conditioning demand is high.

And thus it is time for a roundup of recent calls for massive building of wind and solar facilities in order to achieve energy independence.

From UK think tank Carbon Tracker, March 2: “It makes no sense to lock countries into fossil fuel dependent power grids over the medium term, . . . . Instead, Europe could rapidly reduce its reliance on Russian gas (and fossil fuels more broadly) by accelerating the implementation of . . . investments in renewable energy technologies as well as focusing on energy efficiency measures.”

From Sammy Roth at the LA Times, February 26: “[D]oubling down on oil and natural gas isn’t the answer [to dependence on Russia], some security experts say — and neither is energy independence. The war in Europe adds to the urgency of transitioning to clean energy sources such as solar and wind power that are harder for bad actors such as Russia to disrupt, those experts say.” (The article primarily relies on an “expert” named Erin Sikorsky of the Center for Climate and Security.)

From MarketWatch, February 26: “As grim as the reality of a conflict in Ukraine may be, economically, it may serve as a major catalyst for Europe’s decarbonization efforts, forcing governments to invest in earnest in greater zero-emissions renewable energy sources and the electrification of cars and homes. Doing so could secure energy independence from a Vladimir Putin-led Russia that’s proving to be a greater security threat by the day, say green-energy proponents and other global market-watchers.”

From Energy Monitor, March 7, reporting on statements from two think tanks called Ember and E3G: “Policies to further accelerate the roll-out of solar and wind power, and therefore reduce Europe’s reliance on Russian gas, will not have any impact in the immediate term. ‘But renewables growth can be much higher than planned from 2024–25 onwards, provided the policy framework is put in place right now,’ says Moore [of Ember]. . . . In a briefing whose release coincided with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the think tank E3G also advocates a ‘fast expansion of renewable energy and interconnections for the power sector”, which aims at “reducing structural gas dependence for system balancing.’”

From Scientific American, March 9, reporting on a statement from Frans Timmerman, chief “climate” official of the European Union: “The [EU’s] plan lends support to a package of legislation that aims to cut Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions 55 percent by 2030, and it would also ease European concerns over its energy security, said E.U. climate chief Frans Timmermans. ‘Renewables give us the freedom to choose an energy source that is clean, cheap, reliable and ours,’ he told reporters yesterday.”

There is essentially an infinite supply of such completely ignorant statements out there on the internet if you choose to spend some time collecting them. The quoted statements and dozens or hundreds more of same just blithely assume, or assert without basis, that sufficient numbers of wind turbines and solar panels can liberate us from fossil fuels, without ever mentioning or discussing the issue of energy storage.

Continuing with what is completely obvious but unmentionable in polite society: Since combined wind and solar power facilities regularly produce no power at all when it is most needed, a wind and solar generation system will either be (1) dependent on fossil fuel backup, or (2) dependent on storage for backup, or (3) both. If it is taken as given that the whole idea is to move away from fossil fuel backup, then everything comes down to storage. A fossil-fuel-free system based on wind and solar generation is completely useless without sufficient storage to cover all times of insufficient simultaneous generation.

To propose energy independence based on wind and solar without fossil fuels, you must, repeat must, address storage. How much is needed? How much would that cost? What loss of energy will be incurred on the turnaround between charge and discharge? Is the cost feasible? How long must the energy be stored between generation and consumption? Do batteries or other storage devices exist that can store energy for such a period without most or all of it draining away? Has there ever been a demonstration of the feasibility of a fossil-fuel-free system based only on wind, solar and storage?

Try to find any mention of these issues in any of the pieces linked above, or in any of the many others you might find advocating more wind and solar facilities as the solution to dependence of Russian gas supplies.



Read the full article here.

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Gregory Woods
March 16, 2022 6:09 am

Net Zero will never be achieved – not even close…

Chaswarnertoo
Reply to  Gregory Woods
March 16, 2022 6:40 am

Net zero is a very stupid idea. Those who believe in it should stop breathing out, right now!

Willem Post
Reply to  Chaswarnertoo
March 16, 2022 7:37 am

Net-zero is not even an idea.

Hoyt Clagwell
Reply to  Gregory Woods
March 16, 2022 8:38 am

Net Zero has always been a cheat. It is just a way to continue to sin, and buy enough indulgences to cover your sins. It will get you a pat on the back from lefties but, the planet won’t know the difference.

DonM
Reply to  Gregory Woods
March 16, 2022 9:25 am

Germany (& Europe) may have inched closer to ‘net zero’ than they are right now, but not by much. The big show was failing.

Putin thought that they (Europe) were as deep into the hole as they were going to get. That is why he started this war now. (the alternative is that he just got stupid and impatient for the wait as he sat in his bubble).

Either way, the current situation illustrates exactly why the idiots of the world that want to give up the security that is associated with reliable energy are indeed idiots.

The idiots need to sit back and imagine rebuilding Ukraine using solar and wind. Maybe Andrew Dessler can explain to me how long it would take to rebuild.

Thomas
Reply to  Gregory Woods
March 16, 2022 9:25 am

These “environmentalists” have squandered our treasure, slowed the rate of decline of worldwide poverty, and enriched evil empires who want to enslave us, take our land and property, and are willing to kill millions of us if that’s what it takes. They have played into the hands for Russia with such abandon an alacrity that I will be surprised if they are not on Putins payroll—they are always guilty of that which they accuse others.

n.n
Reply to  Gregory Woods
March 16, 2022 10:00 am

Net Zero (i.e. positive) effect has already been reached, with mostly natural and a fraction anthropogenic CO2 emissions greening the world, and carbon-based People, and “our Posterity” seem like a little less of a [systemic] “burden”.

That said, stand up to climate, evolutionary, developmental stasis.

Last edited 2 months ago by n.n
Tom Halla
March 16, 2022 6:13 am

For weather dependent sources to work, something on the lines of Heinlein’s fictional Shipstones would be required. Chemical batteries are already at a high percentage of theoretical performance, so no sort of vastly increased performance is possible.

Megs
Reply to  Tom Halla
March 16, 2022 7:25 am

It has never been proven that CO2 increase is the control knob of climate. Or weather for that matter. This theory has been pushed for decades now even though innumerable scientists have debunked it and even the general public are finally waking up.

The thing is that due to loss of freedom of speech, cancel culture, the ‘hockey stick’ and ‘97% of scientists agree’ propaganda and lies, CAGW is firmly established as a crisis that must be solved. The education system further reinforces the lie.

Marketing rules, increasing CO2 has been established as a problem needing to be ‘fixed’ to save the planet, or 1. Establish a need. 2. Create a product to fill that need. Renewables are simply the product. The marketing started in earnest with Al Gores movie. Big money has kept up the momentum. Catastrophising weather events is another marketing ploy. There are many other marketing tools like Greta for instance, and her weekly habit of wagging school in the name of the cause. The MSM are owned by the elites now so they are pretty much advertising constantly and calling it news.

Renewables infrastructure is providing only a very small amount of energy globally, even after more than three decades and trillions of dollars wasted. Forget about installed capacity, that is meaningless. Why are we wasting our time even considering storage? We are already wasting precious resources manufacturing a part time source of energy that has a short lifespan, and it still needs to be backed up with real energy! On top of that, our pursuit of an ideology sees the Northern Hemisphere in an energy crisis. It has to stop, this is insanity.

More people need to call out this infrastructure as not fit for purpose! How many retired scientists and engineers are willing to bombard your political representatives to educate themselves about the negative aspects of renewables. We all know that there’s plenty of them. Send them articles every week, make appointments to see them. The list of positive aspects would be almost non existent.

Barry Anthony
Reply to  Megs
March 17, 2022 6:09 pm

It has never been proven that CO2 increase is the control knob of climate. 

If you IGNORE science, then, no, it’s never been proven. If you actually respect the overwhelming evidence accumulated over 150 years of increasingly granular and accurate research, then it’s been proven over and over and over. Just one of literally thousands of conclusive discussions on the topic.

https://www.discovermagazine.com/environment/heres-what-real-science-says-about-the-role-of-co2-as-earths-preeminent

And of course empirical data has proven the reality of AGW through the increase of atmospheric CO2.

“These results confirm theoretical predictions of the atmospheric greenhouse effect due to anthropogenic emissions, and provide empirical evidence of how rising CO2 levels, mediated by temporal variations due to photosynthesis and respiration, are affecting the surface energy balance.”  http://asl.umbc.edu/pub/chepplew/journals/nature14240_v519_Feldman_CO2.pdf

The fact of the matter is that there isn’t a shred of credible, independent, and peer-reviewed research that supports the Denier narrative. None.

Charles Rotter(@jeeztheadmin)
Admin
Reply to  Barry Anthony
March 17, 2022 6:10 pm

Can you just send Dessler over here to make his own comments?

Megs
Reply to  Barry Anthony
March 17, 2022 7:03 pm

Barry the anthropogenic CO2 hysteria began in earnest more than 30 years ago. None of the promised catastrophic climate devastation has taken place. None. The dates are long passed, new dates were invented. Nothing.

We have fewer severe weather events now than we did even a decade ago. Yes there is large amounts of damage sometimes, but there are larger numbers numbers of people too. And they live in more homes and have more stuff. The magnitude of the events have not increased, but there are people living in places where humans were fewer in numbers in the past so the damage to property was low. Even with increased population fewer people die today than in the past due to extreme weather events.

You don’t seem to have grasped that no one trusts ‘the science’ anymore. Which is somewhat of a travesty because there are brilliant minds out there whose “theoretical predictions” are not even considered because they are not aligned with ‘consensus science’.

Barry if only one point of view is being looked at, and or published, and this ideology is proven to be wrong over and over again, why would you think that the general population would have faith in the rhetoric?

People are starting to wake up to the fact that they have been lied to. The hype, hysteria and catastrophising around climate is nothing more than a marketing tool to sell renewables. The planet is not going to fry to a crisp as a result of anthropogenic CO2 emissions. It’s time to stop terrifying children and gullible youth. The propaganda being fed to our children throughout their entire education is criminal.

The biggest marketing tool of them all is the MSM. But like science, the trust is gone. We have been lied to for too long. There is very little truth in journalism.

Most people are fully aware that none of this has anything to do with climate change. It’s about a relatively small number of obscenely wealthy elites wanting to call the shots on how we live our lives. It’s about control. We don’t want your renewables Barry. They are toxic. The manufacture of the technology of wind, solar backup batteries and EV’s is destroying our planet at a faster rate than your climate claims ever could. The humanitarian degradation, environmental damage done globally and the collapsing economies are unforgivable.

Barry Anthony
Reply to  Megs
March 18, 2022 6:39 am

Barry the anthropogenic CO2 hysteria began in earnest more than 30 years ago. None of the promised catastrophic climate devastation has taken place. None. The dates are long passed, new dates were invented. Nothing.

To which claims are you referring? And which of these claims, specifically, came from actual research organizations?

Despite all your posturing of bloviation, the fundamental facts remain: The planet continues to warm, sea levels continue to rise, and atmospheric CO2 levels continue to climb. And there attribution for these deltas is atmospheric CO2 from human activity.

MarkW
Reply to  Barry Anthony
March 18, 2022 11:29 am

Anybody who knows actual science (which leaves Barry out) knows that correlation does not prove causation. What caused the Medieval, Roman, Minoan and Egyptian warm periods, which were as much as several degrees warmer than the modern warm period. It wasn’t CO2, because CO2 levels didn’t change?
What caused the Holocene Optimum, which was at least 3C warmer than today? It wasn’t CO2.

Hutches Hunches
Reply to  Barry Anthony
March 18, 2022 2:40 pm

And the proof that CO2 causes global warming is where Barry?…in you own head doesn’t count. Basic physics indicates that CO2’s heat trapping capacity is very limited compared with H2O and natural ocean influences and historic temperature/CO2 records suggest that CO2 increases have always been proceeded by temperature increases…not the other way around. So, get smart Barry….get off that train to nowhere know as NetZero!

Megs
Reply to  Barry Anthony
March 18, 2022 5:15 pm

You are wrong Barry. Here’s a link for you, and I encourage you to read the comments too. You often find further interesting links there.

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2017/10/30/some-failed-climate-predictions/

MarkW
Reply to  Barry Anthony
March 18, 2022 11:27 am

So the fact that the majority of the warming occurred prior to the start of the increase in CO2 concentrations proves that CO2 was responsible for most of the warming.

It doesn’t take much to convince you.

There is no data that shows a connection between CO2 and temperature. Models are not data.

Dave(@daveandrews723)
March 16, 2022 6:20 am

What would be the future of international travel/commerce in a fossil fuel-free world? Is there a carbon-free solution to powering jet aircraft and ocean-going freighters?

RevJay4
Reply to  Dave
March 16, 2022 6:38 am

Obvious answers to your questions is…NO. Its all a sham to fleece the sheep of their hard-earned bucks. A not-so-clever scheme to transfer wealth from the working folks to the elite scum who want to rule the world and everyone on it. Simple answer. The solution is to eliminate those who would continue to push for the fleecing to continue. Unfortunately, there are laws which prevent the wholesale removal of the proponents of the “climate change” wind and solar avenues to a fossil-free world. Best to shame them in any way possible.

Reply to  Dave
March 16, 2022 7:04 am

It is theoretically possible that an ‘oxygen burning’ lithium air battery might be able to power a transatlantic aircraft.

Whether or not the lithium exists or its economically feasible is moot.

I suspect that synthetic kerosene would actually be cheaper.

Tim Gorman
Reply to  Leo Smith
March 16, 2022 8:43 am

There have been experimental, battery-powered airplanes built. Typically small with a small payload. The biggest problem for commercial use is the turnaround time due to recharging times. You can refuel a jet aircraft and turn it around or send it to another destination pretty quickly. You can’t fast charge a battery large enough to run a 200 passenger commercial airliner very often without requiring an expensive replacement – taking the airplane out of service in order to do so.

Slowroll
Reply to  Tim Gorman
March 16, 2022 9:53 am

There is also the problem that a battery big enough to power a wide body jet airliner would weigh a couple million pounds or so– way more than the jet’s gross weight capacity.

Hoyt Clagwell
Reply to  Dave
March 16, 2022 8:42 am

We could always go back to 19th century style schooners. But you can forget about 3-day shipping of anything.

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  Dave
March 16, 2022 10:53 am

Funnily enough I read about this a couple of days ago. History. In February 1957, a Martin B-57B of the NACA flew on hydrogen for 20 min for one of its two Wright J65 engines rather than jet fuel. For those in the UK the Martin B57 was an English Electric Canberra built under licence. I think that this was the first time a turbo jet flew under, at least in part, hydrogen power.
I was actually looking for information on the Saunders-Roe SR.177 dual power jet/rocket powered interceptor.

Kemaris
Reply to  Dave
March 16, 2022 11:40 am

Yes, just provide them with nuclear reactors.

I didn’t say it was a GOOD solution (especially aircraft) but it is carbon-free once you assume the vehicle and reactor.

John Pickens
March 16, 2022 6:24 am

I posted this in an earlier thread, but it applies amply here:

In furtherance of the imperative to eliminate the use of fossil fuels, the US Congress should pass a law REQUIRING that all solar PV panels, wind turbines, and electric utility battery backup systems be sourced SOLELY from companies using only solar and wind power to make their products. Surely, if the claims by advocates of these systems that they are cheaper than fossil fuels are true, then this legislation will serve to minimize the time needed to phase out fossil fuels!

Randy Stubbings
Reply to  John Pickens
March 16, 2022 7:22 am

Wind and solar are indeed the least expensive sources of intermittent and unreliable electricity. But when it’s -35 outside and the wind is not blowing and the sun is not shining (where I live it refuses to shine for about 16 hours a day in mid-December), I will happily pay for supposedly more expensive but far more reliable electricity. Of course, if wind and solar generators were made to pay the reliability costs they impose on consumers, it would become blindingly obvious that they are NOT the cheapest sources.

Kemaris
Reply to  Randy Stubbings
March 16, 2022 11:41 am

They’re only the least expensive once you assume they’ve already been built and have no disposal costs.

MarkW
Reply to  Kemaris
March 17, 2022 8:01 am

Even then they aren’t the cheapest, because you still have to pay for the cost of whatever the backup source is.

Willem Post
Reply to  John Pickens
March 16, 2022 7:42 am

John,
The mined materials and the mining infrastructures must also be made only with solar and wind, the transportation routes and panel factories, etc., as well, and on and on for the entire a to z supply chain.

Hoyt Clagwell
Reply to  John Pickens
March 16, 2022 8:45 am

I would love to see the federal government set up an experimental community with no access to fossil fuels and no products made from or with fossil fuels. Kind of like NASA’s experimental Mars base but far less comfortable.

David Elstrom
March 16, 2022 6:36 am

There’s one word too many in the headline. Given the fact that solar and wind can’t deliver anywhere near their rated capacity without fossil fuel back-up, it could have simply said, “ No Amount Of Incremental Wind And Solar Power Can Ever Provide Energy.”

jeffery p
March 16, 2022 6:36 am

Let’s start with outlawing private jet travel globally.

That’ll end this nonsense when the big money boys have to live with the world they’re trying to force on us.

rah
March 16, 2022 6:50 am

I await Griff coming to inform us how batteries will save us all,

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  rah
March 16, 2022 12:12 pm

I see Tesla has just had to put up prices…

Gary Pearse
March 16, 2022 6:53 am

So, Russia, battling in Ukraine, is at the same time conquering the entire West! As Napoleon famously (was supposed to have) said: “Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.”

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Gary Pearse
March 16, 2022 6:56 am

Undiscovering The Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution is indeed a big mistake.

Gavin
March 16, 2022 6:54 am

I’ve been half-heartedly trawling the internet for answers to a couple of fairly straightforward questions without success.
1). Roughly how much energy is required to produce a typical solar panel?
2). Roughly how much energy will a typical solar panel, properly installed at 50° North, convert/feed into the grid during its lifetime?
Someone must have done this calculation, or have real-world data, but all DuckDuckGo brings up are ads by solar energy installers.

Reply to  Gavin
March 16, 2022 7:19 am

I can give you an answer to half of that.

At least for UK which is 50° N (london/south)

Average insolation is around 1000W/sq meter of panel, at an efficiency of about 20% over a lifetime of about 20 years.

If we multiply that by the lifetime we get 200 x 20 x 24 x 365 = 349440 kWh

At a putative competive price of 4p a unit, that means it (1 sq m of panel) generates £14,000 of leccy over its lifetime.
It probably does take less energy to make it, but to install it, maintain it, add battery backup to make it reliable?

No one bothers with the answer, they are too busy stuffing Russian roubles into their bank accounts.

John Pickens
Reply to  Leo Smith
March 16, 2022 7:57 am

I believe your math is flawed.
You show 20% conversion efficiency, but you omit two major variables.
The sun doesn’t shine 24 hours a day, the efficiency of 20% is vs. the insolation at the present time. If you assume 200 Watt hours for 4 hours per day average you cut your estimate by a factor of 6.

So now, we’re down to $2333 per square meter, and probably less when dirt, non-optimal panel angle during the winter, and clouds are considered.

ferdberple(@ferdberple)
Reply to  Leo Smith
March 16, 2022 8:31 am

Average insolation is around 1000W/sq meter of panel,
======
Isnt that closer to noonday summer maximum?

garymount(@garymount)
Reply to  ferdberple
March 16, 2022 10:45 am

No, that is a surface area perpendicular to the rays of the sun, any time of year.

Don
Reply to  garymount
March 17, 2022 3:21 pm

Yes , that was what he was basically saying !

garymount(@garymount)
Reply to  Don
March 18, 2022 8:43 am

It all depends on the position of the panel. If I affixed the panel so that it faced the sun at noon on the shortest day of the year, the winter solstice, then any day after that at noon would have less insolation and would have the least amount of insolation on the summer solstice.

The average insolation by the way is 1380 watts per square meter and not 1000W/sq meter.
(by average I mean, the earths orbit is elliptical so the watts per square meter varies throughout the year.)

Last edited 2 months ago by garymount
Paul Penrose
Reply to  Leo Smith
March 16, 2022 9:32 am

Leo,
Not only does the sun not shine 24 hours a day, but the power output of the average panel declines by about 1% every year, making those cumulative losses a killer.

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  Leo Smith
March 16, 2022 11:16 am

London averages 1400 hours of sunshine annually, Glasgow about 1200.
So in Glasgow your calculation should be for 24000 hours at 20% of 1000W sunshine, so 96000kWh maximum. But considerably less due to fixing on a roof, the standard and most common roof angle in the UK is between 18° and 26°

Domestic tariff for electricity in the UK is about £0.30, so your panel will “save” a canny Glaswegian a maximum sum of £3,840 using your costs

Don
Reply to  Ben Vorlich
March 17, 2022 3:27 pm

And the cost (Labour) of regular cleaning and maintaining the panels is to be ignored ? A 20 year life span ??? I have seen panels that had been installed for 10 years and what a sorry sight they were , the glass was pitted ? and the edges invaded by lichen stuck fast !

ferdberple(@ferdberple)
Reply to  Gavin
March 16, 2022 8:24 am

The price of most products is closely tied to work required to produce. Electricity and gasoline have almost the same price based on energy content.

$4 = 1 gal = 33kwh = $4

Gold is expensive because it takes a lot of work to make.

MarkW
Reply to  ferdberple
March 16, 2022 8:54 am

Gold is expensive because it’s rare.
Because it’s expensive, people are willing to work hard to get small amounts of it.

ferdberple(@ferdberple)
Reply to  MarkW
March 16, 2022 9:07 am

gold is relatively abundant, dissolved in seawater. Yet the price remains high.

MarkW
Reply to  ferdberple
March 16, 2022 9:20 am

It’s abundant, but the cost of extraction exceeds the value on the market.
Platinum is also abundant in the asteroids.

Last edited 2 months ago by MarkW
tom hewitt
Reply to  ferdberple
March 16, 2022 1:52 pm

In this scene from The Treasure of the Sierra Madre Walter Huston explains why gold is so valuable: https://youtu.be/Qk4GDuzZAM8

p0indexterous
Reply to  ferdberple
March 17, 2022 11:47 am

It costs about $3 to produce a barrel of crude in Kuwait

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  Gavin
March 16, 2022 8:38 am

3) What is the actual value of said non-dispatchable energy in relation to dispatchable? Hint: Nowhere close.

Gavin
Reply to  Gavin
March 16, 2022 1:18 pm

Thanks for the replies. As I expected, estimates vary wildly depending upon assumptions about angle of incidence, deterioration etc.. I think it’s inconceivable that manufacturers and solar array operators have no real world data about lifetime output; the fact that I can’t find it published anywhere makes me suspect the figures are not encouraging. No estimates of a number in mJ or kWh for the energy required to produce a panel? I have absolutely no idea about this side of the equation.

Gavin
Reply to  Gavin
March 16, 2022 1:31 pm

I’m just interested in the energy saving of using coal power to produce a panel in China, shipping it to the UK, and siting it in our northern maritime climate, compared to simply burning the coal for energy here

Kevin T Kilty
Reply to  Gavin
March 16, 2022 4:33 pm

Polysilicon: 175MWhr per ton…631GJ/ton = 631MJ/kg I suspect the starting material here is not silica sand, but rather metallurgical grade silicon. So, add another 54GJ/ton to get from quartz to metallurgical grade…you’re approaching 700MJ/kg…35 times making primary iron from ore.

Growing electronic grade wafers would take more energy still, but I am pretty sure most solar panels are polysilicon.

Megs
Reply to  Kevin T Kilty
March 17, 2022 5:30 pm

Kevin the link below gives details and ‘recipes’ on how silicon ingots are manufactured for crystalline silicon solar panels. The most commonly used solar panel. I recommend you open the PDF for ease of reading. It’s not a huge paper but it’s got some surprising information.

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/335083312_Why_do_we_burn_coal_and_trees_to_make_solar_panels

Barry Anthony
Reply to  Megs
March 17, 2022 6:12 pm

The reality is simple. Wind and solar not only provide higher EROI levels than fossil fuels or even nuclear, they’re also FAR less harmful to the environment, including all aspects of mining, refining, manufacturing, transportation, operation, and disposal/recycling. In fact, as more and more renewable energy comes online, the carbon footprints of wind and solar are further reduced as part of a feedback loop.

https://www.ucsusa.org/resources/environmental-impacts-renewable-energy-technologies#:~:text=The%20environmental%20impacts%20associated%20with,cells%20or%20concentrating%20solar%20thermal

Megs
Reply to  Barry Anthony
March 17, 2022 8:09 pm

I read your article from the Union of Concerned Scientists Barry. Apart from being published in 2008, it has nothing scientific in it. It reads like a glossy marketing brochure. I have no problem with someone giving me the thumbs down on anything I submit, we can’t all agree. But I’ll bet you didn’t even open the link.

Everything else you said is just words. Like you would say if you were selling someone a car. Now, if you can’t back up all that you have to say about what you’re marketing, why should they believe you. I’m not buying it Barry.

It happens that you are wrong on every aspect you mentioned in talking up renewables. I could actually refute them all. But you need to do some work yourself. I am a part of a group who wrote a paper about the negative aspects of renewables. So very many people have published articles Barry. We’ve put together a large number of them in one document along with other analysis. The links to the articles are included in the document Barry, firstly to give the credit due to the authors, but more importantly, so that you can read them. You see, if you only read the affirmative information you’re going to go ahead and buy that car, and you are going to be badly disappointed.

We included this paper in a submission against a climate bill and on the basis of the paper we were requested to attend parliament house for a hearing. We’ve put alot of time into this Barry, more than three years now. And no money has exchanged hands.

The paper is online, put in some work and look it up. It’s called “Wind and Solar Electricity Generation are the Answer. Seriously?”

MarkW
Reply to  Barry Anthony
March 18, 2022 11:33 am

For a guy who demands peer reviewed data from reputable journals, you can’t seem to find any when it comes to supporting your nonsense.
One propaganda source after another containing no science, just empty claims and insults towards those who don’t worship at the same church.

Megs
Reply to  Barry Anthony
March 18, 2022 6:22 pm

Here’s some comments for your links Barry.

1. I tried a number of times in case there was a connection problem but the link won’t open.

2. Pay walled.

3. Fact check. Really Barry, just because it was published doesn’t give it credibility. So much was left out, it was misleading.

4. This article was a bit more interesting, but they always seem to totally leave out transport. Then they started to ramble about future possibilities and conjecture about how great things might be. Lots of weasle words, another promotional document.

5. The Life Cycle Document had a bit more depth. It opened up straight onto the results of the study. This in itself looked like numbers from a laboratory based study. So I decided to explore the links to see what I could discover, there’s plenty of them. Though some have been removed, history is revealing.

I came across ‘Harmonized Results’ somewhere along the line and that piqued my interest. The study reviewed 397 PV references, culled the oldest and I’m guessing the ones that didn’t suit their purpose. They narrowed it down to 13 studies and 41 estimates. Estimates Barry. They averaged CO2 results in common areas, I guess that’s harmonizing, but I have a strong sense of de ja vu here.

Of all the reports only one was from Australia, the others were from the Northern Hemisphere. The latest of the reports was from 2009 and most of them related to rooftop solar. When doing their ‘harmonizing’ they selectively left out the equations of certain studies. For instance solar that had battery backup.

The results, which talk up the low emissions from PV solar are irrelevant because they leave so much out! They even stated in the study “None of the studies in this meta-analysis specifically accounted for Chinese manufacturing”. Can you see the problem with that Barry? Most of the manufacturing is in fact carried out in China!

Shipping and large vehicle transport is not mentioned at all Barry, and shipping is one of the largest global contributors of emissions! The lead author of this document works for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the study was funded by the US Government. This document is simply written (or cooked up) to talk up renewables, but in a fancy way. Too much relevant information is missing for this study to have any meaning Barry.

I stand by my statement that the general public have lost trust in science, and for good reason. We are being constantly lied to.

6. This was written by a pro renewables organisation who have a strong bias and again it was written it lab conditions with no real life information or inclusion of transport.

Don’t bother sending me any more links Barry. You haven’t made any comments on the paper, or of the link I posted. Let’s move on to the next blog shall we Barry, just like everyone else has.

Barry Anthony
Reply to  Megs
March 18, 2022 7:00 pm

1. I tried a number of times in case there was a connection problem but the link won’t open.

Here’s another link offered as a substitute.

https://sci-hub.se/10.1111/j.1530-9290.2012.00464.x

2. Pay walled.

Another link the article.

https://sci-hub.se/10.1038/s41560-017-0032-9

3. Fact check. Really Barry, just because it was published doesn’t give it credibility. So much was left out, it was misleading.

So, no, you don’t have a rebuttal. Thanks for confirming. Ignoring the references was unsurprising.

4. This article was a bit more interesting, but they always seem to totally leave out transport. 

Given that 40% of the world’s shipping by weight is dedicated to the transport of fossil fuels, that tack will end poorly for your argument.

https://qz.com/2113243/forty-percent-of-all-shipping-cargo-consists-of-fossil-fuels/

I came across ‘Harmonized Results’ somewhere along the line and that piqued my interest. The study reviewed 397 PV references, culled the oldest and I’m guessing the ones that didn’t suit their purpose. 

Ah. I forgot. The US Department of Energy is part of the global cabal of elitists conspiring with the world’s scientific organizations to push cleaner, cheaper energy down the throats of honest taxpayers.

Shipping and large vehicle transport is not mentioned at all Barry, and shipping is one of the largest global contributors of emissions! 

You’ve already dug the grave of your argument with that one.

Bottom line, and as per my references, the full-cycle cradle-to-grave CO2 footprints of wind and solar are so much cleaner than fossil fuels it’s laughable to even attempt to contest that reality.

We are being constantly lied to.

Do you get the irony of making that claim in the forums of a fossil fuel shill organization?

6. This was written by a pro renewables organisation who have a strong bias and again it was written it lab conditions with no real life information or inclusion of transport.

You attempt the Genetic fallacy while ignoring the multiple references in the article, including the research papers previously posted.

Megs
Reply to  Barry Anthony
March 18, 2022 8:48 pm

Barry get over yourself. You still haven’t responded to any of the articles that I have directed to you personally.

And in regards to the ‘fossil fuel shill organisation”, you are a total hypocrite. Renewables would not ‘exist’ as a technology without fossil fuels. They could not be transported around the globe without fossil fuels. Nor would they exist as a source of energy without the backup of fossil fuels. This cost must be included in pricing up renewables and when calculating the EROI you are so fond of quoting.The emissions from ‘all’ processes associated with renewables must be taken into account. This is a symbiotic relationship that cannot be denied. Renewables are not, and never will be a stand alone source of energy. The cost of renewable energy must be reflected in the other components necessary for it to exist.

It’s a win win for the fossil fuel organisations Barry. They make even more money ‘because’ of renewables. The raw materials are being used up at a more rapid rate for an industry that’s not fit for purpose. It’s existence is destroying the environment at an ever increasing rate and taking up vast amounts of land to provide part time, unreliable, unsustainable and short lived energy.

Forget about ‘installed capacity’. In regard to renewables that term is meaningless. After more than thirty years of promoting and installing renewables they account for only 5% of global energy output. Trillions of dollars Barry, for what? Major European countries are in energy crisis as a direct result of rolling out large installations of renewable energy. It hasn’t been successful anywhere in the world Barry. If it’s only come this far in regards to energy output after more than thirty years, how much of a dent do you think can be made towards the 2030 targets? Energy needs are increasing Barry.

None of this has anything to do with CO2 or climate Barry. That’s all just marketing to justify spending trillions of dollars on infrastructure that no one really wants. It’s useless Barry, but a relatively small number of elites make large amounts of money from it. Let it go. Too many people have woken up.

Barry Anthony
Reply to  Megs
March 19, 2022 9:23 am

And in regards to the ‘fossil fuel shill organisation”, you are a total hypocrite. Renewables would not ‘exist’ as a technology without fossil fuels.

Edison perfected the incandescent bulb in his workshop by lamplight. This does not invalidate the incandescent bulb. It does not mean we should still use lamplight in some misplaced demonstration of loyalty.

The first digital computer was designed with slide rules. This does not invalidate the digital computer. It does not mean we should continue to use slide rules because they worked just fine.

Throughout history, existing technologies have given way to better ones that they were used to create. This is true with renewable energy.

But of course Edison didn’t have to battle against a lamp industry spending billions to oppose the incandescent bulb. The engineers who created ENIAC didn’t have to battle a slide rule industry spending billions of dollars to misinform the public an buy politicians.

The advocates for responsible energy and environmental policy are currently locked in a massive battle against industries desperate to protect the old way, their gravy train. It’s taken far too long, and progress is still far too slow, but renewables are winning.

They’re winning in spite of the tired, long-debunked old tropes you just rolled out. They’re winning because they’re cleaner and cheaper. They’re winning because they represent TRUE energy independence.

Wind and solar energy is being deployed faster than any other source of electricity in history. Wind and solar represented 87% of the new installed capacity in 2021 in the US. And 2022 looks to surpass even those numbers.

Keep in mind that roughly 91% of all extracted petroleum is burned. That’s the part that the increasing installation of wind and solar is going to stop, not using it for other important industrial applications. We need petroleum for lots of things: Roads, fertilizers, plastics and lubrication for EVs and wind turbines. (In fact, one of the smartest things we can do with petroleum or natural gas is lubricate a wind turbine. Use the lubricant, RECYCLE it, and use it again.) The absolute DUMBEST thing we can do with petroleum or NG is burn it. Once we do that, it’s gone, nothing but pollution.

It’s just a matter of time. The dominance of renewables is inevitable.

Last edited 2 months ago by Barry Anthony
Megs
Reply to  Barry Anthony
March 19, 2022 2:26 pm

I’m not going to play your game anymore Barry. You are a religious zealot. The points you made are meaningless. Renewables cannot exist without fossil fuels which sets it apart from the inventions you put forward. They are stand alone, they don’t depend on the previous technology to be useful. The rest of of your rant is simply not true. You are simply trying to bait me now, like a troll does. I won’t respond further.

MarkW
Reply to  Barry Anthony
March 18, 2022 11:31 am

Not even close to being true.

March 16, 2022 7:01 am

“There is nothing a fleet of dispatchable nuclear power plants cannot do that cannot be done worse and more expensively and with higher carbon emissions and more adverse environmental impact than by adding intermittent renewable energy.”

griff
March 16, 2022 7:09 am

If Putin had waited 5 years before going mad, the UK certainly wouldn’t be importing gas or coal for power generation…

John Pickens
Reply to  griff
March 16, 2022 7:59 am

Yes, it would only take another 5 years for the UK to perfect Unicorn Fartology.

LdB
Reply to  griff
March 16, 2022 8:02 am

Yes the grid would have already collapsed … Instead you just have to cowtail to your new master 🙂

What about those HVDC interconnectors they are really going to save you.

Last edited 2 months ago by LdB
Richard Page
Reply to  LdB
March 16, 2022 4:36 pm

Cowtail? Surely you mean kowtow?

tom hewitt
Reply to  griff
March 16, 2022 8:18 am

Putin seems to be one of the driving forces of the idea of a total transformation of the energy industry. However, Vlad is 69 years old and approaching the end of his political career. In twenty years or less the agent of Satan will no longer be a factor on the world stage. In that time span it’s highly unlikely that any meaningful permanent change in the energy complex can be made.

MarkW
Reply to  griff
March 16, 2022 8:55 am

UK can’t even get rid of the last of it’s coal plants, and you actually believe they will be getting rid of the gas plants in the next five years?????

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  MarkW
March 16, 2022 12:24 pm

Some of them will shutter due to age. It’s not a pretty picture, and we can expect a major capacity deficit building up quite soon. Capacity shortages lead to sky high prices. Ask any Texan.

https://timera-energy.com/the-uks-rapidly-emerging-power-flex-deficit/

DonM
Reply to  griff
March 16, 2022 9:33 am

Nor would the UK be able to defend itself or help its neighbors defend themselves.

Putin is truly stupid, or he calculated that Europe had dug as deep as a hole as they could.

Joel
Reply to  griff
March 16, 2022 9:41 am

Maybe. But, that would only account for 1/3rd of their energy use. Oil is the single biggest supplier of energy in the UK.

Retired_Engineer_Jim
Reply to  griff
March 16, 2022 10:42 am

Right, they’d be importing wood pellets.

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  griff
March 16, 2022 12:20 pm

It would be enjoying regular blackouts.

Laws of Nature
March 16, 2022 7:15 am

In his discussion with Dessler Epstein makes the point that adding renewables (always??) add to the cost if you look at the whole picture.
There are also other factors like grid stability which are to be considered.

Any storage solution for solar has to be storing for months, as we still need energy in April after a long and cold winter..

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  Laws of Nature
March 16, 2022 12:27 pm

coorect. Storage requirements get to insane levels. Here’s what would have been needed if the UK had relied only on wind last year:

https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/ZmrQw/1/

Note the need to already have a large amount in store at the start of the year.

Laws of Nature
Reply to  It doesn't add up...
March 17, 2022 8:12 am

Hi and thank you for the reply!

Unfortunately I am not sure if I understand that linked Graph in all consequences.

First there is the unit of the y-axis which is energy, but should be power in my opinion (otherwise what do you get if you integrate over time?)

Next there is missing context, up to 50TWh, how does that compare to the total power/energy needs of GB in April?

Last not least I naively assumed we would need batteries to store electrical power, but looking at the graph that is not even mentioned, but 3 other methods
(hydrogen, pumped storage and hydrogen storage) with brutal losses due to efficiency.
I would be interested in the actual and future capacity of those methods in GB.
Last not least a small comment, if you use hydro dams to store energy, it also means that you are willing to use them sub optimally, as they work most efficiently when they are full, it that also factored in? (I guess the simple math would say that´s another factor 2 as the glass is only half full on average – I am an optimist 🙂 )

glenn holdcroft
March 16, 2022 7:18 am

Explain that to Greta , the politicians and UN will listen to her .

John Garrett
March 16, 2022 7:19 am

Putin’s war has been a political lifesaver for the climate crackpots.

It has allowed them to obscure the complete and total failure of European wind and solar electricity generation.

It has allowed them to shift the blame for their responsibility for skyrocketing prices of electricity, petroleum and its derivative products.

Joao Martins
March 16, 2022 7:38 am

After the idiocy started, it was consolidated by the acceptance by all (not only the anti-fossil fuel) of the notion that the normal energy production would be renewable and the thermic or nuclear would be its “backup”.

It is silly to admit that the normal supply of something would be an unpredictable and intermitent source, while the continuous and controllable source would be a mere “backup”.

This silliness was accepted and seldom contested after, we can see it in all current analyses and statements.

In the real world, being the matter as it is, with 30 or more years of experience in many places, we MUST conclude that the normal source of electricity is thermo, hydro or nuclear, and that the very limited amount of wind and photo should be classified as a supplement whose contribution, though small, is hard to predict.

Steve Case
March 16, 2022 7:42 am

Yes, it’s The Emperor’s New Clothes every day here at Manhattan Contrarian.

comment image

Last edited 2 months ago by Steve Case
Barry Anthony
March 16, 2022 7:43 am

Regardless of how desperately the fossil fuel shills screech to the contrary, the ONLY way to achieve energy independences is renewable energy. The fossil fuel cartels have bent over not just this country but the entire world for more than a century, with this latest price spike yet another example as to why we need to detox from the fossil fuel addiction immediately.

Fortunately, much of the world has been wising up. Deployment of wind and solar is skyrocketing, as are larger and larger storage solutions. Real-world examples are proving that renewables result in stable grids with far less reliance (currently, pending more storage installation) on conventional backup. In fact, peaker (backup) plants are being closed in larger numbers as they’re being undercut on price and response speed by wind/solar/storage solutions.

Renewables are cleaner and cheaper than fossil fuels. (Nuclear has become too ridiculous to even be in the conversation.) And renewables are the ONLY answer to the question of energy independence.

Don’t fear the future.

John Garrett
Reply to  Barry Anthony
March 16, 2022 8:10 am

LOL.

See European wind and solar generated electricity supplies.

See European electricity prices.

Last edited 2 months ago by John Garrett
Barry Anthony
Reply to  John Garrett
March 16, 2022 8:14 am

See European wind and solar generated electricity supplies.

See European electricity prices.

What about them, in particular? Provide more detail, with references to official data, please.

Hoyt Clagwell
Reply to  Barry Anthony
March 16, 2022 8:54 am

“What about them, in particular? Provide more detail, with references to official data, please.”

Barry, could you do the same regarding your comment: “Nuclear has become too ridiculous to even be in the conversation.”?

Thanks.

Barry Anthony
Reply to  Hoyt Clagwell
March 16, 2022 10:49 am

Barry, could you do the same regarding your comment: “Nuclear has become too ridiculous to even be in the conversation.”?

After decades of boondoggles and fiascos, the technology has lost all credibility. Broken promises, outrageous cost and schedule overruns, and the most expensive commercial electricity rates as per LCOE of any source or electricity have been the consistent earmark of nuclear energy. Even FRANCE is reducing their reliance on nuclear as per their government’s own energy policy.

Charles Rotter(@jeeztheadmin)
Admin
Reply to  Barry Anthony
March 16, 2022 10:54 am

So, assertions?

Barry Anthony
Reply to  Charles Rotter
March 16, 2022 11:25 am

So, assertions?

I’m happy to elaborate if I’m allowed more than 10 posts a day. Can you eliminate that limit?

Charles Rotter(@jeeztheadmin)
Admin
Reply to  Barry Anthony
March 16, 2022 11:39 am

No

MarkW
Reply to  Barry Anthony
March 16, 2022 1:48 pm

Actually it’s simple. Just make your posts complete. For once do more than make empty headed assertions in your posts. Instead of wasting time insulting everyone who disagrees with you, actually support the claims you are making.

Everyone of the points of contention with your current post was made the last time you made these same claims. Be intelligent and anticipate that the responses will be made again and pro-actively answer them.

The fact that your papers do not cover the full LCOE has been proven by multiple papers. As to France, they are not decreasing their reliance on nuclear.

MarkW
Reply to  Barry Anthony
March 17, 2022 8:07 am

The only reason why nuclear is expensive is because greens and their lawyers have made it so. Get rid of the nonsense lawsuits and the delays that they cause, and most of the cost for nuclear goes away.

Sunsettommy(@sunsetmpoutlookcom)
Editor
Reply to  MarkW
March 17, 2022 8:27 am

`Agreed and learned this from personal experience by being right next door to Hanford and from reading the endless lawsuits demanding changes to the design of the reactor already approved for construction.

John Garrett
Reply to  Barry Anthony
March 16, 2022 8:58 am

Next time, do your own homework:
https://www.epexspot.com/en/market-data

Day ahead (17.3.22) quotes
Germany: € 225.41
U.K.: £ 223.53
France: € 260.26

MarkW
Reply to  Barry Anthony
March 16, 2022 9:01 am

That would be the European rates that are going up even as highly subsidized wind and solar are being added.

Trying to Play Nice
Reply to  Barry Anthony
March 17, 2022 5:11 am

How about an example of where the grid is running on only solar and wind with all this wonderful battery backup.

tom hewitt
Reply to  Barry Anthony
March 16, 2022 8:34 am

<i>Renewables are cleaner and cheaper than fossil fuels.</i>

If that’s the case, there’s no problem. The conversion to renewables will be made voluntarily, no legislation or subsidies will be needed. Germans will have already swapped out gas-fired boilers for the electric version. The many street lights everywhere in major cities will now be powered by sunlight or the wind. Power hungry aluminum smelters will be just a part of a network of carbon-free wind turbines or solar panels, about this many.

MarkW
Reply to  tom hewitt
March 16, 2022 9:04 am

Barry, like griff, never actually reads the articles he cites as proof for his fantastical positions. He cites an un-peer-reviewed article that excludes most of the costs of renewables, doubles the expected life of renewable power sources and halves the expected life expectancy of fossil fuel plants, in order to prove that renewables are cheaper.

When presented with proof that his paper if flawed, he just goes back to screaming that everyone who disagrees with him is a shill for the fossil fuel industry.

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  Barry Anthony
March 16, 2022 8:55 am

Delusional much?

Right-Handed Shark
Reply to  Barry Anthony
March 16, 2022 8:57 am

Idiot.

MarkW
Reply to  Barry Anthony
March 16, 2022 9:00 am

Once again, the troll jumps up to shout that his fantasies actually are real and that anyone who disagrees with him is just a shill for his fantastical enemies.
He actually believes that governments mandating renewables is proof that renewables are the future.
Then again, he is a shill for more government.

His storage solutions exist on paper and his mind, nowhere else.

Real world examples show that renewables cause grids to become unstable. But don’t ask Barry to recognize reality, he’s paid to shill for his renewable clients.

Meab
Reply to  Barry Anthony
March 16, 2022 9:26 am

You’re lying, BareRant. There is NO such thing as any grid-scale backup. The world’s largest battery is only able to backup 100 MW for an hour. You apparently don’t know that’s a tiny amount of energy compared to what the grid in any major country supplies every single night.

A battery that could back up a huge solar plant the size of ONE nuclear plant, 1000 MWe, large enough to get through a single winter night would cost almost as much as the nuclear plant. To make it worse, you would have to build at least 3 huge solar plants, one to put power on the grid during the 8 hour winter day, and two more to charge the massive battery. That system would get you through one night. So what do you need to get through a week of rainy weathe?. Answer – a battery that costs more than a nuclear plant.

Take the US, for example. There are roughly 100 nuclear plants that provide 20% of the nation’s electricity. To provide 100% with solar, you would need 500 huge solar farms times (at least) 3 = 1500 solar farms to charge 500 huge batteries, each of which costs more than a nuclear plant. Now, since fossil fuels power 80% of the US’s energy needs when you add up industry, transportation, heating etc., multiply that number by 5 = 7500 huge solar farms and 2500 batteries, each of which is already too expensive.

Since a wind turbine is 500 times smaller but (sometimes) runs through the night, you would need well over a million of them (and 100s of huge, unaffordable batteries).

With just a few numbers (that you could have looked up in a minute) using grade-school level arithmetic you could have calculated this and come to the realization that your green-brainwashed beliefs are ludicrous. All I can say to you is “pull your head out”.

Mr.
Reply to  Meab
March 16, 2022 10:07 am

You’re using NUMBERS!

That’s unconscionable, since all of us here have seen that Barry is numerically disabled, as demonstrated by his basic inability to add up.

Paul Penrose
Reply to  Barry Anthony
March 16, 2022 9:47 am

Barry,
Please explain in engineering terms how the grid frequency will be maintained in a system dominated by, or completely consisting of, millions (or even billions) of solar panels and windmills. Reactive power imbalances would be catastrophic if they are not all kept perfectly synchronized. So far as I know, that problem has not been solved. Also please present your calculations on the number of new miles of electrical transmission lines which will be required due to the diffuse nature of these power sources. An analysis of the raw material requirements and manpower would also be helpful. This of course does not even address the transportation or heavy construction sectors, but that’s an exercise for another day.

Slowroll
Reply to  Barry Anthony
March 16, 2022 9:56 am

We had energy independence under the last president.

Mike Lowe
Reply to  Barry Anthony
March 16, 2022 12:39 pm

The usual BS from BA. He must be related to Griff!

Joao Martins
Reply to  Barry Anthony
March 16, 2022 1:16 pm

Please, define “independence”.

Then, please define WHOSE independence from WHOM.

Quibbling with words, introducing new expressions like “energy independence” is easy. And “independence” is somewhat sexy, appealing to agreement without thinking what exactly is being talked about…

Graemethecat
Reply to  Barry Anthony
March 16, 2022 2:37 pm

Since Renewables are so much better than Fossil Fuels or Nuclear, all we need to do is to withdraw any subsidies and let the Market do the rest. People will fall over themselves to adopt Wind and Solar, right?

Trying to Play Nice
Reply to  Barry Anthony
March 17, 2022 5:10 am

I don’t fear the future but I do fear psychotics like you.

Vincent
March 16, 2022 7:46 am

The crucial point in this article is ‘Energy Independence’.

In order for the world economy to mainly rely upon energy supplies from Wind and Solar, all countries would have to be interconnected with UHVDC cables, transmitting power from where the wind is blowing and the sun is shining, to where it isn’t.

During every second of every day, the sun is shining somewhere and the wind is blowing somewhere on the planet, over large areas of land and sea.

However the cost of laying down hundreds of thousands of kilometres of UHVDC cables would be enormous. But that’s not the only problem. During earthquakes and undersea volcanic eruptions, power could be disrupted to certain countries for long periods, and power could also be disrupted during wars and conflicts when the UHVDC cables become a target, so therefore it’s quite clear that wind and solar cannot provide Energy Independence because the world is not a peaceful place and wars or major conflicts occur fairly regularly.

Another problem with the idea of connecting all countries with UHVDC cables, which is theoretically possible, is the increased use of fossil fuels that would be required to produce the materials and dig the trenches, which is not politically acceptable in many countries.

I should add that UHVDC stands for Ultra High Voltage Direct Current which has a very low current loss over long distances, especially undersea.

MarkW
Reply to  Vincent
March 16, 2022 9:09 am

Very low is still not zero. The problem with ultra high voltages is that it breaks down the insulation faster.
When UHVDC is transmitted overland, the only insulators are the ceramic plates that connect the cable to pylon. The rest of the cable relies on hundreds of feet of air to insulate the cable from the ground.
Once you go underwater, every inch of the cable has to be insulated, and that insulation must not fail. A single failure and the cable becomes useless.

Barry Anthony
Reply to  MarkW
March 16, 2022 9:15 am

The problem with ultra high voltages is that it breaks down the insulation faster.

Congratulations. That’s the single most idiotic comment to appear on WUWT, today. [snip]

MarkW
Reply to  Barry Anthony
March 16, 2022 10:31 am

I see that reality still escapes you. As does basic physics.

Retired_Engineer_Jim
Reply to  Barry Anthony
March 16, 2022 10:49 am

Proof that it is wrong?

Sunsettommy(@sunsetmpoutlookcom)
Editor
Reply to  Barry Anthony
March 17, 2022 8:23 am

Yet you couldn’t explain why you think that was wrong because you are too busy screaming at him.

Your comment was dead on arrival and useless.

Barry Anthony
Reply to  Sunsettommy
March 17, 2022 9:31 am

Yet you couldn’t explain why you think that was wrong because you are too busy screaming at him.

A comment so stupid, so profoundly demonstrative of egregious levels of scientific ignorance, must be screamed at. There’s nothing else for it.

To claim that the stresses on an insulator is inherent to the voltage passing through the conductor is patently false. Insulators are degraded primarily by way of heat through resistance (which should never be an issue with properly configured transmission) and environmental interaction.

The primary effect that voltage alone introduces across a conductor is the electromagnetic field. (This his how inductors and transformers work.) This electromagnetic field doesn’t degrade the insulator at all.

Fair enough?

Charles Rotter(@jeeztheadmin)
Admin
Reply to  Barry Anthony
March 17, 2022 9:34 am

Half true, but at least you tried to give a rational comment.

Tim Gorman
Reply to  Barry Anthony
March 17, 2022 10:48 am

Voltage doesn’t “pass-through”, that’s current. Voltage just is. It’s a force like water pressure pushes water through a host.

The current through the conductor creates a magnetic field. If this is an AC current there is an electric field induced as well, the typical EM wave along a transmission line.

For a DC current it’s a little different. For a conductor with no resistance most of the electric field is inside the conductor. For a conductor with resistance the electric field is not parallel to the conductor because of the resistance and and there will be a small electric force around the conductor. I suspect you are thinking more of the electrostatic force around the conductor caused by the electrons (negative charges) tending to move toward the surface of the conductor. Inside the wire the negative charges are canceled by the positive charges of the atoms that have lost the electrons. That electrostatic charge can be high enough to cause “lightning” to surrounding elements including the ground.

The stress on an insulator *IS* inherent to the voltage applied to it. And voltage *does* impact an insulator. Dirt on an insulator can create “tracks” on the insulator as the high voltage creates a path through it. Once that path is established it will many time damage the insulator as it repeatedly flashes over. The weight of the insulation required also causes stress on the insulating plates making up the insulator and can cause fractures, again leading to flashovers. The size of the insulators for high voltage also suffers from increased wind area causing increased wear and force on the suspension equipment.

If what you are saying were true there would be no reason for a maintenance staff for *any* electrical transmission line once the cable and insulators are put in place. That just isn’t real world experience.

Barry Anthony
Reply to  Tim Gorman
March 17, 2022 11:36 am

The stress on an insulator *IS* inherent to the voltage applied to it.

That’s absolutely false. Just stop. You’re done.

Again, the only relevant effect that voltage alone represents to an insulator is the electromagnetic field.

Tim Gorman
Reply to  Barry Anthony
March 17, 2022 11:56 am

This is the argumentative fallacy Argument by Dismissal. You didn’t counter a single assertion I posted. You would lose in a middle school debate tournament.

Voltage doesn’t create the EM field, current does. A static charge on a conductor doesn’t generate an EM field.

MarkW
Reply to  Barry Anthony
March 18, 2022 11:37 am

And the electromagnetic field creates stresses on all materials in that field.
Basic science. Something that is still beyond your feeble abilities.

MarkW
Reply to  Barry Anthony
March 18, 2022 11:35 am

Once again, Barry declares that anything he disagrees with is so stupid that it simply can’t be tolerated by polite society.

I see that Barry is still trying to substitute his uninformed opinion for basic science. Then again, that’s all he ever does.

Tim Gorman
Reply to  MarkW
March 17, 2022 9:17 am

It’s not just the cable. It’s also the terminal stations handling the power. Lots and lots of extra cost, maintenance, and upkeep.

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  Vincent
March 16, 2022 12:33 pm

Trouble is the wind can end up blowing almost nowhere. See this global map of global stilling.

Global stilling.png
MarkW
Reply to  It doesn't add up...
March 16, 2022 1:54 pm

Also, while the sun may be shining at the top of the atmosphere for half of the planet at any given time, but so what?
What happens when the Pacific Ocean is facing towards the sun? Especially during northern hemisphere winter. How much solar power will be generated during those hours?
What happens when it’s winter in the northern hemisphere and huge swaths of N. America and Eurasia are covered by clouds?

Old Retired Guy
March 16, 2022 7:53 am

On top of all the good points in the Article and the Comments, how can you be Independent when the materials to make the energy generators comes from Elsewhere? And currently mostly from a country that clearly has its own (or its leader’s) interests and expansion objectives front and center.

ferdberple(@ferdberple)
March 16, 2022 8:03 am

Where will the energy come from to build all the solar panels and windmills? From increased fossil fuel consumption building a replacement for the existing systems.

How many solar panels can a solar panel build in its 25 year lifetime. About 3. So if you have a million today, how many will you have in 25 years?

So creating a green economy must lead to increased CO2. There is no green economy to build the green economy.

By not creating a green economy we reduce CO2 for as long as it takes to produce the green economy.

H.R.
Reply to  ferdberple
March 16, 2022 9:25 am

ferdberple: So creating a green economy must lead to increased CO2. There is no green economy to build the green economy.”


It seems that discussions of creating a green economy dive right into cost first thing.

Just me, but I’d reverse those two sentences of yours. Every discussion of creating a green economy should start right there.

If the objective is to create a green economy, the discussion should start there before getting into costs.

The objective is to reduce CO2 emissions, and it can’t happen while creating a green economy.

👍👍

Megs
Reply to  H.R.
March 17, 2022 3:29 am

H.R. Doesn’t the law of diminishing returns fit into this conversation somehow? As the amount green energy increases, the CO2 savings from the disappearing traditional forms of energy is reduced.

You cannot claim the same savings over time for a source of energy that is no longer used.

Does that make sense? Aren’t the claims of reduced emissions by going down this path grossly exaggerated?

Of course the CO2 audits would have to be complete and honest for any of this to even matter. And given that there is no one size fits all in regards to CO2 emissions created when installing renewables in a paddock anywhere in the world. It depends on so many factors.

Then there’s reality. The reality is that anthropogenic CO2 is not a threat to the planet. The reality is that we need real energy, we have to stop playing pretend. Clean, green, reliable and sustainable? That’s just playing pretend. An oxymoron.

Paul Hurley (aka PaulH)
Reply to  ferdberple
March 17, 2022 7:06 am

Right! Show me the windmill and solar panel factories that are powered by windmills and solar panels. 😉

Mickey Reno
March 16, 2022 8:07 am

Fookin’ Brilliant! I’d also add that this is the general focus of the best climate blogs, WattsUpWithThat.com, RealClimateScience.com, JoNova.com, ClimateDepot.com, and many more. These stand in opposition to the interest groups otherwise known as “news’ media, and bought interests such as the public school system, Research Universities, and publicly funded or employed bureaucrats masquerading as scientists, which includes almost every single CMIP climate modeler.

While I’m tearing into some of the most sacred cows of our insipid, tired, dying Western Civilization, urging for their immediate elimination, I will once again ask: In the face of modern developments, can anyone point out WHY the UN should still exist, given its catastrophic failure and complete inability to alter world outcomes such as we’re now seeing in Ukraine, Russia and Belarus? End this idiotic institution. We’ll call it a mercy killing.

Jim Turner
March 16, 2022 8:23 am

The inability of any number of wind turbines to generate power in the absence of wind is something that should be glaringly obvious, not just to everyone here; how the narrative manages to brush it aside is astonishing. There is also the opposite problem which is just as serious. Currently here in the UK power supply companies are obliged to take all electricity generated by wind and therefore shut down gas generation to match supply with demand. If they are unable to do so because the wind output is excessive and must be shut down they (and therefore their customers) are obliged to pay for any notional electricity not generated, this is a commercial model Al Capone would have been proud of. If wind power is so economical, why does it need this? When suppliers boast in TV ads that wind-generated electricity is now the cheapest, I doubt they factor this in. Of course more wind turbines will mean we have a reduced demand for gas, but we can never be free of it, and in addition we have the cost of maintenence of an ever-increasing wind turbine infrastructure.

Coach Springer
March 16, 2022 8:44 am

It seems true that wind and solar can reduce – but not eliminate – use of fossil fuels. But why build 3 massive wind fields when one oil or gas well will do? To make a material difference, we’re looking at total coverage of farm land with wind turbines here in central Illinois where I can drive in one direction 5 miles to my first windfield, 5 miles to the next, 20 miles to the next, 15 miles to the next, 10 miles to the next and 5 miles to the next. With the size of each field itself, there will be no place left without a looming turbine. And what will that do to the price of gas? Not a whole lot. Maybe drill. Maybe, if you’re really desperate and you need something fast, go with a 55 mph speed limit. It used to be their favorite thing and not even mentioning it now says they aren’t that concerned about anything but their master plan.

MarkW
Reply to  Coach Springer
March 16, 2022 9:17 am

Actually, wind and solar can only slightly reduce the use of fossil fuels.
The reason for this is the fact that it takes time to spin up a fossil fuel plant.
Depending on the type, it can take minutes, to hours, to days. This means you have to keep the fossil fuel plant on at a minimum warm standby, ready to take over whenever the wind drops, or a cloud passes over the solar field.

richard
March 16, 2022 9:28 am

for anyone who thought Germany ran on fairy tail wind and solar unicorns
“German Economy Minister Robert Habeck has said that cutting off energy supplies from Russia right now will tank the economy and make ordinary people’s lives miserable.
The dependency on Russian fossil fuels remains “comparatively high,” Habeck told ARD on Sunday.
“If we flip the switch immediately, there will be supply shortages, even supply stops, mass unemployment, poverty,” Habeck warned, adding that there will be “people who will no longer be able to heat their homes, people who will run out of petrol.”

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  richard
March 16, 2022 11:38 am

Germany’s problems with electricity generation can been seen in all its “glory” here

https://www.energy-charts.info/charts/power/chart.htm?l=en&c=DE&stacking=stacked_absolute_area

Data can be selected by weeks/months for years back to 2010

Vuk
March 16, 2022 9:36 am

OT:
Three days ago there was a severe geomagnetic storm and now we have another M 7+ earthquake near Japan. Similar thing happened one sunspot cycle ago, most of readers may remember Fukushima disaster.
As it happens I’m in ‘climate change’ refuge so have no access to my desktop, else science would require direct comparison of GM storm intensity, the quake magnitude and location.
I believe there is tsunami warning in force.
“TOKYO — A powerful 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Fukushima in northern Japan on Wednesday evening, triggering a tsunami advisory and plunging more than 2 million homes in the Tokyo area into darkness.
The region is part of northern Japan that was devastated by a deadly 9.0 quake and tsunami 11 years ago that also caused nuclear plant meltdowns.”

Last edited 2 months ago by Vuk
Joel
March 16, 2022 9:37 am

On the other hand, we could “let” Russia take back the Ukraine and continue business as usual. That would be a lot cheaper and a LOT more humanitarian compared to a hot war.
I really think another world war over Eastern European politics is a bit much.
BTW, a third or less of energy use is for electricity in most countries. Replacing all of our electricity with renewables would have no significant impact on atmospheric CO2.
It is all fraud.

Vuk
Reply to  Joel
March 16, 2022 10:10 am

If your home is next to a dark cave inhabited by a grumpy giant with a grudge, it is wise not to provoke him.

Franz Dullaart
March 16, 2022 9:44 am

“Net Zero” = zero electricity.

Joao Martins
Reply to  Franz Dullaart
March 16, 2022 1:20 pm

= compete independence

Jeff corbin
March 16, 2022 9:45 am

The world operates regulation and economic realities with regulation driving the economic realities.. We have seen in repeated posts in WUWT how solar and wind at the grid level do not cut the mustard economically without some sort of subsidy, which is what utilities are all about. Yet solar/tegs at the level of my house could provide a reasonable and profitable adjunct to CNG. oil, coal for off grid solutions. What is missing is an affordable commercialized Next Gen Battery/or SCMES/generator system that would make my desired off grid system viable. A scalable model using solar/tegs/hydrocarbon fuels could be applied to home, business, farm etc. The only reality I care about is economic. But it seems the oil companies and utilities are wise to people like me seeking carbon taxing regulations at the state level with anti-off grid regulations piggybacking the legislation. This effectively destroys any potential demand for a commercialized system for off grid solar/teg/hydrocarbon fuel electrical generation, storage and distribution systems. The Navy has tested systems using self contained SCMES and gas turbine electrical generation, storage distribution systems and they work. A Next Gen Battery or SCME would enable that same system to be scalable to the home level with solar and TEGS and an adjunct input. But the Greenies have been pushing for utility level renewables only and in concert with the oil companies been fighting against off grid solutions. WUWT.

Quelgeek
March 16, 2022 9:49 am

Oh come on people! Dare to dream. Low “carbon” and net zero are both incredibly cheap and easy to achieve. Yemen and Haiti are practically there already.

Retired_Engineer_Jim
Reply to  Quelgeek
March 16, 2022 10:54 am

And North Korea?

n.n
March 16, 2022 9:55 am

Intermittents/renewables and a toxic Green blight throughout its life cycle form recovery to processing to operation to reclamation. That said, we should all stand up for climate, developmental, evolutionary stasis.

Last edited 2 months ago by n.n
mikewaite
March 16, 2022 9:57 am

Paul Homewood today is commenting on a report from Timera energy on the UK energy deficit in the context of net zero by 2035
https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2022/03/16/the-uks-rapidly-emerging-power-flex-deficit/#more-55882
I hope that he will not mind me copying out some of his summary which seems very pertinent to thias discussion , for the UK at least and probably for other nations

  • “As reliable generation capacity disappears and electricity demand grows, we will be faced with a shortfall in dispatchable power of 15 GW by 2030, and a horrifying 30 GW by 2035.
  • The actual outlook is probably much worse, as the de-rated government assumptions for wind and solar are not realistic. Wind, for example, is assumed to be able to supply at least 20% of capacity at all times, clearly a nonsense.
  • The more we add renewable capacity, the greater the volatility for the grid:

Whereas wind power current fluctuates between about 2 GW and 10 GW, by 2030 the range will be 4 GW to 32 GW.

  • Regardless of battery storage and demand side response, I don’t believe any grid can handle such huge fluctuations. It certainly has not been proven”.
March 16, 2022 10:35 am

That reminds me of a quote by Otto Von Bismark:

“Stupidity is a gift from God.
But it should not be abused.”

James Allen
March 16, 2022 10:36 am

The answer you seek is nuclear power, and lots of it. The rest is just wasted capital.

John Sandhofner
March 16, 2022 11:37 am

I have been making the same argument for years. No mention was made of how much land would be needed to install all the solar, wind and battery storage facilities. It is enormous. Only an idiot could believe this is possible.

Megs
Reply to  John Sandhofner
March 17, 2022 4:06 am

Sadly we have many such idiots right here in Australia. So stupid that they can’t see the disaster that is unfolding in the Northern Hemisphere. They are destroying some of Australia’s most beautiful country in the pursuit of clean, green energy. In the name of a lie. We’re going to be world leaders they say, even as Germany is collapsing. I am feeling such a profound sense of loss.

It doesn't add up...
March 16, 2022 12:09 pm

Here’s a look at what has actually been happening in the GB grid as we have moved towards more renewables in the mix. We’re actually using more gas than in 1997!

When gas became expensive in 2011 in the aftermath of Fukushima, which led to high LNG demand from Japan and high prices in Asia, the UK quietly switched back to using a lot more coal. Until the coal fired stations started closing at the behest of the green gods. Wind has eroded the margins on baseload coal and nuclear, and it is these that it has replaced, while the rising volatitlity of wind output means we have to make good using interconnector imports and gas as the flex generation.

UK Elec Gen Shares gas wind.png
TimTheToolMan
March 16, 2022 12:17 pm

“So permit me to say the blindingly obvious: No amount of incremental wind and solar power can ever provide energy independence. Electricity gets consumed the instant it is generated. Electricity is consumed all the time, and therefore must be generated all the time.”

Energy storage makes this fundamental assumption untrue whether you believe it can be practically
and economically done with current technology or not.

MarkW
Reply to  TimTheToolMan
March 16, 2022 6:01 pm

It can’t be done, regardless of whether it’s economical or not.

TimTheToolMan
Reply to  MarkW
March 16, 2022 6:20 pm

Why?

MarkW
Reply to  TimTheToolMan
March 17, 2022 8:11 am

Impossible to build enough batteries.
Even if one were to increase the number of battery factories 100 fold and devote 100% of their output to these grid level batteries, it would still take decades to build enough batteries to make a difference.
Even at that pace, before you could finish building out the number of needed batteries, you would have to divert most of the new output to replacing the batteries as they age out.

In other words. It’s impossible.

TonyG
Reply to  MarkW
March 17, 2022 9:34 am

Impossible to build enough batteries.

I would really like to see someone propose how to achieve “net-zero” in the proposed time frames using the current state of technology and production.

TimTheToolMan
Reply to  TonyG
March 17, 2022 1:56 pm

I agree. The time frames people are “aiming for” are unachievable. But that doesn’t mean it can’t or shouldn’t be done at all.

TimTheToolMan
Reply to  MarkW
March 17, 2022 1:54 pm

That a ridiculous argument. Building them over decades is what is needed. Also technology improvements will definitely help over that time.

MarkW
Reply to  TimTheToolMan
March 18, 2022 11:39 am

Batteries don’t last decades.
There are no technology improvements to be had.

TimTheToolMan
Reply to  MarkW
March 18, 2022 10:40 pm

There are no technology improvements to be had.

Your view on the world gets more bizarre with every post.

TimTheToolMan
Reply to  MarkW
March 17, 2022 2:25 pm

In other words. It’s impossible.

Just as an aside, you’ve described the extent of the of problem of moving to another energy source. It will take decades, many of them.

And that’s why we need to be doing it now because fossil fuels will deplete and production rates will be ever harder to achieve, its just that most people on this forum in particular dont see the time frames where that happens as being a problem.

If magically we get fusion to work and its actually viable then great! But I dont think we should bank humanity’s future against that one and we should collectively be putting in the effort to avert that energy crisis before it hits.

MarkW
Reply to  TimTheToolMan
March 18, 2022 11:41 am

We have hundreds of years of fossil fuels left. Don’t sweat it.
After that we have hundreds of thousands of years of nuclear energy.
Moving to another energy source before it is necessary is a complete waste of money. Though I’m not surprised that someone who thinks turning over industrial policy to government is a good idea, would have trouble seeing that.

TimTheToolMan
Reply to  MarkW
March 18, 2022 10:42 pm

We have hundreds of years of fossil fuels left. Don’t sweat it.

After that we have hundreds of thousands of years of nuclear energy.

Whatever drugs you’re on, sure are good ones.

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
March 16, 2022 1:00 pm

So many people assume that renewable electricity generation will eliminate fossil fuel dependence. Not so; worldwide electric generation accounts for 20-25% of fossil fuel use and a somewhat higher percentage of CO2 emissions because a large bit of that is coal.

Oil/gas/coal are also used for:

  • Transportation — almost entirely oil. EVs will have very little effect on this because heavy trucks, heavy rail, commercial air (including cargo), and ocean transport all depend on petroleum-based liquid fuels and there are no practical substitutes today. And the average age of US passenger vehicles on the road today is a little over 12 years, so it will take at least that long for 50% penetration and quite likely longer as the high initial expense of EVs will prompt a lot of people to keep their current cars longer.
  • Industrial uses in materials production and manufacturing.
  • Building heat
  • Feedstocks for other chemicals

According to this chart from Our World In Data:

  • wind, solar, biofuel and “other renewables” together account for about 5% of world energy use,
  • oil, gas and coal account for 83.7%
  • Hydro and nuclear account for all the rest.

In many cases there are no feasible alternatives to fossil fuels (e.g, making new primary steel). But even if we had an alternative, expanding what currently supplies 5% of world energy use to replace the 84% currently provided by fossil fuels is NOT going to happen on the “net zero” timeframes adopted or advocated by any of the usual suspects.

Hopefully the chart will be attached somewhere to this comment.

energy-consumption-by-source-and-region.png
Jim Le Maistre
March 16, 2022 1:31 pm

Every Step towards ‘Net Zero’ ADDS to Fossil Fuel consumption, somewhere in the World. Every component in every solution to ALL the ‘Green Energy’ solutions Requires the burning of Fossil Fuels. The production of Solar Panels consumes more Energy from burning Fossil Fuels that they will EVER replace during their productive life span. Electric Cars cause MORE fossil Fuels to BE burned than what is burned in Gas Cars, OHM’s Law.

The whole ‘Market-Based Carbon Emissions Trading System’ is little more than a ‘Magician’s Trick’ all the credits are given to industries that ‘Appear’ to be ‘Emissions Free’ if ALL the input costs, the ‘Embodied Energy’, is ignored. All energy production from ALL sources is poison to Planet Earth. The whole ‘Green Energy’ program is ‘Elitist Propaganda’ coming from little more than wishful thinking and good intentions. Meanwhile Planet Earth gets More Polluted than under Status Quo. It’s like moving the deck chairs on the Titanic in the hope of ‘Righting’ the ship. A fools game with NO Scientific relevance !

Batteries, Renewable Energy and EV’s – The Ultimate in Environmental Destruction | Jim Le Maistre – Academia.edu

Electric Cars – Burn 31% More Energy than Gas Cars (Revised) | Jim Le Maistre – Academia.edu

Bob
March 16, 2022 1:58 pm

Excellent. We need to stop all subsidies for wind and solar. Wind and solar need to build their own back up systems. Fossil fuel, nuclear and hydro should not be allowed to prop them up. Wind and solar either works or it doesn’t. If it works stand on your own and show us. In the meantime stop using fossil fuel, nuclear and hydro as life support. You people (wind and solar) are shameless parasites.

Paul Johnson
March 16, 2022 2:00 pm

It’s ironic that intermittent renewables like wind and PV require “back-up” power sources that have to operate 60%-70% of the time. Don’t call it renewable power with back-ups; it’s reliable power with renewables intermittently skimming demand (and profitability).

MarkW
Reply to  Paul Johnson
March 16, 2022 6:03 pm

It’s worse than that. They require back up power sources that have to operate 100% of the time. The reason for this is because you never know when the wind will stop blowing or when a cloud will pass over the solar field, and it takes time to spin fossil fuel power sources up from idle. As a result they have to be kept in hot standby, waiting to take over at a moments notice.

Greg Locock
March 16, 2022 5:10 pm

Australia to close 8 GW of coal power by 2030. Inevitably these won’t be replaced by coal or nukes. 8 GW is quite a lot. So I ran the numbers on what will happen if we try and replace them with renewables. Given that many other countries are pursuing the same pipe dream (I’m looking at you USA and Europe), battery supply is going to be an issue. With renewables you need at least a 5 day backup, as continent wide wind droughts are not uncommon in winter

lost coal plants 8 GW
lost coal plants 8.00E+09 W
lost energy per day 1.92E+11 Wh
5 days backup for winter 9.60E+11 Wh
Hence kWh of battery 9.60E+08 kWh
Global production 2021 2.78E+02 GWh
Global production 2021 2.78E+08 kWh
Years of production 3.45 years

So for the east coast of Australia by 2030 we need 3 years of global battery production. There is a new hydro scheme that will help, but that is the order of magnitude of the issue.

The Dark Lord
March 16, 2022 5:58 pm

Americans buy 16 million (plus) cars and trucks per year … the global production of Lithium is 87,000 metric tons … which is enough Lithium to build about 1 point 2 million vehicles …
(i.e. less than 10% of the new vehicles sold in the US)

net zero has to be one of the biggest mass delusions in history … and will kill as many people in the end as every communist/fascist monster has this century …

Dave Andrews
Reply to  The Dark Lord
March 17, 2022 6:40 am

Plus the IEA say the world faces potential shortages of lithium and cobalt as early as 2025.

John Smith
March 16, 2022 6:09 pm

No practical amount of storage will ever be sufficient on its own. If you have enough storage to fill in the gaps for (say) 1 month of low wind, what if there’s low wind for 2 months? If you enough storage for 2 months of low wind, what if there’s low wind for 3 months?

Of course longer periods of low wind are less frequent than shorter ones, but they will happen. Can you afford to go without power for a few months in the middle of winter when a rare, once-in-50-years low-wind event happens, as it could, by chance, in any year?

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  Ewin Barnett
March 16, 2022 8:27 pm

Magic

observa
March 16, 2022 7:54 pm

No Amount Of Incremental Wind And Solar Power Can Ever Provide Energy Independence
No for that you need lots of safe reliable battery storage and in lithium we trust. Err…no wait a minute….
The Sunken Cargo Carrier Felicity Ace Is Now a Pollution Hazard for Undersea Life (msn.com)

Pat from kerbob
March 16, 2022 8:25 pm

I call them magic batteries, because magic.

The wienies talk about this or that tech that will give 50% improvement over best today.
That is 0.5 when we need 10 or likely 100 times.

Magic

Personally I think Syndrome had it right
Zero point energy
Sounds cool whatever it is

Last edited 2 months ago by Pat from kerbob
Iain Reid
March 17, 2022 2:35 am

While it is politicians who make the rules and, certainly in the U.K., few are technically minded (Or even numerically minded it would seem) they are advised by various bodies. What expertise these bodies have seems to be short on technical knowledge and long on hope and rose tinted glasses.
The U.K. is committed to zero carbon generation by 2035, with no hope that nuclear could make the shortfall from intended fossil fuel generation.loss. It is often said that gas provides back up for low renewable output but that understates the importance of gas (And coal for a few years). In order for a grid to function it must run at very close to a specific frequency and to do that requires a controllable source of power, generators with a throttle, without them the grid will trip. Renewables have no such throttle and are essentially uncontrollable. This is over and above intermittency.
To compound the folly, vehicles and domestic heating are being mandated to use electricity as a fuel increasing the problems of de carbonising. It’s beyond science fiction.

Don Whiteley
March 17, 2022 6:19 am

Hey, on a cold, dark, windless night just plug your home into an EV powered truck! (Sarc off)

Don
March 17, 2022 4:09 pm

Has anyone realised despite the huge increase in “renewables “installed capacity or output in Europe, wind, solar , electricity production ,wind 2005 = 41,000 MW till 2020 =220,000 MW , solar 2004 = 550 MW till 2014 =17,000MW , Biofuels (best data ) 2007 = 89,000MW , plus the huge take up of electric cars around the world , plus the global slowdown caused by covid over the last 2 years , despite all this presumed enormous reduction in atmospheric CO2 , it has not deviated one iota from it’s upward path : see – https://www.e-education.psu.edu/earth103/node/1018

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