Fossil Fuels v Renewable Energy

From NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT

By Paul Homewood

Can renewable energy ever replace fossil fuels?

Fossil Fuels v Renewable Energy?

Let me start by stating that I am not pro or anti anything. In a free market, the best technologies, solutions and products automatically come to the fore, without the need for subsidies, regulations and mandates.

If renewable energy is all that is promised, it will do the same.

There is of course no doubt that the cheap, abundant and reliable energy provided by fossil fuels has transformed society and made all of us better off than ever before in so many ways.

We get rid of them at our peril!

So far, our transition to renewable energy in the UK has been painfully slow and extremely expensive. Wind and solar power still supply only 3% of the UK’s total energy consumption after two decades of trying. Meanwhile, according to the Office for Budget Responsibility, subsidies for renewables were expected to cost £12 billion in 2021/22. This actually understates the reality because it does not include all of the indirect costs involved in grid balancing and so on, meaning the true cost is probably over £15 billion.

It is of course true that the recent rocketing of gas prices has reset the agenda. But it is important to note that the current price does not reflect the cost of extracting gas. It is the result of an imbalance in supply and demand. Such imbalances have occurred before, and a normally functioning market would quickly increase gas production, driving prices back down to historic levels.

But even before those price rises, it was being claimed that wind and solar power were cheaper than fossil fuel. However such claims fail to take into account the additional system costs imposed by their intermittency.

Moreover, claims that offshore wind costs are now down to around £40/MWh simply are not supported by the evidence. The claims are derived from the prices agreed for Contracts for Difference, the government subsidy mechanism. However, wind farms are under no legal obligation to actually take up these contracts; they are effectively only options.

Detailed examination of actual company accounts continues to show that the capital costs for building offshore wind farms has not fallen significantly in recent years, and that the true running costs are probably around £100/MWh. To put this into perspective, historically wholesale electricity prices have been under £50/MWh.

Solar power has certainly come down in cost in recent years, but the technology is a dead end here in the UK, because of our latitude. In winter, when demand for electricity is at its highest, our solar farms typically work at only 2% of their capacity.

Solar power certainly has a future in sunnier climates. But even in India, for instance, the government have realised that they cannot run an electricity grid purely on intermittent power. Even their ambitious plans only project that a 11% of their energy will be coming from wind and solar by 2040.

And it is of course intermittency which is the overriding problem here. You can forget about batteries and other forms of storage, as these can typically only supply power for an hour or two. This is useless when the wind stops blowing for days and weeks on end.

Hydrogen is usually wheeled out as the answer to all of our problems, replacing gas needed to back up wind farms as well as heat our homes. However, even the Committee on Climate Change accept that most of the bulk of our hydrogen will have to be made by steam reforming natural gas.

This process is not only expensive, it also wastes a lot of the gas input. In other words, you need more gas to produce hydrogen than you would need if you just burnt the gas itself in the first place. Worse still, steam reforming emits carbon dioxide, so you need to bolt on a carbon capture system adding yet more cost.

All in all, hydrogen made this way would be double the cost of gas in energy terms. But, crucially, you would still need as much natural gas as you do now, and more. Far from replacing fossil fuels, hydrogen increases our reliance on them.

The alternative is green hydrogen, which is made by electrolysis. It is usually suggested that surplus wind power is used for this. However, the amounts of hydrogen which could be produced this way would be tiny, as well as extremely costly given the intermittency of the process.

The bottom line is that we will still need gas, and lots of it, to back up a renewable heavy grid. Indeed, the more renewable capacity we build, the more backup we need.

And that is only considering electricity. We need lots more gas for heating and industrial use.

The biggest problem with using hydrogen, or for that matter electricity, for domestic heating is how you cope with peak demand in winter. On average over the year, demand for gas is roughly double that for electricity. But in winter, peak gas demand is seven times as much.

To get a scale of the numbers, gas consumption peaks at around 350 GW in mid winter. Current government plans target wind capacity of 45 GW by 2035, which on average will produce just 15 GW, and often as little as 2 GW.

You can of course store gas very easily, so that it can be turned on and off when needed. Green hydrogen, most of which would be made during summer when demand for electricity is low, would have to be stored for use in winter, something for which there is no ready solution.

There are plenty of vested interests out there who are claim hydrogen is the way forward and call for government “investment”. But what they are really after are the fat subsidies that will come with it.

The simple reality is that we will continue to need fossil fuels for many years to come. In the long term we will have look to develop new technologies such as nuclear fusion, or build small nuclear reactors and the like if we want to decarbonise.

Renewable energy has a part to play, but it can never be the whole answer.

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Kenji
April 2, 2022 10:15 am

Solar farms work at 2% capacity in reality … but are ‘sold’ at 100% theoretical capacity. Used car salesmen would blush

Scissor
Reply to  Kenji
April 2, 2022 11:53 am

Imagine going to a filling station and paying for 10 gallons of gasoline and instead you get between a pint and two.

April 2, 2022 10:17 am

In the long term we will have look to develop new technologies such as nuclear fusion, or build small nuclear reactors and the like if we want to decarbonise.

Why on Earth would we want to decarbonize? There’s no downside to carbonizing.

Renewable energy has a part to play, but it can never be the whole answer.

So-called renewables have no part to play in any technologically valid energy scenario. Zero.

The only part renewables play is in lining the pockets of already rich tax-farmers, providing virtue-points for cynical politicians, and palliating eco-nutters.

Ron
Reply to  Pat Frank
April 2, 2022 10:54 am

Fossil fuels are the current “state-of-the-art” energy source. Naturally produced, plentiful, reliable and affordable.
Current “renewable energy” is none of the above.
Case closed.

Scissor
Reply to  Pat Frank
April 2, 2022 12:07 pm

I agree with your overall conclusion, but it makes sense to recover mass and energy from waste materials and heat when it can be done so economically. Factors such as pollution reduction and minimization of hazardous waste generation are beneficial factors.

And certainly, there are niche off-grid applications for wind and solar, as well as situations where geothermal and hydropower utilization makes sense.

That said, the total viability of renewables, depending on definition, is on the order of 5% to total energy consumed.

Reply to  Scissor
April 3, 2022 8:59 am

Pollution reduction almost always requires taking something that is spread out and compacting it into a smaller area. This inherently requires energy due to reduction of entropy.

Seawater for example is polluted with huge amounts of dissolved gold. We could reduce this pollution and as well benefit from the value of the recovered gold. But we don’t.

Reply to  ferdberple
April 3, 2022 9:12 am

Quick calculation there is more than $ 1000 trillion worth of gold in the oceans. A lot of pollution waiting to be cleaned up.

Scissor
Reply to  ferdberple
April 3, 2022 10:53 am

I had in mind capture or conversion of a pollutant at its source, e.g., through the use of scubbers or catalytic converters.

Editor
Reply to  Pat Frank
April 2, 2022 12:48 pm

Pat ==> I am no fan of Net Zero — but burning fossil fuels, particularly petroleum and nat gas, wastes an extreme valuable commodity, which could be put to far better use if we replaced fossil fuels in electrical generation with the new Big Nuclear or SMRs — and, if the technology gels, fusion.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
April 2, 2022 1:11 pm

Kip, no problem with any of that. Cheap high density energy is the goal.

When I took organic synthesis, one of the assignments was to develop a synthetic route to some complex organic molecule using ethanol (CH₃CH₂OH) as the only carbon source. Plus any needed inorganic reagents — the simpler the better.

Turns out any complex drug or plastic, or whatever, can be made starting from ethanol. Chiral synthesis has become pretty effective. Bacteria can be modified to turn out some surprising biodegradable plastics.

An economy based on efficient fission (or fusion!) could probably serve its carbon needs by fermenting corn. The amounts would be relatively small compared to the demand of ethanol for gasoline.

Fraizer
Reply to  Pat Frank
April 2, 2022 4:16 pm

Classic organic chemistry exam question: Given a barrel of benzene, a fist full of rusty nails and any inorganic acids and bases you need, synthesize the following…

If you have sufficient cheap energy, any hydrocarbon you need can be synthesized in quantity.

Reply to  Fraizer
April 2, 2022 6:29 pm

Friedel-Crafts became a verb. As in, ‘Friedel-Crafts it on there.’ 🙂

Editor
Reply to  Pat Frank
April 2, 2022 4:43 pm

Pat ==> I see we agree about the important things.

I have thesame objection to turning food (corn) into ethanol to use as a chemical feedstock.

Luckily we are not likely to run out of petroleum, if we’d only stop burning the stuff.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
April 2, 2022 6:52 pm

Kip – your caution could be right.

Just noting the much smaller impact if power and vehicles are not part of the demand.

Steve Case
Reply to  Kip Hansen
April 2, 2022 1:45 pm

SMR = Small Nuclear Reactor

Retired_Engineer_Jim
Reply to  Steve Case
April 2, 2022 2:54 pm

SMR == Small Modular Reactor

Steve Case
Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
April 5, 2022 5:38 am

Thanks for the correction. It would be nice if people defined their acronyms or in a short post just spelled the damn thing out.

Old Man Winter
Reply to  Kip Hansen
April 2, 2022 1:51 pm

I’m not a big fan of nuclear power because I think the additional risks
we take aren’t worth it. Back at the time of Three Mile Island &
Chernobyl, we didn’t have a 200+ yrs supply of coal, oil, & natty gas
like we do today. Those accidents told us we were playing with fire
& could get burned. If you read any of the long reports about
Fukishima, it should have made the Japanese realize they had
made a deal with the devil, especially since only three of the six
reactors were running & there wasn’t any volcanic activity
associated with the earthquake & tsunami given that they are on the
Rim of Fire.

For me the question is: “Why take the additional risk when we don’t
have to?” I know the value of electricity as I had to do farm chores
many times without it & I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. Along with
the risks with farming, I also was a C-130 navigator where we flew
250k 300′ off the deck & flew in a lot of nasty weather. (I actually
flew by TMI enroute to Harrisburg- it was dead.) I was a Cold War
Warrior in the early 80s & I knew at least a dozen guys who are
“forever young.” IIRC, you were a ship’s captain & probably have
lots of “war stories” where the “pucker factor” was high & have also
seen loss of life.

I’m sure you’re aware of all the usual risks of nuclear power. I’m
aware of the risks of using fossil fuels. The major difference seems
to be that nuclear accidents usually involve much larger groups of
people; like a plane crash. Oil does have beautiful molecule chains
which have better uses than as fuel but so do soybeans & other
plants.

My solution wouldn’t be to shut down all nuclear tomorrow, but to
shut down those with high risk as soon as practical depending on
total risk & eventually shut them all down after they are no longer
practical to run. We should definitely look to the French for how best
to run them until they are shut down. Hopefully, in 125-150 yrs we
have better alternatives- maybe even fusion- as eventually we will
need something other than fossil fuels.

PCman999
Reply to  Old Man Winter
April 2, 2022 2:17 pm

Look at the facts not media propaganda – there are less deaths from nuclear than from coal use.

However, I think, as a nuclear engineering grad (professionally in IT however), building out the current tech of reactors is good money after sort-of-bad. Better to build the pilot thorium reactors now and get the development over with, since they can tackle the efficiency and fuel cycle issues. SMRs are worth a proper go, even with conventional tech, as the conventional designs are hit hard by the constraints of available workforce and project complexity. Factory built, standardized reactors would go a long way to reducing the ballooning costs, that seem to affect any large project even something old-school like a hydroelectric plant.

Old Man Winter
Reply to  PCman999
April 2, 2022 2:30 pm

The death ratio difference is of past events but the risk
of nuclear deaths rising dramatically is still there. I
think we have been lucky so far, having dodged a few
bombshells & may eventually run out of luck. Just my
opinion, not a point of fact

MarkW
Reply to  Old Man Winter
April 2, 2022 2:53 pm

Old reactors are very safe, as demonstrated by the fact that there have been very few accidents.
Newer reactors are much, much safer.
There is simply no logical reason to fear nuclear power. Unfortunately the media has trained people to fear things they don’t need to fear, and to not fear things they should fear

LdB
Reply to  Old Man Winter
April 2, 2022 8:14 pm

Illogical and just your layman stupid view being pushed as some fact … you have no basis and no credibility to make that statement.

DaveS
Reply to  LdB
April 4, 2022 4:38 am

You say: “Illogical and just your layman stupid view being pushed as some fact”

He said: “Just my opinion, not a point of fact”

Just sayin’.

Nick Graves
Reply to  PCman999
April 3, 2022 1:41 am

My understanding is most of the ballooning costs are due to gov’t over-regulation.

It they want to play that game, I cannot help being rueful that the subsidies tilted at useless windmills would have been far better spent in support of your proposals and we’d be in a much more favourable position by now.

Although the likes of GE & Rolls-Royce might wish “just please leave us alone to get on with it”, but I’m sure they’d not mind a boondoggle or two.

MarkW
Reply to  Old Man Winter
April 2, 2022 2:51 pm

TMI was a no big deal. The amount of radiation that escaped was less than an chest x-ray or two. Due to the lessons learned, control systems were dramatically improved, so even with the same technology, a similar accident is much less likely. Technology has also improved, tremendously.
Chernobyl was a technology that was rejected by the west because it isn’t safe. Beyond that they never built a containment vessel.

Condemning nuclear power because of TMI and Chernobyl is like condemning cars because Model T’s were noisy and unsafe.

Old Man Winter
Reply to  MarkW
April 2, 2022 3:53 pm

You might want to read the Fukushima report as it
includes the added risk of having a tsunami as well
as showing how ill prepared they were to have no
electricity in the control building. There was no
volcanic activity either & only 3 reactors were running.
The results were past performance!

BTW, after things settle down in Ukraine, when were
you planning on building a house near Chernobyl? Oh,
you aren’t? I guess the rumor I heard was wrong!

Old Man Winter
Reply to  Old Man Winter
April 2, 2022 5:44 pm

YEAH- All those down votes just for stating an
opinion & finding out what a person REALLY
thought about how safe Chernobyl was. I also
reminded someone of fracking & probably
won’t be thanked for it.

https://nypost.com/2022/03/31/russian-troops-withdrawn-from-chernobyl-with-radiation-sickness-report/

MarkW
Reply to  Old Man Winter
April 2, 2022 6:09 pm

You are getting down voted not for your opinion, but the ignorance you show about nuclear power and how you have permitted your fear to completely shut down your higher brain functions.

We’ve already explained to you regarding the differences between the Chernobyl reactor and modern western reactors. But data doesn’t have a chance of penetrating through the wall of fear you have built around yourself.

LdB
Reply to  Old Man Winter
April 2, 2022 8:15 pm

You opinion counts for nothing … bring data and facts.

Derg
Reply to  Old Man Winter
April 3, 2022 4:16 am

MN has 2 nuclear power plants since the 1970s. We need more of them.

MarkW
Reply to  Old Man Winter
April 2, 2022 6:07 pm

How many of the world’s reactors are in danger of being hit by a tsunami.
Beyond that, even though the worst thing happened, the number of people hurt by radiation was zero.

You are scared of shadows, nuclear power is by far the safest form of electricity generation out there.

ex-KaliforniaKook
Reply to  Old Man Winter
April 2, 2022 10:23 pm

I think you should also look at the reports that discuss how the builders deviated from the original architecture (which included placing the diesel generators uphill from the rest of the installation). There would have been few if any ill effects from the tsunami. Someone figured out a way to cut costs and moved them lower.

With all that, one man died of a heart attack during the forced evacuation, and another died of cancer years later – a cancer not normally associated with radiation exposure. But paying his survivors off was cheaper than fighting in court.

No one died at TMI.

Ever hear of coal miners dying in the mines? Are you aware more people have died erecting wind turbines than in reactor accidents? Is there some reason their deaths don’t matter?

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Old Man Winter
April 2, 2022 4:02 pm

‘Back at the time of Three Mile Island & Chernobyl, we didn’t have a 200+ yrs supply of coal, oil, & natty gas like we do today.’

Are you suggesting that we’ve been making ‘coal, oil & natty gas’ since then?

Old Man Winter
Reply to  Frank from NoVA
April 2, 2022 4:23 pm

It’s called fracking!

Rich Davis
Reply to  Old Man Winter
April 2, 2022 7:31 pm

Wrong old man. One less person died at TMI than have died in Ted Kennedy’s automobiles. Nobody died in Fukushima either. And remarkably few even at Chernobyl.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Rich Davis
April 2, 2022 10:52 pm

I believe most of the Chernobyl deaths were from those sent in right after, basically suicide missions.

griff
Reply to  Old Man Winter
April 3, 2022 8:52 am

Well Germany shut down its high risk reactors back in 2011

DonK
Reply to  Kip Hansen
April 2, 2022 3:59 pm

Kip

I’m with you on this. Net zero is simply astonishingly dimwitted. No jet aircraft. No spacecraft. No plastics. No cement. And the 80% of humanity that doesn’t live in developed countries is going to go along with this notion? Doesn’t anyone but the Chinese and Indians get that this is going to be a problem?

On the other hand, while the world has a lot of hydrocarbons, they are probably going to be consumed at a much higher rate than most people anticipate as the underdeveloped world becomes more affluent. Those many billions of people are surely going to want a couple of SUVs and a bass boat parked in back of the yurt. Just like americans And I imagine that hydrocarbons are going to become more expensive as humanity drains the cheap accessible hydrocarbon sources and turns to resources that are more difficult and expensive to work with.

Until we know how long our fossil hydrocarbons need to last, I think that it makes sense, to husband hydrocarbon resources. Use non-dispatchable (grid-management-speak for intermittent) sources wherever we can. And use dispatchable renewables where we can’t use wind and solar.

Eventually, I imagine we will be forced to nuclear. But there are real issues with nuclear proliferation. And I fear that if humanity increases the number of reactors (currently around 500) by a factor of 10 or 20 or more, serious nuclear accidents are going to become annual events. But SMRs will solve that? Maybe, If one believes that 60 MW SMRs are ten times as safe as a 600 MW conventional reactor. I’m not sure I believe that. I’m not sure that anyone should believe that.

Editor
Reply to  DonK
April 2, 2022 4:49 pm

DonK ==> A lot of uncertainty — but we need to innovate our way forward. SMRs and Big Nuclear just are not the same thing and really can’t be compared as to safety factor — read up on the technologies of SMRs.

DonK
Reply to  Kip Hansen
April 2, 2022 7:26 pm

Kip we do need to innovate. And I’m all in favor of building some (more) SMRs. But most unproven technologies tend not to work out as well as their boosters expect. I wonder if you are aware that the US army ran a small portable reactor development program back in the 1950s and 1960s. It’s worth reading up on. (There’s a Wikipedia article). What I find most thought provoking is not the SL-1 reactor that they managed to blow up. (Could happen to anyone I reckon). It’s the PM-3A 1,75MW reactor that ended up at McMurdo base in Antarctica. Sounds ideal. Getting diesel to McMurdo isn’t all that straightforward. And it takes a lot of resource. But after a couple of years, they pulled the nuclear out. They concluded that it took more resource to keep it running than it took to bring in diesel.

I’m sure we can do better today. But I’m by no means convinced these SMR things are going to be the panacea that their boosters predict. No more than intermittent renewables are.

Editor
Reply to  DonK
April 3, 2022 8:14 am

DonK ==> There are many nuclea powered naval vessels out there . . . that basically operate on SMR power under much more dangerous conditions than a properly choosen land site.

griff
Reply to  DonK
April 3, 2022 8:54 am

Rolls Royce now starting on SMR programme to build first 470 MW SMR by 2030, with 4 more by 2035.

They point out each is equivalent to 1,500 wind turbines (which you could put up next year)

Climate believer
Reply to  griff
April 3, 2022 6:34 pm

Lol! “equivalent”… good one, but April fools is over Grifter.

3000 wind turbines in a year, Stalin would be proud of such an unachievable goal.

Derg
Reply to  DonK
April 3, 2022 4:19 am

The US Navy runs small nuclear reactors on their ships.

Oldseadog
Reply to  Derg
April 3, 2022 4:40 am

So does the Royal Navy.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Kip Hansen
April 2, 2022 7:24 pm

Fusion is never going to be an economically-viable option even if it could be achieved technically. But yeah, that’s just my mildly-informed opinion.

The reason I rail against it is that it is a false promise of paradise that gives hope to the masses that we should sacrifice our economic well-being today to “save the planet” that doesn’t need saving, because supposedly just around the corner we have power too cheap to meter.

The elites in power will always find a way to steal from the common man by hyping bogeymen, it has always been thus.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Rich Davis
April 2, 2022 10:55 pm

Au contraire, Rich. The planet does need saving, from alarmists.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
April 3, 2022 3:09 am

The world maybe, but not the planet. If by world we understand the sum of human societies and the planet is a big ancient dead rock with a thin layer of water and gas.

Some influential and powerful human societies are deeply sick and truly in need of saving from destructive delusions as I think you are implying. The planet will persist until old sol reaches red giant stage and engulfs it. (Forty years before fusion commercialization).

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Rich Davis
April 3, 2022 8:55 am

Just using common vernacular.

Richard M
Reply to  Kip Hansen
April 2, 2022 10:32 pm

Kip, I read a comment on another website recently that nuclear is ideal for base load, but cannot easily be ramped up or down to respond to demand fluctuation. So referencing your comment, would we still need some fossil fuel and maybe even renewables generating capacity in the mix in an ideal grid system or was the other comment I read not correct?

Rich Davis
Reply to  Richard M
April 3, 2022 3:39 am

Nukes optimized for base load operations not surprisingly work best that way. Small modular reactors that are designed to be more variable can be more variable. Do you suppose that nuclear submarines are constrained to always producing and using a constant amount of power?

Editor
Reply to  Richard M
April 3, 2022 8:16 am

Richard ==> I am not a grid expert but well educated and read that I know that a secure and dependable grid needs base load, dispatchable load and topping load.

SMRs act as incremental base load — meaning that the base load can be increased by adding one more SMR to raise base load for such things as seasonal differences in demand.

Last edited 3 months ago by Kip Hansen
griff
Reply to  Richard M
April 3, 2022 8:55 am

Yes. That’s why the French dump so much electricity cheaply to Germany and UK at times of low demand.

MarkW
Reply to  Pat Frank
April 2, 2022 2:47 pm

We will run out of fossil fuels some day. However that day is several hundred years in the future.
If there is some other form of power that can economically replace fossil fuels, more power to it.

RickWill
Reply to  Pat Frank
April 2, 2022 6:41 pm

So-called renewables have no part to play in any technologically valid energy scenario. Zero.

There are locations where intermittents offer an economic niche. 

For example, in Australia there are remote locations where it is hugely expensive to build transmission from existing grids. These places rely on diesel fuel trucked thousands of kilometres. Solar power offers a cost effective fuel replacement without any subsidies.

Another example also in Australia is the Tasmanian hydro. This power source has been limited by availability of perched water. It makes economic sense to add wind power to conserve perched water. In Australia, Tasmania has become somewhat like the Norwegian hydro in Europe, where they can consume intermittent power at low or negative price and then send out hydro at very high price when intermittent output is low.

Reply to  RickWill
April 3, 2022 5:34 am

All those facilities will need storage backup. Rick. Good luck with that.

RickWill
Reply to  Pat Frank
April 3, 2022 2:13 pm

They do not need storage. In remote locations, solar is simply an economic fuel replacement. The diesels are still used as required.

With hydro, the wind is conserving perched water storage. With perched water, the hydro is useless.

Reply to  RickWill
April 3, 2022 3:28 pm

Right. Solar provides a few kwh when the sun is shining. That’s fine for an emergency phone, but won’t operate a hair dryer.

Crisp
Reply to  RickWill
April 5, 2022 6:54 pm

Then why do Australian State and Federal Govts still provide subsidies if solar powee is cost-effective in remote regions?
You are wrong about the availability of water for hydro (but why would you insist on calling it “perched water”?) Back in the 80’s the Greens prevented any further hydro being built even though there were and are plenty of opportunities going unused. They promised the loss in economic gain would be made up by eco-tourism. This of course never happened and Tasmania is now a poor mendicant state dependent on welfare from the mainland.
And if adding wind power makes economic sense, why does it have to be subsidised by mainland taxpayers?
Ironically and hypocritically, the former uber-Greenie and head of the Greens Party, one Mr Bob Brown, protested mightily when they proposed to build a wind farm near his hut. Perhaps he feared that the sound of the turbines would muffle the sound of his boyfriend’s moans.

LdB
Reply to  Pat Frank
April 3, 2022 2:28 am

This just in UK looks to nuclear going forward with up to 7 new reactors … They realize that Griff’s inter-connectors policy is fail and you wonder how long the Griffster takes to come around

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/britain-nuclear-power-stations-russia-energy-b2049783.html

Reply to  LdB
April 3, 2022 5:37 am

Good news, thanks. If the UK could follow up and find the Conservative Party, gone missing these past 30 years, there might be a chance for a return to sanity.

griff
Reply to  LdB
April 3, 2022 8:59 am

and they also are planning to keep building the interconnectors and over 48GW of new offshore wind and there are 900 solar farms currently proposed…

The last Labour govt actually proposed 17GW of new nuclear in about 2009 (2009!) and that policy has been carried through by current govt. So far only Hinkley has started and firms have pulled out of Wylfa and Moorside projects…

I would be surprised if we get even one other new nuke beyond Hinkley (which just announced another delay and cost hike)

EDF to announce new cost increase, delay for Hinkley Point nuclear plant | Reuters

LdB
Reply to  griff
April 3, 2022 10:49 am

LOL love to see the business case for interconnectors and where they will get supply from?

That leaves out the obvious problem of energy security and leave a country open to being blackmailed YET AGAIN.

If Putin stays true to what he says then we will know in two weeks and we shall talk then … oh wait depends on your ration allocation.

Last edited 3 months ago by LdB
Nelson
Reply to  Pat Frank
April 3, 2022 5:35 am

Pat hits the nail on the head once again. Weather-dependent energy had no role to play.

DHR
April 2, 2022 10:22 am

You mention Hydrogen as a possible substitute for natural gas. It isn’t. Because it is so light, it is extremely difficult to compress, ship and store. Ten years ago engineers from Switzerland and the UK evaluated such a proposition and found that the energy requirements to compress and ship by pipeline, truck, or train are prohibitively expensive and in some cases, consume more energy than the gas contains. Additionally, Hydrogen embrittles steel and penetrates gaskets and valve packing easily so existing natural gas pipeline systems cannot be used. See :Bossel, et. al., The Future of the Hydrogen Economy: Bright or Bleak?” Cogeneration and Competitive Power Journal, July 2003.

Scissor
Reply to  DHR
April 2, 2022 12:10 pm

I like to fill balloons with hydrogen and connect a fuse to them for the purpose of releasing them at night to watch and hear them explode as they ascend into the nighttime sky.

Tom.1
Reply to  DHR
April 2, 2022 2:44 pm

As you mention the hydrogen embrittlement issue, you inform those are familiar with producing, and transporting hydrogen that you are completely uninformed on the entire subject. There is no metallurgical problem to shipping hydrogen through pipe. It is already common practice at any purity and very high pressure. There is such a thing as hydrogen embrittlement, but it is well understood, and current engineering design standards and practices have no problem in dealing with it.

Reply to  Tom.1
April 2, 2022 4:12 pm

Tom,
I am sure you are right, on the scale of a refinery or plant.
I am not familiar with state of the art production and transportation of hydrogen.
Can you please help me with how hydrogen could work across a country the size of the UK, with some gas infrastructure dating back to the 19th century, tho’ a recent replacement programme using plastic pipes is certainly in hand.?

Thanks.

Auto

Tom.1
Reply to  auto
April 2, 2022 5:37 pm

Technically, there is no reason we could not use hydrogen as a substitute for natural gas. The economics are prohibitive for the foreseeable future. An industry of that scope would take a very long time to develop. I’m not advocating for hydrogen. I only object when people bring up silly reasons why it can’t work or isn’t safe (like the Hindenburg).

griff
Reply to  Tom.1
April 3, 2022 8:50 am

And indeed active trials to that end have recently started in the UK – both of using hydrogen in existing gas grid and using 20% hydrogen mix.

contrary to the ‘you must all install heatpumps’ narrative, both those options are more likely solutions to UK net zero heating ambitions.

Harry Passfield
Reply to  Tom.1
April 3, 2022 9:34 am

“Technically, there is no reason we could not use hydrogen as a substitute for natural gas.”

Why? Why use natural gas as the fuel to create an un-natural gas to do the job that the original natural gas could already do? (Bearing in mind, I do not accept NZC as a valid reason).

Last edited 3 months ago by Harry Passfield
DonK
Reply to  auto
April 2, 2022 7:37 pm

Curiously, back before there was widespread deployment of natural gas, in some regions, they used town gas — a noxious mixture of gases produced by heating coal in an oxygen free environment. Town gas contained a fair amount of hydrogen as well as a lot of other stuff. The “other stuff” sometimes was a problem as some of it was toxic, but my impression is that the hydrogen wasn’t an issue. Or at least not much of one.

Tom
Reply to  Tom.1
April 2, 2022 6:08 pm

Hydrogen embrittlement is clearly known, but I wouldn’t call it WELL understood. The UNknowns are many. The issue is that hydrogen can’t be sent through existing pipelines because of materials in the pipelines that are susceptible to it, and alloys and material strengths with unknown susceptibility. The molecules are so small that it leaks out as well. It also can’t be liquified at reasonable cryogenic temperatures so it must be shipped as a gas at high pressures. Transportation in large quantities would be extremely costly because of the weight of the tanks to hold it.

Tom.1
Reply to  Tom
April 2, 2022 8:01 pm

I’m sorry, but his statements were inaccurate and misleading, and so are yours. If someone wanted to argue that existing pipelines cannot carry hydrogen, I can’t say if that is true or not and certainly wouldn’t argue the point. That is not what he said. There would certainly be an engineering review in any case. Here is this pipeline company who is proposing not to make green hydrogen, but to create a pipeline and hub system for green hydrogen. Do you suppose they know anything about the subject of hydrogen embrittlement?
Angeles Link | SoCalGas

Jim Gorman
Reply to  Tom.1
April 3, 2022 6:51 am

Funny how this document only discusses “Deliver it into LA Basin by pipeline” but fails to discuss any of the distribution once it reaches the LA Basin. It might be more useful to discuss the entire system from production to delivery into fuel cells on trucks.
BTW, California is already suffering a lack of water. Where is the the water going to come from for electrolysis?

Better yet, where does the pure water come from? Mineral deposits from “dirty” water will quickly ruin much of the equipment.

Ted
Reply to  Tom.1
April 2, 2022 6:37 pm

Technically, there’s no reason every bus in the U.S. can’t be powered by small nuclear reactors, and those that are familiar with nuclear powered vessels have no problem dealing with. That doesn’t mean nuclear propulsion doesn’t have very real issues that would need to be solved in order to make it viable for a differnt use. Complaining about a the completely accurate mention of hydrogen embrittlement as it would relate to existing pipelines just informs people that you didin’t bother to read for comprehension.

Tom.1
Reply to  Ted
April 2, 2022 8:06 pm

There may be issues, but hydrogen embrittlement is not one of them so its mention is completely inaccurate, contrary to what you suggest. We already have commercial hydrogen pipelines and hydrogen piping exists in industrial plants worldwide.

griff
Reply to  Ted
April 3, 2022 8:51 am

I love the idea of nuclear school buses!

Tom.1
Reply to  Tom.1
April 3, 2022 6:03 am

It is not hard to learn about hydrogen embrittlement, what causes it and how to prevent it. I don’t understand why people keep bring it up as an issue for the use of hydrogen.
Hydrogen embrittlement – Wikipedia
What is Hydrogen Embrittlement? – Causes, Effects and Prevention – TWI (twi-global.com)

AndyHce
Reply to  DHR
April 2, 2022 4:23 pm

It needs to be proven in practice, which this Japanese company seems to be undertaking as a commercial project, but this seems like it might be a quite viable answer to hydrogen storage.

https://www.chiyodacorp.com/en/service/spera-hydrogen/innovations/

markl
April 2, 2022 10:36 am

There has been little to no change in lifestyle due to the introduction of wind and solar energy except an uptick in virtue signaling. Wait until people are forced to make major changes like with transportation, HVAC, food availability, travel restrictions, consumer items, then ask if it’s worth it.

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  markl
April 2, 2022 12:39 pm

By then, it’ll be too late.

Retired_Engineer_Jim
Reply to  markl
April 2, 2022 2:57 pm

“There has been little to no change in lifestyle”, except for those who can no longer pay their electric bills.

AndyHce
Reply to  markl
April 2, 2022 4:24 pm

Texas tried it last winter

griff
Reply to  AndyHce
April 3, 2022 8:49 am

Texas had a major fail of its fossil fuel plant…

griff
Reply to  markl
April 3, 2022 8:48 am

There has been little to no change in lifestyle due to the introduction of wind and solar energy

correct.

which indicates that will continue to be the case.

DaveS
Reply to  griff
April 4, 2022 4:54 am

Nope, it just means that so far there’s been enough reliable supply to fall back on.

Clyde Spencer
April 2, 2022 10:49 am

Something that most hydrogen advocates overlook is that the oxidation of hydrogen produces water. That is, one can expect that, at the very least, the relative humidity will increase in the area of combustion or fuel cell use. If the water vapor is released into the atmosphere, one can expect the heat index to increase in the Summer, and rime ice to form on roads, trees, and power lines in the Winter.

If the hydrogen is used in cars with fuel cells, and the water vapor is retained, it will increase the weight of the vehicle, decreasing the mileage, decreasing the acceleration, and increase the stopping distance. It will also necessitate regular purging of the condensed water, another maintenance that would probably have to be done frequently, if not daily for most commuters.

Scissor
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
April 2, 2022 12:25 pm

The problem will be on the same order of magnitude as current issues we experience from water in tailpipe emissions of today’s FF powered vehicles, i.e., not usually much of an issue.

One might want to retain some water produced in fuel cells for maintaining conductivity of membranes (or some other purpose) but most will be vented (at some elevated temperature).

Amos E. Stone
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
April 2, 2022 1:54 pm

As Scissor says… I reckon my diesel powered Toyota Avensis releases almost exactly the same amount of water per mile as a hydrogen fuel cell powered Toyota Mirai that can allegedly do 400 miles on 5.6kg of H2. Diesel is about 14% H2 by weight.

I did work this all out but lost it in trying to copy. Late in the UK and too much ethanol. Ah well, you can do the sums too.

RickWill
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
April 2, 2022 7:25 pm

Atmospheric water has a residence time of 8 days. Any human additions are less than trivial.

Jim Gorman
Reply to  RickWill
April 3, 2022 6:56 am

Except that 8 days worth will remain as a constant value as long as transportation, power generation, home heating, etc. is driven by burning hydrogen. I know, I know, burning natural gas also creates water, so does air conditioning. But will manufacturing and burning hydrogen increase local humidity levels? That is the question.

RickWill
Reply to  Jim Gorman
April 3, 2022 2:18 pm

The level of atmospheric water is controlled by two factors. It peaks when land mass is warmest in July as more ocean surface goes into temperature limiting. It is minimum when the land mass is coolest in December when latent heat transfer from oceans to land is at its maximum.

The contribution from burning any fuel that produces water is insignificant to the approximate 11,000,000,000,000t of water that is in the atmosphere at any point in time.

JCM
April 2, 2022 10:49 am

It can be clearly seen in the headpost image the impact of the wind farms on velocity perturbations and turbulent z flows; the inversion diminishing surface heat flux. Most notable would be enhanced downward turbulent flux at night. The total effect is to diminish boundary layer height.

Any supposed CO2 abatement effects from the turbines are likely negated by impacts on local boundary layer flux, with a probable net reduction of surface cooling (even after factoring in supposed CO2 greenhouse abatement benefits.)

n.n
April 2, 2022 10:53 am

Blight and profit. Renewable drivers, disposable converters, and an ecological hazard from recovery to reclamation.

Last edited 3 months ago by n.n
April 2, 2022 11:03 am

Fair and accurate assessment.

Our society is built on the availability of relatively cheap and portable petrochemical energy.

Remove that and its a very different society, and one that may not be able to support the current world population.

Irrespective of climate bollocks, only nuclear can replace fossil, and then not completely. We can run tankers and container ships on nuclear, but not aircraft.
Neither will the production of iron and steel and fertilisers and cement be easy with nuclear power. What happens is that the relative costs of things will shift rapidly, some things will become much cheaper, other things much more expensive.

The world is rapidly moving into a future that no one has really foreseen. And absolutely that no one has more than a partial solution to. Any group that pretends they have is right now part of the problem.

One of the few certain things is that intermittent renewable energy is no solution to anything.

Retired_Engineer_Jim
Reply to  Leo Smith
April 2, 2022 3:02 pm

There were development efforts in the ’60’s to develop a nuclear powered aircraft. There were some technical issues, but it was technically feasible. It just wasn’t economically feasible. The estimate was, with the technology then available, it wouldn’t work unless the aircraft had a gross takeoff weight in excess of 1 million pounds, which was assumed to be ludicrous. Note that late-model B747s, and the A-380, have GTOWs in excess of 1 million pounds.

H.R.
Reply to  Leo Smith
April 2, 2022 3:26 pm

Leo Smith: One of the few certain things is that intermittent renewable energy is no solution to anything.”


I disagree, Leo. If you’re trying to cripple Western economies, intermittent unreliables are the perfect solution.

Disputin
Reply to  Leo Smith
April 3, 2022 3:26 am

“…can run tankers and container ships on nuclear, but not aircraft.

I used to have (but have now lost) an article dating from the fifties showing a nuclear jet engine. Has anyone else seen it?

Bruce Cobb
April 2, 2022 11:22 am

I am pro-free market energy and anti – government mandated, subsidized, or in any way pushed energy. Especially when that energy actually makes the grid worse, as well as driving up costs. Renewables are a bad answer to a non-existant problem. So yeah, I hate ’em.

Scissor
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
April 2, 2022 12:32 pm

I used to be able to drive an Audi that ran on synthetic diesel fuel produced at a demonstration plant. I liked it (not paying for fuel). The quality of the fuel was superior, though not economical at the time.

Now with relatively high crude oil prices and subsidies, it would be economical on paper.

Retired_Engineer_Jim
Reply to  Scissor
April 2, 2022 3:03 pm

What were the by-products of the process? Any of them toxic?

Scissor
Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
April 2, 2022 3:40 pm

Nothing particularly bad was made, spent catalysts, absorbents, amine treating solvents. Some feeds were worse than others.

It made a fair amount of water and carbon dioxide unfortunately but the story was we would use CO2 for enhanced oil recovery or sequester it. Waste water treatment was straightforward.

commieBob
April 2, 2022 12:12 pm

Time after time, those pushing hard for renewable energy will fight to keep the fossil fuels flowing.

We have Biden demanding that the fossil fuel companies increase production.

A few years ago, the socialist government of British Columbia, Canada, was trying real hard to keep Alberta from getting its oil to tide water. Alberta threatened to turn off the taps to British Columbia. That resulted in a howl you could hear from a thousand miles away.

When their backs are against the wall, the virtue signalers admit that renewable energy won’t work. They never say, no fossil fuels, no problem, we’ll just switch to renewables right now. Nope, they never ever say that.

Giulio
April 2, 2022 12:21 pm

Actually wind+solar summed up contribute for almost 20% of the total energy production in the UK

https://ourworldindata.org/energy/country/united-kingdom

Ted
Reply to  Giulio
April 2, 2022 7:23 pm

That link shows wind and solar at 11% in 2020, you’d have to add in hydro and biomass to get 20%. In 2019 it was 9%, with the difference being a huge drop in energy use for transportation due to covid. For production of electricity alone wind and solar are about 20%, but only a third of UK’s energy use is for electricity. Two-thirds is used for transportation fuels, heating, and direct use by industry.
But even the 11% because they apply a “substitution method” to account for inefficiency of fossil fuels. The problem is that wind and solar are much less efficient than fossils between production of electricity and consumption, and that does not get accounted for. The main reasons are:
1) Distance to consumer- Utility scale wind and solar plants are farther from the major power users, so there are greater line losses. Half the UK’s wind is offshore, none of its cities or industrial plants are at sea.
2) Forced back up – The unreliable nature of wind and require other sources to be on standby, lowering their efficiency of those plants. Often times those are fossil fuel plants, as they are best able to ramp up and down to handle changes in load.

LdB
Reply to  Giulio
April 2, 2022 9:40 pm

Getting basic facts wrong from your own links does not strengthen your argument 🙂

Bob Hunter
April 2, 2022 12:49 pm

I agree with everything Mr. Homewood stated. However, assuming there is an honest green energy economist out there, his response would be — Mr. Homewood’s analysis does not account for the costs in a world that was ‘destroyed’ by 3 degree increase in avg world temperature ‘proved’ by ‘super computer’ modelling. Most of us that are regular readers on this site know of the faulty modelling, forecasting temperature increases in the next 80 yrs etc.

Jim Gorman
Reply to  Bob Hunter
April 3, 2022 7:02 am

To be honest, I wouldn’t mind a 3 – 4F increase. That would make my area more like Oklahoma. Wow, early spring, late fall, lots of growing time. More ice than snow though. I’ll take the tradeoff!

Dan Sudlik
April 2, 2022 12:57 pm

NUCLEAR for goodness sake. Why don’t these yo-yos be honest. If you think global warming is a real emergence, NUCLEAR is the only logical answer.

CD in Wisconsin
Reply to  Dan Sudlik
April 2, 2022 2:32 pm

If you think global warming is a real [emergency], NUCLEAR is the only logical answer.

I have always been highly suspicious that this CAGW narrative has been (for some time now) driven, not by the science of climate, but by the hatred for the fossil fuel companies and the products they put out. In other words, the alarmist narrative is to some degree just an activist (and leftist political) means to an end and not a genuine concern unto itself in science. It is a smokescreen for the power and resources to service their own agenda.

It would certainly explain why so many “climate scientists” out there refuse to acknowledge (and ignore) the serious issues with the climate scare that have been thoroughly explained and examined here at WUWT and elsewhere. That these “scientists” are willing to do this is highly disturbing to say the least. Excuse-making to evade debating with skeptics does not render the alarmists any credibility on the subject of climate.

As you say Dan, the only rational and logical steps forward to a post-fossil fuels world are nuclear and other energy-generating technologies that might emerge in the future which are capable of displacing fossil fuels. Scientists on the alarmist side of this issue who believe wind and solar energies can cut it as replacements for fossil fuels are either bad liars or in no scientific position to render a judgement on so-called renewables to begin with.

One of the worst things politicians can do while in office is listen to and believe the wrong people on issues where they have no expertise. Watching this happen in the climate science and energy fields leaves them squandering a nation’s financial and other resources, and it is (to say the least) frustrating to watch.

Gregory Woods
Reply to  CD in Wisconsin
April 2, 2022 2:44 pm

+10

Retired_Engineer_Jim
Reply to  CD in Wisconsin
April 2, 2022 3:06 pm

Dr Gavin Schmidt (GISS) did state, publically, the the models were running too hot. But he was not burned at the stake for that admission.

CD in Wisconsin
Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
April 2, 2022 3:25 pm

Assuming this is true Jim, Dr Schmidt probably has not been burned at the stake because his statement has not been widely reported to the public. Thus, it is not a threat to the alarmist status quo.

If the MSM does not report it and Congress and Brandon have not been made aware of Schmidt’s statement, the Holy Faith remains intact and there is nothing to worry about. I have to admit though the Dr’s statement of religious heresy regarding the models is surprising given his history of alarmism.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  CD in Wisconsin
April 2, 2022 11:07 pm

Not to mention, burning him at the stake would create excess emissions. And we certainly don’t want Schmidt floating around in the atmosphere for 1000 years.

H.R.
Reply to  CD in Wisconsin
April 2, 2022 3:38 pm

CD: One of the worst things politicians can do while in office is listen to and believe the wrong people on issues where they have no expertise.”


Bad news, CD. The politicians are in on it either for the crony kickbacks or for ideological reasons, or both.

Never attribute to stupidity what can be more simply explained by malice and greed.

Michael in Dublin
April 2, 2022 1:40 pm

According to the energy regulator in Ireland, while Tuesday this week, Ireland had over 5,000 megawatts of renewable energy capacity, including wind, because it was a calm day with little wind, “This morning we were getting as little as 19 megawatts from that capacity.
Success.

John Culhane
Reply to  Michael in Dublin
April 2, 2022 3:49 pm

On March 25 wind production went to -2MW for 2 hours and produced very little that day.

comment image

Michael in Dublin
April 2, 2022 1:50 pm

I cannot understand why we cannot transition to all gas electricity production and away from wood, coal and the likes but at the same time steadily improve fuel efficiency of cars because this will both reduce CO2 and eliminate other pollutants. I do believe that in the shorter term this will be far more cost effective than even new nuclear generators.

PCman999
Reply to  Michael in Dublin
April 2, 2022 2:29 pm

You can’t understand the current world because you are logical and trying to use reason. The world is run by a bunch of narcissistic bullies with no engineering background (except the Chinese). So they don’t care about making things better. They are on a quest to save the world from… something, anything, doesn’t really matter, and set their legacy for time eternal. Actually helping people gets in the way.

Retired_Engineer_Jim
Reply to  Michael in Dublin
April 2, 2022 3:08 pm

There are physics limits to how much power you can usefully get out of a litre of gasoline. Likewise for diesel or natural gas.

RelPerm
Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
April 2, 2022 4:52 pm

“There are physics limits to how much power you can usefully get out of a litre of gasoline”

Jim, I agree. Also improved “efficiency” is often done by reducing weight of vehicle which can impact safety. Give me my big heavy diesel guzzling Ford Excursion for a nice safe vehicle.

Streetcred
Reply to  RelPerm
April 2, 2022 6:43 pm

My BMW (all models now) had all crank belt driven parts replaced with electric motors, all in the name of efficiency and weight saving. An alternator failure led to a water pump failure led to a complete engine rebuild … just sayin’ !

Bill
Reply to  Michael in Dublin
April 2, 2022 8:33 pm

What are you worried about CO2 for? You wore a mask for 2 years, breathed the foul CO2 you exhale every breath and probably consumed 100 years worth of CO2 you say you’re so afraid of. Any probably wanted the rest of the world to breath in those pesky pollutants! Get real.

Derg
Reply to  Bill
April 3, 2022 4:30 am

This ^

Oldseadog
Reply to  Michael in Dublin
April 3, 2022 2:37 am

You imply, Michael, that CO2 is a pollutant.
It isn’t.

Derg
Reply to  Michael in Dublin
April 3, 2022 4:29 am

Why?

Nuclear plants are all over the world. Building them is a function of political will.

Robber
April 2, 2022 2:58 pm

In Australia, across the AEMO grid, on average solar provides 13% of demand, and wind 11%. But in winter those numbers are halved. And of course solar shuts down completely every night, so reliable generators must always be available to keep the lights on. Coal provides over 60% of generation on average.

Dennis
Reply to  Robber
April 2, 2022 4:35 pm

A statistic never published as far as I am aware relates to diesel generators installed to back up the unreliable energy sources since reliable coal fired power stations have been shut down and even demolished to ensure that they cannot be put back into operation by a future State Government.

Streetcred
Reply to  Robber
April 2, 2022 6:45 pm

Interesting facts, Robber. I can report that through this la Nina event, due to cloud cover, my solar panels have been close to useless most days. 🙂

DaveS
Reply to  Robber
April 4, 2022 5:07 am

I believe the Spanish pioneered solar farms that carried on producing at night 🙂

Walter Sobchak
April 2, 2022 3:13 pm

The hydrogen storage solution is to use it make ammonia which is much more tractable and is useful for fuel and as a fertilizer.

leitmotif
April 2, 2022 5:02 pm

These sentiments were endorsed on the new UK news channel GB News this morning by economist and wealth advisor, Jonathan Davis.

Scissor
Reply to  leitmotif
April 2, 2022 6:52 pm

Likable guy, Jonathon Davis.

I don’t know why he said there was “no climate change at all.” Of course climate changes to some extent. It always has and it always will.

leitmotif
Reply to  Scissor
April 3, 2022 10:48 am

What climate are you talking about? The climate in The Hamptons? The West of Scotland? The temperate climate? The tropical climate? The global average climate?

Climate is a human construct that involves average weather. That’s why the term climate change is meaningless.

griff
Reply to  leitmotif
April 3, 2022 8:46 am

GB ‘news’. LOL

Rich Davis
Reply to  griff
April 3, 2022 9:14 am

griff. LOL

Bill S
April 2, 2022 5:44 pm

The guaranteed disaster to becoming “carbon free” by using wind mills and solar panels by 2030 or 2050 or whenever is that upon attainment of the goal we become serfs to China. Lithium, rare earth metals, solar panels, and other essential materials all come from China.

The Germans and and the rest of Europe are in a panic because they now realize that by relying on Russia for 30% to 40% of their needs for gas they are financing the Russian army which today is attacking Ukraine, but also threatens them.

If we continue down this windmill/solar path to zero net carbon we will be similarly under the thumb of China.

In addition, China is building one coal fired power station per week, and has 25 nuclear power plants under construction or on the drawing boards. Solar/wind will be 3x to 5x more expensive than ff because of the intermittency and the need for expensive storage. Storage technology that can power Denver, NY, Chicago for a week when the wind does not blow or solar farms are blinded by snow have yet to be invented, trialed, and installed. We will be at a huge economic disadvantage to China because of our much higher cost of energy.

The solution is obvious. Develop our own huge resources of coal, oil, gas, nuclear, and some wind/solar to be energy independent and export LNG to Europe. LNG to Europe displaces Russian gas, so Russia gets fewer dollars, and the money that would have gone to Russia comes to the US to benefit our economy.

We should use our abundance of energy resources as a geopolitical strategic weapon for our own security and prosperity that is far better than bullets and bombs.

China, India, Russia, Japan, and the rest of the developing world are going to increase CO2 by using fossil fuels no matter what we do. If the climate warms, different parts of the world will be impacted differently. We will have the economic ability to do what man has always done, adapt.

Streetcred
Reply to  Bill S
April 2, 2022 6:48 pm

@Bill … what do you mean by “storage technology” providing a week of energy requirements to the stated major US cities, because mega-scale battery storage is nothing more than a wet dream of the renewable fanatics.

Last edited 3 months ago by Streetcred
Rich Davis
Reply to  Streetcred
April 3, 2022 5:13 am

Yeah, he said not yet invented, didn’t he?

But Bill S should be careful about saying that selling LNG to Europe will benefit the US economy. We’ll have to endure rubbish comments from Putin-niks like bonbon claiming a conspiracy by “Washington” to rob the EUssr.

Further demand for gas at a time when supply is constrained by myriad bureaucratic attacks by the Brandon Administration and the deep state, is not going to benefit Americans generally. It will raise costs for us while increasing profits only for those selling the same amount of gas for a higher unit cost. Sure it will drive investment and eventually cause a supply glut.

It might be a justifiable sacrifice by the American public to pay more for natural gas so that the cheese-eating surrender monkeys don’t immediately surrender to Putin, but what do we really gain from subsidizing our frenemies in the EUssr?

griff
Reply to  Bill S
April 3, 2022 8:46 am

In fact Australia is the largest producer of lithium, having recently overtaken Chile

Lithium mining in Australia – Wikipedia

Chris Hanley
April 2, 2022 5:56 pm

Forget solar PV anywhere over 40 degrees N or S, even at lower latitudes it is barely sustainable over the useful lifetime energy-wise.
Currently Germany has around 30,000 wind turbines supplying around 4% of the primary energy consumption.
On that basis Germany would need 750,000 turbines to supply 100% of the current energy consumption and each turbine would need to be replaced every 20 years or so plus backup.
The population of Germany is around 80m while the world population is around 8b so for the entire world population to live at the current German standards on wind alone would require 75 million wind turbines supplying intermittent energy replaced every 20 years backed by God knows how many batteries also with a 20 year life.
At least this would solve world unemployment, the entire world working population could be fully employed in the wind turbine and battery industries.

Streetcred
Reply to  Chris Hanley
April 2, 2022 6:52 pm

@Chris, my extrapolation from an article here earlier this week … 57,000 GWh of battery storage for Australia to be ‘net zero’ would be 400,000 football fields in size.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Streetcred
April 3, 2022 12:47 am

Can you re-calc that to postage stamps?

Rich Davis
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
April 3, 2022 5:17 am

African or European?

THOMAS ENGLERT
Reply to  Streetcred
April 4, 2022 9:50 am

Australian, Canadien, or USA football or do you mean soccer?

griff
Reply to  Chris Hanley
April 3, 2022 8:44 am

Currently Germany has around 30,000 wind turbines supplying around 4% of the primary energy consumption.

German wind and solar however supplies 50% of the electricity (with no grid issues)

Rich Davis
Reply to  griff
April 3, 2022 9:19 am

Oh that’s a relief, griff. So the news stories about energy rationing can’t be true.

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  griff
April 3, 2022 2:30 pm

Germany has total renewable installs of 1.7x load, and only supplied <~45% of electricity last year.
Doubling that to 3.4x load might get it to your fictional 50% but not likely as they aren’t making any more Germany, at least not since the early 1940s.

More intermittent generation in the same geographic area won’t produce any more usable power.

And they are in deep trouble now.

CD in Wisconsin
Reply to  griff
April 3, 2022 8:26 pm

“Currently Germany has around 30,000 wind turbines…”

Imagine all the birds and bats that probably are killed from 30,000 of these contraptions every year. If Germany keeps this up, they may eventually wipe out their entire bird population someday. Amazing how this doesn’t bother you Griff.

KILL WIND TURBINES, NOT AVIAN WILDLIFE.

observa
April 2, 2022 5:57 pm

Put simply, we cannot and we must not unplug the current energy system before we have built the new one
‘Who’s talking climate change now?’ energy producers say (msn.com)
Get it through your thick heads climate changers.

RickWill
April 2, 2022 7:20 pm

Boris, Biden and others berated ScoMo for lack of “climate ambition” but Australia, through its natural advantage on all energy fronts, has managed to get 35% of all its electricity from intermittent sources in Q4 2022 without much effort and now less than the cost of coal or gas generation given the alarming inflation in fossil fuel prices – thermal coal has quadrupled in price in the last two years and gas even higher multiple. The peak contribution from intermittents was 62% of generation. And 32% of the power generated during the peak input came from rooftops.

Australia is close to saturation point on intermittent penetration without more storage. Economic curtailment of intermittent has hit 10% of potential capacity. The increase in transmission charges to get power from remote intermittent sources or send power up the grid from households is now the most significant cost in the supply chain – in NSW transmission and distribution are THREE times the wholesale price of electricity. The reality of the negative benefit of scale with weather dependent generation is starting to bite. Grid intermittents only make economic sense in very limited niches.

Someone building a house on a residential block in Australia today would do well to consider off-grid power. That possibility was set in train from the day the first weather dependent generator was permitted to connect to the grid. In all mainland cities, solar with battery is the lowest cost option for household power. In 2021 rooftop growth was 2% of the supply while coal generation fell 3% of the supply – hydro growth made up the difference.

For the cost of a new car, a home buyer could set up a household solar/battery system that would supply all their energy needs for the life of the battery – including transport if they had a BEV. That is about 5% of the cost of the land and house to be energy independent. The savings over grid power would easily pay for the next battery in 10 to 20 years.

Anyone who thinks grid power costs are going to reduce in the next 30 years is delusional. It will require new energy technology that is not yet on the horizon.

n.n
Reply to  RickWill
April 3, 2022 1:29 am

First, came CFLs and environmental collusion. Then came LEDs, but they are old tech, low tech, indeed. Perhaps there is a suitable replacement, which is neither nuclear nor biodegradable hydrocarbons, for low-density intermittent energy converters; but, if there is, it has not been revealed.

Geoff Sherrington
Reply to  RickWill
April 3, 2022 5:21 am

Rick,
What if we simply phased out all the intermittents and returned to a national coal and gas fossil fuel system like we had before year 2005?
Surely we could expect more, similar high reliability and low cost like we had before 2005?
Geoff S

RickWill
Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
April 3, 2022 2:46 pm

Geoff,
It has taken about 40 years to create the current political will moving toward Net Zero. It will take at least that long to turn the tide if it was obviously the wrong direction, which few politicians are willing to accept.

China and India are developing huge appetite for coal. They are willing to pay very high prices for it as it underpins their developing economies. Likewise for gas but it tends to be a supplemental fuel for wealthier nations than the basis of manufacturing. That means cost of coal and gas fired generation will continue to climb.

Much of the infrastructure Australia is installing to cope with intermittent generation will have life expectancy beyond 80 years. The solar panels, wind turbines and batteries are only a fraction of the project cost in getting them established. The land they occupy and the other infrastructure like roads, support services, transmission lines pumped storage etc all come at significant cost and are now there or under development.

Given high fuel prices with prospect of them increasing and all the existing infrastructure around intermittents, I expect it difficult to mount an economic case for new coal fired plant in Australia.

The only time electricity prices reduced in Australia was after the bloated government monopolies were corporatised to stop state governments using them for political gain. We now have the UN dictating how countries generate electricity. The UN needs to go before there is any possibility of a change in course.

Jim Gorman
Reply to  RickWill
April 3, 2022 7:12 am

Can you put that “battery” in the trash can to go to the local garbage dump? What do you do with it? I don’t know about your location, but that would also increase the value of the property and I’m sure the government won’t give you a break on property taxes! Would it ever break even?

RickWill
Reply to  Jim Gorman
April 3, 2022 2:22 pm

There are battery collection systems in Australia. The recycling of lead/acid batteries is vital to the supply chain. The same will happen with lithium. Same with most metals; even steel, which degrades quite rapidly if not protected from corrosion.

Jim Gorman
Reply to  RickWill
April 4, 2022 7:53 am

So you think that recycling lithium batteries will be cheap and easy? They shouldn’t go into landfills so where are they going to go? Have you seen any recycling centers yet?

griff
Reply to  RickWill
April 3, 2022 8:43 am

It is possible in at least half of Australia to supply all your domestic power from solar plus battery.

Several non grid connected housing developments have been proposed.

and of course there is massive investment in storage – including the ‘gold mine’ pumped storage system.

Dr Burns
April 3, 2022 12:19 am

Why do you call it “renewable”?
It is not.

n.n
Reply to  Dr Burns
April 3, 2022 1:24 am

Drivers. A generic characterization carries a strong appeal to emotion.

Alternatively, the question is why do people who are aware of the integrated deception, perhaps fraud, go along to get along with this em-pathetic game.

Why, indeed.

Matthew Sykes
April 3, 2022 1:19 am

Renewable energy has a part to play” No it doesnt. It is useless and expensive. It has no part to play. Scrap all of it and use gas/nuclear. You get cheap power 24/7 without wrecking the environment. Oh, and these are UK jobs, oh, and according to the EU both these are now ‘green’.

pochas94
April 3, 2022 8:05 am

The thing is, we don’t want to decarbonize. Petroleum is too precious to burn. We must go nuclear while petroleum is still plentiful. Robbing future generations is not in the interest of humanity.

April 3, 2022 8:41 am

A better understanding of the problem starts with the understanding that fossil fuels are not an energy source. Thet are an energy storage mechanism.

Wind and solar are not energy storage mechanisms. Rather they are like the enginr in your car. Ther are energy transformation mechanisms.

You cannot replace gasoline for example with a car engine. Most people can see that. And for the exact same reason you cannot replace fossil fuels with wind and solar. They are distinctly different mechanisms.

It is this confusion that prevents a clear analysis of why you cannot replace fossil fuels with wind and solar. Fossil fuels are energy storage. Wind and solar are energy conversion.

You cannot directly replace storage with conversion. You need to factor in the cost of conversion of electricity back to storage, which to date has no efficient solution.

Thus, direct comparisons of fossil fuels to wind and solar are meaningless. Apples to oranges.

griff
April 3, 2022 8:41 am

Wind and solar power still supply only 3% of the UK’s total energy consumption…

Yes, but they supply 42% of its electricity and rising… and electricity has so far been the main focus of renewables.

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  griff
April 3, 2022 2:22 pm

Not sure it’s possible for you to misunderstand more than you already do.

Charles
Reply to  griff
April 3, 2022 2:56 pm

So the UK is putting a large wet blanket on its economy, while worsening the scenery, the background noise, and the environment (hacking down trees) to provide 42% of 3% of the total energy required to get through a day ?

Mark BLR
Reply to  griff
April 4, 2022 7:07 am

Yes, but [ Wind and solar power ] supply 42% of its electricity and rising

Spring has sprung, so “Solar” is starting to ramp up again, but it definitely hasn’t contributed “42%” of anything since last autumn.

Looking at “Wind” for the GB electricity grid, in February the 28-day average production rose from just under 10 GW to almost 15 GW.

As we enter the second quarter of 2022 we now have the “rising” numbers for March (see attached graph below) …

… Oh ! … Wait …

– – – – –

Notes

1) In July 2021 the “previous 28 days” maximum “Wind” production fell to ~10 GW for a couple of weeks.
In September 2021 there was a week when it fell to ~8 GW.

2) The “previous 28 days” minimum “Wind” production fell from it’s all-time high of 4.55 GW on the 27th and 28th of February to … [ drum-roll please ! ] … 382 Mega-Watts on the 28th of March.

3) The current (pun intended, that’s how bad a person I am …) “nominal / nameplate capacity” of the fleet of “Wind” turbines directly connected to the GB electricity grid is probably in the 24 to 25 GW range (the latest available DUKES / BEIS data says it went from 23,168 MW in Q1 2021 to 24,078 MW in Q3 2021, so it may well be above 25 GW by now).

4) Please tell everyone again just how much the contribution of “Wind + Solar” for GB electricity is rising (present-continuous tense) …

GB-Electricity_Wind-28-days_Feb2021-March2022.png
Last edited 3 months ago by Mark BLR
Mark BLR
Reply to  Mark BLR
April 4, 2022 7:33 am

For reference, my “raw” data (daily cumulative generation, in GWh) for the period January 2021 to March 2022, from which the “average” line in the above graph was derived, is given below.

GB-Electricity_Wind-GWh_010121-310322.png
2hotel9
April 3, 2022 11:46 am

“Fossil fuels”, hydro and nuclear are the only renewable energy sources on this planet. Period. Full stop.

Last edited 3 months ago by 2hotel9
jono1066
April 3, 2022 2:47 pm

Back in 1971 Salters nodding ducks were showcased to England via the TV program called Tomorrows World, the wave energy system was showcased as a fantastic energy device that harvested energy from wave, all they needed to do was scale it up.
Fast forward 50 years (now that frightens me) and I still havent seen them around.
Maybe they just were not as financially viable as they thought.
Cornwall
s wave hub is going the same way.

Now just think what would have happened if someone provided ongoing financial payments to companies developing the Salters duck to the point that it made a profit for the company, they would still be with us today .

RevJay4
April 3, 2022 7:17 pm

Solar and wind. The big grift to enrich the few with the dollars of the many. Cut off the subsidies and let the free market decide which is the best provider of energy for all purposes. Enough of this nonsense. The only thing we should be discussing is how to prosecute the greenie scammers and assorted grant suckers who got us to this point.

Hutches Hunches
April 3, 2022 8:42 pm

If you were paying attention in the late 60’s and early 70’s, you might remember how organizations such as the Union of Concerned Scientists and Greenpeace staked out the position that Carbon was bad. Their logic which might have make sense at the time, was that Fossil fuels were polluting the environment and were due to run out on us in the near future anyway. So, we got the EPA, Clean Air Act, and a whole host of new State and Federal agencies. Well they did the job and cleaned up the environment, but as with all government agencies they took on a life of their own. Once they completed their mission to clean up the environment, they had to find a new purpose. Since Oil and Coal were still dirty and all, they became convenient a boogieman to justify their existence. WA LA ! Global Warming became the cause to celebrate and all the little rich kids with trust funds who make up the environmental movement had government agencies on their side. Now that this monstrosity has been unleased on us poor mortals, we are powerless to stop it. It will just have to run its course and collapse under its own weight. The danger, of course is ] that they will strip us of our freedoms and livelihoods to give as sacrifices to their Gia gods, before they roof caves in.

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