What The Future Holds for Our Climate Leaders


Francis Menton

If my posting has been a little light for the last month or so, it’s because I’ve been working on a big Report for the Global Warming Policy Foundation on the subject of energy storage as a means to back up electricity generation from wind and solar facilities. The Report is basically finished, and now going through an editing process. It will probably be published some time in September.

In doing the research for the Report, I have had occasion to look carefully into the plans of many countries and U.S. states that claim to be the “leaders” in climate virtue, specifically on the subject of how they intend to reach the goal of Net Zero carbon emissions from generation of electricity. These climate “leaders” include, in Europe, Germany and the UK, and in the U.S., California and New York. One would think that for any jurisdiction pursuing Net Zero ambitions, and seeking to abolish use of fossil fuels, it would be completely imperative that some energy storage solution absolutely must be found to provide back-up for the electricity system when the wind and sun are not producing. But what my research has shown is that every one of these jurisdictions seeking to be the leader toward Net Zero has given astoundingly insufficient consideration to the energy storage problem.

I previously have covered some of the more incredible deficiencies in the Net Zero planning of these places, for example in “Can California Really Achieve 85% Carbon-Free Electricity By 2030?” on May 16, and “And The Winner Is, Germany!” on June 29.

The single most astounding universal failure of all jurisdictions pursuing Net Zero is the failure to pursue any sort of working prototype or demonstration project of a Net Zero electricity system before committing the entire jurisdiction to the project on the basis of a blank check to be paid by the taxpayers and ratepayers. Who has ever heard of such a thing? in the 1880s, when Thomas Edison wanted to start building central station power plants to supply electricity for his new devices like incandescent lightbulbs, he began by building a prototype facility in London under the Holborn Viaduct, and followed that with a larger demonstration plant on Pearl Street in Lower Manhattan that only supplied electricity to customers within a few square blocks. Only after those had been demonstrated as successful did a larger build-out begin. Similarly, the provision of nuclear power began with small government-funded prototypes in the late 1940s and early 1950s, followed by larger demonstration projects in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Only in the late 1960s, twenty years into the effort and after feasibility and cost had been demonstrated, were the first large-scale commercial nuclear reactors built. No competent person would take any other approach.

But somehow our politicians have now become so filled with hubris that they think they can just order up a functioning wind/solar electricity system and assume that backup energy storage devices will magically get invented and it will all work fine and not be financially ruinous, all by some arbitrarily-ordered date in the 2030s.

Today, all the mentioned jurisdictions and many more have embarked on ambitious Net Zero plans, and yet there does not exist anywhere in the world a functioning prototype or demonstration project that has actually achieved Net Zero in electricity generation, or anything even close. Indeed, it’s worse than that. There is a fairly substantial project that set out to achieve Net Zero (although they weren’t using the term at the time, which was 2014), and has fallen remarkably short. That project is on the island of El Hierro, one of the Canary Islands off the coast of Spain. El Hierro installed a collection of wind turbines and a pumped storage/hydro reservoir as back-up to great fanfare, but it struggles to achieve 50% of the electricity from the wind/storage system over the course of a year. The rest comes from a diesel generator. The system operator puts out monthly statistics (with substantial lag), typically with excited verbiage about “tons of carbon emissions saved,” without ever admitting that the system has totally failed in its original goal of getting rid of the fossil fuel piece. Instead they now have three redundant systems for providing the electricity — wind turbines, hydro reservoir and turbines, and the diesel generator — all of which must be paid for, and all to provide the same electricity that the diesel generator was fully capable of providing on its own. The cost has been calculated at about 80 euro cents per KWh, roughly 7 to 8 times average U.S. consumer rates; but the cost is largely hidden from El Hierro ratepayers by subsidies from the EU and government of Spain.

My research also covered in depth the question of how much energy storage would be needed for various jurisdictions to fully back up a predominantly wind/solar generation system without any use of fossil fuels. Credible calculations previously discussed here have included the calculation of Roger Andrews, done in 2018, that either California or Germany would require at least about 25,000 GWh of energy storage to back up a fully wind/solar generation system for a year without use of fossil fuels; and a calculation by Ken Gregory done on very similar methodology in late 2021 showing that the full U.S. (lower 48 states) would require about 250,000 GWh of storage for the same purpose. These are truly huge numbers.

Facing such requirements to reach Net Zero and banish fossil fuels from the electricity system, the plans of these jurisdictions for acquisition of storage are quite shocking. The consultancy Wood Mackenzie reported on April 11, 2022 that Germany had announced plans to acquire all of 8.91 GWh of energy storage by 2031 — a ridiculously puny amount if Germany is actually serious about Net Zero. Utility Dive reported on April 12, 2022 that New York had plans to acquire all of 6 GW of storage (likely corresponding to about 24 GWh, since the batteries are to be of the lithium-ion type that generally have capacity for four hours of discharge at full capacity). This figure is only slightly less puny than Germany’s. Another piece from Utility Dive on April 6, 2022 reported that California’s regulators had ordered utilities to acquire what would be the equivalent of about 42 GWh of storage as part of the Net Zero plans of that jurisdiction. All of these storage acquisition plans are in the range of about 0.1% to 0.2% of the storage that would actually be needed to achieve the Net Zero goal.

So what will the future of energy usage actually look like in these places as fossil fuels get phased out and wind and solar take over, with woefully insufficient energy storage to cover the intermittencies? To get an idea, let’s take another look at the Report for California put out by consultancy Energy Innovations on May 9, with the title “Achieving an Equitable and Reliable 85 Percent Clean Electricity System by 2030 in California.” Note that this in not actually Net Zero, but only 85% of same. Here are a few tidbits. First, their graphic on the nature of the transition:

We’re going to have a “paradigm shift” in “RA,” which seems to mean “Resource Adequacy.” Check out that list on the right under “clean reliability resources” — “Energy availability depends on weather.” Are you starting to get the picture now?

Read through the report until you get into pages in the mid-30s, where the subject becomes what they euphemistically call “demand response.” It’s a lot of bafflegab to make it seem oh so pleasant. Excerpt:

Demand-side measures can substitute for supply-side resources and therefore contribute to resource diversity; their increased availability hedges against the risk of deploying new clean supply-side resources too slowly (including generators and storage). For example, the technical report finds that deploying Load Shift could reduce load by 1,500 MW in the early evening hours solar output falls, hedging against battery deployment challenges such as supply chain. . . . Demand-side measures also provide complementary reliability, resiliency, and public safety benefits to supply-side solutions or imports, as they lie closest to the affected load. While centralized generators provide the bulk of our power under most system conditions, they can be rendered less effective or useless under certain disaster conditions.

This is bureaucratese meaning “we’ll turn off your electricity at random times when we feel like it.”

Read the entire article here.

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Tom Halla
July 29, 2022 2:17 pm

El Hiero is a fair example. Even with favorable geology, wind will not work.

Reply to  Tom Halla
July 29, 2022 5:39 pm

King Island (Tasmania) is also a good example and their real-time website is interesting to watch despite having wind, solar and battery, the back-up generator is almost always running and often providing nearly 100% of the power, especially at night.


It doesn't add up...
Reply to  RicDre
July 30, 2022 6:30 am

It’s a shame that they don’t provide historical charts, but the huge changes as the wind gusts every few seconds can be an education of themselves. On windy days the resistor gets pressed into heavy service, helping spill the large power surpluses that the battery is far too small to absorb. However, enterprising individuals managed to provide a good flavour of the reality here


It doesn't add up...
Reply to  Tom Halla
July 30, 2022 6:19 am

You can check out El Hierro operations here


24th July was mostly motores diesel. Click on the symbols in the main chart to show the division between diesel and the rest. Click on the segments of the pie chart to show the profile of the respective elements at 5 minute resolution. Look at other dates.

What the charts hide is a significant element of spillage. At full blast, the turbines can produce about 9MW, but demand typically only peaks at 7.5MW and dips to 5MW overnight. The pumped hydro reservoir system is constrained by the small size of the lower reservoir, so what they do is use one pipe for pumping to the high reservoir while letting water flow down from the upper reservoir without generating any power, thus the apparent pumping is in fact often wasted. In extremis they shut down the wind and let the water out of the top reservoir in both penstocks. See for example around 14:00 on 22nd July. The pumped storage system is in fact mainly used to provide grid stabilisation, with diesel providing the real backup.

Pat Frank
July 29, 2022 2:32 pm
Indur Goklany
Reply to  Pat Frank
July 29, 2022 3:29 pm

Unfortunately, getting that “nothing” will cost trillions.

Old Man Winter
Reply to  Indur Goklany
July 29, 2022 4:38 pm

“and a calculation by Ken Gregory done on very similar methodology in late 2021 showing that the full U.S. (lower 48 states) would require about 250,000 GWh of storage for the same purpose.”

Actually, it’s closer to $60T just for 100% battery backup in the US


Rick C
Reply to  Old Man Winter
July 29, 2022 5:22 pm

Yes, and given the life expectancy of 10 years for batteries, that’s $6 Trillion per year FOREVER!

David Gibbs
Reply to  Rick C
July 29, 2022 9:59 pm

‘A trillion here, a trillion there….pretty soon you are talking real money’.

Reply to  Old Man Winter
July 30, 2022 10:23 am

And don’t forget that the 60T battery would actually up to 10 times more expensive due to mining, etc. necessary to provide the resources to build the things.

So 600T.

That much could build a whole bunch of SMR.

SMR reactor lifespan,100+ years, batteries 10?

Chris Hanley
Reply to  Indur Goklany
July 29, 2022 5:33 pm

Describing ‘net zero’ as a target or aspiration enables the proponents to avoid cost calculations.

Old Man Winter
Reply to  Pat Frank
July 29, 2022 4:24 pm

Thanks for your hard work & dedication. It’s now a favorite.

Pat Frank
Reply to  Old Man Winter
July 30, 2022 9:08 pm

Thanks, OMW. 🙂

Chris Hanley
July 29, 2022 2:50 pm

It varies from country to country but currently electricity accounts for only 25% – 35% of total primary energy consumption.
If theoretically an economy were to run entirely on ‘renewable’ electricity the storage requirements would be that much greater.
It’s all total nuts.

John Bell
July 29, 2022 2:59 pm

Lefties are hilarious! My mtn bike riding buddy, older guy, talks about climate change den!ers but then he drives all over, flies all over, and has NO solar panels on his roof. I don’t want to call him out on it as I want to keep a friend but I need to keep asking why he has no solar panels on the roof. He just spent $1500 to put carbon rims on his bike. THE HYPOCRITE!

Reply to  John Bell
July 29, 2022 6:29 pm

Doesn’t have solar panels because buying electricity off the grid is much cheaper, perhaps?

Where I live solar produces significant amount of power for only 4 to 5 months of the year. Where does he live?

John Hultquist
Reply to  John Bell
July 29, 2022 8:30 pm

Location, location, location.
Where I live the utility will pay about 3¢ per unit for your solar and charge you 9¢ for theirs. Plus, you pay about $20 per month just for the tie-in to the grid. That’s not a good deal.
Why not ask if your “friend” has looked into these costs and benefits. If you engage in a properly curious manner, he will be happy to explain the wisdom of his choice. Most folks like to tell you how smart they are.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  John Bell
July 29, 2022 9:22 pm

His name isn’t Biden, is it?

Reply to  John Bell
July 30, 2022 5:58 am

I’m appalled that you fail to acknowledge the serious carbon sequestration represented by his wheels. And at such an affordable price.

Reply to  roaddog
July 30, 2022 10:27 am

For the SLOOOWWW among us, that was sarcasm.

Rud Istvan
July 29, 2022 2:59 pm

Two observations.

  1. There is no problem needing unworkable solutions. Observational ECS is about 1.7C, which is why the alarmists shifted Schellnhuber’s made up 2C threshold to 1.5C.
  2. There is no workable renewable climate solution, because both technically and economically there is NO grid storage solution at requisite scale. There is not enough lithium and cobalt just for EV’s (even assuming 100% eventual recycling), let alone for grid storage. Redox Flow batteries use expensive materials (vanadium) and the few demonstration pilot projects had cycle lives of only a few years (like 5).

The climate alarmists created a pseudo problem via bollixed models and resulting failed predictions for which (if there really were a problem) there is no viable solution. That will eventually dawn on the voting public despite IPCC and bleating MSM, SciAm and the like. The AGW scam has been going on for forty years and is getting very old.

Reply to  Rud Istvan
July 29, 2022 3:31 pm

Yes the interesting question is how and when the impossibility will manifest itself. This may already be happening.

Izaak Walton
Reply to  Rud Istvan
July 29, 2022 5:29 pm

if there is no workable renewable energy solution then out of curiosity what do you think
will happen when fossil fuels run out? The end date for oil is going to be before the end of
this century with natural gas being not to far behind.

Ron Long
Reply to  Izaak Walton
July 29, 2022 6:05 pm

Mr. Walton, fossil fuels will not run out this century, they may be developed in deeper water on continental shelves and through unravelling complex thrust belt geology, but won’t run out. Ok, they also can be supported by corn alcohol and other fuels which work fine in internal combustion engines.

Reply to  Ron Long
July 29, 2022 6:44 pm

Corn ethanol is energy positive but just barely – it takes almost as much energy in fossil fuels to produce it as it returns. It’s no substitute for fossil fuels. Switch grass ethanol is more energy positive.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Ron Long
July 29, 2022 9:27 pm

And off the coasts of Suriname/Guyana and Brazil.

Reply to  Ron Long
July 29, 2022 10:59 pm

Conversion of coal, shale oil, other alternatives.

Operate internal combustion engines with Compressed Natural gas or Liquid Petroleum Gas.

I have had a fleet of company vehicles using dual ULP/LPG system and Diesel-Gas combined system.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Izaak Walton
July 29, 2022 6:37 pm

Izaak, I answered that in ebook Gias’sLimits. You need to know two things. First, the hydrocarbon depletions curves are gammas, not logistics. Second, basin consecutive yield curves. Been there, done that. Where were you?

Reply to  Izaak Walton
July 29, 2022 6:39 pm

It’s the other way around – less years of nat gas than oil. And oil is NOT going to run out before the end of the century. Even pessimistic estimates have oil lasting at least 150 years at the current usage. Some optimistic estimates have it at 300 years. There’s 500+ years of coal left.

Renewables won’t work without a backup, nuclear will be the only affordable grid-scale backup, but once you realize that you will also realize that you don’t need the renewables for anything – nuclear by itself is cheaper than nuclear+unreliables.

Reply to  Izaak Walton
July 29, 2022 6:45 pm

What will happen is “The Eternal Flame” on JFK’s grave will stop burning. Since he was a democrat, it’s strange that they haven’t extinguished it already as it is unsustainable and flies in the face of their commitment to the “climate emergency”.

Reply to  Izaak Walton
July 29, 2022 11:34 pm


We will have to adjust to declining supplies of oil and gas. We will have to develop viable replacement energy solutions.

So called ‘renewables’ are irrelevant because they are not workable solutions.

Your question is a bit like saying, what shall we do if we don’t have fusion by 2030?

Whatever we would do anyway. Fusion is not going to be there is 2030 so its irrelevant to the decision process.

What shall we do if standing on our heads doesn’t generate enough electricity to power the grid? What shall we do if moonbeams don’t either?

Get on with rationally planning the grid and stop wasting time agonizing about moonbeams!

Reply to  Izaak Walton
July 30, 2022 4:34 am

1) If oil snd gas run out there is still plenty of coal available; so even by the worst estimates there is far more than a century remaining for fossils.
2) If fossil fuels reach a point where proven reserves have less than 30 years left, there is a proven replacement in nuclear.

Reply to  Izaak Walton
July 30, 2022 7:47 am

Izaak, the notion that fossil fuels will “run out” shows a poor understanding of geology and economics. People like yourself—including “experts” in geology—have been claiming “peak oil” and “oil will run out” since the 1960’s. It hasn’t happened and won’t happen for two reasons: (1) there’s a lot more oil to be discovered (viz., recent find off Guyana and Suriname), (2) if finding and producing oil and gas becomes more costly, economics will drive us towards less expensive options, primarily nuclear (if we’re smart).

Oh, and we do have coal, which can be burned with little pollution…and CO2 is not a “pollutant.” It makes vegetation grow more robustly…and our ecosystem as well as humanity does depend on robust vegetation growth for ecological stability.

Get a grip!

Reply to  Izaak Walton
July 30, 2022 10:52 am

A set of SMR built at the previous site of a coal power plant with an associated coal gasification plant to use the heat from the nukes would produce coal gas and with in general existing pipelines could distribute that commodity to the gas grid.

Making liquids from coal is possible and doable with a nuclear heat source.

Unlike the above items, net zero will not be possible until the Back to the Future Mr. Fusion is widely available. And that is “Just around the corner”.

Philip Mulholland
Reply to  Izaak Walton
July 30, 2022 2:57 pm

what do you think will happen when fossil fuels run out?

Your question is interesting as it contains an unknown time parameter when.
Here are some scoping numbers to play with:
It is generally accepted that the oxygen in the Earth’s atmosphere was generated by photosynthesis.
Now the current planetary surface atmospheric pressure is 101,325 Pascals and that the air consists of 21% oxygen gas. So the partial pressure of oxygen is 21,278 Pascals, which for a gravity of 9.80665 m/s/s amounts to a mass of 2,170 kg/m^2 of oxygen for every square metre of the planet’s surface.

Now the process of generating oxygen by photosynthesis requires the reduction of oxidised carbon gas to form sugar with the effective creation of CH2 chain molecules. So the mass ratio of Oxygen to CH2 is 16 to 14 (for every oxygen atom liberated one CH2 link is formed). This means that there must be somewhere buried in the crust of the Earth 1.9 tonnes of hydrocarbons per square metre.

Now the consumption question.
Total surface area of the Earth is 510,000,000 sq km.
So the total mass of hydrocarbons in the crust of the Earth is 9.68263E+14 tonnes.
Now global annual oil consumption is 35,442,900,000 barrels which equates to 5,544,800,000 metric tonnes per year.
So if we divide 9.68263E+14 tonnes by 5,544,800,000 tonnes the answer is 174,600 years to run the planet’s oxygen level down to zero by combustion of all of the stored reduced carbon in the Earth’s crust

OK that’s unrealistic, so suppose we reduce the Earth’s oxygen from 21% to 20% (this is a proportionate drop of 5% of the oxygen thereby consumed) then this will allow us to burn fossil fuels from the Earth’s lithic store of reduced carbon for 8,700 years at the present rate.
Run out of hydrocarbons? Not going to happen anytime soon.

Reply to  Izaak Walton
July 31, 2022 3:35 am

Short answer for anyone alive … who cares we will all be long dead.
It would be a bit like some in 1880 worrying that there wouldn’t be enough horses and buggies in 1980.

This is the problem with your answer you first have to be able to predict what the world looks like in 100 years.

Robert Hanson
Reply to  Izaak Walton
July 31, 2022 11:08 am

Ah, “Peak Oil” raises it’s ugly head again. From Wikipedia:

Numerous predictions of the timing of peak oil have been made over the past century before being falsified by subsequent growth in the rate of petroleum extraction. M. King Hubbert is often credited with introducing the notion in a 1956 paper which presented a formal theory and predicted U.S. extraction to peak between 1965 and 1971. Hubbert’s original predictions for world peak oil production proved premature” to say the least.

“Predictions of future oil production made in 2007 and 2009 stated either that the peak had already occurred, that oil production was on the cusp of the peak, or that it would occur soon. A decade later world oil production rose to hit a new high in 2018, as developments in extraction technology enabled an expansion of U.S. tight oil production.”

You’ll know peak oil is about to occur when you see flocks of pigs flying by, day in and day out.

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  Rud Istvan
July 30, 2022 6:34 am

The King Island project originally used vanadium batteries until they suffered a fire, to be replaced later with simple lead-acid. Vanadium has never been a big choice since.

July 29, 2022 3:00 pm

 that they think they can just order up a functioning wind/solar electricity system and assume that backup energy storage devices will magically get invented 

This is not how they think. It suggest a level of thinking that has not been present. I doubt many politicians understood the requirement to balance grids. There are about 18 different charges in Australia for grid stability services now that were essentially free with large coal fired generators. There is no mention of all these charges in the original weather dependent reports that this whole fiasco is based on.

All the early ambitions for weather dependent grid in Australia were based on diversity and load shifting. Wind would always be blowing somewhere and consumers needed to be more flexible in their power use. The whole basis of the thinking was the system design being based on average capacity factors. It has only been in the last couple of years that planning in the Australian east coast network is based on time run data from the weather dependent generators. However many still think the diversity fairy is real.

All LCoE calculations omit any allowance for overbuild, storage, firming and extra transmission lines. And those same LCoE values are widely adopted across the globe.

“Firming” capacity is a recent notion.

In Australia, the current political battle is to prevent any capacity payment going to gas or coal. The only acceptable means of providing dispatchable capacity is batteries and hydro.

The real disaster in Australia is doubling down on “renewables” in the face of a 7-fold increase in the wholesale cost of electricity in Q2 2022. Even sadder, Syukuro Manaba accepted the Nobel Prize in physics in 2021 for his work on climate models that wrongly connect CO2 to global warming. It is a sad world when all this bad science is so heavily promoted.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  RickWill
July 29, 2022 3:18 pm

Grid realities will eventually wake up the climate woke in islanded’ AUS and UK. Just not quite yet.

Beta Blocker
Reply to  RickWill
July 29, 2022 6:07 pm

RickWill: “All LCoE calculations omit any allowance for overbuild, storage, firming and extra transmission lines. And those same LCoE values are widely adopted across the globe.”

From a cost accounting perspective, LCoE analysis as currently performed shifts the costs of maintaining adequate dispatchable backup for wind and solar onto the legacy gas-fired, coal-fired, nuclear, and hydro power generation resources.

As the penetration of wind and solar grows, flawed LCoE analysis then indicates that the relative costs of the legacy power generation systems are growing while the costs of wind and solar are either staying the same or are dropping.

A deeply flawed cost accounting scheme such as LCoE is just what the wind and solar advocates need to maintain the fiction that the renewables are cheaper to build, own, and operate than are the legacy coal-fired and gas-fired systems.

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  Beta Blocker
July 30, 2022 6:47 am

Also missing is the cost of spillage and curtailment. As capacity grows the volumes of curtailment grow initially quadratically once maximum production potential exceeds minimum demand less minimum stabilisation generation, because the number of hours with curtailment grows, and the size of the surpluses of hours with curtailment also grows. In the limit little incremental generation is useful, because it does almost nothing to boost output on windless days, yet it simply adds to the curtailment surplus most of the time. Since curtailed output gas zero value, the incremental capacity must earn its keep from the few hours when it is making a useful contribution. That makes it many times more costly than the simple LCOE calculation. Throw away 80, 90, 95% of the output and the cost is 5, 10, 20 times the number you first thought of.

Of course that sets the cost of stored energy that becomes economic.

Beta Blocker
Reply to  It doesn't add up...
July 30, 2022 6:49 pm

Those are good points. I should note that when I try to explain the simple cost accounting issues associated with LCOE analysis to my college-educated pro-renewable relatives, their eyes glaze over.

Adding in spillage and curtailment to the explanation of why the costs of wind and solar are being greatly understated would send them over the edge off an idea comprehension cliff.

John K. Sutherland
July 29, 2022 3:18 pm

As long as those same politicians are the first to have their electricity and energy cut off, it might not be so bad. It will soon change if they are the first to suffer, and to suffer for the longest.

Reply to  John K. Sutherland
July 30, 2022 10:58 am

Yep, load shed the leftists first.

Also, the bigger the mansion, the sooner the load shed.

Also, the greener the corporation, the sooner their factories and offices are load shed.

Also, the bigger the city, the sooner their entire load is shed.

Robert Hanson
Reply to  Drake
July 31, 2022 11:17 am

Pure fantasy. Those with the most political power will be the last to be cut off.

a happy little debunker
July 29, 2022 3:33 pm

‘Net Zero’ is meaningless gobbledygook.
If it meant ‘a place absorbing more CO2 than it’s people emitted’ – then the global climate change community would be celebrating that Australia is and has always been a net zero CO2 emitter.
Instead Australia has been vilified and attacked – turned into a pariah for this remarkable ongoing achievement and then bullied into further action to compensate others for their emissions, whilst both reducing CO2 and impoverishing themselves in the process.

Richard Page
Reply to  a happy little debunker
July 30, 2022 12:00 pm

Ah, in the new happy clappy world of climate activism, it isn’t what you do but what you say, and how loudly and often you repeat it!

Reply to  a happy little debunker
July 31, 2022 3:37 am

Some of us wear our climate pariah status with pride because being a greentard is not an option.

another ian
July 29, 2022 4:02 pm

There doesn’t seem to be much mention of this aspect – from a discussion at Jo Nova

“High rises, HVAC and “reliable renewable power”

another ian
July 28, 2022 at 12:21 pm · Reply

When wind and solar arrive in their full blacked out splendour how do all those big buildings with their HVAC needs for breathability get on?

July 28, 2022 at 5:09 pm · Reply

When wind and solar arrive in their full blacked out splendour how do all those big buildings with their HVAC needs for breathability get on?

Absolutely correct really, they will be shells, with no one allowed to enter ….. every high rise in every city, every one of them. Those huge HVAC units on the roof of every one of them, are the ONLY source of breathable air inside the buildings, circulating air into and out of every one of them. No electricity, no circulating air, shut the doors.
Incidentally, I speculated on high rise building supply of power in an earlier Post at my home site.
Using Co generation, and even trigeneration.
You have the original (natural) gas turbine driving the generator. The waste heat from the exhaust drives a smaller steam driven turbine/generator unit, the secondary generator, adding to the total generated power, and the waste steam (the third part of the equation) can be used for heating and cooling.
They come in sizes ranging up to 5MW, and one Unit is around the size of a shipping container. It can be connected to the natural gas supply, or to an independent supply, or also use other fuel sources as well, and the Unit can be installed in the Basement. There are buildings already utilising this form of power supply.
Here’s the link to my article, and it’s a long read, and surprisingly, although I was not as much aware (then) of HVAC as I am now, the article is still pretty much ‘on the money’.
You can read it if you want to, and I tried to do ‘the sums’ for it.
Here’s the link – What Is A Green Building (Part 3)
At the finish, glance again right at the top of the Post for the date I wrote it, March 2009, thirteen years ago.



Reply to  another ian
July 29, 2022 4:40 pm

There is an even smellier problem than non- functioning HVAC – all of the water to flush the toilets needs to pumped up to the roof. Check out what happened in Auckland when their main electrical cable fried. In 24 hours, uninhabitable.

July 29, 2022 5:25 pm

Not surprising. Climate alarmists are easily duped by propaganda. Simple details like absence of scientific method proving AGW and lack of practical and economical grid storage are glossed over and lied about and it fit their bias.

Reply to  markl
July 29, 2022 6:54 pm

It’s worse than that. Climate alarmists truly believe that batteries can charge batteries. Witness Moss Landing grid storage and California Gov. Gavin Newsom signing an executive order to end the sale of gasoline and diesel powered cars in the state by 2035.

Old Man Winter
July 29, 2022 6:19 pm

EIA- The US burned 135B gal gasoline in 2021- => 370M gal/day =>
13.4 TWh/day => 560TW of continuous electrical generation. Since
gasoline engines are 20% efficient, => 110TW continuous electrical
generation to power equivalent EVs. Currently, the US uses 4,000 TWh/yr or 455 GW continuous electrical generation. The electricity use
to power vehicles is 240X what we currently use. WOW!!! This is just for gas & doesn’t include all the diesel used for other vehicles & equipment as well as what’s used for all our “toys”. Nuts!!!

h/t DipChip


Old Man Winter
Reply to  Old Man Winter
July 29, 2022 7:10 pm

Currently, solar & wind (SAW) are 12% of our electricity generated.
240X => 2000X the current SAW to supply 110TW continuous power.
Using $182.5B/GW continuous power for batteries => $20,000T.
If batteries last only 10 yrs, that’s $2,000T/yr for replacement for FOREVER! (h/t Rick C)

Sorry, I’m a bit tapped out today & don’t have that in petty cash!
Like AOC, they must think $$$ grows on trees which the fools will probably want to burn as biomass!

Old Man Winter
Reply to  Old Man Winter
July 30, 2022 5:55 pm

UPDATE– My apologies for a SUPER BIG OOPS– It’s
560GW NOT 560TW, off by 1,000! It did seem too big
relative to all the other things we use energy for. I got better info on other data, too.

NOTE: References may be spread out over my three
different comments as URLs are limited to two without
going into “detention” & one graphic per comment.

1) Gas engines are 25%-30% efficient, not 20% as I stated.
Also, 91% of the gas used is for light-duty vehicles.=>
560GW * 27.5% => 155GW continuous generation for all gas
(including planes, equipment & tools, “toys” etc.), 140GW for
transportation only gas.

2) Gas is 54% of the total energy used for transportation (510GW)
Biofuels are 5% & under “other’s 3%”, my SWAG’S 2% electric for a
total of 7% green. That leaves 39%, of which I’ll ignore the 11%
jet fuel as I don’t think they’ll find insurers willing to cover
spontaneously combustible batteries! That leaves 28%, mostly
diesel- 35%-40% efficient. 28%/54% * 510GW = 265Gw, * 37.5% =
100GW. Non-green Transportation total = 240GW.
+15GW miscellaneous gas = 255GW (current total electric power is 455GW).

EIA- Gasoline explained- Use of gasoline (cited in first comment)


CORRECTION for battery-
All Gasoline- $182.5B/GW * 155GW => additional $28T.
All non-green Transportation + miscellaneous gas-
$182.5B/GW * 255GW => additional $47T. If batteries
last only 10 yrs, that’s $4.7T/yr for replacement for FOREVER! (h/t Rick C)

That’s still a lot more than I have in petty cash!

EIA shows the total US energy used for everything. The total used in
2021 is 97,330TBTU, of which 76,900TBTU is not green.
=> 22,530TWh/yr. How efficient that energy is currently
being used vs the efficiency of its electrical replacement, I wouldn’t know where to start.


It doesn't add up...
Reply to  Old Man Winter
July 30, 2022 6:54 am

I think you got lost between your TWh and TW. 13.4TWh/ day is about 560GW.

Old Man Winter
Reply to  It doesn't add up...
July 30, 2022 3:03 pm

The 110TW continuous generation s/b 110 GW. I’m currently working on a correction for both comments as I realized that
earlier but had some other things to do. Thanks!


July 29, 2022 8:10 pm

Looking at the x-axis of this graph, I am reminded of the best advice and wisdom found here:

Anything we do between now and 2030 or even 2050 will be knee-jerk and hugely wasteful. And waste (particularly squandered resources) is by far the worst extensional threat to any endeavour. History is littered with examples of companies, battles, countries, etc that have suffered from it. You’d think “conversationalists” would be aware and concerned about this risk.

Badly conceived timelines have been set for this “energy transition” by people with a flimsy idea of the technical requirements and driven by fever-pitched zealots and children.

Engineering and business people who understand the issues are driven away from such a catastrophic undertaking. Only the B-team will be left to attempt the impossible.
On the advice of the link – Just say NO.

John Hultquist
July 29, 2022 8:23 pm

 It is estimated that on average, in the USA, autos are kept for 8.4 years while the average age is 12.1 years.
This combination of choices allows for the trade-in and resale markets.
Currently, EV batteries are assumed to last just over 8 to 10 years. I wonder if this makes only the very early EV returns a reasonable choice as a used vehicle. They would still be quite costly. Any vehicle over, say 6 years (maybe 5) would be a poor choice – so I think.
Take a drive along auto-row and consider the ramifications of having all new vehicles being EVs. What does this do to the lower income folks in need of a personal auto? An electric bike may begin to sound good, and in many places a cold weather suit. Both are available via the web.

July 29, 2022 8:40 pm

Yes, but we have to look at more important things than mere reliability.

Observe how much rationing empowers politicians and bureaucrats! What could possibly be a better way of (re)distributing resources than political allocation!?

July 29, 2022 10:16 pm

We just don’t understand the ocean of possibilities out there-
Nations first wave energy converter delivers energy to Tasmanian homes | Watch (msn.com)
Unless of course these man made contraptions are going to impact the rainbow spotted sea urchin.

Reply to  observa
July 29, 2022 11:03 pm

At least two wave generator projects in Australia proved to be commercially unviable.

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  Dennis
July 31, 2022 4:44 am

Likewise several in the UK. Pelamis was I think the most recent to go bankrupt.

July 29, 2022 11:19 pm

Francis, I assume you will take account of the UK plans too? They have exactly the same defects as those of California and Germany, as is ably pointed out by Paul Homewood here, in his analysis of the latest Future Energy Scenarios:


He also gives a link to the Future Energy Scenarios document itself:


This extraordinary document is actually put out by the UK National Grid, the body with responsibility for operating the transmission network in the whole of the UK. The descent into irrationality by such a body with such responsibilities is truly extraordinary.

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  michel
July 30, 2022 7:08 am

National Grid’s rationality is simple. To a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Their future requires massive growth in grid assets. First to electrify everything. Then to connect up all the renewables. Then to provide capacity to handle routeing peak output to storage. Then to connect up all the backup and stabilisation kit. Then to provide lots of interconn3ctors to try to make it all work.

It is of course precisely why they should be nowhere near future plans.

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  michel
July 30, 2022 9:11 am

This is as far as NG have got with regard to storage:

There is a small hint that something of the order of 100TWh+ may be required to do the job properly top left in the chart. But they don’t really know, because they’ve only looked at 2013 type weather to generate future demand and renewables generation, because it is an “average” year – which is of course useless for planning, where you need to look at the most difficult circumstances, and ensure that your system is going to keep on working year after year. They have done none of that evaluation. Their footnote reveals: Our FES scenarios do not model specific flexibility services and model an unconstrained network, as such these graphics are indicative only and do not directly align to FES modelling and the Data Workbook.

FES 2022 Storage.png
Coeur de Lion
July 29, 2022 11:35 pm

And it’s likely that CO2 doesn’t drive the weather

Richard Page
Reply to  Coeur de Lion
July 30, 2022 12:05 pm

It doesn’t. It doesn’t even drive the thing that drives the weather, nor the thing that drives the thing that drives the weather. Amounts of CO2 are utterly inconsequential to weather.

July 30, 2022 12:30 am

Minor point, the Canary Islands are off the coast of Africa not Spain, in the Atlantic. The Balearic Islands are off the coast of Spain in the Mediterranean.

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  JohnC
July 30, 2022 7:17 am

They are off the coast of what used to be Spanish Sahara, and are themselves still Spanish.

July 30, 2022 4:51 am

There’s an easy filter to see which plans are BS.

Skip straight to the section on transmission upgrades. If it isn’t at least as long as the rest of the report combined and full of inscrutable technical jargon, the study is just political positioning.

Most include one or two paragraphs that basically acknowledge that the transmission system exists and may require upgrades.

July 30, 2022 5:55 am

Sri Lanka was only the beginning.

Michael in Dublin
July 30, 2022 6:46 am

Some 20 years ago I picked up a book, “The Art of Innovation.” The cover did not impress me. I had an aversion to the use of the word “innovation.” But I was curious enough to read the book. It was a fascinating story of the company IDEO. They designed and built many prototypes using simple available materials.

Today many speak of innovation but without ever mentioning building and testing prototypes. Why do we allow Net Zero activists to manipulate governments and politicians without producing small scale fully working prototypes? Besides this, where is a rigorous cost benefit analysis of going Net Zero? The scientist, Michael Faraday, if faced with the claims, would have asked “how will it work?” and then tested the claims in his lab.

Andy Pattullo
July 30, 2022 8:01 am

This is like adding to the reliability of the food supply by only feeding a third of the population.

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