Undoubtedly, the question right now at the top of everyone’s mind is, When is the Manhattan Contrarian’s Energy Storage Report coming out? After all, he previously promised it for September, and then October, and here we are almost in December and we still haven’t seen it.
It’s a fair question. Being a blogger, I don’t have much appreciation for the formalities of the publication process. In blogging, you finish the post, do a quick proofread, press “Publish,” and there it is. With this, it has been rounds of peer review, editing, typesetting, proofreading, and so forth. However, I’m now told that the official issue date will be Thursday, December 1.
After the publication, I’ll have several posts expounding on parts of the Report, particularly those portions that cover topics I have not already beaten to death here on the blog. But for now I want to focus on the most important aspect of this, which is: Don’t get discouraged in thinking that the climate extremists have “won.” They have not.
It does not really matter that the climate extremists at the moment control all of the commanding heights of our culture — the media, academia, most big corporations, and the Executive Branch of the government. What matters is that the cultists are proposing a new utopian energy system that will not work and cannot work. It’s only a question of when and how it fails — and of how big the political blowback will be when that happens. The main Achilles heel of the proposals is the problem of energy storage.
As an example of a discouraged voice out there, I refer you to an interview of environmentalist-turned-climate-skeptic Michael Schellenberger, that appeared today on the website Spiked. After a long career in environmentalism, Schellenberger more recently came to realize that the climate alarm movement is a scam. In 2020 he published the book “Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All.” But despite getting his own views out there in a book, in the Spiked interview he remarks that essentially all voices of reason on the subject of climate, including his own, are getting completely drowned out in the public square:
[T]he climate movement is bizarre. . . . [I]t’s taken control of all these elite institutions. The movement’s ideology is the official religion of the British government, including the British Conservative Party. It’s the official religion of the United Nations. It’s the official religion of the World Economic Forum. Climate activists have made the great reset, which is fundamentally about a transition to renewables for climate change, the dominant ideology of the global elites. . . . [T]he whole mainstream news media and the global elites are basically part of this cult. The idea that the world is coming to an end is mainstream among journalists.
As the voices of climate extremism have become more dominant in the public square, Schellenberger notes that their demands have become ever more and more unhinged:
We’re seeing much more extremist rhetoric and a lot of people engaging in extremely disruptive civil disobedience. That’s what’s new about Just Stop Oil. Its accusation is, why are people upset about attacking works of art, rather than being upset about the planet? . . . There’s definitely a cult aspect. You see it in everything they’re demanding.
Schellenberger’s conclusion: the climate extremists “have won”:
[T]he climate extremists have won. Their demands and their discourse are so mainstream. . . .
My response to Schellenberger is, don’t be so sure. The extremists may seem to have the upper hand at the moment, but the missing piece is that they have no idea how our energy system works, and they are demanding a replacement that has zero chance of success. It’s only a question of when and how it will fail, and how damaging the consequences of the failure will be.
Consider as a counterpoint to Schellenberger a post today from a British guy named Paul Homewood at his website Not A Lot Of People Know That, with the title “Why Solar Power Is Useless In Winter.” Homewood has gone and gotten the hourly data on UK electricity generation from its solar panels from this website. For context, the typical electricity usage in the UK at this time of year is given by Homewood as 840 GWh, which would be 35 GWh for each hour of the day. The capacity of the solar generation facilities in the UK is given as 14 GW. That would mean, if the solar facilities produced at full capacity for the 24 hours, they would have produced some 336 GWh, or a full 40% of the UK’s usage for the day. But hey, it’s late November. The days are short, and the UK has lots of clouds. So how much did the solar facilities actually produce today? Here is the chart:
At around noon, the solar panels reached their peak of generation for the day at 1.33 GW — less than 4% of average usage. For the whole day, production from the solar panels was all of 5.46 GWh, or 0.65% of usage. The times of peak electricity demand are the early morning and evening. At those times the UK’s solar panels produced absolutely nothing. In fact, they produced nothing from midnight to 8 AM, and then from 4 PM on.
So how is the UK (or anywhere else) ever going to obtain a meaningful amount of its electricity in winter from solar panels? Well, considering just today, they could have built some 154 times as many solar panels as they currently have. With that, they could have obtained the exact amount of electricity that they actually consumed today. However, it still would have come mostly at mid-day when it was not needed, and nothing during the peak 6-8 AM and 5-8 PM windows. To cover those, you would need some kind of energy storage. Hundreds of gigawatt hours worth, just for today. Or you could try saving the energy up from the summer time when there is more sun. But for that, to cover the whole winter, you would need, for just the UK, some tens of thousands of gigawatt hours of storage, of a form that could store the energy for six or more months and then discharge over the course of months. Such a thing has not yet been invented, and it is not clear that it can ever be invented.