Jude Clemente: “Five Things I Truly Don’t Understand About… the Energy Transition”

Guest “Fracking-A Bubba” by David Middleton

Jude Clemente is one of my favorite energy analysts. His articles for Forbes are always awesome. Jude hits it out of the park with this one:


5 Things I Truly Don’t Understand About The “Inevitable Energy Transition”

Jude Clemente


This list could be closer to 50 but let’s just stick to a handful of them. I live in this business every day, and I’m just so confused.

1. In a world that is apparently getting both warmer and colder because of global warming, how is it that we can increasingly rely on non-dispatchable (i.e., intermittent, usually unavailable), weather-dependent electricity from wind and solar plants to displace, not just supplement, dispatchable (i.e., baseload, almost always available) coal, gas, and nuclear power? In other words, if our weather is becoming less predictable, how is it that a consuming economy like ours can, or should even try, predictably rely on weather-dependent resources? ERCOT exemplifies this: the Texas grid operator has around 31,000 MW of wind capacity but goes into winter expecting only 6,000 MW (just 20%) of wind farms to be available to generate electricity. 


2. Climate change is a global issue, so how is it that we can claim climate benefits for unilateral climate policy. For example, U.S. gasoline cars constitute just 3% of global CO2 emissions, so how will getting rid of them impact climate change? But this dose of real science doesn’t stop California leaders, a state responsible for just 1% of global CO2 emissions, from telling us that energy policy in the nine-county region of Northern California alone is “responsible for protecting air quality and the global climate in the nine-county Bay Area.” No wonder then that a Biden administration official was incoherent when asked how $50 trillion in climate spending in the U.S. will lower any global temperature rise.


3. Back to electric vehicles. Green-tinted but surely practical Bloomberg admits that more than 85% of Americans can’t afford an electric car, since they are well more than double the price of oil-based cars. 


4. How on Earth could anybody expect those in Africa and the other horrifically poor nations to “get off fossil fuels” when the rich countries haven’t come close to doing it. 


5. But, perhaps I’m most confused about the whole air quality thing. The obsession over it gets attached to all energy policies. But there’s clearly a strawman to the “we need cleaner air now” demand. First, the air quality conversation in the U.S. reminds me of Voltaire’s “the perfect is the enemy of good.” Americans seem completely unaware how drastically our air quality has improved. Check data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), our criteria pollutants have been plummeting over the past many decades.


Jude Clemente

I am Principal at JTC Energy Research Associates, LLC. I hold a B.A. in International Relations from Penn State University, with a minor in Statistical Analysis. I got my M.S. in Homeland Security from San Diego State University, with a focus on Energy Security, and an MBA from St. Francis University, with a focus on Energy Economics. My research specialization includes North American and international trends in liquid fuels, natural gas, coal, renewables, electricity and GHG emissions – and their connection to human development. I have over 400 professional publications in a variety of energy-related media, notably Pipeline & Gas Journal, Carbon Capture Journal, Journal of Energy Security, Power, World Oil, Public Utilities Fortnightly, and the Journal of Energy and Development. I have also been a writer and editor for reports commissioned by the U.S. Department of Energy, International Energy Agency, and other major energy research organizations.


Point #1

While wind power in Texas works fairly to very well in spring and fall, it doesn’t work that well in winter and summer. Nearly all of ERCOT’s capacity additions since the February 2021 deep freeze have been renewables, about half of which were solar PV installations. On sunny days, solar does a fairly good job of offsetting wind’s mid-day doldrums… However, the Duck Curve isn’t limited to the Peoples Republic of California.

The first week of February 2023 was extremely cold, with much of Texas getting hammered by an ice storm. Wind and particularly solar took the week off.

The mindless renewables unreliables cheerleading went FR in this Texas Monthly article:

Solar Power Is Bailing Texas Out This Summer

Enjoying that AC? Thank the mighty power of the sun and the renewable energy source keeping the grid afloat.

By Dan Solomon
July 12, 2022

On Monday the good people of Texas, many still suffering from lingering trauma as a result of the February 2021 failure of the state’s power grid, braced for bad news. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the much-maligned entity that manages Texas’s famously independent grid, warned that the situation was dire because of “a projected reserve capacity shortage with no market solution available.” If things got worse, rolling blackouts might be needed. Not great! 

Fortunately, the worst didn’t happen. There are a few reasons why. To reduce demand, many Texans turned up the thermostat by a few degrees to help save power, and ERCOT’s emergency response program paid some large energy customers to scale back usage during peak times. And significantly, solar power, which has been the star of the Texas grid so far during this interminable summer, continued to set records for energy production. If your air conditioner has been steadily running all summer long, you can thank the mighty power of the sun.


The two key renewable energy sources contributing to the Texas power grid are solar and wind power; solar accounts for roughly 25 percent of the renewable resources on the grid, while wind represents the other three quarters, according to Andrew Dessler, director of the Texas Center for Climate Studies at Texas A&M. 

It’s not all that difficult to understand how and why certain energy sources perform well under various grid conditions. Is the grid struggling to keep up with demand for air conditioning? Odds are it is bright and sunny outside, which explains why solar is performing well and also why wind would be less productive (go outside at noon on a summer day and wish for a breeze!). “The good thing about solar is it really does match AC demand,” Dessler said. “Days that are really hot and sunny are the days you’re making the most power from solar energy.” 

While wind produced a low amount of energy relative to its total potential on Monday (and ERCOT put out a release blaming the energy source for the grid’s struggles), both Dessler and Lewin said that was to be expected, and that the amount of electricity being generated by wind was within state projections for a summer day. (Thermal energy sources—gas, coal, and nuclear—also underperformed on Monday.) While the wind farms of West Texas don’t generate as much power as we might like on stultifying summer days, wind farms along the Gulf Coast tend to do well during those hours. “If you’ve been down to the beach in the summertime, there’s usually a pretty good afternoon breeze,” Lewin said. 


Dan Solomon

Dan Solomon writes about politics, music, food, sports, criminal justice, health care, film, and business.

Texas Monthly

Unmitigated horst schist! Here’s the EIA Hourly Grid Monitor for ERCOT daily generation output by source for July 2022:

Here’s the hourly plot from Sunday July 10 through Thursday July 13, 2022:

The only evidence cited for thermal energy sources underperforming was a moronic Tweet by… drum roll, please… Andrew Dessler. Had the article been titled, “Solar Power Is Bailing Texas Wind Power Out This Summer on Some Afternoons,” it would have been sort of accurate. The author of the Texas Monthly article evidently derived his energy expertise by writing “about politics, music, food, sports, criminal justice, health care, film, and business.”

Wind and solar can’t respond to demand. They can only respond to supply because they are weather-dependent.

The flip side of the coin is that wind and solar often over-generate when they aren’t needed.

Wind and Solar Curtailments in ERCOT (BTU Analytics)

Relying on weather-dependent energy sources for an energy transition, ostensibly needed to fix the weather…

Point #2

Mr. Clemente was referring to Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) in this passage:

No wonder then that a Biden administration official was incoherent when asked how $50 trillion in climate spending in the U.S. will lower any global temperature rise.


Point #3

The Bloomberg article is pay-walled… Here’s the Nitwit Pinko Radio version:

The people most interested in electric vehicles can’t afford to buy them

November 10, 2022

Studies show a generational gap in electric vehicle purchases: younger people tend to be more excited about them, but less able to afford them. (Story aired on All Things Considered on Nov. 8, 2022.)



Point #4

Mr. Clemente features this graph in point number 4:

California’s climate policies have been surging electricity prices way more than originally promised, but because residents use less electricity because of mild weather bills are lower.

Anyone who thinks California is the example to follow, missed this:

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (Babylon Bee)

Point #5

Point number 5, the incessant demand for cleaner air is truly incomprehensible. Lead (Pb) is one of the deadliest air pollutants So deadly, that the inventor of leaded gasoline suffered from lead poisoning. The EPA’s page for lead as a criteria pollutant only shows a graph going back to 2010.

Five years ago, when I authored Putting the Clean Air Act on Ice, the EPA data went back to 1970 and I tied it into the ACT2 Greenland ice core lead concentration data. I determined a “geological background” (the Earth puts a lot of schist in the air without any human assistance) by calculating the 1772-1850 average ± two standard deviations.  The ice core lead (ng/g) correlated very well with the overlapping EPA lead (ppb) data:

Current US atmospheric lead (Pb) levels appear to fall well within the geological background.  Data from McConnell, J.R. and R. Edwards. 2008 and US EPA.

Atmospheric lead in the US is clearly at or near an irreducible level.

There has never been an energy transition

Nor will there ever be an energy “transition” before we harness nuclear fusion power… And that’s a good thing.

On a per capita basis, we consume as much “traditional biomass” for energy as we did when we started burning coal. We have just piled new forms of energy on top of older ones. Now, we have changed the way we consume energy sources. In the 1800’s the biomass came from whale oil and clear-cutting forests. Today’s biomass is less harmful to whales and forests.

Life Expectancy: Our World in Data
Energy Consumption: Bjorn Lomborg, LinkedIn

From 1800 to 1900, per capita energy consumption, primarily from biomass, remained relatively flat; as did the average life expectancy. From 1900 to 1978, per capita energy consumption roughly tripled with the rapid growth in fossil fuel production (coal, oil & gas). This was accompanied by a doubling of average life expectancy. While I can’t say that fossil fuels caused the increase in life expectancy, I can unequivocally state that everything that enabled the increase in life expectancy wouldn’t have existed or happened without fossil fuels, particularly petroleum.


McConnell, J.R. and R. Edwards. 2008.  “Coal burning leaves toxic heavy metal legacy in the Arctic.”  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. August 18, 2008. doi:10.1073/pnas.0803564105.

McConnell, Joseph R., Andrew I. Wilson, Andreas Stohl, Monica M. Arienzo, Nathan J. Chellman, Sabine Eckhardt, Elisabeth M. Thompson, A. Mark Pollard, Jørgen Peder Steffensen.  “Lead pollution recorded in Greenland ice indicates European emissions tracked plagues, wars, and imperial expansion during antiquity.”  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences May 2018, 201721818; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1721818115


Added to post to address comments…



Consumption: Blue
Production: Violet


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May 23, 2023 2:34 pm

Thanks, David, for including Jude’s post here and for expanding and clarifying it in your easy to comprehend way.


Ben Vorlich
Reply to  Bob Tisdale
May 24, 2023 2:05 am
Richard Page
Reply to  Bob Tisdale
May 24, 2023 6:05 am

I think the unlerlying (implied) message in this accurate piece and the many activist ramblings is that ‘you will make do with less’ – an anti-capitalist, anarchical and quite dangerous message at the core of this ideology. No private cars, far less energy, less food, fewer freedoms and no rights to call it out, change or stop the insanity.

May 23, 2023 2:42 pm

Maybe those who tend to believe the Climate Hucksters are more inclined to believe their unsupported statements, but almost anybody with any sort of technical training can see the falsehoods they are spreading. Perhaps the modern belief in AGW should be regarded more as a commentary on the efficacy of modern technical education!

Reply to  mikelowe2013
May 23, 2023 7:59 pm

The voting population of those in the U.S. with minimal or zero technical training greatly exceeds the population of those that can evaluate their BS. They know that, and are counting on that fact for their plans.

The second step is to destroy or subvert the existing quality STEM programs. That plan is also proceeding expeditiously.

Reply to  pillageidiot
June 1, 2023 3:38 pm

I worked at McDonnell Douglas and Boeing after they bought McDonD in 1997. The older engineers (including myself) generally smirked when we heard some kid (engineer) talking about the horrors of AGW. It is generational thing. The young ones didn’t live through the threat of an imminent ice age foretold in the 70’s. They didn’t get a chance to listen to their parents talk about the warming that would kill us all, or grandparents who remembered the global cooling before that.

After all, who can talk to a kid who has his head wrapped up in a video game?

Reply to  mikelowe2013
May 24, 2023 6:37 am

Perhaps the modern belief in AGW should be regarded more as a commentary on the efficacy efficiency of modern technical education indoctrination!

Reply to  mikelowe2013
May 25, 2023 5:02 pm

The dedication they– the climate hucksters– have resembles that of a cult devotee. Cults are notorious for their ability to brainwash their devotees so well that said devotee will lie and yet believe he is telling the truth, a.k.a., a complete denial of reality.

Rud Istvan
May 23, 2023 2:47 pm

Good post, Kip. Two observations about some of your observations.

  1. Dessler is the Texas climate ‘scientist’ whose 2010 paper (then extensively cited by NASA) purported to find observationally significant positive cloud feedback. Except his statistical clear sky/all sky scatterplot had an r^2 of 0.02. An almost perfect shotgun plot meaning nothing.
  2. I am doubtful we will ever have fusion as a practical power source on Earth. The NIF has a hopeless ‘time between holraum shots’ problem. ITER has three basic engineering problems, the biggest keeping supercooled superconducting neodymium magnets sufficiently cold inches from superheated fusion plasma. Both highlighted in essay ‘Going nuclear’ in ebook Blowing Smoke. To paraphrase a French Nobel physics laureate on fusion, cited in that essay, “We say we will put the Sun in a box. A pretty idea. The problem is, we do not know how to make the box.”
Reply to  David Middleton
May 23, 2023 4:24 pm

Thanks, David. That made me laugh.


Reply to  Rud Istvan
May 23, 2023 3:35 pm

So Microsoft will be using fusion power by 2030? I have been watching fusion power for 55 years and through all that time it was just 30 years away. Today it is still 30 years away despite Microsofts desires……

Reply to  Mason
May 23, 2023 7:19 pm

Yes, but you don’t believe!!

The Dark Lord
Reply to  Rud Istvan
May 23, 2023 7:49 pm

fission works now and we won’t use it … fusion is a waste of money …

May 23, 2023 2:49 pm

Apparently ….
The Bank of England was founded as a consequence of King Charles II not repaying the debts he owed to goldsmiths.
Now the said Bank of England is in trouble with the present King Charles III, because of mis-gender-ing a natural event.
Governor of the Bank blames the WEATHER for wildly underestimating UK’s inflation forecasts.
Everyone knows that the UK’s high inflation is caused not by the weather but the ‘climate change’.
The C III R isn’t amused, HM has ordered the Beefeaters to unlock the Traitors’ Gate and ‘welcome’ the new resident.

Last edited 13 days ago by vuk
May 23, 2023 2:58 pm

First paragraph “usually unavailable” in parenthesis – use those words or don’t use them. The ERCOT chart indicates a different adjective should be picked.

It doesnot add up
Reply to  David Middleton
May 23, 2023 3:22 pm

The then ~28GW of wind capacity in Texas in Feb 2021 bottomed out at just 649MW. Roughly an order of magnitude less than was assumed by ERCOT as the firm equivalent capacity. Which means that to cover using wind they would need an order of magnitude more turbines than the number they first thought of.

Reply to  It doesnot add up
May 23, 2023 5:46 pm

Realistically, it means that an order of magnitude more turbines would have resulted in an order of magnitude more idled turbines.

Reply to  It doesnot add up
May 23, 2023 6:23 pm

Presumably, the early turbines would be placed in the best locations.
Which means subsequent turbines are going to be placed in progressively less and less optimal locations.
An increase by 10 of the number of turbines, should mean that the last turbines should be measurably less productive than the first turbines.

Which means the total number of additional turbines is going to be much greater than a factor of 10.

Reply to  MarkW
May 23, 2023 7:13 pm

The law of diminishing returns

Tom Abbott
Reply to  It doesnot add up
May 24, 2023 5:05 am

“Which means that to cover using wind they would need an order of magnitude more turbines than the number they first thought of.”

I think the windmill promoters want a windmill on every block.

May 23, 2023 3:07 pm

What I don’t understand is why Texas, the leading oil- and gas-producing state in the entire country, would even bother with wind and solar.

They also need to take some lessons from northern states about preparing for winter. Why did Texas wind turbines grind to a halt in February 2021, when those in Iowa and Minnesota were still turning?

Tom Abbott
Reply to  David Middleton
May 24, 2023 5:08 am

“In February 2021, wind failed over the entire mid-continent because the winds were too weak.”

Windmills failed all the way up into Canada, according to one commenter here at the time, who lived there.

The whole area was under a huge high pressure system where the winds were becalmed, and so even if the windmills didn’t freeze, they still didn’t have much wind to work with under the high pressure system.

Last edited 12 days ago by Tom Abbott
Reply to  SteveZ56
May 23, 2023 3:32 pm

Because the wind died with the deep freeze. T Boone Pickens was the force behind the wind revolution. He was overpowering for extending the wires to the windmills.

Reply to  Mason
May 23, 2023 4:39 pm

I always understood that T Boone Pickens was the driving force behind the ERCOT wind revolution. He foresaw gas turbines as the quickly dispatchable generation source for when the wind stopped blowing. In Feb 2021, the wind stopped blowing, the gas supply was dependent on electric compressors, so the gas turbines were not readily available, and things went downhill from there. At least by the time that happened, T Boone Pickens was out of the picture.

Reply to  starzmom
May 24, 2023 3:53 am

In our latest deep freeze, this year, the wind was powerful and high % of the electricity came from the wind.

Reply to  Mason
May 24, 2023 5:20 am

That is fortunate. I still would not call it reliable and dependable.

Reply to  Mason
May 25, 2023 9:13 pm

This Dec 2022 wind power collapsed with a cold front.

Texas December 2022 wind gas.png
Reply to  Mason
May 24, 2023 6:45 am

Pickens was after the right-of-way. He wanted to use the Ogallala aquifer to supply water to the Dallas and Houston metroplexes.

Reply to  SteveZ56
May 25, 2023 9:10 pm

They grind to a halt because the wind stops blowing when a cold front comes through. Same thing happened this Dec, without the complication of snow or freezing rain.

May 23, 2023 3:20 pm

The final chart projects nuclear disappearing as a source in the 2050s then coming back until 2100. I wonder how that conversation went? Predicting a change in trend with economic consequences 25 years early. I have to go back and read now. Was that a date prediction for fusion turning on? Oh I hope not.
Also – statisticians should be fined for associating life expectancy gains with any factor at all. Any factor.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  KevinM
May 23, 2023 7:45 pm

… statisticians should be fined for associating life expectancy gains with any factor at all.

There is general agreement that the availability of soap (better hygiene) was an important factor in increasing longevity. Also, the control of bacterial infections with antibiotics, and the dramatic reduction of fatal childhood diseases, resulting from vaccinations, played an important role. Additionally, the availability of affordable, effective insect screening, along with programs to reduce mosquito breeding areas did a lot to reduce malaria in the US. There were many factors, most correlated with economy of scale made possible by inexpensive energy.

Reply to  Clyde Spencer
May 23, 2023 11:26 pm

Exactly. And you could think of five more undeniable examples of technological advances or better knowledge or healthier behavior – thats the point.

Michael in Dublin
May 23, 2023 3:31 pm

The same people that are so insistent on following the science and calling those who disagree with them “climate deniers” are the same people who cannot define a woman, or believe a boy can become a girl or girl a boy, or believe there are a spectrum of genders. These people are not convincing anyone who observes closely and reasons logically but they are in fact deceiving themselves.

Last edited 13 days ago by Michael in Dublin
Reply to  Michael in Dublin
May 23, 2023 5:36 pm

Just as an aside to this comment, I laugh now because my dad (RIP) used to tell us kids “When I was a little girl…”, and we would always say “Oh, daddy, you weren’t a little girl”. I wonder what he would think now. He is probably flipping in his grave. He passed away the day Obama was elected.

May 23, 2023 3:55 pm

Transition: (noun) a change in state. eg. yesterday it was available. tomorrow it is unavailable.
(verb) the cutting off of something that may be missed later.

Last edited 13 days ago by heme212
Reply to  heme212
May 23, 2023 11:31 pm

Google takes me to Oxford’s definition which better matches what I was thinking.
Definitions of words are so important – especially among strangers online.

Reply to  KevinM
May 24, 2023 5:05 am

I would go so far as to say that accepted and clear definitions or words are the underpinnings of civil society. If everyone misunderstands the other, all hell breaks loose.

Tom in Florida
Reply to  starzmom
May 24, 2023 5:55 am

Lola comes to mind.

Richard Page
Reply to  starzmom
May 24, 2023 6:08 am

Agreed, which makes conversations across the Atlantic difficult sometimes. “2 peoples, separated by a common language!”

Dave Fair
May 23, 2023 3:58 pm

And while A/C peaks in the late afternoon, solar generation goes away.

Pat from Kerbob
Reply to  Dave Fair
May 23, 2023 5:51 pm

Yes, early to late evening is when it’s needed most
Just when Solar soils the sheets

CD in Wisconsin
May 23, 2023 3:59 pm

“Here’s the Nitwit Pinko Radio [NPR] version:”


May 23, 2023 4:05 pm

So just eyeball scanning of those power generation sources graphs, suggests that if nuclear was the only source, all the angst over continuous regular supplies would be totally alleviated?

Reply to  David Middleton
May 23, 2023 8:10 pm

So innocuous, non-polluting, safe SMRs placed in industrial activities precincts on the outskirts of cities & towns would cause NIMBY outrage?

Geez, stop the world. I want off right now.

Richard Page
Reply to  Mr.
May 24, 2023 11:56 am

Of course it would – everything new to an area causes NIMBY outrage, you just have to work out how much NIMBYism you can safely ignore!

William Howard
May 23, 2023 4:55 pm

How about this for point #6 – since the vast majority of CO2 is naturally occurring and is a tiny percentage of the atmosphere (<4 one hundredths of 1%) what the climate alarmists can reasonably remove won’t change the composition of the atmosphere in any meaningful way (perhaps 1 one hundredth of 1%) – so if we are not changing the atmosphere how are we changing the climate

Mark Luhman
Reply to  William Howard
May 23, 2023 7:35 pm

We are going to do by think the “right” way. The truth of the matter the is, greens want us dead.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  William Howard
May 23, 2023 7:48 pm

Actually, the MLO readings are now more than 4 one hundredths of 1%.

Reply to  Clyde Spencer
May 23, 2023 11:38 pm


John Oliver
May 23, 2023 5:40 pm

Our future- Heavy industry gone, unfathomable debt ,economy wrecked, enemies parked on our door step, stifling individual monitoring, but don’t worry we here in the west are setting an example for the world.

Reply to  John Oliver
May 23, 2023 5:53 pm

One for the history books about what once upon a time was but didn’t survive.

Reply to  John Oliver
May 23, 2023 11:41 pm

Heavy industry? Not coming back. The question for the future: does the human who owns the robots want to live in Los Angelas or Beijing?

Kit P
May 23, 2023 5:47 pm

In the US and I suspect most of the developed countries the transition to clean energy was completed many years ago.

Tools such as LCA (Life cycle analysis) and SPR (source pathways receptors) were used to improve and evaluate environmental impact. re

There are no more dirty when you consider power plants in the US.

So called ‘green’ renewable energy is not renewable if you consider the mining and manufacturing phase. If that is done in the US, environmental regulations would indicate clean

But if solar PV panels are manufactured in China with slave labor coal, it is worse than dirty.

The Dark Lord
Reply to  Kit P
May 23, 2023 7:53 pm

its not renewable … its “replaceable” about every 10-15 years with new panels and turbines that need the same unrecyclable materials to be dug up again …

Tom Abbott
Reply to  The Dark Lord
May 24, 2023 5:35 am

“the same unrecyclable materials”

An important point, often overlooked. Possibly a gamechanger, once comprehended.

Reply to  Kit P
May 23, 2023 11:46 pm

Slave labor? I’m typing on a laptop that cot less than 1 week of USA engineering pay, after taxes, insurance and 401k. Ask instead what happens to the slaves when a machine costs less than their cigarettes and alcohol.

Pat from Kerbob
May 23, 2023 5:54 pm

Dave, instead of saying there is no transition I instead point out we have been in a transition for 10,000 years.
Like climate our energy mix changes constantly and always will.

All of our coming issues are due to the unnatural forced nature of the climate/insane.

Richard Page
Reply to  David Middleton
May 24, 2023 12:00 pm

I think someone has planned for a societal transition, using energy transition as a cover. I think there will be a lot of resistance at some point.

May 23, 2023 6:05 pm

The following comment at the end of the article provides a clue to an explanation of these 5 issues that Jude Clement does not understand.

“From 1800 to 1900, per capita energy consumption, primarily from biomass, remained relatively flat; as did the average life expectancy. From 1900 to 1978, per capita energy consumption roughly tripled with the rapid growth in fossil fuel production (coal, oil & gas).”

We should all know that the true cost of a reliable supply of energy is fundamental to the well-being, security and prosperity of everyone on the planet. Any increase in the cost of energy has to be offset by an increase in the efficiency with which we use that energy, in order to maintain the current living standards.

An alternative solution would be to adapt by changing our behaviour and life style. For example, if vegetables in the supermarket become more expensive, then those who live in homes with a garden could grow their own fruit and vegatables instead of wasting water and fertilizer on flowers and lawns.

If energy consumption tripled from 1900 to 1978, then it is quite reasonable to assume that energy consumption could triple again by, say, 2050, if there were no scare about the dangers of fossil fuel emissions. In fact, it appears that even with the scare about fossil fuels, total worldwide consuption of coal, oil and gas, combined, (not per capita) has already doubled since 1978.

Refer to the following linked site.

“Fossil fuel consumption has increased significantly over the past half-century, around eight-fold since 1950, and roughly doubling since 1980.”

We often read, especially on this site, that we have hundreds of years of fossil fuel reserves in the ground. That might be true if one uses the current rate of consumption. However, at triple the current rate, a 200-year reserve becomes closer to a 70-year reserve, with a very likely significant increase in the cost of extraction due to mining at deeper depths in more remote places.

Waiting untill fossil fuels become a real scarcity, before starting to develop alternative energy supplies, would be foolish and catastrophic for society.

Reply to  David Middleton
May 23, 2023 11:40 pm

I see! You can’t address my points, so you engage in the ad hominem. You sound a bit like the climate alarmists. (wink)

The Dark Lord
Reply to  Vincent
May 23, 2023 7:57 pm

we can make all the fuel we need for 100’s of years if we use fission to generate the electricity … the rate of consumption has gone up because billions of people went from 0 gallons a year to dozens or hundreds of gallons a year … the average American consumes less gas per year than 20 years ago …

Reply to  The Dark Lord
May 23, 2023 11:35 pm

I agree that we should be able to produce all the electricity we need by using nuclear fission. However, fossil fuels are not only required for the production of electricity. There are hundreds of products that people use every day, that are made from the fossil fuel material. Fertilizer is just one example, but there are many more.

The following article provides a long list of such every-day products.

“Petrochemicals derived from oil and natural gas make the manufacturing of over 6,000 everyday products and high-tech devices possible.”


There are also many situations where it will be extremely difficult to transition from fossil-fuel created energy to electrical energy. Aircraft flights are a major example.

The point I’m making is that the reserves of fossil fuels will last for many hundreds of years if we stop increasing their use for purely energy purposes, and use them only for essential products.

Reply to  David Middleton
May 24, 2023 4:58 am

Thanks for the link to your article. I’ll quote just one very releavant point you wrote. If this was not your statement, then I’ve misread the article.

“Oifields are groups of well completions in reservoirs. They behave much like the individual reservoirs do. All oifields eventually peak, as will global oil production. When will this happen? I have no idea.

I also have no idea when this will happen, but I think it is reasonable to presume it will happen sooner if the consumption of oil accelerates as the world economy expands.

Richard Page
Reply to  Vincent
May 24, 2023 6:10 am

Are you saying that we should make do with less?

Reply to  Richard Page
May 24, 2023 7:12 am

No. I’m saying that we should add to the total, ‘potential’ amount of energy available to us, by developing new sources of energy, such as solar, hydro, and safe nuclear, so that we can increase everyone’s living standards without significantly increasing the use of fossil fuels, perhaps by as much as ten times the current rate, which could cause a serious supply problem at some point in the future as we strive to provide everyone on the planet with at least a decent standard of living.

Richard Page
Reply to  Vincent
May 24, 2023 8:54 am

Wind, solar and hydro would be poor substitutes – in almost every case they have a lower output than the input to create them (slightly less sure on hydro – it would depend on the site) over the course of their useable life. Modern nuclear is safe, albeit tarred by the brush of early nuclear and the Soviet anti-nuclear propaganda campaigns. We have continued to develop new potential sources of power but few even come close to the convenience and cost effectiveness of hydrocarbons, which will not be superceded in our, or probably our children’s lifetimes, by anything better.

Reply to  Richard Page
May 24, 2023 4:36 pm

“Wind, solar and hydro would be poor substitutes – in almost every case they have a lower output than the input to create them (slightly less sure on hydro – it would depend on the site) over the course of their useable life.” 

Well. this is obviously a major factor that should be considered. I suspect there are many situations where the energy input from the fossil fuels which are used to construct and install the ‘clean and renewable’ devices, is greater than the energy produced over the lifetime of the renewable devices.

However, there would seem to be great variability in the total output during the lifetime of a renewable device. Ideally, solar panels should only be built in areas that are reasonably sunny, and windmills should only be built in areas that are particularly windy.

In general, I consider technological progress to be a marvel. With sufficient research effort, I think it’s likely we’ll eventually have very durable solar tiles which will last 50 years or more, suitable for all roof constructions, and durable and cheap batteries that don’t rely upon scarce minerals for their construction, such as Sodium Ion batteries.

I can imagine a future when all new homes are built using solar tiles which cover the entire roof area. The home will have a separate room, like a laundry, to house cheap and safe storage batteries, and the energy produced will be at least sufficient to power all home devices and recharge the electric car for 40 or 50 years.

In such a scenario, the additional cost of using solar tiles and battery storage will be far less that the total price of the energy produced over the 40-50 year period. Imagine the total cost of the petrol used in an ICE vehicle during a 50-year period.

Chris Hanley
May 23, 2023 6:34 pm

Regarding item 5 “the whole air quality thing”, as I understand CO2 is now included as an air pollutant under the Inflation Reduction Increase Act (Clean Air Act amendment) although CO2 has long been described by numbskulls in politics and the media as ‘pollution’.
This a crafty trick cynically using equivocation i.e. using the same word to describe two different things with the deliberate intent of conflating energy policy and air quality policy in order to obfuscate and confuse the public.
Everyone wants clean air but including CO2 in the Clean Air Act is deceptive.

Mark Luhman
Reply to  Chris Hanley
May 23, 2023 7:40 pm

It really asinine to call CO2 a pollutant when every carbon atom in you body came from CO2.

Last edited 12 days ago by Mark Luhman
Tom Abbott
Reply to  Mark Luhman
May 24, 2023 5:39 am

Humans breath out CO2 constantly.

Reply to  Chris Hanley
May 23, 2023 11:54 pm

Meanings of words. Again. Thanks for reminding that other humans notice too. I get so upset when writers _intentionally_ misuse words so someone can’t express disagreement without expressing agreement first.

More Soylent Green!
May 23, 2023 6:37 pm

I don’t understand —

1) Why are we dismantling the existing power infrastructure before the replacement power infrastructure is built?

2) Why we are moving to all-electric homes and automobiles and reducing electric generation capacity at the same time?

Mark Luhman
Reply to  More Soylent Green!
May 23, 2023 7:43 pm

Because the greens want you to die. They have open stated, that the human population on earth should be less than a billion people. Does that clear up why the greens are doing what they are doing.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  More Soylent Green!
May 23, 2023 7:53 pm

Politicians firmly believe in Disney’s First Law: “Wish and it will come true.” They therefore are convinced that the new infrastructure will be available when it is needed.

Reply to  More Soylent Green!
May 24, 2023 5:17 am

The people making these decisions don’t understand anything about what they are doing.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  More Soylent Green!
May 24, 2023 5:49 am


Because of the false narrative that CO2 will cause the Earth’s atmosphere to overheat.

Who pushes this false narrative? Those who believe it, and those who see it as a pathway to money and power and influence.

In reality, CO2 has *never* caused the Earth to overheat even though CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere have been much greater in the past than they are now, something like 7,000ppm in the past verses 420ppm today.

CO2 is a benign gas, essential for life on Earth. It is not a pollutant. It does not need regulation or control.

People who try to control CO2 are on a Fool’s Errand. Unfortunately, this particular Fool’s Errand affects all of us detrimentally.

We need new leaders who do not have an unwarranted fear of CO2.

The Dark Lord
May 23, 2023 7:48 pm

even with free unlimited electricity electric cars can’t be built (not enough minerals) and won’t work for everyone (range limits, etc) … much less afford one … fusion won’t solve anything … we already have fission available and refuse to use it …

Douglas Pollock
May 23, 2023 8:23 pm

Has anyone ever paid for, literally, nothing or for nothingness? U.S. consumers are doing so.

Something relevant has come to light in this thorough article (ERCOT wind and solar average hourly curtailments, graph at the end of point #1): the cancel orders (U.K.) or curtailment orders (U.S.) due to hourly curtailment generation given by an excess of renewable generation above the hourly demand.

This undesirable green phenomenon happens when the renewable nameplate capacity exceeds the hourly demand and excess generation inevitably goes anywhere but into the grid or, more gently, it is lost or not generated. If taking into account the infeasibility, wishful thinking or, more gently, the madness of battery storage and/or pumped storage and/or very, very green hydrogen to backup these dead weight costly unreliables, the limit for renewables, everywhere and anywhere, is precisely when that rated capacity matches the hourly demand, where renewable generation in excess above this limit is lost and the green paradise comes to an abrupt end.

However, there is still no light, at least here, about the fact that consumers are and will increasingly continue to pay for that non-generated electricity or, simply, for that non-existent electricity, that is, for nothingness itself.

So, Texas welcome to the green reality of Australia, Spain, Ireland, U.K., Germany, Denmark, New Zealand, Chile, Canada, New York, California and welcome to the green fairness.

Communist China is most grateful to you.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Douglas Pollock
May 24, 2023 5:59 am

Warren Buffet says the only reason to invest in windmills and solar is for the subsidies. Without subsides, windmills and solar are not financially viable.

Subsidies for windmills and solar should be stopped. If they can’t compete in the market, they should shut them down, and get something that can compete in the market.

Oklahoma stopped paying subsidies for windmills and solar over a year ago and now Oklahoma companies that want to build windmills and solar are building them in near-by States, instead of in Oklahoma and shipping the electricity produced to Oklahoma.

Now, if we can just get the near-by States to stop paying subsidies, then the windmill and solar promoters would have nowhere to go. That’s the goal because windmills and solar just increase the cost of electricity for everyone.

Rod Evans
May 23, 2023 10:51 pm

The time may have arrived when the committee hearing rules of engagement need to change.
When a senator charged with asking relevant questions of the Federal Heads of departments fail to get a clear and precise answer, to a clear and precise question. It may be time for the said head of Department ‘expert’ that is failing to answer the question be instructed to leave the hearing and find the answer, then return and continue the cross examination.
Remember these are highly paid individuals funded entirely by the tax payer and they should at the very least be able to know the details surrounding their department’s principle activity.
The politeness of Senator Kennedy is well honed. If it was any ordinary person, they would be far more animated and publicly angry at the obfuscation and guarded testimony they so often get from state funded public employees.
To put things into perspective. The $50trillian figure represents two whole years of USA gross domestic product that’s everything. The deputy head of department would happily deploy that amount of capital and effort yet has zero awareness of its efficacy. If such an individual worked for me, I would fire him and be happy to go to tribunal and explain why.

May 24, 2023 1:03 am

Hey we need more crony capitalism so we can transition yo’all-
Siemens Gamesa executive says wind turbine makers need cash support (msn.com)

Dave Andrews
Reply to  observa
May 24, 2023 8:13 am

All 5 of Europe’s wind turbine manufacturers have been operating at a loss for the last two years and pleading with the European Commission for more subsidies.

They have also recently admitted that they do not have the capacity to meet European plans for wind installations between now and 2030. In a press release, 16th March 2023, Wind Europe’s CEO is quoted: “we simply don’t have enough factories and infrastructure today to build and install the volumes Europe wants”


Coeur de Lion
May 24, 2023 1:25 am

Oops, just driven past is a huge 12 wheel lorry full of bacon from Denmark! And another from Spain full of avocados! My daughters EV comes past, exporting its emissions to the gas fired power station. Are they thinking of electrifying lorries? Delusional. So what’s the point?

May 24, 2023 1:34 am

Yes, he is right. The policies that the political establishment is pursuing ‘because climate’ will in fact, if the theory is correct, have no noticeable effect on it. And they are impossible to achieve, anyway.

You could summarize the current policy focus as: double the demand for electricity while reducing the supply and making it unreliable. And do this in order to lower emissions by an amount that China and India will replace in months.

The most amazing thing is vehicles. If any jurisdiction really does ban the sale of ICE vehicles in 2030, two things will happen. One is that car sales will fall. The other is that driving will decrease. Sales will fall because the cars will be too expensive. And probably not available due to materials shortages. Driving will decrease because of range issues and refuel times.

Its going to be major social and economic changes, and our politicians and media are in complete denial of the scale and consequences of it.

Reply to  michel
May 24, 2023 5:16 am

Another thing will happen in jurisdictions that ban ICE vehicles. People will move away accordingly. It may take some time, but there will be migration out of the area.

Dave Andrews
Reply to  michel
May 24, 2023 8:18 am

Another issue to remember is they are not installing anywhere near the required amount of, especially rapid, chargers anywhere (except perhaps in China) so the 2030 date is going to have to change.

Last edited 12 days ago by Dave Andrews
Tom Abbott
May 24, 2023 4:41 am

From the article: “Nearly all of ERCOT’s capacity additions since the February 2021 deep freeze have been renewables”

Doubling down on Stupid. Or, that’s where the money is at. Or, both.

Tom Abbott
May 24, 2023 4:52 am

That picture with California Gov. Gavin Newsom being shown as U-Haul’s “Salesman of the Year”! is priceless!

That made me laugh! 🙂

I looked at the picture after writing the above, so I guess that should be “Salesperson of the Year”.

Last edited 12 days ago by Tom Abbott
May 25, 2023 9:06 pm

One of the most incomprehensible things is the urgent push to EV’s in this country. Most electricity comes from fossil fuel in this country. EV’s are far more damaging to build than ICE’s, and it takes years of running on green electricity to make up that environment damage. But, with EV’s running on fossil fuel, they are far more polluting that ICE’s.
Since they say we have only a decade to save the world, EV’s (and burning wood for electricity) are truly counterproductive.

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