the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Blah, pingbacks

Posted by Jeff Id on June 22, 2011

Some pingbacks from a blog and its repeaters were dropped here.  If you want to brainwash yourself that renewable energy is ready today (or that there even is such a thing as ‘renewable’ energy), the inappropriately named skeptical science has the right article for you.

If you want to listen to the engineers on the subject not directly paid by the industry or leftist governments,  costs and complete lack of energy storage capability preclude any possibility of effective mitigation of CO2 output with today’s technology.  You just have to build enough, they tell you.  What they don’t tell you are true costs.  Not that it will stop the morons from forcing it down your throat with an iron fist — to put it mildly.   Ask them why it is that if CO2 is destroying everything in the world, new types of far less dangerous nuclear reactors aren’t the main item being promoted, barring that wild hope, why aren’t they even on their lists!??

Loud and ignorant in my opinion. Read the link at your own risk but you won’t come back any smarter.

24 Responses to “Blah, pingbacks”

  1. Skeptical does not even realize the cost factors are known to be wrong. The cost of 30% penetration of the enrgy market is exponential starting at 10% penetration based on the results from Denmark, US actual wind farms, and was confirmed by models used to access the results of the actual data in best case scenario. This best case assumed the use of an intelligent electric grid, run off theoretical software where it was admitted the actual performance criteria of the smart grid were not known. Some parameters of concern were known, but not how to get them all working together to solve the number one problem with wind, besides cost. That is, one needs about 3 times the area to take the excess energy than the area that the wind power normally supplies. In other words, in a perfect world, wind can only provide 33% but ignores the cost. At present the cost is 3 times typical generation at 10% penetration, whihc means the estimated price of 30% penetration is 27 X the current price of generation. YMMV depending on assumptions. Solar is similar, but at about 15% to 50%. So for about 80% penetration the cost of that energy will be about 27X current costs, and depends on the success of software and the coist of implementation that do not at present exit. What the IPCC has assumed is such things as that as the demand for wind, solar goes up, the price will go down. As indicated by Tol at Pielke Jr’s site, there are severe errors in the IPCC when one accounts for the fact that as demand goes up, price goes up. Thus the cost basis for these estimates may be as much as a order of magnitude off, but fat-tailed for the high side. A lot more likely to cost much more than 3X, than to be even as little as 3X cost compared to current electricity generation. With energy accounting for about 15% of gross economy, going to this scenario will mean a 45% or more increase for all producers or consumers. With most businesses able to with stand of a maximum of 15% increase and households at about 10% increase, it literally means the bankruptcy of more than 50% or all businesses and more than 75% of all consumers. So, we just have to have the will power to force 75% of the population into abject poverty and everybody to do with 50% less including food.
    Obviously, it is all these greedy, excessive consumers that are the problem, not our green vision.

  2. Neil said

    I had a bit of a read of the report last week, a pretty quick look over the geothermal section as that is what I do currently. I also quickly looked at the hydro stuff. I love how it is all technical potential, I wish we could live in such a parallel universe that realities did not matter. A lot of renewables have been built in the last 4 years or so and a lot of subsidies have been paid to acheive that. Depending upon how they are funded the subsidies either fall on todays consumers or tomorrows tax payers. But anyway, back to geothermal. It will not be a surprise to you to learn that the market works and geothermal developers have been dilligently developing the most economic fields first over the last 30 plus years. In a general sense the remaining traditional geothermal feilds avaliable for development are declining as a percentage of all feilds. Yes there are still places where large fields can be developed, but they often suffer from things like being in countries most of us don’t want to be in or in countries where they can’t afford to pay.

    Enhanced geothermal systems or hot rock is bleeding edge stuff. You sink US$10m plus into each well and hope like hell that the fracking lets you get some hot water back. It will become more common, but if you want to drill holes with high risk, don’t you want a big pay-off? So if I had that money to throw around I would be looking for oil!!

    There seemed to be little discussion of the limits on hydro. There is a huge trade-off between preserving natural beauty etc and hydro. I like hydro and work for a company that has half its production from hydro. But trying to get environmental permits for hydro is a nightmare. I also always love how people say that hydro is a natural partner to intermittent renewables like wind and PV. Clearly these people do not understand the effects of frequently changing hydro output on rivers, bank stability, ecology etc. Again it is hard enough getting permission to cycle hydro to match load, without cycling it to match wind and PV changes as well. There are no free lunches, there are no single solutions and renewables are not always the best choice.

  3. Matthew W said

    “Approximately half of the goal is met through increased energy efficiency to first reduce energy demands……….”(by 2050)

    HA !!
    Do they have one of those “Hopey Changey Magic Wishing Wands”???
    Everything I read there was grossly over estimated

  4. Neil, we had the same problem here. The river watchers were fighting the lake watchers, who were fighting the boaters and fishermen, who were fighting the homeowners and developers, on a manmade of 75 years. In other words a known and stable system, and still everybody was fighting everybody. And they think we can get permits on secondary use river basins? It just boggles the mind.

    PS. The electric company had a position on this as well. Go figure!

  5. Brian Hall said

    John F P;
    A wee typo: “does not at present exit” should be “does not at present exist”, if you’re going to re-use that text.

    But those are devastating numbers. 27X the current price of generation! No such product can actually enter the market, of course.

    If you want to check out a possibility with the same kind of multiplier inverted, have a look at Could hit the world market in 5 yrs or less, given even a moderate amount of continued private funding.

  6. Carrick said

    I think Jeff does nail the problem with their arguments–I can’t get anybody on that side to admit that costly and as yet unanticipated technological improvements will be needed and that it is impossible to put these in the scenarios.

    Unfortunately with John Cook’s new cast of crews, he’s taken what was already an over-the-top website, and turned it into a Joe Romm look-a-like site. The shrill monkeys will be pleased, I’m sure.

    Keep in mind I do work that overlaps and impacts on technology development. (We also routinely use solar power for our projects, in fact, it is embarrassingly easy to use it, given some of the overheated skeptic rhetoric on it, and it is very cost effective where we use it compared to using a grid solution.) I’m not exactly neutral on this myself, leaning the other way (as a research topic). I also think you guys are as far to the screeching-monkey right hand side of the argument at times when you get overwrought about bird kills and landscape blemishes from wind mill farms (we are very selective where our outrage appears), and how the cost-benefit analysis gets done. I feel like I’m talking to deaf people on this, so enough on that.

    (Before anybody puts words in my mouth, I’m not an advocate of large scale government intervention on this problem, almost all of the improvements in CO2 intensity (ratio of CO2 emissions per $ GDP) have been due to private sector changes.). I think they should focus on infrastructural issues, like our obsolete power grid, and on spurring research and technological improvements. People who think we can get by without government involvement in my mind, though, are as extreme in their views as people who think government is the only solution.

  7. Carrick said

    Grrr…no preview. “I do work that overlap sand impacts on alternative energy technology development.” (It’s no where close to my prime research area though, but just saying.)

  8. Tom Bauch said

    quote: “(renewable energies accounted for 13% in 2008),”

    Am I confused? Can it be anywhere near 13% worldwide?

    Maybe they are counting all the people that use wood to cook/heat?

  9. RB said

    There are no easy solutions. My understanding is that closed cycle reactors are less popular because they cost more than the open cycle ones used in the U.S. – perhaps persistently high oil prices will take care of that issue. That is probably likely both because of peak oil as well as because the Saudis need high oil prices for their spending programs inside and outside their country. Nuclear also brings its own special set of requirements. In the wake of 9/11, an industry person tells me that new nuclear plants in Europe want anti-aircraft defense etc. The system as it exists in the US though is not sustainable – no solution to the spent fuel rods accumulating all over the country and especially in poorly sited reactors and not enough attention being paid by regulators to how well they are being run .

  10. Jeff Id said

    #8 They are.

  11. Tom Bauch said

    So I guess we should expect the authors to retrofit their homes to heat with wood! Heated with wood myself for a couple of years back in the 80’s, very labor intensive but actually workable (even in the cold area North of Boston, MA), so maybe they have a point. And it was pretty cheap, but we still had electric backups in our bathroom.

    A bit more complicated with A/C though….

  12. RB said

    That cozy feeling of regulatory capture doesn’t seem to be unique. And former NRC commissioner Peter Lyons said: “There certainly is plenty of research … to support a relaxation of the ‘conservativisms’ that had been built in before. I don’t see that as decreasing safety. I see that as an appropriate standard.”
    In contrast with
    Rochelle Becker, executive director at the Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility, a non-profit group that is critical of U.S. nuclear power policies. “This is an unforgiving technology. You can’t make mistakes with nuclear power.”

  13. kim said

    Pitch it all in Sydney Harbor. Er, make that subduction zones of deep oceanic trenches.

  14. Don Keiller said

    I guess “fracking” is OK for the AGW mob if it is to attempt to get geothermal energy, but dangerous and carcinogenic if it is to release shale gas.

  15. Jeff Id said

    I should say that I do think solar will become viable on large scale in the future. Every day it gets closer in cost and ease of implementation. Storage will become cost effective and the electric car will be standard in the future. I think it is inevitable actually because of the amazing simplicity of the electric drive train in comparison to the monster gas engines. I have to say 400 smooth, high torque, transmission-less horsepower sounds like a lot of fun to me.

  16. kim said

    Storage technology. Use energy, or lose it. Hey, why don’t we try converting the sun’s energy into a hydrocarbon bond. Oops, the structure is worth more than the energy contained.

  17. Brian Hall said

    Jeff, scale matters. Local solar solutions in high sun-days areas and latitudes don’t extrapolate very far. The acreage required is already generating a lot of push-back at present levels (e.g., in the Mohave), and getting to urban supply quantities is a pipe dream.

    Greenistas may delay some frakking gas exploitation in the US, but world-wide there’s no way; it’s too readily available, and too cheap. As a single f’rinstance, Algeria probably has 10X the US’ huge resources, and China likewise. There’s no stopping it. There’s also enough oil associated with it to end all (meaningful) talk of “Peak Oil” for the foreseeable future.

  18. Jeff Id said


    Carbon is ingrained
    Whence powers live are constrained
    Released is reclaimed

  19. Jeff Id said


    There is enough biocarbon to replace our thin atmosphere with something horrid. However, we the tiny people don’t need it that fast.

  20. RB said

    ObaMannsen ObaMannsen …

    it must be like waving the red cape 🙂

  21. RB said

    Wrong thread!

  22. Espen said

    It’s quite revealing to read the wiki article on Germany’s Greenpeace Energy:
    If you look under “Strommix” at their actual sources, they’re left with almost solely hydroelectric in 2010.

  23. kim said

    Why do we shatter
    Lovely hydrocarbon bonds,
    Needed so for structure?

  24. There would be no reason to object to renewables if they were privately funded by people who were prepared to hawk their goods in the marketplace. Any economic activit y that requires government support is a lame duck. If you want to convert caviar into goldfish food you need subsidies.
    As far as my welfare is concerned the Government might just as well grant Letters of Marque to pickpockets.

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