The Fantasy of Wind and Solar-Part 1

The opening scene of Bladerunner (2017) is of a future aircraft flying over California. In the scene virtually all available land is paved over with solar panels.  What was meant for light has created a very dark world.

Recently California put out a “Flex Alert” asking Californians to avoid charging their cars during times of heavy power use.  This was not a command, at least not yet.  Just 5% of cars in California are electric!  How about when 10% or 50% or 90% are EV’s? “Brownouts” are already commonplace in California as they march like sheep to the demands of environmental extremism. They simply can’t make enough power with solar and wind.  And now they are shutting down the Diablo Canyon Nuclear plant which provides 10% of their power.  

The dreaminess of California in the 50’s and 60’s is now a nightmare. The most valuable and beautiful real estate in the world is becoming a vast region of haves and have nots. They continue to have the highest poverty rate in the nation, when adjusted for the cost of living.

The articles you have read recently about Solar being cheaper than oil are just a combination of fantasy and propaganda.  The claim that solar is cheaper is based on heavily spun data. The title of the article which is the basis for much of this is Selected renewable energy generation technologies are cost-competitive with conventional generation technologies under certain circumstances, from Lazard Capital.They conveniently omit much of the cost of solar:

  • The immense use of real estate for solar and wind.  Acres used/Megawatt produced:  Coal 12.21 Natural Gas 12.41 Nuclear 12.71 Solar 43.50 Wind 70.64 Hydro 315.22.  We need 1.2 million megawatts per year.  If it were all solar and wind it would occupy 66 million acres. That is the size of the entire state of Washington plus Maryland, Connecticut, Delaware and New Jersey.  What is the amount of money we could generate if the land wasn’t covered with Solar and wind?
  • The fact that the solar and wind industries must be heavily subsidized. Because of these subsidies it is hard to get to a real price of the power produced
  • The death of wildlife and plant life to build solar and wind
  • Natural gas must be used due to the intermittent nature of solar and wind
  • Panels and wind turbines need to be replaced due to age and obsolescence
  • The logistics and cost of getting the solar power to your car, vs the existing infrastructure of gas
  • The strong reluctance of communities to live next to solar and wind farms

The energy density score of solar is 7.3.  The energy density of natural gas is measured at 482, making it 66 more times dense than solar. How those numbers are calculated is complex beyond an explanation by me.  The study is found here: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301421518305512

We are now living in a country whose politicians get to choose winners and losers.  They subsidize what they “feel” is the best while punishing those that they “feel” are the worst.  This is not the US as we know it.  It is more like China who is constantly deciding what is good and bad for corporations and consumers.  We have a media that brainwashes us daily with the need for doing away with oil.  The average person just assumes this is a good idea. 

An imaginary but not impossible scenario is that the government pushes many oil companies out of business before we come up with a real solution.  Then ramping oil back up may be difficult. We have lost the idea of thinking things through to a conclusion.  Politics is dominated by feelings and magical thinking. Cancel culture explains more about energy policy than facts by snuffing out reasonable debate on the subject.  Arguing for oil and gas may get you cancelled.

Of course, the overriding reason for these changes is the idea that we can stop global warming.  If the US cut emissions in half it would do almost nothing to offset the massive and growing use of coal, oil and gas from China.  China burns over 50% of the worlds coal, or about 6x more than the US.  The US continues to cut coal use, but even if we cut to zero it is a drop in the bucket.

https://www.worldometers.info/coal/coal-consumption-by-country/

https://www.worldometers.info/coal/coal-consumption-by-country/

https://www.npr.org/2021/06/14/1000464866/china-has-promised-to-go-carbon-neutral-by-2060-but-coal-is-still-king

Next time will include:

  • Why Electric Vehicles won’t work
  • Why developing nations need fossil fuels
  • Nuclear, clean, safe and we have been taught to hate it
  • Why own oil and gas stocks?
  • We could have cut our emission by half a long time ago and didn’t on purpose

See you soon,

Craig Verdi

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