Week in review – energy, water and food edition

by Judith Curry

A few things that caught my eye this past week.


Southern Company explores potential of molten salt reactors [link]

Plummeting coal use and peaking stockpiles [link]

Security Of Energy Supply In The United Kingdom [link]

Not a single #Coal plant is making $$ but owners are reluctant to close down. What’s the solution? [link]

11 countries leading the charge on renewable energy. Uruguay is helping power a clean energy future! [link]

Nuclear industry moves to identify operating efficiencies [link]

Intriguing concept. That’s the brakes: Utilizing stored energy from public transit for grid services [link]

How Weather And An “Interstate of Renewable Energy” Could Save The Climate By 2030 [link]

Energy innovation needs a new kind of private-sector push [link]

OPINION: ‘New’ nuclear power deserves close look [link]

The benefit of correcting market failures in use of fossil fuels [link]

Nevada PUC ‘Contortionist’ Act Will Kill Rooftop Solar  [link]

Swansea #tidal energy scheme faces ‘disastrous setback’ from government review [link]

Nuclear energy by degrees. [link]

ScienceOfDoom has a superb series on renewable energy, check it out [link]

David Hagen: Can we cut free from the Saudi/Russian oil tax? [link]


.@NASA: 4 Billion People @ Risk as ‘Water Table Dropping All Over the World’  [link]

Against all odds, Yemen is fighting water shortage by harvesting its fog [link]

Why Midwest Floods Are Critical to the Restoration of the Louisiana Coast [link]

Severe water scarcity hits 4 billion people every year [link]

Four rivers run through #Mumbai; one group has a plan to clean them up: [link]

#Flint Residents May Have Been Drinking PFCs in Addition to Lead  [link]


Bringing clean, safe, affordable cooking #energy to #Kenya households: an agenda for action [link]

WhatsApp Is Changing the Way People in India Grow and Buy Food [link]

How do we move from #climatesmart agriculture commitments to action & tangible results? [link]



179 responses to “Week in review – energy, water and food edition

  1. Re: Why Midwest Floods Are Critical to the Restoration of the Louisiana Coast

    Flooding in the Midwest is largely irrelevant. The diversion projects are important but it is too little, too late for most of Louisiana’s coastal marshlands.

  2. Starting in poor form as this is O/T but if you’ve not seen it yet: http://esrl.boulder.noaa.gov/psd/forecasts/sstlim/for4gl.html
    H/T WUWT and Dr. Pilke, Sr.

    • Danny before you get too excited re your O/T you really should read this:

      • Redbbs,
        Well I don’t get too excited about blog posts any more but did go to the source and even as your blog poster (Sou) says:”If you compare those numbers with the BoM chart above, which is using the same baseline period, you can see that it would rate as a La Niña, though not as strong as 2010-11. I don’t think the numbers are strictly comparable, however, even though they use the same baseline period. The regions wouldn’t line up precisely for one thing.”
        sounds like further indication of a likely La Nina event.

        I too, went to the charts. The El was at about +3.23 at the high from those data and -1.35 at the low 9 months from now (in the La). By my math, that’s a reduction of 4.58 degrees at the Equator (used so to maintain consistency).

        So, while not particularly ‘excited’ it would be of interest to follow should those phenomena actually occur 9 months out as predicted by NOAA. Can’t see how that qualifies as a ‘hotwhopper’ but to each his/her own.

        Was there something else you wished to bring to my attention?

      • Resorting to Hotwhopper is a sign of desperation, like using the National Enquirer, ENENews, or “Before its News”.

        Lets look at the 1997 El Nino.
        In less than 6 months it was a La Nina that lasted 3 years. In fact 3 year La Ninas are pretty typical after a strong El Nino. The plots of a La Nina by July follow the trend history of past strong El Ninos and are probably accurate.

        The global warmers are going to be crying in their beer until 2020.

        As a side note: it is helpful to assume that anyone who quotes data in the wrong units is lying. Such as when ENENews quotes radiation release in tons of water. Radiation release is measured in Becquerels. When someone quotes the wrong units the only question is “what are they trying to hide?”

      • Anyone referencing Hotwhopper and Miriam O’Brien likes to wallow in muck. It’s clear you are a serious contributer.

      • redbud, thanks for the link to the hotwhopper piece. The following caught my eye:

        ‘Anyway, you’d think they’d all be very glad of this current El Niño. It may allow them in a few years to start claiming that “it hasn’t warmed since 2016” ‘

        I doubt climate contrarians would wear that claim out. I wonder what they would say if global warming continued after 2016 despite La Niña.

      • I wonder what they would say if global warming continued after 2016 despite La Niña.

        Given the 0.12 additional adjustment since 2008 or 0.17°C per decade it would have to cool 0.17°C per decade just for temperatures to be flat.

        If you eliminate adjustment it might start getting cooler. But if someone has a computer, it seems they feel it gives them the right to set the temperature anywhere they want.

  3. The PFC stuff is built on very sketchy associations in humans at best.
    The statement [in one of the sub-references] that “They cause immune suppression in a rodent model at serum concentrations similar to those occurring in the US population…”, I cannot trace.

    The statement itself is so chemically and bio-chemically vague as to be almost useless, never mind suspect. PFCs comprise a large array of compounds, many of which are considered the most organically and biochemically inert compounds known. That’s why synthetic blood substitutes have been made from PFC’s.

    The whole story smacks of another enviro-exaggeration.

    • The statement [in one of the sub-references] that “They cause immune suppression in a rodent model at serum concentrations similar to those occurring in the US population…”, I cannot trace.

      Probably because you don’t know how:


      A non-paywalled version of the original article is here.

      Context Perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) have emerged as important food contaminants. They cause immune suppression in a rodent model at serum concentrations similar to those occurring in the US population, but adverse health effects of PFC exposure are poorly understood.

      Objective To determine whether PFC exposure is associated with antibody response to childhood vaccinations.


      Conclusion Elevated exposures to PFCs were associated with reduced humoral immune response to routine childhood immunizations in children aged 5 and 7 years.


      […] The immune system in mice has recently been shown to be highly sensitive to PFOS, with adverse effects on humoral immunity detected at blood concentrations similar to those occurring in humans.[6] […]

      Reference [6] is:

      Fair PA, Driscoll E, Mollenhauer MA, et al. Effects of environmentally-relevant levels of perfluorooctane sulfonate on clinical parameters and immunological functions in B6C3F1 mice. J Immunotoxicol. 2011;8(1):17-29. An open-access preliminary version may be found here.

  4. On “An Interstate of Renewable Energy. This article talks about the creation of a High Voltage Direct Current Grid to parallel our existing grid. This article


    says the existing grid of 283,00 miles would cost 1 million dollars a mile to replace which comes to a mere 283 trillion dollars. Does the projected 8.6 cents a KW include the cost of building and maintaining the new HVDC grid? I think not.

    • This is an article I’d love to hear discussed by PE and others. It’s intriguing and Ted has brought up the very first concern I had about it also.

      Thanks, Dr. Curry, for these offerings.

    • Loathe as I am to defend renewableunists and warmunists, they are deluded not crazy. Let’s revisit the numbers,

      There are about 2.7 million miles of power line in the US. 283,000 miles are high voltage grid transmission line.

      Adding a high voltage DC backbone at $1,000,000 per mile would cost about $ 283 billion. Smartgrid is expected to cost about half a trillion dollars so it looks like they are in fact implementing some version of this proposal. Smartgrid includes other goodies like “power lines to nowhere” for some renewable projects (so the cost doesn’t accrue to renewables) and other renewable friendly upgrades.

    • I’m not getting the connection between the two articles. The first cited by Judith talks about building High Voltage Direct Current to supplement our current grid because they reduce energy losses. (The old rule of thumb I remember was that if you were shipping power over 300 miles you got to a break even point on energy losses to pay for the power electronics needed to convert to Direct current and back to alternating.) I’ve been involved in a number of potential HVDC projects over the years (and working with one as it came into operation.) Usually a lot of costs emerge as you get down the road and it costs a lot more than it seemed at first and the idea gets abandoned. Most HVDC additions call for a lot of AC (traditional power lines) as well to support the transfers since you have to be able to survive the sudden loss of the HVDC tie. If the line just goes out you can’t have a sudden surplus on one end and deficit on the other with no where for them to go, and they can’t overburden whatever ties connect the areas. HVDC carrying power between wind and solar resources does not have the “mechanical/inertial properties I spoke about in my last piece. Plus each extra delivery/supply node of an HVDC line raises the cost considerably. For AC you can tap anywhere for a much smaller cost. Going back to the rule of thumb you still have the question can you come out ahead by building a long AC or DC of either technology.

      The article by Ted talks about replacing transmission lines and the cost multiple for underground. It seems on target except one thing to note is that it varies a great deal by voltage. At small distribution voltages it’s fairly easy to bury lines. At higher voltages a lot of problems emerge (like the architecture of an ant versus and elephant). Spooling the large cables, dissipating the heat produced, the capacitive charge that can be induced under different loading conditions, the need for manhole covers, the challenges of finding/fixing faults, wear from contracting and expanding,… are part of the cornucopia of challenges and cost increases. Combining the two, you are not going to have long distance HVDC underground lines anytime soon for sure.

      • Thanks PE.
        Being far worse in knowledge of electrical systems if DC was the way to go why wouldn’t it have started out that way initially?
        Seems a bit pie-in-the sky with today’s technology, but what the future holds…..who knows?

      • The well known history is that Edison favored DC and Tesla AC. DC couldn’t be stepped up to higher voltages for long distance travel. AC can because it’s alternating you can use transformers and induction. DC can not. You use transformers to increase and decrease voltage (You do that because when you double the voltage you cut the current in half for the same amount of power. Current is what makes losses and if you half the current you cut the losses by 1/4.) So if originally we’d have gone with AC the system would all have to be at the same voltage. You need a low voltage around people and to run machines but you want a high voltage for distance. Edison’s system would have been small and local. Telsa let you move power.

        We can only mix AC and DC now because we have computer controlled power electronics not available even 50 years ago.

    • I don’t see the connection between the two articles. The first cited by Judith, talks about supplementing the current grid with High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) to cut down on energy losses associated with moving renewables long distance. The rule of thumb from way back was at around 300 miles you could save enough on losses to pay for the electronic equipment to pay for the electronics on two ends to convert between AC and DC. (Keep it’s just what’s cheaper between the two options, not if either one makes sense or not.) I think you can spend a lot more on a DC tie to bring power from Point A to Point B than you would just putting in gas units to provide the power at Point B. (I invite someone to do a swag calculation.) Early on I was involved with the two DC ties owned by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power – they worked dues to specifics of their environment. Since then I have been on a few study groups looking at potential DC ties in the southeast US. It always turned out that they cost a lot more than first thought as the “teams” looking at them realized they wanted more than two point to inject or remove power and that they had to beef up the underlying AC system. You usually just can’t build a DC line between two points without a lot of supporting infrastructure because if the line goes out and the power has nowhere to go it will leave one area with a big oversupply and the other with and undersupply (usually one or the other is unacceptable). If some path exists between the two it will likely get overloaded with the sudden flow. Electronic HVDC with Wind and Solar is all electric emulation, no motors with all the good things I talked about in my last piece that makes a system stable. We might get to this one day, but I don’t think it is something we can start Planning on today.

      Ted’s link is about replacing transmission and also the cost of underground. It seems reasonable to me. I would add that there is a huge difference as you go from lower voltages to higher voltages. At distribution voltages fairly easy, at the highest transmission voltages it’s not practical for any distance. At transmission voltages you have a cornucopia of problems ranging from fitting lengths of any size not needing too many splices onto a spool, to capacitive buildup, to dissipating the heat, to separating the phased, to finding/fixing faults all which add up to a lot of cost.

      In any case I don’t see long distance underground HVDC happening in my lifetime, even if I break longevity records.

      PA- I don’t think you can add the Transmission line for a DC backbone for $1M a mile and that’s not even counting the converters which make up a huge cost.

      • I thought my first one was lost. Sorry.

      • I was just correcting numbers.


        230KV AC link is listed as $959,700/mile.

        A direct comparison is 500 kVAC Single Circuit $1,919,450 vs 500 kV HVDC Bi‐pole $1,536,400. So AC transmission link costs 25% more or DC costs 20% less depending on how you want to look at it..

        There are distance and terrain multipliers, and some transmission line options so these aren’t hard numbers.

        500 kV HVDC Converter Station ‐ ‐ $445,000,000

        The published numbers make endpoints look pricey.

        Also read that since there are only three vendors, negotiating the endpoint equipment cost resembles playing poker. Bid competitiveness may vary with circumstances.

        All your points are good. The endpoint equipment looks pricey. With the endpoints costing about as much as about 700 miles of transmission line HVDC makes sense (at least to me) for only long haul between major power nexus points since the endpoint hardware is “amortized” over the distance, and transmission line losses and transmission line cost savings make up for what happens at the endpoints.

        Don’t think we will ever see HVDC underground. Room temperature (or relatively high temperature) superconductor will come first.

      • PA “Don’t think we will ever see HVDC underground. Room temperature (or relatively high temperature) superconductor will come first.”

        Existing HTS operating at liquid nitrogen temps are fine for this application, the industrial cryogenics required are mature, and the systems are being deployed (see link below). They need to go underground and require much less demanding rights of way.

    • For an very mature example of using HVDC links to balance renewables see http://ipenz.org.nz/heritage/itemdetail.cfm?itemid=53

      The other thing to consider is the impact of HTS – in the US look at http://www.tresamigasllc.com/

      • HAS,
        Thanks for that link. Sounded pretty positive and from the mid 1960’s.
        Curiosity made me look for this: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10780269
        which didn’t look quite so positive.

      • Danny

        The more recent story has nothing to do HVDC, it has to do with the transition costs associated with moving from a regulate regime where the risks and a reasonable level of direct cost of electricity were carried by the taxpayer, to one where the user faced prices that more accurately reflected true costs. It also exposed the generation, distribution and retailers to better signals of future demand and allowed better investment decisions.

      • HAS,
        I get that. I was just curious about rates and see they have risen substantially plus within the article this statement: “But Sharp said people should be careful in making international comparisons. Government subsidies of US$51 billion ($63.5 billion) were being given to the electricity sector globally every year.
        Although some countries’ power was cheaper, taxpayers were still paying for it via subsidies. Sharp said: “Our electricity supply is by and large unsubsidised.” ” was interesting if totally undefined. I should have commented a bit more after reading and didn’t.

      • No question HVDC can be used with renewables for some locations and some situations. The problem is that when you the argument goes from “it worked to do X level in place A” to “we can do a high level Y in a lot of places (everywhere)”. Mostly I talk about what can be done a big scale as people are interested in game changers. But there are all kinds of niche opportunities for new technology.

        According to the source the New Zealand example is a 600 MW line (about the size of an average power plant). They have power plants much larger than that so it’s not serving the major needs of either end, just something that can be accommodated at that size on their system.

        Apologies to Rud (I have not gotten around to the start like I said) but we were/are going to do an blog on the general topic sometimes called “horsed for courses” talking about the limits to where technical “solutions” might be applied.

    • “says the existing grid of 283,00 miles would cost 1 million dollars a mile to replace which comes to a mere 283 trillion dollars”

      Sorry to Ted, but I must tell you that you are off by a factor of 1000!… 283,000 times 1 millions equals 283 BILLIONS, not trillions.
      Anyway, I agree with you that all these extra costs (let’s not talk about storage on a large scale) should be included in the cost estimates of future REN electricity.

      • You are correct, I quoted directly from the article —- doing the arithmetic the answer is 283 billion. Still a lot of money and that total does not include supporting infrastructure.

  5. Thats the brakes article. Actually, I know a great deal about this. Using supercaps to capture regenerative braking energy is almost a standard feature of light rail systems (featured) from Siemans, Bombardier, or Alstrom. Has been true for nearly a decade. And also hybrid city transit busses and port container stacker cranes from most manufacturers. But in all three applications, the regenerative braking energy is feed into the local system for the next start/acceleration. The result is simply a system (transit, port) that is more grid neutral, never grid positive as the article erroneously implies. Reason, as good as supercaps are, only about 94% efficient. Darned thermodynamics. Good intent, but still basically a scientifically incorrect headlined conclusion.
    BTW, my carbon materials invention makes supercaps ~30% cheaper and a bit (depends on details) more efficient. Issued US patents US 8313723, 8580418, and 8709972. A small contribution to our global energy future, since the core is also issued in Russia, Ukraine, Korea, Japan… But still pending in always slow EU.

    • Not to mention the potential for very high speed flywheel systesm.

      • Beacon Power went bankrupt after installing one subsidized HSFW system in Connecticut for grid stabilization. Don’t know its post bankruptcy status. Just like the Williams racing team formula 1 KERS system. Too many mechanical reliability issues, too expensive. Most of the kinetic braking energy recapture systems and most of the ‘small’ grid compensators have gone to supercaps.

  6. NASA 4 billion water shortage. Contains a number of untruths and misconceptions. Fairly complicated misrepresentations. See the water chapter of ebook Gaia’s Limits for some unraveling. NASA is right, that if you pit too much population in too arid an area, nothing good results. For at least part of the year. Those poor SoCals, having their lawns brown. Horror, the horror.

  7. Reduction in coal is remarkable and nearly global:

  8. Most coal plants are making money. The article is nonsense. We could not power the grid without coal.

    • When a journal has green in their name the rubbish is certain to follow.

      Gee. It looks like Natural Gas is at its natural level.

      Gee. It looks like coal is at its natural level.

      What we can conclude is if coal power isn’t profitable, it is because of regulation and mandates. If any renewable power is being used it is because of subsidies and mandates and not because it is competitive.

      At the dirt cheap prices of fossil fuels, the real question is why are we using any wasteful expensive renewables and why isn’t electricity closer to 5 ¢/kWh???

      • What we can conclude is if coal power isn’t profitable, it is because of regulation and mandates.

        Nonsense. From my reading of the article (based on and perhaps biased by what I know), coal is losing out to GAS.

        Of course, it might be competitive if they were allowed to dump all their waste products into the air without regulation. Such as sulfur oxides, black carbon, etc.

        Which is not to say it certainly isn’t “because of regulation and mandates.” But the conclusion that it is is unwarranted.

    • I wanted to get around to that. It is BS. The question is, given the sunk investment now minus any salvage does retaining that capacity make sense? Its incredible to suggest good capacity be shuttered.

      • And not to be two faced about it. When it comes to wind and solar, once in, you forget the sunk costs and see does it pay for its incremental costs. It generally does. (Two very different decision points though considering installation or retirement.) I think some see wind and solar as paying for just their incremental costs as a victory, but for coal it’s a defeat.

      • It isn’t a good idea to shutter coal plants yet.

        Wind efficiency decreases after ten years by 30% and recommended replacement is 12-15 years.

        A lot of the wind capacity should be dismantled rather than replaced.

        It takes significant power to run a wind mill. Old wind windmills will increasingly consume power (less output) as components age.

        Windmills are subject to various forms of brinelling and the bearings need to be kept moving.

        All renewable energy degrades with time. At some point continuing to support them is uneconomic.

  9. RE: “The benefit of correcting market failures in use of fossil fuels”

    In Peak Oil: Apocalyptic Environmentalism and Libertarian Political Culture, Matthew Schneider-Meyerson writes that

    Peak oil is, then, not so much an obsession with oil as a form of radical environmentalism….

    What separates peak oilers from the rest of the environmentalist faithful is that peak oilers believe radical environmentalism can be achieved without state intervention.

    Peak oil is the long-awaited Armageddon of fossil fuels. It is a deterministic, end-times theology. Peak oil will make radical environmentalism happen, and it will happen even without state intervention.

    The referenced article, however, makes it clear that the dream of peak oil is as elusive as ever, and that the only way to achieve radical environmentalmism is through state intervention:

    • Fossil fuel consumption is likely to continue to grow without clear and decisive global actions to put an adequate price on carbon dioxide emissions.

    • Concrete climate policy changes around the globe are needed to reduce fossil fuel consumption.

    • Counting on the fickle finger of fate to point the way to cheaper low-carbon energy sources, without policy forces pushing us there, mistakes hope for a strategy.

    • Market forces alone will not bring about the much-desired and long-awaited destruction of the fossil fuel industry. By studying the history of fossil fuel exploration and technological progress for both clean and dirty technologies, the researchers came to the conclusion that it is unlikely that the world will stop primarily relying on fossil fuels any time soon.

    • As one piece of evidence, the economists studied the amount of reserves in the ground over the last three decades compared to world consumption. For the last 30 years, reserves of oil and natural gas have grown at least as fast as consumption.

    • Technological progress, such as the development of hydraulic fracturing and the ability to extract oil from tar sands, is at least partially responsible for a long-term pattern of consistent worldwide growth in fossil fuel reserves.

    • “It seems unlikely that our technological abilities to recover fossil fuels should stop improving any time soon. With continually improving technology, the world will likely be awash in fossil fuels for decades and perhaps even centuries to come,” says Thomas Covert, an assistant professor of microeconomics at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.

    • Clean energy can’t compete with fossil fuels.

    • The study’s authors found that technology has improved significantly in cleaner energy sources, however, the trends in clean technology progress are not yet strong enough. Though the downward trend in renewables costs continues today, the cost of natural gas fired power is still cheaper, even when accounting for the cost of climate-related damages.

    • The story is similar when looking at alternatives to fossil fuels in the transportation sector: namely, battery-powered electric vehicles. At the current battery cost of $325 per kWh, the authors find that the price of oil would need to exceed $350 per barrel before an electric vehicle would have a lower cost of ownership than an equivalent gasoline powered vehicle.

    • “While alternative sources of energy and energy storage technologies have vastly improved, lowering costs, they still have a long way to go before they are cost competitive with fossil fuels,” says Chris Knittel, the William Barton Rogers Professor of Energy Economics at the MIT Sloan School of Management and Director of the Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research (CEEPR).

    • What is needed to achieve radical environmentalism? The governments should put a price on carbon emissions and start injecting more money into making renewables technologies more cost competitive.

    • Glen Stehle:
      I have developed a Model that is capable of projecting the actual average global temperature (per NASA) for any year between 1975 -present to within a tenth of a degree C. accuracy (or less), based solely upon the amount of reduction in SO2 aerosol emissions.

      If correct, as I believe that it is, the scary implication is that ANYTHING that is done which will result in the further reduction of SO2 emissions will only serve to drive temperatures ever higher.

      The climate sensitivity factor to their reduction is approx. .02 deg. C.of temp. rise for each net Megatonne of reduction in global SO2 emissions.

      (This Model is a refinement of an earlier effort, which can be found by googling “The Role of Sulfur Dioxide Aerosols in Climate Change”, if interested).

  10. RE: “Nevada PUC ‘Contortionist’ Act Will Kill Rooftop Solar”

    Relying solely on state intervention — either through subsidies or by government mandates which stunt competirors’ ability to compete — is a risky business plan.

    Granted, government can and frequently does provide a commonly used and highly effective way of capturing and holding on to market share and of curbing competition.

    However, business plans based solely on interventionist power tend to be unstable. Business plans which are based on both government intervention and on delivering a competitive product, on the other hand, are more resilient.

    As Amatai Etzioni notes in The Moral Dimension:

    Economic actors who rely exclusively or largely on either economic or interventionist power tend to find their preferred relatively unstable, while the position of those who command both kinds of power seems to be more sustainable.

    The roof-top solar industry appears to have little of economic value to offer, and its existence is based solely on interventionist power. From the article:

    “By eliminating net-metering, the order has discouraged private investment, which has led to layoffs and ensured that there will not be future applications to install (rooftop solar),” the Solar Energy Industries Association argued in a PUC filing.

    • Should have read…

      As Amatai Etzioni notes in The Moral Dimension:

      Economic actors who rely exclusively or largely on either economic or interventionist power tend to find their preferred position relatively unstable, while the position of those who command both kinds of power seems to be more sustainable.

    • What the Nevada PUC did was to eliminate cross-subsidies to roof-top solar, and without those cross-subsidies roof-top solar is not viable:

      [N]on-solar customers are now paying $16 million annually to carry solar customers — a subsidy that “will cumulatively grow unreasonably larger over time,” said the PUC.</blockquote

      • [… W]ithout those cross-subsidies roof-top solar is not viable

        Perhaps. Or perhaps companies that have grown fat on a business model with heightened subsidies won’t be able to compete.

        Let’s wait and see whether more agile players won’t show up to fill the gap, while still making a profit. Then, with their cost points competitive without the subsidies, they’ll be able to move out into more subsidized markets at a higher profit level. And, most likely, the subsidies will be eliminated everywhere else as well, once it’s shown they aren’t needed.

  11. David Hagen’s “Can we cut free from the Saudi/Russia oil tax?” is one of the whiniest articles I’ve seen in a long time.

    Those bad Saudi & Russians, forcing us to buy their oil to run our civilization. How are they different than those Texans and Alaskans taxing us by forcing us to buy their oil?

    What about those farmers, forcing us to buy their wheat and corn?

    There are good economic geopolitical, and ecological reasons to invest in alternative energy. But blaming the producers of a commodity we rely upon is childish.

    • David Hagen — I am of course highly supportive of increased Energy R&D.

      But in your article I’m confused by your statement ” Will we free ourselves from $ trillion/year “taxes” to OPEC and Russia

      Could you clarify this statement? Do you just mean that with OPEC having access to lower production cost oil, they will always be able to be the major driver in international oil prices?

    • David L. Hagen

      Free Competition versus Coercive Cartels, Oil replacement & Growth
      The USA established extensive Antitrust Laws to:

      the antitrust laws have had the same basic objective: to protect the process of competition for the benefit of consumers, making sure there are strong incentives for businesses to operate efficiently, keep prices down, and keep quality up.

      With about 55% of global oil production, in 1973, OPEC exercised its “Oil Weapon” and imposed an Oil Embargo on the USA, the Netherlands, Portugal and South Africa over their support for Israel. In Historical Oil Shocks, James Hamilton documents the impacts of oil shocks. OPEC’s 7.5% reduction in global output in 1973. They doubled the price of oil in 1974. The Iran revolution again cut oil production 7%, and the Iran-Iraq war cut production 6%. By 1980, oil prices had quadrupled from $3 to $12/bbl by 1974, thence to $39/bbl by 1980.
      OECD Countries shifted power generation 80% off of oil – France to nuclear, US to coal, Denmark to gas, (and Nepal to Hydro etc.). High prices increased exploration, and prices dropped.

      However, we need discoveries/new production of 4%/year just to keep up with global depletion. For developing world economic growth we need another 1%/year at least. Together we need another Saudi Arabia, Russia or USA worth of oil EVERY TWO YEARS.
      The IEA’s 2015 World Energy Outlook shows NO growth in global crude oil production. (Only in tight oil and natural gas liquids.)
      Now OPEC claims 81% of global “proven oil reserves”. (Including heavy oil in Venezuela, but excluding bitumen (aka “oil sands” in Canada.) BP defines proven reserves as:

      “the estimated quantities of oil which geological and engineering data demonstrate with reasonable certainty to be recoverable in future years from known reservoirs under current economic and operating conditions”.

      Today OPEC has about 40% of global oil production. If Russia “cooperated”, together OPEC+Russia would togethe control about 50% of global oil production – sufficient to again exercise Cartel power.
      With OPEC’s 81% of proven resources, what is to prevent them from again exercising cartel power and their “oil weapon”?

      (See Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) for Petroleum Reserves & Resources Definitions

      • David,

        (1) “The USA established extensive Antitrust Laws to:”

        News just in! Russia and members of OPEC are sovereign nations, not subject to US law.

        (2) “With OPEC’s 81% of proven resources, what is to prevent them from again exercising cartel power and their “oil weapon”? ”

        First, I think you mean “proven reserves”. Reserves are a subclass of resources; resources are not “proven.”

        To learn about the difference see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mineral_resource_classification

        Better yet see the IEA’s “Resources into Reserves 2013”

        Second, what matters is oil production — not oil in the ground. We have no idea what the oil market will look over the time horizons that reserves (let alone resources) matter. In 50 years burning oil might be considered as primitive as burning cow dung.

        Third, that has been true for two generations. They haven’t dominated the world, and seem unlikely to do so. The world is far better positioned for an oil shock than in 1973 — and Russia and the OPEC nations are far more dependent on oil revenue.

        (3) “The IEA’s 2015 World Energy Outlook shows NO growth in global crude oil production. (Only in tight oil and natural gas liquids.)”

        First, “tight oil” is a source of crude oil. There is no reason to exclude that potentially vast new source from production of crude total.

        Second, why the fetish for “crude oil”? We consume liquid fuels, of which crude is only one sources. The supply of liquid fuels increased by 15% during 2005-15. Low prices shows that this rise was limited by demand, and could have increased more if we had faster growth.

      • David L. Hagen

        Slow Oil growth
        Editor Only 1.5%/year growth over 10 years – That is a severe decline in economic growth compared to 7.8%/year growth from 1965 to 1975. ContrastONLY 0.8%/year growth for the last decade.
        You have NOT explained why we have had a 90% drop in growth of petroleum usage since 1965-75 if we have such an abundance of oil!
        The EIA projects the small 1% 2016 global surplus to dry up in 2017. That will probably return us to much higher prices again!
        OPEC-Russia Global Production Share
        I am highlighting the danger of NOT having any consumer protection from Saudi (OPEC)-Russian coercion.
        In 1973, most countries could shift 80% off of crude for electricity production. Now petroleum accounts for > 95% of transport fuel.
        We effectively have a petroleum monopoly.
        We CANNOT easily shift 80% off that within a few years – for lack of sufficient alternatives.
        OPEC’s 55% share dropped to 30% with shifting off of oil and additional exploration, BUT OPEC’s share is now back up to ~ 40%.
        Adding Russia in would again boost OPEC-RUSSIA share to above 50% – a VERY dangerous threat to the rest of the world – especially since oil production has NOT even been keeping up with population growth.

        Tight Oil/multi-Hubbert Models
        The reason for distinguishing “tight oil” from “crude oil” is that “crude oil” IS following multi-Hubbert Models – for each State, etc. See Hamilton’s graphs.
        Tight oil will then similarly follow multi-Hubbert models. Trying to move goalposts for shifting to new sources of fossil fuels will not validate your argument.
        Natural Gas Liquids conversion
        Natural gas liquids can be converted to gasoline, but require major investment etc. e.g. It cost Shell $19 billion to build a massive gas-to-liquids plant in Qatar, where natural gas is almost free.
        The massive cheap US gas to Methanol production is being shipped to China for plastics. It is NOT benefitting US transport – because US cars CANNOT use it.
        Flex Fuel Vehicles
        We could have flex vehicles for ~ $100/car off the factory . EPA rules effectively make it economically impossible to convert afterwards.
        See the Fuel Freedom Foundation
        PS You are correct on Resources vs Reserves – which agrees with my referral to the SPE definitions. (My dislexia, I thought I had written reserves.)

      • Editor of the Fabius Maximus website said:

        First, I think you mean “proven reserves”. Reserves are a subclass of resources; resources are not “proven.”

        Well actually, the vocabulary has become very confusing, and in fact downright ambiguous. That’s what happens when everybody gets to invent their own vocabulary.

        Take this, for instance, from the EIA:

        Remaining technically recoverable resource (TRR) estimates consist of “proved reserves” and “unproved resources.”


        When the EIA uses the word “proved reserves” it looks like it means what we in the industry would call “proved developed reserves.” Everything else, including even what we would call “proved undeveloped reserves,” the EIA lumps under the name of “unproved resources.”

        The EIA goes to great length to explain that there is “considerable uncertainty” in TRR estimates, that they are a “work in progress,” and that they change “as more production experience becomes available and as new technologies are applied to extract these resources.”

        And so it is.

        One can only look with amusement and bewilderment at some of the estimates the EIA made in its Annual Energy Outlook 2012. With the benefit of hindsight, they weren’t even in the ballpark.

        The TRR for the Permian Basin (spraberry and avalon bone spring) are now probalby a couple of orders of magnitude greater than what the EIA estimated them to be in 2012, and the TRR for the Bakken/Sanish/Three Forks and Eagle Ford are also considerably higher, by 100% or more, than the 2012 estimate.

      • David L. Hagen

        Note the global price increasing as OPEC’s market share increased back above ~ 40% after dropping from > 55% to 30%.
        See OPEC Market Share and Oil Price

      • David L. Hagen

        See Stats on OPEC & Russian Oil production and their consequences.

    • David L. Hagen

      The International Energy Agency’s 2015 World Energy Outlook shows DECLINING conventional crude oil. Even major “Yet To Be Found” Oil and Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) still do not show growth. Oil Sands (bitumen) and Tight Oil show small growth. Natural Gas Liquids are included to show slowing growth.
      Editor (Fabius Maximus) Where will your “brave new world” get its oil?

      • David,

        Declining “conventional crude oil” consumption while total liquid fuels rises means that other sources are displacing crude. That would be a concern if prices were rising fast — suggesting exhaustion of cheaper sources.

        Since oil and natural gas prices are at 10-15 year lows (in real terms), that’s not the case.

        You are repeating the nonsense from the Peak Oil hysteria. Quite amazing to see that there are still true believers.

        For some debunking see Lessons from the hysteria about peak oil (2005-2013).

      • US oil production FINALLY dropped below this time last year. It took a lot longer than many people thought it would.

      • David L. Hagen and Editor of the Fabius Maximus Website,

        This argument between the two of you is of great interest.

        It is a dispute between two branches of an overarching secular religion, the religion of apocalyptic environmentalism. It’s the same dispute which the MIT article discusses. (see JC’s link above ” The benefit of correcting market failures in use of fossil fuels [link]”)

        After wandering in the wilderness during the 1980s and 90s, celebrants of the end-time religion — the-end-of-the-Age-of-OIl — experienced an amazing revival post-2000 for three reasons:

        1) The disastrous blood for oil geopolitics of the Bush administration in Iraq,

        2) The rising price of oil and gasoline between 2000 and 2014, and

        3) The growing anxiety and concern over climate change (e.g., 2004 movie The Day After Tomorrow, 2005 Hurricane Katinrina, 2006 movie An Inconvenient Truth, 2008 IPCC report on climate change, etc.)

        Now, with the rapid surge in US oil production and the bottom falling out of the price of oil, #1 and #2 don’t resonate with the public any more. So the question is, should the Peak Oilers be exorcised from the flock?

        But make no mistake, the Editor of the Fabius Maximus Website is hardly an apostate from the church of apocalyptic environmentalism, as this passage from one of his posts indicates:

        But today’s oil glut gives us an opportunity to prepare alternative supplies in an inexpensive and orderly manner, not only reducing the risk of energy price shocks but also reducing pollution and the risk of unpleasant anthropogenic climate change. Let’s make use of the gift.


        Editor urges toning down the hysteria over peak oil. But the hysteria over CAGW?

      • David L. Hagen

        Thanks Glen I agree on the need to make use of the short interim opportunity of fracking tight oil – and of the potential for CO2 EOR which could equal historical oil production. (PS I see validation tests of CAGW models disproving their assumptions and thus not needing significant attention at present per the scientific method – while preventing global cooling is of strategic importance.)

  12. If anyone interested in how the Climate Council of Australia, with its stories of renewable energy triumphs, is so good at keeping a straight face, they should check out the history of Geodynamics.

    Former Prius Person and Panasonic spruiker Tim Flannery was a founder of the Climate Council after his head got pulled out of the public trough a couple of years ago.

    But back before the GFC, when he had invested in a geothermal company called Geodynamics, Tim went very public about the benefits and financial promise of hot rocks. This is not about corruption, since Tim can only be shown to have invested 15,000 dollars; but helped by his boosting Geodynamics soared, the Flannery-friendly government tipped 90 million into the company. Then…let the picture say it:

    Like I said, not corruption, just stupidity and compulsive attention grabbing. And the folly of Geodynamics is dwarfed by the unused desalination plants built because of Flannery’s and the BoM’s fear-mongering over permanent rain deficit. They are mostly unused, and the completely unused Sydney desal has been costing half-a-million a day for several years. The only good news is that this is a lot cheaper than the Melbourne desal (unused).

    So if you are wondering how the Climate Council gets away with such cheesy and manipulative stories as their “11 countries leading the charge”, it’s because they have been insulated from reality and cause-effect to an amazing degree. The desal fiasco deserves to be a national scandal, but the MSM, the monster ABC, the climatariat and the luvvies have been able to keep it out of centre field. You get that with cheer squads.

    The Australian of the Year Award has devolved into high farce since Flannery got his gong, culminating in this year’s squabble over the win by a non-transgender male (I’m not kidding!).

    This is the mentality behind the Climate Council of Australia and their jellybean website.

  13. Those interested in nuclear energy need to study the last paragraph of F. W. Aston’s Nobel Lecture on 12 Dec 1922.

    The first sentence there presents both
    1. A great promise of nuclear energy, and
    2. A fearful warning about nuclear energy.


    Progress will probably not be be made on the use of nuclear energy if advocates continue to discuss only the promise (#1) while opponents focus on the danger (#2) of nuclear energy.

    I am personally convinced nuclear energy can by used safely, but the public will not believe the benefits if we do not openly address the dangers too.

    • Well, that was nice.

      In this event the whole of the hydrogen on the earth might be transformed at once and the success of the experiment published at large to the universe as a new star.

      We have tried underwater detonation. For numerous reasons his “transformed at once” won’t happen.

  14. “[UK} Tim Farron, the Lib Dem leader, said he feared the government planned to dump the scheme [a subsidized tidal energy scheme].”

    Sort of like Dem leader Gov. Jerry Brown’s bullet train to nowhere subsidized scheme?

  15. Nevada PUC ‘Contortionist’ Act Will Kill Rooftop Solar

    The “SEIA argued the new rate structure … unfairly lets the utility buy solar energy at a wholesale price to sell it back at a retail price.”

    Buying power at wholesale and selling it at retail. Isn’t that how a utility must operate? On the other hand, the Solar Energy Industries Association sees nothing odd about their demand to deliver power to the utilities at full retail price whenever and wherever it is convenient for PV owners, and then buy power back at the same price whenever and wherever PV owners want it, and to require other customers to pay for the costs for providing the service to PV owners.

    • The Solar Energy Industries Association is a renewable energy group. They apparently don’t know much about economics and engineering or they would be selling coal and gas plants. They don’t understand that in a free market the retailer buys at wholesale (bulk purchase) and sells at retail (individual quantity) and covers his costs and profit from difference. They have the misguided eco/liberal/regressive idea that you buy at retail, sell at retail, and cover your remaining costs and a large profit from government subsidies.

      But I digress. The Solar Energy Industries Association will shade the truth (if not cover it up completely) in favor of solar panels.

      I know somebody who has solar panels. The governments (multi-level) paid for over 2/3rds of the cost and he got premium prices for the power he sold back to the utility. Around 2011 on some forum a guy was bragging about his 7¢/kWh renewable electricity. I looked up the utility The actual cost (from memory) was around $7.11/kWh and the rest was subsidized. There is a small group that thinks this is wise policy. What it really was, is an experiment to prove that if the bribe is high enough individual citizens will screw over their fellow citizens for money.

      Since renewable advocates don’t care about the good of society and have the selfish and self-centered belief that they should be able to impose misguided goals on others, they will view normal business practices and rational policies by the utilities as unfair.

      • Since renewable advocates don’t care about the good of society and have the selfish and self-centered belief that they should be able to impose misguided goals on others, […]

        I can’t believe even you believe that.

        “[R]enewable advocates” mostly (AFAIK) believe the “good of society” involves strong incentives for deployment of “renewable” power.

      • AK,

        Maybe some. The naïve ones.

      • Your enemy is never a villain in his own eyes. Keep this in mind; it may offer a way to make him your friend. If not, you can kill him without hate–and quickly.

        –   Lazarus Long

  16. http://www.climatecouncil.org.au/11-countries-leading-the-charge-on-renewable-energy

    This link declared that more than 25% of Germany’s power came from renewables. However, following the chain of links we find a map showing Germany as in the 7.9-12.4% bracket.


    It is unclear where they are buying their rose-tinted spectacles from. They failed to provide a link for that.

  17. ‘Security Of Energy Supply In The United Kingdom [link]’

    I live in the UK. While on the one hand I can comprehend fine the social psychology that’s driven us here, otoh I struggle to get my head around the enormity of the real-world impact even here on my home turf. That a leading developed nation should find itself here is appalling. This is not my area of expertise, yet it seems to me unlikely that even dramatic fixes could avoid problems now, and dramatic fixes do not even appear to be on the horizon. Hence out of this there can only be still more wasted billions, plus more hardship and increased winter deaths. When emotive culture dominates, common sense is trampled underfoot. Maybe compassion is trampled underfoot too.

    • The UK is run by The City, just like the US is run by Wall Street.

      And the reigning cultural meme of financial capitalism (as opposed to productive capitalism) is IBGYBG:

      Acronym for “I’ll Be Gone, You’ll Be Gone.”

      It’s what douchebag hedge fund managers say to each other when they create an investment mechanism that makes both of them rich while f*_king the American public.

      Why should they care? They’ll both be gone (rich and retired) by the time the whole thing falls apart.


      In the end it boils down to a question of accountability. As Cornel West warns, there is “no emphatic call for accountability from below.”

      Some cultures never even had what the UK and US once had. As Carlos Fuentes notes in A New Time for Mexico:

      Yet the deeper reason for the crisis has simply to do with democracy in Mexico. The secrecy surrounding our economic realities is related to the absence of something well known in Anglo-Saxon law for which there is not even a proper term in Spanish: accountability, checks and balances. These are part of a democratic system of government with a real separation of powers, in which the legislative and judicial branches balance and offset the executive. In Mexico, from the Aztec emperor Moctezuma right down to Carlos Salinas, the executive has been all-powerful, untrammeled, subjected neither to accountability nor to checks and balances.

      So welcome to the cultural memes of the Third World.

      As Andrew Bacevich put it in The Limits of Power:

      No matter how great the disaster — in relation to Iraq alone, consider the flawed intelligence used to justify the invasion, the bungled occupation, and the billions of “reconstruction” dollars squandered or stolen as a result of incompetence or blatant corruption — senior officals operate on the implicit assumption that they are immunized from accountability.

      In May 2007, in a stinging critique of post-9/11 military leadership, Army Lieutenant Colonel Paul Yingling wrote in Armed Forces Journal that “a private who loses a rifle suffers far greater consequences than a general who loses a war.”

      Yingling is correct – and one could easily broaden his indictment to include high-ranking civilians.

      A Pentagon file clerk who misplaces a classified document faces stiffer penalties than a defense secretary whose arrogant recklessness consumes thousands of lives.

      Failure does not yield apology or contrition or even acknowledgement of responsibility. Instead, it creates opportunities for yet more obfuscating explanations; in short, the chance to write a self-exculpatory memoir….

      Faced with a choice of acknowledging an uncomfortable truth or finding some way to conceal, spin, or deny that truth, those who preside over the institutions of the national security state invariably choose the latter.

      As with the constitutional deformities that have produced the imperial presidency, one might overlook these sins if the agencies forming the backbone of the national security state could point to a solid record of achievement. Yet the reverse is true. Over the course of their existence, these entities have done far more harm than good.

    • AW, I have been following this. With the announced closures of old coal and CCGT, and at this years maximum reserves (which foolishly include demand curtailment), the UK National Grid will have NEGATIVE reserve of several percent next winter. Guaranteed massive blackouts. No way to install new CCGT in time takes 2-3 years depending onmsite infrastructure). Besides, not close to economic when renewables force it to between 30-40% utilization. Only solution will be to pay some of the shut capacity to be maintained as hot spinning reserve. That will be massively expensive. As I understand the present situation, shutting 3 of 4 Ferry Bridge units still makes sense after paying a £33 million penalty for breaching a signed reserves contract, because they are losing £50 million per year as it is. Putting them into hot spinning reserve means they would be losing even more. As farmers say, the chickens are coming home to roost.

      • Thanks Rud, sadly you confirm my fears for the future ):

      • No way to install new CCGT in time takes 2-3 years depending onmsite [sic] infrastructure).

        From this document:

        Phased installation of the plant, when gas turbines are installed and operated in the simple-cycle mode during the steam-cycle equipment installation, enables the user to generate power and revenue in as little as a year from order date (See Figures 2–4). A typical combined-cycle plant installation schedule is presented in Figure 5.

        Depending on politics, a disaster this winter could probably be responded to with “simple-cycle mode” available by next winter. (People can usually get things done much faster with proper motivation.)

        Of course, it would require re-organizing the financial models. Still, high payments for reserve dispatchable capacity could make such plants cost-effective.

        But like most political initiatives, lessons will have to be learned.

      • Even better, get the government out of it, except for control of REAL pollutants (like SO4 and mercury, not CO2), and let the power suppliers pick their own sources of energy. That path would actually work.

      • I am certainly an outsider with minimal understanding of the political nuances in play.

        That said, this smells like politicians and profit-takers colluding to make political and financial hay when the stuff hits the fan. The juxtaposition of an ‘in-out’ referendum on the EU and widespread winter power outages will create many opportunities at voting booths and government coffers for cunning opportunists of all stripes.

      • Even better, get the government out of it, except for control of REAL pollutants (like SO4 and mercury, not CO2), and let the power suppliers pick their own sources of energy.

        It’s worth remembering that the whole power distribution system is based on regulated legal monopolies (at the local delivery level).

        Efforts to create a “market” in energy are ultimately created by regulators. As such, the players in those markets are more-or-less dependent on government/regulatory definitions of what constitutes a “marketable resource”.

        As for fossil carbon, many people believe it represents a “negative externality”. Their opinions matter, to polities at various levels which are trying to balance many different agendas.

        The biggest problem, IMO, is that the politicians don’t really understand the technical details, and don’t really care as long as they can convince the voters they’ve done what they want.

        The “problem” of fossil carbon could probably be solved within 2-3 decades without any significant impact to energy prices, availability, or reliability. But to do so, it would be first necessary to eliminate the power of politicians to sell unworkable ideas to ign0rant voters, as well as the power of the existing major players to use their clout to shut out superior alternatives to their present products.

      • The mercury in coal is harmless, as are the NOx and SO2. Coal has simply been regulated to death. Gas comes next, check out the anti-fracking movement.

      • The mercury in coal is harmless, […]

        Sorry, I don’t believe that.

        Gas comes next, check out the anti-fracking movement.

        Well, I’d certainly agree that there’s a block of socialists who want to shut down the Industrial Revolution. But I doubt they have that much influence without the help a much larger block of people who are just concerned about risks. And costs.

        In the long run, energy from sources that don’t dump anything into the system that isn’t already there would be preferable. That applies to significant amounts of CO2 as well as other things.

        The question is, how to get there. Without impacting the price, availability, or reliability of energy. Coal is dead. Not because of environmental opposition, but because of CCGT. Gas will continue its growth, but IMO fracked gas will be replaced with gas from sea-floor methane hydrate, which will in turn be replaced by gas generated from captured ambient CO2 and solar-sourced electrolytic hydrogen.

      • David –

        ==> The mercury in coal is harmless,

        Would you mind expanding on that statement?

      • That’s okay. I don’t believe your utopian fantasies. My interest is in the here and now.

      • My interest is in the here and now.

        Gas is growing. Gasoline is cheap.

      • AK | February 20, 2016 at 12:30 pm |

        It’s worth remembering that the whole power distribution system is based on regulated legal monopolies (at the local delivery level).

        Efforts to create a “market” in energy are ultimately created by regulators. As such, the players in those markets are more-or-less dependent on government/regulatory definitions of what constitutes a “marketable resource”.

        AK, you probably believe that because you don’t know the history of capitalism and free markets. Markets would exist with no government in existence. People need things, other people make them and they barter or buy/sell.

        The fact that X is regulated is not a logical reason that Y should also be regulated.

      • Sciguy54 | February 20, 2016 at 12:17 pm |

        That said, this smells like politicians and profit-takers colluding to make political and financial hay when the stuff hits the fan.

        You are right about that. And that’s exactly the problem with 90% of the people in power: the politicians, NGOs, bureaucrats, and technocrats. They have the rest of us by the short hairs.

      • AK, you probably believe that because you don’t know the history of capitalism and free markets. Markets would exist with no government in existence.

        Actually, I’ve studied that subject intensively. The “freeest” market in recent history was the situation in the north-central “Holy Roman Empire” during the period of Papal weakness prior to the “Crusades”.

        There was a pretty much “free” market in everything, including military force and private “law”.

      • Joshua, EPA was never able to make a causal connection between the tiny amounts of one kind of mercury emitted by coal burning and the tiny amounts of another kind showing up in fish. There is absolutely no geographic correlation. They even admitted this in their regulatory technical docs, which no one but me reads.

        But they hammered coal anyway, because that is their job. Coal has been under concerted attack for 20 years. Cheap recent gas just helped, but it was by no means the cause, AK newby types to the contrary notwithstanding.

      • Even better, get the government out of it, except for control of REAL pollutants

        It’s the government’s responsibility to determine whether or not CO2 should be considered a pollutant, not yours. It seems to me that almost all governments now consider climate change a problem that needs a solution. involving reducing CO2 emissions. In that respect the “skeptics” position on climate change and policy is reflected by a tiny minority of countries,

      • It’s the government’s responsibility to determine whether or not CO2 should be considered a pollutant, not yours.


        By the time a “government” has reached the point of “thinking” like that it’s time for it to be removed.

      • Joseph, “It’s the government’s responsibility to determine whether or not CO2 should be considered a pollutant, not yours.”

        Right, like it is the government’s job to determine the genetically fit. Pollutant should have the same legal and scientific definition. Too much CO2 may be a problem, but at 1000 ppmv it isn’t a pollutant. When you start manipulating definitions for political leverage you have a problem.

      • AK | February 20, 2016 at 7:38 pm |
        It’s the government’s responsibility to determine whether or not CO2 should be considered a pollutant, not yours.


        Huh? I’ll call my congressman and tell him I oppose any and all CO2 regulation. If the result is unsatisfactory I will look around for a primary campaign to support.

        We’ll test your theory of who determines if CO2 is a pollutant.

        This “plant food is a pollutant” stupidity has gone on long enough and it is time to put a fork in it. Starving future generations just for style points is indefensible.

      • I’ll call my congressman and tell him I oppose any and all CO2 regulation. […] We’ll test your theory of who determines if CO2 is a pollutant.

        So are millions of others. Politicians watch the polls to determine how to vote on such things.

        Despite the long chain of causation, in the end it’s people (voters) who decide whether CO2 is to be considered a pollutant. Indirectly, but they do. Or at least politicians decide based on what they think voters will approve of.

      • David –

        Mercury. Coal combustion in the U.S. releases approximately 48 tons of the neurotoxin mercury each year.54 The most toxic form of mercury is methylmercury, and the primary route of human exposure is through consumption of fin- and shell-fish containing bioaccumulated methylmercury.107 Methylmercury exposure, both dietary and in utero through maternal consumption, is associated with neurological effects in infants and children, including delayed achievement of developmental milestones and poor results on neurobehavioral tests—attention, fine motor function, language, visual-spatial abilities, and memory. Seafood consumption has caused 7% of women of childbearing age to exceed the mercury reference dose set by the EPA, and 45 states have issued fish consumption advisories.107

        Emission controls specific to mercury are not available, though 74–95% of emitted mercury is captured by existing emissions control equipment. More advanced technologies are being developed and tested.107 Direct costs of mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants causing mental retardation and lost productivity in the form of IQ detriments were estimated by Trasande et al. 22,23 to be $361.2 million and $1.625 billion, respectivly, or 0.02¢/kWh and 0.1¢/kWh, respectively. Low-end estimates for these values are $43.7 million and $125 million, or 0.003¢/kWh and 0.007¢/kWh; high-end estimates for these values are $3.3 billion and $8.1 billion, or 0.19¢/kWh and 0.48¢/kWh.

        There are also epidemiological studies suggesting an association between methylmercury exposure and cardiovascular disease.108 Rice et al.109 monetized the benefits of a 10% reduction in mercury emissions for both neurological development and cardiovascular health, accounting for uncertainty that the relationship between cardiovascular disease and methylmercury exposure is indeed causal. Applying these results for the cardiovascular benefits of a reduction in methylmercury to the 41% of total U.S. mercury emissions from coal22,23 indicates costs of $3.5 billion, with low and high estimates of $0.2 billion and $17.9 billion, or 0.2 ¢/kWh, with low and high estimates of 0.014 ¢/kWh and 1.05 ¢/kWh.

        See here for the references…


        So you’re saying that all of the evidence produce in all that research is bogus? Can you provide some links or references that support your arguments that the cited research is bogus?

      • Coal is gradually being replaced by natural gas, renewables, and possibly nuclear, because coal burns dirty and fouls the air. The transition will be hard on the relatively small number who depend on coal mining, but good for everyone else.

      • Mercury…

        Well, that’s nice.

        Environments want to use absurd regulation to put industry they don’t want out of business then claim that the regulations are cost effective and don’t cost that much to implement and the industry is just foot dragging.

        The simple solution is that the government pay the full cost of compliance on existing facilities.

        This eliminates two problems – the absurd renewable subsidy advantage and what “real” part there is to the environmental claims. Paying the coal plants to clean up is cheaper and better than renewable energy which is a loser.

        Instead of just flushing tax dollars down the drain on renewables we are putting them to a sensible use.

        Besides, bio science studies are notoriously unreliable (11% accurate), and it is claimed we have already released 76,000 tons of mercury. That is over 1500 years at 48 tons per for something that is 50 ppb in the environment. Further at 0.2 PPB in the ocean there are 5,484,180 metric tons of mercury already in the ocean.

        So if you want to pay to fix it fine. Otherwise the US mercury emissions are less that 1/4 of the 90s levels and are dropping. If you are really concerned fund research on a cheap removal system. That would help China as well.

      • David Springer

        Joseph, “It’s the government’s responsibility to determine whether or not CO2 should be considered a pollutant, not yours.”

        Government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from this earth. ~Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address

  18. I am certainly an outsider with minimal understanding of the political nuances in play.

    That said, this smells like politicians and profit-takers colluding to make political and financial hay when the stuff hits the fan. The juxtaposition of an ‘in-out’ referendum on the EU and widespread winter power outages will create many opportunities at voting booths and government coffers for cunning opportunists of all stripes.

  19. Clean Cooking Initiative: “Bringing clean, safe, affordable cooking #energy to #Kenya households: an agenda for action [link]”

    This is not an isolated issue — not isolated to Kenya, not isolated to Africa.

    It is not only related to women’s health — the health of small children — kept indoors with Mom while she cooks half the day fills their little lungs wood/dung smoke, carbon monoxide from charcoal, etc.

    Environmentally, cooking fires strip the local environment of wood — trees, brush, anything woody — either to be directly burned or to be burned into charcoal and transported to larger towns and villages.

    Haiti was nearly totally denuded by the need for coking fuel — the Dominican Republic fought this fairly successfully — at least in the recovery stage — the reforesting of hills and land is still ongoing. In the DR, the government subsidized propane — giving out two-burner cook stoves, keeping down the price of tanks and gas. Nonetheless, nearly every single home, outside the skyscraper condos of the capital, also has a wood or charcoal cooking stove either in the kitchen, or just out the kitchen door — used for cooking big meals (cauldron’s of rice) and for when the propane has run out. In the DR’s barracones and batayes (old slave/servant barracks and Haitian ghettos), you still see the single-room shacks with smokey wood stoves and hear the hacking coughs of the women to live and cook in them.

    • I can empathize a little. Around where I live wood fireplaces and outdoor charcoal grills foul the air. I guess people have some kind of primitive urge to burn wood, but I wish it would stop.

    • Charcoal is a big export product for some, and it is now being seized in South Somalia by Al-Shabaab terrorists – who seem to pop up in force wherever African resources head to China via the wrong track (especially a very ambitious Kenyan/South Sudanese/Ethiopian trade corridor!).

      So while Britain incinerates US forests to satisfy an EU “directive”, East African forests can be charred in the cause of keeping the flow of oil and gas going through the right Arab channels.

      Surprisingly, coal is still the global bad guy in our fevered green imaginations. In fact, it seems to be bad for everybody except consumers…which is everybody.

  20. Swansea Bay is sheer madness. The Tidal Lagoon developer wants a guaranteed £96.5/mwh for 90 years! A bargain, as his first demand was £138/mwh for 35 years. And as the timing of the tides changes seasonally, this has the potential to exacerbate UK grid unreliability. Half tide at 6pm during the winter months will do that, when Swansea is generating zero.

  21. From JCs link Nuclear energy by degrees. [link]:

    Predictably the climate scientists inspired a negative response in some quarters, with an article in particular by Joe Romm garnering a lot of attention on social media. Romm claims that nuclear energy can play at best only a minor role in preventing climate change because of its economics. He goes further than this, attempting to undermine the credibility of the scientists based on what he seems to think is their envisioned projected nuclear growth rate, and for what he sees as blaming environmentalists for holding nuclear energy back. Romm dismissively describes the climate scientists’ arguments as “handwaving”. While he is not all negative on nuclear, you certainly get the sense that he’s not exactly keen to see industry prospects improve.

    What Romm gets wrong

    Romm’s major error is that he mistakes stumbling points for insurmountable barriers. In common with anti-nuclear activists he seeks only to highlight problems instead of canvassing how they might efficiently be addressed. He allows this pervasive nuclear negativity to colour his reading of resources and events. Both the IEA’s Nuclear Technology Roadmap and Sweden’s nuclear build history highlight how the nuclear industry can be successfully expanded, not why it should be downplayed and ignored.

    His economic arguments place far too much emphasis on the Western countries which have experienced recent difficulty with nuclear projects and not enough on the places where nuclear projects are proceeding well. Most additions in electricity generating capacity will continue to happen in Asia and other growing economies. Asian countries, (especially China, South Korea and Japan) have demonstrated the capability of delivering reactor projects to cost and budget. Three things need to be said about this.
    •Most nuclear growth is expected to happen in these regions which therefore boosts the viability of projects.
    •There are things which can be learned here by Western countries/companies to get their construction costs down, and
    The market environment and policies in many of these developing economies clearly favour nuclear construction. A large part of the overall costs of nuclear comes down to financing, which is influenced by market structure. If Western countries want nuclear to be cheaper they need to introduce the right market frameworks and policies as a starting point – and commit to a series programme rather than single units here and there.

    Yet another fallacy – nuclear energy is not ‘highly subsidised’ as Romm claims. In fact most operating nuclear plants are heavily taxed and still manage to generate substantial financial benefits for local communities as I have previously expanded on in detail (link, link). New nuclear plants will likely require support in deregulated markets, but as we can see with the published UK strike prices, it still sits low in the list of low-carbon options.

    The bottom line is that if we really want to decarbonise energy supply and successfully limit climate change then nuclear has to help balance the energy mix. It is an important part of the solution.

    Nuclear energy is already a competitive low-carbon energy option, especially when considered from the vantage of the overall energy system. This means that like other low-carbon technologies it needs policy support in deregulated markets.

    Let’s face it however. We would all like to see nuclear energy be cheaper and new reactors built more quickly, with less fuss. We need to refocus the nuclear debate on how best to achieve this, rather than repeatedly lament to the occasions where we haven’t managed to.

  22. This was an interesting article on the 30% Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for solar plus storage. I wonder if this could possibly apply to pumped storage hydro where the original energy source came from solar (excess generation). Anybody in the Industry with thoughts on this?


  23. I guess I’m not the only one to notice Trump’s victory in S.C. I wonder what would happen if the 7 percenters weren’t in the race.

  24. Mostly OT – but I think this is a good place to post an opinion piece about the CSIRO dustup in Australia and the canning of climate scientists due to the science being settled.
    From Paul Danish, former Boulder City Council member writing in the left-wing Boulder Weekly.
    I especially liked what he defined as proper alternatives to fossil fuels.

  25. I don’t have the energy to even try to find a source tonight. It was a one time event that occurred at the tail end of the time “mercury in tuna” was generating hysteria; I’m pretty sure it was before I had ever heard of the internet. Someone found a crate of canned tuna from long ago, perhaps pre WWII, at any rate from before the time that humans were presumed to be adding too much mercury to the environment. Lab test found the same amount of mercury in that older tuna as in the most recently canned fish. Does anyone else remember?

    • Why do you go to anti-nukes sites for your nuclear info and to pro renewable sites to support your renewable energy advocacy? Does it not occur to you to consider what biased rubbish you rely on.

    • http://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/safety-and-security/safety-of-plants/fukushima-accident.aspx
      Well, to be honest the facility is pretty messed up. Venting hydrogen into your buildings (instead of outside where it belongs) and blowing them up is really poor judgment and needless complicated recovery. They have mostly rebuilt but it was a big distraction, caused a lot of delay, and was a needless waste of manpower needed for other tasks.

      The site is problematic until they remove all the fuel because there are suspected containment and pipe breaks in a couple of the reactors. Reactor 1 core is suspected of being a pile of goo at the bottom of the containment having chewed through 1.2 meters of concrete on its field trip outside the reactor vessel. Cores 2 and 3 are partially slagged. Unit 1 was uncooled for 1 day, 2 & 3 were only uncool for 1/4 day.

      On the other hand the reactors are all cold so the products of high temperature diffusion (the iodine-131, caesium-134, and the cesium-137) aren’t being released. The problem is mostly tritium and the left over cesium-137 from the original accident.

      For whatever reason the Japanese never deployed Russian equipment that was offered to filter and release the used cooling water and instead were keeping it as a souvenir. In 2014 they purchased a couple of Kurion systems to remove Strontium and deployed Japanese developed ALPS cesium removal systems. ALPS treated water is being reused. The tritium laced water will be released at some point after dilution to 0.06 MBq/L. The normal tritium levels in the sea water are 10 Bq/L (it rains out of the atmosphere where it is made).

      Fuel has been removed from the reactor 4 used fuel pool and they are working on the reactor 3 pool.

      Based on common estimates of the radioactivity release there is less artificial radioactivity in the ocean today than one week after the Tsunami. There is even less cesium-137 in the ocean – but it is unevenly distributed.

      Chart with exposure levels in milliSeiverts per year. Note the 2015 chart.

      Stress and other illnesses killed 1,656. 1000 are estimated to have died from the stress of evacuation. 1 worker died from internal injuries. So far no deaths from radiation. Some speculate that evacuating on net cost lives. The average resident of Denver gets a dose of 6 mS/Y so the claim that the residents can’t go back is basically bogus. Residents started returning to some areas in the exclusion zone April 1, 2014 and the ban is being progressively lifted.

    • No wonder, given Obama selected as his Energy advisor life long anti-nuke, pro-renewables zealot John Holdren.

  26. Rather than just bashing Obama — learn something about the coal industry:


    • [repost in correct place]

      Obama has been the worst President the US has had in my lifetime. here’s a bit of his legacy, east to West:

      1. Surrendered the East China Sea to China’s control

      2. Allowed North Korea to get away with developing nuclear weapons and inter continental ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons to US and Australia.

      3. His obvious weakness effectively gave the green light to Russia’s President Puttin to reestablish the USSR plus annex Syria, and possibly continue on to annex Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt, Tunisia, Liberia (thus getting control of most of the world’s cheap oil reserves).

      4. Surrendered to Iran on their push for nuclear weapons

      He’s an absolute goose, and the world is the poorer thanks to his incompetence.

  27. This week’s article is an example of the question I continue to ask here at CE: “Why is China investing so much in foreign renewable energy projects?” Why isn’t China pumping their money instead into Bjorn Lomborg’s Copenhagen Consensus priorities like food, disease, etc.? (that so often talked about here at CE). Is China really doing this because of their dedication to the cause of CAGW? Could China’s reason be the same as why they are pumping billions in capital into foreign deals of their nuclear technology?


    • The Chinese have bought into Wright’s “Law”. Like US “foreign aid” during the Cold War, they get more than their money’s worth from internal learning curve, and general employment of their own people, no matter the beneficiaries of record are foreign.

      • Plausible, and as supplier, as SS suggests. I’d have thought by now China would be supplying and recycling pebbles from the beds.

      • And yes, they’re doing it for nuclear too.

        While the Chinese nuclear industry may not necessarily be overconfident, its ambition is undeniable: the country has brought nearly twenty reactors online in the past decade and has around two-hundred proposed or planned in an all-out push to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels. And after twenty-five years of developing nuclear power domestically, Chinese companies are now seeking to export their technology abroad. Whether they can do it safely and sensibly remains an open question.

        They’re even cutting a deal with England.</a

      • Bingo — Just as Jon Huntsman was saying.

      • I hate Liberal “Top/Down & Command and Control” AGW approaches of a (1) U.S. Carbon Tax (regressive tax, and displacing U.S. manufacturing to 3rd World Countries); (2) Cap & Trade (another Wall St. play-toy of a Financial Derivative); (3) Federal Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (that would put decision making with Washington Politicians instead of our Engineers).

        The Trade Approach advocated by Jon Huntsman (and being used by China) is a Conservative winning approach.

      • Hah, a half clam bake sale. Oh, sorry, Stephen; you do make me ponder. Explain the meaning of ‘conservative’ again, please.

        Every time I think about it, I spell it differently.

      • And thanks for a new name for alarmists: Climeshills.

      • The Trade Approach advocated by Jon Huntsman (and being used by China) is a Conservative winning approach.

        Link? I played with Google a bit but couldn’t find what you were talking about.

        I did find this interview:

        Q. China’s wind and solar companies are thriving, thanks in large part to massive government subsidies. What should the U.S. be doing to compete with Chinese companies?

        A. First we have to ensure that they’re engaging in fair trade practices, because there have been instances of unfair dumping of their photovoltaics.

        People (almost) always yell “unfair” when they’re out-competed, or outsmarted.

      • Non-Constant Learning Rates in Retrospective Experience Curve Analyses and their Correlation to Deployment Programs by Max Wei, Sarah Josephine Smith, Michael D. Sohn Energy Technologies Area July 16, 2015

        Dynamic Stability US Strategy for a World in Transition by Barry Pavel and Peter Engelke with Alex Ward Foreword by Brent Scowcroft The Atlantic Council of the United States 2015.

    • Liberal Vs. Conservative Approaches to Global Warming Policy:

      I thus like things that create wealth in the U.S. (jobs in high tech industries like solar, wind, nuclear, super-critical coal, biomass gasification w/biochar) and “no or low regrets” policies like Fast Mitigation (reducing methane, smog, HFCs, black carbon).

      • Stephen Segrest,

        You mumble toe words of support for the Conservative approach, but in reality you support top-down ‘command and control’ approaches. For example, in this comment you advocate for:

        >blockquote> things that create wealth in the U.S.
        – (jobs in high tech industries like solar, wind, nuclear, super-critical coal, biomass gasification w/biochar) and
        – policies like Fast Mitigation (reducing methane, smog, HFCs, black carbon).

        You are advocating for winner picking approaches to support the particular technologies you favour.

        If you were genuinely interested in “things that create wealth in the U.S. ” you’d be advocating for deregualtion, international free trade, removing barriers to free trade, globalisation, and if you are concerned about GHG emissions you would not be advocating for renewables. They are doing the opposite of what you say you want.

        You are conflicted and/or ignorant about the economic consequences of advocating for pick winner policy approaches (like renewables).

  28. Concern grows over crucial Zimbabwean hydropower plant

    A persistent drought is threatening Zimbabwe’s main hydroelectric power facility, with fears growing that the plant may fail to generate power entirely in six months if there is no respite in weather conditions.

    more: http://www.powerengineeringint.com/articles/2016/02/concern-grows-over-crucial-zimbabwean-hydropower-plant.html

    Another example of the lack of energy security provided by renewables, even hydro!. Another example demonstrating why nuclear is the best option to meet the essential requirements of energy security and reliability.

  29. Positive recent Obama Administration Stories that rarely see the light of day here at CE:

    Nuclear Power: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2016/02/01/u-s-senate-wants-to-decrease-co2-by-increasing-nuclear-energy/#5ad291a86620

    Supreme Court: http://www.vox.com/2016/1/26/10835042/supreme-court-energy

    Supreme Court: http://www.natlawreview.com/article/dc-circuit-leaves-us-epa-s-mercury-rule-place-during-remand

    Efficiency: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-01-07/your-kitchen-is-a-battleground-in-obama-energy-efficiency-push

    Nuclear Power: http://www.wsj.com/articles/a-nuclear-paradigm-shift-1449014295

    Also never mentioned — The Department of Energy’s Guaranteed Loan Program has been equally split between nuclear, solar, and automotive (~ one-third, one-third, one-third).

  30. Obama Administration’s efforts (still ongoing) to develop Nuclear Power — from the World Nuclear Association:

    (1) Go to: http://world-nuclear.org/information-library/country-profiles/countries-t-z/usa-nuclear-power-policy.aspx

    (2) Scroll down to “Energy Policy Act of 2005” and click.

    (3) Scroll down to “Federal loan guarantees for new plants”

    • Major Republican Leaders (e.g., Lindsey Graham, Lamar Alexander, Christine Todd Whitman, ect.) have strongly supported President Obama’s Nuclear efforts.

      • Major leaders, not. Minor characters. The Donald is the de-facto leader of the Republican Party. Get used to it.

    • The 3-5 licensing delay is a joke if applied to passive safe power plants like HTG.

      The DOE should be required by law to start from a clean slate with passive safe plants and justify the cost effectiveness of each regulation.

      Further they should be given a one year deadline for passive safe license approvals.

      • PA,

        Can you give me a link to an authoritative estimate of the total cost of the of the changes the NRC has required for hardening the new US AP1000 nuclear power plants that were already approved and under construction? when the NRC directive to change was issued? I would like to know the total cost – including of all the downstream consequences for this and all future projects, delay costs, additional construction time, additional O&M increase in LCOE, etc.

        I also wonder what is the expected cost per probably avoided fatality for the life of the plants (and all future AP1000s). If additional hardening against a direct aircraft hit is required for the AP1000, why isn’t it required for public buildings, hospitals, any buildings that house public officials, and sport stadiums (100,000 people congregated when two jumbos collide over head and fall into the stadium filled with spectators)?

      • This document has the NRC estimate for a number of reactor types apparently but I can’t access it.

        The change even affects areas of the reactor building. However the estimate doesn’t apply to changing the design in the middle of construction.

        This is the document list for 2015. (SECY-15-0065 is listed).
        What is scary is they are estimating the cost in 2015 for rules that apply to a plant that was supposed to

        In the filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Southern Co. warned that “ongoing challenges with the Contractor’s performance including additional challenges in its fabrication, assembly, delivery, and installation of the shield building and structural modules” could lead to even more delays and added costs.


        Westinghouse and its construction partner, Stone & Webster, have had to make a number of changes to the original design plan that was the basis for the 2008 contract with Georgia Power and several other part-owners. According to Westinghouse, those changes and their costs were the result of new regulations by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, including a requirement finalized in 2010 that buildings that house nuclear reactors must be able to withstand an airplane crash.

        They are currently suing over $900 million on a half finished power plant.

        The shield building is clearly mentioned as a source of future overruns.

        A court of law will apportion blame for costs.

        It looks like the rule will cost about $900 billion/reactor on a $7 billion dollar reactor when applied after start of construction or 13%. But that is just my opinion.

        The solution is to forbid any NRC rule changes from being applied to plans that have completed the design phase unless mandatory for safe operation of the facility. Since that standard should be impossible to meet, it would ban NRC interference in plants under construction. If the NRC wants to change the rules for under construction or existing plants the NRC should have to pay for the changes.

        Frankly that the NRC is allowed to change the rules for under construction plants is absurd. That they didn’t estimate (“apparently”since I can’t access the documents on their site) the compliance cost of applying the rule until 2015 while applying it to a plant that was supposed to be done in 2016 is just sick.

      • PA,

        Thanks for that. If you come across a short, sharp, authoritative statement of the estimate total cost estimate attributable to the NRC changes, please post a link.

        p.s. I noted the typos in this sentence: “cost about $900 billion/reactor on a $7 billion dollar reactor”, so no need to post a correction for my benefit.

      • Yeah, saw a couple of other typos. Did the math right though. Forgetting those little decimal points sure changes things.

  31. While Rud has his e-book, I’ve got my Facebook page.

    Although I focus on news stories on Ag farming & engineering — I post many positive stories on AGW, nuclear, renewables, pollution prevention, etc.

    One can go here and click like to have the stories fed to your Facebook page:


  32. Now that most of the Lillitputian also rans have dropped out of the Republican primary, there is room in there for your hero Jonnie Huntsman. Will he be jumping in?

    • Huntsman has endorsed Trump.

      • Little Jonnie is trying to jinx The Donald. It won’t work.

        Last time I saw Jonnie he was on some dumb morning show demonstrating his recipe for some sort of nasty looking Superbowl chip dip. A brick of fake cheese and a jar of New York salsa dumped in a crock pot. He is desperate for attention.

    • This above link was a forum at UCLA about options to address AGW. Jacobson (from Stanford) has gotten a lot of press lately with his analysis (for all 50 States and most countries) that all power can be provided by renewables.

      Two Panelists (Dr. Caldeira and Michael Shellenberger) disagreed with Jacobson — advocating including all low carbon options, including nuclear.

      As I have repeatedly stated on this CE Blog, my views appear to be similar to Dr. Caldera, where I’ve said time and again:

      Supply and Demand Side options must be engineering decisions and not political (i.e., a Federal Renewable Energy Standard) — based on sound engineering economics

      As I’ve gone on to say: Applying comprehensive engineering economics (using tools such as the integrated grid GE MAP model), If the penetration level of Renewables on a non-flexible grid is currently less than 1%, then so be it.

      But on a highly flexible integrated grid system (e.g., with a large amount of load following and flexible combined cycle natural gas generation, interconnections to large hydro sources, etc.) the penetration level of Renewables can be much higher.

      • The razor suggests that the simplest distribution plan is most likely the best.

      • The secret to increasing the penetration levels of renewables is to remove the blades from wind turbines (to reduce wind resistance) and using JATO units to launch them at aircraft speeds. Penetration levels exceeding 25 meters should be achievable.

      • That’s exceedingly fine slicing, or is that mill grinding?

      • You know, even if I had every engineering prof at the University of Chicago and Georgia Tech agree with me — this still wouldn’t mean anything to the majority of folks here at CE.

        Say — Engineering concepts which address Intermittency, like ELCC or the international metric of SAIDI just will never mean anything here at CE

      • Don’t pout; I enjoy reading it. I do claim to be a techno-optimist.

      • As they say on ESPN’s show PTI — “I’ll try and do better next time”.

      • Segrest,

        You say:

        You know, even if I had every engineering prof at the University of Chicago and Georgia Tech agree with me — this still wouldn’t mean anything to the majority of folks here at CE.

        But they don’t. You continually misreprsent what others say, cherry pick, use strawman arguments and try to put words in other people mouths. You make statemtns and ignore the replies and you ask questions and don’t engage with the respondents. these are all signs that you are simply an advocate for your ideological beliefs – basically greenwash.

      • Stephen Segrest,

        You say:

        You know, even if I had every engineering prof at the
        University of Chicago and Georgia Tech agree with me — this still wouldn’t mean anything to the majority of folks here at CE.

        But they don’t agree with you. You continually misrepresent what others say, cherry pick, use strawman arguments and try to put words in other people mouths. You make statements and assertions but ignore the responses and you ask questions and don’t engage with the respondents. These are signs that you are simply advocating for your ideological beliefs – you greenwash beliefs.

        If you were serious you’d advocate for rational policies – policies that have a higher probability of success as has been demonstrated by trade and free enterprise since humans first began to communicate, make and swap stone tools, control fire and domesticate animals to do work.

        I advocate for lightly regulated markets to ensure fair competition. We need to remove trade barriers to free trade. We need to remove the impediments to investments in energy technologies that meet requirements at least cost. That requires removing all incentives and all disincentives. Then let the market decide.

        Removing incentives would include removing all the incentives for renewable energy. These are massive on per MWh basis and far exceed any other electricity technology.

        Removing impediments would mean removing the massive impediments to nuclear power development and deployment. These have built up by regulatory ratcheting over 50 years. Even if all the regulatory impediments to nuclear were removed overnight, it would take decades for all the additional costs that are built into the system to be removed. Since the impediments have been caused by bad policies driven by anti-nuclear activism causing public fear of nuclear power, there is a defensible case the public should pay to offset the impediments until they are fully removed.

  33. Mr. Lang — Obviously you learned NOTHING from your attempted actions to put words in Andy Boston’s mouth, and his reaction to your “bullying tactics” unless he agreed with you (which he never would).

    Mr. Boston just cut off the discussion, as trying to discuss issues with you is impossible as you control freak insist to define any discussions by your inappropriate and incorrect strawmen arguments.

    My position with you will be the same as Mr. Boston’s until you (A) Learn about integrated resource planning and its engineering tools like the GE MAP model; (B) Stop being a Bully.

  34. And now for something completely different: (food for thought) http://www.newyorker.com/business/currency/the-climate-summit-of-money

  35. [repost with corrected formatting]

    Stephen Segrest,
    @ February 24, 2016 at 8:43 am and
    @ February 24, 2016 at 8:59 am

    These two comments are another example of your intellectual dishonesty – cherry-picking, distortions and misrepresentations.

    It was you that was trying to get him to say what you wanted to hear. You clearly didn’t read the ERP report before asking questions trying to put words in his mouth. You were clearly hoping he’d support your beliefs – he didn’t. (If you’d read the report you would have known the answers to your questions). For example, here you asked:

    In your study/model did you implement any NG CC or CTs without carbon capture, storage? If yes, what was the percentage between NG with and without CCS?

    Clearly you hadn’t read the report or you’d know the answer to that. He replied:

    Stephen says that NGCC (CCGT) scenarios should have been examined. They were! The origin in all my 3D charts was a gas world. He also asks why we didn’t use an industry standard model. Two points (1) I couldn’t find one that simultaneously balanced the need for energy, reserve, response, inertia and firm capacity. (2) ERP is not and doesn’t intend to be a centre of modelling expertise. The point was to make a start but then encourage others – more adept and better equipped than me – to pick up the baton. I believe they are.


    Andy Boston responded to your question “what are you trying to tell folks?” :

    3 things:
    To those who think you can decarbonise with intermittent renewables alone: You can’t.

    To those regulating or planning the grids of the future: Don’t forget the value of grid (ancillary) services – they need markets or regulation to deliver.

    To those tempted to use simple metrics like LCOE to compare technologies: You can’t. You have to do holistic modelling as value is a function of grid mix.

    That shut you up. Nothing more from you on that thread except for two short comments; 1) a short restatement of your beliefs and crawling to say you agree with him, and 2) asking how to follow him on Facxebook which you could have found yourself from the ERP web site (how pathetic). Now you pipe up on another thread dishonestly cherry-picking and misrepresenting parts of the discussion on that thread.

    Regarding my discussion with Andy Boston on the thread https://judithcurry.com/2016/01/19/is-nuclear-the-cheapest-way-to-decarbonize-electricity/ I’d make the following points:

    He provided comments on my analysis which are included in the post; I responded to one in the post and to others on the thread. He said:

    Peter Lang has faithfully reproduced a number of our results but the context needs clarifying and the emphasis and confidence placed in the results are different.

    As I explained, people were encouraged to read the report to understand the analysis and the conclusions ERP drew from the results. Andy Boston wanted to reiterate the main findings from the report and promote the report. I acknowledged the text of the report does not say that nuclear is the least cost way to decarbonize the GB electricity system. However, the results, shown in the figures, do show that all or mostly new nuclear, without adding additional weather dependent renewables, is likely to be the least cost way to decarbonize. Although I was surprised, I can understand and accept he cannot come out on a public blog and endorse nuclear power (despite what the results show). However, other comments he made in the report suggest he strongly believes in high carbon prices and advocates for £100/t ($140/t CO2). He strongly believes in carbon pricing and advocates for them. He also believes in CCS and in converting GB coal power stations to biomass and importing the biomass fuel from USA. None of these positions are rational policy advice, IMO.

    I was surprised he didn’t support the conclusion I’d drawn from the results published in his report. His excuse for not doing so is weak and unconvincing, IMO. I provided all my arguments, unlike you who didn’t engage in a constructive, objective discussion of the relevant points – as usual!

    You did not engage honestly and constructively in the discussion. But now you show up demonstrating your usual practice of intellectual dishonesty. But that’s typical of Greens.

    • I had a pleasant dialogue with Andy Boston. Big difference in what he was saying versus what you wanted him to say (your continued use of absurd strawmen).

      Learn some integrated resource planning (e.g., at least talk to an engineer familiar with planning methods like GE MAPS) and you will understand what people like Andy and I are trying to tell you.

      But you won’t do this — so, this is my last response to you. Your a blow-heart, not a serious player.

      • Stephen,

        Who’s the blow heart? And that’s about the tenth time you said this i’ll be your last conversation with me – blowheart!

        I also had a very constructive conversation with Andy Boston before I posted the paper and asked him to review it, which he did. He’s a nice, helpful guy and I’d fully expect he was nice and helpful to you to (if you’d been interested to hear what he was telling you, which I suspect you were not). But you continually misrepresent what others say, so I wouldn’t trust a word you say, including your interpretation of what Andy said to you. I suspect you’d interpret what you want to hear from your exchange with him.

        Andy already told you that there are no models that can do what was required, so they made their own. If you think otherwise, why haven’t you done the analysis yourself and posted it here.

        In reality, you are a down in the weed engineer with no understanding of what is needed for policy analysis. You know about one tiny part of the whole and try to badger everyone else to be interested in your tiny, irrelevant perspective.

        :Blowheart”, “black-white”, “strawman”, bla bla bla. What does all that childish nonsense you keep repeating mean?

        You’ve got nothing constructive to offer, other than continually repeating your Green beliefs and putting words in other people mouths and misrepresenting them saying they agree with you. You can’t present you own arguments so you continually appeal to authoprity, but continually misrepresent them – blowheart! It’ll be a relief when you stop your incessant badgering about your beliefs. It be a relief if you recognised your intellectual dishonesty and set about correcting it, but I recognise that will never happen.

      • Stephen Segrest,

        In short, I presented the relevant facts, my arguments and my interpretation of the results presented in the ERP report. You didn’t argue with them, let alone show my interpretation was wrong. Andy Boston, said I shouldn’t make the interpretation I did (and still do) because he had not done the uncertainty analyses. I accept that, but don’t accept that if they were done they would change the big picture interpretation significantly: i.e. the results presented in the ERP show all or mostly new nuclear is likely to be the cheapest way to decarbonise the GB electricity system to meet the recommended 50 g CO2/kWh target. If you think this interpretation of the results presented in the ERP report is wrong, I suggest you argue your case on the thread https://judithcurry.com/2016/01/19/is-nuclear-the-cheapest-way-to-decarbonize-electricity/ or write your own post and offer it to Judith.

  36. MIT study: Green energy can’t work unless you tax everything (H/T, Benny Peiser, GWPF)

    Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have confirmed what many in the energy world already knew: Without government support or high taxes, green energy will never be able to compete with conventional, more reliable power plants.

    The study, …, determined that conventional energy would be consistently less expensive than green energy over the next 10 years. The study concludes that the government could make green energy competitive by offering enormous amounts of taxpayer support.

    The study confirms that green energy can only work when energy prices are extremely high and require government support. Projections from the International Energy Agency estimate that developing wind and solar power enough to substantially impact global warming could cost up to $16.5 trillion by 2030.

    Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2016/02/25/mit-green-energy-cant-work-unless-you-tax-everything/#ixzz41MLqhbgC

    • A selection of quotes:

      “Now that prices for fossil fuels have plummeted, very little new renewable energy capacity will be installed unless the mandates and the subsidies are raised even higher. The bankruptcy this week of Abengoa’s U. S. solar unit with up to $10 billion in debt is a sign of things to come.”

      “Wind and solar can’t compete with conventional sources on their own merits,” …. “That’s why the national environmental lobby and their allies are peddling the idea of a carbon tax. They want to punish the use of natural gas, oil and, coal to make their preferred sources appear more profitable. In practice, a carbon tax would have a devastating impact on American families already struggling in the Obama economy–hurting the poor and middle class the most.”

      “Critics have said carbon taxation disproportionately harms the poorest members of society. A 2009 study by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that a carbon tax would double the tax burden of the poorest households, making it effectively impossible to have both a carbon tax and a living wage. A tax on all man-made greenhouse gas emissions would make the tax burden of the poorest households three times greater than the richest households, according to the study.”

      “But even if gas prices were through the roof, like in early 2008, intermittent wind and solar power still couldn’t compete without subsidies and mandates, for the simple reason that you can’t rely on them.”

      Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2016/02/25/mit-green-energy-cant-work-unless-you-tax-everything/#ixzz41MNhJi7p”

  37. Mr. Lang wants to eliminate how engineering economics is taught in leading schools (like the University of Chicago) and how decisions are made using integrated grid resource analytical tools (e.g., like the GE MAPS model).

    Mr. Lang continuously develops “strawmen” on how he wants engineering decisions to be made — and wants people to “refute” HIS strawmen.

    Mr. Lang reminds me of a Freshman engineering student taking his 1st “open book test” — where he just copies sentence after sentence; gets an F; and then argues with his Prof on his grade.

    Andy Boston told Mr. Lang (who just quit arguing with him) what I’ve told him over and over again:

    “To those tempted to use simple metrics like LCOE to compare technologies: You can’t. You have to do holistic modelling as value is a function of grid mix.”

    • Stephen Segrest,

      Are you losing your mind? You’ve told me around a dozen times you wont respond to any more of my comments and now you’re responding to me and posting the same comment on multiple threads? And none of them deal with the substance of the posts and comments I make, but do reveal a lot about you.

      You continually make up complete nonsense and say I said it. But you don’t provide a quote and link to where I said what you (dishonestly) attribute to me. You are fabricating and making strawman arguments while hypocritically asserting I make up strawman. Lying is dishonest. You are so dishonest you do not have the ethics to be an engineer.

      I provided a longer answer and refuted your strawman arguments where you posted it here: https://judithcurry.com/2016/01/19/is-nuclear-the-cheapest-way-to-decarbonize-electricity/#comment-768130 .