Road to Climate Neutrality

by Judith Curry

Spatial Requirements of Wind/Solar and Nuclear Energy and Their Respective Costs

“In addition to the energy sector, the climate debate also needs a transition. From ideology and wishful thinking, to facts, figures and rationality.”

An important document was published last week, a collaborative instigated by two members of the European Parliament – one from the Netherlands and the other from Czechoslovakia.  One of the editors on the resulting report is Lucas Bergkamp, who has written several guest posts at Climate Etc.

The study is now available for download on the website www.roadtoclimateneutrality.eu.

This document provides a critical reality check on the rush to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy.

Press Release

Climate study advises EU to embark on a “Nuclear Renaissance” program

A new study on EU climate policy finds that it is practically impossible to generate sufficient energy with wind and solar energy as there is not enough available land to cover all electricity demand. The study, titled ’Road to EU Climate Neutrality by 2050’ advises the EU to embark on a “Nuclear Renaissance” programme in trying to achieve its climate objectives.

The EU has endorsed the ambitious objective of achieving climate neutrality (i.e. net zero greenhouse gas carbon emissions) by 2050. An energy transition away from fossil fuels is necessary to achieve this objective. The ECR and the Renew group of the European Parliament have commissioned an independent study into the spatial requirements of wind/solar versus nuclear energy and their respective costs. A team of experts came to the conclusion that it is practically impossible to provide enough energy with renewables.

The study includes a case study done for two EU member states: The Netherlands, a country along the North Sea with abundant wind, and the Czech Republic, a landlocked country with no access to sea and a geographical more challenging landscape. In realistic scenarios, there is not enough land to meet all power demand if the Czech Republic and The Netherlands were to rely solely or predominantly on wind and solar power.

The study, initiated by Dutch MEP Rob Roos and Czech MEP Ondřej Knotek and peer-reviewed in part by, among other respected scientists, Nobel Prize-winning economist William Nordhaus, finds that nuclear energy is also more cost-effective than renewables. Even if taken into account major efficiency improvements in solar and wind farms, nuclear energy will remain the cheaper option in 2050. In this comparison, the enormous costs for adapting the electricity grid, such as connecting wind turbines at sea or solar parks on land, are not even included. That price tag is also invariably lower for nuclear energy.

“We found it remarkable that – in transitioning away from fossil fuels – the EU made a policy decision in favour of renewable energy without considering the relative pros and cons of all carbon-neutral technologies”, both MEPs stated.

Mr Roos: “Nuclear energy is always available, cheaper and saves the landscape. Moreover, further research into, for example, the thorium molten salt reactor offers enormous opportunities for our export position. Let’s invest our tax money in that. ”

At the moment, sun and wind energy are being pushed and nuclear energy is being held back. The study contains several policy recommendations for the European Commission to change its approach.

Mr Knotek: “The EU is well invited to create a technology-neutral level playing field for decarbonized power generation technologies. To this end, the EU should adopt a ‘Nuclear Renaissance’ program that places nuclear energy on equal footing with renewable energy. The EU policies today are discriminative when it comes to nuclear energy. It’s time for all policy makers to live up to the EU principle of technological neutrality”

The study also concluded that EU 2050 climate neutrality, if achieved, will likely cause only a very small decrease in the average global atmospheric temperature increase, estimated at between 0.05°C and 0.15°C in 2100, and no more than between 0.02°C and 0.06°C in 2050, assuming no carbon leakage occurs. Electricity-generating technologies therefore should be evaluated for the degree to which they constitute ‘no regrets’ solutions.

Excerpts from Executive Summary

This report presents a summary of the results of a study1 that examines three issues that are key to the EU climate neutrality’s ambition:

i. The effect of EU climate neutrality on the average global atmospheric temperature by 2050 and 2100;

ii. The spatial (land and sea) requirements for wind and solar energy versus nuclear energy in the Czech Republic and The Netherlands; and

iii. The cost of wind/solar energy and of nuclear energy for these two countries.

Of course, it would have been preferable had the European Commission itself done a comprehensive cost/benefit analysis of

alternative policy options available to pursue the EU’s climate neutrality objective. The fact that no such analysis has been conducted, despite the European Commission’s ‘Better Regulation,’ highlights the strong political forces and sense of urgency behind EU climate policy-making.5

In light of the spatial and economic consequences of renewable energy relative to nuclear energy, the EU is well advised to consider a “Nuclear Renaissance” program. Under this program, the EU would create a level playing field for all electricity generation technologies.

Key Takeaways:

The EU’s 2050 climate neutrality strategy involves a high risk of ineffectiveness. The anticipated energy transition, however, can hedge against this risk by deploying ‘no regrets’ solutions that are resistant to climate-related ineffectiveness. Nuclear power is such a solution.

In addition, with respect to both spatial requirements (area of land required) and costs of electricity, nuclear power offers substantial advantages over renewable power (any combination of wind and solar). The cost advantage of nuclear power increases once system costs are added to the equation, and increases further with higher penetration rates of wind and solar.

These advantages have been recognized in the Czech Republic, but not (yet) by policy makers at the EU level and in The Netherlands.

190 responses to “Road to Climate Neutrality

  1. “The study is now available for download on the website http://www.roadtoclimateneutrality.eu.

    This document provides a critical reality check on the rush to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy.”

    Brilliant!
    Thanks.

    • If climate activism is really anti fossil fuel activism then the the issue must be understood and addressed in that context amd not in the climate context.

      https://tambonthongchai.com/2020/03/23/anti-fossil-fuel-activism-disguised-as-climate-science/

    • Reality check? This is from the 2012 NREL energy futures report. No one at all can rationally contemplate 100% wind and solar with today’s technology and costs. Combining low levelized cost sources and in an efficient and reliable system is a more realistic objective. Reliability is built in by utilising the capacities of different sources – use existing but limited hydro capacity when the sun doesn’t shine for instance – in ways that don’t materially increase system costs. There are of course increased costs of high renewables penetration at 2009 prices. But as many have noted – solar costs in particular have fallen dramatically in the past decade.


      The lowest cost energy mix depends on location. In Australia – development of new sources is focussed on gas generation expansion with room for some more comparatively ultra cheap wind and solar. This goes hand in hand with the scheduled retirement of an aging coal fleet. Other places have different costs and constraints. This is a cost calculator associated with a recent IEA publication. Set the carbon cost to zero.

      https://www.iea.org/articles/levelised-cost-of-electricity-calculator

      Nor can we expect a significantly expanded nuclear fleet at present day costs. Advanced designs with factory fabrication and resultant economies of scale can be some 30% cheaper – this is not cheap compared to the low LCOE of ‘unreliables’ in many places but they make more economic (and system) sense than backup batteries. These advanced designs should start coming online in this decade – with some $6B in government subsidies. They are of course ultra safe and recycling of long lived actinides resolves the ‘waste’ disposal problem. The high temperature versions offer opportunities for efficient hydrogen production – for producing liquid fuels – and the provision of process heat. Both of which are essential for actual carbon neutrality in our nonlinear world.

      21st century land management – forests, woodland, rangelands and wetlands – is also essential for carbon neutrality and improves food security, economic progress, biodiversity and drought and flood mitigation while conserving downstream environments.

      • Interesting and comprehensive analysis. Thank you.

      • “Reliability is built in by utilising the capacities of different sources – use existing but limited hydro capacity when the sun doesn’t shine for instance –”

        If you have “existing” hydro capacity to cover for unusable solar panels, you don’t need solar panels.
        The decision to avoid “renewables” has already been made. Even in the most climate concerned areas.
        Germany, where they are ditching nuclear power, finally got Volkswagen to agree to replace the coal-fired power plant that operates their massive factory and the town around it. Guess what they’re replacing it with? Natural gas of course. Volkswagen will invest hundreds of millions of Euros to build natural gas and Germany has invested billions of Euros in Russia’s new natural gas pipeline to Germany.

        The study Judy references here simply confirms the more exhaustive and technical study that MIT already produced. The science is solid, the climate concerned are oddly anti-science. Surprising very few, unfortunately.

      • Hydro is limited to the available flow. In Australia’s Snowy Mountains Scheme – commenced in the 1940’s and built for inland irrigation the power capacity factor is some 12% – It makes sense to store it for use at times of high demand and little competition. There are a number of other energy technologies that are dispatchable but have low capacity factors. It also makes sense at this time to combine low marginal cost wind and solar with gas generation. As I said.

        Binary thinking – as shown in this report and many of the comments here – are not realistic. It posits either/or scenarios where the emerging reality seems to involve a diversity of sources taking account of relative costs and strengths of different technologies.
        And I can’t comment on an MIT study if I don’t know which one it is.

      • Here’s the MIT study:

        Click to access The-Future-of-Nuclear-Energy-in-a-Carbon-Constrained-World.pdf

        Every thorough review of carbon-free solutions discovers that renewables have been sold to the public based on claims that leave out the extraordinary costs of backup power and limits on the resulting energy. That is not “binary thinking,” it’s taking the climate concerned at their word and reviewing what it would take to significantly reduce emissions in the industrial world.
        It is also not “binary” or a rejection of a “mix” of sources to acknowledge that the bulk of energy will need to come from nuclear while other sources simply fill in at the margins. In fact, that conclusion goes to the heart of the nonsensical claims of the climate activists- who continue to insist on planning for having the bulk of energy coming from renewables.
        The binary thinking here is the 30-year-long failed international campaign to insist that wind and solar are the only options and are ready for the job.
        In reality, this is about the only area where the “science” really is “settled” but governments cannot admit it because and entire white, western, liberal political movement is steadfastly opposed to reality.

      • Yes I have read that report. What I discussed was a mix of gas and low marginal cost renewables – until such time as factory fabricated modular nuclear units came online at the appropriate price point. Governments – as I said – are subsidising advanced nuclear designs by some $6B. The binary thinking consists of imagining that it is all or nothing. Conflating the technical aspects with political polemic doesn’t help to reach clarity.

      • Since “renewables” are usually out in the middle of nowhere, there is almost always a need for more power lines, sometimes hundreds of miles of them.

      • Coal fired generators are usually close to coal mines. Hydro power is near dams. So what. And there are opportunities to put solar on rooftops. As far as I am concerned it is ultimately about what makes commercial sense in a specific context.

      • “Governments – as I said – are subsidising advanced nuclear designs by some $6B. The binary thinking consists of imagining that it is all or nothing. Conflating the technical aspects with political polemic doesn’t help to reach clarity.”

        Governments spent more than 10 billion Euros on the Nordstream2 gas pipeline. And that just moves existing energy around. $6B is a rounding error on energy infrastructure.

        The unavoidable fact that you encounter is that, if you set out to power Boston without emissions and you choose nuclear, there simply isn’t any reason to build solar panels and windmills. And if you set out to power Boston emissions-free with wind and solar, you discover immediately that the plan doesn’t make any economic or technical sense.
        We’ve known this for decades. The fact that the climate glitteratti insist on delay in order to keep arguing for the windmills and solar panels they’ll never get tells us how important climate change really is. Not much.

      • The fact is that until the R&D – which is what the $6B is for – added to private investment – – on advanced nuclear pans out – nuclear remains hugely expensive, The interim solution is natural gas in the US with room for some low marginal cost renewables to conserve resources. As is happening in the real world that contrarians don’t seem to have a handle on. With energy – what matters is costs.

      • “The fact is that until the R&D – which is what the $6B is for – added to private investment – – on advanced nuclear pans out – nuclear remains hugely expensive, The interim solution is natural gas in the US with room for some low marginal cost renewables to conserve resources. As is happening in the real world that contrarians don’t seem to have a handle on. With energy – what matters is costs.”

        Sorry, but I really need to address this because it’s an attempt to rewrite history.
        Nuclear remains hugely expensive compared to natural gas. But not wind and solar.
        Natural gas was hugely expensive and expected to run out ~ the years 2000-2008 before the fracking revolution (see oil, peak scare of). The climate concerned were pushing wind/solar over nuclear before gas was a viable alternative and when they knew, and falsely claimed otherwise, that wind and solar were much more expensive.
        That fracking revolution lead to hundreds of billions in investment in energy infrastructure. Investment that could have gone to nuclear, but the climate concerned wanted fossil fuels instead.
        Now the “climate chancellor” is approving massive gas-fired power plants, investing billions of Euros in Russian natural gas and solidifying the fact that we’ll all be burning gas to make electricity for the next 30 years. Today’s “debate” (such as it is) is over what will replace gas in about 2050. There’s no reason to believe we’ll be heating and powering Boston in the winter with solar panels (and charging all their cars!). So, again, we are back to where we were in 1992- waiting for the “climate concerned” to actually be concerned and take their issue seriously.

      • Totally agree. Also gas of course has one big advantage over nuclear in that it can be switched on and off relatively easily so is a good match for unreliable renewables like wind and solar. Gas is also a good match for nuclear which is best for base load but needs extra for peak demand. Therefore, nuclear is a possible replacement for renewables in the future if people decide that nuclear is not that scary and cheaper overall. I mean cheaper in terms of overall cost and the cost to the environment..

      • Black and white thinking. I have never said that 100% wind and solar is remotely feasible. Rather – a mixed portfolio with hydro, geothermal, biogas and what are now very low cost wind and solar. Massachusetts – as you keep returning to it – has substantial wind and solar and prices are well below the US average.
        Natural gas is the major energy source.

        https://www.eia.gov/state/?sid=MA#tabs-1

        They have just cleared a hurdle to import Canadian hydro power that will supply some 17% of demand.

        https://www.bostonherald.com/2020/10/23/hydro-power-cleared-to-pump-up-power-in-massachusetts/

        They are expanding both biogas and geothermal sources.

        https://www.masscec.com/technology-programs/commonwealth-organics-energy

        https://energynews.us/2020/12/03/northeast/innovative-geothermal-micro-district-concept-moves-ahead-in-massachusetts/#:~:text=Geothermal%20systems%20%E2%80%94%20also%20referred%20to,low%2050s%20Fahrenheit%20in%20Massachusetts.

      • Robert I. Ellison | February 16, 2021 at 3:54 pm |

        Black and white thinking. I have never said that 100% wind and solar is remotely feasible. Rather – a mixed portfolio with hydro, geothermal, biogas and what are now very low cost wind and solar. Massachusetts – as you keep returning to it – has substantial wind and solar and prices are well below the US average.

        “Substantial wind and solar”???

        According to the data inyour own link, Massachusetts gets a “substantial” 2.6% of its energy from wind and solar.

        As to your claim that in Massachusetts electricity “prices are well below the US average”, in fact they have the third-highest electricity prices in the US, beaten only by Rhode Island and (understandably) Hawaii.

        Why do the proponents of renewables almost always exaggerate? On what planet is 2.6% “substantial”?

        w.

      • Thanks, Robert. Your new graph doesn’t show nuclear … not sure why.

        Also, your first link was to total energy so I gave percentages of that.

        For percentages of just electricity, go to the bottom here and get Table 5. The data there gives this:

        Finally, your cost graph shows the difference from US average. Not the percentage, the difference. Since you’re using the EIA data, here’s their state by state data. The top few are below:

        State	Avg. Retail ¢/kwh
        Hawaii	28.72
        Alaska	20.22
        Connecticut	18.66
        Rhode Island	18.49
        Massachusetts	18.4
        New Hampshire	17.15
        California	16.89
        Vermont	15.36

        So … high electricity costs, virtually no wind, and 5% solar.

        Best regards,

        w.

      • Thanks, Robert. Your new graph doesn’t show nuclear … not sure why.

        Also, your first link was to total energy so I gave percentages of that.

        For percentages of just electricity, go to the bottom here and get Table 5. The data there gives this:

        Finally, your cost graph shows the difference from US average. Not the percentage, the difference. Since you’re using the EIA data, here’s their state by state data. The top few are below:

        State	Avg. Retail ¢/kwh
        Hawaii	28.72
        Alaska	20.22
        Connecticut	18.66
        Rhode Island	18.49
        Massachusetts	18.4
        New Hampshire	17.15
        California	16.89
        Vermont	15.36

        So … high electricity costs, virtually no wind, and 5% solar.

        Best regards,

        w.

      • > Why do the proponents of renewables almost always exaggerate? On what planet is 2.6% “substantial”?

        On what planet was 0.085% a “hard limit” on COVID fatality? And no, you weren’t referring to India and China with their “lockdowns,” so don’t try that lame rationalization again.

        Don’t treat yourself with the bigotry of low expectations, “Willis.”

      • Josh is doing it again. Rhetorical and meaningless cherry picking. Josh has a list of people who he (like a teenager) is obsessed with. He combs their vast public utterances for an incorrect prediction. This is real sophistry and a waste of your time Josh. You must consider that time so valueless that you don’t care to employ it more productively.

      • The charts come from my original source. Based on those what I said was that renewables penetration was substantial and that electricity costs wee lower than the US average, The state doesn’t have nuclear reactors since the closure of the Pilgrim reactor. Nothing has changed.

      • Everyone go take another look at that chart for Massachusetts. They replaced emissions-free nuclear with fossil fuels. Fossil fuels which often have to be shipped in on fossil fuel burning tanker ships because “greens” oppose pipelines.
        These are not the actions of people who want to reduce CO2 emissions.

        That “new” hydro from Canada isn’t. Canada isn’t damming more rivers, they’re just fighting over where to send the geographically finite amount of hydro electricity that can be produced.

        Simple question, Robert, what would Mass. emissions look like today if they had replaced Pilgrim with nuclear instead of natural gas?

      • Liquified natural gas is shipped all over the world in tankers. Electricity from the 47 year old Pilgrim reactor had to be replaced with something. New nuclear is not remotely cost competitive. Advanced designs might be in a decade.

      • And let’s not forget the Soviet-style rewriting of history going on here.
        In 2006, Al Gore was the defacto spokesman for the global warming industry with his movie Inconvenient Truth. While the movie was in production, natural gas prices were six times higher than they are today. The movie argued that wind and solar were inexpensive, ready to power industrial nations, and the only thing missing was “political will.”
        That wasn’t true. The people who claimed it knew it wasn’t true. They knew then, and they know now, that every review of alternatives to fossil fuels finds nuclear is the answer. But they knew they had a long history of being anti-nuclear so they made up a new, false, story about renewables.
        Now look how the goal posts have changed: oh, they will tell you, yes we were making it all up back then but look how the prices have dropped since then! And look how the natural gas revolution has made nuclear “uneconomical!” And look, all those plans we drafted and demanded from our politicians calling for 100% renewables- we never meant that! Stop quoting us, it hurts!

      • I haven’t seen Gore’s movie.

  2. This may not apply in Europe but it sure does in California. Spreading out the sources of power generation to many relatively remote areas adds significantly to the area covered by power lines, and thus adds to fire danger

    • California fires are a result of an accumulation of dry fuel, a result of environmental policies. My apology to spotted owls in whose name forests are filled with dead trees.

  3. Robert L. Bradley Jr.

    Economically, the premium of nuclear over fossil-fired (LNG?) would be important to know. With nuclear’s long build-out time, and issues of massive scale, how much capacity is realistic in the next decades even if the politics were a ‘go’?

    • “Economically, the premium of nuclear over fossil-fired (LNG?) would be important to know. With nuclear’s long build-out time, and issues of massive scale, how much capacity is realistic in the next decades even if the politics were a ‘go’?”

      We really can’t know. Nuclear tends to be a lot more expensive than it needs to be – at least in the US, and probably Europe. NIMBY’s, environmentalist zealots, utility company stodginess (fossil fuel thinking) all combine to make it cost more – plus the technology is ancient.

      Of course, sticking with fossil fuels is the lowest cost for now. Over time, that might not be true. Until the advent of fracking combined with directional drilling, it was looking like we had hit peak fossil fuel (at least, at a tolerable cost). Now, that time has been put off well into the future.

      And, of course, there’s the obvious silliness of schemes that won’t make much different in the temperature trajectory of the planet, even if one buys into the IPCC’s projections.

      • Another reason to consider microgrids?
        As of Mon. Feb. 15, 2021 the Texas grid is on it’s knees. Every type of energy production was affected, yes even the baseload nuclear/coal/gas systems toppled one by one.
        Today my PV array was exposed to better than perfect conditions: cloudless sky and 7 degrees and it cranked out 39KWh of power (peaking at 6.2KW) and I could enjoy a hot shower!
        News from the web:
        https://broadreachpower.com/
        We own/operate 60 MWs of grid-scale energy storage across Texas. A little color from my perspective as a market participant the past 24 hours…
        Over 8 coal, natural gas, and nuclear power plants across Texas tripped offline between ~11pm CT on Feb 14th and 9am CT on Feb 15th. >8 GW of generation between them all. Grid frequency dropped to 59.3 Hz ~1:45 AM vs the 60.0 Hz target. Load shedding began shortly thereafter and continued through the morning.

        Needless to say wind turbines are frozen and solar panels in West Texas are covered in snow. Broad Reach Power is doing our best to provide grid stability when called on by ERCOT.
        Conserve what you can! And stay warm!

    • Is rather easy to figure out the economic impact of using LNG with combustion turbines.
      In order for a new nuclear plant to compete with a new gas (combined-cycle), the cost of gas needs to be around $15 per million British Thermal Units. The cost of LNG is currently around $10, while natural gas (US) is around $3. This assumes the nuclear plant construction is around six to seven years. The combined-cycle plant is around 2 years.
      Looks to me like Europe should embrace natural gas, not nuclear.
      I have a reference for this if needed.

    • These technologies are emergent and will probably change some current assumptions;
      Bidirectional Vehicle-to-Grid + Microgrids + Demand Response + Smart homes.

      Plan for them now.

      Looking ahead, some other things need to change too. The AC(alternating current) grid is the legacy of building centralized power plants. At some point I hope we ditch the AC home wiring standard and go pure DC(direct current). Our electronics will need few parts, last longer and cost less to operate.

      • Ever read about the dawn of electrical generation and folks like Tesla, Edison, Westinghouse? Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat past errors. There is a reason ac power won the race.
        Civilization needs vast amounts of reasonably priced electrical energy and ac provides that.
        Are you familiar with inverters? Amazing little devices that easily convert widespread ac-to-dc. Your worries have already been solved.

      • Mike,
        That was my point about why AC became the standard because it was the better choice due to the transmission losses of low voltage DC. Now the better technology is high voltage DC for long distance transmission.
        Inverters and transformers induce energy losses, add to manufacturing costs, part counts, and points of failure. Just look around your house and almost every modern electrical device has a transformer to convert AC to DC. In a perfect world DC would dominate behind the meter. If you search the internet there is research supporting this.
        https://www.et.aau.dk/research-programmes/microgrids/activities/intelligent-dc-microgrid-living-lab/

      • “Inverters and transformers induce energy losses…”

        True enough, thought even if you are using high voltage DC for long distance transmission you will still need DC to DC converters (you can’t use a transformer) to step down the DC to more usable voltages at the neighborhood/house level. That would also require you to replace all the existing devices within all of the houses to make the all-DC grid work.

      • RicDre,
        I agree that retrofitting to household DC is probably not economic but it does make sense from a technical standpoint.
        One other area that is exploiting the advantages of high voltage DC are the new high wattage solar panels. You can now buy commercial PV modules that are rated at 1500 volts and over 600 watts. The industry is claiming this has several benefits; reduced material cost, lower balance of system costs and higher efficiency in both the solar conversion and power output.

      • About switching to DC: Electronics generally run at somewhere below 10 volts DC. If you had the entire house running on 10v, you’d need a huge amperage for things like electric motors, and correspondingly thick wires. Or if motors ran on something like 100 VDC, then you’d need a mechanism to step that voltage down for your electronics, which would put you in the same boat you are now wrt parts, longevity and cost.

      • Curious George

        Let’s put a 1500V DC power in every house, and hire one million firefighters. An AC arc has to be renewed 120 times a second, a DC arc is persistent.

      • Curious George,
        You are right to be concerned about high voltage in the home. For over 50 years most consumer CRT TVs had a flyback transformer that generated 20,000 to 50,000 volts and caused a lot of fires.
        All the DC microgrids I have seen on the internet are some form of hybrid of 12 & 48 volt systems. That reference to 1500v was just at the PV module junction.

      • “Looking ahead, some other things need to change too. The AC(alternating current) grid is the legacy of building centralized power plants. At some point I hope we ditch the AC home wiring standard and go pure DC(direct current). Our electronics will need few parts, last longer and cost less to operate.”

        I don’t think it makes any sense at all to use DC in the home, and probably not in the distribution grid. While our electronics do use DC, they use it at multiple different voltages. Currently, we use inverters (“switching power supplies”) as the most common and most efficient way to go from AC too DC. These are either built in to the equipment, or external (“wall warts”). If you have all DC, you still need the inverters, so there is no gain there. And, you’d need an inverter at the home or at least in the neighborhood to step down DC transmission voltage to one more safe for the home.

        As for DC at the transmission and distribution level, I found an interesting discussion of why it is used only for long distance transmission. I have never done power engineering, so I can only parrot what I’ve read… for long distance transmission, the increased efficiency (higher voltage possible, three phases not needed, smaller conductors possible) favors DC. For shorter distances, the cost is too high. And, DC circuit breakers are more difficult because the voltage doesn’t go through zero as it does for AC (120 times per second for US AC).

        The discussion: https://energycentral.com/c/ec/ac-vs-dc-powerlines-and-electrical-grid

      • mesocyclone,
        My interest in DC was primarily efficiency. As you noted it’s pretty hard to avoid conversion losses switching back and forth from AC to DC in addition to stepping the voltage up and down but it all adds up to a significant percentage when you measure from the power plant to the end user.
        Most of the homes I have seen (on the net) use a combination of DC and AC wiring since only a handful of consumer appliances can found that are pre-wired for DC. The few people who have tried to go DC have relied on the aftermarket vendors in the Recreational Vehicle market or the really committed off-the-grid types. If it were possible to go to a full DC home what essential appliance, machine or device would still require 120v/240v AC? So far Amazon seems to sell just about anything you think of. I even found a listing for a 24v clothes washer.

      • “My interest in DC was primarily efficiency. As you noted it’s pretty hard to avoid conversion losses switching back and forth from AC to DC in addition to stepping the voltage up and down but it all adds up to a significant percentage when you measure from the power plant to the end user.
        Most of the homes I have seen (on the net) use a combination of DC and AC wiring since only a handful of consumer appliances can found that are pre-wired for DC. The few people who have tried to go DC have relied on the aftermarket vendors in the Recreational Vehicle market or the really committed off-the-grid types. If it were possible to go to a full DC home what essential appliance, machine or device would still require 120v/240v AC? So far Amazon seems to sell just about anything you think of. I even found a listing for a 24v clothes washer.”

        Efficiency in what usage case? Off-grid on batteries? Perhaps if you are off-grid and using batteries and high power usage direct electrical heaters, you could get a little more efficiency out of your batteries, but what about the motors in appliances?

        I just don’t see it, but your personal usage may be different. In my home, most power usage comes from motors. Those are highly efficient synchronous AC motors. I have an electric stove and oven, and that’s resistive heating, which doesn’t care whether it’s AC or DC. If I had natural gas availability, they’d be using that, not electricity.

        All the electronic devices will be at least as efficient on AC or DC.

        The power distribution to my home would be far more expensive, and probably no more efficient were it DC. Long distance transmission already uses DC, but only where it’s cost effective – very high power and long distance. There are fewer than 10 DC lines in the US, as far as I know.

        BTW, the most efficient solar systems use DC-to-DC converters – which is an inverter that converts to AC followed by a rectifying circuit and filter. Some modern ones have an inverter with each cell, because just connecting the cells in series or parallel is less efficient.

      • jim2
        “Looks like you have only 125 Wh so far, Jack. Gonna be slim pickin’s for the next week I’m guessing.”

        Yep, back on the grid*. Next few days looks like I’ll be burning some carbon in my fireplace insert. I’m sure my Nat Gas royalties will cover any electricity I have been using till the sun comes back.
        FWIW, I have used past long inclement weather periods to calculate the approximate size of battery I would need to go off-grid and it works out to about 130 KWh. I’ll consider a battery if the price gets below $40 per KWh and last at least 20yrs.
        *If I loose the grid I’ll just plug my house into my Volt. I added a 1500w DC/AC inverter to back feed AC into my critical loads for emergencies.

      • “Bidirectional Vehicle-to-Grid + Microgrids + Demand Response + Smart homes.”

        This is pure fantasy from beginning to end. None of it works except in the fevered head of people with a tenuous connection to reality. It has about as much substance as a literary creation. Indeed, pretty-much the entire economy in bidirectional vehicle-to-grid, microgrids, demand response and smart homes is the trade in bloviating about them. This is not an insubstantial market, but it doesn’t produce or save any actual energy – it merely provides a livelihood for a class of scribblers. I do not doubt the participants believe every word is reality. As the saying goes, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

      • mesocyclone,
        As I repair or replace old or broken AC appliances I have been buying appliances that have DC brushless inverter motors. Of course the manufacturers have to embed the necessary AC to DC converters to work with the dominate 120v/240v residential wiring standards but the savings are measurable and the appliances are quite and reliable. So far I’ve converted 1 refrigerator, 2 room air conditioners and a dish washer.
        I doubt I’ll ever wire my house for DC but if I was building new I would have every room pre-wired with ethernet, 120v AC, 12v or 24v DC and smart vents (Room Temperature, HVAC Temperature, Air Quality, Air Pressure, Humidity, Audio sensors like these from https://www.alealabs.com/technology/).
        When I installed my PV array in 2012 I began really scrutinizing what was using the most energy in my house and my analysis revealed that my biggest users of electricity were (in order of total annual consumption): Whole house HVAC system, electric water heater, refrigerator, electronics(TVs/computers/internet), lighting, oven & cooktop, clothes dryer and clothes washer. By switching to zoned air/heating (+fireplace insert), LED lights, induction cooktop and putting a timer on my water heater I slashed my consumption by over 30% and that’s the reason my solar system can cover my energy use.

      • “As I repair or replace old or broken AC appliances I have been buying appliances that have DC brushless inverter motors. ”

        Jack, thanks for all the info – very interesting.

        A few questions:

        -which devices did you convert? How much reduction in energy usage?

        -why use 24V DC rather than higher voltage? 24 is certainly electrocution safe, but 48V is also pretty safe and would let you use smaller wire (lower current for the same power)?

        -your solar system: does it have one or more inverters (perhaps built into the charge controller in one case)? What voltage are your batteries at?

        In my case, the two largest energy hogs are HVAC (6 tons total) and two water heaters (5.5kW and 4.5kW). Since I live in Phoenix, the HVAC units run a lot. I have current sensors on all the high amperage lines, that feed an energy monitoring system, so I can see where the power goes, in real time and reports.

        About all I could do that is cost effective (at least over a few years of cost) was to put timers on the water heaters, so they are off during the peak energy billing time (3-8PM). Zoning would do much due to the open nature of the house. At some point, I will have to replace one or more of the HVAC units, and that will give me some efficiency gains, since they are old.

        Thanks.

      • jim2, aporiac1960
        What’s up with this?
        “The results show that grid-tied utility customers are being grossly under-compensated in most of the U.S. as the value of solar eclipses the net metering rate as well as two-tiered rates. It can be concluded that substantial future work is needed for regulatory reform to ensure that grid-tied solar PV owners are not unjustly subsidizing U.S. electric utilities.”
        https://www.pv-magazine.com/2021/02/11/us-scientists-claim-pv-system-owners-subsidize-their-non-pv-neighbors/

      • Tell that to the Germans, Mr. Smith.

      • mesocyclone,
        I haven’t replaced any devices that run directly on DC (yet).When I said ‘converted’ it should have said replaced appliances that used AC induction motors with newer models with DC invert motors. As to the savings it’s a little harder to compare the old with the new because I up scaled everything bigger but I estimate it’s about 15% cheaper.
        I messed up about the 12v & 24v, should have been 12v & 48v.
        The only batteries I have are a couple of APC Back-UPS 600w 120v AC units for the office and some lights.
        My solar array uses Enphase microinverters so the panel’s DC output is converted at the panel to 240v AC. I was sold on the microinverter approach back in 2010 when I saw how poorly string inverters perform when just one panel is underperforming because they are wired in series. Microinverters also have per-panel real-time monitoring that is really cool. The failure rate is pretty low too. I had 3 out of 28 microinverters go bad in the first five years (none since 2017) and when one does drop out you only loose the output of one panel for a few days until the defective unit is replaced under warranty. I can swap them out myself with common hand tools. One more note, a few of my panels seem to be a little weaker after 9 years but the entire array is still generating about 96% of my 1st. years output. Better than I originally expected by now.
        I highly recommend timers on your hot water heaters. You will save a lot of electricity and greatly extend the life of the electrodes and avoid mineral buildup. I’m thinking about remodeling my bathroom soon and I think I’m going to a electric tankless water heater.
        I use a eGuage 12 circuit energy monitor from https://www.egauge.net/home-energy-monitor/
        Zoned heating and cooling really works best when you can section off the parts of the home where you spend the most time. Clearly architectural design will dictate your options there but the key is per room control.

      • “I highly recommend timers on your hot water heaters. You will save a lot of electricity and greatly extend the life of the electrodes and avoid mineral buildup.”

        Once I realized I that the water heaters were killing me on peak demand billing, I put electronic timers on them. I was a bit surprised at how inaccurate the clock is on them – I checked them the other day and they were off by five minutes (which isn’t enough to hurt) – that drift over maybe a year or two, which is surprising.

        Yes, putting panels in series without the microinverters is really suboptimal. I did an analysis of solar for my home, and even over a 20 year period, the savings were too small to be worth having the various issues having them would entail. But, if the utilities continue to be nutty about adding “renewable” to their mix, their costs will go up enough I might have to add them. It annoys me that with fossil fuel costs way down, utility bills keep going up. But it’s because of various costs they are incurring from renewables.

      • Well, Jack, I don’t know if you are saving any money or saving the Planet, but it sounds like you’re having fun. That’s one good thing.

      • Sorry, Meso, but if you think renewables are making your electric bill higher, we’re going to have to gather you and your kin up and send all the the “reprogramming camp” we’ve set up just for your kind. Ice pick lobotomies aren’t out of the question.

      • “Sorry, Meso, but if you think renewables are making your electric bill higher, we’re going to have to gather you and your kin up and send all the the “reprogramming camp” we’ve set up just for your kind. Ice pick lobotomies aren’t out of the question.”

        That was a pretty rude response. Apparently you have no idea how renewables impact grid costs, nor how the utilities have been subsidizing renewable customers. Utilities are not putting in renewables because they are in any way cost effective. They are doing it because they are being forced to do so. Arizona has an idiotic rule that utilities have to use 50% renewables in 10 years, for example.

        Apparently you didn’t read “power engineer’s” many posts on how the grid works and how renewables impacts grid costs. Can you explain why Texas wind farms often pay substantial per-kWh charges for the utility to *accept* their energy?

        Renewables only lower costs in very special situations.

    • Geoff Sherrington

      RLB,
      France went 70+ precent nuclear with little fuss years ago. Why has it seemingly become difficult in other countries, now?
      The explanation is mainly political, not technological. Geoff S

      • Geoff

        My understanding is that for reasons that elude me, France is reducing the 75% nuclear share to 50% over the next ten years in order to increase the share of weather dependent ‘let’s hope the weather gods are smiling’ energy generation

        https://bellona.org/news/nuclear-issues/2020-03-france-begins-winding-down-its-reliance-on-nuclear-power

        tonyb

      • tonyb,
        Another factor in Franc’s move to diversify their power supply is related to their aging fleet:
        “France’s 58 nuclear reactors, operated by state-controlled EDF, were built in large part between the end of the 1970s and the early 1980s. They are coming to the end of their 40-year design lifespan.”
        Also a factor in a warming climate is the effect on the efficiency of all thermal power plants that depend on the physics of the Rankine and Carnot Cycle. In the last decade France has had to shut down some of it’s nuclear power plants several times because the intake water temperature was too high.

      • Jack

        The reason for the cap on Nuclear is political and the 50% has been pushed back from 2025 but is still an aspiration.

        There have been some very limited reductions due to too warm water or too low a water source but they are a tiny dent in overall power generation.

        The ageing fleet is fair enough but they have been allowed to age deliberately. I suspect that it is too late to build new ones to take up the shortfall even if the political will was there, which it isn’t.

        Tonyb

      • I wonder why France just extend their designed lifespan?
        Here in the US it seems routine to just tack on a extra 20 years to a plants original lifespan*.
        https://www.nei.org/resources/statistics/us-nuclear-license-renewal-filings

        * As with so many things in our modern world planned obsolescence is a huge waste of resources. I still have a cell phone from the early 2000s that works just fine but the networks have moved on to 3g, 4g and now 5g.
        Soon even my car’s On-Star cellular link will be obsolete because it was designed for the old 3g system and the phone companies want to move that spectrum to support 5g.

      • Quote :
        ” jacksmith4tx | February 9, 2021 at 11:06 am |
        I wonder why France just extend their designed lifespan?
        Here in the US it seems routine to just tack on a extra 20 years to a plants original lifespan*. ”

        Designed lifespan is the plant life for safe operation. In many instances it is dictated by the design code being followed. Also on later designs, a continuous monitoring of spent life based on mode of operation (work beyond that allowed and the years can become hours).
        There are many parts in a plant that have a limited life, especially if its already near a half century old. Those parts can be very dangerous beyond their specified life. A secondary issue is insurance cover for plant.

        Codes allow life extension after extensive examination, but in the case of steam generators extension is limited to 10% of design life.

      • melitamegalithic,
        Indeed, I posted that as bit of snark. When you look at the approval process and the extensive retrofitting required it’s really a economic decision too. Check that NEI approval list and there are a few plants that were granted extensions but were decommissioned anyway.

      • Jack

        I think France lost faith in nuclear some years ago and like many countries tried to save money and stick their fingers in the ear when demands came to put some big money into their energy system.

        However the siren voices became too much some 10 or 15 years ago but unfortunately they were green ones ideologically opposed to nuclear.

        So France is stuffed, as it has now embarked on weather dependent renewables at just the time that such as Shellenbeger, Moore and Zion lights have realised that nuclear is the answer, not weather dependents, as they had been preaching for years.

        tonyb

  4. Ruining large swaths of ecosystem could effect climate more than climate effects ecosystems – climate change is slower than changing for climate…

  5. If you could stop burning fossil fuels completely, the concentrations of atmospheric CO2 would continue to rise for around 30 years, Anthro emissions are a very small part of total emissions. Natural emission rates of CO2 from tropical oceans are much greater than anthropogenic emissions and their rates have been rising for over 70 years, I have calculated that they will continue to rise at lowering rates for about another 30 years (until around 2050) then begin to decrease. Maybe my great-grand-children will still be around to see if I was right. For a further long-term projection, I have calculated the global annual average atmospheric concentration of CO2 should top out at somewhere between 470 and 530 ppm. I think this is better than an educated guess and certainly better than IPPC’s “predictions”.

  6. From the report:

    “EU 2050 climate neutrality, if achieved, will likely cause only a very small decrease in the average global atmospheric temperature increase and no more than between 0.02°C and 0.06°C in 2050”

    The dry adiabatic lapse rate is about 1°C of cooling per every 300 meters of vertical motion. IF (and it’s a big if) the IPCC is correct and the cooling by 2050 is say 0.05°C as the report asserts, that corresponds to moving vertically by fifteen meters. That’s the difference between the temperature on the ground floor of a building and the temperature three floors up … which is to say, undetectable.

    And for that trivial, unmeasurable, minuscule degree of POSSIBLE but by no means certain cooling, people are seriously advocating spending TRILLIONS of dollars and destroying their entire landscapes with wind and solar plants …

    … the innumeracy of the people advocating this expensive, destructive nonsense never ceases to amaze me.

    Let me recommend my analysis of the impossibility of phasing out fossil fuels by 2050, entitled “Bright Green Impossibilities“. Seriously, folks, it cannot be done.

    w.

    • > … the innumeracy of the people advocating this expensive, destructive nonsense never ceases to amaze me.

      What about the innumeracy of people who said with complwte certainty that 0.085% would be the “hard limit” for population fatality from COVID? Does that ever cease to amaze you?

      • Oh, great, this hogwash again.

        As pointed out to you many times, “Joshua”, my estimate of not more than 0.085% of the population dying was an early estimate in May. An EARLY ESTIMATE, not “complete certainty”. ESTIMATE. I estimated that no country would have more than .085% of their population die. And unlike the numbers which are the subject of this post, it was not something that people would be expected to act on.

        And as I’ve also said many times, US results are indeed higher than my estimate … so sue me. How well did your early estimate do? Oh, wait … your courage to make such an estimate and possibly be wrong is only matched by your courage to actually sign your own words …

        At present, 83% of the worlds’ countries, containing 84% of the global population, are UNDER my early estimate of the maximum death rate … so I’d say my estimate wasn’t that bad. But so what? Why are you so obsessed about this?

        It certainly was a far better estimate than that of Neil Ferguson of the Imperial College, which was used to drive policy, of 2.2 million US deaths, which is 0.662%. How about you go rag on him, since his error actually made a difference in country policies and plans, while mine was just an estimate in a blog post?

        Finally, yours is a “tu quoque” argument, a known logical fallacy. So can we now go back to the actual question at hand?

        w.

      • Joshua

        What about dealing with the report in question?

        We have two related problems.

        Firstly the effect of man made co2 has been greatly exaggerated and as a result countries and activist groups have become hysterical . However the collective impact sought by the Paris agreement will make little difference to global temperatures let alone the impact from individual countries.

        All of this not helped that the biggest ‘polluter’ China intends to carry on doing just that for many more decades and not follow the Western lemmings over the economic cliff..

        Second related problem

        Net zero greenhouse gas carbon emissions by 2050?

        What are we going to use for Energy? What are we Going to use for Jobs? What are we going to use for Money with real world costings of £12 Trillion yes £12 trillion ,to put in the electric infrastructure into the UK? Where is the raw material to come from and are we happy much is owned by China and mined by child slaves?

        For those interested in seeing how former left wing climate advocates have realised the renewables solution is no solution, and telling impoverished communities in other countries what to do is a very bad idea

        The Book “Apocalypse Never “Shellenberger Slide Deck — Environmental Progress
        https://environmentalprogress.org/apocalypse-neve

        Nobody expected ‘very left-wing’ Michael Moore to issue a film ‘critical of renewables’ – YouTube –interview with Shellenberger on Moores film-not the film itself

        A reality check on ‘Delusional” renewables – David MacKay – YouTube-Former Chief Scientist at DECC

        Planet of the Humans – Full Documentary – Bing video Michael Moore –Former left wing darling who has realised renewables just won’t deliver
        https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=Planet+of+th

        I have no particular brief for fossil fuel but I do have one for keeping the lights on and people employed and healthy. If anyone can make a good case for an alternative to Nuclear I will gladly hear it, In the meantime it is a much better solution than inefficient weather dependent renewables

        tonyb

      • Curious George

        -Doctor, what should I list as a cause of death?
        – Put down “Coronavirus”.
        – But Doctor, he has seven deep stab wounds.
        – Add “With complications”.

      • Willis –

        > As pointed out to you many times, “Joshua”,

        Actually, we’ve never discussed it “Willis,” ‘cuase you blocked me on Twitter and went into hiding.

        When you made your prediction you said the “hard limit” would be a tiny bit higher (Belgium was already close to 0.085%) – certainly not more than 0.01 higher than they already were. You were off by 200% w/ Belgium and over 150% for a bunch of other cointries. But I guess you have a low standard for yourself since you think that’s close. Sad.

        I think you should hold yourself to a higher standard than that .

        But yeah, there are countries that implemented effective interventions and kept the population fatality rate low. And some countries with low age profiles that remained below your “hard limit.” But funny enough, none of them were in your silly little chart. Maybe in the future you’ll learn to not just project lines going by some magic theory and refrain from making lame predictions when you have no idea about the causality underlying the curves? Don’t pretend you saw all those spikes combining, Willis. It just makes you look silly.

      • Gotta say, I’m surprised you think the “lockdowns” in China and India (36% of the world’s population with such low fatality rates- then add places like South Korea) were the way to go.

        Your whole argument was that 0.085% would be the “hard limit” with no interventions. Looks like Sweden shows that argument sucked, huh?

      • Sorry, I should correct “off by 200%.” That’s obviously not correct. Belgium’s population fatality is at 200% of your “hard limit” would be a better description. Others are at 150% of that “hard limit.”

    • thecliffclavenoffinance

      Echenbach
      How dare you bring science, logic and common sense to this issue! That is not allowed!

      Climate change is about politics and government power and control — “saving the planet” is used to sell what people otherwise would not want.

      In the world of politics, spending trillions of dollars to replace a reliable electric grid, powered mainly by fossil fuels, with an unreliable electric grid, powered mainly by unreliables”, makes a lot of sense.

      What about the one billion people in the world with no electricity? Who cares about them? They don’t contribute money to politicians.

      The coming climate change “crisis” makes sense because the goal is to create fear (spinning beneficial global warming as a boogeyman, and the staff of life, CO2, as ‘the devil in the sky’).

      The goal is to get lots of people to demand that government act now, and then the politicians will seize more power over the private sector, spend a lot of money, and tell everyone what to do.

      This scheme works a lot better than a simple campaign announcement that “I want to spend a lot of money and tell everyone what to do”.

      “We believe in science” simply means we believe any scientist who predicts a coming climate crisis. Everyone else is a “denier”.

      After living with, and enjoying, global warming for the past 45 years, most people on out planet will be disappointed if global warming stops.

      The climate on our planet is more pleasant than it has been in hundreds of years, since the Little Ice Age centuries. But never mind that. Having a climate change/CO2 boogeyman is more fun!

    • Willis, we’re shouting into a hurricane. Bless you for persevering.

  7. This study is the biggest no-brainer in the history of the world. Anyone who fears anthropogenic CO2 is an existential threat should be all in on nuclear power. Anyone who wants to minimize the footprint of power generation and transmission facilities should likewise be all in on nuclear power. Anyone who wants reliable electric power should be all in on nuclear power. For some reason it’s always the ‘follow the science’ people who instead follow politics.

    • To be fair most people cherry pick the science they like.

    • John Kirker – to be fair, the comparison of these technologies should involve cost projections based on engineering – no science to be cherry picked. Or put another way, engineering is applied science, but the engineering of power generation and transmission is based on really, solidly “settled science.”

      Of course, decisions on whether and how much to reduce CO2 are tied to projections based on very iffy science. Specifically, while increasing CO2 obviously increase the temperature over what it would be naturally, we really don’t know how much, for reasons hashed out over and over again in this blog and elsewhere.

  8. I wonder if they considered the rate of construction to get to their goal? They need to read Willis’s https://wattsupwiththat.com/2021/01/27/bright-green-impossibilities/

  9. It’s good to see these facts, that have been blatantly obvious for decades, are now being considered at a high level in the EU.

  10. Thanks Judith!!

  11. Willis nailed the big issue, of course, but I thought this was a rather nice quotable quote:
    “While nuclear requires a tiny bit of land to provide a
    whole lot of power at a low cost, wind and solar require
    a whole lot of land to provide a tiny bit of power at a
    high cost.”

    • Suggested edit:
      While nuclear requires a tiny bit of land to provide a whole lot of RELIABLE power at a low cost, wind and solar require a whole lot of land to provide a tiny bit of UNRELIEABLE power at a high cost.

  12. I think the argument is a no brainer. The big issue is that you have to convince people that it is safer. Our Climate Change president who fortunately, wasn’t, Jay Inslee (you people who don’t like Biden be very glad you didn’t get Inslee) still hasn’t cleaned up Hanford. Maybe it isn’t a fair comparison but you have to persuade people that it isn’t. Then there is the business of building nuclear on a fault line like in California. When you start talking about nuclear waste people freak out. Articles like this https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/welcome-most-toxic-place-america-n689141

    • “. . . still hasn’t cleaned up Hanford.”
      The materials at Hanford are not related in any ways whatsoever, none at all, to electricity generation for civilian use. Every micro-gram is instead the results of the military nuclear-weapons objectives of the USA.

  13. The Australian Senator, Malcolm Roberts, after several face-to-face meetings with CSIRO’s hierarchy and senior climate staff reported that “CSIRO has never said CO2 from human activity is a danger; CSIRO admitted today’s temperatures are NOT unprecedented; CSIRO’s cited papers do NOT show rate of temp rise is unprecedented; CSIRO has never quantified any specific impact from human CO2; CSIRO relies on unvalidated, erroneous models;
    CSIRO relied on discredited papers; ” and more. This means that all the arguments behind the alarmist consensus claims and the Paris Accord should fall in a heap and the world return to state of sanity.

    • Seems highly unlikely common sense will prevail. The powerful and rich become more powerful and richer by promoting climate hysteria to unleash fear in a public largely scientifically and technically challenged. Emotions count more than logic and those advocating reason are branded as deniers and “racists”.

      Ultimately, the public will wise up but by then most will be much, much poorer. The ruling elite will become even further entrenched in power. California provides a really good example of how this works.

  14. From what I have heard Thorium Liquid Salt reactors can’t melt down, can be much smaller and cheaper to construct, produce less waste that has a much shorter half-life (no trans-uranics), and also there is supposedly less of a proliferation problem. If this is true there should be a world wide effort to develop this reactor technology. Also there is evidently plenty of Thorium. The current reactors seem very problematic for many reasons. Just the fact that a catastrophic accident is possible as has already happened (a Fukushima like event was supposed to be nearly impossible) makes them an Achilles heal in a world of rampant inequality and terrorism.

  15. “ Of course, it would have been preferable had the European Commission itself done a comprehensive cost/benefit analysis of………”

    Yes, well it would have been preferable had the IPCC had more facts before it determined that CO2 was the culprit. But this is what happens when the judge tells the jury what their decision will be and it’s their job to find facts to justify their decision.

    Everything about global warming has had the cart before the horse. Decide now, gather the facts later. It’s an expensive “oops”.

    • Totally agree. It just seems that the climate salvation (yes an Andy West fan) issue moves from one extreme to the next. And all have used/accepted CO2 as the resident evil for their own purposes. I posted this in the last article, but no commentary.

      Click to access Goklany-EmpiricalTrends.pdf

      Goklany must have been ‘cancelled’.

    • cerescokid | February 9, 2021 at 6:25 am |

      Yes, well it would have been preferable had the IPCC had more facts before it determined that CO2 was the culprit. But this is what happens when the judge tells the jury what their decision will be and it’s their job to find facts to justify their decision.

      Sadly, ceresco, it was worse than that. The IPCC was told that CO2 was the culprit, and that their task was merely to determine what a dangerous level of CO2 might be …

      A pathetic miscarriage of the scientific method, with predictable results …

      w.

    • What’s the current (and the next month’s) status of the EPA Endangerment Finding?

  16. Bjarne Bisballe

    A quote from it: “In the absence of strong evidence supporting unambiguous answers, as a panacea, the reliability of answers is framed in terms of the level of confidence of climate scientists, which shifts the focus from the evidence to the authority of scientists, a different matter altogether.”

  17. From today’s Wall Street Journal …

    GREEN HYDROGEN PLANT IN SAUDI DESERT AIMS TO AMP UP CLEAN POWER
    Developers behind the world’s largest planned green hydrogen project hope a growing global thirst for emission-free fuels will pay dividends

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/green-hydrogen-plant-in-saudi-desert-aims-to-amp-up-clean-power-11612807226?

    • We lost 18 years of Hydrogen fuel development because George W Bush promoted it and, well, he’s the Republican who beat Al Gore you see, so everyone in the media and politics was required to pretend that hydrogen was all a “myth” and a “scam” and “anti-science” from a notorious planet-hater.
      Al Gore himself told us it was all entirely unnecessary because windmills and solar panels were, at that very moment, perfectly ready to cheaply provide all of America’s energy needs.
      Which isn’t true today and certainly wasn’t in 2003, so the Democrats shot down nukes and hydrogen and, because the world still needs energy, we got the fracking revolution in oil and natural gas, which was well on it’s way to providing the next 30-40 years of cheap energy on the day in January 2009 when the Democrats finally won back the White House.
      So now hydrogen has to compete with cheap natural gas in the US. Good job, Al. At least he made hundreds of millions of dollars in the process of being spokesman for bad science and bad ideas.

  18. Pingback: Road to Climate Neutrality – Watts Up With That?

  19. “A team of experts came to the conclusion that it is practically impossible to provide enough energy with renewables,” in a modern society. Warming bagels over a trash fire on the empty streets of NYC can only take you so far…

  20. Pingback: Road to Climate Neutrality |

  21. Pingback: Road to Climate Neutrality – Climate- Science.press

  22. It is so strange that I was teaching these sensible ideas to sixth formers in the uk over 30 years ago. We had a text book with some excellent information in. It was an energy resources unit for A level Physics. The students and I found it very interesting. I wonder what would happen to me now if I was teaching it and questioning our rush for wind and solar by pointing out their problems and cost. Even worse, suggesting nuclear energy as a cheaper and more practical alternative. I just worry no one will want to believe it.

  23. I have been endorsing molten salt reactors since I first read of them, and I wish that we (the US) would devote more resources to their development.

  24. Actually, the biggest problem with the whole energy supply ‘non-debate’ is the bedwetting panic that says everything must be done in a heart beat or we are all doomed!

    The reality is far more nuanced. In my opinion, the whole of the 21st century is available to ensure that energy supply evolution is based on adequately tested technology, ability to provide reliable baseline supplies, minimising unnecessary waste and ending the pre-adolescent imperialism that sees human misery as a necessity for controlling global energy supplies.

    Let us be clear, the UK is currently experiencing the sort of snowy winter that has been relatively rare since the 1980s. The coldest overnight temperatures for 11 years have been recorded in the past 24hrs. Snow cover is widespread even at low altitudes across wide swathes of the UK.

    The USA is about to experience its first really cold snap for a few decades, six weeks after an SSW event. One does wonder what the record rate of ice accumulation on the Great Lakes is in recorded history, but the next seven days may conceivably rival it.

    None of these weather events have been caused either by carbon dioxide nor global lockdowns. They are events which happen regularly and there should now be 60 years of data to analyse to show quite how causally related SSW events and subsequent weather events actually are.

    The first thing that needs to change is that debate must not be controlled by people who can afford almost anything, no matter how expensive. Bill Gates saying he can relate to energy bills in poverty is about as credible as saying that Saddam Hussein should have got the Nobel Peace Prize. Nobody of Gates’ wealth should be making policy because he simply lives a parallel existence. Policy needs to be made by those who actually know what energy poverty feels like, what food poverty feels like (I do, as it happens…) and who are also not controlled by the gigarich interests. There is no example in recorded history of government in the interests of the super-rich ever trickling down wealth to the bottom 50%.

    What the gigarich want to do is eliminate 6 billion humans so they can live life solely according to their rules.

    The fact is that they got gigarich mostly on the back of the sweat and tears of billions of pretty poor people.

    The time has come to lay down the law about how policy is made.

    That doesn’t mean making it in ignorance.

    It means changing the terms of reference of why policy is formulated, for whose benefit it is formulated and what sanctions should exist for those who actively seek to create mass poverty due to their psychopathic selfishness….

  25. Whether it’s Europe’s hottest year on record, unprecedented wildfires in California/Cascadia, off-the-chart poor-air advisories, unprecedented stalling hurricanes, the mass deforestation and incineration of the Amazonian rainforest (home to a third of all known terrestrial plant, animal and insect species), record-breaking flooding in Europe, single-use plastics clogging life-bearing waters, a B.C. (2019) midsummer’s snowfall, the gradually dying endangered whale species or geologically invasive/destructive fracking or a myriad of other categories of large-scale toxic pollutant emissions and dumps—there’s discouragingly insufficient political courage/will to sufficiently address the cause-and-effect of manmade global warming and climate change.

    (And, oh boy, do I want to be proven wrong while there’s still time!)

    To me, our existence has for too long been analogous to a cafeteria lineup consisting of diversely societally represented people, all adamantly arguing over which identifiable traditionally marginalized person should be at the front and, conversely, at the back of the line. Many of them further fight over to whom amongst them should go the last piece of quality pie and how much should they have to pay for it—all the while the interstellar spaceship on which they’re all permanently confined, owned and operated by (besides the most wealthy) the fossil fuel industry, is on fire and toxifying at locations not normally investigated.

    The latter is allowed to occur, because blue-shirted liberals and red-hatted conservatives are preoccupied loudly blasting each other for their politics and beliefs thus distracting attention from big business’s moral and ethical corruption, where it should be focused.

    Meanwhile, mindless arguments are made, and stupid-sounding catchphrases are uttered, like “It’s the economy, stupid!”

    In short, we’re distracting ourselves from our own burning and heavily polluting of our sole spaceship, Earth.

    What is sufficiently universal, however, is that the laborers are simply too exhausted and preoccupied with just barely feeding and housing their families on a substandard, if not below the poverty line, income to criticize the former for the great damage it’s doing to our planet’s natural environment and therefore our health, particularly when that damage may not be immediately observable.

  26. If I did the calculations correctly …

    A 570 Engine HP Tractor would have to have 90 Tesla Model X batteries at a combined weight of 108,000 pounds to have equivalent kwH of the 243 gallon diesel fuel tank. It would consume 9.25 of those batteries per hour of operation.

    A 120 PTO HP Tractor would have to have 17 Tesla Model X batteries at a combined weight of 20,400 pounds to have equivalent kwH of the 46 gallon diesel fuel tank. It would consume 2 of those batteries per hour of operation.

    How does something like this factor into the “road to neutrality?”

    Also, I wonder what the numbers would be for a Cat D11 Bulldozer :)

    • Oh, and if those batteries were actually used on the tractors in question, the tractor would probably consume all available energy in a few seconds. I was assuming the weight of the batteries didn’t add to the weight of the tractor, which is not the case.

    • So when fossil fuel production is severely cut back and diesel goes to $100/gallon, do you think the farmer will be willing to spend $24,300 to fill the tank on his 570 Engine HP Tractor?

    • From what can be found on the web, Tesla cost per kWh is $127. So the model X 100 kWh would be $12,700. So, our farmer with the 570 Engine HP Tractor would have to shell out $1,143,000 just for the batteries. Good bye food production! For the smaller tractor, the battery cost would be $215,900. Better start hunting grasshoppers now!

      A high quality of living isn’t possible without cheap fossil fuels. It will be this way for a long time to come.

  27. From a post on WUWT, a white star burst in the center or our Milky Way has produced iron, nickel and chromium in such a nuclear furnace. This phenomenon got me to thinking: is it possible to get both energy for electricity generation as well as producing minerals to replenish and rebuilt our planet? A two-fer.

    It seems to me that the potential for nuclear power has many more future possibilities than heating water to spin a turbine.

    • Well, considering we can’t use hydrogen fusion to feed the grid, I wouldn’t be holdin’ my breath for metals heavier than that.

    • It would be a lot cheaper to harvest metal asteroids.

      Nuclear reactors used to produce elements that are used in medicine and industry: radioactive isotopes. But the quantities are very small and the cost very high.

      To give an idea of what it costs to make elements, plutonium, used in nuclear weapons, is not a natural element (caveat below), and was produced at volume for nuclear weapons. It costs over $5000 per gram.

      Caveat: very small amounts of plutonium were found in uranium in Gabon, which had long ago formed a natural fission reactor.

  28. Michael Kelly, emeritus proff.(Techology, Cambridge) wrote a good paper on this a few years ago – republished as the annual address to the GWPF in 2019: https://wwwthegpwf/prof-michael-kelly-energy-policy-need-herds-of-unicorns/

    • What extraordinary times we live in:

      “The UK’s decision to embark on a wholesale decarbonisation of the economy is beset by superficial thinking that ignores engineering reality.

      That’s according to Professor Michael Kelly, emeritus professor of engineering at the University of Cambridge. At the Annual GWPF Lecture Professor Kelly told an audience in London last night that the government’s 2050 net zero target is unachievable without major social disruption.”

  29. I did a back of the envelope calculation using energy equivalents. If all of the US gasoline and diesel fuels were replaced with electricity we would have to multiply our electric power generation by a factor of 2.5. Where would this green power come from? Then, think of the cars in Fargo ND and Fairbanks AK. Battery powered trucks would be stranded at the road side after driving 40 miles in -40 degrees, with no heat. Further, depending on the assumptions for battery for cars and power back-up, we predictably use up all of the world’s Lithium reserves, that is, the US alone. The salvation is clearly in Thorium salt reactor modular reactor networking. The Indonesians figured this out, and they are planning on assembly line production of small units and large ones in shipyards. There is benefit in simple math over getting lost in scientific unfathomable discourse and polemics.

  30. Russia has a potential role in providing Europe with safe and affordable nuclear power including advanced designs such as fast breeder reactors like the successful Beloyarsk models. Some predjudice and mythology needs to be overcome for this valuable resource to be made available. Indulging in endless race wars (e.g. against Russia and China) will prove a hard obstacle to progress in real carbon reductions accomplished with reliability and affordability.

    • “endless race wars”. Please explain what you mean.

      The obstacles are that Russia is highly dependent on fossil fuel income; China has strong incentives to not reduce emissions, and is building coal fired power plants at a rapid pace; neither country can be trusted to honor commitments, due to their non-democratic governments and their endemic corruption; developing nations have billions of energy deprived poor people who need electricity at low cost.

      Nuclear is still more expensive than natural gas or coal, unfortunately. And as I understand it, the Beloyarsk requires plutonium as part of its fuel, and since it is a fast breeder, produces plutonium, which is a proliferation issue. Also, the design is nearly 35 years old.

      In the long run, we certainly need low cost, highly reliable nuclear reactors. Sodium cooled reactors is one candidate technology, and the Belyarsk 800 is sodium cooled. But I think we need modular reactors that can be factory made – mass produced – if the cost of nuclear is to go down.

      • Regarding Russian nuclear technology and ability to provide cost effective nuclear solutions, what relevance does it have that Russia produces and consumes fossil fuels?

        I agree that fast breeders have proliferation issues, and also that the modular reactors are quite likely the future of nuclear. Russia has more of these than any other state since their nuclear sector has not been under internal ideological siege as has the corresponding industry in the west for the last half century.

        “endless race wars”. Please explain what you mean.

        The simple fact that no US politician is able to look at a Russian without experiencing an involuntary gas chamber fantasy.

        The Whitehouse openly describes Russia, China and Iran as “adversaries”. Maybe I missed it but AFAIK no (official) declaration of war was made. But that is the language of war. In the past there were at least some half-hearted mutterings about building a positive and constructive relationship with these countries but in the last decade even that has disappeared.

        Inverting cause and effect is the play-book on how to cement hostility. Provoke a country by aggressive bad-faith actions (e.g. promising not to move NATO to Russia’s boundary then moving NATO to Russia’s boundary) and then say “my O my look how hostile they’ve become!” Russia started from the dictatorial Soviet Union and needed some more creative and imaginative approaches to draw them toward a transparent and democratic path. But in the end no-one in the west wanted this, they were happier with cold war polarisation, and having a race in the east to demonise was not something they were willing to give up.

        Sorry but the USA has made it crystal clear that they regard Russia, China and Iran as unconditional, eternal racial enemies. They are happy simply to be at war with these countries for ever. What part of this is not clear??

      • “Regarding Russian nuclear technology and ability to provide cost effective nuclear solutions, what relevance does it have that Russia produces and consumes fossil fuels?”

        I explained that Russia’s needs to sell hydrocarbons puts them in a conflict position regarding their nuclear technology (which is also obsolete).

        “The simple fact that no US politician is able to look at a Russian without experiencing an involuntary gas chamber fantasy.””

        That is not a fact, it is itself a fantasy.

        “The Whitehouse openly describes Russia, China and Iran as “adversaries”. Maybe I missed it but AFAIK no (official) declaration of war was made. But that is the language of war. In the past there were at least some half-hearted mutterings about building a positive and constructive relationship with these countries but in the last decade even that has disappeared.”

        They are adversaries, and no, adversary does not mean war. It means conflict, but that conflict in this case is not warfare. Russia and China are bad faith actors. Russia has been for most of its modern history, with a lull for awhile after the USSR fell.

        “Inverting cause and effect is the play-book on how to cement hostility. Provoke a country by aggressive bad-faith actions (e.g. promising not to move NATO to Russia’s boundary then moving NATO to Russia’s boundary) and then say “my O my look how hostile they’ve become!” ”

        While moving NATO the boundary was inappropriate, it is hardly an excuse for Russia’s behavior.

        “Russia started from the dictatorial Soviet Union and needed some more creative and imaginative approaches to draw them toward a transparent and democratic path. But in the end no-one in the west wanted this, they were happier with cold war polarisation, and having a race in the east to demonise was not something they were willing to give up.”

        That is again fiction. The west very much wanted a democratic Russia, and thought for awhile that it was happening. If you imagine that the west wants to bully countries around, and make adversaries, you are far our of line. the US and the west are interested in nothing more than avoiding conflict. That has been true for the US for at least 60 years. We don’t like war, we don’t like hostility.

        “Sorry but the USA has made it crystal clear that they regard Russia, China and Iran as unconditional, eternal racial enemies. They are happy simply to be at war with these countries for ever. What part of this is not clear??”

        What part of it is clear?

        It is paranoid and delusion, but unfortunately a view held by too many Russians.

        Racial? Are you kidding? There is no racial difference between western Europeans and Russians.

        We have not held that sort of view in my long memory. I can remember meeting visiting Russian scientists way back in the Soviet era. They were people, we were people, our relationship was friendly, not something with racial or any other animus. I am a veteran of the Vietnam war – one with an aggressive, communist enemy armed and egged on by Russia, but I never hated Russians, just the fact that Soviet actions led to the deaths of 100,000 Americans in the Korean and Vietnamese war, and that the threat of Soviet domination required us to spend so much money on defense.

        You, as a Russian, may view people through the lens of race. We do not – whether Russian, Chinese or Iranian.

        I think we are done. It is hard to reason with someone who believes that the US has racial animus towards Russia, for example. We care about how countries and people behave, not how they look. And we don’t judge the people of a country based on the misbehavior of their leaders.

      • OK there was some rhetoric exaggeration in my case.
        In response to WW2 the US rebuilt Germany with the Marshall plan.
        What, comparable to that, was ever done for Russia?
        OK Stalin’s paranoic hostility did not help.
        Even so, a debt of history remains.
        Now it seem only Germany recognise the historic debt to Russia, which is why they persist with the Nordstream 2 pipeline despite the Navalny dispute. In doing so Germany adds herself to the growing list of America’s “adversaries”.

      • “OK there was some rhetoric exaggeration in my case.”

        Thank you.

        “In response to WW2 the US rebuilt Germany with the Marshall plan.”

        That was not done “for” Germany and it was not restricted to Germany. It was to counter the threat of Soviet ambitions in Europe: “The purpose of the Marshall Plan was to aid in the economic recovery of nations after World War II and to reduce the influence of Communist parties within them.”

        “What, comparable to that, was ever done for Russia?”

        What should have been done? At the start of World War II, the Soviet Union (dominated by Russia but run by a Georgian) annexed half of Poland plus the Baltic nations. It did this while allied with the Nazis through the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. After Hitler turned on Russia, it became a temporary ally of the west (enemy of the enemy). The US gave massive material aid to the USSR during that time.

        At the end of that war, the USSR annexed half of Europe and ruled it tyrannically and parasitically until the Soviet system collapsed of its own internal contradictions, and its inability to compete in the military domain against the West, primarily the US.

        Russia (as the USSR) cost the US trillions of dollars in defense (and, during World War II, aid) and Russia cost us 100,000 lives in two wars it was heavily involved in.

        We don’t owe Russia anything.

        But, after the USSR fell, the west ended its posture against the constituent nations including Russia, and welcomed them into the world economic and social systems. The US aided Russia in cleaning up its poorly maintained and leaking biological weapons depots, and its nuclear waste.

        Friendly relations continued until misbehavior by Russia led to sanctions against it.

        “OK Stalin’s paranoic hostility did not help.”

        It is an almost irrelevant part of the problem of the USSR.

        “Even so, a debt of history remains.”

        Why do we owe Russia anything?

        I’d say that if we want to play some odd game of countries owing countries, then Russia (as the dominant nation of the USSR) owes us for all the harm it did to us under the communists.

        And it wasn’t just Stalin. His successors continued the aggression against democratic nations across the world, and support of some of the worst despots in the world.

        His successor, Khrushchev, took the world to the brink of nuclear war by first supporting the vicious dictatorship of Castro, and then by stationing nuclear weapons there. Khruschev also led a massive buildup of nuclear weapons, and continued the program of communist subversion in countries around the world.

        After Khruschev, the USSR aided its historic COMINTERN agent – “Ho Chi Minh” – in his military aggression against South Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, which led to the Vietnam War.

        The USSR in the 1970’s and 1980’s continued to subvert nation around the world in its attempt to create communist allies which it could use for further aggression, and which could or did provide military bases.

        Under Gorbachev, and in violation of international treaty, Russia developed the largest biological warfare program in history – BioPreparat – which had vast amounts of weaponized Anthrax, Smallpox, and other agents. Gorbachev, a dictator in spite of his repetitional revival by the left in the west, attempted to slightly liberalize the USSR in order to boost its failing economic system – the purpose of which was to revitalize the failing Soviet weapons industry. Ultimately, Gorbachev was thrown out by democracy seekers, and the USSR dissolved.

        Ultimate, the democracy failed and led to the dictatorship of Putin. Under Putin, Russia has continued to provide support for the loathsome Cuban communist dictatorship, and the more recently arisen one in Venezuela. It provides aid to Iran, a country with overt and extreme regional hegemonic ambitions, which is a major sponsor of terrorism in the world (including an aborted bombing in Washington DC in 2011), and which is planning to become a nuclear power with ICBM’s, as is Russian client state North Korea.

        Under Putin, Russia annexed part of Georgia and the Crimean Peninsula of Ukraine, and waged a “little green men” war in eastern Ukraine. Notably, Russia (plus the US) had guaranteed Ukrainian territorial integrity in return for Ukraine giving up the many nuclear and thermonuclear weapons it inherited after the breakup of the USSR.

        Russian dictatorships (as distinct from the Russian people) have caused Russia to be a bad member of the international community for almost 100 years, except for a brief interlude after the communist regime fell and Putin took over.

        “Now it seem only Germany recognise the historic debt to Russia, which is why they persist with the Nordstream 2 pipeline despite the Navalny dispute. In doing so Germany adds herself to the growing list of America’s “adversaries”.

        Germany’s action isn’t about a debt, it is about Germany wanting access to more natural gas. That does not make Germany an adversary of the US – they are allies and friends. The Trump Administration rightly viewed this move as potentially dangerous to European security, as it allows Russia to use it as an economic weapon.

      • Yes that’s how it looks from our side of the fence

      • Germany’s action isn’t about a debt, it is about Germany wanting access to more natural gas. That does not make Germany an adversary of the US – they are allies and friends. The Trump Administration rightly viewed this move as potentially dangerous to European security, as it allows Russia to use it as an economic weapon.

        Since when have energy supplies from Russia been unreliable? Never – not even during Soviet Cold War times. The only potential interruptions have been politically motivated ones from Poland and Ukraine. Hence Nordstream 2. The US as a gas exporter wants a competitor out of the way and casually employs threats and bullying mafia style to achieve this. This is causing a lot of anger in Europe and especially Germany, with moves to ban fracked US gas as a response.

        Germany a friend
        You think? I think most Americans would be appalled if they knew how far from the US and how close to Russia Germany is moving. If they are forced to make a choice between US and Russia, they’ll choose Russia. I work for a German company making scientific equipment. We are now instructed as a company-wide policy to find non-US alternatives for all components. Even where the best available is American as is not infrequent. They consider the growing list of political strings attached to all business with the US to be simply unacceptable.

      • Hatter asks:

        Since when have energy supplies from Russia been unreliable? Never – not even during Soviet Cold War times. The only potential interruptions have been politically motivated ones from Poland and Ukraine.

        Umm …

        On January 7 the dispute turned to crisis when all Russian gas flows through Ukraine were halted for 13 days, completely cutting off supplies to Southeastern Europe, most of which depends on Russian gas, and partially to other European countries.

        “Potential interruptions”? Hogwash.

        w.

      • “Since when have energy supplies from Russia been unreliable? Never – not even during Soviet Cold War times. The only potential interruptions have been politically motivated ones from Poland and Ukraine. ”

        Tell the Ukrainians about that. Russia shut off supplies to the Ukraine.

        “Hence Nordstream 2. The US as a gas exporter wants a competitor out of the way and casually employs threats and bullying mafia style to achieve this. ”

        That is a very bad misreading of US intentions. Sure, we like exporting gas, although most is for domestic use.

        “This is causing a lot of anger in Europe and especially Germany, with moves to ban fracked US gas as a response.”

        If so, then the Germans have really lost sight of reality! The US is a democracy, Russia is an aggressive, imperialistic dictatorship. Do you disagree?

        “Germany a friend
        You think? I think most Americans would be appalled if they knew how far from the US and how close to Russia Germany is moving. If they are forced to make a choice between US and Russia, they’ll choose Russia.”

        Well, we look at them as a friend. If they are dumb enough to choose Russia, they’ll regret it in the long term – not because we’ll hurt them, but because Russia well. You’d think, by now, that they’d appreciate the danger that Russia has posed for the last 100 years or so – Soviet, then Putin.

        “I work for a German company making scientific equipment. We are now instructed as a company-wide policy to find non-US alternatives for all components. Even where the best available is American as is not infrequent.”

        That sounds like typical EU protectionism. The EU has long considered itself in economic competition to the US, and has grown more and more restrictive.

        “They consider the growing list of political strings attached to all business with the US to be simply unacceptable.”

        Which strings? The only ones I know of are defensive in nature – sanctions on Russia, for example, or North Korea, or China. Do you think we should just let those three countries full access to the markets, given their behavior? Do you really consider the US to be the equivalent? And it’s not like the EU doesn’t attach plenty of strings.

        Or are the Germans so mad about US support for Brexit that they’ll just ignore the last 100 years of Russian aggression?

        Or should I be asking Germans directly?

  31. Pingback: Road to Climate Neutrality - United Push Back

  32. Pingback: Road to Climate Neutrality – Understanding Deep Politics

  33. Look no further than to the recent FUN snow event in Germany and to the collapse of “green energy” production… From solar to wind, all at ~zero output with the natural response: fossil fuels to rescue the unsustainable civilization we’ve built!

  34. Nuclear free EU member Austria does not allow import of nuclear energy, kr even transpirt of nuclear ebergy from Slovenia to Germany or from Czechia to Italy.

  35. There’s a difference between carbon and carbon dioxide. Please don’t use them interchangeably.

  36. Pingback: Globeinfolive

  37. Well, in my opinion we should try and minimize the fossil fuels burning.
    The fossil carbon sediments should be preserved for the future generations to come, in 10,000 in 100,000 in millions of years ahead.

    We humans should have a prosperous future on our planet Earth.
    The fossil fuels sediments will be in a very big demand for the future generations.
    Carbon is not an abundant element in the Earth’s crust. What we see now as a plenty of carbon everywhere is only a thin superficial layer in our Earth’s surface biosphere.

    https://www.cristos-vournas.com

  38. Is there a causal link between the warming and the pandemic?

    https://wp.me/pTN8Y-6mh

  39. Just heard an interview with Michael Mann on his new book about the new climate war. He is wrong. We are adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere at a rapid rate – oceans are always a net sink – against a backdrop of large and nonlinear internal variability. We may not distinguish change against the backdrop – but it is there from fundamental physics and there are tipping points in the Earth system.
    You may not agree amongst yourselves that it is this, that or the other – as long as it is not CO2. But that is just ineptitude.

    Michael Mann’s solution is predictably carbon taxes and subsidies for wind and solar. It is not a pragmatic solution. Even in Paris what was agreed was that countries went their own way with voluntary agreements. Developing nations holding out for cheap energy and economic growth and developed counties opting for natural gas, land conservation and technological evolution.

    Technology is the solution and the first thing to understand is the rapidity of productive transitions that drive economic growth.

    “The same process of industrial mutation—if I may use that biological term—that incessantly revolutionizes the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one. This process of creative destruction is the essential fact about capitalism.” Joseph Schumpeter

    So even if it weren’t consistent with revealed science – reaching net carbon neutrality isn’t a problem with the right proactive policies. It would be politically a positive – even if you have to fake it.

    • Western Australia is leading the charge on zero emissions.

      ‘Coal-fired power stations would close within four years and the state would lean heavily on renewables for its energy needs within a decade.

      ‘Energy production in WA would reach zero emissions by 2030 under the plan, which banks heavily on a $3 billion Mid West renewable energy project the Liberals say would be developed by the private sector.’ (ABC)

    • “There are tipping points in the Earth system.” Maybe. Prove it. Not by writing a couple of equations exhibiting that behavior. Prove that the Earth exhibits that behavior.

      • “By ‘Noah Effect’ we designate the observation that extreme precipitation can be very extreme indeed, and by ‘Joseph Effect’ the finding that a long period of unusual (high or low) precipitation can be extremely long. Current models of statistical hydrology cannot account for either effect and must be superseded. As a replacement, ‘self‐similar’ models appear very promising. They account particularly well for the remarkable empirical observations of Harold Edwin Hurst.” https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1029/WR004i005p00909

    • R.I.E: “Michael Mann’s solution is predictably carbon taxes and subsidies for wind and solar. It is not a pragmatic solution.”

      If Biden’s people pick a target of a 50% reduction in America’s carbon emissions by 2030, as the green groups are now pushing for, carbon taxes and subsidies for wind and solar won’t come close to getting the job done.

      It is completely legal and constitutional for President Biden to declare a carbon pollution emergency and then to use his existing authorities under current national security legislation to impose a system of government-mandated carbon fuel rationing.

      If the goal is a fifty percent reduction in our GHG emissions by 2030, strictly enforced energy conservation measures combined with a carbon fuel rationing system are the only means of getting from here to there in the short space of a decade.

      • Beta Blocker | February 12, 2021 at 10:40 pm

        If the goal is a fifty percent reduction in our GHG emissions by 2030, strictly enforced energy conservation measures combined with a carbon fuel rationing system are the only means of getting from here to there in the short space of a decade.

        Thanks, Beta. Sounds good, but … let’s take a harder look.

        The US uses ~ 22 PWh of fossil fuel energy annually. That’s a constant generation of ~ 2.5 TW. But we need to double that to account for peak generation & reserves, so we have ~ 5 TW of fossil generation capacity. To cut that in half by 2035, we need to replace 2.5 TW of fossil generation capacity.

        There are about 3,250 days from now to 2030. So we’d need to build an additional 2.5 TW / 3,250 days ≈ 0.75 GW generating capacity EVERY DAY from now to then.

        That means building, testing, commissioning, and connecting to the grid a 1.5 GW nuclear power plant every two days … I’m sorry, but “energy conservation measures” plus a “carbon rationing system” will not come anywhere near to achieving that.

        Do the math yourself. Your claims are simply impossible. Stop with the handwaving and the “wouldn’t it be nice” claims. DO THE MATH!

        See my post “Bright Green Impossibilities” for further details on this crazy plan.

        My best to all,

        w.

        PS– Note that this does NOT include the fact that we’ll need MORE energy by 2030. It also does NOT include the required cost in time, money, and energy to build the power plants. It also does NOT include the required cost in time, money, and energy to upgrade the electrical grid, including switches, transmission lines, substations, and the like. It also does NOT include the required cost in time, money, and energy to upgrade and rewire and our homes, including replacing the appliances. I have 2 gas stoves, 2 gas heaters, and 2 gas water heaters in my house. I’d have to upgrade my transformer, run higher ampacity wire to my house, replace my breaker box, run 220 V power to my appliances, and replace 6 appliances at ~$600 each plus labor … you gonna pay for that?

      • If he wants to lose control of the house and senate in two years time – and to be another one term president. While the vast majority of Americans are not contrarians – no one in the world wants to spend an arm and a leg on it.

      • ” Since 2005, national greenhouse gas emissions have fallen by 13%, and power sector emissions have fallen by 27.6%.” US EPA

        This chart tells the story of millions of consumer and business decisions made every day. A growing economy, a stable population, declining emissions and a very substantial – and I don’t waste superlatives – decline in energy intensity.

        How far you can get by managing methane, nitrous oxide and CFC emissions – or with ongoing increases in efficiency and productivity – is not a question a priori answerable. The US land sector is a net sink – offsetting some 12% of emissions in a process of sequestration in soils and ecosystems that is building momentum. How much more geothermal is possible? The USGS estimates that 10% of electricity is possible. How much more low marginal cost wind and solar can you reliably squeeze in? How much more biomass, biogas or ethanol from sugar? How many more coal plants will succumb to ultracheap gas generation? How much will technology change and how fast? Make an ambitious target and see if it can be achieved pragmatically.


        “They did not know it was impossible so they did it”
        ― Mark Twain

      • Let’s add this chart as well. Is renewables penetration at all worth the claimed doom and gloom as yet?

        I’ll add this one as a hint of where it might start to b e problematic.

      • Willis …..

        Neither here nor anywhere else have I ever said that it is possible to replace any good portion of America’s carbon fuel resources by 2030 with wind, solar, and nuclear. It is indeed completely impossible for that to be done.

        If Biden and his people want a 50% reduction in America’s GHG emissions by 2030, the only way to get there is to starve the American economy of a good portion of the energy that we now consume here in the year 2021.

        On top of this, we have the specter on the near term horizon that roughly one-third of America’s legacy nuclear fleet, representing roughly 37 GW of zero carbon capacity, will have been prematurely retired before the end of the 2020’s as a consequence of the distorted energy marketplace created by giving wind and solar priority access to the grid.

        My point here is that the Executive Branch already has all the legal authority it needs to go just as far and as fast as any climate activist might want to go in reducing America’s GHG emissions — even if doing so requires that America be transformed from an energy rich nation into an energy poor nation in the space of a decade.

        Robert ……

        Let’s be brutally honest here. Joe Biden and the national political machine he fronts for will control the outcome of any future national election through their control of the political machines in the large urban areas of the swing states.

        Biden has no worries about losing the House of Representatives and the Senate in 2022. Furthermore, he has no worries that either he or some future climate activist successor will ever lose the White House in any future election.

        Because Biden and his national political machine have direct control over the outcome of any future national election, fear of voter backlash is no longer a consideration in making any kind of extreme policy decision concerning energy and the environment.

      • Thanks, Beta. You say:

        Willis …..

        Neither here nor anywhere else have I ever said that it is possible to replace any good portion of America’s carbon fuel resources by 2030 with wind, solar, and nuclear. It is indeed completely impossible for that to be done.

        If Biden and his people want a 50% reduction in America’s GHG emissions by 2030, the only way to get there is to starve the American economy of a good portion of the energy that we now consume here in the year 2021.

        As I quoted above, you’d said:

        If the goal is a fifty percent reduction in our GHG emissions by 2030, strictly enforced energy conservation measures combined with a carbon fuel rationing system are the only means of getting from here to there in the short space of a decade.

        My bad. I couldn’t imagine that you were saying the only way to get there was simply to use less energy, but it appears that was your meaning.

        w.

  40. The nuclear energy field still has not adequately addressed the issue of waste storage. Yes, there is reprocessing and vitrification, but the essential question deal with political storage – not physical storage.

    When one talks about waste products such as Iodine-129 with a half-life of 15.7 million years and other long-lived wastes with half-lives from a few hunded thousand to a few million years, that is a time-frame that far exceeds all of human history. Of note, western Europeans were still burning witches 500 years ago.

    When one considers the history of the European continent, few places have had political stability even for a mere 100 years. Every continental country has seen wars, revolutions, military conquest, and occupations that replaced one regime with another – – violently. The only exceptions are Switzerland and Sweden. The most stable place, the United Kingdom, recently parted company with the E.U.

    Given such history, it is laughable that technocrats can talk with any seriousness about storage of high-level nuclear wastes. Until full reprocessing of nuclear waste or fusion technology can be achieved, nuclear energy remains profoundly dangerous.

    • Steven Mosher pointed out this solution which uses existing technology to safely dispose of radioactive waste.
      “Disposal of High-Level Nuclear Waste in Deep Horizontal Drillholes”
      https://www.osti.gov/pages/biblio/1572822

    • Molten salt reactors can dispose of fission waste, “burning” it to create ever more energy.

    • Close the fuel cycle. Remove light fission products that decay to background levels in a few hundred years. Recycle long lived actinides.

    • John Egan, you seem to be worried about I-129 and that it will be radioactive for another fifteen million years.

      So what. Hundreds of thousands of kilograms of radioactive U-235, if not millions of kilograms, are now floating around in the groundwater systems beneath Utah, Wyoming, and Colorado. It’s being put there by Mother Nature while she methodically leaches uranium out of the granitic rocks underlying the Rocky Mountains. She has been doing this for many millions of years. No one is worried about it. Certainly not Mother Nature herself.

      Spent nuclear fuel still contains 90% of the energy it had in it at fabrication. At this point in time, burying our spent nuclear fuel permanently in a geologic repository makes no sense. It will remain perfectly safe staying right where it is. In that regard, shutting down the Yucca Mountain project was a completely appropriate decision. Yucca was a boondoggle of considerable proportions.

      Nor does using an underground geologic repository as an interim storage site for spent fuel make any sense. Storing it in dry casks on the surface is a perfectly safe option for another hundred years. Or even longer. And storing it on the surface is much less expensive than Yucca Mountain would have been for use as an interim repository. If a cask ever leaks, the fuel can be quickly and easily transferred to another cask. No big deal.

      What about the approach of using deep boreholes as our permanent geologic repository? This approach would be safe and effective, as geologic repositories go. The other major option for permanent geologic disposal of civilian radioactive wastes is the salt beds of the Salado Formation underlying Texas and New Mexico. These beds have every technical characteristic important for a geologic disposal medium.

      The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) near Carlsbad, New Mexico — which uses the salt beds of the Salado Formation as its host — is already operating as our nation’s first geologic repository for nuclear wastes. Although WIPP is currently being used for defense-related nuclear wastes, it could also be used for civilian wastes if we ever decided we wanted to use the facility for this purpose.

      But why bury our spent fuel at all if reprocessing remains on the table as a future option, and if storing the spent fuel in dry casks will remain safe for another hundred years or more?

      We are already doing something very much like fuel reprocessing, as nuclear-chemical processing technologies go. Vitrification of our defense wastes is the closest thing to nuclear fuel reprocessing one can do without actually doing fuel reprocessing. Large-scale vitrification is now being done at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina and will soon be done at the Hanford Site in Washington State.

      Each of these two government-owned sites already has roughly eighty percent of the nuclear-chemical technology and the nuclear site support infrastructure needed to reprocess civilian nuclear fuel. The addition of a fuel separation plant to each site could turn both of them into civilian fuel reprocessing facilities.

      The advantage here is that because fuel reprocessing will create other nuclear waste streams which must be disposed of, these other waste streams can be packaged on site and then disposed at WIPP, as we are doing today with other hot nuclear wastes at the Savannah River and Hanford sites.

      The ‘problem’ of what to do with our nuclear waste is merely a talking point being pushed by anti-nuclear activists and professional fear mongers.

    • John
      The nuclear waste problem is one we have all been brought up to be afraid of. It’s largely fiction. In 100 years even high level waste decreases in radioactivity to the level of an average seam of uranium ore in rock and soils, such as can be found along Cornish beaches in South West England. Or in Canada or India or Iran or hundreds of places worldwide. Stories of waste remaining dangerous for tens of thousands of years are pure religious fiction. Robert Ellison is right – recycle the useful actinides for energy, the rest is safe within a century or so. 20-50 election cycles.

      The tail end of the boomer generation found anti-nuclear-ism to be a fashionable and satisfying anti-establishment protest in response to economic decline and a parents-richer-than-children scenario that always incites protest movements. Just like now. So a whole generation has been indoctrinated that nuclear is uber-dangerous and politically bad. Anti-nuclearism was part of a class war. I remember political poster cartoons at university in the UK in the early 1980’s “Nuclear Pah? OK Yah!” Tells you all you need to know.

      Now we have the sweet irony that the threat of CO2 warming which (not by itself but in combination with general human environmental disruption) endangers the biosphere, along with resource scarcity, mean that the world now needs nuclear power more than ever before. But it has been taught to fear it. What to do? Will society prefer nuclear power or no electricity? That will be interesting to observe. My view is that in regard to nuclear, the only thing to fear is fear itself.

      • Phil Salmon, nuclear energy advocate Rod Adams of Atomic Insights has done an interview with Myrto Tripathi, Voices of Nuclear, concerning the attitudes of Europeans towards nuclear power:

        https://atomicinsights.com/atomic-show-290-myrto-tripathi-voices-of-nuclear/

        Rod Adams: ” ……. We spoke at length about the successful, well-funded and carefully planned efforts by nuclear energy opponents to spread misinformation and fake news about nuclear and how those efforts have helped to silence nuclear energy supporters. …….. We spoke about the disappointing state of public misunderstanding as illustrated by a recent poll taken in France in which 86% of the respondents between 18-34 years old said they believed that nuclear energy contributed to the problem of climate change. …..”

        As is demonstrated in the interview with Myrto Tripathi, and as would be shown in most any other interview with a nuclear advocate, the nuclear industry is now using fear of climate change as its primary selling point in promoting the benefits of nuclear power.

      • “…the nuclear industry is now using fear of climate change as its primary selling point in promoting the benefits of nuclear power.”

        If the climate change advocates are going to insist on poor sources of grid energy (wind and solar), it makes sense for the nuclear industry to counter with their own very low carbon, far more reliable technology.

  41. I-129 and molten salt reactor:

    Transmutation of 129I in a single-fluid double-zone thorium molten salt reactor

    https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s41365-019-0720-1

  42. Each of these two government-owned sites already has roughly eighty percent of the nuclear-chemical technology and the nuclear site support infrastructure needed to reprocess civilian nuclear fuel. The addition of a fuel separation plant to each site could turn both of them into civilian fuel reprocessing facilities.
    https://www.enjz.net

  43. Living through the traumatic experience of normal weather is what humanity has always done. What’s new in the Disinformation-Communication Age is, we now get to hear how poorly many cope with imagined ills of all types, from Bush- and now, Trump-Derangement syndrome to Hot World syndrome.
    https://morjanah.com

  44. ‘Our modern bouts of amnesia regarding previous climatic conditions can be seen to be nothing new by reading the comments from the annals of Dumfermline Scotland from 1733/4, when it recorded that wheat was first grown in the district in 1733. Lamb wryly observes that was not correct, as enough wheat had been grown further north in the early 1500’s to sustain an export trade (before the 1560’s downturn).

    https://sauditourguide.com

  45. Pingback: Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #442 – Climate- Science.press

  46. “Frozen Turbines and Surging Demand Prompt Rolling Blackouts in Texas”

    “Roughly half of the state’s wind generating capacity was knocked offline, shutting off as much as 10,500 megawatts of wind power, a significant chunk of the state’s total electricity supply. Authorities were expected to de-ice the turbines through the day.

    The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which manages the state’s power grid, said in a statement that the rotating outages were a “last resort to preserve the reliability of the electric system as a whole.””

    • More details
      https://www.powermag.com/ercot-sheds-load-as-extreme-cold-forces-generators-offline-miso-spp-brace-for-worsening-system-conditions/
      “As of 10:30 a.m. CST on Feb. 15, the aggregate of capacity that was unavailable was 34 GW. At the end of 2020, ERCOT had 77.2 GW of installed resources. That suggests the grid operator has lost more than 40% of its operable capacity.”

      I haven’t found why we lost some nuclear power but it’s either grid conditions (freq. or transmission) or the extreme temperature went outside the Rankine or Carnot cycle limits for that design.

      • The loss of some nuclear is an interesting question, too. Of course, an ice storm and hard freeze put a lot of stress on anything outdoors, so maybe it was substation failures, or transmission failures. If you find out, I’d love to know the actual cause.

        Also, what is the cause of, and impact of reduced natural gas supplies. I believe (but am not sure) that one disadvantage of natural gas powered utility plants is the lack of energy storage.

      • joe - the non climate scientiest

        the report I saw from ERCOT this morning was approx 65k GW per hour usage from approx 10 pm sunday 2/14 through approx 12noon 2/15/2021.

        Several days in the summer of 2020 , ercot reached 74k gw per hour. The reports I saw was that approximately one half of the windmills had frozen. Texas has approx 24% electric generation from wind.

      • joe,
        I was checking the real time grid stats the morning of 15th. and I saw the grid dump hundreds of megawatts of generation. By around 11AM there was almost the same amount of power from the solar and wind farms. That was weird. We have over 10 times as much wind on the grid as utility scale solar but they seem to both be putting out about 7,000 megawatts.
        Maybe it was the wind farms down on the Texas coast that were still feeding into the grid.

      • Update:
        The nuclear plant that went off line was in S. Texas.
        “One of the two reactors of the South Texas Nuclear Power Station in Matagorda County is out of production, according to the daily status report of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
        The power station did not immediately respond to requests for comment.”
        https://www.lmtonline.com/business/energy/article/Power-tight-across-Texas-winter-storm-blackouts-15953686.php

      • “One of the two reactors of the South Texas Nuclear Power Station in Matagorda County is out of production, according to the daily status report of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.”

        It will be interesting to hear what happened. It could just be a coincidence – a failure not weather related. It looks like a loss of 1.3GW, which is pretty small compared to the renewables loss to the grid in this event.

      • Looks like there will be at least 4 versions of why the Texas grid performed so poorly. ERCOT will do a full review, FERC will weigh in, Gov. Abbott & the Texas Railroad Commission have a axe to grind and the utilities will put in their 2 cents.

        As this crisis plays out there are many more states and utility companies that will do various versions of the Texas investigations.

        I am lucky this time. There is a municipal water tower and a large cell phone antenna farm on my leg of the grid so I have avoided the rolling blackouts. With the grid up I was able to keep my PV switched on (with a little snow removal).

        A SSW that began back in late December/early January was the causal event. It’s time step up and start forecasting SSW events just like we do during hurricane season.

      • Microgrids are a bright spot in the Texas grid.
        “Microgrids up and running in Texas
        While their numbers are still be few, microgrids kicked into action as early as last week when it became apparent a crisis was nearing.
        Microgrid company Enchanted Rock has about 600 microgrid units in Texas. Of those, 150 have been supplying about 260 MW of capacity to aid the grid.”
        https://microgridknowledge.com/microgrids-texas-blackouts/

  47. If the Biden administration think the US energy requirements can be achieved from wind & solar then they’re

  48. Pingback: Back to energy, again – DON AITKIN

  49. The only logical dependable energy source is nuclear and I have especially in mind modular melt salt or equivalent reactors.

  50. A document published by the IEA in December 2020 provides a more realistic picture.

    “Low-carbon electricity systems are characterised by increasingly complex interactions of different technologies with different functions in order to ensure reliable supply at all times. The 2020 edition of Projected Costs of Generating Electricity thus puts into context the plain metric for plant-level cost, the levelised cost of electricity (LCOE). System effects and system costs are identified with the help of the broader value-adjusted LCOE, or VALCOE metric….

    The key insight of the 2020 edition of Projected Costs of Generating Electricity is that the levelised costs of electricity generation of low-carbon generation technologies are falling and are increasingly below the costs of conventional fossil fuel generation. Renewable energy costs have continued to decrease in recent years and their costs are now competitive, in LCOE terms, with dispatchable fossil fuel-based electricity generation in many countries. The cost of electricity from new nuclear power plants remains stable, yet electricity from the long-term operation of nuclear power plants constitutes the least cost option for low-carbon generation. At the assumed carbon price of USD 30 per tonne of CO2 and pending a breakthrough in carbon capture and storage, coal-fired power generation is slipping out of the competitive range. The cost of gas-fired power generation has decreased due to lower gas prices and confirms the latter’s role in the transition.” https://www.iea.org/reports/projected-costs-of-generating-electricity-2020

    There is an associated calculator in which the ‘cost of carbon’ can be set to zero. Advanced nuclear plants are likely to be cost competitive in a decade or two. There is as well a discussion of ancillary markets in hydrogen – that can be catalysed with carbon dioxide to synthesize liquid fuels – and process heat.

    https://www.iea.org/articles/levelised-cost-of-electricity-calculator

    Without a carbon tax high efficiency/low emission (HELE) coal fired electricity generation is economically competitive in many parts of the world. ASEAN nations have a very aggressive coal expansion program.


    Source: ASEAN Center for Energy

    A low carbon energy transition is happening. At this time it involves development and implementation of diverse technologies. 100% wind and solar – on the other hand – seems to be a simplistic contrarian furphy.

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