by Planning Engineer (Russell Schussler)
Renewable energy has an equity problem. Energy policies that force consumers to incur huge costs to meet larger public aims become a hidden form of taxation. Energy bills eat up much larger proportions of income for those at the lower end of the economic scale.
When electric utilities or electric rates are used to accomplish any public good, any cost increase falls disproportionately upon those with lesser incomes and resources. Power costs tend to function as a highly regressive tax, putting the burden on those who struggle the most and having the least impact on the wealthy. As a practicing engineer I often worried what impact our projects would have on the less fortunate. Now I fear that poor struggling grandmothers will end up paying for the “green” dreams of the financially well off.
When I look at the envisioned green transition, I worry about exorbitant costs less than I used to. I’m not sure anymore what I have a sufficient understanding around the abilities of nations to incur huge amounts of costs and debt for the “public good”. It’s beyond my comprehension at times. I see so many billions spent on things that seem less consequential than the grid. So sometimes I think, why not spend that kind of big money on various assorted energy projects. Maybe we can dump huge sums of public money into longshot projects and hope for the best. But I can’t help wondering who will eventually pay for it, and hoping that poor and least able among us do not end up financing ill-considered pursuits.
This previous post summarizes what I thought I knew:
The price of energy has tremendous direct and indirect costs on society. Energy costs make up more than one-fifth of the after-tax income of America’s lowest income quintile. Higher energy costs for agriculture and manufacturing production are passed on to consumers in higher prices for products, thus lowering overall the standard of living. To the extent that energy costs are high in a region, the less economically competitive that region will be with likely correspondingly lower wages and higher unemployment.
Affordable energy provides greater comfort, health and safety while allowing machinery to improve lives and reduce drudgery. Higher energy costs limit these benefits to smaller segments of the population. Affordable energy is associated with high standards of living, improved health and better environmental protection.
But if somebody else can pay for it, maybe I’m not so concerned about the costs. For this posting, I will refrain from noting the harm “green” efforts cause irrespective of their costs and instead focus on who should pay for “green” benefits that some see as potentially attainable, whether or not such benefits ever materialize.
What I was taught
Coming up in the utility industry I was quickly disabused of any notions I might have had, that my college dreams would drive what was built as part of the power system. I wasn’t building a system for me. I was told that before making any costly decision I should think about how it might impact an elderly lady just getting buy on her pension. Sometimes the admonition was made in terms of a struggling farmer in the field. We played an important role in the lives of our consumers and their wants and needs played a central role in our decision making. The bulk of our consumers were not people buying fancy car or living lavish lifestyles. They needed a good practical power system, not something out of an engineer’s daydream.
Now don’t confuse this admonition with being cheap or focusing solely on cost. I learned if fancy works well and is also economic, that’s a great thing. But not fancy for fancy’s sake. Every decision must consider both near and long-term needs. Every decision must balance cost, reliability and public responsibility in order to benefit every user of the grid. Decisions had to support the local economies and businesses and improve the quality of life for all. I will note our concerns were often more focused on more on local considerations and less on global, than many might like today. But we were extremely serious about all environmental requirements and minimizing overall environmental impacts. I feel privileged to have been part of expanding an effective, reliable, publicly responsible grid. It is better and more wonderful than what a college kids dream’s might have been. I am at proud of my work, largely because at each step I asked myself, “What is the best thing we can do for Granny, or that farmer in the field?”
Some things I did
I don’t want anyone to get the idea that worrying about Granny served to impede the development of the grid or make planning boring. For years I worked to ensure cheap excess hydro from the Pacific northwest could flow over a state-of-the-art HVDC (High Voltage Direct Current) tie to Los Angeles to displace fossil fuel generation in the LA basin. This was part of a big hi-tech win-win project. That decision was made before my time, but it was a good one for many grannies. Later I participated in many decisions regarding the use hi-tech power electronics or other technological innovations. Many opportunities were deferred because they did not make sense for a practical grid, but eventually other major big ones were judged worthwhile. The point being you don’t just do things to do things, you do things when and where they make sense.
I won’t say that all decisions made everywhere I worked were good or adequately considered Granny. The pull of the new, of being first, or being considered a smart innovator is strong. A predecessor of mine had pushed through an energy storage generation project bolstered by some questionable assumptions. It qualified for millions in research funding. It was completed just before I took over planning. It worked ok, but had a number of problems initially. For just what we spent on the project, it would have been much better our consumers if we had installed conventional gas combustion turbines instead. Good engineering ignores sunk costs, so we used it as efficiently and effectively as possible. It was exciting to showcase a new technology. It was great to have developed a specialized expertise. But more attention should have been paid initially as to what that project might do for Granny.
Later in the 1990’s in Alabama we had an old coal plant that needed to be retired and that coupled with the expiration of some power contracts meant we needed a major generation addition. We did numerous detailed scenarios which built a big wall of computer printouts, looking at all relevant factors out over thirty years to see what was in our consumers best interests. Most not involved with the extensive studies thought the best plan would be a new coal plant as our current ones were performing well. While the future operating costs of a coal plants were projected to be low (in reality it would not have worked out that way) the initial costs of building the plant infrastructure were too high and the future too uncertain. We looked at many options including an innovative biomass switch grass burning facility. The study work showed that the best alternative was to put two new combustion turbines adjacent to the old coal plant. The waste heat from the new combustion turbines was used to heat steam to power the old coal turbines. It functioned as an efficient and clean gas combined cycle plant. For the first couple years, some were upset we had not gone with coal, but this choice was been shown to be a sound one across the ensuing years.
It’s hard to plan for the future, things keep changing. There can be so much potential variation in costs, needs, regulations and various other critical factors. But one thing we had going for us was that we understood who was being served and what the important things were that we were trying to do. Meeting regulations was a requirement, not our end goal. When regulations are overly focused too narrowly, many things outside the regulated concerns can go wrong.
Utilities have less and less decision-making power over time
Over my career, our ability to make decisions impacting the general good of our consumers became more and more constrained. In the generation area, oversight became stronger as options and alternatives became more constrained. More and more utilities were required to conduct RFPs (request for proposals) and consider outside bids. Rather than making a decision it was more like running a process and picking a winner.
On the transmission side we would set charges for power producers who wanted to connect to our grid. If parts of the grid had to be upgraded to handle their addition, we would charge them for those improvements along with interconnection costs of hooking them up. Also, since they would be using our existing network, we would also charge them a share of the costs of existing system which they would be using. The Federal Energy Commission (FERC) was very concerned about granting independent power producers (IPPs) the right to use any grid they wanted. FERC required us to interconnect with IPPs and allowed us to charge at most the greater of incremental costs or a cost based on our average system costs, but not both. Perhaps that was needed to better spur competition and openness and make it easier on newcomers. One consequence was that when a new load had high interconnection cost nobody was compensating Granny for what she had put into the system over the years.
Regulation is always done with the intent to make the utilities more responsive to the public good as or for the good of consumers. Rules and regulations, however, constrain options and choices. Specific measures may increase focus on a narrow band of the public good, but cause havoc for many broader concerns around the public good. With all the policies around “green energy” and the push to reduce CO2 emissions, it looks like nobody is worrying broadly about more general measures of the public good and specifically about Granny and many other consumers like her.
Granny and Green Energy
A green transition of the entire electric grid, is a project of scope and intensity sufficiently bold and majestic to stir the heart of any recent college graduate. Lots of great, exciting, challenging work for such noble sounding purposes. If it’s going to save the planet, who wouldn’t want to be a part of that? What costs should be spared to prevent the oceans from boiling? Looking at all the rules, regulations and subsidies which are pushing the “green” agenda, apparently not a lot of costs are being spared. I worry what efforts to quickly transform the grid might do to reliability, but it seems we may be powerless to slow the trend down. If I can’t slow this process, I would at least like to speak up for Granny.
The green transition is primarily driven by concerns over CO2 emissions and the existential crises of climate change. I am not seeking here to amplify nor quell the concerns around CO2. The points I will raise here becomes more important the greater the challenges faced in reducing CO2. I am asking everyone who views the reduction of CO2 as critically important, to thoughtfully consider who should pay for the needed reductions.
There is no getting around it, we all exhale, use energy and resources and contribute C02 into the shared environment. Individuals due to both their choices and situations have widely varying individual C02 impacts. Increasing wealth can in some ways work to reduce carbon footprints, as it enables people to make better choices, be more efficient and employ better technology. On the other hand, increased wealth leads to higher footprints when individuals fly more, particularly in private jets, command greater resources and enjoy other carbon intensive activities. Those less well-off may have simpler needs that might tend to lower their carbon footprints. On the other hand their situation may make them engage in higher carbon emitting activities due to cost considerations. For example, it may be cheaper to burn material than use cleaner electric power. Accessing, judging and evaluating CO2 footprints is complicated.
So now, let’s consider Granny who is living her life and scraping by on a fixed pension. Her life style is simple. She’s not eating a lot. She’s not buying much. She’s not traveling far. She’s living a simple life, but she likes her home cool in the summer and warm in the winter, even if she wears a sweater to keep her power bills down. Without todays’ trends she would able to buy electricity produced mostly by natural gas. Her bills would be low and her carbon footprint would still be small compared to most in this country. But today in most cases she has to subsidize solar panels on the homes of wealthier consumers. She has to help pay for green innovation that is not helping today and which may or may not have benefits in the future. The sector of the energy industry she uses, residential electricity, has a high carbon tax burden while other sectors are less burdened. We are asking a lot from her.
Energy policies that force consumers to incur huge costs to meet larger public aims become a hidden form of taxation. When energy cost is used as a tax, it is one of the most regressive taxes available, far worse than a flat tax would be. Energy bills eat up multiple times larger proportions of income for those at the lower end of the economic scale. Overtaxing the poor is not a good way to achieve public good. We should not hide public taxes in utility bills. Let’s not hold Granny accountable for her small contribution to CO2, while wealthy individuals with so many more choice options can drive cigar boats, build mansions, consume goods and travel the world shouldering so much less responsibility per unit for the CO2 they cause to be emitted.
I understand there are a lot of great things that might be done in the area of “green” energy. Before we do that, let’s look at the money, where it’s coming from and where is it going. Many privileged “do-gooders” are making a killing on concerns around CO2, despite the fact that their personal carbon footprints are through the roof. They want to limit the choices of others, while being shielded themselves from any meaningful personal inconveniences. Many, many more less well-off individuals are paying costs that are personally highly significant and even burdensome, to support questionable green endeavors.
Moving forward, let us be clear and always seek to understand where the money is coming from and where it is going. So many great “green” projects fail to live up to expectations. Let us evaluate projects after they are completed, to see whether or not they did much good before we take even more money for similar ones from consumers. It’s not enough to believe it’s a good cause, therefore all actions and effort are justified if they have some hope of meeting the goals. We need to be accountable to those who depend upon the grid and who pay for their energy needs. We should see accounting as complete as possible telling us who the winners and losers are in these “green” undertakings. But as far as I can tell, we almost never see any follow up on these grand failures. I’m afraid no one of any importance is paying enough attention to Granny.
If we must do big “green” things, let’s think about the money. I don’t know whether we should tax the wealthy, just print up money, raise corporate taxes, hit the middle class or what. I do know we shouldn’t just pass the costs on to Granny. She just needs a small amount of economic and reliable energy produced in a publicly responsible way that maybe doesn’t hold her disproportionately responsible for solving all the world’s problems.
Postscript: Poor Oma in Germany
I’m afraid the “green transition” has already done great harm to many poor German grandmothers. The German Energiewende, has been described as the “ transition by Germany to a low carbon, environmentally sound, reliable, and affordable energy supply”. Many saw Germany as a showcase for what was possible. In earlier years it has been touted as a spectacular success. Grid concerns associated with a “green” transition were often dismissed by simple declaring “What about Germany”. In 2017 I coauthored this article entitled The Myth of the German Renewable Energy Miracle. In 2019 after spending over $150 billion in Euros, Federal Court of Auditors President Kay Schuller noted that the expenditures “are in extreme disproportion to the results”. Although a lot of wind and solar were added, since then the results of the German transition appear to me more and more disappointing with time.
While Germany did add a lot of wind and solar, their efforts have not proved sustainable benefits and they are now are stymied by their own increased use of coal and oil. They changed a lot, but it was not foundational change. Germany’s past energy policies have created international repercussions. But it is sad enough just to note the impacts upon the German population. Energy poverty has been a major problem for many and it is expanding to where you now see headlines proclaiming that Energy poverty increasingly affecting Germanys middle class. In Germany and other parts of Europe we are seeing increasing problems of “Heat or Eat” (See here, here, here or just Google it).
It’s a tough situation. Who pays for that expensive failed experiment? How should Germany balance what industrial customers pay, versus what residents pay? These are challenging painful weighty decisions. If power is too expensive for businesses, the economy may be wrecked for all. But forcing the cost on those less well off is cruel. It’s much better to not go there to such an extreme and reduce the likelihood of such problems. Maybe I was correct to assume that you just can’t print up money to run costly experiments on the grid. Costs may matter after all. Let’s make sure we don’t drive our grandmothers toward ruin by unworkable technology based on overly hopeful dreams which ignore where the money will come from if they fail.
This was written:
Regulation is always done with the intent to make the utilities more responsive to the public good as or for the good of consumers.
Once upon a time, that was true!
Now, regulation is always done with the intent to appease the WEF and reduce energy use and reduce populations.
Except, not in China, India and Russia, where they get richer and more powerful and more controlling. Power from Coal that we can no longer generate economically has promoted much lower cost for power from Coal in their countries.
thank you for a well written story from practical experience and a clear result of the analysis:
-poor struggling grandmothers will end up paying for the “green” dreams of the financially well off
>> While Germany did add a lot of wind and solar
Well, I am not from this field so I clearly lack practical experience, but I do believe
!? that a mix of all forms of energy is usually the best outcome for cheap and reliable energy (beside any climate dreams) and the German numbers are still not too far from that optimal point!?
You describe replacing an aged coal plant with two new gas turbines, this happened a lot in Germany too!
I have been told that the main reason for this is that these turbines have currently the fastest turnaround time.
In other words while for example nuclear energy might be cheaper over all, it binds the companies money for many decades in a political uncertain climate, not a good idea in Germany.
But of course a war can come along and change the parameters at least temporarily. I guess Europe will buy Russian gas just like before in about 5 years from now, maybe under a new Russian leader.
It’s interesting that almost whenever I read discussions here of the “costs” of energy (as opposed to the price), and I do a search for discussions of externalities, I never come up with anything.
I’ll never understand why people think that you can have a comprehensive discussion of this issue without even addressing externalities.
Make whatever argument you want about the importance of external costs to understanding the economics of energy, but just ignoring the issue strikes me as indefensible.
Aren’t the cost of externalities equal for all forms of energy unless one form can demonstrate that it has a positive impact on the climate. Imo none can.
Seems to me that externalities such as particulates is mecesseeilku relevant and not necessarily equally distributed. I suppose someone could argue that the externalities in terms of the geopolitics of keeping oil flowing are a wash, but seems to me that wpils be a hard argument to pull off.
Of course, arguments can be made that positive externalities disproportionately favor fossil fuels. In fact, that is often effectively the argument made by renewable detractors. But I don’t think it’s enough too just make assumptions in that regard and I think it’s not analytically valid to base arguments on assumptions about positive externalities without addressing the issue of negative externalities. .
Josh’s comments – “It’s interesting that almost whenever I read discussions here of the “costs” of energy (as opposed to the price), and I do a search for discussions of externalities, I never come up with anything.”
Josh – Externalities are discussed quite heavily by activists.
However, real accountants, economists, financial guru’s, engineers, etc generally dont waste time calculating costs that only exists in advocates fantasies.
Same with those subsidies enjoyed by those evil fossil fuel companies. Those subsidies dont actually exist.
> Externalities are discussed quite heavily by activists.
>> However, real accountants, economists, financial guru’s, engineers, etc generally dont waste time calculating costs that only exists in advocates fantasies.
Lol. OK, whatever you say, Joe.
Szfenskitirs can just be dismissed as irrelevant because…well because (appeal to authority, argument ad populum, etc.)
And obviously we can just dismiss the input of “activists,” as no one here could reasonably be called “activists.”
Externalities can just be…
It’s not entirely unlike the emotional appeal to Granny in the original post. After all, anybody who argues against the post is arguing against granny, right? Why do you hate granny?
Joshua. If you go back through the links, Russell has previously written about externalities. And if you want to penalise fossil fuels for them, you need to do the same for their replacements like the cost to local environment and wildlife. That does seem to have been ignored.
> . And if you want to penalise fossil fuels for them, you need to do the same for their replacements.
This notion of penalizing fossil fuels is your wording not mine. I’m saying negative externalities should be accounted for if you’re going to talk about the economics of energy. Secondly, of course you should do the same for all sources of energy, including renewables.
But I have to say that it’s interesting that you take a call for accounting for a negative externalities, make it into something emotional, and turn it into penalizing
Externalities are taken into account all the time as are risks. This is true particularly of oil companies. They have several categories including geological risk, political risk, economic risk, etc. In the 1990’s political risk was higher in the US than most of the rest of the world so most investment was overseas.
If there are unaccounted externalities, the government must account for those through some kind of tax.
I think the point of this post is that energy poverty is an externality not taken into account by the upper and upper middle class people driving the energy transition.
The biggest failure here is demonstrated by the fact that natural gas has not displaced oil for most uses. It’s cheaper, much more abundant, and the infrastructure exists already. It generates half the carbon emissions.
The best analogy I could come up with for the energy transition is masking and lockdowns during Covid. The politicians imposing these on everyone else often flaunted them when the cameras were off. And these measures impacted the working class dramatically while having almost no impact on the elite employees of big tech, big media, and big government most of whom could work from home. And their impact was marginal at best. It is interesting how short our memories are. The elites now seem to want to just have us forget what they did and how large the harm was.
Should have said their effectiveness (lockdowns and masking) is undemonstrated.
So I understand you better as a long term advocate or externalities. (I believe you raised those concerns with my first article back I. 2014.). Have you ever criticized any articles promoting wind, solar or lithium batteries for not looking at externalities?
It’s a curious complaint for this particular posting, as here I make no arguments comparing type of generating resources, just raise the question of who pays for global benefits of CO2 reductions. I see something wrong with allowing the wealthy to drive cigar boats and fly jets with no penalty while asking granny to pay heavily for her small use of CO2. As a believer in externalities, I’d think you’d stand by me there.
Please highlight any text where I am making comparisons between technologies such that externalities should be brought up?
Or do you just indiscriminately beat this horse?
I think that for any broad discussion to comprehensively deal with the economics of energy, externalities should be addressed in detail. Absolutely, externalities of renewables should be a critical part of that.
No individual discussion would have to, but on a broader scale I think it’s invalid if the focus is constantly on one segment of the relevant economics (e.g. the price per unit of energy of renewables).
For example, does granny pay any taxes relevant to the externalities of fossil fuels – such as federal mwnky that goes to pay for military expenditures to keep fossil fuels flowing?
I asked two questions Joshua. Not a lot. They are easy to answer. Please don’t evade, ignore and obfuscate. What is your issue with this article relative to externalities? I’m trying to understand you but you don’t seem to be communicating in good faith. Let me add a another easy question. Should we expect articles promoting wind projects to mention cobalt mining concerns in the Congo?
> Should we expect articles promoting wind projects to mention cobalt mining concerns in the Congo? –
Articles devoted to a discussion of the economics of wind energy should, absolutely, discuss such externalities.
I’m not sure what’s hard to understand about that.
You addressed the last question. Still waiting to hear if you have ever commented on wind or solar articles criticizing their not using externalities. Secondly what in this article (quote text) should be enhanced with externalities. I would like to consider those two answers in light of the one question you did answer. Give me those two and I’ll have something to say to you.
> Still waiting to hear if you have ever commented on wind or solar articles criticizing their not using externalities.
I don’t comment a whole lot on related blogs except this and ATTP. At ATTP there are not many articles promoting renewable energy. But I have often commented there regarding (1) the importance of externalities and (2) what I believe is the importance in differentiating the cost of energy from the price. So I would say no, I can’t point you to comments on blog posts on renewables about their lack of addressing externalities. But again, promoting renewals without addressing externalities is, imo, neither sufficient or comprehensive
> Secondly what in this article (quote text) should be enhanced with externalities.
I think that if you’re going to talk about the costs to granny related to energy, such as the taxes she pays, you should address the costs that she pays, in a comprehensive manner. It isn’t with reference to any particular text that I’m responding to. It’s the total lack of addressing a critical component of the costs (to granny or otherwise) for fossil fuels.
PlanningEngineer, After a massive number of words, Josh finally says what his problem is. It could have been said in a single sentence. He wants you to deal with the “costs” of carbon emissions. Of course this is a vastly complex topic that is really impossible to deal with in less than a massive tome and even then there will be large uncertainties. It’s fair to say that Josh doesn’t have the wherewithall to even start to do so himself so he needs help.
We can say for sure that climate models offer us little of value because of large numerical errors. CO2 has benefits too such as increased biosphere productivity which probably increases carbon sequestration in that biosphere. Sea level is going to continue to increase but we are unsure how fast that is going to be. I would say we are even uncertain that warming will be roughly proportional to total emissions due to this biosphere feedback. So far the dire consequences that we keep hearing about haven’t happened. There are lots of lies about “severe weather” that you see in the popular press and from the usual activist scientists. But generally weather has not gotten worse. If anything in the US, there is less severe weather. That’s because the pole to equator temperature gradient has decreased. We can say for certain that the Navier-Stokes equations depend only on the temperature gradient and not directly on the temperature so this is as close to certain as we can be about anything in the generally primitive field of climate science. But hey its not as bad a viral epidemiology which is truly a field of mostly ignorance. But even “science” that is little better than casting lots can be used to justify authoritarian action to ensure compliance.
I’ve got to give it to you if you think that any article touting wind should mention the externalities of mining cobalt in the Congo. You are truly committed to promoting deep overall evaluations or all externalities in principle if not practice. The truth is that any discussions of externalities associated with wind and solar are very rare int that literature. Michael Moore’s documentary was quite a shock to many and ignored and such considerations largely dropped within that community. You have expectations for discussions of externalities that are not shared by many. I would think anyone writing on energy source to make you happy would quickly get bogged down in externalities such that no point could ever be made. I certainly don’t expect every article touting wind and solar to go into the problems of rare earth mining, slavery and what have you.
While it’s one thing to comment on an article and bring up externalities not considered. It’s very different to directly attack the article for not including externalities that you think are relevant. I wonder if just the objections you’ve made to just my posting on energy for not considering the externalities you value over the last decade, are greater than the total comments criticizing the lack of externality discussions made by anyone on any postings promoting wind and/or solar. (This is not the same as people pointing out externalities in the comment, nor the same as pointing out that the discussion of externalities was incomplete.) I suspect I can find more of the former (you on my case for not discussion your pet externalities) than you can of the anyone attacking wind and/or solar promotions for not including their pet externalities.
With that said another problem to my recollection is that you often attribute meaning to the postings that were not there and you can not point out directly where you got your ideas from.
Best I can tell you think this article should talk about externalities because I bring up the taxes granny pays. You bring up Federal taxes.
“For example, does granny pay any taxes relevant to the externalities of fossil fuels – such as federal mwnky that goes to pay for military expenditures to keep fossil fuels flowing?”
“I think that if you’re going to talk about the costs to granny related to energy, such as the taxes she pays, you should address the costs that she pays, in a comprehensive manner. It isn’t with reference to any particular text that I’m responding to. It’s the total lack of addressing a critical component of the costs (to granny or otherwise) for fossil fuels.”
I say increased utility costs is an indirect “tax”. So I did use the word. But nowhere am I talking about Federal taxes as you reference. I am not concerned very much at all with the impact federal taxes have on the less advantaged. Regular taxes, unlike utility rates are very progressive so as not to disadvantage those less well off.
Thanks for answering me specifically. I got nothing more for you unless you want to show me how you would discuss externalities in this article in such a way that it related to the actual subjects under consideration.
The elephant in the room is #Windmills.
“…losses of pollinators have been identified in Great Britain, butterflies have experienced declines in numbers of between 30 and 50% across Europe, and a 76% reduction in the biomass of flying insect in Germany.”
Notice the numbers correlate with wind power expansion and not pesticides.
Climate policy made Wildfires worse than they would have been.
Australian Hydrologist Robert Ellison:
The mosaic produced by aerial and ground burning by rangers and traditional owners in the Tanami in the
That changed over much of the country – however – with the Kyoto protocol. Maintenance of open woodland was discouraged. Prescribed burning was included in emissions – wildfires were not. It resulted in a modern landscape transformation that I have seen with my own eyes. To landscapes of woody weeds susceptible to intense, hot season fires across vast areas of the nation.
Fires in extreme hot and dry conditions – as we are now experiencing – may be a unstoppable force of nature. But we have brought a lot of it on ourselves by going along with bureaucratic notions that had no regard for fire science or bitterly won experience. The irony is that hot season fires release far more carbon and nitrous oxides to the atmosphere than cool season mosaic burning.”
I thought I was quoting Chris Cornelius, Chris. You know, the geologist who founded Cuadrilla Resources. They drill frack wells. Or at least they try. My granny told me that in 2011 tremors made them stop for a while.
Do you dispute what he said or that he said it? Perhaps you prefer the Torygraph:
Geologists are notorious for taking my granny’s money without her consent. The Tories, whom have a knack for understatement, called the new subsidy the energy profits levy.
This does not seem to have lowered prices much. Please blame wind farms. My granny will thank you.
Thanks for the response on the topic I raised. I hope it wasn’t too hard for you.
> I’ve got to give it to you if you think that any article touting wind should mention the externalities of mining cobalt in the Congo.
I thought I made specific reference to your “every article” focus, actually multiple times. No, I don’t think that “every article,” either for or against windmills needs to explicitly address externalities. But, in an series of articles dealing with the economics of windmills, or certainly with the economics of energy as a more general topic, yes I would find it conspicuous of externalities are never addressed, or only selectively addressed so as to focus only on the externalities of renewables and not fossil fuels or visa versa.
>The truth is that any discussions of externalities associated with wind and solar are very rare int that literature.
Maybe so. And to the extent that is true, I think we can agree it’s a problem. Now I don’t happen to recall seeing a whole lot of activists who write articles critical of renewables that also discuss in much detail the negative externalities of fossil fuels. Mostly what I see are responses like the one from Joe above – completely dismissing the relevance of externalities. That’s what I have a hard time understanding. Why do people believe that they are dealing comprehensively, in either direction, with the economics of energy without digging into questions about externalities? It doesn’t make a whole lotta sense to me.
> Michael Moore’s documentary was quite a shock to many and ignored and such considerations largely dropped within that community.
Are you raising that issue because the pushback Moore got from his documentary justifies YOU not dealing with externalities?
> I would think anyone writing on energy source to make you happy would quickly get bogged down in externalities such that no point could ever be made.
Are you saying that because the issue can’t be dealt with in a completely comprehensive fashion where all questions are fully answered is a reason to not discuss the issue at all, or to discuss it very selectively, and that’s the reason why you don’t discuss the negative externalities of fossil fuels in your posts about the economics of energy source?
> I certainly don’t expect every article touting wind and solar to go into the problems of rare earth mining, slavery and what have you.
I hope I addressed the “every article” aspect.
> While it’s one thing to comment on an article and bring up externalities not considered. It’s very different to directly attack the article for not including externalities that you think are relevant.
Attack? I noted the lack of a discussion of externalities. It’s always interesting to me that at a site where self-described “skeptics” hang out, there is such sensitivity to critique – where critique becomes “attack.”
> Best I can tell you think this article should talk about externalities because I bring up the taxes granny pays. You bring up Federal taxes.
No, I think that in general a series of articles that discuss the economics of fossil fuels versus renewables, to be comprehensive, should address externalities. Perhaps not every article should discuss it in detail or even make reference to it. But please note, my comment wasn’t only focused on this post of yours, but on not only the many posts at Climate Etc. on the topic of economics of energy source, but beyond that to the many posts and the subsequent discussions about those posts where smart and knowledgeable people on the relevant issues never seem to be interested in even discussing the issue of externalities. I note your hostile response when I bring up the topic as well as the dismissive response from Joe as being pretty typical. It seems odd to me.
> I say increased utility costs is an indirect “tax”.
I would agree with that.
> So I did use the word. But nowhere am I talking about Federal taxes as you reference.
Ok, but honestly, that looks a bit like a red herring. I’m not ONLY talking about federal taxes. I’m talking about the relevance of externalities to the larger discussion of the economics of energy source.
> I am not concerned very much at all with the impact federal taxes have on the less advantaged.
Fine – but the more interesting question, at least to me, is how the question of externalities can be included in discussion of the economics of different energy sources.
> I got nothing more for you unless you want to show me how you would discuss externalities in this article in such a way that it related to the actual subjects under consideration.
Interesting. Ok. Not much else I can say about that. But it does get back to my original question. Why would someone writing about the economics of energy sourcing, and a group of people discussing that issue over many posts on the topic, not discuss the relevance of externalities.
It remains an open question for me, your response telling me you don’t want to discuss it notwithstanding.
Jus one last thing Joshua. One of your comments brough up the issue of Federal taxes in relation to what Granny might be paying for fossil fuel subsidies. This is a great example of how trivial, obfuscating, hairsplitting, off point and distracting you can be. I wonder if you are shielded from the real word by a trust fund, or maybe you are in the basement and never had a job. Granny and the people I am writing about don’t pay any Federal taxes in the US. This is pretty well known. This is pretty apparent if you’ve ever looked at tax forms or tax tables. Therefore they do not pay for federal taxes that subsidize oil, as if that were relevant anyway. Who know why you were bringing that in here. I guess you meant to say if granny is forced to pay for oil subsidies she should do penance by paying for green initiatives as well. Or maybe you were asking why am I worried about granny paying for green things when I don’t mind her paying for the federal governments oil subsidy. Well she doesn’t pay for the federal government. And if she did I could worry about that, but not have to include it here. It’s sad I have to tell you all that.
The difference between federal taxes and energy charges more supports my key point that unlike the federal tax code which decided that poor grannies should not pay for a lot of stuff. Green energy charges give her a punch in the gut.
Pick your battles. Give them some thought. Don’t just throw out loose unhinged observations.
Talk around the campfire is that the Democrats are ready to come to the table to support a flat tax…..as long as it’s at least 95%.
That’s gonna happen right after “skeptics” stop being scared of discussing externalities (it’s always a signal when they get pissy like PE did).
Josh – you do a search for negative externalities, not positive ones, especially when it comes to fossil fuels. If you want to consider externalities, you have to consider positive as well as negative ones and see how they balance out. You constantly criticize others about externalities. How about you present a list of positive and negative externalities for fossil fuels and “green” energy.
> If you want to consider externalities, you have to consider positive as well as negative ones and see how they balance out.
I fully agree. That seems to me to be obviously true. And I think that any comprehensive interrogation of the relative benefits and costs of different energy source pathways should include such a discussion. One or two discussions without it? Fine. An ongoing discussion along multiple lines of analysis where it’s totally lacking (or only selectively addressed) seems to me like mostly just poor advocacy and confirmation bias.
Jim’s point is that instead of just whining about what other’s do, you Josh could spend less time on vague and long comments and more time researching these externalities. Get back to us when you have some facts.
Seems that you wish for a much larger role for government to determine what is appropriate for individuals. There are many positive and negative inputs that would have to be weighted and evaluated. How would you keep bias of the process over time?
Aren’t governments already doing this on a limited basis already?
> Seems that you wish for a much larger role for government to determine what is appropriate for individuals. There are many positive and negative inputs that would have to be weighted and evaluated. How would you keep bias of the process over time?
>> Aren’t governments already doing this on a limited basis already?
I don’t really have some over-riding belief about the role of government. I think it depends. I don’t think “government should play a larger role” as some philosophical principle. Nor do I think thst government playing a large role necessarily causes corruption or increases negative unintended consequences. I tend to think such over-riding principles underestimate complexity.
But sure, when I look at some large scale publicly funded energy-related infrastructure, such as the TVA or nuclear energy in many countries, I see models of potential net benefit. But issues, like those that might parallel with eminent domain controversies with the TVA are real and need to be interrogated – just like issues with corporate greed and excessive profits need to be interrogated.
But before all of that, positive and negative externalities need to be in the table. Discussions without investigating externalities have some benefit, for sure. But at some point extended conversations that lack an investigation of the relevant externalities, imo have very limited utility. And I’m not just talking about the externality of climate change.
I find the hostility to examining externalities odd when it comes from people who clearly take these issues seriously. Odd, but not unexpected.
What is an “Externality.” Maybe it’s “real”, but it sounds like a way to create an ill defined abstract boogeyman. Why not say what you mean in plain english? I don’t know if this is some term of “Art” that everyone ought to be familiar with, but in my experience when you boil it down to what it in FACT means, it’s el-gunkio, rubbish that can’t reasonably be quantified and wrapped up in a word of art that is not meaningful without the clear expression of what it is meant to mean.
Just say what you mean, and don’t wrap it up in jargon.
Apologies if I have your intent wrong, and you are using some ever so well understood big sounding word that has a lot of complexity and contention underneath it.
> Maybe it’s “real”, but it sounds like a way to create an ill defined abstract boogeyman
I suggest that if you don’t know what an externality is, you prolly shouldn’t be weighing on on the economics of energy.
Anyway, it’s an easy enough concept to look up. Maybe instead of deciding it “sounds like” an abstract boogeyman, you might seek to investigate. It’s not really very complex. But it’s funny to me that you’ve characterized it in some way without even apparently bothering go Google it.
It’s neither an abstract concept nor a “boogeyman.”
I looked it up after I wrote but before I posted to make sure it meant what I recalled it meant.
Dante – Externalities are what Joshua cherry-picks in an attempt to make a point.
Josh as usual is mostly wrong here and suffering from black and whiteism. Like most things externalities is a vague term and difficult to define precisely. It should be some effect of an action that isn’t included in the calculus used to make the decision. But that usually doesn’t happen with important effects and almost always these “effects” are either highly uncertain or unexpected so they are unknown externalities. More likely, the so-called externality is considered, but its magnitude is highly uncertain and its secondary and tertiary effects unknown.
Just as an example, consider radiation exposure. This has been known for a hundred years to be a real problem. But the prevailing “theory” used to assess it is almost certainly wrong.
The theory assumes a linear relationship between exposure and risk even for very low exposures. It also offers an example of unknown externalities. When we were all trying to save energy and make homes as insulated as possible, people failed to realize that by doing so, indoor air pollution, including from radioactive gases, would increase.
Externalities are difficult to quantify and some are no more than a vague concept, like catastrophic “climate change” caused by CO2.
Externalities is not a vague concept.
Some are, for sure, difficult to quantify.
But that’s not the reason why some “skeptics” are so hostile to discussing their relevance to the economics of energy.
You are off track yet again.
Skeptics are not against a discussion of externalities. They simply see cost to the consumer and reliable energy to be the driving factors in the decision. You want straw man decision matrix, then make one for others to evaluate and criticize.
> Skeptics are not against a discussion of externalities
The hostility and dismissiveness evinced by their very mention here suggests otherwise.
And Rob –
I’m sure that some “skeptics,” somewhere aren’t so hostile towards the discussion. But so few here have stepped forward yet.
And I’d be willing to bet that with all the many posts here and at places like WUWT, you’d be hard-pressed to find any that focus on quantifying negative externalities of fossil fuel energy pathways.
Kind of remarkable, as obviously those negative externalities are a critical aspect of the economics of energy sourcing.
I don’t doubt that some “skeptics” (such as PE) are genuinely interested in the economics of energy sourcing – so it’s fascinating that not only do so few seem to take on the issue of negative fossil fuel externalities, but that the mere mention of it as a relevant issue engenders such hostility.
I just can’t imagine what the reason might be.
Show your evaluations of the factors and weights. Are they the same at all locations?
Appeals to ignorance and uncertainty are a form of that hostility.
You are putting words in people’s mouths that are not evident. I see people criticizing your asking people to take into account factors you are not willing to do the homework on. Where is your analysis of externalities? It is not a simple thing to do. Also once you do it, people are going to have legitimate arguments against your choices in the analysis. Which model of “business as usual” are you going to choose? We have had lengthy discussions on this blog as to which models reflect reality. Does your analysis take into account the fact that the slower the warming, the more adaptation and coping will take place, or are you going to assume that you are guessing the correct rate? You say that you want all externalities to be taken into account. It is easier said than done, until you have tried it by doing the research and showing your results, you have no idea of the amount of work to go into such an analysis. It is much easier to criticize someone else’s work than it is to do some analysis yourself. I look forward to your analysis.
Yes externalities do exist – both positive and negative.
That being said, you have to be realistic and not over emphasize the negative externalities (overweight and/or overvalue / overstate the amount of those negative externalities).
Your infatuation with the covid cofounding variables is a prime example of overstating the effect of the variables, when the grand scheme, the effect was marginal or trivial on the long term trend. Your are having similiar issues with the negative externalities of fossil fuels.
> It is not a simple thing to do…
I fully agree.
> It is easier said than done,
I’ve never remotely suggested it can be rainy done.
But that’s not a reason not to do it. And any comprehensive series of investigations into the economics of energy should include such a discussion of negative externalities of fossil fuels (including beyond those related to climate change), as difficult and no doubt imperfect as it would be.
I am not writing posts on the topic of the economics of energy sourcing. I’m certainly not anywhere near an expert on the topic.
I am noting, however. A near total lack (as far as I can tell) of discussion of that critical factor in the economics of energy.
I find that notable – as I find it notable that if I comment on the failure to EVEN DICUSSS a critical component of the larger issue – I’m met with hostility and personal attacks. Mind you, I don’t particularly care in a sense. It’s not particularly pleasant but the attacks and hostility have no meaningful impact on my life.
But I continue to think it’s notable.
The reason you are attacked Josh is that you are just cluttering up these comments with obfuscation. If you were making a real contribution that would make a difference too. Why don’t you do your research and write up such a post on externalities of various forms of energy generation? Perhaps that would take intellectual focus and sustained effort. Instead you do vague objections to the work of others and expect respect.
Here’s an example, from above, of what I’m talking about:
> However, real accountants, economists, financial guru’s, engineers, etc generally dont waste time calculating costs that only exists in advocates fantasies.
I ask about externalities and get told that “real” folks don’t waste time with fantasies. Or I get told that I must wish for a larger role in government. Or I get asked if I raise the subject in discussions with people who advocate for renewables.
I’m happy to talk about it as a non-expert – but no one here actually expresses any interest in the discussion.
Josh’s typical ploy: I would supply some facts about X, but no one here is interested in discussing it.
This is just a way to avoid real discussion. What he is actually doing is manufacturing noise on the blog, and he knows it, even if he won’t admit it.
The Climate Doomer blogs don’t allow free discussion, they delete comments they don’t like. Dr. Curry allows free discussion and Josh takes advantage to muck up the comments.
Disruptions, misdirection, innuendo, obfuscation, and clutter are his stock and trade.
You ignore responses addressing your comments. Cost and reliability appear to be the driving externalities impacting energy decision making. You claim, imo wrongly; we included that decision makers don’t consider other externalities but they’re minor compared to the driving two. Has anyone including woke liberals like yourself done the work to show that other external factors would change decisions on energy sourcing?
> You ignore responses addressing your comments. Cost and reliability appear to be the driving externalities impacting energy decision making. You claim, imo wrongly; we included that decision makers don’t consider other externalities but they’re minor compared to the driving two. Has anyone including woke liberals like yourself done the work to show that other external factors would change decisions on energy sourcing?
Lol. More hostility and name-calling.
What I have noted is that in the discussions here, and I’m guessing at other blogospheric places where “skeptics” hang out, I haven’t seen discussion of the negative externalities of fossil fuels (outside of the potential negative externalities related to climate). I’ve skimmed some of PE’s posts about the economics of energy sourcing, and don’t recall him discussing that issue, nor seeing any discussion of that issue in the related comment threads.
Seems to me that negative externalities would be a critical factor to consider when discussing that issue.
But if it makes you feel better somehow to be hostile and call me names – go right ahead. Water off a duck’s back.
> Josh’s typical ploy: I would supply some facts about X, but no one here is interested in discussing it.
I don’t have facts to supply about the negative externalities of fossil fuels. Seems to me that there are some, and that it would be critical to discuss them in relation to positive externalities of fossil fuels as well as the ratio of positive/negative externalities from other energy pathways.
It’s perhaps telling that noting a lack of such a discussion, among people who regularly discuss the economics of energy, engenders so much name-calling and hostility.
I can’t imagine why!
The reason you engender hostility Josh is because you are wasting people’s valuable time by endlessly repeating word salads that are negative, sarcastic, and fallacious.
You could improve by cutting the number of words a factor of 10 and making a positive contribution such as analyzing these externalities. Without that, your statements about them are just your worthless assertions. Any anonymous unqualified person can just say something vaguely negative about a blog post and then posture when people object. That’s what people who lack intellectual focus and competence often do.
“Lol. More hostility and name-calling.” – Is describing you as a woke liberal in the least bit inaccurate???
What you describe as wanting requires a larger role/evaluation process for government regardless of your stated beliefs. That certainly adds costs to the process.
> Is describing you as a woke liberal in the least bit inaccurate???
I’m honestly not sure what you mean by “woke liberal.” I assume that some part of what you mean applies but much probably doesn’t.
Regardless, it’s meaningless in within the context of whether or not externalities are included in a discussion of the economics of energy. It seems clear its meant merely as an insult.
> What you describe as wanting requires a larger role/evaluation process for government regardless of your stated beliefs. That certainly adds costs to the process.
What I’ve done is ask whether or not externalities are included in the discussion of the economics of energy. As to the the related role of government, that could go in many directions, including supporting nuclear energy or spending trillions on military expenditures to keep oil flowing. That’s all a related discussions, for sure – but external costs and government spending aren’t one and the same.
In thinking of this further, perhaps externalities can be evaluated, at least as they are determined by the actions of various governments and by proxy to their decisions.
As an example, Germany (and the US) have shut down nuclear due to nuclear waste costs. Yet, these countries continue to operate CO2 producing power plants that could have been decommissioned in favor of non-CO2 producing nuclear plants.
The World Nuclear Association states:
“Nuclear power is the only large-scale energy-producing technology that takes full responsibility for all its waste and fully costs this into the product.”
Germany kept NG power plants online in favor of nuclear.
Thus, a LOWER bound for cost of carbon is therefore:
($32/mwh) / (-2257 lbs CO2 / mwh) = -$.014/lbs CO2.
Thus the price of carbon is *negative* as assessed by German and US governments.
People aren’t paying the true cost of generation. As noted, a lot of the new energy costs are subsidised, usually by the taxpayer, but by indirect routing to hide its source. The subsidies don’t go to the needy grandmothers while the ones that can afford it pay true cost. No – they go to the station developers, many who build plant with the main intention to harvest the government’s largesse.
Paul Homewood has done a number of articles looking at the published accounts of wind generators in UK and Europe. Invariably they show the plants lose money on generation income. However, they are very profitable because of the subsidies. What happens when subsidies run out?
Promoters, developers & politicians lie, with no real consequences, but falsifying accounts people do at their own peril. I know who I would trust more with my money.
Here is Paul’s most recent article on the subsidy:
One of the investors is the Chinese government.
Three things that amaze me in the energy area.
1. Why pumped water storage is not the default energy storage method. Batteries are expensive and very dirty environmentally. In many parts of the US the dams are already built and many have hydroelectric capacity. It strikes me that this is another example where ideology is driving choices. Dams are viewed by many as environmentally bad for reasons I never understood.
2. Why electric vehicles are so fashionable when the costs are high, the range issue unresolved, and the paucity of rapid charging stations making them infeasible for long distance travel.
3. Why are we not exploiting natural gas for transportation. The resource is abundant. Infrastructure is already in place in most parts of the US. Conversion of existing gasoline vehicles is not costly or difficult. Carbon emissions are half those of gasoline powered vehicles. In this sense natural gas already would have lower emissions given our mix of electricity generation fuels. Many local large fleet operators use natural gas very successfully. Quite easy to fuel up the fleet at the end of the shift.
A person in the solar energy business noted that in CA there are many places where reservoirs could be made in the mountains and use the ocean as a practically unlimited bottom part. He claimed that Greens had stopped the approach.
As Greens elected to shut down nuclear in Germany, as they claimed the negative ‘externalities’ of Nuclear (the nuclear waste), in their assessment, are higher than the negative ‘externalities’ of equivalent CO2 producing sources. I think something similar is going on in the US, though I don’t know who is driving it.
The German and US government’s actions seem at odd with extreme negative ‘externalities’ of CO2 emissions pressed endlessly by various sources.
In order for both to be true, there must be some offsetting positive ‘externalities’ for these governments.
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Planning Engineer, I believe the plan for a command economy in the case you present will be to transfer government moneys to those adversely affected by the government programs and policies. It will be the only choice when the costs of the these expansive programs are realized and voters become aware of it. More authoritative governments could both transfer incomes and subsidize or nationalize the involved energy operations.
We have already seen this happen in Europe in face of the reactions to Russian energy. Big government advocates do not waste crises.
I was wondering if you planned to address this inconvenient fact:
Asking for a whale-loving granny.
On one end, I think shipping fuel to Kauai is a good thing. Lots of unique species there, lot of people love the place and the environment is fragile. Wind has unacceptable consequences and solar has it’s limitations. On the other end, I think shipping wood pellets fro the southern US to Britain is an insane waste of fuel for the supposed benefits it provides.
Some fuel shipping seems to me a much better use than getting cheap plastic baubles from China to to US. I wish we were shipping more food to areas that need it (though local sourcing of food has great value too) than shipping wood pellets. I’m really conflicted about shipping solar panels made by slave labor at great environmental cost to the US. That probably bother me more than wood pellets. I’m sure a lot of areas that I don’t know a lot about require fuel for their people and the ability to use fuel may be far better for them than shipping them the finished goods.
Not sure how it connects to Granny or the whales. What do you think? I don’t know why my opinion is relevant here or why you asked.
The granny in question has deep concerns for whales, Russell. She sends me stuff like this:
She also asks why the price of oil and gas soared last year. Should I tell her that wind and solar is to blame, and forget about the record profits of Exxon and Chevron?
I am glad you could focus on wood pellet. Let’s see if I can distract her with your trick.
Did she send you this? https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2023/01/25/wind-turbines-whales-biden/
I don’t know what any of it has to do with this post. Can you tell me?
Also you brought up wood pellets, not me. I spoke a lot about fuel as well. I think you are wrong in claiming it was my focus. I thought wind pellets were your concern and then when I agree with you that it was probably bad, you call it a trick.
I don’t think you play nice or want serious discussions,
I’m afraid you don’t know my granny, Russell. She neither subscribes to the WaPo nor to right-wing wokesurfing campaigns. She can smell hucksters from miles away.
Your pellet trick did not work, btw. She sent me this instead:
I do not know how to respond to this. Perhaps, as someone who designed ways for utility companies to get the most out of their captive contracts, you could tell me how to make her accept that her money will be well spent. By that I think she means not in FUD campaigns or phoney infrastructure projects for which they are guaranteed a 10% tip.
Perhaps I could bribe her instead, Do you happen to have old brochures of Team Resources, Fossil Energy Corp, or Indio by any chance? She is a huge collector, and already has the ones from PG&E and ENRON.
Willard Quoting the Guardian (or more precisely the Grauniad) to support your case destroys whatever credibility you hoped to achieve. They have notoriety in UK for being advocates for their causes, not impartial reporters of the news.
Sorry, not much experience with the “ignore info and attack the source” game, where who said what is more important than what was said. What does you imaginary grandmother think of the above sources.
Instead of trying to tar me with Enron or make false slanderous claims, a decent reader would at least first answer the question of what has any of this to do with the posting. What have I written in this piece that you take issue with? My driver and North Star has always been the end use consumer of electricity in terms of the best balance of economics, reliability and environmental good.
I suppose most everyone here knows you are a change the subject, bring in unrelated info, be lose and fast with accusations nasty kind of guy, but please go on and continue demonstrating it.
I tried to answer your questions you ignore questions. I would say gas and oil partly soared because good plans were not made for fuel supplies. You can look to the decisions of Germany for confirmation of a case where this was particularly consequential. So yes false beliefs as to the availability of wind and solar may result in unavailability of needed fuel. Lake of supply can lead to soaring prices. I’m sorry you can’t connect these dots, Please let’s cut off your next move which is to try to make me accountable for any harm anywhere in the world where fuel procurement has had a negative externality. Even though that is you M O. If you want to answer what any of your blather has to do with my post, I will listen to that. Otherwise -thanks but I’ve had my fill.
My granny misplaced my comment, Chris:
When you speak of attacking the source, Russell, are you referring to Chris’ comment?
Russell – Willard and some others are masters of obfuscation and innuendo. They clutter the thread with those sorts of comments. It’s a judgement call whether or not to interact with them as it tends to drive up the number of irrelevant comments and therefore the noise level of the blog.
I just called back my granny. My grand dad picked up the phone. This is surprising, as he is rather the silent type.
He owns energy stocks since before it was cool. Stocks like the Southern Company, and Alabama Power. He mentioned the Joe Perkins Files, the Kemper Scandal, the Matrix Affair, Nukegate. I have no idea what any of this means. Do you?
In any event, my grand dad told me that he sold his SO stock when they got caught using spending money on climate denial ad instead of giving him bigger dividends:
Next he told something very important. He said:
“Son, never trust someone who pretends to talk for the love of my life, not even I.”
To which I replied – “But what about me? I just brought her back to life to make a point!”
“You are trying to honour her memory, just like you honour mine. Murican utility companies and their drones never cared about your granny. They care about sucking up every once of her.”
I love my grand parents, Russell. Please never talk for them ever again. Keep to parenthetical remarks about wood pellets.
Jim 2 – Yes. I’m afraid it should be “No soup” for Willard.
Taxation reflects on customer prices, dear Russell. Less government revenues also means my granny receives less social services. And when utilities increase rates to finance projects like clean coal plants, granny is impacted too. My grand dad has many stories about recurrent delays, cost overruns, and safety violations, and overall shoddy work.
I thought you knew this.
Willard – give you rope and you just keep swinging. Will you apologize for your unwarranted and false accusations and innuendo. Southern Company, Alabama Power Kemper…
In my utility career I have only worked for municipal and cooperatively owned utilities. That’s where the concern for granny and the farmer in the field comes from. It was a common credo. Please never say my name again. Use planning engineer if you must. No way I deserve the personal attacks you bring.
Besides your acerbic wit, have you done anything to make any pieces of the world better?
A lot of the worst kind of this fossil fuel shipping (LNG) could be avoided if people would realize what great things for civilization fracking and pipelines are. Also, since you can’t clip me for peddling here, everyone should check out Michael Shellenberger’s and B.F. Randall’s Substacks. \F (thumbed nose emoticon)
Good one, Canman.
At least you own your act. Speaking of which, you might like:
Google pays a good associate degree working from home earning between $4,500 and $6,000 per week. This is usually a great year, on the other hand I am inactive in a terrible economy. u07“Thank you Google every day for blessing these addresses and currently it is my duty to pay miles and share them with everyone…
here it is I started…………. … https://bit.ly/3Dk3XZZ
” In Germany and other parts of Europe we are seeing increasing problems of “Heat or Eat” (See here, here, here or just Google it).’
I understood this was more a problem of reliance on Russian gas and oil products…
If Europe had nurtured the fossil fuel industry there instead of wasting money on wind and solar, they wouldn’t be so dependent on Russia in the first place.
Bingo! They relied on Russia because they put their faith in renewables.
‘Granny’ is the canary in the coal mine, i.e., don’t worry about Granny but, about yourself!
And, California is the Canary in the coal mine, having imported way too many Democrats over the last 50 years- even Ronald Reagan was a Democrat until he wised up and left the libs and Leftists for the good of California and America.
Granny and the Grid: I happen to share much the same career experience as PE. I add my 2c worth, perhaps from a different perspective too.
Background. An interest into the early beginnings of electrical power found that my country had a small grid supplied from a coal power-plant in the same year or so as Buffalo in US from hydro. However for the next half century plus a decade or so, electricity was used to light the occasional 15W bulb and keeping the dirtier kerosene lamp on standby. Even those who had a fridge ran it on kerosene. Likely the latter was still found more reliable than electricity. The technically oriented secondary school I attended mid-fifties still ran its machinery from the one main engine, driving all by belts and shafting.
Granny – and the rest of society -, other than for a cleaner mode of lighting, relied for all the rest on other means. Life went on when the grid failed. All industrial works had their own power sources (today some are museum pieces – I was amused and shocked? to see my slide rule in a museum cabinet).
Today all that has changed. Electricity brought greater all-round comfort and better all-round conditions. But also total reliance on electricity. When that fails, life is tough, most of all for Granny -in her own home- who may be totally reliant on electricity, inside the home and outside for all services. It is not just the cost of electricity in monetary terms.
There have been big shocks to electricity, perhaps not to everybody. The 1973 oil crisis sent shocks to the system. No one around really knew what it was like inside to keep the lights outside on; and for how long. There have been similar since. Granny can get more than a ‘raw deal’. Wind and solar are added benefits, no doubt, but still very far from a grid panacea.
Thanks for that.
On the subject of increased expenses, almost every “green” alternative is more expensive. Induction ranges are about 1.5 times the cost of a gas one, and then you have to replace all your pots with ones compatible. EVs are more expensive to buy and now in some cases more expensive to operate. Operating costs will go up as electricity prices go up, and they will considering an all-electric society will require about 3 times the grid capacity. “Green” cement is about twice as expensive as conventional cement. “Green” steel is likewise more expensive than its conventional counterpart. It’s difficult to find a case where the “green” counterpart is less expensive than the conventional one.
And the greater expense doesn’t even cover the decrease in standard of living. Eating crickets, using public transportation, and having to live in a s-hole city is not an upgrade.
I hope Granny doesn’t experience this problem.
A Tesla Model S “spontaneously caught fire” while traveling down a highway in Rancho Cordova, California, prompting firefighters to respond to the scene, officials said.
On Saturday afternoon, crew members from the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District responded to a Tesla that was “engulfed in flames” due to a battery fire, officials said in a tweet.
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I see occasional comments referencing personal taxes versus corporate taxes. Generally, they skip over the simple economic concept that corporations, even utilities, do not pay taxes. Corporate taxes, fees, and other payments are drawn on the funds collected from the sale of their products and services. Ultimately, there is no other source of funds to make those payments. Simply put: Tax a utility and you tax their customers. Force the utility to build uneconomic facilities and that cost is paid by their customers.
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Here are the domestic electricity prices in each US state
And here they are world wide
One thing that stands out in the data is that other than the small islands or isolated grids, the highest prices are mainly in regions that either have high penetration by the unreliables or anti-fossil fuel policies, often both.
Correlation is not causation but the match is striking. I thought wind and solar were supposed to be providing cheap power. Where do the extra costs come from?
See below … had trouble replying to you.
Thanks, very interesting.
Chris – As a rule, the higher the renewable penetration, the higher electric prices. though a couple of outliers show up, Texas has high wind penetration, yet has average rates, Australia has lower prices, though it also has high wind penetration. Europe is a good example of Chris’s point, almost all of europe has high electric prices, Same with california.
When Australia was a near fully coal fired power station grid, their power was very cheap. The cost of electricity has gone up a lot more than the rate of inflation. They have also de-industrialised . Aluminium smelters have closed and their bauxite exported to be smelted elsewhere. Their grid now regularly has astronomical power spot prices, like when fronts pass over States. They have also proved synchronicity with their wind even when spread over a third of the continent.
This was also true generally across many countries globally in 2019 – the greater the penetration of variable renewables, higher the domestic electricity price. See – https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/recent-data-relationship-between-domestic-electricity-kalghatgi/
This was also published in Journal of Automotive Safety and Energy 2021; 11: 79–83
Paul linked to a SMUD post that notes this-
“SMUD’s rates are among the lowest in California, and on average are more than 45.5% lower than those of neighboring PG&E.”
PG&E higher rates were discussed here-
“Table 10: Transmission Revenue Requirement,
January 1, 2016 and January 1, 2022
notes the rather large average annual increase in PG&E’s allocation compared to SCE and SDG&E’s.
PG&E1.183 billion $ 2.706 billion 21.5%
SCE $ 1.177 billion $ 1.491 billion 4.4%
SDG&E $ 0.531 billion $ 0.773 billion 7.6%”
Let’s also include this in the “thy shall not discuss” list:
Sorry – wrong list. Should be on the “Thou shalt not discuss” list.
According to that source California pays twice that of Arizona. Having worked for a power company in the past I know that Arizona buys power from California when the wind and solar are generating excess power at the absolute minimum price. Arizona simply cuts generation when they need to accept power from California. When the production doesn’t keep up with demand in California then Arizona sells them power and charges them a premium rate, because it happens during peak demand. Arizona cuts or supplies demand quickly from natural gas fired plants, but can do longer term things to coal fired plants as well, such as take them off-line for repairs or run them at up to half load.
I know that coal powered plants can run at half load, because, for business reasons, the company wanted to run a unit a half load. The operators initially refused to do so as they were afraid that the unit would not be stable. The plant manager ordered them to do it anyway. The unit ran like that and was stable for a couple years until the business issues were resolved. At some point coal fired plants will become unstable and/or need fuel oil to run as you begin to lower output. We did not do complete testing to see how fast or at what levels were stable, but normally shutdowns and startups are done on the order of days to about a week, so seasonal changes could be accommodated at a minimum.
What you are describing happens around the world in countries next to those with high renewables penetration. Though it may seem to be of high benefit, unless one has a lot of instant start plant like Norway, they cannot use the cheap power without totally disrupting their own generation profiles. There is no predictability, so many units need to be kept on inefficient part load, like you describe. That adds to their costs, which means they lose out when compared in a superficial analysis to the power dumped on them.
Because it is so hard to manage, some grid operators really don’t want it. Poland have put phase shifters on its German interconnectors to restrict the flows. A number of others there are seriously looking at doing it.
In Australia and UK, when the lines reach their capacity with the uncontrolled renewables, even with negative pricing, the grid operators will order the plants off. Then there is compensation which the consumers have to pay for. This is almost back to the Enron type situation. The thermal operators who are the ones providing the reliability don’t get this unless they are constrained on, so rightly feel aggrieved.
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Good point RE: hidden price increases. RE: Germany – they used to produce nuclear power in their own country, but later they passed “only clean energy laws” and guess where they outsourced to? Ukraine. They ended up getting DIRTIER power from Ukraine for years and now they’re not getting it at all. Ironic.
That dirty nuclear power from Ukraine …
Wind power may be just bluster.
“The 2021 “wind drought” hit Northern Europe particularly hard, especially those countries relying most on wind energy — notably Denmark, which gets 44% of its energy from wind, and Ireland, where the share of wind in total energy production is 31%. Other European countries relying heavily on wind include Portugal (26%), Spain (24%), Germany (23%), the UK (22%), and Sweden (19%). In France, which gets most of its power from nuclear, it’s just 8%.
As a result of the reduction in average wind speed, Danish energy company Ørsted reported a loss of €380 ($366) million. German energy company RWE acknowledged a 38% drop in profits last year, although this was from both its wind and solar units combined.
-The coming wind drought-
Unfortunately for Europe, it doesn’t seem that last year’s “wind drought” was a one-off. In its latest report, the IPCC predicts a drop of 6% to 8% in average wind speeds across Europe by 2050. As wind speeds become increasingly inconstant, the cost of wind energy will become more unpredictable and its provision more unreliable — that is, unless the energy industry invests in massive storage systems that can capture the excess energy produced on windier days and release it when the wind turbines stand idle.”
Of course, they could just shrug and reopen those fossil fuel generating plants. They’re already using diesel motors to keep the blades moving when the wind dies down. If they’re allowed to stop, the inertia to start them moving again is prohibitive.
My latest on Whales vs Wind:
Another dead whale today, on Long Island.
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I attended the inaugural Hoover Institute “environment” conference yesterday.
It was notable because while there was a consistent theme of “climate is changing”, it was heavily moderated by “adaptation vs. prevention” as well as “prevention is going to be extremely expensive, may not work, and is very possibly impossible due to resource limitations”.
Among the speakers in the 2+panel chairman sessions: Steve Koonin, Neil Chatterjee (former FERC chairman), Matt Ridley, Niall Ferguson although mostly economists.
This is also of interest because the Hoover Institute is neoconservative central. Its Director is Condoleeza Rice who gave the kickoff speech, for example, and its past and current members include people like George Schultz and John B Taylor (Taylor rule).
If, in fact, this is a signal that the Republican party is shifting away from the prevailing PMC “Stop Climate Change At All Costs” paradigm…
As it was, I greatly enjoyed the opportunity to shake the hand of Steve Koonin in person and to talk to him, Lord Ridley and others. The sessions were particularly good because every single one included an extensive Q & A – and the audience was by no means all “deniers”. There were numerous polite but very strong discussions between audience members and panelists.
Mark Mills in particular gave an extremely sobering view of the materials requirements for Green transition as well as a very reasonable examination of what these resource scarcities would do to pricing. Among his slides: going Net Zero would require 5x grid and $15 trillion in storage.
Net-Zero fever fantasy vs Reality. Reality will win out.
Investment in oil and gas production will be needed for the next three decades if the world is to avoid more shortages and price swings, BP has warned.
The oil giant said in its annual energy outlook published on Monday that fossil fuels are still likely to account for about 20pc of primary energy in 2050 even under a significant tightening of climate policies.
Spencer Dale, chief economist at BP, said investment in new wells would therefore be needed until 2050 to ensure supply of fossil fuels matches demand.
“Natural declines in existing production sources mean there needs to be continuing upstream investment in oil and natural gas over the next 30 years,” he wrote in the report.
How many times do I have to remind you that it’s our technology that is changing the environment.
New machine learning model predicts limiting the temperature to 1.5C is pointless and we should blow past 2.0C before 2050.
You trust computers don’t you?
Even the Chinese know trouble when they see it.
“China’s move is the first law in force to comprehensively regulate the phenomenon of deepfakes and AI-created content.
Providers of services for generating deepfakes must guarantee data security and must not process personal data unlawfully without the consent of the data subject. In addition, not only deepfakes need to be clearly labeled to avoid public confusion or false impersonalization. The government is casting a significantly wider net, likely to future-proof the law.
“Services that provide intelligent dialogue, synthetic human voices, face generation, immersive mimetic scenes, and other features that create or significantly alter information content should be clearly identified,” now prescribes China’s legislation. “Any organization or person is obliged not to use any technical means to delete, manipulate or hide the logo in question.”
“no observations are used during the training, validation, or testing”.
That’s the way to go! Don’t get confused by facts!
One of the things Koonin noted during the panel session he was a part of, was that even IPCC has downgraded its “most likely” scenario from 4.5 – 5.0 degrees C down to 3 degrees C.
Koonin also noted the various ECS estimates – comparing the alarmist/mainstream ones vs. say, Curry and Lewis against actual temperature increases.
Needless to say: the mainstream isn’t looking good.
And here’s some of that Reality. Another facet of reality is politicians will do anything to cling to power. They will throw Net-Zero to the wolves.
Many British businesses face dire risks when the government tightens its energy support package in April, industry groups told a parliamentary committee Tuesday.
Hospitality companies could see an average of 85% increase in their power and gas bills from April, said Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality. Small businesses could be at particular risk.
“You’ve got lots of business locked in at very high rates” from last summer’s highs, Nicholls said at a hearing of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee. “The cliff edge has been shaved off slightly, but for many businesses they will still see a significant increase in costs.”
Europe’s energy-supply crunch has fueled historic inflation, stoking a cost-of-living crisis. The UK has provided some relief, though it will be scaled back in April as the government aims to reduce its fiscal burden that’s lifted borrowing levels.
Second attempt …
Thanks, Chris. Very Interesting.
PE (and JC) super piece.
Hosing Granny is bad enough. We worry about the 6.5 billion people on earth who probably don’t have it as good as Granny.
Thank you once more for sharing your hands-on experience with electricity generation, with special thanks for putting up with the distractors posing as deep thought self-styled philosophers.
You can take compfort that your words can and should assist the lessening of hardship felt by just normal folks who have not worked at the coal face where you have, while the smartie commenters have written nothing to alleviste worry. Indeed, they might have increased the level of worry.
When the whole concept of alarm from global warming is examined, it breaks down into one tiny feature after another, weaponised, exaggerated and pushed as if it was known, eternal truth.
For example, here in Australia today is the day after which sale of single use plastics like straws, cotton buds, coffee cups and expanded foam plastic such as bean bag fillers is banned by law, with fines up to $11,000 for individuals and $55,000 for companies. It is possible that the whole scheme to ban stemmed from a short piece of video of a drinking straw being pulled from the nose of a turtle. Pulled from the nose, re-imaged to become a certain global catastrophe, requiring an ever-increasing army of robots paid to enforce laws, when the consequences of doing nothing to remediate the supposed problem have never been explained in any reasonable way. Where is the cost:benefit analysis?
I appreciate writers such as you who are willing and able to discuss reality and consequences free of excess emotion.
Here’s what “progressives” deem success. They need a clue: a company losing money isn’t sustainable. Al Gore is involved in Octopus Energy. Say no more, say no more …
We’re making energy fair, clean, and simple for all using technology.
Powering 3 million+ UK homes and businesses with award-winning 100% green electricity today. And building the sustainable energy system of tomorrow.
The UK’s most awarded energy supplier banner showing we’ve been Which? Recommended 5 years in a row, Excellent on Trustpilot and USwitch Supplier of the Year
Being the UK’s most awarded energy supplier is about more than offering the cheapest deals.
We keep our costs far lower than other suppliers so we can pass savings on to you. We’ve never made a profit, and in the energy crisis, we’ve shouldered more than £150 million to give our customers the lowest variable tariff in the UK.
Octopus energy specialists helping a customer
Our business is built on outrageously good customer service. If you need help, a knowledgeable, friendly human will be there for you.
“I am not seeking here to amplify nor quell the concerns around CO2.”
Your statement clearly indicates our lack of understanding of CO2 effects. Ignorance has led to fear and fear has led to chaos and frivolous decisions. To solve the issues of clean energy, the correct climate science is warranted. We need to know what CO2 actually does. I invite you to read my latest paper on the subject, https://doi.org/10.3390/e25010072
Thermodynamic analysis of climate change, Nabil HazzaaSwedan
“ Ice storm leaves thousands without power in Texas”
340,000 without power Wednesday night.
And if you want to know why the red line on Spencer’s graph shows net global cooling since the peak of the superimposed 60-year cycle in 1998 then you need to learn correct, long-established physics.
Start with this “American Thinker” article by a world-leading scientist whom you need to heed.
We can spend literally TRILLIONS on unreliable wind and solar, or we can spend some billions on nuclear and natural gas plants. Stoop Id is as Stoop Id does. And there are a lot of Stoop Id people running things right now.
Executives are starting to sound the alarm: Growing the industry enough to avoid catastrophic climate change will require trillions of dollars of additional investment, and the ability for wind-power companies to make healthy returns. At the moment, that path to viability is complicated by the rising cost of borrowing money to build clean power plants, plus increased competition; in the future, it could be further complicated by European windfall taxes on renewable power producers.
And here we have the reason we can’t get anything done in this country…
All five European wind turbine manufacturers have been making huge losses for over a year now and are beseeching the European Commission to provide more subsidies. They are also facing competition from cheaper Chinese turbine manufacturers who have recently won contracts in France, Italy, Croatia and Serbia.
The industry has also been cutting jobs with over 50,000 lost in Germany alone over the last 6 years. The chickens are coming home to roost.
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Here’s another whiner riding the Climate Doomer bus. Even Stoop Id people should start to notice when something isn’t working.
Global green energy company Siemens Gamesa reported Thursday that it had lost a staggering $967 million during the three-month period from between October to December.
The Germany-based company, which dubs itself as “the global leader in offshore power generation,” noted the wind industry has faced various unfavorable pressures leading to negative growth in recent months and years, in its earnings report for the first quarter of fiscal year 2023 released Thursday morning. The company added that governments would need to further assist the industry to ensure future positive growth.
“The negative development in our service business underscores that we have much work ahead of us to stabilize our business and return to profitability,” Siemens Gamesa CEO Jochen Eickholt said in a statement.
You think wind is having problems? You have no idea how manipulated the price of solar is. There is a reason why gigawatts of the solar modules from Asia are stuck in US customs. Slave labor, environmental damage and opaque government financing are good reasons to stop China from dumping their solar panels on world markets. Just wait till you see the increase in PPA (Purchase Price Agreements) going forward. 1) Higher cost per watt, 2) poor quality control, 3) shortage of $$ transmission lines, 4) labor shortage, 5) Interest rates. Solar isn’t cheap. That said, every grid should have some power sources that don’t need water or a fuel source they can’t depend on.
Check out the prices: http://pvinsights.com/
And let’s not forget to shed a tear for all those poor children who will never know what snow is …
Drought-weary California is entering February with deeper snowpack than it has seen in four decades, reflecting a healthy boost in the state’s supply of water but also spurring concerns about dryness, flooding and other potential hazards in the months ahead.
Statewide Sierra snowpack was 205% of normal for the date on Wednesday, said officials with the Department of Water Resources during the second snow survey of the season.
Even more promising, snowpack was 128% of its April 1 average, referring to the end-of-season date when snowpack in California is typically at its deepest.
“According to Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia ,within a few years winter snowfall will become “a very rare and exciting event”. “Children just aren’t going to know what snow is,” he said.” In March 2000.
“Senior research scientist”. From a university. You’d have to be a “climate change denier” to even question such a prediction.
It’s important to remember that the global climate apocalypse is on a rolling timetable. It is always 10 years from now.
A good engineer can always kill a project. It takes a great engineer to make one happen.
That was an axiom I was taught early in my oil and gas career. If you have a Satisfactory project, you move forward fixing the problems that occur as soon as you can. That makes it an Excellent Project.
Don’t kill a project because you discovered a problem. Fix the new problem.
Progress involves making mistakes. An engineer who won’t accept a mistakes is proud he never made a mistake but also is the guy who never did anything significant.
Cobalt mining by children is a problem to fix. Not a reason to stop using Cobalt. That’s a Luddite argument: more or different is bad. Less and the same is good because we understand it well.
Let’s hear it for the Great Engineers.
Quote “Progress involves making mistakes”. Questionable.
Many make mistakes and never learn. When it comes to expensive projects mistakes are not something one can afford. The ultimate cost to company -and country- can be prohibitive.
As to good or bad engineers one needs to choose his team carefully – from the right hand 10% of the Normal Distribution Curve. https://www.simplypsychology.org/normal-distribution.html
Then: It takes years to build a project to fruition, but a few hours to destroy it when eventually trusted in the wrong hands. The success of a project -then- is over its design lifetime (financially and materially), not up to when they cut the ribbon or pop a bottle.
Invariably granny also pays for mistakes.
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In the future, Granny only gets stuck with the bill if she is higher income?
At the gasoline pump, we all pay the same basic price: business, lower incomes, everyone.
I am thinking utilities both elec and nat gas do not really work that way. I believe my state Virginia has a large discount on business elec users. Our GA wants to spend lots of money to join RGGI and build mega-expensive offshore wind, but I believe they intend to shelter lower incomes and I assume continue sheltering business from full costs.
I expect to pay the lions share of the utility increases as an “unprotected” middle class tax payer (cause that’s where the “money is”). The big discount businesses often get for elec (I assume) in part may explain why business are bullish on electric cars etc: they are not paying the same “pump” cost as me, like they do on gasoline/diesel.
Depends on your definition of “protected”.
California does have a program where utility bills for lower income people is basically halved.
However, as electricity prices in California are the 2nd most expensive in the entire United States (because Hawaii still relies on oil fueled electricity) – arguably even half is still far more expensive than in most other states.
As for corporations: it depends. Any large consumer of electricity at the “wholesale” level will have lower prices than the retail customer – but again, what are the actual prices? There’s a reason that power intensive industry has long since left California…
Non industrial businesses also tend to have leases where the utilities are basically thrown in for free. That’s a function of high rent – rent is so high that utilities are basically invisible even if they are super high in historical and absolute terms.
Map of poll results concerning various aspects of “climate change.”
What does a 2-year-old poll matter? Politicians are spending billions to protect against CO2 increases in spite of the facts.
fwiw – well known that the wording of a poll can greatly skew the perceived results. Structure the first one or two questions to achieve the “desired biased answer ” and all the subsequent neutral questions will get the “biased” answer.
a poll from a few years ago had 80%+ of republicans in favor to “stopping the polution that causes global warming”
Yeah, the whole system is stupid with Greens shutting down Nuclear in the Germany and the US, as if a nuclear power plant is worse than scorching the earth and frying everything on it. I can’t make any sense of the numbers for solar. 1/100ths production on severely rainy days? And 0% production at night with NO energy storage? And intermittency? It’s all a crock, and a slush fund.
I have determined the cause of temperatures rising in North America. It is evil human’s attack on the lowly beaver.
At one time there were from 100 to 200M beavers in North America.
An average beaver dam is 15′ X 4.5′ X 5′, and so contains 9464 liters of water. If only 10% of that evaporates in summer, and another 10% percent provides water for trees, that become sequestered, and including the increase in animal mass that become the carbon sequestered in trees, a single beaver dam provides cooling of 6,605 Kwhs per year.
And consider the beavers were “depopulated” to next to nothing in the 1860s, 223 years ago.
Why, the killing of beavers in NA has caused 6605 Kwh * 150000000 * 223 years = 2.2 * 10^14 Kwh of energy to NOT be released.
This is the equivalent of 367799 Hiroshima bombs dropped on NA. Clearly, the Beaver is the cause of NA warming.
Planning Engineer: The harm to “Granny” will come out as “We need more control.”
That is the Democrat Mantra. If you do not believe it, then WHY did Germany shut down its nuclear? I don’t know all the deatils, but constant on energy that doesn’t produce any CO2 is a good thing for the “planet,” I would think.
And why did CA decide that any new dams that are 50MWs or more are “NOT RENEWABLE?” Where is the Sanity in that?
And, as you probably know, utilities are excited at the prospect of increased percentage share of GDP that comes with the nonsense. And all the arbitrage insider can use to make bucks.
Meanwhile, China has said “We will not work with the US on climate change,” and the US is an increasingly small percentage of CO2 production, along with all the other chicanery.
I appreciate your attempts to make sense of the nonsensical. Germany tried, and nearly trebled their energy costs, and as Bjorn Lomborg noticed, the poor paid for Rich Bavarian’s rooftop solar.
It’s not at all about “Global Warming.” It’s about the politization of science, as evidenced by completely nonsensical actions of the pros.
By the way, I heard an AMAZING idea for energy storage in CA!
Build a reservoir in the Santa Clara Mountains, pump OCEAN water up! No need to have a collector at the bottom, and there are plenty of places in CA suited to the purpose.
Oh, Wait. Greens don’t like it.
I love it how Climate Doomers will say literally anything to scare us. They have no requirement that the scary bedtime stories have any grounding in reality, in fact, the more outrageous, the better to manipulate your emotions. The people who do this need to be named and shamed. Here’s one: Lisa Jarvis! How do you sleep at night?
As the world gets warmer, fungi could adapt in a way that would make our bodies more welcoming hosts. “The question that I’m asked all the time is ‘Could a fungal disease emerge to cause a pandemic?’,” says Arturo Casadevall, a microbiologist and immunologist at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health who studies how fungi cause disease. “The answer is: I don’t know. But there’s no reason that it can’t.”
Hey, that was GREAT! I really enjoyed it. And I’m a climate heretic. Meanwhile, “Vagisil. Got a little fungus on that Taco?” And toe fungus, etc. And I do love the Fungi that makes Ants go Mad. I think there is one that makes Snails go mad too, and makes their antennae glow so birds eat them.
Regardless, it was really well done, and the subtle wink to warming climate was easy to ignore, for the GREAT presentation.
The inability to learn will come back to haunt politicians like Scholz of Germany. He and his Climate Doomer coharts have already crippled industry there, but he wants to double and triple down.
For industry, the writing is already on the wall. Hard hit by the energy crisis, chemical makers such as BASF and Lanxess are starting to relocate the production of certain chemicals, meaning that future investments – and related jobs – are also more likely to go abroad. And having dragged their feet early on in the transition to green energy, German carmakers like Volkswagen and BMW now risk losing their status as global leaders. The US Inflation Reduction Act, a $369 billion measure passed last August to overhaul the American energy ecosystem, created additional challenges.
“If you go back a year, we said, let’s build up Europe first and then go to North America,” Northvolt CEO Peter Carlsson said on Friday in response to a question about the Swedish battery maker’s plans to build a new factory in Germany. “And then the IRA came. It became pretty much impossible to compete in North America unless you build up your manufacturing and your supply chain there.”
To meet these challenges, and get the German economy running entirely on green electricity by 2035, the chancellor has thrown his full support behind what he calls the new industrial revolution. That entails investing €6.6 billion to speed up the construction of electric car charging stations, and spending more than €10 billion on a clean-energy subsidy program. The hope is that this federal largesse – along with measures to cut taxes and red tape – will uncork billions of euros in private investment on everything from electric vehicles to wind turbines to solar panel modules.
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I thought wind and solar would replace coal. Don’t hold your breath on that!
National Grid has asked units in the coal reserve to get ready several times this winter but has stopped short of requiring them to generate. The network operator has asked households to reduce demand during several evenings to help balance supply at peak times.
The UK wind forecast shows generation dropping on Tuesday:
The UK will phase out coal next year as it seeks to cut emissions. But the government asked coal-fired power producers to keep units available this winter as Europe faces a shortage of natural gas. Using coal means less gas is needed to produce power.
So what will they do next Winter?
My latest research
FERC’s role in the offshore wind stampede
By David Wojick
The beginning: “I am looking at a fat study titled “The Benefit and Urgency of Planned Offshore Transmission: Reducing the Costs of and Barriers to Achieving U.S. Clean Energy Goals”. The term FERC occurs a whopping 92 times. See https://www.brattle.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/Brattle-OSW-Transmission-Report_Jan-24-2023.pdf
Not surprisingly the 103 page report is mistitled. It is actually about the onshore transmission of offshore wind power, not offshore transmission. The urgency is that the present power system cannot handle all that offshore juice coming ashore. FERC is in the crosshairs because they are in charge of the grid. Technically it is the independent system operators or ISOs, which are also repeatedly mentioned, but they answer to FERC.
This study is welcome in its way because it recognizes a deep problem that is not much discussed. The present power system is not set up to handle huge new incoming flows at places that happen to be convenient to offshore wind. As it is it cannot be done.”
Lots more in the article. Please share it.
Something like $200 billion in offshore wind capacity is in the pipeline with no way to use the juice.
After you get done not talking about negative externalities, make sure you don’t talk about this:
The moment where Joshua discovers that when you restrict the supply of something, the price goes up.
And thinks the solution is to make the price go up more by pricing in his idea of “externalities.”
Not that he wants any of the extensive environmental externalities charged to renewables.
The good news for climate campaigners is that pricing externalities has a real world example we can emulate. Increasing prices of fossil fuels made energy in general inexpensive in Europe now due the adoption of and extraordinary success of wind and solar that has left fossil fuels (and nuclear) entirely unnecessary.*
Narrator: energy in the EU is massively expensive even after extraordinary subsidies due to the expensive failure of wind/solar that forced nations to buy fossil fuels on spot markets (after their disastrous decision to rely on Vladimir Putin for “unnecessary” natural gas) This could have been even worse if they hadn’t recently changed course and decided not to close “unnecessary” nuclear power plants.
One such torpedo is the whole gas stove controversy. As the Washington Free Beacon notes, the non-profit Climate Imperative is a well-funded group that has its sights set on eliminating gas stoves. It has a budget of around $1 billion, thanks to Laurene Powell Jobs and John Doerr, a pair of billionaires themselves. As a non-profit, it has a board, or what it calls an “advisory council,” and one of that board’s members is Wang Yi. Yi is a professor at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. What is not commonly known about Yi is that along with a lengthy list of academic credentials, he is also a member of the Standing Committee of the 13th National People’s Congress of the P.R.C — in other words, the Chinese government. The Beacon reports that the committee, when the full legislature is not in session, works to advance the goals of the Communist Party. Wang also advises the Chinese government on climate change through the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development, which operates with the approval of the CCP. The group is tasked with advising the government on climate and development.
Yeah – those billionaire activists are really a problem:
> The Washington Free Beacon is an American conservative political journalism website launched in 2012.
The website is financially backed by Paul Singer, an American billionaire hedge fund manager and conservative activist.
You won’t be selling gas stoves in India. They know electric is cheaper and cleaner.
“The indoor solar cooking system has been found to cook a variety of Indian foods involving operations like boiling, frying, baking, etc.
In the solar cooking top, the main unit always stays in the kitchen and a cable carries solar energy captured through a PV panel kept outdoors or on the roof. It is rechargeable and the indoor cooking stove uses the sun’s energy to cook food while always being kept in the kitchen. The twin-cooktop premium version model can be charged with fully solar as well as in hybrid mode using grid-based electricity for both cooktops.”
Nice try Jack. You seem to forget that we all have the internet at our disposal. The predominate cooking fuel in India is liquefied fossil fuels followed by wood.
Maybe, if they had used Thorium reactors. But, you know, Nuclear isn’t “Renewable,” except with breeder reactors. Oh, Wait.
If Supreme Leader Modi wants his citizens to use more RE electricity, who are you to question his authority?
“India is world’s 3rd largest consumer of electricity and world’s 3rd largest renewable energy producer with 40% of energy capacity installed in the year 2022 (160 GW of 400 GW) coming from renewable sources.”
Energy use has doubled since 2000, with 80% of demand still being met by coal, oil and solid biomass.
. . .
India is the third largest oil consumer in the world, and according to Hardeep Singh Puri, accounts for 30% of global consumption.
. . .
Bengaluru, Feb 7 (PTI) India, the world’s third largest oil consumer, on Tuesday said it is committed to energy transition but surviving the present and cushioning the vulnerable from price volatilities is essential before moving to clean and green energy.
To add to Dante’s numbers, since 2000 India has added ~137GW of coal and ~64GW of wind and solar.
The recent purchase of wind and solar (which doesn’t actually produce its “capacity” of course) is due entirely to their coal buying spree.
In 2000 coal, oil and gas made up 63% of the energy production. By 2020 it was 75%. Climate campaigners want you to believe that’s because they’re all about modern renewables.
if India does to consumer energy prices what the EU has done it would be devastating.
Thanks very much for another very thoughtful article.
It’s interesting to step back and review some ideas of some other very thoughtful planners. I would certainly put Admiral Rickover in that category.
Here’s a remarkable speech from 1957. I haven’t followed everything on Judith’s site. So if it’s been discussed before, my apologies to everyone
He didn’t perhaps foresee everything. (eg Norman Borlaug). Who could?. However there is a lot to ponder and consider.
Specifically any views on his comment, as unpalatable as it will seem to we spoiled Westerners that we cannot be assured of as high standard of living as the fossil fuel age winds down. ( I.E. due to HC Depletion, ignoring Climate hysteria concerns)
“Energy resources and our future” – remarks by
Admiral Hyman Rickover delivered in 1957
By Rear Admiral Hyman G. Rickover, U.S. Navy
In the face of the basic fact that fossil fuel reserves are finite, the exact length of time these reserves will last is important in only one respect: the longer they last, the more time do we have, to invent ways of living off renewable or substitute energy sources and to adjust our economy to the vast changes which we can expect from such a shift. Fossil fuels resemble capital in the bank. A prudent and responsible parent will use his capital sparingly in order to pass on to his children as much as possible of his inheritance. A selfish and irresponsible parent will squander it in riotous living and care not one whit how his offspring will fare.
But the most significant distinction between optimistic and pessimistic fuel reserve statistics is that the optimists generally speak of the immediate future – the next twenty five years or so – while the pessimists think in terms of a century from now. A century or even two is a short span in the history of a great people. It seems sensible to me to take a long view, even if this involves facing unpleasant facts.
Yet the popularizers of scientific news would have us believe that there is no cause for anxiety, that reserves will last thousands of years, and that before they run out science will have produced miracles. Our past history and security have given us the sentimental belief that the things we fear will never really happen – that everything turns out right in the end. But, prudent men will reject these tranquilizers and prefer to face the facts so that they can plan intelligently for the needs of their posterity.
Looking into the future, from the mid-20th Century, we cannot feel overly confident that present high standards of living will of a certainty continue through the next century and beyond
Charles A. S. Hall discusses faults of the “Dismal Science”
“Economics is not a science because it doesn’t use the scientific method”
“ Don’t tell me dollars. Tell me energy. Because Dollars are only a lien on energy. That’s all they are”
“Encourage us not to teach fairytales in economics classes. We teach a million young people fairytales in our Economics classes”
“I had a wonderful talk at our biophysical economics meeting last week. And the speaker was an historian. He said the discovery of the 2nd law of thermodynamics absolutely transformed chemistry first, then physics, then all of the.. geology.. all of the sciences.. ecology.. Except one.. Economics. ”
Complicating Issues further, It seems well past time to fundamentally rethink the Dismal (Non Science) of Economics. (I don’t mean ESG here. )
Sadi Carnot first laid a basis in 1820s I believe for what became the 2nd law. Its now 2023.
I wonder why that is. Why, it might be because #FAIL shut down oil drilling, production, and put stupid sanctions on Russia though Russia made massive bucks from exports.
Now there isn’t enough oil, gasoline is inelastic, and so zoom zoom zoom, up go the oil prices. In a NORMAL free market, that would spur more oil development. But, you know, POSUS wants to make oil expensive to push folks to wasteful and foolish EV.
Democrats love to create problems then complain about them.
And then their cheerleaders wag their fingers and blame others for what’s broken.
Dante you make a good point. It is official Biden policy to get rid of fossil fuels. They shut down leases on Federal lands, shut down the Keystone pipeline and then complain about high prices (and high profits) they helped to create.
Joshua | February 10, 2023 at 12:38 pm | Reply
Josh – perhaps you should become familiar with basic economic concepts along with understanding capitalism.
Also a good start would be a basic understanding of the history of energy – try reading Vaclav Smil.
Thanks for explaining. So granny pays more while profits went up ’cause Democrats.
Now I got it.
That is what happened Josh.
A key plank of our Build Back Better Recovery Plan is building a modern, resilient climate infrastructure,” Biden said, “and clean energy future that will create millions of good-paying union jobs – not 7, 8, 10, 12 dollars an hour, but prevailing wage and benefits.
Not a single Republican voted for the behemoth Build Back Better Act on Friday after House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) delivered a record-setting eight hour-long speech.
This is the new reality that Josh probably missed because his head is buried in the NYT. Democrats have become the new patrons of big business except for a few politically incorrect exceptions. The modern woke corporation is now championed by Democrats. Just look at Florida and Disney. Or look at Twitter, Fakebook, or Google whose employees give almost exclusively to Democrats. Democrats and the deep state love these monopolies secondarily because they will engage in a massive disinformation campaign to make sure Uncle Joe became president.
At least in the oil business there is still real competition that until Biden interfered with it tended to reduce prices. Check natural gas prices. They were very low during Trump’s tenure. They have risen sharply in the last 2 years. They are now starting to trend down again because the fracking business is starting to drill again.
And, Joshua, this may help!
Managerial Economics For Dummies
Thanks. Tell me, do they explain the difference between price and profits at that link?
Read it. And think.
Why does Europe burn plastic bottles and deem that “Renewable, clean energy”?
Very interesting post and comments. Some more thoughts on unintended consequences.
My work involves traveling complex networks from cradle to grave, looking for unintended consequences, and surprise innovations that forecasters inevitably miss.
For example, small group of us have traveled thousands of miles of dammed rivers on several continents. Our objective was to see how expert forecasts of decades ago really panned out over time. There are more than 30,000 dams in the US – that were forecasted to do all kinds of wonderful things “for free”.
The largest single effect of those dams was to increase the total evaporative surface areas of formerly “small footprint” fast moving wild rivers. So what was billed as the “expert approved environment saving technology” of decades ago – is now a legacy of dirt-filled reservoirs, millions of houses built in desert sprawl now under water rationing regulations, and tons of vegetables being imported from outside the US, because there is not enough water in the US to irrigate them as planned.
Try this at home. How many tons of solar panels, scrapped EV’s, wind farms, and utility battery farms will be hitting the e-waste streams of the world over the next 30-40 years? How much energy will be needed to manufacture and recycle/scrap this, mostly toxic waste? And what long term effects are likely to come from the hot-air expert conferences and articles of today?