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US Energy Policy

US Energy Policy

Energy Policy

The incandescent lightbulb is now outlawed.[1]  This fact is a perfect metaphor for “energy policy.”  Should it be illegal in the United States to manufacture, sell, buy, and use a traditional incandescent light bulb?  Your informed answer to that question will provide deep insight into your views on hundreds of other energy policy questions.   (BTW, my answer is no, but I bet you guessed that.)

Energy is the lifeblood of our economy; it touches your life in a hundred ways each day.  Yet energy policy--the set of government rules and regulations that prescribe how energy is produced, delivered, and consumed--is a complex and even a chaotic subject.

Energy was an uninteresting subject for the average person prior to the OPEC Oil Embargo in 1973.  Oil prices had been stable at about $20 a barrel in real terms for nearly a century and electricity prices had declined from about 22 cents per kilowatt to about 13 cents from 1960 to 1973, even as consumption of electricity quadrupled from 1950 to 1973, as more and more homes and appliances used electricity and utilities became better at building large coal and nuclear plants.

But the OPEC Embargo changed everything about energy and energy policy.  Four points will illustrate this importance. 

  • President Jimmy Carter’s presidency (1976 to 1980) was dominated by energy issues which he characterized as the “moral equivalent of war.” 
  • A little more than two decades later a California governor was recalled because he botched an electricity crisis in California and Arnold Schwarzenegger was elected Governor. 
  • There is a widespread perception that the US has gone to war in the Middle East over oil issues.
  • The Pope of all people has recently declared war on climate change, most of which is laid at the feet of fossil energy.

Part of the complication in energy policy is that it must be addressed on many fronts; international, national, State, and local governments all have a role in stirring the pot. 

Many books and articles are written on very specific aspects of energy policy but most are written for other experts.  Surprisingly, few are written that cover the broad landscape of energy policy.  Even fewer of these writings take a strong market-oriented perspective; the vast majority take an interventionist approach largely for environmental and oil import reasons.  And none that I have found are addressed to the pro-market political activist who has a real job during the day and then tries to save the country in his or her spare time.  This discussion is for that heroic citizen, The Forgotten Man.

So what’s the bottom line on energy policy? 

  • First, we make energy policy much more difficult than it has to be.  Energy is a commodity just like wheat or cars or hamburgers.  Mostly, we rely on competitive markets in each of these other commodity industries to make sure that we have an adequate supply to meet the consumers’ needs at reasonable prices.  But we treat energy differently.  I venture to guess that there are only a few industries more affected by government intervention than energy.  Why is that?  Does that mean we benefit from that intervention?  Is there a better way?  The article explores these questions.
  • Second, right now energy policy is being driven by climate change.  Even if one is sympathetic to some of the claims made about climate change, many stupid actions are being taken in its name that has profoundly negative effects on energy markets. 
  • Third, oil issues get the most attention but we do not face any real danger in oil markets.  Oil trades in global markets and while there may be price fluctuations (as I write, oil is about $35 a barrel, having been over $100 in the recent past), we will never face a situation where we run out of oil.  Most countries with plentiful oil have built their economies on oil revenue and the recent drop in oil prices has created serious political problems for these countries.  They simply can’t afford not to produce oil.  But problems in oil markets can result in unnecessarily higher prices and thus we need to pay some attention to them in order to promote prosperity. 
  • Fourth and most important, electricity faces real problems that could result in catastrophic failure of the system, thus threatening not only prosperity but human life.  The major framework for electric policy was set in 1935.  That framework worked fine up to the OPEC Embargo.  Electricity can compete against oil and natural gas in many applications.  Thus adjustments were necessary to the historical framework after the Embargo.  But policymakers have only nibbled at the edges of electricity policy and have not fundamentally changed the 1935 framework.  Yet little more than additional tinkering is being done to promote an electricity industry for the 21st Century.  Many special interests are pushing and pulling on the antiquated framework for personal gain but few are fundamentally committed to a complete rethinking of the role of the electric system of the future, especially given the increasing digitalization of our economy.  And as noted above, unsound policies on climate change make electric issues even more difficult.

[1] This is a good place to make a point.  Some pointy headed academics will disagree with even this first sentence.  Technically, Congress did not “ban” incandescent bulbs in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.  Rather, they set a standard that most, if not all, traditional incandescent bulbs could not achieve and established a schedule for light bulbs of different wattages to meet this standard.  So it is fair to say that Congress outlawed incandescent bulbs.  But since the accompanying Article is a synthesis of the broad topic of “energy policy” it would needlessly clutter and complicate the text to be “technically” accurate in every instance.  The size of the document would need to double and the reader would understand less of the essence of energy policy if I did not make some broad generalizations.  Nonetheless, I am sure I will receive some criticism that many of my statements are not “technically correct.”  I hope that making this point early in the article will allow for a better understanding of the content of the Article.


Net-Zero Targets: Sustainable Future or CO2 Obsession Driven Dead-end? - Highlighted Article

  • 11/30/23 at 06:00 AM


From: Climate Etc.

By: Balázs M. Fekete

Date: November 14, 2023


Net-Zero Targets: Sustainable Future or CO2 Obsession Driven Dead-end?

For over three decades, the reduction of CO2 emission was the primary motivation for promoting the transition from fossil fuels to alternative energy sources. Concerns about the inevitable exhaustion of fossil fuels were considered particularly during energy crises, but these concerns died out quickly as discoveries of new fossil fuel reserves such as the shale revolution in the US that appeared to secure energy supplies.

An under-appreciated paper by Murphy et al. (1) offers very strong arguments that the energy transition is a must that has to happen in a short time. Anyone looking at Figure 1 from this paper should be more concerned about running out of fossil fuels than climate change. It is almost certain that the spike on Figure 1 will only last for a few centuries irrespective of the exact location of the star, and fossil fuel era will be only a fraction of the history of human civilizations. This period will not last long enough to deserve the proposed anthropocene[1] designation. The industrial era might rightfully be called a geological event that triggers post-anthropocene, but by no means will it last long enough to qualify as geological age or epoch.


Schematic view of the human energy production


Murphy et al. (1) demonstrates vividly how short the energy transition has to be via a seemingly absurd calculation based on the modest 2.4% annual growth rate () of energy consumption (originally observed in the US that the global energy consumption follows now). This growth rate conveniently corresponds to a 10-fold increase per century. (continue reading)


Net-Zero Targets: Sustainable Future or CO2 Obsession Driven Dead-end?


Tags: Highlighted Article

Demonstration Challenge - ORIGINAL CONTENT

The stated goal of the US Administration’s renewable energy transition is to replace all dispatchable fossil-fueled electricity generation and all direct fossil fuel usage with renewable electricity to reduce CO2 emissions. Logically, the first fossil-fueled generation to be replaced would be coal-fired generation, since it emits the largest quantity of CO2 per unit of electricity output.

There has yet to be a successful demonstration of an electric grid powered predominantly by renewable generation. Potential approaches to such a demonstration have been proposed here, here, here and here. However, each of these demonstration proposals would have involved a very extensive and expensive program.

The demonstration challenge proposed here would be a far simpler and less expensive demonstration, not of an entire renewable grid, but only of the direct replacement of a coal-fired generator with renewable generation plus storage sufficient to render the renewable generation the dispatchable equivalent of the displaced coal-fired generator.

Coal-fired generators are historically available to generate electricity at their rating plate capacity approximately 85% of the hours of the year. Therefore, a 100 MW coal-fired generator would be available to generate approximately 745,000 MWhrs (8760 hrs * 0.85 * 100 MW) each year.

Wind generators are historically able to generate at variable capacities up to rating plate capacity as a function of available wind speeds. Total generation in any given month historically ranges from 23-43% of rating plate capacity, averages approximately 36% and may approach or be zero for periods of hours or days. Therefore, a wind generation system capable of providing 100 MW capacity generation 85% of the time would require rating plate capacity of approximately 300 - 400 MW and storage sufficient to store excess electricity generated when the wind is blowing for use when the wind is not blowing or is blowing at lower speeds.

Solar generators are historically able to generate at variable capacities up to rating plate capacity as a function of available solar insolation. Total generation in any given month historically ranges from 13–32% of rating plate capacity, averages approximately 25%, may approach zero during the day and will achieve zero at night. Therefore, a solar generation system capable of providing 100 MW capacity generation 85% of the time would require a rating plate capacity of approximately 300-700 MW and storage sufficient to store excess electricity generated during the day for use at night and during periods of low insolation.

In both cases, some of the excess generation capacity required during months when generation is low could be offset with long-duration storage, though that storage is not currently available.

The challenge presented here is to build a wind plus storage generation system and a solar plus storage generation system which demonstrate the ability to be dispatched in the same way as a coal-fired generator is dispatched for 85% of the hours of the year. Once this capability has been demonstrated, it should be straightforward to calculate the adjustments to generation and storage capacity required to replace a natural gas fired combined-cycle generator (~90% availability) or a nuclear generator (~95% availability).

The installed cost of the demonstration systems could then be compared with the installed costs of the coal, natural gas and nuclear generators. The cost per kWh delivered by each of the systems could also be compared.

TANSTAAFL – There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.


Tags: Renewable Energy, Power Grid, Solar Energy, Wind Energy, Fossil Fuel Elimination / Reduction

Thermal energy storage: cost model? - Highlighted Article

  • 11/23/23 at 07:00 AM


From: Thunder Said Energy

Date: November, 2023

Thermal energy storage: cost model?

This data-file captures the costs of thermal energy storage, buying renewable electricity, heating up a storage media, then releasing the heat for industrial, commercial or residential use. Our base case requires 13.5 c/kWh-th for a 10% IRR, however 5-10 c/kWh-th heat could be achieved with lower capex costs.

Thermal energy storage solutions aim to help integrate solar and wind into power grids, by absorbing excess generation that would otherwise be curtailed, and then re-releasing the heat later when renewables are not generating.

Different storage media are compared in one of the back-up tabs of the model. However, one-third of the companies in our thermal energy storage company screen are pursuing molten salt systems, hence our thermal energy storage model focuses on this option. (continue reading)


Thermal energy storage: cost model?


Tags: Highlighted Article

Thanksgiving 2023 - ORIGINAL CONTENT

We have much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving and much about which to be concerned.

We can be thankful that the much-predicted “climageddon” has not occurred and does not appear to be imminent, or even reasonable, despite the constant chorus of “climate crisis”, “existential threat” and “climate emergency” from the UN, governments and the sycophantic media.

We can be thankful that there are still no significant trends regarding the frequency, intensity or duration of “extreme” weather events, such as tropical cyclones, tornadoes, droughts, floods and wildfires.

We can be thankful for the continuing “global greening”, most of which is attributed to increased atmospheric CO2 concentrations and for the modest warming which has  extended growing seasons and expanded acreage suitable for farming and grazing.

We can be thankful that the alarmist interest in ”climate lockdowns”, travel restrictions and dietary restrictions have gained little traction in the US, though they are beginning to have an impact in the EU and UK. There is diminishing interest in “veggie burgers”,  virtually no interest in “Franken meat”, and revulsion regarding “bug burgers”.

We can be thankful that farmers in the EU and UK are aggressively resisting government programs to remove agricultural land from production and destroy meat and dairy animals. These programs are inconsistent with concerns about maintaining and improving dietary condition for a growing global population.

We can be thankful that the climate alarmist interest in “15-Minute Cities” has not yet resulted in a federal program to construct such cities in the US. The US experience with high density, multi-use developments has been less than encouraging.

We should be concerned about the growing pressure in the US and globally for the declaration of a “climate emergency”, which could empower global governments to suspend freedoms and impose mandates and restrictions.

We should be concerned about Covering Climate Now, the global climate propaganda cooperation of nearly 400 media organizations flooding the media with climate alarmism and effectively drowning out skeptical discussions regarding climate change.

We should be concerned about US “climate czar” John Kerry’s focus on agriculture and animal husbandry as a contributor to climate change and his calls for reducing that contribution.

We should be concerned about the Administration’s continuing “war” on the fossil fuel industry, including its efforts to choke off fossil fuel supplies by limiting exploration and production.

We should be concerned about the recent focus of US electric utilities, ISOs and RTOs on grid stability and reliability in the face of expanding renewable generation and declining conventional generation resources.

We should be concerned about suggestions that occasional grid blackouts might be acceptable as an approach to combating climate change, particularly regarding the impacts on customers with critical health issues, hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation facilities and prisons. This concern could become acute if fossil-fueled on-site standby generation is banned.

We should be concerned about the rising cost of energy in the US economy and globally as investments in redundant renewable generation infrastructure increase. Rising energy costs have shuttered some manufacturing facilities in the EU and UK and have created energy poverty for growing portions of the population.

“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”, H. L. Mencken


Tags: Climate Alarmists, Climate Change Debate

Setting Utility Rates - Highlighted Article

  • 11/16/23 at 07:00 AM


From: Watts Up With That

By: Kevin Kitty

Date: November 5, 2023

Setting Utility Rates

Until about a year ago, I thought about public utility regulation as too boring, too far outside my education, and unrelated to my interests and experience to bother with. I was wrong.

Figure 1. The relationships among interest on bonds and dividends to preferred shares (collectively called debt) and return on capital to return to ordinary shareholders (equity)

What prompted my change of view was recognizing that a frontline in the war, if you will, to remake the electric grid will take place not in arguments about the reality of climate change, but when utilities decide to change the way they generate electrical energy and pay for these changes. The permission to make these changes, and how the ratepayer gets hit afterward, are decided in the public service commissions which by law have to make their deliberations substantially transparent to the public. In particular permission for changes are gained in hearings of public necessity and convenience; how the ratepayer gets hit is decided in rate cases. I plan to examine only rate setting in this brief essay.

My principal goal is this. Many of us are pretty certain that pouring more renewable energy into a network makes delivered energy more expensive and less reliable. We often point to a graph that shows costs rising with percent renewable contributions to generating capacity. Yet, our antagonists claim that adding energy from renewables should, and in fact does, reduce utility costs. They have data, too. We strengthen our case by demonstrating specific reasons, or lack thereof, for rising utility bills. The rate setting process ought to make those reasons visible.

I also suspect most people know little about rate setting and are unaware about its complexity. It’s important to understand this bit of the order of battle.

Where I live we are in the middle of a general rate case affecting one-half the state.  It calls for substantial rate increases (21.6% or over $140 million) and has become exceptionally contentious. It resembles rate cases that have been decided or are in progress across the U.S.[1] The application for this general rate case includes thousands of pages of exhibits and appendices. (continue reading)


Setting Utility Rates


Tags: Highlighted Article

“Free Range” People - ORIGINAL CONTENT


Free Range: allowed to range and forage with relative freedom

Residents of the developed nations have largely been “free range” people, free to live where they choose to live, work where they choose to work, travel when and where they choose to travel, eat what they choose to eat and buy what they choose to buy within their means.

Those freedoms were interrupted, to one extent or another, by government edicts in response to the COVID19 pandemic. Travel was restricted, “non-essential” businesses were forced to close, offices and schools were closed and employees and students worked and studied from home over the internet.  In retrospect, it appears that much of this interruption of individual freedoms was unnecessary and, in some cases, counterproductive.

The pandemic lockdowns, however, resulted in a small but measurable decrease in global CO2 emissions. Government officials and climate change alarmists realized that similar, more extensive and longer-term lockdowns had the potential to reduce CO2 emissions to assist in achieving Net Zero emissions goals. There appeared to be little concern regarding the losses of freedom which would result from such actions.

There is growing discussion regarding climate lockdowns of various forms, including travel restrictions. Air travel restrictions are already in place in France, requiring shorter trips to be taken by train.

A climate initiative proposed by a group of major city mayors has proposed banning meat and dairy consumption, banning personal vehicles and limiting clothing purchases to three items per year per person. Producers are conducting major promotions for “veggie burgers”, “Frankenmeat” and nut-based dairy substitutes, while some governments are taking actions to remove farmland from production and to destroy meat and dairy animals.

The New York Times has declared the end of vacations to eliminate the associated CO2 emissions. So far, that demand has not been adopted by governments.

Urban Planners are touting the benefits of 15-Minute Cities, discussed here and here. One obvious “benefit” would be elimination of the need for personal vehicles, since most products and services would be available in the 15-minute city. While those who are interested in living in a 15-minute city should have the opportunity to do so, those not interested should not be pressured into moving into a highly concentrated urban environment.

Governments are imposing bans on internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles and power equipment, natural gas and propane appliances, and fossil-fueled electric power generation and the use of fossil fuels in industrial production. In the US, the goal is to move to all-electric everything by 2050, with fixed dates for the elimination of coal (2030) and natural gas (2035) power generation.

The Ration Book shown in the cartoon below is unfortunately only a slight exaggeration of the measures which have been proposed to reduce CO2 emissions by restricting personal freedoms on a permanent basis.



There is growing pressure on the US federal government to declare a “climate emergency”, though there is clearly no such emergency. However, such a declaration would arguably empower the President to take many of the actions discussed above by executive fiat, avoiding the need for congressional action.

“Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely.”, Lord Acton


Tags: Climate Policy, Climate Change Solutions

Climate Narratives - ORIGINAL CONTENT

Several narratives have evolved around the issue of climate change. The narratives originate in the science, but focus on different aspects of the science and different interpretations of its meaning.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) AR6 scientific narrative focuses on global temperature anomalies, climate sensitivity, climate forcings and feedbacks, and climate model projections of future warming. The AR6 narrative attributes most or all of the measured warming to anthropogenic CO2 emissions. It projects that the globe would warm by 2.5 – 4.5°C if global annual anthropogenic CO2 emissions are not reduced toward zero in the future.

The IPCC scientific narrative is the basis for the IPCC political narrative, which evolves through the development of the Summary for Policymakers and the Synthesis Report. The AR6 political narrative declares climate change to be a “crisis”, an “existential threat” and an “emergency”. The need to reduce anthropogenic CO2 emissions in the future evolves into the professed need to reduce anthropogenic CO2 emissions to Net Zero by 2050 through the elimination of fossil fuel combustion for all energy end uses. This political narrative proclaims the worsening of extreme weather events, though the IPCC scientific narrative does not detect any significant trends in extreme weather frequency, intensity or duration.

The skeptical narrative includes scientific results ignored or excluded by the IPCC in the development of AR6. These include studies suggesting significantly lower climate sensitivity to a doubling of atmospheric CO2 concentrations and studies which establish that the effect of CO2 as a greenhouse gas in the atmosphere is essentially saturated. These studies suggest that further climate warming would be less than 1°C. The skeptical narrative also focuses on the positive results of increased atmospheric CO2 concentration, such as the greening of the globe, reduced plant sensitivity to drought, longer growing seasons and increased crop yields.

The renewables narrative extols the perceived benefits of a transition to a renewable energy economy, including reduced energy costs and reduced air pollution. Combined with the political narrative, it perceives a transition to an “all-electric everything” energy economy by 2050, based almost solely on wind and solar generation.

The energy equity narrative defends the right of developing nations to continue to rely upon and increase their use of fossil fuels in support of their economic development objectives. The support for continuing and expanding fossil fuel use flies in the face of the scientific and political narratives which call for reductions in fossil fuel use. It also flies in the face of the renewables narrative, since it acknowledges that renewable generation is not the best economic development option for these nations. Clearly, if renewables were the path to a lower cost, reliable energy economy with lower air pollution these financially constrained developing nations would not choose to develop a fossil fuel infrastructure which would then be replaced by renewable infrastructure at a later date at additional cost.

The energy equity narrative is more consistent with the skeptical narrative, which is far less concerned about increased atmospheric CO2 concentrations.


Tags: CO2 Concentrations, Climate Predictions, IPCC

The Energy Transition Isn't - Highlighted Article

  • 10/5/23 at 07:00 AM


From: Robert Bryce - SubStack

By: Robert Bryce

Date: July 1, 2023

The Energy Transition Isn't


Despite $4.1 trillion spent on wind and solar, they aren't even keeping pace with the growth in hydrocarbons

We are inundated with claims about the “energy transition.”

In February, E&E News, reporting on the State of the Union speech said,  “President Joe Biden laid out his vision for the energy transition Tuesday night.” In March, a reporter for Politico declared “The U.S. energy transition is well underway.”

Also in March, during a speech at the CERAWeek conference in Houston, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said that "As this transition progresses, our energy mix will change." Or consider the March 9 press release from the White House, which said “The Administration is continuing to implement the Inflation Reduction Act, which is already galvanizing our clean energy transition and making clean and energy efficient technologies more affordable for American families.”

I could list many more examples like the ones above. But the hard truth is this: the energy transition isn’t. The numbers from the just-released Statistical Review of World Energy show, once again, that despite rapid growth in wind and solar, those two forms of energy are not even keeping pace with the growth in hydrocarbons. That’s true both globally and in the U.S. (continue reading)

The Energy Transition Isn't


Tags: Highlighted Article

Estimates and Averages - ORIGINAL CONTENT

Developers of renewable energy generation installations frequently focus their marketing efforts on estimates of the number of homes the installations would serve. The developers’ estimates are not based on consistent assumptions and cannot be directly compared.

Orsted’s recently approved Ocean Wind 1 development, to be located off the New Jersey coast near Atlantic City and Ocean City, would consist of one hundred 11MW wind turbine generators, for a total capacity of 1,100 MW. This would suggest annual generation, at a 100% capacity factor, of 9,600 GWh. The International Energy Agency uses a capacity factor of 50% for offshore wind. We will use that figure here, since there is no offshore wind capacity factor data for the US East Coast. This suggests annual production of approximately 4,800 GWh for Ocean Wind 1.

Orsted projects that Ocean Wind 1 would serve 500,000 homes. The US Energy Information Administration reports average US residential electricity consumption as 10,600 kWh per year. Based on these numbers, Ocean wind would have to generate 5300 GWh per year, or a capacity factor of approximately 55%.

Dominion Energy’s proposed Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) development, to be located off the Virginia coast near Norfolk, would consist of one hundred seventy-six 15 MW wind turbine generators, for a total capacity of 2,600 MW. This would suggest annual generation, at a 100% capacity factor, of approximately 22,800 GWh, or approximately 11,400 GWh at a 50% capacity factor.

Dominion projects that CVOW would serve 660,000 homes, which would require generation of approximately 6,996 GWh based on the EIA residential consumption figure. That would suggest a capacity factor of approximately 30%, far lower than the IEA figure, and even lower relative to the Orsted estimate for Ocean Wind 1.

The estimates above are based on a number of averages: average wind resource; average capacity factor; average maintenance and repair allowances; and, average residential electricity consumption. The available wind resource varies on time scales from minutes to hours to days to seasons, as does residential energy consumption and demand. The use of averages loses a lot of the detail of the match between customer load and generator output.

Since each of these industrial wind installations would be connected to a grid with a far larger customer base than the claimed number of residential customers served, above average output would be absorbed by other loads on the grids, displacing a portion of the output from some form(s) of conventional generation. Below average generator output would require support from some form(s) of conventional generation.

Arguably, fluctuations in generator output and customer load could also be compensated for by additions to and withdrawals from some type of energy storage capacity. However, there is no energy storage capacity included in either of the wind projects discussed above. The issue of storage can be deferred as long as there is sufficient excess conventional generating capacity available to compensate for the fluctuation of the output of the wind facilities and maintain a capacity reserve margin. However, as conventional generating capacity is retired due to age or regulation, and additional intermittent renewable generating capacity is added, addressing the issue of storage cannot be avoided.


Tags: Backup Power, Energy Storage / Batteries, Wind Energy

Ultimate Demonstration - ORIGINAL CONTENT

There has not been a successful demonstration of a renewable plus storage grid, even with generation support from fossil, nuclear, geothermal and biomass generators. Previous commentaries (here, here and here) have described a conceptual demonstration of a renewable plus storage grid without support from fossil generation, its documentation and reporting. However, this demonstration began with installed and operational renewable generation and conceptual storage. There is growing concern that such a renewable plus storage grid, even with physical storage, would be unreliable and extremely expensive.

Recently, New York State Senator George Borrello proposed legislation in New York State which would prohibit the use of fossil fuels in the manufacturing of renewable energy equipment. This legislation would extend the conceptual demonstration discussed above one step upstream, requiring demonstration that the components of a renewable plus storage grid could be manufactured using predominantly renewable energy, without fossil fueled backup.

However, there is the potential to extend the conceptual demonstration several more steps upstream. The Administration proclaimed that the transition to renewables would result in millions of new, high-paying union jobs, presumably in the US. They also assured that this transition would result in dramatic reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Analyzing the success of the transition in achieving these goals requires starting at the beginning of the supply chain and expanding upon Senator Borrello’s proposed legislation.

The supply chain begins with the use of electric mining equipment to mine the raw materials required to fabricate the wind, solar and storage components of the renewable plus storage grid in US mines and the use of electric transportation to move these raw materials to the manufacturing facilities at which the components of the system would be fabricated. The fabrication of the components would occur in US plants using electric processing equipment.

The steel and cement required for installation of the system components would also be produced in US plants. In the case of the calcining of limestone to produce cement, carbon capture and storage (CCS) systems would be required to capture the CO2 released from the limestone.

Preparation of the installation sites for the wind and solar generators and the storage systems would be performed by US manufactured electric earthmoving equipment. The system components would be transported to the installation sites by US manufactured electric trucks or electrified trains and erected using US manufactured electric cranes.

The supply chain described above would be drastically different from the current supply chains for wind turbines, solar collectors and storage batteries, all of which currently require mining and processing of minerals in Asia and Africa and frequently rely on foreign manufacture, particularly of solar collectors and wind turbines. The current supply chain effectively limits US jobs to system installation and maintenance, and excludes mining, processing and manufacturing jobs. The mining and processing jobs exist mostly in Asia and Africa, while the manufacturing jobs exist in Asia and Europe.

The mining and processing jobs in Asia and Africa and the manufacturing jobs in Asia reputedly rely on child, forced and prison labor, which substantially reduces their costs.


Tags: Renewable Energy, Power Grid, Solar Energy, Wind Energy, Fossil Fuel Elimination / Reduction

Abandon Fossil Fuels, Empower China - Highlighted Article

  • 8/24/23 at 07:00 AM


From: Watts Up With That

By: Don Ritter

Date: August 1, 2023

Abandon Fossil Fuels, Empower China

Autocratic Producers (primarily Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, Russia, Iran, Qatar, Venezuela and China) and certain democratic (or semi-democratic) Consumers (fossil fuel-dependent nations, mostly in the Global South), are uniting over oil, gas, coal, petrochemicals, natural gas-derived fertilizers and wind-solar-battery raw materials that are essential for building and maintaining modern industrial nations.

The implications are enormous, for global commerce, and especially for America.

China straddles both worlds. It’s the world’s largest coal producer and consumer – and the second-largest fossil fuels consumer after the USA.Although the United States remains the planet’s largest oil and gas producer, government policies are restricting investment in future domestic production, forcing U.S. companies to scour the world to increase production.

The autocratic Producers clearly benefit from America’s declining production, because major Consumers (India, Brazil, Indonesia, South Africa and others) that buy oil, gas and petrochemicals must feed their people, fuel their vehicles, and sustain or grow their economies at reasonable cost.

Giant energy Producer Russia continues to sustain its economy and finance its war in Ukraine, as it waits for Western electorates to lose patience and reduce military aid. Moscow counts on continued fossil fuel sales to Consumercountries, particularly China.

China is importing record amounts of oil and gas from Russia, making it the largest financier of Russia’s Ukraine war. China’s dual-use technologies also enter indirectly into the Russian war machine. Courtesy of Saudi Arabia’s Aramco, China is building new refineries and becoming a major petrochemicals producer – even as Biden energy policies curtail U.S. refinery and petrochemical investments.

Petrochemicals fuel or provide building blocks for just about everything. They therefore add tremendous value to the crude oil China imports from Russia.

Meanwhile, America and the West pursue sweeping policies on “manmade climate change.” That means they deride and downgrade the value of fossil fuels that are the lifeblood of all industrialized nations: Producers, Consumers and those fortunate or wise enough to play both roles. (continue reading)


Abandon Fossil Fuels, Empower China


Tags: Highlighted Article

Fossil and Non-Fossil Fuels - Highlighted Article

  • 8/10/23 at 07:00 AM


From: Watts Up With That

By: Willis Eschenbach

Date: July 7, 2023

Fossil and Non-Fossil Fuels

In my previous post, The Myth Of Replacing Fossil Fuels, I looked at the new BP global use of fossil and non-fossil fuels. In this post, I’ll take a more detailed look at individual countries, and then return to world values. To start with, here’s what I learned along the way.


Figure 1. Population by Country


Given that, let me look at the energy usage by source of the most populous countries. You may recall from my previous post that in many analyses they use what are called “input-equivalent” values for non-fossil fuels. These are the true values multiplied by 2.5 or more. Why use those? I’ll repeat BP’s explanation.



While there are indeed uses for those artificially inflated energy values, what they don’t do is show us just how much energy is actually coming from each source. So let me go through the biggest countries, showing the true energy usage by source. We’ll start with China, although by the very latest figures, India is now the most populous country. (continue reading)


Fossil and Non-Fossil Fuels


Tags: Highlighted Article

Does Wind Intermittance Over Short Hourly Periods Gives a Clearer Picture? - Highlighted Article

  • 8/3/23 at 07:00 AM


From: Watts Up With That

By: Bob Irvine

Date: July 5, 2023

Does Wind Intermittance Over Short Hourly Periods Gives a Clearer Picture?


Cheap intermittent renewables appear to be very expensive.

The current Australian Government has ruled out nuclear energy and is committed to phasing out all fossil fuel base load power with gas seen as a transition fuel to an energy grid run entirely by intermittent wind/solar with battery or pumped hydro storage, with a small contribution from direct hydroelectric base load.

Can any of the electrical engineers at this site estimate the cost to consumers of a system run in this way. Is such a system even possible?

I live in Queensland, Australia. Until 30/6/23 our power bill for general usage was 25.559 Aus cents per kwh. On the 1/7/23 it jumped to 31.724 Aus cents per kwh a rise of about 24%. This is up from about 19 cents per kwh a few years ago.

The long-term picture is not much better. The Australian power price history has a close correlation with the penetration of intermittent generation into the system. See Figure 1, below.


Figure 1, Australian Energy prices compared to intermittent wind/solar penetration into the grid.


The Australian Energy market Operator (AEMO) has been singing the praises of “low cost” wind/solar for many years now.

To counter these assertions, I decided to collate the daily wind energy input to the Main Australian Grid, referred to here as simply the “grid”. This Main Australian Grid has an enormous area but does not include the Western Australian grid which is separate and about 8% of the size of the main grid.

My data source is this great site compiled over many years by Anton Lang. Thanks Anton. (continue reading)


Does Wind Intermittance Over Short Hourly Periods Gives a Clearer Picture?


Tags: Highlighted Article

The Myth Of Replacing Fossil Fuels - Highlighted Article

  • 7/27/23 at 07:00 AM


From: Watts Up With That

By: Willis Eschenbach

Date: July 3, 2023


The Myth Of Replacing Fossil Fuels


A hat tip to the commenter on one of my posts who was kind enough to give me a heads-up as follows:

Mark BLR June 30, 2023 2:23 am

BP handed over the production of their “Statistical Review of World Energy” to an outfit called the “Energy Institute” at the end of last year.

They released the new version, with annual data updated to 2022, on Monday (4 days ago).

The latest (.xlsx) spreadsheet can be downloaded from the following URL :

Since I had the new data, I thought I’d update the following graphic that I made a few years ago, which only covered up to 2019.

Figure 1. The 2019 version of energy consumption.

When I put that out, people were saying things like “You don’t understand. Solar and wind are growing exponentially! Just wait a few years and you’ll see!”

So, having now waited a few years, here’s the 2022 version. This time I’ve split out fossil fuels as a separate line. I’ve also added a line for traditional biomass. All the data is from the BP spreadsheet linked above except traditional biomass, which is from Our World In Data.

Figure 2. The 2022 version, including traditional biomass and fossil fuels as separate lines.

There are some very interesting things about this graphic. First, all the solar and wind in the world combined doesn’t provide even a third of the energy we get from wood and dung. (continue reading)


The Myth Of Replacing Fossil Fuels


Tags: Highlighted Article

Six Phases of a Project - ORIGINAL CONTENT

Six Phases of a Project

  1. Enthusiasm
  2. Disillusionment
  3. Panic
  4. Search for the guilty
  5. Punishment of the innocent
  6. Praise and honors for the non-participants

This “smart joke” apparently originated in computer science in the 1970s and spread rapidly from there. It provides a humorous perspective on the history of a failing project and the fallout from its failure. It also provides a perspective from which we can analyze the current state of the “Net Zero by 2050” project.

The Net Zero Emissions by 2050 Scenario is an International Energy Agency scenario which identifies a potential path for all nations of the globe to achieve net zero annual CO2 emissions by 2050 to achieve the objectives of the Paris Accords. The almost universal agreement to the objectives of the Paris Accords by UN member nations led to great enthusiasm regarding potential future emissions reductions.

“The Net Zero Emissions by 2050 Scenario is built on the following principles:

  • The uptake of all the available technologies and emissions reduction options is dictated by costs, technology maturity, policy preferences, and market and country conditions.
  • All countries co-operate towards achieving net zero emissions worldwide. This involves all countries participating in efforts to meet the net zero goal, working together in an effective and mutually beneficial way, and recognising the different stages of economic development of countries and regions, and the importance of ensuring a just transition.  
  • An orderly transition across the energy sector. This includes ensuring the security of fuel and electricity supplies at all times, minimising stranded assets where possible and aiming to avoid volatility in energy markets.”

Disillusionment followed enthusiasm as night follows day as the violation of the above principles developed. Issues of the cost of technologies and emissions reduction options were offset by government subsidies and incentives, technology maturity was replaced by technology forcing regulations and market and country conditions were ignored. The only unaffected component of the first principle above was policy preferences.

The all-country cooperation called for in the second principle above succumbed to economic development priorities in the developing nations and disagreements over the requirements of a just transition. China, India, Indonesia and numerous African nations prioritized economic development over net zero pursuit and chose to base much of their economic development on increased use of coal and other fossil fuels. There are also continuing concerns over development funding from the developed nations to the developing nations.

The orderly transition across the energy sector fell prey to the intermittency of renewable generation, the immaturity of the storage technologies necessary to support renewable generation during periods of low/no renewable generation, the premature closure of conventional generation capacity, the Russian war in Ukraine and the US Administration war on the fossil fuels industries. Significant volatility in the energy markets in Europe, North America, Japan and Australia has resulted.

The failure of the IEA principles has led to panic in Europe and the UK as energy supplies have decreased and energy prices have increased rapidly. Numerous European industries have shut down or reduced production as the result of energy supply shortages and rising energy prices.

The political classes in the developed nations have focused the search for the guilty on Russia, though there is plenty of guilt to go around and they will ultimately share in it.

The punishment of the innocent is focused on the citizens and industries in the developed nations exposed to rising energy prices and the possibility of major energy shortages.

So far there has been no apparent effort to provide praise and honors for the non-participants, whoever they are.


Tags: Net Zero Emissions, CO2 Emissions
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