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In the Wake of the News

Epstein on Energy: ‘Fossil Future’ on Deck - Highlighted Article


From: Master Resource

By: Robert Bradley Jr.

Date: February 21, 2022


Epstein on Energy: ‘Fossil Future’ on Deck

"History might well record Alex Epstein as the First Philosopher of Energy. How to think correctly amid the politicization of all-things-climate is a quest that only one person has really tried to master. And it starts not with deep ecology notions but on the premise of human betterment, now and over time.

With the remake of The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels (2014) on deck (mid-April release scheduled), Fossil Future will join Steven Koonin’s Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What It Doesn’t, and Why It Matters (2021) as a best seller on the reality of energy and climate. And it could not come at a better time given the energy crises from anti-fossil fuel policies leaving consumers at the mercy of the momentary output of the wind and sun.

Neo-Malthusians, the case is joined!

Recently, Epstein teased his audience with “33 controversial conclusions I have come to, explained thoroughly in Fossil Future, based on full context, pro-human thinking.” He is putting his ideas front and center and wants everyone from newspaper editorial boards to public forums to social media to colleges and universities to debate his ideas. No intellectual hiding from this fellow…" (continue reading)


Epstein on Energy: ‘Fossil Future’ on Deck


Tags: Highlighted Article

How we have mischaracterized climate risk - Highlighted Article


From: Climate Etc.

By: Judith Curry

Date: February 19, 2022


How we have mischaracterized climate risk

“The current thinking and approaches guiding this conceptualization and description have been shown to lack scientific rigour, the consequence being that climate change risk and uncertainties are poorly presented. The climate change field needs to strengthen its risk science basis, to improve the current situation.” – Norwegian risk scientist Terje Aven

For decision-makers, climate change is a problem in risk assessment and management.  Climate change is a risk because it may affect prosperity and security in a negative way, and because its consequences are uncertain.

Global climate change policy has been dominated by a specific strategy of risk management – the Precautionary Principle as a justification for setting specific targets for the elimination of manmade emissions of carbon dioxide.  In the early 1980s, the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) became bullish on the idea that fossil fuels would produce dangerous climate change. The prospect of eliminating fossil fuels was congruent with UNEP’s broader interests in environmental quality and world governance. At Villach in 1985 at the beginning of the climate treaty movement, the policy movement to eliminate fossil fuels became detached from any moorings in the science – the rhetoric of precaution argued that we should act anyway to eliminate fossil fuels, just in case. This perspective became codified by the 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Treaty in 1992, the Kyoto Protocol in 1997 and the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement." (continue reading)


How we have mischaracterized climate risk


Tags: Highlighted Article

Wind by the Numbers - ORIGINAL CONTENT

The Administration goal of a fossil free grid by 2035 would require that the renewable portion of grid energy supply be supported by additional renewable generation plus electricity storage. The hourly, daily, monthly and seasonal variability of renewable generator output would no longer be supported by conventional fossil generation.

The US Energy Information Administration (US EIA) Electric Power Monthly reports an average wind capacity factor for calendar year 2020 at 35.3%, with a monthly average range from 28.2 – 41.1%. Monthly average capacity factors for 2021 through October range from 22.9 – 44.0%. Capacity factors are highest in the Spring and lowest in the Summer.

A 2.5 Megawatt (MW) wind turbine would have produced at an average rate of 0.8825 MW (2.5 * 0.353) per hour, or 21.2 MWH per day in 2020, with a monthly average rate ranging from 0.705 – 1.02 MW, or 16.92– 24.48 MWH per day. These averages mask the fact that wind turbine output could range from 0 – 2.5 MW uncontrollably throughout the day and from day to day. Therefore, on an annual basis and applying a typical utility capacity reserve margin of approximately 20%, a 2.5 MW wind turbine could be relied upon to provide approximately 0.5875 MW (0.705/1.2) if combined with storage capacity capable of storing electricity at a rate of up to 2.5 MW and discharging electricity at a rate of approximately 0.60 MW during a typical day.

A 2.5 MW wind turbine would also require storage capacity of approximately 20 MWH for each low/no wind day which might be experienced at the wind turbine location. The recent “wind drought” in the UK and parts of the EU lasted for approximately 10 days. Using this experience as guide, a 2.5 MW wind turbine would require storage of approximately 200 MWH capable of continuous discharge at a rate of 20 MWH per day. This storage would have to be recharged at the end of the period of low/no wind. However, the output of the wind turbine would be required to meet contemporaneous grid demand, so additional generating capacity would be required to recharge storage. Assuming that recharging the storage over the same number of days over which it was discharged would be acceptable, another 2.5 MW wind turbine would be required. More rapid recharging would require additional wind turbine capacity.

The availability of long-term, low-loss storage would permit the reliable capacity of the wind turbine and storage system to be increased from the approximately 0.6 MW calculated above to approximately 0.75 MW [(0.8825/0.705) * 0.6)]. However, such long-term, low-loss storage is not currently commercially available and its likely cost, based on current technology, would exceed the cost of the additional wind turbine capacity required to increase output in the lowest output month of the year to the average annual output of the 2.5 MW wind turbine.


Tags: Energy Storage / Batteries, Wind Energy

IPCC AR6 SPM Credibility Destroyed by “Disappearing” Medieval Warming Period. - Highlighted Article


From: Watts Up With That

By: Larry Hamlin

Date: February 15, 2022


IPCC AR6 SPM Credibility Destroyed by “Disappearing” Medieval Warming Period.

The Climate Intelligence Foundation (CLINTEL) has cataloged significant errors in the UN IPCC AR6 Summary for Policy Makers (SPM) and distributed this error listing and analysis to the IPCC Chair and other world leaders to inform them of these errors.

The identified errors result in the SPM failing to meet standards of objective scientific integrity and therefore misleads world leaders regarding appropriate climate policy by erroneously pointing to a “climate crisis” that does not exist in reality. The seriously flawed SPM is “inappropriately being used to justify drastic social, economic and human changes through severe mitigation, while prudent adaptation” would be much more appropriate.


(continue reading)


IPCC AR6 SPM Credibility Destroyed by “Disappearing” Medieval Warming Period.


Tags: Highlighted Article

REALISM OR UTOPIANISM? A proposal for reform of Net Zero policy - Highlighted Article


From: The Global Warming Policy Forum

By: John Constable and Capell Aris

Date: May 2021


REALISM OR UTOPIANISM? A proposal for reform of Net Zero policy



"This paper calls for root and branch reform of the UK’s Net Zero pathway to avoid intolerable cost and societal disruption. The alternative route proposed is a Gas to Gas-Nuclear programme.

As a matter of urgency, electricity generation policy must refocus on dispatchable low-emissions plant, which can deliver a secure and competitive electricity system as an enabler for the UK’s manufacturing industries.

The resulting lower electricity prices will facilitate some limited electrification of domestic and commercial heating and mobility, with potential for longer-term decarbonisation in transport and heating to be investigated via a medium-term nuclear programme, including the generation of hydrogen from high temperature reactors via the thermal decomposition of water.

The action points for reform are:

  • Remove market distortions and reduce consumer cost without delay, by buying back all subsidy contracts to renewables at a discount, compelling them to operate as pure merchant plant, and institute a rolling program for closure of the wind and solar fleets to reduce system operation costs.
  • License rapid construction of high-efficiency combined cycle gas turbines, perhaps fitted with carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) if this proves economic. A variety of new approaches to gas turbines – for example Allam cycle turbines, may soon deliver zero-carbon electricity much less expensively.
  • Use low-cost government debt to finance a new generation of nuclear plant, ideally of smaller scale than those currently envisaged.
  • While reduced electricity costs will encourage adoption of heat pumps and electric vehicles where economic, the government should investigate the use of high-temperature nuclear reactors to generate hydrogen to provide an alternative option, seeking close co-operation with the Government of Japan, which is already steering in this direction.

Current UK policies will struggle to deliver Net Zero by 2050, or ever, and run a high risk of deep and irreversible societal damage. Because of the harms already inflicted, the programme outlined here cannot meet the government’s timetable either, but it will reduce emissions rapidly and sustainably without destabilising British society, leaving the option for further emissions reductions as technological development makes this feasible and economically attractive. It therefore represents a realistic rather than a utopian decarbonisation model.

On the other hand, failure to reform along these lines will result in extreme costs, painful reductions in living standards for all but the richest, national weakness, societal instability and the eventual failure of the decarbonisation effort. The UK’s hoped for climate leadership will become only a stern deterrent." (continue reading)


REALISM OR UTOPIANISM? A proposal for reform of Net Zero policy


Tags: Highlighted Article


The path to new technology consists of research, development, demonstration and finally deployment. Research and development frequently continue in an effort to improve the technology. However, at some point, the technology is determined to be far enough advanced to proceed to demonstration; and, upon successful demonstration, to deployment.

Wind and solar technology have advanced through demonstration to deployment. However, it is important to understand what has been demonstrated and what is being deployed. Wind and solar have demonstrated that they are capable of generating electricity when the wind is blowing and the sun is shining. They have also demonstrated that they cannot generate electricity in the absence of wind and/or sun.

Both technologies are being deployed as “source of opportunity” generators and are provided with conventional generation backup for periods when they cannot generate.

Several jurisdictions in the US and Europe have also attempted to demonstrate that wind and solar could replace conventional generation. These attempts have been unsuccessful. They have clearly demonstrated that wind and solar, as intermittent generators, require full capacity backup to maintain a stable and reliable electric grid.

California and several European countries have decommissioned conventional  generation as wind and solar capacity were installed. During periods of low/no wind and solar availability, they have resorted to importing electricity from nearby states or nations. California has also resorted to rolling blackouts during periods when adequate imported electricity was unavailable.
The UK and Germany have also shut down conventional generation as wind and solar were installed and have relied on imported electricity during periods of low/no wind and solar availability. However, a recent fire disabled one of two undersea cables carrying electricity from France to the UK and one French nuclear generator experienced an issue and was shut down, thus limiting the ability of the UK to import electricity.

Texas decided not to decommission conventional capacity, but also not to keep some of the capacity operating at idle, ready to increase output as required. The recent polar vortex disabled so much wind and solar generation that the conventional generators operating at idle did not have sufficient capacity to supply the contemporaneous demand of the grid; and, the conventional plants which were not operating at idle were unable to come on line quickly enough to prevent grid failure for a variety of reasons.

These experiences were a clear demonstration that wind and solar cannot replace conventional generation, though they can displace its output when wind and solar conditions allow them to operate.

It remains to be demonstrated that wind and solar, combined with electricity storage, can replace conventional generation. This demonstration cannot begin until battery R&D produces battery technology that can demonstrate the ability to efficiently store and redeliver electricity over multi-day periods of low/no solar availability. The number of days of battery operation required for this demonstration to be successful would be a function of the maximum number of days of “wind drought” or “solar drought” which might occur at the generating sites. The excess wind and/or solar capacity required to recharge storage after depletion would be a function of the frequency of occurrence of low/no wind and solar days.

Until this demonstration has been completed successfully it would be irresponsible to decommission the conventional generating capacity required to supply the grid when wind and solar are unavailable. However, there will likely continue to be political and regulatory pressure to do so to limit electric rate increases resulting from maintaining redundant generating capacity.


Tags: Solar Energy, Wind Energy, Energy Storage / Batteries

Highlighted Article: Is the World Ready for Good News on Climate?


From: The Honest Broker Newsletter

By: Roger Pielke Jr.

Date: January 26, 2022


Is the World Ready for Good News on Climate?

"Come on a time travel trip with me and our new paper just out (me along with Matt Burgess and Justin Ritchie). Let’s go back to 2005 and take a look at how the world’s top energy and climate experts envisioned the range of plausible futures for climate change to 2100, and explore how they might react to our new analysis. The future is always an unknown place, but if we are going to create desirable futures, then we need to have some way of reliably projecting where were are headed and how we might alter course if we decide that we are headed in a wrong direction.

In climate policy, expectations for the future have long been characterized as scenarios, which according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change allow us to assess “a range of plausible futures, because human development is determined by a myriad of factors including human decision making.” There are of course a very wide range of plausible scenarios for the future, defined as “a variety of future states that are considered ‘occurrable’ (could happen).”

The figure below illustrates the future as an expanding cone of possibilities — of which some are possible, plausible and probable, with some futures more preferrable than others. The notion of “business as usual” has long been considered to be where we are currently headed if we don’t change course. We implement policy to try to shape the cone of future possibilities toward more preferred outcomes." (continue reading)


Is the World Ready for Good News on Climate?


Tags: Highlighted Article

Electric Transition


The US EIA graph below summarizes the sources and uses of energy in the US economy. The Administration has established a series of progressive goals to eliminate fossil fuel consumption in the energy economy and achieve Net Zero emissions by 2050.


U.S. energy consumption by source and sector 2020


Currently, electricity from all sources represents 12.5 quads of the total of 69.7 quads of energy consumed in the economy, or approximately 18% of total energy consumption. Net Zero would require that all uses of petroleum, natural gas and coal which result in the emission of CO2 be replaced by renewable electricity. This would specifically exclude the petroleum and natural gas consumed in the production of chemicals and plastics. Therefore, approximately 30 quads of petroleum, 30 quads of natural gas and 9 quads of coal end-use consumption would be transitioned to renewable electricity by 2050.

Assuming that the Industrial and transportation electric end uses would average three times the efficiency of the fossil fuel end uses and that the residential and commercial electric end uses would average twice the efficiency of the fossil end uses, renewable electricity generation would be required to replace not only 7 quads of fossil fuel-generated electricity but also provide approximately 7 quads to replace fossil energy consumption in the industrial sector, approximately 7 quads to replace fossil energy consumption in the transportation sector and approximately 5 quads to replace fossil energy consumption in the residential and commercial sectors of the economy.

The combined effect of these energy transitions is to approximately quadruple current electricity demand and consumption in the economy. US electric utilities currently operate approximately 850 GW of fossil-fueled electric generation capacity, which historically operates at approximately a 40% system load factor and represents an approximate 20% capacity reserve margin relative to peak demand.

US EIA uses a 45% capacity factor for wind and a 30% capacity factor for solar PV generation. Therefore, a combination of wind and solar generation would have a capacity factor similar to the grid capacity factor. However, current grid generating capacity, with the exception of wind and solar generation, is dispatchable to meet contemporaneous grid demand. Wind and solar generation require storage to render them dispatchable. The storage system design must accommodate timing differences between peak generation and peak demand, multi-day periods of low/no wind and/or solar availability and seasonal variations in capacity factor. Currently, storage systems capable of multi-day and seasonal compensation are unavailable.

The transition of the existing electric grid to renewable generation is currently being accomplished by relying on conventional generation sources to supply the grid during periods of low/no wind and/or solar availability. However, the requirement to discontinue operation of existing fossil generation capacity, combined with the increased demand and consumption which would result from the electrification of all current fossil fuel end uses in the industrial, transportation, residential and commercial sectors of the economy would require that all additional renewable generating capacity be combined with adequate storage to render the capacity dispatchable, plus the additional generation capacity necessary to recharge depleted storage while still meeting the contemporaneous demand of the grid.


Tags: Electric Power Generation

Highlighted Article: Crossing (or not) the 1.5 and 2.0C thresholds


From: Climate Etc.

By: Judith Curry

Date: January 23, 2022


Crossing (or not) the 1.5 and 2.0C thresholds

The first rule of climate chess is this.  The board is bigger than we think, and includes more than fossil fuels.”  – Jon Foley

The strategy to limit global warming is tied directly to limiting the amount of CO2 emitted into the atmosphere. Emissions targets are a centerpiece of the UNFCCC Paris Agreement.  The goal of the emissions targets is to limit global warming to well below 2, preferably 1.5 degrees Centigrade, compared to pre-industrial levels (typically the baseline period 1851-1900).  For reference, the climate has warmed in 2020 by about 1.2oC

Using the medium emissions scenario (SSP2-4.5), the IPCC AR6 constrained global mean temperature projections indicate that there is a 50% chance that the 1.5oC threshold would be crossed around 2030 and the 2oC threshold would be crossed around 2052.  There is uncertainty in the year for which the thresholds would be crossed (2026-2042 for the 1.5oC threshold and 2038-2072 for the 2oC threshold), mostly owing to the range of climate sensitivity to CO2 among different models.

This post illustrates now natural climate variability could influence the global mean surface temperature change through 2050, and hence influence the time of crossing the 1.5 and 2.0oC thresholds.  Specifically, alternative scenarios of volcanic eruptions, solar variability and internal climate variability are considered.  The risk from not realistically accounting for natural climate variability is that critical possible future climate outcomes are being discounted, potentially causing maladaptation.  Each of the scenarios presented here is arguably more plausible than the high emissions scenarios RCP8.5/SSP4-8.5 LINK.  For additional reference, see also this previous blog post." (continue reading this post)


Crossing (or not) the 1.5 and 2.0C thresholds


Tags: Highlighted Article

Highlighted Article: Should Government Control Scientific Research?


From: Watts Up With That

By: Andy May

Date: January 21, 2022


Should Government Control Scientific Research?


"This is the transcript of a talk I gave to the ASME (The American Society of Mechanical Engineers) South Texas Section January 20, 2022

Federal money allows unelected bureaucrats to control scientific research. They dictate the projects, and often the outcomes. They use selective leaks to the press to embarrass anyone who tries to interfere with their control. They trade in fear and relish it. Anyone who disagrees with them is suppressing “science.”

They also use an ignorant and compliant news media, to demonize privately funded scientific research as “corrupted” by “evil” corporations.[1] Government research is “science” and privately funded research is corrupt. Using this narrative, they become the “truth,” and no contrary views are allowed.

President Eisenhower said, quote:

“The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocation, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded.”

President Eisenhower’s farewell speech, 1961

H. L. Mencken wrote, quote:

“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, 1918, In Defense of Women

What better way to frighten the public than with a scientist’s prediction?" (continue reading)


Should Government Control Scientific Research?


Tags: Highlighted Article

Gas Appliance Phaseout

Achieving Net Zero GHG emissions by 2050 would require a complete phaseout of residential and commercial gas appliances, including furnaces and boilers, water heaters, ranges and ovens, laundry dryers, grills, and standby generators.

US DOE, in cooperation with the US electric utility industry, has been attempting to eliminate gas end uses for decades. Initially, this effort was based on the ludicrous fantasy that electricity magically appeared at the customers’ meters at 100% efficiency. This fantasy ignored the primary energy losses during the generation processes as well as the secondary losses, including generating plant parasitic power consumption as well as transmission and distribution losses. This approach placed gas end uses at a disadvantage since gas parasitic losses and transmission and distribution losses are far lower than those in the electric system, and gas equipment losses occur downstream of the customer meter.

This fantasy rationalization has now been replaced by the fantasy of climate change as a “crisis”, “emergency” or “existential threat". The federal government has set Net Zero as a goal to be achieved by 2050, but with no published plan to achieve the goal. The Administration has taken several steps toward a gas phaseout, including a proposed ban on gas exploration and production both offshore and on federal lands. The Administration is also pressuring lenders to refuse to finance new gas system investment. Several state governments have banned hydraulic fracturing for natural gas production. Other states have refused to approve pipeline expansions to serve growing consumer demand. One state is attempting to halt operation of an existing pipeline that serves both US and Canadian markets. Several cities have banned or announced bans on new natural gas connections.

These actions have already driven significant increases in natural gas prices and have threatened supply shortages. The situation will only get worse as supply is restricted further.

Replacing existing gas end-use appliances and equipment with electric end-use equipment would often require electric service upgrades of 100 amperes in residential dwellings and of several hundred amperes in commercial buildings. The replacement appliances and equipment would add thousands of dollars to the cost. The replacement electric appliances would also increase consumer energy bills as electricity rates increase due to the transition to renewable energy sources plus electricity storage.

The realization that gas service would become unavailable in the future would cause builders and their customers to choose all-electric construction to avoid later conversion costs. It would also cause customers faced with appliance replacement decisions to choose electric appliances to replace worn-out gas equipment. Progressive appliance and equipment replacement would increase gas costs as the existing transmission and distribution infrastructure was used to deliver less and less gas over time. It is completely predictable that these cost increases would be blamed on the suppliers, rather than on the government actions which caused the increases.

The unavailability of gas standby generation systems would increase the vulnerability of customers which require an uninterruptible power supply, such as hospitals, nursing homes, prisons, and some residential buildings including high-rise apartment and condominium complexes, to grid interruptions.


Tags: Net Zero Emissions

Highlighted Article: 2022 Energy Predictions: Coal Decline Accelerates, Federal Funds Spur Clean Energy, Millions Of New Electric Vehicles And Chargers


From: Forbes

By: Silvio Marcacci

Date: January 10, 2022


2022 Energy Predictions: Coal Decline Accelerates, Federal Funds Spur Clean Energy, Millions Of New Electric Vehicles And Chargers

"2021 was a landmark year for clean energy and climate policy, from dozens of nations pledging to phase out coal, to the most ambitious federal climate proposals in United States history, to automakers going all in on electrified transportation.

Many of these developments were forecast by policy experts who thought Democratic control of the White House and Congress, fast-falling clean energy and electrified technology prices, and the undeniable need to confront climate change by cutting emissions portended a groundswell of action.

But the outlook for 2022 is not as clear. Will China commit to phasing out new domestic coal plants? Will the U.S. Senate finally pass the Build Back Better Act (BBBA) and unlock hundreds of billions in investment? How will billions in electric vehicle (EV) and grid investments from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) be allocated? And will growing consumer demand for clean energy drive new renewable energy, EV, and electrified appliance sales?

Five leading policy experts shared their predictions for the year ahead including coal’s accelerating decline, federal investments energizing clean energy adoption and grid expansion, and millions of EVs hitting U.S. roads to help EV chargers become a new investment class." (continue reading)


2022 Energy Predictions: Coal Decline Accelerates, Federal Funds Spur Clean Energy, Millions Of New Electric Vehicles And Chargers


Tags: Highlighted Article

Highlighted Article: The Cost of Net Zero Electrification of the U.S.A.


From: Watts Up With That

By: Ken Gregory, P. Eng.

Date: January 12, 2022


The Cost of Net Zero Electrification of the U.S.A.


"This article by Ken Gregory, P. Eng. is a critique of an influential report  by Thomas Tanton “Cost of Electrification: A State-by-State Analysis and Results” and provides corrected new capital cost estimates to achieve net zero emissions in the U.S.A. Estimating the increased operating costs is beyond the scope of the study.  This post provides a condensed version of the blog post previously published at Friends of Science here.

Executive Summary

Many governments have made promises to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by replacing fossil fuels with solar and wind generated electricity and to electrify the economy. A report by Thomas Tanton estimates a capital cost of US$36.4 trillion for the U.S.A. economy to meet net zero emissions using wind and solar power. This study identifies several errors in the Tanton report and provides new capital cost estimates using 2019 and 2020 hourly electricity generation data rather than using annual average conditions as was done in the Tanton report.  This study finds that the battery costs for replacing all current fossil fuel fired electricity with wind and solar generated electricity, using 2020 electricity data, is 109 times that estimated by the Tanton report. The total capital cost of electrification is herein estimated, using 2020 data, at US$433 trillion, or 20 times the U.S.A. 2019 gross domestic product. Overbuilding the solar plus wind capacity by 21% reduces overall costs by 18% by reducing battery storage costs. Allowing fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage to provide 50% of the electricity demand dramatically reduces the total costs from US$433 trillion to US$24 trillion, which is a reduction of 94.6%. Battery storage costs are highly dependent on the year’s weather and the seasonal shape of electricity demand.


The U.S.A. government has set a target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel use and cement manufacturing to net zero economy-wide by no later than 2050. Some believe this could be achieved by replacing most fossil fuel use with non-emitting energy sources and sequestering carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the remaining fossil fuel use by carbon capture and storage (CCS)." (continue reading)


The Cost of Net Zero Electrification of the U.S.A.


Tags: Highlighted Article

US ICE Vehicle Phaseout

We need to make green energy much cheaper.”, Bjorn Lomborg

Global policymakers appear to have adopted a uniform approach to the green energy transition – making fossil energy unavailable through supply restriction or legislative and regulatory prohibition, or more expensive through taxation. They either lack confidence in future green energy cost reductions or they lack the patience to wait for those cost reductions. Lomborg sees the need to make green energy cheaper in absolute terms, while policymakers pursue the approach of making it cheaper in relative terms by increasing the cost of conventional energy and its end uses.

The US government and some state governments are pursuing these approaches to phaseout internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles and transition to electric vehicles (EVs) or hydrogen fueled vehicles. California plans to ban sale of ICE vehicles in 2030, while the federal government plans to ban their sale in 2035. The federal government currently pays incentives of up to $7,500 to purchasers of electric vehicles and plans to increase the incentives to up to $12,500 for vehicles produced by union labor. The federal government also intends to incentivize installation of up to 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations, with a focus on disadvantaged and underserved neighborhoods. Incentives are also planned for electric school buses and transit buses.

These mandates and incentives are deemed necessary because current electric vehicles are expensive, largely because of the cost of their batteries. Also, current EVs are range limited by their batteries, reducing their utility for other than short trips. EV owners also experience “fuel anxiety” because of the limited EV charging infrastructure.

The EV transition is also currently being impeded by concerns about battery fires, which have resulted in major vehicle recalls. Concerns regarding battery fires are also causing some jurisdictions to consider prohibiting EV charging stations in public and private parking structures and underground parking facilities in residential complexes.

There are currently light duty and medium duty EVs available in the market, though they represent only approximately 7% of passenger car sales and a lesser share of light and medium duty truck sales. Heavy duty EV trucks are just being introduced to the market and EV semi-tractors are under development. The major concern with these heavy-duty vehicles is the effect the weight of the batteries has on the gross vehicle weight (GVW) of the truck and the limitation that imposes on cargo weight.

The conversion of railroad vehicles to EV is a major challenge. EV passenger rail in highly populated areas of the country has been in use for decades. However, passenger rail power demands are much lower than for freight service. Freight locomotives in current service use electric drive motors at the wheels, but the electricity is provided by diesel generators in the locomotives. Installing overhead electric lines of sufficient current carrying capacity on the 140,000 route miles of freight rail infrastructure and converting existing locomotives with catenaries and transformers would be an extremely expensive undertaking.

Conversion of off-road vehicles, such as farm and construction equipment, to EV operation present interesting charging and utility challenges.


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