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In the Wake of the News

Demand Pull Markets

A market economy is an economic system in which economic decisions and the pricing of goods and services are guided by the interactions of a country's individual citizens and businesses. There may be some government intervention or central planning, but usually this term refers to an economy that is more market oriented in general.

Technology makes new goods and services possible. Entrepreneurship brings these new products and services to the market. Marketing and advertising increase awareness of the availability of these new goods and services. Demand for these newly available products and services pulls them into the market and encourages the development and market introduction of competing products and services. Competition in demand pull markets results in progressive technological advancement and product and service cost reduction.

Market demand is typically built upon increased function, enhanced convenience, improved economics or some combination of these factors. Consider the evolution of space heating from fireplaces to manually fed wood and coal stoves to central heating boilers and furnaces with water or air distribution to automated boilers and furnaces with thermostatic control to combination heating and cooling systems. Each of these advances was made available by technological evolution and development and pulled into the market by consumer demand. Similarly, the transition from coal to oil to natural gas and electricity was a response to consumer demand for increased convenience and improved economics. The evolution of other residential and commercial appliances and equipment followed similar paths.

Transportation has evolved from walking, to riding horseback to horse-drawn wagons and carriages to the internal combustion powered automobile and truck. Technological innovation made windows, heaters, air conditioners, automatic transmissions, radios and other entertainment devices, GPS navigation systems and numerous safety features available and consumer demand pulled them into the market. Consumer demand also led to the availability of station wagons, SUVs, travel trailers and motor homes. The development of aviation technology allowed commercial air travel to eclipse passenger buses and trains for travel over longer distances and greatly decreased the time and cost of international travel.

The development of electric technology and the electric utility industry has replaced whale oil for lighting, windmills for water pumping and water wheels and draught animals for mechanical power production. Modern industry relies on electricity throughout virtually every aspect of almost all production processes. The evolution of mechanical and electric technology has led to the introduction of specialized robots to replace humans in many difficult, dangerous and tedious functions while increasing product reliability and reducing manufacturing costs.

Finally, the development of electronics technology and the computer has had broad impacts on almost all aspects of life. Consumer demand for access to information and entertainment has pulled these electronic devices into common use in residential, commercial, institutional and industrial markets. In many cases, the demand for these new technologies and the products and services they provide has far exceeded the expectations of their developers.

In demand pull markets, visionaries identify opportunities, entrepreneurs pursue those opportunities and consumers decide which products and services will be successful.


Tags: Climate Change Economics

Highlighted Article: How to compare today to the past


From: Watts Up With That

By: Andy May

Date: June 22, 2021


How to compare today to the past

"In the last post, I discussed the problems comparing modern instrumental global or hemispheric average temperatures to the past. Ocean temperature coverage was sparse and of poor quality prior to 2005. Prior to 1950, land (29% of the surface) measurements were also sparse and of poor quality. Only proxy temperatures are available before thermometers were invented, but, again, these are sparse and poorly calibrated prior to 1600. So how can we compare modern temperatures to the distant past? We can’t do it globally or hemispherically, the past data are too poor or too sparse or both. Why not pick the best proxies and compute comparable modern temperatures to compare to the proxies at the specific proxy locations? It is easier to lessen resolution than to increase it.

Rosenthal, et al.’s temperature reconstruction, plotted in Figure 1, shows ~500-meter temperatures from the “Indonesian Throughflow” (Rosenthal, Linsley, & Oppo, 2013). Their data are from sediment cores taken in the Makassar Strait east of Borneo Island. This strait is a portion of the main connection between the Indian, Southern and Pacific Oceans. Its temperature is reflective of the temperature of significant portions of these three large water masses at 500 meters." ...


How to compare today to the past


Tags: Highlighted Article

Independence Day 2021

The US declared its independence from Britain 245 years ago and fought a long and bitter Revolutionary War to secure it. The US has since fought for and with other nations to secure or restore their independence. Americans cherish their liberty and freedoms and resist efforts to limit or restrict them. The US is currently emerging from the temporary restrictions imposed in an effort to contain and then end the COVID19 pandemic and the economy has begun recovering from the effects of the pandemic.

However, numerous members of the global environmental movement are resisting the reopening and resurgence of the economy and advocating for the imposition of permanent restrictions to our liberty and freedoms as part of the effort to avoid what they refer to as a “climate crisis”, “climate emergency” or “existential threat”. However, the US population does not regard climate change as a threat comparable to the threat of the COVID19 pandemic, which has resulted in over 600,000 documented deaths in the US and nearly 3 million deaths globally, whereas climate change has resulted in no documented deaths.

The citizens’ response to the lifting of mask and social distancing requirements has been rapid and dramatic. Employees of “non-essential” businesses are returning to work, children have begun returning to their classrooms, restaurants and bars are returning to normal service patterns and vehicle traffic has returned to more normal levels. The imposition of new, drastic limitations to liberty and freedom in an attempt to control climate change would likely not be welcomed and would perhaps be actively resisted.

Numerous nations have attempted to conquer other nations and assert control over them throughout history. Britain and France have long histories as colonialists. Russia and China also have long and far darker histories. Global governments established the League of Nations after World War I and the United Nations after World War II in an attempt to avoid future conflicts and maintain peace. The League of Nations failed and the UN has not been a great success at its stated mission.

The UN has suffered from “mission creep” over the years since its founding. The latest manifestation of this mission creep is its desire to achieve global governance in pursuit of a “solution” to climate change. Such global governance would require surrender of independence on the part of all of the existing national governments. Developed nations would be required to fund the development efforts of developing nations through the UN Green Climate Fund, which envisions itself as ultimately redistributing wealth at the rate of more than 1 trillion dollars per year in the interests of renewable development, climate change mitigation and climate change adaptation.

In addition to the financial drain of wealth redistribution, the citizens of the developed nations would also be required to bear the higher costs of investment in a transition from existing fossil fuel energy systems to renewable based energy systems, with the resulting increases in product and service costs across the economy. These changes would be forced by a significant increase in government control of the economy, resulting in losses of liberty and freedom. As distasteful as these increases in national government control would be, they would be even more distasteful imposed by a global government with no accountability run by an organization with a history of incompetence.

I do not believe US citizens will be anxious to surrender their national or personal independence to a global government bureaucracy, though some of our elected representatives appear willing to do so.


Tags: Climate Change Debate

Highlighted Article: Global Warming is happening, what does it mean?


From: Watts Up With That

By: Andy May

Date: June 22, 2021


Global Warming is happening, what does it mean?


"The concepts and data used to make temperature and climate reconstructions, or estimates, are constantly evolving. Currently, there are over 100,000 global weather stations on land and over 4,500 Argo floats and weather buoys at sea. This is in addition to regular measurements by satellites and ships at sea. The measurement locations are known accurately, the date and time of each measurement is known, and the instruments are mostly accurate to ±0.5°C or better. Thus, we can calculate a reasonable global average surface temperature. However, the farther we go into the past the fewer measurements we have. Prior to 2005, the sea-surface measurements deteriorate quickly and prior to 1950 the land-based weather station network is quite poor, especially in the Southern Hemisphere. Before 1850, the coverage is so poor as to be unusable for estimating a global average temperature. Prior to 1714 the calibrated thermometer had not even been invented; the world had to wait for Gabriel Fahrenheit." ...


Global Warming is happening, what does it mean?


Tags: Highlighted Article

Tracking Climate Progress

The Biden Administration has established targets of reducing US GHG emissions by 50-52% by 2030 and achieving net zero emissions from the electricity sector by 2035. The Administration has not yet publicized a plan to achieve these targets.

Roger Pielke, Jr. recently proposed a simple, intuitive method for tracking climate policy progress which focuses on the required reduction in the number of fossil fueled electric generation plants in the US. The graph below illustrates a linear path to closing fossil fueled generating plants to achieve net zero emissions from the sector by 2035.


The Path to Net-Zero Carbon Dioxide from Electricity in the United States by 2035


While Pielke’s method is indeed simple and intuitive, it is clearly unrealistic to assume that such a linear reduction in US fossil fueled generating plants could begin immediately, or even in the near future, if electric grid reliability is to be maintained.

The Administration’s stated intent is that the solar and wind generation equipment used to repower the US electric grid would be fabricated from US materials in the US, creating union jobs. The US does not currently have the production capacity to manufacture solar collectors and wind turbines in the quantities necessary to achieve the Administration’s stated targets on the announced schedule. Therefore, additional production capacity would have to be designed, permitted, constructed and commissioned if the schedule is to be met. This would require significant time, even if the government acted to hasten regulatory approvals.
Operating this new production capacity would increase electric consumption and fossil fuel consumption in the short term, requiring continued operation of existing generating capacity at higher levels of output, until sufficient incremental solar and wind generation equipment had been fabricated, sited, installed, connected to the electric grid and placed in service to provide the incremental power requirements of this new production capacity.

The intermittent nature of solar and wind generation requires supplemental power to support and stabilize the electric grid when solar or wind generation is unavailable. This supplemental power is currently supplied by the existing fossil fueled, nuclear, hydro and geothermal generating capacity. However, net zero operation would require replacing the fossil fueled portion of this capacity with either additional nuclear, hydro or geothermal generating capacity or grid-scale battery storage.

Grid-scale battery storage technology is not yet as mature as either solar or wind technology and the costs of this storage capacity are not yet commercially viable. Early storage technology forcing could dramatically increase the cost of the transition to renewables. Therefore, grid-scale battery storage capacity would probably lag increased solar and wind capacity by several years, until storage economics improve.

Once sufficient non-fossil generating capacity and battery storage capacity have been permitted, sited, constructed and commissioned existing fossil generating capacity could be retired at the rate of approximately 1 gigawatt of rating plate fossil generating capacity per 4 gigawatts of rating plate solar generating capacity or 3 gigawatts of wind generating capacity. The availability of sufficient conventional generating capacity to support and stabilize the grid during periods of low renewable generation would reduce these rating plate capacity ratios. However, reliance on a greater fraction of battery storage would require increased renewable rating plate capacity to compensate for the inefficiency of the battery storage systems.

These considerations suggest that the number of conventional powerplants would remain relatively stable for the first several years, then decline more sharply than envisioned by Dr. Pielke in the graph above. The remaining coal fired generators would be expected to be shutdown first as their CO2 emissions per gigawatt are higher than for combined-cycle natural gas plants and they are less able to respond the fluctuating supply and demand on the grid.


Tags: CO2 Emissions, Energy Storage / Batteries

Highlighted Article: The Green Energy Agenda vs. Long Run Strategic Planning


From: Master Resource

By: Robert Bradley Jr.

Date: June 8, 2021


The Green Energy Agenda vs. Long Run Strategic Planning


“All of this data leads us back to the question, can we spend trillions of dollars in support of a political-motivated soundbite that may or may not produce a net loss of carbon emissions and/or may not be feasible given the known quantities of minerals needed?”

“… the vast majority of the 195 countries cannot afford any of the Green movement. Do we print a few extra trillion dollars to bankroll them into Green compliance?”


"President Biden has set goals for the U.S. to “Achieve 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2035″, “Net-zero emissions by 2050,” and “Cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030”.  Additionally, the party in power is pushing to have a majority of US-manufactured cars be electric by 2030 and every car on the road to be electric by 2040.

In total that says to we-the-people: shut down the coal/oil/gas-fired electric producing plants and drive electric cars.

Are we to believe those statements/directives in any way represent the results of an all-inclusive long-range strategic plan (LRSP)? No; not only no, but hell no, not even close." ...


The Green Energy Agenda vs. Long Run Strategic Planning


Tags: Highlighted Article

Tech Forcing Risks

Technology forcing is a regulatory strategy that establishes currently unachievable and uneconomic performance standards to be met at some future point in time. ... Basically, technology forcing sets regulatory standards and provides incentives for achieving the standards or disincentives for not achieving them.”

The setting of technology forcing standards typically is based on a specific technology or technologies believed capable of enabling the standards to be achieved within the required timeframe. However, picking winners and losers from among unproven technologies by government bureaucrats with little or no experience in technology development and manufacturing is fraught with risk. Two recent examples of this risk in the solar energy field are Solyndra and Crescent Dunes (Tonopah).

One key risk with such failures is the massive, dedicated project funding, which can deprive other worthy projects of focus and funding. Another is the emotional investment on the part of the project funding organization, which frequently causes the failure to drag out over time and causes the funding organization to look negatively upon potentially competing technologies which might be achieving greater technical and economic success.

Another significant risk is that the selected technology might achieve the technical project goals, but at far higher cost than had been projected. A related risk is that other technologies being pursued in parallel might achieve higher performance or lower cost, or both. This was at least part of the cause of the Solyndra failure.

Yet another risk results from unforeseen operational issues. This risk contributed to the Tonopah failure, as operational interruptions allowed the molten salt used as the storage medium to solidify in the storage system components, leaving a very difficult recovery challenge. The Ivanpah solar power tower, which does not incorporate thermal energy storage, requires the use of natural gas to start the boilers each day, which are then heated by the concentrated solar energy.

Finally, there are environmental risks with solar power towers, sometimes known as “rapid raptor roasters”. Bats and birds, including large raptors, are incinerated when they fly through the concentrated solar energy beams aimed at the central boiler. Some of these birds are federally protected, but no approach to preventing their passage into the solar beam has been developed. This issue also affects wind turbine generators, sometimes known as “rapid raptor choppers”. While many environmentalists are concerned about these bat and bird kills, they are reluctant to be too vocal about the two technologies viewed as the path to elimination of fossil fuels in power generation.

The expansion of wind generation into more populated areas has raised concerns about the low frequency “beating” noise produced by the turbines and the associated vibration. Citizen resistance to industrial wind farms is growing, delaying or preventing their installation. This issue and others are refocusing interest on offshore wind systems, which offer the potential of higher power output per generator. However, the height of the wind turbine mountings and their distance offshore leaves them visible from the shore, raising economic concerns in beach resorts. There are also unanswered questions regarding the survivability of offshore wind turbines along the US Atlantic and Gulf coasts, which are subject to hurricane force winds and high seas. It now seems likely that one or more offshore wind farms will be developed before these questions are answered.

History has clearly demonstrated that the shorter the timeframe allowed for compliance, the higher the cost of compliance, as immature technologies are rushed into service. The current 14 year timeframe for compliance with net zero emissions regulations for power generation is a very short time to achieve the massive realignment of this critical energy sector.


Tags: Electric Power Generation

Highlighted Article: The Sad Truth About Traditional Environmentalism


From: Quillette

By: Zion Lights

Date: May 31, 2021


The Sad Truth About Traditional Environmentalism


"What if you’d dedicated most of your life to trying to save the planet, but then you realised that you may have actually—potentially—made things worse?

Over the last few years this has become one of my main concerns. I’ve been active in various green groups for over a decade, from setting up the first green society at my university and getting them to switch to renewable energy 15 years ago, to being one of the leading spokespeople for Extinction Rebellion as recently as last year.

Through writing, public speaking, and taking direct action (I was arrested multiple times for climate action in the early 2000s), I have done everything in my power to fight to bring down global greenhouse gas emissions. And I have come to the stark realisation that nothing I have done has worked. Worse, emissions have continued to rise despite public concern for the environment (in the UK at least) being as high as it has ever been.

Something has gone wrong.

Many people do care about the" ...


The Sad Truth About Traditional Environmentalism


Tags: Highlighted Article

Tech Forcing Economics

Technology forcing is a regulatory strategy that establishes currently unachievable and uneconomic performance standards to be met at some future point in time. ... Basically, technology forcing sets regulatory standards and provides incentives for achieving the standards or disincentives for not achieving them.”

Existing new technologies are typically expensive as the result of limited manufacturing experience and low production volume. Non-existing new technologies will also be expensive, once developed, for the same reasons. Experience shows that new technology costs decrease as the technology is refined and as production volume increases.

Early applications of new technologies typically require significant subsidies and/or government mandates to offset the higher costs and help overcome market resistance to change. Current examples include solar and wind electric generation systems, biofuel production and hybrid and electric vehicles. These relationships have been extensively studied.

Initial cost is heavily influenced by the ratio of initial production capacity to initial production volume since manufacturing overhead is initially distributed over a production volume significantly below production capacity. The overhead portion of product cost declines as the production rate increases toward production capacity. The existence of incentives and mandates can accelerate the increase in production rate by offsetting market resistance.

The other major component of higher initial cost is technology maturity. This component is far less sensitive to incentives and mandates. Also, the extent to which technology maturity will ultimately reduce cost is indeterminant, as is the rate at which maturity will occur. However, since new technology initially bears higher costs, the rate at which the technology is incentivized / forced into the market contributes to the long-term cost of technology implementation, since a higher percentage of the technology installations will occur at the earlier higher costs.

A critical example of this rate of forcing issue is battery storage systems for electric vehicles and grid-scale battery storage systems to offset the intermittency of renewable generation facilities such as wind and solar. EV battery technology has advanced significantly over the past decade. However, the batteries are still the predominant cause of the cost difference between ICE vehicles and EVs. The EV batteries also require replacement within the expected life of the EV; and battery life is shortened by rapid charging. The EV’s batteries also limit vehicle range, both because of their limited capacity and because of the time required to recharge them.

Grid-scale battery storage systems are in the very early stage of implementation and their current applications are limited to grid stabilization and short-term intermittency compensation. However, as the fossil generators which provide power during periods of wind and solar unavailability are decommissioned in favor of additional intermittent generation, grid-scale storage will be required to power the grid for periods of one or more days. The quantity of energy which must be stored in such scenarios is massive. The current cost of the battery capacity required to support the national grid would approach $100 trillion. These battery costs will certainly decline as the technology advances and production capacity and production rate increase. However, the extent to which the cost will be reduced and the rate at which that will occur are uncertain; and, the shorter the implementation schedule for a net zero electric grid, the higher the system implementation costs will be.

TANSTAAFL (There Ain’t No Such Thing As a Free Lunch)


Tags: Electric Power Generation, Energy Storage / Batteries

Highlighted Article: Fact-checking the Fact-checkers


From: CO2 Coalition

By: Gregory Wrightstone

Date: May 27, 2021


Fact-checking the Fact-checkers

"What Climate Feedback gets wrong in its attempted takedown of CO2 Coalition commentary

On Earth Day this year, the Washington Times published an op-ed that I wrote titled “There is no climate emergency – We love CO2 and so should you.” Not long after publication, the paper’s Facebook post on the commentary was labeled “false and misleading” and their ad for it was rejected. This was based on a lengthy “fact-check” titled Washington Times presents list of false and misleading statements about the impacts of CO2 and climate change by Climate Feedback (CF). It was composed by eight scientists and upon detailed review of their “fact-check,” it became clear why they were not labeled “experts.”

In order to rebut this review, I asked six of the top experts in the world in various fields related to climate change to assess the statements by the Climate Feedback reviewers for accuracy and validity. All the scientists I consulted are members of the CO2 Coalition, a non-profit scientific coalition based in Arlington, Va. All agree that there is no man-made climate emergency.  

Since many of the sections contain duplicative statements alleging various supposed “false” claims and statements in my commentary, I have distilled them to eleven primary statements of supposed “fact” used to “debunk” the op-ed. Climate Feedback claims and quotes are in red.

In each case, we find that the Climate Feedback reviewers are the scientists providing muddled, misleading, and false information.

CF Claim #1" ...


Fact-checking the Fact-checkers


Tags: Highlighted Article

Goals Without Plans

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”, Antoine de Saint-Exupery

The Biden Administration has produced a new US INDC (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions) after rejoining the Paris Accords. The new INDC roughly doubles the “ambition” of the previous INDC offered by the Obama Administration, calling for a 50% reduction in US CO2 emissions relative to 2005 by 2030 and achievement of net zero emissions by 2050. Even though this new INDC has not satisfied some environmental activist groups, it is still a major expansion of the US commitment. However, the Paris Accords are not a treaty from the US perspective and likely will not be for the foreseeable future, since Senate ratification would be highly unlikely.

The Administration has discussed several areas of focus for its efforts, including eliminating CO2 emissions from the electric sector by 2035, incentivizing installation of 500,000 EV charging stations, converting the US school bus fleet to EVs, weatherizing large numbers of housing units, making rail travel as fast as air travel, and ultimately achieving net zero emissions by 2050 The Administration’s stated intent is to accomplish all of these objectives using equipment produced in the US, largely by union labor.

Shutting down the 70% of US electric generation powered by fossil fuels over a 14-year period while maintaining a reliable electric grid and providing the power required for the production of the necessary wind turbines and solar panels to replace that generation plus the electric storage facilities required to maintain reliable grid function during periods when wind and solar are unavailable will require careful coordination. The plan for this effort has not been made public and its current state of development is unknown. The incentives to be provided are also undefined.

The proposed locations and installation schedule for the EV charging stations are not yet public, nor is the proposed incentive schedule. The future incentives for electric vehicle purchases are also currently undefined. Two states have now elected to halt sale of new fossil fuel vehicles in 2035, which will force the schedule in those states, causing most vehicles to “age out” before 2050. It is unclear whether the Administration will follow this pattern or continue to move the market with incentives, or both.

The approach to converting the US school bus fleet and the schedule are not yet public. The Administration has the option of requiring all new school bus purchases be EVs after some date certain, since all school buses would “age out” before 2050, though the intent might be to accelerate the transition by mandating and incentivizing conversion of existing buses.

The technology for high speed electric rail exists, though only a few localized systems exist in the US and none approach the speed necessary to match point-to-point air flight times. A Japanese manufacturer has demonstrated a prototype magnetic levitation train capable of achieving 374 miles per hour, though the first commercial service is not scheduled until 2027.

Fully upgrading residential dwellings for improved energy efficiency and all electric operation is estimated to cost approximately $50,000 per dwelling unit. There is no definition of the Administration approach to selecting dwellings to be upgraded or the approach to assuring that the upgrades occur and are effective.


Tags: Climate Policy, CO2 Emissions, Electric Power Generation

Highlighted Article: EXTREME WEATHER IN 2020


From: GWPF

By: Ralph Alexander

Date: April, 2021




Executive summary

"The most striking feature of weather extremes in 2020 was not the extremes themselves, but the use of socio-economic studies of natural disasters to link extreme weather to global warming. Two international agencies, the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) – in conjunction with the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) – and the International Red Cross (IFRC), both issued reports claiming that climate-related disasters are currently escalating.

However, such claims are wrong, as clearly shown by data presented in the two reports. Two different sections of the CRED-UNDRR report state that since 2000 the annual number of disasters has either risen significantly or been ‘relatively stable’. But these statements are completely contradicted by data in the same report showing that the number of climate-related disasters fell by 11% from 2000 to 2020.

The CRED-UNDRR report also falsely contends that more disasters occurred between 2000 and 2019 than during the preceding 20 years. This assertion is mirrored in the IFRC report, which makes the erroneous claim that annual climaterelated disasters have risen almost 35% since the 1990s. Both spurious claims arise from a failure to account for the major increase in disaster reporting engendered by the arrival of the Internet in the late 1990s.

Not only has the annual number of global disasters over the last 20 years declined, but the number of people killed by weather extremes has also been falling steadily over the past century" ...




Tags: Highlighted Article

Technology Forcing – 2050

Technology forcing is a regulatory strategy that establishes currently unachievable and uneconomic performance standards to be met at some future point in time. ... Basically, technology forcing sets regulatory standards and provides incentives for achieving the standards or disincentives for not achieving them.”

The Administration’s more ambitious INDC targets net zero CO2 emissions from all sectors of the US economy by 2050 would require the replacement of all existing residential and commercial end uses of coal, oil, natural gas, propane and other combustible hydrocarbon gases by electricity or biofuels.

In the residential and commercial markets, all oil and gas furnaces, boilers and water heaters would be required to be replaced with electric equipment, as would all fossil-fueled ranges, ovens, laundry dryers and outdoor grills. Emergency generators would be replaced by biofuel generators. A ban on the sale of fossil-fueled appliances and equipment effective in 2030 would likely result in “aging out” all existing equipment by 2050.

In the industrial markets, all production equipment and processes would also have to be replaced by electric alternatives, where possible. At present, there are numerous industrial processes for which no electric alternatives exist, for example in iron, steel and cement production. These processes would require application of equipment level carbon capture and storage (CCS) or equivalent CO2 removal from the atmosphere. CCS is not currently economically viable even at multi-megawatt scale. CO2 removal from the atmosphere is not available, no less economical, at any scale. Emergency generators would be replaced by biofuel generators while on-site generation might be provided by modular nuclear generators.

The transportation market would require comprehensive electrification or offsets provided by CO2 removal from the atmosphere. Electric vehicles are currently available for personal and light commercial applications, but are not economical and require significant incentives to support the market. Their higher cost is largely the result of the cost of the batteries required to provide acceptable vehicle operating range. Vehicle range is currently limited, restricting their use to local travel and commuting. This is coupled with limited availability of vehicle charging stations, which results in “range anxiety” and reduces vehicle appeal.

Electric buses are available for a variety of uses, but are also subject to battery-based range limitations. The Administration is currently focusing on school bus conversions, since school buses have more limited range requirements than transit buses and can conveniently be recharged between morning and afternoon operating schedules. The Administration plans to provide significant incentive funding for these school bus conversions.

Trucks large enough to require their operators to have commercial drivers’ licenses are not currently available with electric drive trains. The largest of these vehicles typically have operational weight restrictions and their net carrying capacity would be reduced by the incremental weight of the large battery systems required to provided needed range.

The application of electric motor drive in the railroad industry has a long history for passenger rail, though not for the far higher demand freight rail segment. Biofuel operation is also a possibility for freight rail.

Finally, aircraft would either require biofuels or offsetting CO2 removal from the atmosphere.

Note that the various potential applications of biofuels would require a major expansion of biofuel production, as well as the land area dedicated to the growing of the biofuel feedstocks. Note also that the various potential applications of electricity to replace fossil fuels would require major expansion of existing US generation, transmission and distribution capacity, as well as the installation of massive grid-scale electricity storage to compensate for the intermittent nature of solar and wind generation.


Tags: Climate Policy, CO2 Emissions, Efficiency Standards

Highlighted Article: The U.S. Will Need a Lot of Land for a Zero-Carbon Economy


From: Bloomberg Green

By: Dave Merrill

Date: April 29, 2021


The U.S. Will Need a Lot of Land for a Zero-Carbon Economy


"At his international climate summit last week, President Joe Biden vowed to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030. The goal will require sweeping changes in the power generation, transportation and manufacturing sectors. It will also require a tremendous amount of land.

Wind farms, solar installations and other forms of clean power take up far more space on a per-watt basis than their fossil-fuel-burning brethren. A 200-megawatt wind farm, for instance, might require spreading turbines over 19 square miles (49 square kilometres). A natural-gas power plant with that same generating capacity could fit onto a single city block.

Achieving Biden’s goal will require aggressively building more wind and solar farms, in many cases combined with giant batteries. To fulfill his vision of an emission-free grid by 2035, the U.S. needs to increase its carbon-free capacity by at least 150%. Expanding wind and solar by 10% annually until 2030 would require a chunk of land equal to the state of South Dakota, according to Bloomberg and Princeton University estimates. By 2050, when Biden wants the entire economy to be carbon free, the U.S. will need up to four additional South Dakotas to develop enough clean power to run all the electric vehicles, factories and more." ...


The U.S. Will Need a Lot of Land for a Zero-Carbon Economy


Tags: Highlighted Article

Technology Forcing

Technology forcing is a regulatory strategy that establishes currently unachievable and uneconomic performance standards to be met at some future point in time. ... Basically, technology forcing sets regulatory standards and provides incentives for achieving the standards or disincentives for not achieving them.”

The recent changes in the US INDC in response to the Paris Accords commit to elimination of CO2 emissions from electric generation by 2035 and net zero CO2 emissions from all sectors of the US economy by 2050. These commitments and the legislative and regulatory actions which must flow from them are clearly technology forcing in that they will require both uneconomic decisions and the implementation of technologies which are either unavailable or uneconomic. The US “electrify everything” approach is the extreme case of government picking winners and losers, which in the past has not been a notable government skill.

Roger Pielke, Jr. has suggested a simple method for tracking progress toward the Administration’s 2035 target for electric generation emissions. His method identifies the need to close an average of 11 coal and natural gas generating stations each month, beginning immediately. Forcing the closing of “used and useful” generators before the end of their economic life is certainly uneconomic in that it results in a dead weight loss. Closing the generators is “easy”, though it might well become legally contentious.

Replacing the fossil generating capacity with renewable generating and storage capacity would not be “easy”, nor would it be economic since it would require financial and operational incentives. These renewable incentives would also disadvantage the remaining fossil generating fleet, as has already been the case when renewable generation has been installed. Financial incentives reduce the cost of renewable power and environmental dispatch provides delivery preferences for the renewable power, reducing demand for and consumption of fossil-generated power.

Siting of power generation and transmission facilities has become a long and difficult process as the result of requirements for environmental impact statements, protracted environmental and regulatory review and lawsuits filed by affected parties attempting to prevent the installation of the generation and transmission facilities. Maintaining the schedule required to achieve net zero electric generation emissions by 2035 would require immediate action to site and permit facilities. It would also likely require federal pre-emption and massive streamlining of the approval processes.

The Administration’s commitment to source the required generation and transmission equipment from within the US would require massive increases in wind turbine and solar collector manufacturing capacity, as well as massive increases in the production of the steel for the turbine unipoles and the support structures for the solar collectors and of the cement required for the concrete used to support the unipoles and solar collector mounting structures. The energy requirements for the steel and cement production would result in increases in US CO2 emissions before the new renewable generation could begin to displace existing fossil generation.

Achieving the Administration’s commitments, if even possible, would require a level of effort reminiscent of “Rosie the Riveter”


Tags: Climate Policy, CO2 Emissions, Efficiency Standards
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