Long Way to Run: Fossil Fuel Powers the World Now & For Generations to Come

The Way We Were: Weather dependent & pitifully poor.


The zealots that pump up the future for wind and solar power are programed to ignore the present and bound to ignore the past.

For a few centuries in human history, windmills were the only game in town.

Then, in the 18th Century, the captains of British scientific and engineering endeavour harnessed thermal power, the Industrial Revolution followed, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Except that a deluded band of halfwits are determined to take us back to an age the developed world was happy to see the back of. One entirely dependent upon the weather.

Among their more fanciful claims, wind and sun worshippers assert that nature’s wonder fuels are already making an outstanding contribution to satisfying the world’s energy demands; and go further by gushing that a world run entirely on sunshine and breezes is not only inevitable, but a heartbeat away.

Meanwhile, back on Earth, the RE numbers are a lot less impressive, and the ‘all renewables’ future that’s promised, looks more like a damp squib. Here’s the view from the US of A.

Department of Energy projections to 2050 suggest that fossil fuels, not renewables, are the energy sources of America’s future
Professor Mark Perry
6 February 2018

The chart above is based on energy projections through the year 2050 released today by the Energy Information Administration in its Annual Energy Outlook report for 2018. Here’s a summary:

EIA’s Annual Energy Outlook provides modeled projections of domestic energy markets through 2050, and it includes cases with different assumptions regarding macroeconomic growth, world oil prices, technological progress, and energy policies. Strong domestic production coupled with relatively flat energy demand allow the United States to become a net energy exporter over the projection period in most cases. In the Reference case, natural gas consumption grows the most on an absolute basis, and nonhydroelectric renewables grow the most on a percentage basis.

The EIA provides a description of its Reference case on page 9 of the full report:

  • The Reference case projection assumes trend improvement in known technologies along with a view of
    economic and demographic trends reflecting the current views of leading economic forecasters and demographers.
  • The Reference case generally assumes that current laws and regulations affecting the energy sector,
    including sunset dates for laws that have them, are unchanged throughout the projection period.
    The potential impacts of proposed legislation, regulations, and standards are not included.
  • EIA addresses the uncertainty inherent in energy projections by developing side cases with different
    assumptions of macroeconomic growth, world oil prices, technological progress, and energy policies.
  • Projections in the AEO should be interpreted with a clear understanding of the assumptions that inform
    them and the limitations inherent in any modeling effort.

Based on the Reference case, the chart above shows that EIA projections assume that fossil fuels (crude oil, coal, and natural gas) will continue supplying about 80% of America’s energy for the next 32 years through 2050, falling just slightly below 80% starting in 2034, but still providing more than 79% of the energy supplied in 2050.

Nuclear’s share of total energy will gradually fall from 8.4% this year to slightly above 6% in 2050, while all renewables together (conventional hydroelectric, geothermal, wood and wood waste, biogenic municipal waste, other biomass, wind, photovoltaic, and solar thermal sources) will supply less than 15% of America’s energy a generation from now when today’s teenagers are middle-aged by mid-century.

That’s not a lot of progress for what President Obama called the “energy sources of the future,” while dismissing fossil fuels as “energy sources of the past.”

Bottom Line: Despite all of the hype, hope, cheerleading, fuel standards, portfolio standards, and taxpayer subsidies for renewable energies like wind and solar, America’s energy future will still rely primarily on fossil fuels to power our vehicles, heat and light our homes, and fuel the US economy.

In other words, America’s energy future will look a lot like it does today with fossil fuels providing American consumers and businesses with low-cost, dependable and reliable energy for about 80% of our energy needs. Carpe oleum.

Continuing revolution: In 1776 James Watt put the wheels
in motion & they’re still powering the world.

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.


  1. I might be more inclined with the EIA’s prognosis if they had done two things differently:
    Conflating coal with gas-based electricity production forecasts makes no sense if you look at the speed with which the latter is replacing the former, particularly as regards price, production costs and a 50% reduction in CO2 generation.
    Projecting nuclear-based generation more than 30 years ahead without even mentioning thorium is also presumptuous. I have no credentials to put against that forecast, but the billions of dollars that both China and India have already invested and continue to invest in thorium-based nuclear generation tells me to question the EIA’s projections.

  2. Charles Wardrop says:

    Reality for energy supplies for present and future , unless the “halfwits” he refers to continue to prevail.
    We can only hope for better nuclear power developments, e.g., ? Thorium-related to allow supplementation of fossil fuels.
    The pressures will on for that, financial, scientific and political, unless stultified by halfwits and rent seekers!

  3. Terry Conn says:

    STT’s comment above says it all – ‘our politicians are intellectual infants’ – informed by the ABC, neo- marxist academics and believers in unicorns our political leaders give democracy a very bad name especially since they refuse to liaise with the ‘doers’ in their electorates. The truth remains, regardless of the fairy tale, wind turbines and large scale solar are useless but extraordinarily expensive sources of electric power generation that when taken to extreme as in South Australia destroy an entire economy – South Australia now only exists because of the absurd formula requiring our entire commonwealth to give it a free ride.

  4. drgenenelson says:

    Since nuclear power plants are designed to last in excess of six decades, nuclear power is the most reliable and cost-effective way to generate electricity. However, fossil fuel interests recognize that nuclear power is the only real competition with respect to fossil fuel, so they have been working to burden nuclear with absolutely ridiculous amounts of regulations. . . . . . Fossil advocates have also hyped the contributions of solar and wind. Californians for Green Nuclear Power, Inc. at CGNP dot org has been working hard to correct the record. Despite all of the billions of dollars that have been misallocated for wind and solar in California, a single nuclear power plant, Diablo Canyon Power Plant (DCPP) generated more power than ALL of California’s grid-scale solar power generation (10,000 megawatts) during the half year period that ended on 31 January 2017. Alternatively, DCPP produced far in excess of California’s 6,000 megawatts of wind generation. The reason for this performance is that nuclear power is always ON, day or night, wind or no wind. Solar and wind were each ON only about 20% of the time. . . . . CGNP credits the taxpayer-funded Production Tax Credits for the resource misallocation and market distortion. . Warren Buffett famously said in 2014 that

    “For example, on wind energy, we get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That’s the only reason to build them. They don’t make sense without the tax credit.”

    “Big Wind’s Bogus Subsidies – Giving tax credits to the wind energy industry is a waste of time and money.”
    By Nancy Pfotenhauer, Contributor |May 12, 2014, at 2:30 p.m US News & World

    • Your country is a world leader on nuclear power generation. Australia has legislation banning it and is the only G20 nation without nuclear power. Without coal and gas (and some hydro) Australia would be powerless. STT advocates for nuclear power, but our politicians are intellectual infants, terrified of acting like leaders, content to act like followers of a noisy few anti-nukes luddites.

      • drgenenelson says:

        I believe that the power policies of South Australia (SA) are designed to benefit fossil fuel interests – and “rent seekers” – and SA ratepayers bear the burdens of these harmful energy policies that ignore sound scientific and engineering principles. CGNP eventually hopes to keep Diablo Canyon Power Plant operating beyond 2025 – so that we don’t face a similar fate as SA ratepayers!.

    • Peter Pronczak says:

      And we in Australia are hypocritical as we maintain a nuclear reactor at Lucas Heights to provide medical isotopes for ‘medical purposes’ (in case a pollie gets sick? But gee that’s cynical of me). Unfortunately pollies think the usury financial system view them as ‘eligible for salvation’ in the next economic collapse. Unfortunately they don’t realise their official categorisation of humans as ‘ vermin’ under our system includes them.
      It was accomplished by the the Australian Conservation Foundation as the forerunner of the ‘green movement’.

      We should by now be generating electricity directly without ‘having to boil a kettle’.

      • drgenenelson says:

        An overview of the problems inherent in magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) generation is found here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnetohydrodynamic_generator

        Note that in 1986, Professor Hugo Karl Messerle at The University of Sydney researched coal-fueled MHD.

        A steam Rankine Cycle generator is already highly efficient. Perhaps in the future, pairing a MHD generator with a steam Rankine Cycle generator will prove more efficient while being reliable.

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