Dead End Street: There’s No High-Tech Fix For Wind & Solar’s Hopeless Intermittency

Europe’s obsession with intermittent wind and solar has left it exposed to an ambitious Russian who controls the oil and gas on which Europe critically depends.

As Vlad’s Ukrainian adventure bogs down among shattered tanks and morale, his threat to chop oil and gas supplies to Europe increases, revealing just how dependent Europe has become an electricity generated with fossil fuels. The rot had already set in, following Europe’s months long wind drought in the last half of 2021.

The Germans have backflipped on their plans to shutter their coal-fired and nuclear power plants; the French are building 14 new nuclear plants and refurbishing their existing 56 plants; and the Brits are determined to unlock their oil and gas reserves with renewed urgency.

All of which is occurring against the backdrop of what was said to be the “inevitable transition” to an all wind and sun powered future.

In short, the great Green Reset has been exposed as a fraud, and those still peddling it as utterly delusional.

Gregory Wrightstone tackles the subject from an American perspective below.

Green delusion no path to energy independence
Washington Times
Gregory Wrightstone
14 March 2022

When President Biden says that the U.S. will become energy independent by way of programs like the Green New Deal, perhaps the first question to ask is, “Does that make sense?” For any thinking person cognizant of even the basic energy facts, the answer should come back, “No.”

The bulk of U.S. energy consumption in 2020, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), broke down as follows: 79 percent from petroleum, natural gas and coal and nine percent from nuclear-generated electricity. Solar and wind — the darlings of Green New Dealers — provided less than five percent.

So, are so-called green sources going to replace hydrocarbons anytime soon? Common sense suggests not. But if that isn’t good enough, there are plenty of data supporting a negative answer.

One man steeped in facts and figures is Mark Mills of the Manhattan Institute. He puts it this way:

“Scientists have yet to discover, and entrepreneurs have yet to invent, anything as remarkable as hydrocarbons in terms of the combination of low-cost, high-energy density, stability, safety, and portability. In practical terms, this means that spending $1 million on utility-scale wind turbines, or solar panels will each, over 30 years of operation, produce about 50 million kilowatt-hours (kWh)—while an equivalent $1 million spent on a shale rig produces enough natural gas over 30 years to generate over 300 million kWh.”

Mr. Mills says there is a fundamental misunderstanding about technological development that contributes to fanciful notions — like the president’s — that solar, wind and batteries can become dominant sources with a mere declaration from the White House or lobbying Congress.

“This ‘new energy economy’ rests on the belief—a centerpiece of the Green New Deal and other similar proposals both here and in Europe—that the technologies of wind and solar power and battery storage are undergoing the kind of disruption experienced in computing and communications, dramatically lowering costs and increasing efficiency,” he says.

“But this core analogy glosses over profound differences, grounded in physics, between systems that produce energy and those that produce information. In the world of people, cars, planes, and factories, increases in consumption, speed, or carrying capacity cause hardware to expand, not shrink. The energy needed to move a ton of people, heat a ton of steel or silicon, or grow a ton of food is determined by properties of nature whose boundaries are set by laws of gravity, inertia, friction, mass, and thermodynamics—not clever software.”

In other words, there is a major difference between the possibilities for technological progress in the things that use energy — smart phones and computers, for example — and in the ways to make energy.

“(S)ometimes, the old or established technology is the optimal solution and nearly immune to disruption,” says Mr. Mills. “We still use stone, bricks, and concrete, all of which date to antiquity. We do so because they’re optimal, not ‘old.’ So are the wheel, water pipes, electric wires … the list is long. Hydrocarbons are, so far, optimal ways to power most of what society needs and wants.”

This is partly why 70 percent of likely U.S. voters recently told Rasmussen that they favor the government’s encouraging increased oil and gas production to reduce dependence on foreign sources. Most people want reliable, affordable energy, and hydrocarbons give it to them.

In addition to fossil fuels being exceptional sources of energy, some of the alternatives are turning out to be more of a public nuisance than an environmental benefit.

“Of the many whoppers that renewable-energy promoters use while advocating for huge increases in the use of wind and solar, the most absurd claim is that building massive amounts of new renewable energy capacity won’t require very much land,” says Robert Bryce in a Forbes article.

Concerns that include land use, noise and aesthetics have led to more than 300 U.S. wind projects being rejected or restricted since 2015 and 13 large solar projects being turned down in 2021 alone, according to Mr. Bryce’s count.

The backlash, he says, “is raging from the fishing docks in Montauk and Rhode Island, to … Vermont (where, by the way, you can’t build wind turbines), out west to Shasta County and Oahu, as well as in Canada, Germany, France, Australia and other countries around the world.”

In Britain, a political movement against Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Net Zero policy to “decarbonise” the economy by 2050 is being launched by Nigel Farage, the former Brexit Party leader.

“If we are not careful, the only zero will be the amount in people’s bank accounts as we send our jobs and money overseas,” says Mr. Farage.

So, whether it’s laws of physics or forces of economics and politics, there is plenty to keep the green energy dream just that — a fevered vision of a climate cult.
Washington Times

About stopthesethings

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

Comments

  1. Many people have computed (not guessed) how much storage is needed to provide firm power from solar and wind. Their results are 390-3,000 watt hours of storage per watt of average demand, depending upon location and the mix of solar and wind.

    Activists say an all-electric American energy economy would have 1,700 GWe average demand.

    Using the most optimistic result (something a real engineer would never do), looking in Tesla’s catalogue for prices (before installation) and lifetimes, and doing the really easy fourth-grade arithmetic (not higher mathematics), the cost is AT LEAST FOUR TIMES TOTAL USA GDP EVERY YEAR FOR BATTERIES ALONE (and maybe thirty times GDP every year).

    http://vandyke.mynetgear.com/Worse.html
    http://vandyke.mynetgear.com/Nuclear.html

  2. “$1 million on utility-scale wind turbines, or solar panels will each, over 30 years of operation, produce about 50 million kilowatt-hours (kWh)” – and it is very interesting the way this goalpost moves: 10, 20, now 30?.

    The article mentions physics. These units are not sheltered in an environmentally-strong building, as with other power plants. In order to collect the intermittent resource for solar and wind projects the collectors have to be as exposed to the incoming environment as possible. There are a lot of claims, but especially for wind the very resource has demonstrated over and over its ability to wreak havoc with the equipment.

    I’m not saying anything new. Anyone who is rational about wind and solar power has a long list of how these don’t work. They are not clean (I can feel the new local industrial solar array in my region from my car on the highway as I drive by, courtesy of the damage done to my heart by the industrial wind turbines beside our property across state that we had to leave) and that is only the first on my own list. Industrial solar has to really produce, so that enforces an inefficiency in conservation of resources not necessary for the entrepreneur who can go without power now and again at home. No one would really want one of those industrial wind turbines as their power, but hey, again, the one who is actually able to install and run their own themselves (if the wind industry would back off) can go without power and foot the bill on top of that for keeping the power running to that wind unit while they do without at home.

    Well, now, this could go on and on, but better yet, thank you for an excellent article.

  3. And yet this idiotic government has included wind and solar, and even Hydrogen (which we are told is not suitable) in the “new” mix of energy provision !? Do any of them have a brain?

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