Renewables and present battery technology are just not going to get Europe anywhere close to energy self-sufficient . . . and freedom from Russian energy. From Daniel Lacalle at mises.org:
Europe is not going to achieve a competitive energy transition with the current interventionist policies. Europe does not depend on Russian gas due to a coincidence, but because of a chain of mistaken policies: banning nuclear in Germany, prohibiting the development of domestic natural gas resources throughout the European Union, added to a massive and expensive renewable rollout without building a reliable backup.
Solar and wind do not reduce dependency on Russian natural gas. They are necessary but volatile and intermittent. They need backup from nuclear, hydro, and natural gas for security of energy supply. Dependency on these backup sources rises in periods of low wind and little sun, just when prices are highest.
“Solar goes to zero for twelve hours a day, and that is guaranteed. The wind blows sometimes, and sometimes it does not, also guaranteed. They both depend on weather, which is 100% out of human control. They are on their best day a supplement,” wrote a Navy pilot follower.
The question remains: if electric utilities right now are having trouble supplying enough juice in places like Europe and China, where does the extra juice come from for millions of EVs? From Wolf Richter at wolfstreet.com:
It’s a zero-sum game that’s eating up a huge amount of cash. But Electric Utilities are loving it.
In the press release for its investor conference today, GM said that it plans to double its annual revenues by the end of the decade as it transitions to EVs. In terms of the math, 8% in price increases a year for nine years would do that without having to jump through the hoops of selling more vehicles. GM’s average transaction price in Q3 in the US jumped by 20% year-over-year. So… I don’t see this statement as sign of an increase in volume, but an increase in prices.
GM confirmed that logic by pointing out that it expects its margins to increase as it transitions to EVs. It said that half its manufacturing capacity in North America and China will be capable of producing EVs by 2030.
Sales growth in this industry is obtained by selling higher-priced vehicles. But volume growth, in terms of the number of vehicles sold, is hard to come by in the auto industry. There are some developing economies where sales are still growing. But there has been no growth in developed economies in two decades.
In the US, sales peaked in 2000 at 17.4 million vehicles, then fell off, then plunged to 10.4 million vehicles in 2009, and then recovered to hit 17.5 million vehicles in 2016, and that was it. Sales have been falling ever since. Last year, the industry sold 14.6 million vehicles. This year, may be around 15 million vehicles.
But the one segment that is growing in leaps and bounds is EVs. And that’s what GM’s investor conference was about – creating investor excitement about this “transition to EVs,” from a Chevrolet crossover “priced around $30,000,” to the high-end Hummer EV pickup truck with 1,000 hp.
People don’t realize how long it takes to recharge electric cars, and that leaves many who buy wishing they hadn’t. From Eric Peters at ericpetersautos.com:
If electric cars are The Future how come one in five who own them are returning to the Past?
They are replacing their first electric car with a non-electric car, according to a study by University of California Davis researchers, quoted from at length in a recent news article published by Business Insider.
According to the study, “roughly one in five plug-in electric vehicle (owners) switched back to owning gas-powered cars” – after experiencing real life with an electric car. As contrasted with the hype about electric cars.
The omissions about electric cars.
Most people have no idea what they’re in for – because they haven’t been told what they’re in for.
This is not by accident.
They hear and read about things like “ludicrous speed” – which is true, electric cars are extremely quick because electric motors are very powerful and their power is immediate and (usually) the drive is direct, i.e., there is no transmission between the motor and the drive wheels, which connect directly to the electric motor(s).
They hear that range has increased, which it has. Ten years ago, most EVs could only travel about 100 miles – or less – before they ran out of juice. Today, most can go 150 and some can go farther.
Batteries for electric cars run down and are costly to replace, not to mention the issue of what’s to be done with the used batteries. From Eric Peters at ericpetersautos.com:
A number of problems stand athwart the Electrification Agenda, which is supposed to be accomplished fact less than nine years from now – come 2030. Perhaps the single biggest problem is the fact that even if every car maker makes nothing but electric cars by then – or sooner, as several have “committed to” already – there will still be a lot of non-electric cars for a long time to come.
Well beyond 2030.
This is so because non-electric cars have a much longer useful service life – functionally and economically – than electric cars. Almost any car bought today, in 2021, will not only still be in service come 2030 it will still have many years of functional and economically viable service life left.
A nine-year-old car is a middle-aged car. It is routine for cars with 100,000 miles to go another 100,000 miles, often without a major repair being needed. This is why the average age of a car currently in service as a daily driver is 12-plus and also why it is common to see cars much older than that still in service. Especially exceptionally durable models such as the Toyota Corolla and Camry, the Honda Accord and a number of others that routinely keep on keeping on for more than 20 years and 250,000-plus miles.
There are not many ten-year-old electric cars still in service – and won’t be – because of the inherently shorter functional and economically viable lifespan of electric cars, especially when they are used as daily driver cars (which most aren’t; see here for more about that).
The reason for both of those problems is the battery problem, which is a problem that hasn’t been overcome and will not be overcome until there is a new type of battery – one that somehow defies the known physics of batteries.
One tiny little problem with that all electric-car future: you’re never going to be able to mine enough lithium and cobalt for car batteries, and if you could, the environmental costs would be monumental. From Raúl Ilargi Meijer at theautomaticearth.com:
Dr. D posted this as a short comment, not an article, and he’s welcome, encouraged even, to expand on it at a later date. But I think it’s important enough, and detailed enough, to in fact make it an article. We can take if from here. The blind drive towards EV’s is going to hurt, and we should prepare for that.
The idea, and the concept, that we can simply switch from one energy source to another and keep motoring and do all the other things we do, is nothing but a cheap and meaningless sales pitch. To produce 20 million Tesla’s would require 165% of the entire 2019 global lithium production, says this from mining.com:
That’s just Tesla, that doesn’t yet include the entire rest of the world’s car manufacturers who also claim they’ll go “green”. But then we’ll just raise the production of lithium! Well, there may be a problem with that…
Energy that is only intermittently available poses a big problem for machinery and equipment that depend on a steady feed. From Irina Slave at oilprice.com:
Earlier this month, something happened in Europe. It didn’t get as much media attention as the EU’s massive funding plans for its energy transition, but it was arguably as important, if not more. A fault occurred at a substation in Croatia and caused an overload in parts of the grid, which spread beyond the country’s borders. This created a domino effect that caused a blackout and prompted electricity supply reductions as far as France and Italy. The problem was dealt with, but it’s only a matter of time before more problems like this occur—the reason: the rise of renewables in the energy mix.
Bloomberg reported on the incident citing several sources from Europe’s utility sector. While no one would directly blame the blackout and the increased risk of more blackouts on renewables, it is evident that Europe’s change in the energy mix is raising this risk.
The problem has to do with grid frequency. Normally, it is 50 hertz, Bloomberg’s Jesper Starn, Brian Parkin, and Irina Vilcu explain. If the frequency deviates from this level, connected equipment gets damaged, and power outages follow. The frequency is normally maintained by the inertia created by the spinning turbines of fossil fuel—or nuclear, or hydro—power plants. With Europe cutting its coal and nuclear capacity, this inertia declines as well, exposing the grid to frequency deviations.
“The problem isn’t posed by growing green electricity directly but by shrinking conventional capacity,” the chief electricity system modeler at Cologne University’s EWI Institute of Energy Economics told Bloomberg.
As the politicians push for ever more “renewable” energy and electric cars, it’s become ever more apparent that their numbers aren’t going to add up. From David Wojick at wattsupwiththat.com:
New York City will soon be home to the world’s biggest utility-scale battery system, designed to back up its growing reliance on intermittent renewables. At 400 MWh this batch of batteries will be more than triple the 129 MWh world leader in Australia.
The City of New York’s director of sustainability (I am not making this title up), Mark Chambers, is ecstatic, bragging: “Expanding battery storage is a critical part of how we advance momentum to confront the climate emergency while meeting the energy needs of all New Yorkers. Today’s announcement demonstrates how we can deliver this need at significant scale.” (Emphasis added)
In reality the scale here is incredibly insignificant.
In the same nonsensical way, Tim Cawley, the president of Con Edison, New York’s power utility, gushes thus: “Utility scale battery storage will play a vital role in New York’s clean energy future, especially in New York City where it will help to maximize the benefit of the wind power being developed offshore.”
This puts the Con in Con Edison.
Here is the reality when it comes to the scale needed to reliably back up intermittent renewables. For simplicity let us suppose New York City is 100% wind powered. Including solar in the generating mix makes it more complicated but does not change the unhappy outcome very much.
NYC presently peaks at around 32,000 MW needed to keep the lights on. If Mr. Biden makes all the cars and trucks electric it might be closer to 50,000 MW but let’s stick to reality.
This peak occurs during summer heat waves which are caused by stagnant high pressure systems called Bermuda highs. These highs often last for a week and because they are stagnant there is no wind power generation. Wind turbines require something like sustained winds of 10 mph to move the blades and more like a whistling 30 mph to generate full power. During a Bermuda high folks are happy to get the occasional 5 mph breeze. These huge highs cover many states so it is not like we can get the juice from next door.
A new battery may be on the horizon that is so much better than Testla’s that it will put the company out of business. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:
We all know the story behind Fisker, it was one of the world’s first plug-in hybrid electric vehicles in 2008, and even had a legal spat between Tesla, but shortly after in 2012 the company crashed and burned in bankruptcy. Last year, Henrik Fisker decided to relaunch his brand. He thought that one failure wasn’t enough—-just like Elon Musk’s SpaceX rockets. During Fisker’s relaunch, he made a shocking comment that caught the attention of Musk and it was on the claims of a new breakthrough in battery technology using graphene-based hybrid material that would revolutionize battery storage and make Musk’s batteries appear obsolete.
Thirteen months passed, and Musk wrote off Fisker’s claims, as Musk decided to focus on other things like his Boring company. That might of been Musk’s fatal flaw, because Fisker just came out and dropped a bombshell on the electric vehicle (EV) industry: ‘New Fisker Batteries 2.5x Density, 500 Miles Per Charge & Charging in 1 Minute’..
Musk will shortly developed uncontrollable convulsions with the understanding his Gigafactory producing thin-film lithium batteries could be obsolete.
Autoblog reports the new breakthrough, calling it a solid-state battery revolution:
It seems that we’re on the cusp of a solid-state battery revolution. The latest company to announce progress in developing the new type of battery is Fisker. It has filed patents for solid-state batteries and it expects the batteries to be produced on a mass scale around 2023.
In the game of electric vehicles it’s all about batteries. Musk’s technology would be considered legacy when compared to solid-state. Here is why:
- Greater energy density
- Rapid charging times
Fisker claims the batteries underdevelopment have a density of 2.5x when compared to the standard EV batteries. This should give the range of a Fisker vehicle well over a 500-mile and recharging capabilities in as little as a minute.
Here’s what Dr. Fabio Albano, VP of battery systems at Fisker Inc. claims:
This breakthrough marks the beginning of a new era in solid-state materials and manufacturing technologies.
We are addressing all of the hurdles that solid-state batteries have encountered on the path to commercialization, such as performance in cold temperatures; the use of low cost and scalable manufacturing methods; and the ability to form bulk solid-state electrodes with significant thickness and high active material loadings. We are excited to build on this foundation and move the needle in energy storage.
To continue reading: Is This The Tesla Killer?