Tag Archives: Solar Power

We Already Have Clean Energy, by Paul Rosenberg

Nuclear power is as clean as you’re going to get for a non-intermittent energy source. From Rosenberg at freemansperspective.com:

The phrase “clean energy” has emanated from official podiums, world over, in recent years. The implication, of course, is that the energy sources we’ve been using are filthy. That, however, is not the case. We already have and use clean energy. And it is far, far better than replacements the podiums expect us to suffer for.

We use clean energy every day, and it works exceedingly well. I think we should be happy about that.

I was confronted with this fact quite some years ago, while working on an alternative energy project. Here are the pounds of particulate matter (aka, dirt), produced when generating a billion BTUs (British Thermal Units, a measurement of heat):

Coal               2,744

Oil                      84

Natural Gas        7

Nuclear               0

As you can see, we already have clean energy, in the form of natural gas and nuclear power. (Burning wood in a fireplace, by the way, dwarfs all the figures above.)

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Doug Casey Debunks the So-Called “Green Economy”

The “green economy” as touted will be a much poorer economy. From Doug Casey at internationalman.com:

Debunks

International Man: Politicians, the media, and large corporations promote solar and wind energy as replacements for fossil fuels. Western governments are trying to pick winners and are subsidizing wind and solar energy to the tune of billions.

What’s going on here?

Doug Casey: Solar and wind energy can be useful. But generally only for special applications or remote locations where regular power is uneconomic or unavailable.

Wind and solar make no sense for mass power generation, however. They’re completely unsuitable for a complex industrial civilization. The Greens aren’t trying to solve a technological problem but make an ideological statement. Which is fine, except they’re doing it at the public’s expense. Meanwhile, the public has been so propagandized that they now feel it’s morally righteous to be hornswoggled.

No problem if someone feels that covering his rooftop with solar panels can cut his electricity bill and pay back the cost in 7 or 10 years—which is roughly the case today. It’s something else entirely if a government puts a society’s electrical grid at risk in order to virtue signal.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for alternative methods of generating energy. Geothermal can work in places like Iceland, where near-surface magma hotspots currently generate around 30% of their electricity. Tidal power works in certain locations. As does hydro, although it’s increasingly unpopular because dams inundate a lot of land, silt up, displace the locals, destroy existing fauna and flora, and eventually collapse.

It’s a fact solar tech has been improving for decades. For instance, there’s been an annual 3000KM race across Australia for solar cars since 1987. They’re still basically experimental toys, but they get faster every year. Still, it’s only possible in a place like the Australian desert where the sun is usable 12 hours a day, every day. Any kid who’s played in the sun with a magnifying glass can tell you solar power is real—but that doesn’t mean that it’s suitable for base-load power in an industrial civilization. Someday we may use gigantic collectors in high earth orbit to capture the sun’s power and beam it down to earth by microwave. But that’s for the future.

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EU Official Warns Of ‘Rolling Blackouts’ As Energy Crisis Worsens, by Tyler Durden

It could be a disastrously cold winter in Europe. Too bad they’re substituting unreliable renewables for reliable fossil fuels and nuclear power. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

Europe’s energy crisis is about to get a whole lot worse as the Northern Hemisphere winter is just weeks away. New risks are emerging across the continent that households and companies might have to scale back on power use or even plan for rolling blackouts.

There is no immediate fix to the energy crisis that comes from the supply side, with Russia’s Gazprom, the largest supplier of natural gas to Europe, only pumping what it has. At the same time, EU stockpiles remain well below trend.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Mario Draghi said Italy’s government is ready to combat soaring energy prices for households, according to Bloomberg.

“We set aside 1.2 billion euros ($1.4 billion) in June and over 3 billion euros in September,” Draghi said. “We are now taking steps in the budget and are prepared to continue doing so, with particular attention to the most vulnerable.”

“Given the current energy supply system, a blackout cannot be ruled out” across Europe, Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti said, adding that “it’s important to neutralize the impact of increased energy bills on households and companies in the fairest way possible.”

Even before the winter season arrives, cold weather is driving energy prices across Europe to record highs. The massive rally in European gas prices is not diminishing anytime soon. Gas prices at the Dutch TTF hub, the benchmark gas price for Europe, jumped to €100 per MWh, adding more pressure on households who are already dealing with rapid food and shelter inflation.

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The Gigantic Holes in Anti-Oil ESG Activism, by Jude Clemente

You can’t throw out oil if you don’t have something that can replace it, and we don’t. From Jude Clemente at realclearpolitics.com:

Let’s start with the obvious: Oil is the world’s most important fuel, supplying 35% of all energy and over 95% of transportation needs. More than 6,000 everyday products contain oil as their core ingredient. Simply put, oil has no significant substitute, and it won’t for a long time. Massive amounts of wind and solar won’t displace “black gold” because these sources compete only in the power-generating sector, where oil effectively plays no role.

Most Americans probably don’t realize that electricity already lost the transportation race to oil and its powerful derivative – gasoline – 120 years ago. In 1900, nearly 40% of U.S. cars were electric. Today, less than 1% of cars run on electric power (1.8 million out of 270 million). Despite the huge subsidies thrown at the industry over the past 10 years, electric vehicles largely remain “toys for the rich.”

As the world’s economies rebound from COVID-19 and travel inevitably picks up, the need for more oil is becoming even more pressing. After the oil industry set a global-demand record in 2019 at 101 million barrels per day, the pandemic plunged demand to 92 million b/d in 2020. The Department of Energy, however, has just forecast that consumption will rise to 98 million b/d this year and above 101 million b/d in 2022.

Not even a price surge has slowed the need for a fuel embedded in just about everything we do: Oil prices just saw their best first half since 2009 (see below). In recent months, oil companies have had the best run of any sector in the S&P 500. Investors that bet against, or pulled out of, U.S. oil fund USO (NYSEARCA:USO) have been burned. The popular oil Exchange Traded Fund nearly doubled in value since October last year, and others such as DBO, BNO, and USL are once again making for sound investments.

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Winter Storm Threatens Germany’s Power…Freezing Hell Threatens If Already Rickety Grid Collapses! by P. Gosselin

Whatever the merits of solar and wind power, they unambiguously weaken power grids. Germany may pay the price for its infatuation with green technologies. From P. Gosselin at wattsupwiththat.com:

Green energy and COVID-19 lockdowns are playing energy Russian roulette with people’s lives. Perfect winter storm brewing. 

A winter blizzard is set to strike Central Europe, bringing with it the potential to wreak power outage havoc. Temperatures will plummet to as low as -15°C accompanied by bone-chilling high winds. Closed shops due to COVID-19 are leaving citizens unprepared. A protracted power outage would be devastating. 

In the coming hours, a high pressure system situated over Scandinavia and storm Tristan to the south will collide over central Europe and develop into dangerous weather conditions over one of Europe’s most populated regions, North Rhine Westphalia Germany.

There are some major problems with this storm that will test the German power grid stability and even possibly the citizens’ ability to fend for themselves.

Power grid at risk: hours of freezing rain

First will be the band of freezing rain that is forecast across the Ruhr region of North Rhine Westphalia. According to Kachelmannwetter.de, the freezing rain period could last hours and thus lead to heavy weight loads on power transmission structures as ice builds up. Lines could collapse.

High winds – even heavier loads

To make matters worse, high winds will further exacerbate the loads on the already ice-coated power transmission infrastructure – thus increasing the probability of power line structural failure and an ensuing power blackout, which in turn could cascade and threaten the European power grid.

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Europe’s Unforeseen Renewables Problem, by Irina Slav

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.

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The Real Cost of Wind and Solar, by Norman Rogers

Take the numbers in this article with a grain of salt, but there’s no disputing the central argument—wind and solar can’t stand on their own two feet yet economically, they need government subsidies. From Norman Rogers at americanthinker.com:

The main problem with either wind or solar is that they generate electricity erratically, depending on the wind or sunshine. In contrast, a fossil-fuel plant can generate electricity predictably upon request. Blackouts are very expensive for society, so grid operators and designers go to a lot of trouble to make sure that blackouts are rare. The electrical grid should have spare capacity sufficient to meet the largest demand peaks even when some plants are out of commission.  Plants in spinning reserve status stand by ready to take over if a plant trips (breaks down). Injecting erratic electricity into the grid means that other plants have to seesaw output to balance the ups and downs of wind or solar.

Adding wind or solar to a grid does not mean that existing fossil fuel plants can be retired. Often, neither wind nor solar is working and at those times a full complement of fossil fuel plants, or sometimes nuclear or hydro plants, must be available. Both wind and solar have pronounced seasonality. During low output times, as for summer wind, the fossil-fuel plants are carrying more of the load. Of course, solar stops working as the sun sets.

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The Unexpected Consequences Of Germany’s Anti-Nuclear Push, by Irina Slav

How about that, there are no free lunches in energy production. From Irina Slav at oilprice.com:

Nuclear plant Germany

Germany, the poster child for renewable energy, sourcing close to half of its electricity from renewable sources, plans to close all of its nuclear power plants by 2022. Its coal-fired plants, meanwhile, will be operating until 2038. According to a study from the U.S. non-profit National Bureau of Economic Research, Germany is paying dearly for this nuclear phase-out–with human lives.

The study looked at electricity generation data between 2011 and 2017 to assess the costs and benefits of the nuclear phase-out, which was triggered by the Fukushima disaster in 2011 and which to this day enjoys the support of all parliamentary powers in Europe’s largest economy. It just so happens that some costs may be higher than anticipated.

The shutting down of nuclear plants naturally requires the replacement of this capacity with something else. Despite its reputation as a leader in solar and wind, Germany has had to resort to more natural gas-powered generation and, quite importantly, more coal generation. As of mid-2019, coal accounted for almost 30 percent of Germany’s energy mix, with nuclear at 13.1 percent and gas at 9.3 percent.

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Was There Another Reason for Electricity Shutdowns in California? by Richard Trzupek

Is renewable energy making California’s electric grid less reliable? From Richard Trzupek at theepochtimes.com:

According to the official, widely reported story, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) shut down substantial portions of its electric transmission system in northern California as a precautionary measure.

Citing high wind speeds they described as “historic,” the utility claims that if they didn’t turn off the grid, wind-caused damage to their infrastructure could start more wildfires in the area.

Perhaps that’s true. Perhaps. This tale presumes that the folks who designed and maintain PG&E’s transmission system are unaware of or ignored the need to design it to withstand severe weather events, and that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) allowed the utility to do so.

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How Renewable Energy Models Can Produce Misleading Indications, by Gail Tverberg

Renewable energy isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and it probably never will be. From Gail Tverberg at ourfiniteworld.com:

The energy needs of the world’s economy seem to be easy to model. Energy consumption is measured in a variety of different ways including kilowatt hours, barrels of oil equivalent, British thermal units, kilocalories and joules. Two types of energy are equivalent if they produce the same number of units of energy, right?

For example, xkcd’s modeler Randall Munroe explains the benefit of renewable energy in the video below. He tells us that based on his model, solar, if scaled up to ridiculous levels, can provide enough renewable energy for ourselves and a half-dozen of our neighbors. Wind, if scaled up to absurd levels, can provide enough renewable energy for ourselves and a dozen of our neighbors.

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