Primary Energy

27 08 2018

The internet is constantly bombarded with articles about how we need to go (or even ARE going) 100% renewable energy and get rid of fossil fuels…… now don’t get me wrong, I completely agree, it’s just that these people have no idea of the repercussions, nor of the size of the task at hand….)

Renewable energy zealots even believe that as more and more renewables are deployed, fossil fuels are being pushed out of the way, becoming irrelevant. Seriously.

Nothing of the sort is happening. In a recent article, Gail Tverberg wrote this…:

Of the 252 million tons of oil equivalent (MTOE) energy consumption added in 2017, wind ADDED 37 MTOE and solar ADDED 26 MTOE. Thus, wind and solar amounted to about 25% of total energy consumption ADDED in 2017. Fossil fuels added 67% of total energy consumption added in 2017, and other categories added the remaining 8%. [my emphasis on added…]

To put this in a graphic way, look at this…..

primary energy

Primary energy consumption has almost trebled since 1971, and renewables still only account for 2%…… while oil coal and gas has grown as a total percentage at the expense of nuclear. And…..  surprise surprise, OIL! Nothing to do with Peak Oil I suppose……

There is simply no way renewables will ever replace fossil fuels. California, with the aim of going 100% renewables doesn’t even have the necessary land available for the purpose according to some recent research…….

Last year, global solar capacity totaled about 219,000 megawatts. That means an all-renewable California would need more solar capacity in the state than currently exists on the entire planet. Sure, California can (and will) add lots of new rooftop solar over the coming decades. But Jacobson’s plan would also require nearly 33,000 megawatts of concentrated solar plants, or roughly 87 facilities as large as the 377-megawatt Ivanpah solar complex now operating in the Mojave Desert. Ivanpah, which covers 5.4 square miles, met fierce opposition from conservationists due to its impact on the desert tortoise, which is listed as a threatened species under the federal and California endangered species acts.

Wind energy faces similar problems. The Department of Energy has concluded in multiple reports over the last decade that no matter where they are located — onshore or offshore — wind-energy projects have a footprint that breaks down to about 3 watts per square meter.

To get to Jacobson’s 124,608 megawatts (124.6 billion watts) of onshore wind capacity, California would need 41.5 billion square meters, or about 16,023 square miles, of turbines. To put that into perspective, the land area of Los Angeles County is slightly more than 4,000 square miles — California would have to cover a land area roughly four times the size of L.A. County with nothing but the massive windmills. Turning over even a fraction of that much territory to wind energy is unlikely. In 2015, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to ban large wind turbines in unincorporated areas. Three other California counties — San Diego, Solano and Inyo — have also passed restrictions on turbines.

Last year, the head of the California Wind Energy Assn. told the San Diego Union-Tribune, “We’re facing restrictions like that all around the state…. It’s pretty bleak in terms of the potential for new development.”

Don’t count on offshore wind either. Given the years-long battle that finally scuttled the proposed 468-megawatt Cape Wind project — which called for dozens of turbines to be located offshore Massachusetts — it’s difficult to imagine that Californians would willingly accept offshore wind capacity that’s 70 times as large as what was proposed in the Northeast.

To expand renewables to the extent that they could approach the amount of energy needed to run our entire economy would require wrecking vast onshore and offshore territories with forests of wind turbines and sprawling solar projects. Organizations like 350.org tend to dismiss the problem by claiming, for example, that the land around turbines can be farmed or that the placement of solar facilities can be “managed.” But rural landowners don’t want industrial-scale energy projects in their communities any more than coastal dwellers or suburbanites do.

The grim land-use numbers behind all-renewable proposals aren’t speculation. Arriving at them requires only a bit of investigation, and yes, that we do the math.

“Without coal we won’t survive”. Yet coal will/could kill us all. It’s the difference between a problem and a predicament…. problems have solutions, predicaments need management. Here’s a trailer of a movie soon to be released….
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7 responses

27 08 2018
Jonathan Maddox

These numbers are already looking old: “new capacity brings the total operating solar power in the world to 405 GW”.

https://e360.yale.edu/digest/the-world-added-nearly-30-percent-more-solar-energy-capacity-in-2017

27 08 2018
mikestasse

And STILL no coal power was displaced……..

27 08 2018
Jonathan Maddox

As for the LA Times article representing “some recent research”, it’s arguably more of a fossil fuel propaganda piece, though a relatively subtle one.

The author, Robert Bryce, “is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute”:

https://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Manhattan_Institute_for_Policy_Research

and his prior work includes advocacy for fossil and nuclear energy

https://www.manhattan-institute.org/powerhungry

and a thorough debunking (from an angle which could be regarded as dismissive of environmental concerns altogether) of doomsday scenarios.

https://www.manhattan-institute.org/smallerfasterlighter

27 08 2018
mikestasse

And that makes the numbers not stack up……?

30 08 2018
Etyere Petyere

That 2% other renewables that includes the much hyped solar and wind but also geothermal and wave and all the other balloney energy schemes is a pretty miserable picture . considering by 2050 we need up energy supply by 40% most of it will come from coal . Biomass is no clean energy since it puts co2 in the atmosphere so speak of it as clean is a blatant lie . Yes . This is nothing but grasping for straws. Now you can go back and watch Kardashians

27 08 2018
Michael

Lol@this movie.

Nothing will be solved with the means causing the problems. I guess nobody wants to admit this.

Something else I don’t understand. Let’s go a few levels lower in argument.
The Sowjets did electrify with a fraction of the economic and material power of todays so called third world. Compare what Lebanon consumes and what Poland had in the 1950s or the Swedes or French in the 1880s. The elites and many upper classes want to hold down the poor. They introduced 2G (!) in 1992 (!!!!) in Lebanon, but they can’t get electricity working for the masses?

WHAT?

28 08 2018
John Weber

good one Mike.

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