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On Solar and Other Renewables Maintain Lead in U.S. Generating Capacity Installed

Well said, although truth be told, no matter how well its said, and how often its said, it will not get through.

Despite decades of pointing this clear and unambiguous fact out, the chief thing that the so called "renewable energy" industry generates is complacency not energy.

This is most unfortunate, because if there's anything dangerous in these times, complacency would be it.

In time this obvious attempt to deliberately confuse the issue will be seen for what it is, a crime against the future.

July 25, 2014    View Comment    

On Why we Need CCS - Part 5: Bridge to a Sustainable Energy Future

And your theory is that building vast carbon dioxide waste dumps to contain 31 billion metric tons of a gaseous compound would be easier?

If one builds a waste dump, it involves charging waste fees.   If one builds a power plant, one has an asset.    Which one makes economic sense?   A dump or an asset?

The world's largest carbon dioxide waste dump functioning right now on this planet contains what percentage of the carbon dioxide as of 2014?

Anyone mentioning the non-issues of waste (what is carbon dioxide?), proliferation (how many people died in nuclear wars in the last half century, and how many died in oil wars?) and mentioning the absurd the issue of safety - when one considers air pollution deaths and fossil fuel accidents (how many people died in oil and gas explosions compared to the number of dead from nuclear power plant failures in the last half a century?) = while attaching these issues only to nuclear energy and nothing esle is simply not being serious.

Nuclear exceptionalism is simply not rational.

The worst kind of critic of nuclear energy is one who pretends to be rational and open about it while dragging out tiresome nuclear exceptionalism rhetoric that simply doesn't stand scrutiny.

Repeating nuclear myths while pretending to decry their effects is not helpful, nor is it, really, ethical..

There is no way in hell that so called renewable energy will produce 34% of humanity's energy, as it has failed to do this in half a century of similar predictions.

Containing 14% of the world's carbon dioxide in a dump involves the capture of carbon dioxide involves 41 billion tons per decade.   There are, for the record, more than 30 years in a billion seconds.   What's your theory, that containing 137 tons of carbon dioxide per second, every second, for a half a century is a simple and cheap thing to do?   Have you any idea about the technical, financial, and geological issues involved in this outcome would be?   Your guess is that this can be brought on line in 15 years, by 2029?   Faster than breeder reactors?   Russia and India both brought breeders to completion in the last two years.   How many billion ton carbon dioxide dumps were built in the last two years?

We built more than 400 reactors on this planet in about 20 years, and they produced an average of 28 exajoules of energy each year of the first decade of the 21st century.   By contrast doing what's never been done, CSS, is easier?

There is no way in hell that it will be easier to contain hundreds of billions of tons of carbon dioxide each decade when we can't find a way to store 75,000 tons - collected over half a century - of an insoluble relatively harmless solid as much of  used nuclear fuel is.

Your problem is that you are attempting to compare a theory that has failed in all cases to become significant with a reality and coupling it with the logical fallacy of "appeal to popularity."

Nuclear energy may not be able to stop climate change in its tracks - surely it won't, because with this kind of rhetoric flying around this late in the game it can't - but it need not do so to be the best possible, cheapest possible, and most experimentally verified approach to doing so.   Any money that is diverted from nuclear energy to CSS, or for that matter, so called "renewable" energy is essentially a decision to commit suicide at this point, whether the general public knows it or not.  

I wouldn't, by the way, put too much faith in the wisdom of the general public.   In the middle of the last millenium the general public was pretty sure that the bubonic plague was best dealt with by prayer rather than improved sanitation.   Things are not much better 500 years later.

CSS talk has been, is and always will be the equivalent of doing nothing, and the result of doing nothing is clearly visible in the planetary atmosphere in CO2 measurements over the last decade.    We blew past 400 ppm this year, and we will blow through 450 ppm just as quickly as we went from 350 to here.   We were at 350 in 1987, and I doubt, very much, that it will take more than 25 years to hit 450, especially with this kind of cynicism floating around unchallenged.



July 23, 2014    View Comment    

On Renewable Energy Provides 56 Percent of New Electrical Generation Capacity in First Half of 2014

The renewable energy continues to soak humanity for huge amounts of money for no result by continually refusing to acknowledge the basic law of physics:   Instanteous peak power is not even remotely related to energy.

We keep hearing this offensive (to reason) "percent talk" and capacity talk while we continue to frack oil and gas in this country at an unconcionable pace.

A wind plant's capacity is useless when the wind isn't blowing; a solar plant doesn't work at night.   At all of these points, the capacity of these forms of so called "renewable energy" is zero.

Zero.  Nada.  Zilch.  Nothing.

We spent on this planet a trillion bucks on this garbage in the last decade and it doesn't even produce 5 of the 540 exajoules of energy that humanity consumes each year.    Meanwhile we have billions of people whose living conditions are a disgrace.   Meanwhile the tailspin of the planetary atmosphere accelerates at a dizzying pace.

It's tragic how little regard we pay to ethics in service to hearing what we want to hear.

July 23, 2014    View Comment    

On Why we Need CCS - Part 5: Bridge to a Sustainable Energy Future

Let's see if we can put the following quote from this piece in context of the known history of this planet rather than in terms of a theoretical statement of what we think we "need:"

"Advocates should therefore be very careful when marketing renewables and nuclear energy as primary climate change mitigation mechanisms. Pushing for preferential treatment of these sources is at least just as detrimental to the longer-term sustainability of our planet as it is beneficial. Yes, there are good arguments for wind/solar and nuclear power, clean air and energy security probably being the two most important ones, but when it comes to climate change mitigation, these approaches fall far short of the less ideologically attractive alternatives of CCS and bio."

Humanity right now dumps about 31 billion tons of carbon dioxide into its favorite waste dump, the atmosphere, each year.

Can anyone who claims that we "need" CSS show any place on this earth where a dump for 1 billion of these 31 billion tons is on the drawing board?   Where it is to be sited?   Where the plants to make the carbon capture reagents, be they amines or some other technology, are being built?  

It would appear that we barely understand the toxicology of the oxidation products of CSS amines, and the thermodynamics of the case is at best dubious, since if we don't ban dangerous fossil fuels outright, we will need to burn more of them to capture their waste.

A recent paper in Environ. Sci. Tech. - the current issue in fact - sketches out some part of the former problem Environ. Sci. Technol., 2014, 48 (14), pp 8203–8211 “Comparative in Vitro Toxicity of Nitrosamines and Nitramines Associated with Amine-based Carbon Capture and Storage.”)

If we "need" CSS, we are in a world of hurt.   We may as well declare that we "need" to move the orbit of the planet earth.

I have no faith at all in so called "renewable energy" but I believe that it is far more serious than CSS schemes, all of which are even more Rube Goldberg than the tortured logic of building wind and solar plants and elaborate energy storage devices to prevent them from being more useless than they all ready are.

As for nuclear, it is merely and only the best option we have, although it is very unlikely that it will be do very much to save the world from itself despite its vast superiority to everything else.  It would appear that it is more difficult to overcome fear and ignorance than it is to contain 31 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide each year, every year, for centuries to come.

Even with half a century of viliifcation, with vast supporting resources being drained off to pursue pie-in-the-sky stuff, nuclear is responsible for having prevented about two years worth of carbon dioxide burning, about 64 billion metric tons  (Source: Environ. Sci. Technol., 2013, 47 (9), pp 4889–4895  “Prevented Mortality and Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Historical and Projected Nuclear Power,”) None of the other vast money sucking schemes for slowing climate change have done as well, despite decades of quixotic support, be they wind, solar, CSS, etc, etc ad nauseum.

Anyone who is minimizing the potential of the world's largest, by far, scalable source of climate change gas free primary energy, nuclear energy, needs to show how their schemes can match the success of nuclear energy within a very short time, since, by glacing at the Maua Loan figures for the concentration of carbon dioxide in the planetary atmosphere, one can clearly see that "time's up."

CSS, by comparison to nuclear, remains a pipe dream, one, in fact, devoid of the necessary pipes.


July 22, 2014    View Comment    

On Siva Power's Thin Film Cost Target of 28 Cents per Watt Is Very Ambitious. But Not Impossible

What history shows is that no amount of data and no amount of historical experience will cause the devotees of the dangerous, expensive, failed faith in the solar miracle will cause them to embrace reality.

In 1976, the delusional poorly educated anti-nuke Amory Lovins wrote this in his very stupid article in the social "science" journal "Foreign Affairs."

"...Recent research suggests that a largely or wholly solar economy can be constructed in the United States with straightforward soft technologies that are now demonstrated and now economic or nearly economic." Such a conceptual exercise does not require "exotic" methods such as sea-thermal, hot-dry-rock geothermal, cheap (perhaps organic) photovoltaic, or soIar-thcrmal electric systems. If developed, as some probably will be, these technologies could be convenient, but they are in no way essential for an industrial society operating solely on energy income..."

 Source:  Lovins, Amory, "Energy Strategy:  The Road Not Taken?" Foreign Affairs October 1976, pp 65-96, excerpt taken from page 83.

In the nearly 40 years that have passed since this idiotic remark was published, regrettably for all humanity, this silly fraudulent remark was taken seriously, with trillions of dollars aquandered on the solar scheme - resources diverted from activities which might have done humanity many good things - for no meaningful result.

In this period, more than 100 million people have died from air pollution associated with dangerous fossil fuels and so called "renewable" biomass burning, this while anti-nuke squawked endlessly about nuclear energy with insipid parnoid remarks about waste and safety.

The opening post here, written by a journalist predictably with absolutely no scientific training, is notably oblivious to the fact that many people are concerned that there will not be enough indium and/or gallium on this planet to continue to produce touch screens for computers for the next decade, never mind enough to squander on a quixotic quest to finally produce, after half a century of fraud and obfuscation, just one of the 540 exajoules of energy that humanity consumes each year using solar energy.    Both elements, indium and gallium, are relatively rare, having no primary ores, all being obtained as side products in the mining of other minerals.    Any claim that they will finally produce the chimeric "cheap solar" energy borders, thus, on delusional.

Half a century of similar rhetoric to the stupid rhetoric that the dangerous fossil fuel funded fool Amory Lovins produced in 1976, has lead no real result.   Millions of people continue to die each year from dangerous fossil fuel and biomass waste, and the atmosphere is in the worst shape ever observed. None of the current Lovins like rhetoric is working.   And the next half a century of similar rhetoric I predict also won't work.  

What is being carried out in the name of this "solar will save us" faith is a crime, and the victims of the crime are all future generations.    The entire scheme is based on ignorance not just of science, but of history, and a defender of this faith appealing to "history" is patently absurd.

Have a nice day.


July 20, 2014    View Comment    

On Siva Power's Thin Film Cost Target of 28 Cents per Watt Is Very Ambitious. But Not Impossible

The assumption of course, in this claim, is that gallium and indium prices will remain constant.    They will only do so if this technology fails to become significant.    It is of course, a good bet that it will fail to become significant, as many of the tens of thousands of similar claims we've been hearing decade about approaches to making solar affordable have failed to cause the solar scheme to be able to produce even 1% of global energy demand.

It would be very unwise to bet the planetary atmosphere on this technology, which, it seems to me is yet another example of the 50 year history of wishful thinking connected with the solar industy.

Unfortunately the planetary atmosphere has largely been bet on this self same wishful thinking about the solar and wind industries becoming significant, with the result that said atmosphere blew past a concentration 400 ppm of the dangerous fossil fuel waste carbon dioxide without even slowing down.

The solar industry should at least try to produce as much energy as is spent telling the world how great it is.    That hasn't happened, and I very much doubt that it will happen.

Have a great week.


July 14, 2014    View Comment    

On CCS Is Not an Option, It's a Requirement (and an Opportunity)

Fossil fuels are only "cheap" when their external costs are dumped on the public - health costs and damage costs - as a huge subsidy.

Including external costs, they would be prohibitively expensive.

However external costs are only added to one extant industry:    Only the nuclear industry is required to monetize its external costs.

If the fossil fuel industry were required to meet nuclear standards, i.e. no one ever be injured at any time by its waste products, or by its operations, it simply wouldn't exist.

Any surrender to the notion that we must have dangerous fossil fuels is myopic and, I think, of questionable morality.   These costs will be paid, probably in blood and suffering mostly, but economically as well, with the majority of the payments falling on future generations to make.

I personally regard CSS approaches to addressing some, but not all, of the external costs of dangerous fossil fuels, as wishful thinking comparable to the silly notion that the "world will go solar."    CSS is a kind of perpetual motion machine - well not exactly - but certainly moving in that direction.     Any attempt to manage dangerous fossil fuel waste using dangerous fossil fuels is by nature self defeating.    It would be better to be done with all of them at once.

We might rapidly be able to phase out petroleum by the hydrogenation of some carbon dioxide, or even better by use of carbonate mediated hydrogen cycles and/or chemical looping, but that won't happen either, but even this would be delaying the inevitable.

My cynical supposition is that we will burn and dump - directly into our favorite dump, the atmosphere - the last atom of carbon we can get away with dumping, before the consequences overwhelm us, as surely they will.

As for biocapacity, 'the biocapacity of what?" is the question to ask.    Thirteen billion hectares of roads, cities and monoculture farms?

The "price" of CO2 is most likely the future.

July 11, 2014    View Comment    

On Critics Say Massachusetts' New Solar Bill Would Create an Unfair Exchange

This is yet another example of the failed, expensive, and toxic solar industry demanding the right to destroy the lives of the poor and indigent for the benefit of the rich.

The solar industry has already ripped nearly a trillion bucks out of the world economy and done nothing, absolutely nothing for the environment, never mind for humanity.

The words "non-discriminatory" are a very cruel joke, since the people who will pay most dearly for this disaster, and the related Cape Wind disaster, are precisely the people who can least endure the resultant electricity rates.

We could save lives and livlihoods by investigating whether or not the Seabrook 2 station in New Hampshire, which was prevented from being completed by fear and ignorance, might feasibly be finished and brought on line.   The reactor would easily produce more energy than all the expensive solar installations in the entire Northeastern United States, more reliably, more cheaply, and since it would not require fracked gas to back it up, nor the processing vast quantities of semi-conductor materials at low energy densities, at an enormously lower cost to the environment.

After 50 years of failure, the only meaningful thing that the solar industry produces in appreciable quantities is hubris.



July 11, 2014    View Comment    

On Renewables Projected To Add Triple The Capacity Of New Fossil Fuel Plants By 2030

Give.  Me.  A.  Break.

If...if...if...the trillion dollar renewables energy industry can ever produce as much energy as Generation I nuclear reactors, if it ever causes the elimination of the burning of an equal quantity of dangerous fossil fuels as the nuclear industry has, you will have a right to give advice to the nuclear industry about alleged "performance issues."

As it is, you seek to deflect the moral responsibility of sucking up a trillion dollars of precious resources, by claiming - and the so called "renewable energy" industry repeats this bull decade after decade - that the newest and latest data contravenes the last 50 years.  Bull.  Prove it.  Typically, you provide no references for your handwaving claim, other than your own assurance that you are credible and I am not.   I note that a transitory existence of one quarter of reasonable performance does not negate the reality of 100 quarters preceding it.   It's the same old horse manure that the renewables advocates are always handing out, some trash like "Germany produces 75% of its electricity by renewable energy," on some particular friday in some particular summer week, while never paying a whit of heed to the days that it produces 1% of the energy, or 0% of the energy.

Really?   The latest data shows a grand success?   How about you list all of the new coal plants that Germany is cancelling as a result of this data?    How about you and your German friends announce that the coal plant at Weisweiller is being shut because solar and wind are so great?

I don't expect to be accorded with "credibility" by anyone defending the renewables disgrace, since they seem to have a very, very, very, very difficult time understanding what credibility is.  Credibility would involve producing tens of exajoules of clean energy for the expenditure of the vast sums of money the bourgeois consumers in the "renewables will save us" scam have consumed.   It would involve showing progress in reduction of the rate of increase of carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere.

How often do you check the Mauna Loa CO2 observatory for the latest data?   I check it every week.    I assure you humanity is losing, not winning.

From reading this bull you offer about cooling water, I would suggest that you open a very basic engineering text book and learn how power plants work.    No one on the planet thinks that Germany is cancelling coal plants, and the renewable energy industry would die in a New York minute without access to dangerous natural gas.   

Now it happens that the value of a dangerous natural gas combined cycle plant is essentially destroyed - in the combined cycle sense - by the need to shut it down and turn it back on repeatedly every time a clould passes away from or over a toxic array of solar cells, just as it is true that a coal plant is spectacularly less efficient when it is forced to feather up and down simply because the wind is blowing for two hours.   If you want to know about how this is, a very simple experiment would involve trying to boil water while turning the gas off over regular intervals to approach boiling and determining whether this involves burning more or less gas than simply leaving the gas on.

As far I am concerned, the "credibility" of the so called "renewable energy" industry is all wrapped up in the fact that every damn anti-nuke in that bourgeois squad of wishful thinkers hawking solar and wind garbage is working to entrench the gas and coal industries.

There are no countries on the face of this planet that have phased out any dangerous fossil fuel using wind and solar, and no countries that plan to do so.   

As for nuclear power plant design, there are zero anti-nukes who know anything at all about the topic.   They simply circulate sound bites among one another in a grand circle of misinformation and ignorance.

In his seminal book written shortly before he died, Alvin Weinberg, former head of ORNL, wrote of the "First Nuclear Era," describing an era of creativity that no one who is ignorant of the basic tenets of nuclear engineering can possibly comprehend.    Only a tiny subset of possible reactors have been built, and a smaller subset have been commercialized.   With a little more sense we might have been at the dawn of a new age of strength and achievement; but instead find ourselves hashing out insipid 50 year old ideas as if they mattered.

The willful destruction of the intellectual nuclear infrastructure, our nuclear engineering schools, our base of nuclear professionals, our nuclear manufacturing capability is one of the great crimes our generation has perpetuated against future generations.   These infrastructures have been decimated in this country by fear and ignorance that was allowed to thrive as the general disrespect of engineering and science was allowed to entrench itself.    The mere fact that huge tracts of land have been trashed in subservience to the "renewables" fantasy is a reflection of that intellectual decline.

Now the only hope for humanity lies in Asia in Asian nuclear infrastructure.   Congratulations.   You now live in a nation of bean counters even though you were born into a nation of first class scientists and engineers, a nation that built rather than whined.

The fact that we are blowing apart the bedrock under a huge section of this continent to obscure the failure of the renewables industry is something with which all future generations will need to live.

Excuse me if I regard your smug handwaving assurances and "advice" to the nuclear industry - an industry which you give no evidence of knowing anything about - as an emetic.

I hope you have had a happy Fourth.


July 6, 2014    View Comment    

On 3 Ways to Make Our Electric System Stronger Using Energy Efficiency

Actually this post is pretty clueless.

One of the participants in this "best and brightest" claim put forth was the California Energy Commission, which posts data on electrical generation on line where any fool (or for that matter, any bright person) can read it.

It's here:  California Electrical Energy Generation by Resource Type

California has been averaging, roughly a consumption of 300,000 GWh per year since around 2008, roughly 50,000 GWh more than it was averaging over a similar period a decade earlier.   

This, represented as average continuous power - something the much ballyhooed (in California and elsewhere) so called "renewable energy industry" is incapable of producing - of 5700 MW, or five very large power plants.

The largest single contributor to electrical energy generation in the state is dangerous natural gas, the waste of which is dumped directly into the planetary atmosphere, which is not to mention the awful short term thinking approach by which this disasterous fuel is mined.

This reliance on dangerous fossil fuels is the signature result of the wishful thinking surrounding the so called "renewable energy" industry.    The wind and solar industry, after consuming huge amounts of land area, blighting it with unsightly unreliable short lived massive structures, can't produce combined, as much energy as Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant produces in one building, reliably, nearly continously, cheaply and cleanly.

Meanwhile California's dangerous fossil fuel waste emissions are rising, not falling.

California doesn't represent a success to be emulated.   It represents a failure to be avoided, this at all costs.

The pernicious, very dangerous, myopic, and ignorant anti-nuke mentality is flourishing precisely at the time when it needs to be stopped dead in its tracks, lest the human race, or a significant portion of it, is stopped dead in its tracks.

This is an economic issue; it is an issue of justice; it is a scientific issue; and above all, an environmental and moral issue.

But the so called "Natural Resources Defense Council" is on the wrong side of this battle to save the planet.   It repeats cant; this in praise of the indefensible.  It never found a desert that should be defended against cadmium laced glass or greasy wind turbines.   It never stops cheering for a clear result that involves the powdering of the continental crust for all time - fracking dangerous natural gas - in order to make the wind and solar industries look like they're working when clearly they are massive, expensive failures that only serve to redistribute wealth from the poor to the rich.   And the NRDC does nothing but kiss up to the anti-nuke mentality, which is dragging humanity to the fossil fuel waste abyss. 

Enjoy the holiday weekend.

July 4, 2014    View Comment    

On Solar Energy at Grid Parity in Utah, a Coal State With No RPS

...And they will continue to ignore their own lies for ever and ever.

In 1976's very stupid paper in "Foreign Affairs" by the anti-nuke Amory Lovins, "The Road Less Travelled" he claimed that as of 1976, solar was at or "almost at" grid parity.

Just shy of four decades later, with hundreds of billions of tons of dangerous fossil fuel having been burned, with the waste dumped into the planetary atmosphere and still, after sucking trillion dollar quantities out of the world economy for no practical  or meaningful result, solar aficinados are still saying the same damn thing.   "Solar has grid parity!!!!"

It is very clear that the people hawking this stuff are not scientists, since when scientists do an experiment, if the experimental results are different than the hypothesis, they reject the hypothesis.    I mean, my kid is in the 9th grade, and of course his teachers have repeated this stuff they learned in the 4th grade.    A scientist, a real scientist, does not simply, after an experiment, particularly one that is a trillion dollar experiment, simply chant the hypothesis over and over and over no matter what the experiment says.

Unfortunately for humanity, Lovins' road was the one that was traveled, and all of humanity is suffering as a result.

The solar scam is faith based; it's become an element of dogma that is nothing if not purely religious.


July 4, 2014    View Comment    

On Renewables Projected To Add Triple The Capacity Of New Fossil Fuel Plants By 2030

Unfortunately for humanity, the so called "renewable energy" industry and its adherents are far better at producing soothsaying than they are at producing energy.

How many years, exactly, have we been hearing about how so called "renewable energy" will save us?  How many years in the last century has the amount of carbon dioxide beening indiscrimately dumped into the atomsphere decreased rather than increased?    Two dangerous fossil fuel burning hellholes buying heavily into the renewable fantasy, California and Germany, have increased the amount of dangerous fossil fuel waste they've dumped in each of the last several years.    In the former case, all of the wind and solar plants in the entire state can't produce as much energy as the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant produces - cleanly, safely, without a single loss of life, despite paranoid nearly insane predictions to the contrary - in a single building.

After half a century of similar predictions of "by 2030" or "by 2000" (Amory Lovins, 1976) or "by 2100" and "by 2050" (Greenpeace), the portion of the renewable energy industry represented by the solar and wind industries doesn't even produce 5 of the 540 exajoules humanity consumes each year.    At no time in history has the entire wind and solar industry been able to produce as much energy as is represented by the annual increase in the use of dangerous natural gas, the waste of which is dumped indiscriminately into the planetary atmosphere.

And, of course, the liars in that same industry keep engaging, ever more transparently thankfully, in the fraudulent claim that peak capapcity is a meaningful metric for notoriously unreliable systems that solar and wind represent.    And I note, that the evidence that the lifetime of this toxic stuff is short, so that it's very possible that most or all of the wind and solar plants built in 2000 will be landfill - toxic landfill - in 2030.

What is tragic is the vast amounts of money that have been transferred to the rich from the poor using this shell game of wishful thinking.

Meanwhile, at Mauna Loa, the carbon dioxide readings remained firmly above 400 pm all through May and June.

Heckuva job, anti-nukes.    You must be very, very, very, very, very proud.

July 3, 2014    View Comment