In February Texas had a devastating blackout due to an unexpected and extensive decrease in prairie wind speed. Two hundred people died in the freezing temperatures and the climate change narrative writers have generated millions of words and an untold number of hours trying to shift blame from the unreliable wind to the reliable fossil fuels. The fossil fuel people did not do a good job but they did not cause the problem.
Britain and Germany are now experiencing a similar problem with an unexpected and extensive decrease in North Sea wind. Fortunately, it is not yet winter and extensive blackouts have not occurred but there are massive increases in energy costs, severe impending energy storage issues for the winter and impending impacts of food production.
This problem is receiving minimal media coverage in the US. It does not agree with the climate change narrative. Zero hedge is one website which is providing information. Britain and Germany are our future and reality when unreliable wind and solar are the primary and possibly exclusive forms of electricity generation.
Energy Fun Fact #1
Fossil fuels, gas, oil and coal, have two uses. They reliably transform chemical energy, by combustion, into heat. The heat can be used for transportation, by mechanical methods, to generated electricity or as heat for processing uses. The fossil fuels can also be transformed into materials that can be used for manufacturing.
Wind and solar can intermittently and weakly transform solar radiation or wind kinetic energy into electricity for processing use or transportation. They cannot produce any materials for manufacturing. At best, they can provide the energy required to make the materials required for manufacturing.
These articles describe the 6,000 products that are provided by the materials from fossil fuels and the (natural) alternatives to them. Imagine your life without most of these products. Only two hundred years ago most of them did not exist. The anti-fossil fuel advocates conveniently forget to tell you no fossil fuel use means no reliable energy available AND no products.
Energy Fun #2
This article is full of pretty graphs and descriptions of increasing or decreasing amounts of renewable green power depending upon the definition of nuclear. However, it ignores the real problem. The unreliable wind energy from the North Sea has decreased and the replacement power is coming from coal or gas. What happens when there is no back up power except more unreliable wind power? That is the real question, which this article is trying to ignore.
Without reliable backup power, nuclear, coal and gas the normal intermittency of wind will create a poorer, colder population. This will occur because there will be no method of preventing blackouts. While storage batteries are the climate change narrative solution, the costs are beyond comprehension. In a bad winter, with little wind, people will freeze to death. People who embrace no fossil fuels should also agree to freezing to death is acceptable during a still wind spell.
Energy Fun Fact #3
Here is another article of `woke’ leaders and industries `committing’ to produce (transform) energy using non combustion methods (net -zero and decarbonization). If you strip away the `commitment’ term, how will they actually do it? The only action taken is to shut down coal fired plants. Wow! That action does not provide any power, it decreases the available power.
What is the promised method to provide the non-combustion power? Xcel has ‘commitment and aspirations’ to build wind turbines, solar panels and undefined storage methods. Now that is really original. What is the cost and reliability of their idea? Who knows? Xcel claims the system will be ‘dispatchable’! Have they discovered a method to make the wind blow when power is required? Will the sun shine at midnight?
New organizations are being formed to help the utilities and power companies in decarbonization. Wow, paying more people to develop ‘aspirations. Now that is a productive energy process.
The only reliable energy producing methods mentioned in the article is nuclear and geothermal heat which is based on fossil fuel drilling techniques and is still very expensive and experimental for this application.
Behind all of the virtue signaling, save the world aspirations and commitments word is a terrifying reality. The anti-fossil fuel advocates have no idea how to do the engineering or the quantities required to provide reliable, affordable and plentiful renewable green power. They have no idea if a wind-solar-storage system will even work because none have been built and tested. If fossil fuel use is prevented now, decarbonization will occur by the non-use of energy.
Energy Fun Fact #4
I expect the renewable energy crowd will quickly claim the EV battery issue is solved if we give them more subsides and prevent the sale of ICE to promote the sale of solid state batteries. Thus, Camelot will arrive and climate change will end. Wrong on both counts.
Will solid state batteries be the savior or intermediate savior of electric vehicles? Who knows? The technology is still way too new to make any reasonable predictions. Battery reliably, life and cost are still just guesses and hope. Perhaps this is the stepping stone to a long life, quick recharging battery and perhaps it is not. This new battery deserves research and watching. It must not be used to formulate public policy or provide an excuse for additional subsidies.
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Seth Grossman, Executive Director