154 Comments

I find it fascinating how politicians and news companies continue to "leave out" the most important and crucial rebuttals to their sides of arguments. I am also wondering if there are any "Big Ah" moments that will be made in the near future with wind and solar energy (similar to the discovery of horizontal drilling, and oil fracturing). It is evident that the current technology is not sustainable with wind energy turbines, so why do governments keep funding large zoning projects, instead of funding scientists to make the technology work better?

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Excellent technical summary. There could be a corollary article entitled. “The bad power of free money” or “The real power of Real interest rates”. It seems that the entire green culture kicked off when interest rates were forced to zero in 2010.

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I don't remember whether Robert has reported this:

Professor Simon Miichaux has analyzed the material requirements for the all-electric world economy, based on the unreliables, that the IEA demands: five times more copper than is known to exist. Ten times more nickel. 26 times more cobalt.... https://tupa.gtk.fi/raportti/arkisto/42_2021.pdf. Even Don Quixote would be laughing at this, if it were not so frightening.

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Are the IEA materials quantity charts and tables based on label capacity or delivered power?

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Solar panels and wind turbines generate low voltage DC. How do you get to 1,500V DC?

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The 45 MW DIRECT power generation does not tell us how much was delivered to the power system as AC power. The ultimate goal is to reduce the amount of natural gas used. When will that happen?

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Thank you for showing what a POS Krugman is. And always been. Follow the money.

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If you want to talk about land use, renewables win by miles. Depending on the jurisdiction up to half the solar power will come from multi-use facilities such as roofs, carpark canopies, worked out gravel pits or land fills which effectively have zero land use. Most of the rest should be in some form of agri-voltaic arrangement where with the right crops or pastures agricultural productivity is increased effectively negative land use.

As for wind, a 4MW wind turbine alienating 500 square metres of land produces 20-30 MWh/square metre. In the US the average nuclear power plant uses 1.3 square miles/GW to produce 7,900,000 MWh/y or 2.3 MWh/square metre. not including the uranium mine - about another square km /GW or the fuel fabrication plant or the mine for the fuel cladding or the water storage for cooling, best case 1.5MWh/square km.

As for material use, you forgot about the 12bn tonnes of fossil fuels that are mined every year.

Over its life a 20kg solar panel with another 20kg of ancillaries displaces about 7 tonnes of coal which will produce 300-1,400kg of coal ash.

It might take eight 1,500 tonne wind turbines to provide the same annual output of a 40 tonne gas turbine but the gas turbine requires the annual production of 25,000-30,000 tonnes of fossil gas every year, not to mention all the hardware used for the gas production and pipelines, processing plants etc..

Tell me again how energy density is better for fossil fuels.

The whole energy density favoring fossil fuels and nuclear is a joke.

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If solar power was so good, you would have solar powered solar panel factories, I have never heard of one.

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Haha,

You are wrong, (sort of) as you don't account for the capacity factor.

If you talk MWh instead of MW then a windturbine is only producing 20%-30% on average of its actual capacity.

So instead of 13 times more copper per MW it is 40 - 60 times more copper per MWh.

And then of course its life span is a half of a gas plant so then you have 80 - 120 times more copper per MWh

Generally on a good wind turbine they take 1-2 years to produce the energy invested in their manufacture and last 20-25 years.

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So good. Thank you Robert.

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Good piece.

Everything is about resources, including money. The thing is, you can conclusively prove whether your scheme makes sense by whether it is economically viable without incentives. Goes for everything.

Some renewables make sense, but not all and not in all locations. The nuances of this are lost on the shills.

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The solar project output is based on the manufacturers info. That is what they always use and they are never concerned with system losses. If there are no losses, the power companies could use any solar output to replace NG use, and we do not see that happening.

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Technically a power systems using solar energy to produce AC power has never been developed. Also power companies have never used batteries as they can operate very well without them.

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Robert - I think you are too pessimistic about media, but to get through takes time and coordinated PR effort. The nuclear industry suffers from terrible public relations. PR is a weakness of scientists and engineers. The oxymoron "Inflation Reduction Act" has fired up the Left (note I am part of the political Left just not a monolithic Left) with an enthusiasm that will cost us in the long run but it has propaganda value in the short run. That's until the public wises up to the shortcomings of renewable energy and people start asking--in 5 or 6 years--why we are squandering huge resources on an inadequate technology. Lesson: the nuclear industry needs to find public relations experts better than the ones they're using now. Good ones are not cheap, and production of ads and placements in key channels cost a bundle too, but if it breaks the hold of the pro-renewable, anti-nuclear narrative it might be worth it. There is a wedge, especially among the young for whom Black Swan events like Fukushima are distant memories, or no memories, and "Stand Up for Nuclear" has a positive ring. There has to be a well-planned coordinated campaign - polls say the public is ready for it, they are just not being fed the knowledge packaged in easily understood, easily repeated sound bites, which is what PR and advertising people do. It's the bumper sticker mentality. Why should the renewable folks have sole ownership of the term "CLEAN ENERGY"? Sets my teeth on edge every time I hear "renewable, clean energy." Better: "clean energy, like safe, proven nuclear power and renewable energy."

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Everyone needs to be reminded that solar projects produce low voltage DC and most homes run on high voltage AC. It is not technically possible to build a system that will provide AC from any solar project.

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