REVIEW OF "THE 100% RE BY 2050 PLAN FOR THE US" BY THE JACOBSON GROUP

This article has two purposes:

 

- A review the “100% RE by 2050 Plan for the US”, which is based on wind, solar and miscellaneous. for ALL of US primary energy, as presented in the Jacobson Group Report, issued in May 2015

- A presentation of two alternatives, which include wind, solar, hydro, nuclear and bio energy.

 

In the past, the Jacobson Group has published similar reports regarding for New York State, California, and the Whole World.

 

The Report aims to show the US could have 100% of its primary energy (not just electrical primary energy, which is only about 35% of primary energy) from wind (50%), solar (45.2%), and misc. (4.77%), i.e., no fossil, no nuclear and no bioenergy. The Report study period is 2010 to 2050, but the added RE capacities, MW, are additional to the existing capacities in 2013. See table.

 

Source

%

%

Wind

 30.9, onshore wind + 19.1, offshore wind

50.00

Solar

 30.7, utility-scale PV + 7.2, rooftop PV + 7.3, CSP with storage

 45.20

Misc.

1.25, geothermal + 0.37, wave  + 0.14, tide + 3.01, hydro

4.77

 

Based on a parallel grid integration study, to cover multi-day wind and solar lulls and for seasonal energy shifting, energy storage is required as shown in the table.

 

Energy Storage for Wind and Solar Lulls and Seasonal Variations

%

CSP with high-temperature thermal storage to provide electricity

 4.4

Solar thermal storage to provide energy for heating

 7.2

http://web.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/Articles/I/USStatesWWS.pdf

Erroneous Assumptions Regarding Vermont: The Report assumes an energy mix for each state. In case of Vermont (where I reside), the assumptions are: onshore wind 25%, hydro 64.35%, residential PV 4.2%, commercial/government PV 2.80%, utility PV 3.65%, for a total of 100%. Those numbers are not anywhere near what is stated in Vermont’s Comprehensive Energy Plan, which projects electricity supply to utilities to increase from about 6 TWh/y in 2016 to about 10 TWh/y in 2050, due to heat pumps, electric vehicles, etc.

 

- The only way Vermont could have 64.35% hydro is by importing it from Canada, as local hydro sources are almost fully utilized.  

- Having 25% from wind on 2000-ft high ridgelines (2.5 million MWh/y in 2050) would have severe environmental impacts and would arouse enormous public opposition, as it would require:

 

* At least (320) 3 MW, 500-ft-tall, wind turbines, on about 53 miles of pristine ridgelines (CF about 0.29), plus

* About 100 miles of 50-ft wide access roads, if 40 systems at about 25 MW each, plus

* Significant build-outs of grid systems and storage systems.

* Turnkey capital cost (2015$) = 3.5 million/MW x 960 MW = $3.36 billion; includes grid and storage systems.

If the energy sources of other states were similarly assumed, the Report is based on a fantasy. For reference, the annual average New England capacity, generation and capacity factors are shown below. The 2014 CF is representative, but the 2015 and 2016 CFs likely are low, because some of the added capacity was not in service for the full year.

 

Year

Capacity

Generation

CF

% of total NE generation

 

MW

MWh/y

 

 

2013

  836

1766000 

0.241 

 

2014

  846

1928000

0.262

 

2015

1038

2169000

0.239 

 

2016

1377

2519000

0.210

2.4

 

http://www.iso-ne.com/about/key-stats/resource-mix

https://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2016/08/f33/2015-Wind-Technolog...

https://apps2.eere.energy.gov/wind/windexchange/wind_installed_capa...

 

EROEI: The Report aims to use energy sources with low- to medium Energy Return/Energy Invested ratios, with relatively short lives (20 - 25 y), i.e., high replacement/refurbishing rates, compared to traditional near-CO2-free energy sources, such as hydro (100 y) and nuclear (60 y).

 

Millions of additional people would have to be employed in the “distributed-everywhere” energy sector. It would be as if highly efficient, industrial farming, employing relatively few people, were replaced by millions of family farms. This likely would portend an uneconomic energy future for the US. See Summary of Analysis of Alternatives.

 

US CO2 Reductions: The Report claims eliminating fossil fuels would lead to reductions in CO2 and other emissions. However, such reductions would not affect global warming/climate change, unless all other nations would do the same, which is highly unlikely, even though they have pledged to do so during COP-21 in Paris in 2015. See URL.

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/cop-21-world-renewable-...

 

NOTE: China and India (3.5 billion people) have been the major contributors to global warming and air pollution during the past 40 years. China and India burn about 60% of the 8000 million metric ton of coal/y using inefficient plants that emit more CO2/MWh, and emit up to 10 times greater quantities of ash and other pollutants/MWh than EU, US and Japanese plants, because they lack high-efficiency pollution control systems. India uses coal and cow dung in open fires for cooking, etc.

 

US Healthcare Costs Reductions: The Report claims reductions in CO2 and other emissions from fossil fuels would lead to reductions in healthcare expenses. However, those reductions in expenses would be very difficult to identify, allocate and quantify. Whereas the use of coal has been decreasing in the US, healthcare costs have been increasing.

 

Levelized Cost of Energy: The Report claims, as fossil fuels become scarcer and more expensive in the future, the levelized cost of the Jacobson-proposed energy mix, LCOE, would become less than of the present energy mix.

 

Whereas affordable fossil fuels may run out during the next 100 years, the world has an abundance of uranium on land and in the oceans. China, Russia, India, etc., are building and planning major expansions of nuclear capacity, MW. World nuclear generation, TWh, after about a decade of decreases, has increased in 2015 and 2016.

Comparison of Jacobson and Alternatives: After evaluating of the Report, I added two alternatives, which include large quantities of nuclear energy. The alternatives are assumed to have 3 times the energy efficiency reductions of Jacobson.

- Capital costs of Jacobson are much higher, if realistic assumptions are made, which means its LCOE is much higher than claimed. 

- Capital costs and land areas of the alternatives are much less than Jacobson. 

The nuclear percentages of Alternative Nos. 1 and 2 proposed in this article likely would be a major part of the future energy mix, as the capital costs of these alternatives would be up to 5.5 times less, and roof/land/sea area requirements would be up to 9 times less, and LCOEs likely would be equal or less than Jacobson. See below table.

 

2015 - 2050

Cap Ex

Cap Ex/y

Added Capacity

Added Area

 

 

$billion

$billion/y

MW

acres

sq. miles

Jacobson

15,554

444

6,288,911

 

 

Jacobson, adj.

23,164

662

6,288,911

175,850,940

274,767

Alternative No. 1

  6,291

180

1,578,048

  40,981,875

  64,034

Alternative No. 2

  4,147

118

   951,595

  21,914,182

  34,241

- Bold values are from the Report.

- Other capital costs are based on real-world costs, $million/MW.

- For “Jacobson, adj.”, real-world values for capacity factors, $million/MW, and area/MW were used.

- Alternatives Nos. 1 and 2 have lesser capital costs, because they have:

 

* About 3 times greater energy efficiency than Jacobson.

* Lesser wind and solar percentages, requiring lesser energy quantities for 1) peaking, filling-in and balancing, 2) storage and 3) grid build-outs than Jacobson.

* Significant nuclear and bio energy, which are excluded from Jacobson.

 

Report Optimistic Assumptions: The Jacobson Plan is made to appear more favorable to lay people, because:

 

- Much higher capacity factors were assumed than real-world values.

- Much lower capital costs, $million/MW, were assumed than real-world costs.

- The capital costs, $million/MW, of the various energy sources were assumed to be excessively decreasing from present levels. 

 

As a result, the Report could claim a politically attractive, low capital cost of about $15,554 billion during the 2015 - 2050 period, not counting interest and finance charges, and replacements and refurbishments, due to wear and tear, during that period.

 

NOTE: Here is an article indicating current worldwide RE investments and the resulting very slight percentage change in world RE consumption.

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/world-energy-very-slowl...

 

NOTE: Here is an article indicating Vermont’s energy transformation to “90% RE of All Primary Energy by 2050” would cost about $33 billion (with bio, but no nuclear). If the US were to adopt Vermont’s 90% RE goal, the capital cost would be: US 325 million people/Vermont 0.625 million x $33.3 billion = $17.3 trillion, which is similar to the $19.9 trillion US national debt. The capital cost would be even greater for 100% RE.

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/vermont-s-90-percent-re...

 

Comments on the Report: The below comments regarding capital costs, capacities, areas and LCOE cover about 95% of the Report’s proposed additional capacity, MW:

 

1) There is no evidence onshore wind capital cost, $million/MW, would be declining in the US. In the last 4 years, there has been a leveling of capital costs/MW in the US. 

 

2) There is no evidence offshore wind capital cost, $million/MW, has been declining in Europe during the past 15 years. Numbers have been up and down, depending on project and location, but no overall decline. The US has barely started its offshore wind "adventure". Capital costs/MW of proposed US offshore systems are much higher than the Report's assumptions.

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/a-very-expensive-offsho...

 

3) Solar PV capital costs, $million/MW, have been decreasing during the past 10 years, but they have leveled during the past 3 years. The Report's assumptions of future capital costs/MW being much lower than at present is not supported by recent facts. 

 

4) CSP, with at least 10 hours of high-temperature thermal storage for continuous operation, is in its infancy in the US, and capital costs are about $8 million/MW. As almost all of the system hardware is standard industrial equipment, no significant capital cost/MW reductions can be expected in the future*.

*After about $10 billion of federal grants, subsidies and loan guarantees, the current build-out of CSP plus storage in the US southwest has been expensive (very high$/MW) and has much lower CFs than assumed by Jacobson.

5) The Report’s states the LCOE would be less than continuing the existing systems; "our plan has future energy savings". This is only the case, because the assumptions of CFs and capital cost/MW would result in a lesser capital costs and lesser LCOE than is warranted by real-world values. See Summary of Analysis of Alternatives.

https://web.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/Articles/I/FAQsUSState...

  

Roof/Land/Sea Area: The Report does not provide a roof/land/sea area estimate in spreadsheet format in the text of the report, so it can be readily viewed. A person needs to open this URL, and then click on (xlsx-spreadsheets), 4th paragraph. The spreadsheets look daunting, are not self-explanatory. Energy professionals, but not the general public, may understand the spreadsheets. This article provides easy to understand area estimates for the three alternatives.

http://web.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/Articles/I/WWS-50-USSta...

 

Generating Capacities and Capacity Factors: The Report states the capacities, MW, for each energy source and their percent contribution to the required energy quantity to users, but does not clearly state the capacity factors, CFs, to achieve those energy quantities by 2050, so they can be readily viewed. My analysis calculated those CFs and finds most of them would need to be higher than those based on real-world conditions. See Summary of Analysis of Alternatives.

 

PV System Aging and Other Factors: The Report appears to understate PV solar system capital costs and capacities, MW, because various real-world losses, such as panel aging; snow, ice, dust, shadows; improper angling and orientation are ignored or insufficiently accounted for. Such losses may be up to 22.5% for 20-y-average-age PV systems. For a more proper comparison of alternatives, their capacities, capital costs and areas should be increased by up to 22.5%.

 

However, to minimize analysis complications, I decided to take the Report values as the base, i.e., the values in the above table do not include any of those adjustments. See Summary of Analysis of Alternatives.

 

Peaking, Filling-in, Balancing and Storage: A separate study is being prepared by the Jacobson Group to determined the requirements to integrate the quantities of variable, intermittent energy into the grid so that demand is satisfied 24/7/365, year after year, i.e., the requirements for peaking, filling-in, balancing and storage, when the variable wind and solar energy is inadequate, such as during multi-day, wind and solar energy lulls during winter. It addition, there is a need for electrical and thermal storage with a capacity of hundreds of TWh to cover seasonal variations of wind and solar energy.

Example of Storage Requirements in Germany in 2050: Germany has a goal to have almost all of its domestic electricity consumption from renewable sources by 2050. The Energiewende targets are 35% RE by 2020, 50% by 2030, 65% by 2040, and 80% by 2050. Thus, about 20% of domestic electricity consumption could continue to be from fossil fuels, such as natural gas, in 2050. Germany has a goal to have 60% RE of all primary energy by 2050. These goals are a much less extreme than 100% RE of all primary energy by 2050, per Jacobson Plan.

Below are estimates of the seasonal storage that would have been required in 2014:

- If all of Germany’s wind and solar energy had been stored/smoothed, about 11.29 TWh.

- If all nuclear plants had been closed and replaced by W&S (2 times 2014 W&S), about 15.25 TWh.

- If all fossil plants had been closed and replaced by W&S (3.5 times 2014 W&S), about 26.6 TWh.

In 2050, at 6.5 times 2014 W&S, about 69.9 TWh would be required.

In case of pumped hydro and battery storage, the seasonal storage quantities would need to be increased by up to 20% for round trip losses, 

In case of syngas storage, to generate the above 69.9 TWh, the required gas input to CCGTs would need to be 69.9 TWh/(CCGT efficiency, 0.55 x 0.845 LHV/HHV) = 150.4 TWh, and the storage caverns would need to hold at least 300 TWh for operational purposes.

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/wind-and-solar-energy-l...

NOTE: US 2016 gross electricity generation is about 4000/648 = 6.2 times Germany’s gross generation*, i.e., US storage would be a multiple of German storage.

* Delivered to meters = gross generation - plant use - transmission and distribution - net exports. Primary energy is the input energy to various power plants, and the energy to buildings, industry, commerce and transportation.

Notes Regarding Implementing The Jacobson Plan:

 

NOTE No. 1: Jacobson implies what is now done with fossil, nuclear and bioenergy would be done with electrical energy. Here is a partial list of impacts:

 

- The A to Z infrastructures of fossil, nuclear and bioenergy, upstream and downstream, and about 95% of the US generating capacity, about 1,000,000 MW, would become “stranded”, i.e., obsolete, an investment of about 1.0 x 10^6 MW x $5 x 10^6/MW = $5 x 10^12, or $5 trillion, at today’s replacement costs.

- All residential, commercial, institutional, governmental and industrial buildings would need to be upgraded regarding energy efficiency and modified for heating and cooling with electricity-driven heat pumps.

- All light- and medium duty vehicles would need to be plug-in electric (no hybrids) with charging stations everywhere. Trucks and ships would use liquid synfuels and hydrogen made with electricity. Here is an article regarding hydrogen just for light duty vehicles.

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/the-hydrogen-economy

- All of the existing FF, nuclear, and bioenergy systems would need to be decommissioned.

- Short-range aircraft: by 2035, all new small, short-range planes would need to be battery- or hydrogen powered. The difficulties of just storing hydrogen are much greater than of other gases. See NOTE No. 2

- Long-range aircraft: by 2040, all remaining new aircraft would need to be hydrogen-powered while in motion, powered with grid electricity while not in motion. See NOTE No. 2

- Build-outs would be required for the large increases in the mined quantities of natural resources, and for the enlargement of upstream and downstream facilities and infrastructures to ultimately result in operating wind turbine and solar systems, and grid systems, and energy storage systems. 

- As wind and solar systems have useful service lives of about 25 years, almost all of the existing RE systems, plus much of the early-installed RE systems would need to be refurbished and/or decommissioned/replaced BEFORE 2050.

 

NOTE No. 2: Jacobson advocates for a “hydrogen economy” regarding powering airplanes. Here are some caveats: The fuel tank weight and volume for carrying compressed H2 in fuel-cell vehicles, such as the Toyota Highlander Fuel Cell Hybrid Vehicle - Advanced (FCHV-adv.), is not important, but for airplanes it is very important. Boeing and Airbus are always trying to reduce the weight of their airplanes and increase passenger/freight space.

 

At present, about 95% of H2 production is by the steam reforming process using fossil fuels as feedstock, mostly low-cost natural gas. This process emits CO2. Such H2 is about $5/kg at a fueling station in California. At present, the electricity input for electrolytic H2 is about 60 kWh/kg. The future wholesale prices of the electricity from hydro, wind, solar, and nuclear energy likely would be 2 - 3 times current prices, as they would require greatly expanded, nationwide transmission system build-outs, plus distributed seasonal energy (thermal and electrical) storage system build-outs, That means, the efficiency of the electrolysis process would need to be significantly increased to reduce the electricity input.

 

DOE targets future electrolytic hydrogen pricing at $2 – $3 per kg; a pure fantasy, as no such technology exists. Low-cost, lightweight, high-energy-density (kWh/kg) batteries, suitable for powering airplanes, etc., have not yet been invented. See URLs for pricing of compressed hydrogen.  

 

http://www.h2carblog.com/?p=461

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/the-hydrogen-economy

 

NOTE No. 3: Based on primary energy, the current US electrical system weighted average EROEI, at the user = 38.4044/1.13 = 34.08, less conversion losses, (1 – 12.6057/38.4044) x 34.08) = 11.19. That means (ER – EI) = 10.19 units of energy are available for electrical services in the economy, other than getting energy. Per the Report, 95% of the generation system would be replaced by 50% wind (EROEI = 18-20) and 45% mostly PV solar (EROEI = 11-12), for a weighted average EROEI = 15.5, and 14.5 units of energy available for electrical services in the economy, other than getting energy. In reality, the 14.5 energy units would be about 30% less, or 10.15, because of the energy losses of:

 

-  The peaking/filling-in/balancing generating systems.

- The electrical and thermal storage systems.

- The much more extensively build-out the grid systems.

 

Most of the US urban building stock would need to be arranged for district heating and cooling, as is done in some northern countries, an enormously costly undertaking. The combined-heating-power, CHP, plants, with significant electrical and thermal storage, would be close to the users, and would have thermal and electrical distribution systems to the buildings. 

 

NOTE No. 4: Jacobson would provide a capacity of PV solar w/storage and CSP w/storage for peaking/filling-in/balancing, primarily located in the US Southwest. That capacity would need to be connected to a US-wide HVDC overlay grid stretching up to Washington, Maine, Alaska, and Florida to provide a part of the energy, 24/7/365, when local wind and local solar generation and storage would be inadequate to serve demand.

 

Other energy generating and storage systems, distributed all over the US, would need to provide the other part of the energy, 24/7/365. At certain times, the PV, CSP and Other systems would be operating in parallel to provide the energy as needed. See this URL.

http://web.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/Articles/I/CombiningRen...

 

The HVDC overlay grid would be required to minimize transmission losses. Based on four such proposed lines, mostly overhead, from New England to Canada, the capital cost would be about $7.5 million/mile. For the Jacobson Plan, at least 50,000 miles would be required to cover the US. The Jacobson report may not have accounted for the $375 billion capital cost, and its associated O&M and replacement/refurbishment costs.

http://www.theenergycollective.com/willem-post/2219181/increased-wi...

 

Example of CSP Lack of Reliability in Spain: CSP w/storage is weather-dependent and seasonal, therefore unreliable for peaking, filling-in, and balancing. The below URL shows a cloudy period in Spain that reduced CSP energy production to near zero, and energy production in winter much less than in summer. CSP w/storage in the US southwest would have a similar production profile.

 

In Spain CSP w/storage, after 15-20 years of development, appears to be nowhere near ready for prime time. It required great cost to implement, $million/MW, (which Spain could not afford) and provides just a little of unreliable, expensive energy.

http://euanmearns.com/a-review-of-concentrated-solar-power-csp-in-s...

 

Example of Wind Energy Lack of Reliability in Europe: The wind energy output, MW, is less than 10% of total installed capacity over an area from northern Sweden to southern France many times each year, as shown by the published records of simultaneous hourly wind outputs. For example, during September - October 2015, 60 days, there were four deep regional lulls when the combined output of the 50 GW of installed capacity was less than 5 GW. The lowest combined output was on October 3, at 2074 MW (4.2% of capacity) and the longest lull was October 18, 19, 20, about 72 hours.

 

What if that area of Europe decided to have 50% of ALL of its energy, not just electrical energy, from wind energy, per Jacobson? How much extra capacity and storage would be needed, including for peaking, filling-in and balancing? CSP with at least 10 h of storage* in the Sahara Desert (vulnerable to terrorists), and an HVDC overlay grid covering the entire area would be required (the offshore energy systems require energy, even when they are down). What would be the capacity? How much would it cost? How many years to implement?

 

* 10 h of storage is understood as 10 h of “full-load” storage, or about 16 h of “60% of full-load” storage, which, in winter, would be barely sufficient for continuous operation, even if the next day has average sun, and if less than average, it would be insufficient. Energy would need to be available from other sources.

 

http://euanmearns.com/a-big-lull/

http://euanmearns.com/wind-blowing-nowhere/

 

NOTE No. 5: The average EROEI of modern, industrial nations is about 14 -18. The US, being more energy intensive, would require an EROEI of about 20, but, unlike other nations, the US has three large energy-consuming sectors, i.e., a huge industrial/military/intelligence complex, and bloated education and healthcare systems, which requires the US to have an EROEI of about 25. See NOTE No. 3.

 

Modern, industrial nations, which are energy-efficient, such as Denmark and Japan, would find it less of a burden to move from high EROEI energy sources, such as FF, nuclear, and hydro, towards low/medium EROEI energy sources, such as wind and solar.

 

The US, being an energy-guzzler, would find such a move much more burdensome. As a minimum, a significant shrinking/restructuring of the above three energy-intensive sectors would be required. 

 

NOTE No. 6: Fossil fuel, hydro and nuclear plants typically have large turbines, synchronous to the power system, which provide plentiful, STEADY, system rotational inertia, for free, whenever operating. However, increasing wind (unsteady rotational inertia) and PV solar (zero rotational inertia) percentages on the grid, while retiring FF and nuclear plants, may result in a power system lacking system rotational inertia, i.e., it becomes unstable, somewhat similar to a sailboat performing best with steady winds, but becoming harder to handle, with increasingly unsteady winds, while parts of the keel are being removed. With interconnections to other grids that still have plentiful system inertia, their inertia may be “borrowed”, when one’s own system is lacking system rotational inertia.

 

http://www.farrierswier.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Best_prac...

http://www.iee.tu-clausthal.de/fileadmin/downloads/20110124_future_...

https://lirias.kuleuven.be/bitstream/123456789/345286/1/Grid_Inerti...

 

ENERGY ALTERNATIVES TO THE JACOBSON PLAN  

 

This article describes a reduction of energy to users, and a transition away from fossil fuels, by means of the following three alternatives. Because Alternative No. 1, with about 55% nuclear, and Alternative No. 2, with about 68% nuclear, have less wind and solar, there would be a lesser requirement for peaking, filling-in and balancing, storage, and grid build-outs.

The Jacobson Plan: Reduce 2050 user energy by 5.4102 quad by means of energy efficiency, with the remaining user energy of 47.6876 quad to be provided as follows:

http://web.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/Articles/I/USStatesWWS.pdf

 

 

Quad

%

Wind

23.7782

50.00

Solar

21.5185

45.25  

Wave, geothermal, hydro, tidal

2.2653

4.76

Plus for peaking, filling-in and balancing

5.5117

 

Alternative No. 1, Same as Jacobson, except as follows: Reduce 2050 user energy by 16.8582 quad by means of energy efficiency, with the remaining user energy of 36.1077 quad to be provided as follows:

 

 

Quad

%

Wind

5.2724

14.60   

Solar

4.7713

13.21 

Wave, geothermal, hydro, tidal

2.2653

6.27

Plus for peaking, filling-in and balancing

1.2221

 

Existing nuclear kept in service

7.7085

21.34

New nuclear

12.3598

34.22  

Existing bio kept in service

3.7470

10.37

No new bio

 

 

Alternative No. 2, Same as Jacobson, except as follows: Reduce 2050 user energy by 16.8582 quad by means of energy efficiency, with the remaining user energy of 36.1077 quad to be provided as follows:

 

 

Quad

%

Wind

2.7849

7.71

Solar

2.7849

7.71 

Wave, geothermal, hydro, tidal

2.2653

6.27

Plus for peaking, filling-in and balancing

0.6777

 

Existing nuclear kept in service

7.7085

21.34

New nuclear

16.8343

46.61

Existing bio kept in service

3.7470

10.37

No new bio

 

 

NOTE: Bioenergy is a local energy source, not scalable for modern, industrial societies. It requires enormous land areas. For example, the wasteful, ethanol-from-corn program required about 31 million of 90 million acres planted in corn to produce 13.9 billion gal of ethanol (1.061 quad) in 2013/2014. The energy inputs to produce the ethanol were about 0.85 quad, for an EROEI = 1.25!!! Whereas bioenergy should exist, it should not be in the form of the politically inspired, wasteful, ethanol-from-corn program. However, due to political pressure, the EPA continues to increase blend requirements; 16.28, 16.93, 18.11 b gal in 2014, 2015, 2016, respectively. See URL.

http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/287061/us-corn-ethanol-p...

http://www.greencarcongress.com/2015/11/20151130-epa.html

 

NOTE: The energy reduction of Alternative Nos. 1 and 2 requires a very modest reduction in energy intensity of 0.667%/y/$ of real GDP for 40 years, i.e., it is assumed to take place despite some real GDP growth. The above data shows, the Jacobson Plan has less than 1/3 of 0.667%/y, which is grossly inadequate. For comparison, Vermont’s energy intensity decreased from 7400 Btu/$ of real GDP in 2000 to 6500 in 2010, for a reduction at 1.15%/y. This was accomplished with mostly low-cost, short-payback EE measures requiring only minor lifestyles adjustments.

 

Instead of the past slavish pursuit of real GDP growth, the better future scenario would be development in parallel with zero real GDP growth. Societies with older-aged populations do not have high real GDP growth. Energy intensity, Btu/$ of real GDP, has been declining, due to advances in technology and energy efficiency policies. 

 

NOTE: 

- Nuclear plants were originally designed for 40 years, because that was the norm at the time. In the US, most plants have been approved for life extensions to 60 years; one of them has applied for a life extension to 80 years. Solar and wind plants last about 25 years.

- The steady, 24/7/365 nuclear energy would be more valuable than the variable, intermittent wind and solar energy, which cannot function on the grid, unless they have 24/7/365 support of other generators for peaking, filling-in and balancing, PLUS extensive grid build-outs, PLUS support of energy storage systems whenever wind and solar are insufficient, whereas this is much less the case for nuclear, as France has proven for over 35 years. This URL has real-time French data, i.e., on November 18, 2015, 50,168 MW nuclear and a grid-wide 69 g CO2 emissions/kWh, much less CO2/kWh than Germany MIGHT have in 2050, after spending about 1.5 – 2.0 TRILLION dollars on its ENERGIEWENDE!!  

http://www.rte-france.com/fr/eco2mix/eco2mix-mix-energetique

- Currently, the US installed nuclear capacity is about 100,000 MW, which needs to be replaced during the next 20 - 25 years.

- Existing thermal reactors burn about 0.7% of the fuel, breeder reactors burn about 99% of the fuel, i.e., much less waste products, PLUS breeder reactors can almost completely burn up the "spent" fuel of existing reactors presently stored at plant sites.

- Uranium in seawater is estimated at 4.4 BILLION metric ton, enough to provide the entire world with electricity for many thousands of years. The cost of fuel is a very small component of the overall lifecycle cost of a nuclear plant. If that cost were to increase by a factor of 2 or 3, it would still be a very small component. See pg. 4 of URL.

- With the nuclear build-out, investments in grids would be minimal, and investments in generators for peaking, filling-in and balancing would be minimal, as nuclear plants can be designed to be load-following, as in France, and investments in energy storage systems also would be minimal.

- Any new nuclear plants would be of standardized design to increase reliability and reduce construction time and cost/MW. Each plant would have 2, 3, or 4 reactors of about 1,000 MW each, mostly located at existing nuclear and coal plant sites to minimize grid modifications. Plants with just one 1000 MW reactor usually are not cost-effective.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peak_uranium

http://www.mcgill.ca/files/gec3/NuclearFissionFuelisInexhaustibleIE...

 

NOTE:

A quad (or quadrillion) of energy = 10^15 Btu = 1.055 x 10^18 joules, or 1.055 exajoules.

A quad of electrical energy = 0.29307 x 10^15 Wh = 293.07 TWh.

1 GJ = 10^9 J = 947,817 Btu.

 

The US DOE, EIA, etc., commonly use quads. This article is mainly for US readers. I could have used SI units, but it would have confused US readers.

 

Reducing Energy Consumption to Reduce CO2 Emissions: Reducing energy consumption is an effective measure to reduce CO2 emissions. The economic collapse of the Soviet Union reduced its CO2 emissions from about 3,900 million metric ton in 1990 to 2,500 in 1995; it has remained near that level since 1997, largely due to increased energy effectiveness/modernization, despite rapid real GDP growth.

 

The PIIGS countries (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain), between 2007 and 2014, reduced their combined energy consumption by about 15%; more correctly, they had it reduced for them by a combination of indebtedness and the 2008/9 global recession. This reduction in energy consumption was accompanied by an about 30% decrease in combined CO2 emissions.

http://euanmearns.com/co2-emissions-reductions-what-history-teaches...

 

ANALYSIS METHOD

 

The Jacobson Report contains a graph (pg. 2113 of URL) from which was obtained information to prepare the following table:

 

 

TW

GWh

Quad

Net energy to users, 2010

2.400

21024.0

71.7371

Net energy to users, 2050, BAU

2.621

22960.0

78.3429

Less avoided FF conv. loss

0.849

7437.2

25.3770

Less energy efficiency

0.181

1585.6

5.4102

Net energy to users, 2050, w/Plan

1.591

13937.2

47.5557

 

http://web.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/Articles/I/USStatesWWS.pdf

 

The existing  + new RE capacity, MW, is required to annually generate about 13937.2 GWh in 2050.  

 

Because annual production  = MW x 8760 h/r x capacity factor = MWh, with known CFs, the MW of each energy source and the total MW can be determined. With known $/MW and roof/land/sea area/MW, the capital cost and area of each energy source and the totals can be determined.

 

In this article, the capital costs of the alternatives were compared on an "overnight" basis, i.e., all is implemented “overnight”. Comparing alternatives "overnight vs. overnight" is common practice, and more easily understood by most people than lifecycle cost analysis.

- Alternative Nos. 1 and 2 use the same capacity factors, and $million/MW, but DIFFERENT percentages of each energy source.

- The assumed unit costs of the alternatives are similar to those used in the Report, with a few exceptions.

- The “At the User” CFs include Transmission and Distribution, Operations and Maintenance, and Array losses, but not above-mentioned PV system aging losses.

 

The Report uses lifecycle cost analysis, which can yield the levelized cost of energy, LCOE, for each energy source and for the system as a whole. Such evaluations include predicting the future course of many assumed values over long periods of time, such as useful service life, operation and maintenance/MWh, interest costs, financing costs, tax benefits, subsidies, accelerated write downs, inflation, price escalation, construction times, etc. Slight changes in assumptions can cause a less good alternative to look favorable, or a not favored alternative to look worse. “Overnight vs. overnight” comparisons have no such complexity and drawbacks.

 

The Jacobson Plan capital cost is about 5.5 times greater, and the roof/land/sea area requirements are about 9 times greater, than of Alternative No. 2. Lifecycle cost analysis would not change those extremely important facts.

 

SUMMARY OF ANALYSIS OF ALTERNATIVES   

 

ENERGY EFFICIENCY

 

It appears, energy efficiency/modernization is a superior approach to reduce energy to users, as it certainly would be much less costly than new nuclear, wind, solar and bio build-outs, and would have minimal demand on scarce resources, and minimal impacts on the environment.

 

ALTERNATIVES 1 AND 2

 

 

Capital Cost*

Added Capacities

Add.’l Area

 

 

$billion

MW

acres

sq. miles

Jacobson

23.164

6,288,911

175,850,940

274,767

Alternative No. 1

6,291

1,578,048

40,981,875

64,034

Alternative No. 2

4,147

951,595

21,914,182

34,241

 

*Capital costs are based on present, real-world values, $million/MW. Capacities, MW, are as stated in the Jacobson report.

 

Jacobson (95% wind and solar of ALL primary energy) has an estimated capital cost of about 5.5 times, and an estimated area of about 9 times that of Alternative No. 2. It would have enormous visual impacts. 

 

Capital Cost Required by 2050: Below are the capital cost estimates of the three alternatives, $billion, based on present real-world costs/MW

 

Jacobson 

Alt. No. 1

Alt. No. 2

Onshore wind

3280

724

362

Offshore wind

3115

775

388

Wave

243

243

243

Geothermal

62

62

62

Hydro

12

12

12

Tidal

49

49

49

Total solar

10930

2412

1206

Nuclear

0

788

1121

Bio

 

 

 

Total

18091

5065

3443 

Peaking/filling-in/balancing

2967

655

327

Total

21058

5719

3770

Grid build-outs

2106

572

377

Total

23164

6291

4147

$billion/y, 2015 – 2050

662

180

118

 

Assumptions for “overnight” capital costs:

 

 

Present Real-World Costs

Jacobson 

 

$million/MW

$million/MW

Onshore turbine cost, installed

2.0

1.4

Offshore turbine cost, installed

4.5

3.0

Wave

9.0

3.0

Geothermal

3.0

1.7

Hydro

3.0

2.0

Tidal

5.5

3.0

Residen’l Roof PV

3.5

1.75

Com’l/gov roof

3.0

1.5

Solar PV plant

3.0

1.5

CSP with 10-h storage

8.0

2.5

Nuclear

5.5

N/A

Bio

3.0

N/A

 

The assumed Jacobson overnight capital costs, $million/MW, are significantly less than present real-world costs. As a result the Jacobson overnight capital cost is about $15,544 billion, which appears to be much too low, based on present real-world costs/MW.

http://www.rmi.org/RFGraph-Capital_cost_US_pressurized_water_reactors

http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/capitalcost/pdf/updated_capcost.pdf

https://web.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/Articles/I/FAQsUSState...

irena_re_power_costs_2014_report

http://www.irena.org/documentdownloads/publications/irena_re_power_...

 

NOTE:

- The capital costs of building out energy efficiency are NOT included in the above tables.

- The capital costs of the items under NOTE No. 1 in the introduction also are not included.

 

Capacities Required by 2050: Below is a summary of required capacities for the three alternatives, MW.

 

 

 

Jacobson 

Alternative No. 1

Alternative No. 2

 

Capacity 2050

Added Capacity

Added Capacity

Added Capacity

Onshore

1701000

1640000

361864

180932

Offshore

780900

781000

172327

86163

Wave

27040

27038

27038

27038

Geothermal

 23250

20800

20800

20800

Tidal

 3900

3900

3900.

3900

Hydro

 8823

8823

8823

8823

Rooftop PV

 379500

375950

82953

41476

Com’l/gov roof

 276500

274700

60612

30306

Utility-scale PV

 2326000

2324000

512787

256394

CSP with storage

 227300

227300

50153

25077

Nuclear

 

 

143211

203897 

Bio

 

 

 

 

Peaking/filling-in/balancing

 

 

 

 

CSP with storage

136400

136400

30096

15048

Solar thermal storage

469000

469000

103484

51742

Total

6447363

6288911

1578048

951595

 

 

Capacity Factors: The calculated “At User” CFs required to produce a total of 13975.2 TWh in 2050 are as follows:

 

 

 At User

At Turbine

 At Generator

 

 

 All Losses

No Array Loss 

Wind onshore

 0.28930

0.3502*

 

Wind offshore

 0.38854

0.4703*

 

Wave

 0.24505

.0.2818

 

Geothermal

 0.83500

0.9603*

 

Hydro

 0.55844

0.5962*

 

Tidal

 

0.25301

0.2910

Roof top

 

0.16879

0.1941*

Com/gov rooftop

 

0.18505

0.2128*

Utility-scale PV

 

0.20945

0.2409*

CSP

 

0.51697

0.5945^

Nuclear

 

0.84150

0.9000

 

http://www.irena.org/documentdownloads/publications/re_technologies...

 

^ With 10-h storage

*Those are very optimistic values for national average CFs for wind turbines, hydro, etc. As a result of the higher assumed values, the capacities, capital costs and roof/land/sea areas of the Jacobson Alternative are understated. See examples of real world CFs.

 

Real-World Solar PV Example: Rooftop CFs in New England are about 0.125, less than the theoretical 0.145, about 14% less, because all roofs are not properly angled, do not face solar south, are not dust-free, are sometimes partially/fully covered by snow, are sometimes partial shaded, are sometimes down during maintenance, and all PV systems lose performance due to aging at about 0.5%/y, or 12% at year 25.

 

Real-World Solar PV Example: Germany has a similar reduction in CF. On April 20 2015, Germany had an all-time peak output of 25,029 MW(ac), for about 20 minutes, from an installed 38,546 MW(dc) at end March 2015, or 25029/38546 = 65% of installed capacity, whereas it should have been 30837 MW(ac) = 80% of installed capacity. The 15% short fall was due to real world conditions.

http://www.solarchoice.net.au/blog/news/german-solar-pv-production-...

 

NOTE: The above capital costs and capacities, MW, for PV solar are understated by at least 22.54%, because PV systems would need to be oversized to compensate for steady state losses with the panel population maintaining an average age of 20.

 

 

Ave Age, y

Base Loss, %

Aging Loss,%

Total Loss,%

New England

2

13

1

14

Germany

4

13

2

15

Steady state

20

13

9.54

22.54

 

NOTE: The “At User” CFs were adjusted for transmission, distribution, maintenance time, and array losses. Here is a sample calculation:

 

 

Loss, %

Array

No Array

T&D

6.5

 

 

O&M

7.0

 

 

Array

5.0

 

 

Loss factor

 

0.826

0.870

 

Per the Report, the proposed, very large, highly visible, environment-damaging energy system would have an overall CF = 13975.8/(6447363 x 8760) = 0.247, significantly less than the 0.443 of the US electrical system in 2013. About 90 - 95% of that capacity would have a useful service life of less than 25 years, i.e., high replacement rates.

 

http://web.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/Articles/I/USStatesWWS.pdf

https://www.skepticalscience.com/print.php?n=3089

http://www.vox.com/2015/6/9/8748081/us-100-percent-renewable-energy

 

Roof/land/sea Areas Required by 2050: Below is a summary of the required NEW roof/land/sea areas for the three alternatives, acres.

 

 

 

Jacobson

Alternative No. 1

Alternative No. 2

 

 acre/MW

acre

 acre

acre

Wind onshore

6

98400000

21711817

10855909

Wind offshore

60

46860000

10339591

5169795

Wave

60

1622250

1622250

1622250

Geothermal

1

20800

20800

20800

Hydro^

200

780000

780000

780000

Tidal

30

264690

264690

264690

Roof top

8

3007600

663623

331811

Com/gov rooftop

8

2197600

484897

242449

Utility-scale PV

8

18592000

4102298

2051149

CSP with storage

10

2273000

501534

250767

Nuclear

0.6

 

85926.

122338

Bio

 

 

 

 

Peaking/filling-in/balancing

 

 

 

 

CSP with storage

 10

1364000

300965

150482

Solar thermal storage

 

1469000

103484

51742

Total

 

 175850940

40981875

21914182

 

^ Hydro area depends on hilliness, reservoir capacity, precipitation, etc.

 

http://www.aweo.org/windarea.html

http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/articles/2013/08/calculating-so...

 

Material Requirements for Build-outs of Wind and Solar Systems: Jacobson would require many times the installed wind and solar capacity of 2014. This would require a significant increase in mining- and downstream infrastructures and their operation to implement the build-outs during the next 35 years.   

 

During the mining phase, it may become apparent there are not enough scarce materials AT A LOW ENOUGH COST to mass-produce the required number of wind turbines and solar panels for worldwide build-outs.

 

The nuclear alternative would require about 2 times the installed capacity of 2014. As the US, with a much smaller economy, has already proven it can build 100,000 MW of nuclear power plant capacity in about 30 years, the build-out of the nuclear alternative likely would not burden the much larger US economy any more than did the earlier build-out.

 

Further, nuclear fuel exists in abundance, as noted above, and, if harvested from oceans, remains just a very small part of the total lifetime cost input of nuclear plants, which likely would be designed for 60-year useful service lives.

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Comment by Paula D Kelso on July 6, 2017 at 12:49pm

A little heavy reading for this summer day, but does provoke thinking which Payne's 'facts and figures' don't.

First Prize

NE Book Festival

 

Maine as Third World Country:

CMP Transmission Rate Skyrockets 19.6% Due to Wind Power

 

Click here to read how the Maine ratepayer has been sold down the river by the Angus King cabal.

Maine Center For Public Interest Reporting – Three Part Series: A CRITICAL LOOK AT MAINE’S WIND ACT (excerpts) From Part 1 – On Maine’s Wind Law “Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine if the law’s goals were met." . – Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, August 2010  http://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/wind-power-bandwagon-hits-bumps-in-the-road-3/From Part 2 – On Wind and Oil Yet using wind energy doesn’t lower dependence on imported foreign oil. That’s because the majority of imported oil in Maine is used for heating and transportation. And switching our dependence from foreign oil to Maine-produced electricity isn’t likely to happen very soon, says Bartlett. “Right now, people can’t switch to electric cars and heating – if they did, we’d be in trouble.” So was one of the fundamental premises of the task force false, or at least misleading?"  http://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/wind-swept-task-force-set-the-rules/From Part 3 – On Wind-Required New Transmission Lines Finally, the building of enormous, high-voltage transmission lines that the regional electricity system operator says are required to move substantial amounts of wind power to markets south of Maine was never even discussed by the task force – an omission that Mills said will come to haunt the state.“If you try to put 2,500 or 3,000 megawatts in northern or eastern Maine – oh, my god, try to build the transmission!” said Mills. “It’s not just the towers, it’s the lines – that’s when I begin to think that the goal is a little farfetched.” http://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/flaws-in-bill-like-skating-with-dull-skates/

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