NYT: This Eminent Scientist Says Climate Activists Need to Get Real

I don't agree with everything that scientist Vaclav Smil says here, but it's refreshing to hear from someone who has the confidence to call BS on the delusional. Speaking one's mind .....there is hope.

This Eminent Scientist Says Climate Activists Need to Get Real

By David Marches

The “really” in the title of Vaclav Smil’s newest book, “How the World Really Works: The Science Behind How We Got Here and Where We’re Going,” is doing some heavy lifting. Implicit in the renowned energy scientist’s usage is the idea that most of us are uninformed or just plain wrong about the fundamentals of the global economy. He aims to correct that — to recenter materials rather than electronic flows of data as the bedrock of modern life — largely through examining what he calls the four pillars of modern civilization: cement, steel, plastics and ammonia. (The production and use of all four currently requires burning huge amounts of fossil carbon.) Which brings us back to that “really.” In the context of Smil’s book, which will be published May 10, the word is also a rebuke to those calling for rapid decarbonization in order to combat global warming. “I am not talking about what could be done,” says Smil, who is 78 and who counts Bill Gates among his many devotees. “I’m looking at the world as it is.”

One of the fundamental arguments in 

your new book1

1Smil, a distinguished emeritus professor at the University of Manitoba, has published more than 40 books on an impressively broad array of topics. They include “Growth: From Microorganisms to Megacities”; “Global Catastrophes and Trends: The Next 50 Years”; and “The Earth’s Biosphere: Evolution, Dynamics, and Change.”

 is that in order to have a serious discussion about an energy transition that gets us away from burning fossil carbon, we need a shared acknowledgment of the material realities of the world. Which is to say, an acknowledgment that our current way of life is dependent on burning that fossil carbon. But do you believe decarbonization should be the goal? And if rapid decarbonization isn’t feasible, then what’s the best way to stop heating the planet? The most important thing to understand is the scale. An energy transition affecting a country of one million people is very different from a transition affecting a nation of more than one billion. It is one thing to invest a few billion dollars, another to find one trillion. This is where we are in terms of global civilization: This transition has to happen on a billion and trillion scales. Now, according to 

COP26,2

2The 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference, held in Glasgow last fall.

 we should reduce our carbon dioxide emissions by 45 percent by 2030 as compared with 2010 levels. This is undoable because there’s just eight years left, and emissions are still rising. People don’t appreciate the magnitude of the task and are setting up artificial deadlines which are unrealistic. Now, to answer your question. If you assume that carbon dioxide is our deadliest problem, then of course we should decarbonize totally. But people say by 2050 — they call it “net” carbon emissions. The I.P.C.C., they don’t say zero, they say “net zero.” Leaving that cushion — one billion, five billion, 10 billion tons of CO2 we will still be emitting but taking care of by carbon sequestration. Is it realistic that we’ll be 

sequestering so rapidly on such a scale?3

3Especially considering that we have yet to develop a widespread and widely agreed upon method of carbon sequestration.

 People toss out these deadlines without any reflection on the scale and the complexity of the problem. Decarbonization by 2030? Really?

I understand the problem of setting difficult goals, but aren’t goals necessary for orienting our actions? What’s the point of setting goals which cannot be achieved? People call it aspirational. I call it delusional. We are forging ahead with 

more S.U.V.s,4

4On average, S.U.V.s in the United States put out 14 percent more carbon dioxide than small passenger cars. Additionally, the International Energy Agency released a study in 2019 that found S.U.V.s to have been more responsible for increasing carbon emissions over the previous decade than heavy industry, trucks, aviation and shipping.

 we are building bigger houses, we want to invent new techniques to make more steel. But do we need all that more and bigger? I’m not against setting a goal. I’m all for realistic goals. I will not yield on this point. It’s misleading and doesn’t serve any use because we will not achieve it, and then people say, What’s the point? I’m all for goals but for strict realism in setting them.

When you talk about S.U.V.s and building bigger houses, you’re really talking about people’s consumption choices. Do you think changing those is an easier goal than decarbonizing? Well, we changed people’s consumption by letting them have their S.U.V.s. We can change people the other way. We could say, To save the planet people should drive smaller cars. If you drive a smaller car, you get a rebate. If you drive an S.U.V., you pay a surcharge. There are many ways to go around bringing rational goals. You don’t have to invent new things to solve these problems. This promise of inventions — 3-D printing! Houses will be printed! Cars will be printed! Have you seen any printed houses and cars? We live in this world of exaggerated promises and delusional pop science. I’m trying to bring it onto some modest track of reality and common sense. The official goal in the U.S. is complete decarbonization of electricity generation by 2035. That’s Biden’s program: zero-carbon electricity in 2035. The country doesn’t have a national grid! How will you decarbonize and run the country by wind and solar without a national grid? And what will it take to build a national grid in a NIMBY society like the U.S.?

That I don’t know, but aren’t there credible pathways to decarbonizing the grid? Mark Jacobson at Stanford has said we have most of the technology we need to produce America’s power renewably and keep the grid secure and stable by 2035. Or what about the example of countries like Norway or Namibia that are producing a vast majority of their energy from renewables? Check the China statistics. The country is adding, every year, gigawatts of new coal-fired power. Have you noticed that the whole world is now trying to get hands on as much natural gas as possible? This world is not yet done with fossil fuels. Germany, after nearly half a trillion dollars, in 20 years they went from getting 84 percent of their primary energy from fossil fuels to 

76 percent.5

5In 2000, Germany began its Energiewende policy, an attempt to decarbonize the country’s primary energy supply. At the time, fossil fuels accounted for nearly 84 percent of that supply. By 2020, that share had decreased by only about 8 percent.

 Can you tell me how you’d go from 76 percent fossil to zero by 2030, 2035? I’m sorry, the reality is what it is.

You know 

Pascal’s wager?6

6Which, roughly speaking, is the argument proposed by the 17th-century French philosopher Blaise Pascal that belief in God is a good bet because the potential benefits far outweigh any drawbacks.

 Yes, of course.

Couldn’t we think about the problem of decarbonization in similar terms? Like, yes, maybe all the effort to transition to renewables won’t work, but the potential upside is enormous. Why not operate according to that logic? This is the misunderstanding people have: that we’ve been slothful and neglectful and doing nothing. True, we have too many S.U.V.s and build too many big houses and 

waste too much food.7

7U.S. food waste has been estimated to total between 30 and 40 percent of our entire food supply.

 But at the same time we are constantly transitioning and innovating. We went from coal to oil to natural gas, and then as we were moving into natural gas we moved into nuclear electricity, and we started building lots of large hydro, and they do not emit any carbon dioxide directly. So we’ve been transitioning to lower-carbon sources or noncarbon sources for decades. Moreover, we’ve been making our burning of carbon much more efficient. We are constantly transitioning to more efficient, more effective and less environmentally harmful things. So, yes, we’ve been wasteful, but our engineers are not asleep. Even those S.U.V.s, as wasteful as they are, are getting better than they were 10 years ago. The world is constantly improving.

Vaclav Smil teaching at the University of Manitoba, whose faculty he joined in 1972. University of Manitoba

Even though we’re constantly improving, we’re also facing an imminent catastrophe in climate change. I wonder if that makes it hard for people to internalize the improvement. This is also making me think of a paper you wrote about the future of natural gas in which you referred to Bill McKibben as America’s 

“leading climate catastrophist.”8

8That was in a paper published by a nonprofit arm of the Spain-based natural gas and electricity company Naturgy, in which Smil took aim at the climate activist McKibben’s contention that moving from coal to natural gas was tantamount to breaking “our Oxycontin habit by taking up heroin instead.”

 Is he wrong? What is “imminent”? In science you have to be careful with your words. We’ve had these problems ever since we started to burn fossil fuels on a large scale. We haven’t bothered to do anything about it. There is no excuse for that. We could have chosen a different path. But this is not our only imminent and global problem. About one billion people are either undernourished or malnourished. The fact of possible nuclear war these days. Remember what they used to say about Gerald Ford? He can’t walk and chew gum at the same time. This is the problem of society today. We cannot do three things at the same time. So who decides what is imminent?

That’s not quite an answer to the question. I may have used the word “imminent” coarsely, but what about the word “catastrophe”? For more than 30 years, global warming has been making headlines. We’ve been aware of this for 30 years, on a planetary scale — all these I.P.C.C. meetings. Our emissions have been going up steadily every year. So here’s the question: Why haven’t we done anything? I could give you a list of things we could do but we haven’t done. Why do we keep saying it’s a catastrophic problem but do nothing about it?

Because of systemic and institutional inertia combined with vested interests working against change. But you aren’t suggesting that because we haven’t done enough in the past, then we don’t need to do something in the future? No. I’m just telling you that this is a totally unprecedented problem, and people don’t realize how difficult it will be to deal with. You don’t have to have 200 countries to sign on the dotted line to reduce emissions. But you have to have at least all the big emitters: China, the United States, India, Russia. What are the chances today of Russia, China and the U.S. signing on the dotted line as to the actual reduction of emissions by 2030? Also please notice that the Paris agreement has no legally binding language. In an ideal world, we could cut our emissions 

if we put our minds into it.9

9In Smil’s view, that means, as he told me, “doing things on the margins” — i.e., with far greater efficiency and less waste than we do them now.

 But the point is it has to be done by all these actors in concert. Are we going to come together and make that global compact to make it work? That’s the question.

So how do you understand the risk of climate change? Are we just screwed? The key to understanding risk — forget about climate change — is very simple. It’s discounting the future. People will eat pork bellies and drink a liter of alcohol every day because the joy of eating pork belly and drinking surpasses the possible bad payoff 30 years down the road. Suppose we start investing like crazy and start bringing down the carbon as rapidly as possible. The first beneficiaries will be people living in the 2070s because of what’s already in the system. The temperature will keep rising even as we are reducing these emissions. So you are asking people now to make quote-unquote sacrifices while the first benefits will accrue to their children and the real benefits will accrue to their grandchildren. You have to redo the basic human wiring in the brain to change this risk analysis and say, I value 2055 or 2060 as much as I value tomorrow. None of us is wired to think that way.

I wonder if you and I might just have different ideas about human behavior. Isn’t it in our nature to help our children survive? Or, I don’t know, I eat much less meat than I used to; I’m moving into a new house and looking at solar panels and heat pumps. These aren’t things I was thinking about until climate change caused a social tipping point. So am I naïve, or are you pessimistic? Yes and no. It depends. Also, there is nothing wrong with the heat pump, but proper insulation, that’s much better in the long run. The point is that we are being greedy, we are wasting yet improving our efficiencies at the same time. This is where I become unpalatable to the media because I do not have one message like “everything is getting better.” I see it as checkered. People do sacrifice for our children, take the right steps. But the same people who will buy a solar panel and heat pump will buy an S.U.V. People will stop eating meat, then fly for a vacation in Toscana. We are messy, hard-to-define individuals. We are subject to fashions and whims — this is the beauty of humanity. Most of us are trying to do the right things with climate, but it is difficult when you have to move on the energy front, food front, materials front. People have to realize that this problem is unprecedented because of the numbers — billions of everything — and the pressure of acting rapidly as we never acted before. This doesn’t make it hopeless, but it makes it excruciatingly more difficult.

Smil speaking at a conference in Madrid in 2019. Fundación Naturgy

Do you think we are facing a civilizational threat in climate change? I cannot answer that question without having the threat defined. What does it mean? You’ve seen it with Covid: Was Covid an unprecedented catastrophe, as many people portrayed it? Or was it nothing, as other people portrayed it? Anti-lockdown, anti-mask people would say, Oh, it’s another flu. Clearly it was not another flu. But you know as well that it was not an unprecedented catastrophe. What do you want me to say? I cannot tell you that we don’t have a problem because we do have a problem. But I cannot tell you it’s the end of the world by next Monday because it is not the end of the world by next Monday. What’s the point of you pressing me to belong to one of these groups? We have a problem; it will be difficult to solve. Even more difficult than people think.................................

Please continue reading at:

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2022/04/25/magazine/vaclav-smil...

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Comment by Willem Post on April 28, 2022 at 12:06pm

The Ukrainians must feel like fools taken for a deadly ride, by the US/NATO-trained AZOV, Nazi-style fanatics, some of whom are still holding out in Mariupol.

The Ukraine people elected a government that sucked up to the US to get weapons, training, and $billions

That government used “suck-up-to-US” Poland as its role model.

The Ukrainians physically and mentally suffer, and have enormous damage to their country, and have a collapsed economy, and have their armed forces get damaged, so that the US long-term policy goal of “weakening” Russia will be achieved.

Ukrainians will be wondering: “Where is the beef?”

THE UKRAINE PLOT IS THICKENING WITH GERMANY AND FRANCE BARELY IN LOCKSTEP WITH US/UK-LED NATO
https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/the-plot-is-thickening...

Comment by Willem Post on April 28, 2022 at 11:40am

Often, people are exposed to mantras, such as:

 

DO THIS AND THAT, BY SUCH AND SUCH DATE, OR THE WORLD WILL BE DOOMED

 

Let’s get real

 

New England is TOO small to affect anything regarding the climate, etc.


The BEST thing for New Englanders is ENERGY EFFICIENCY and MUCH SMALLER STATE GOVERNMENTS

 

Here is an example of a very expensive experiment:

 

Germany, population about 84 million, reduced its fossil fuel primary energy from 84% to 76% of total primary energy, after spending at least $500 billion on its ENERGIEWENDE for over 20 years. That is the official number. The real number is at least $700 billion.

 

The $700 billion likely was borrowed, so the interest on it would be about $30 billion per year, which is accounted for somewhere else, per government bookkeeping rules

 

Eight percent of FF reduction for $700 billion, or $700 billion/84 million people = $8,333/per person per 20 years, or $400/person/y, or $1,600 per family of 4, per year, not counting interest on borrowed money.

 

Remember, a lot of this includes low-hanging fruits, such as changing light bulbs, insulating, sealing, more efficient vehicles and appliances.

It gets more difficult and more expensive to make each ADDITIONAL percent reduction!!!

Something they do not tell you about in school, or elsewhere.

 

By this time, the EARLY solar and wind systems are being REPLACED with new ones, and on and on it goes. Where do you landfill all THAT junk?

 

This dismal example was accomplished by a rich, technologically advanced country, which most European countries, and New England, and the rest of the world, could not imitate

 

Germany ruined its countryside with 500 to 600 ft tall wind turbines and solar systems all over Germany (to socially and "equitably" spread the blight), and deforested millions of acres for generating electricity from burning trees.

 

Germany increased its household electricity rates by more than 250% over these 20+ years

Germany and Denmark, another wind maven, have the highest household electricity rates in Europe, about 30 EUROCENT/kWh

 

In Germany, and the rest of Europe, a major increase in household and commercial/industrial electricity rates is in process, due to:

 

1) Increased inflation rates, increased interest rates, and increased energy and materials prices 

 

2) The US using NATO to help Ukraine fight and weaken Russia for the next few years; a mini-version of WW-III

 

For Germany, and the rest of Europe, fighting climate change will be at the bottom of the list, despite Brussels declarations to do this and that, by such and such date.

 

ECONOMIC ADJUSTMENTS TO NEW REALITIES, SUCH AS THE END OF PETRO-DOLLARS, AND TYING THE VALUE OF CURRENCIES, NOT TO CENTRAL BANK MONEY PRESSES, BUT TO GOLD AND NATURAL RESOURCES, WILL BE A SOBERING PROCESS FOR THE US AND EU FOR YEARS.

 

Comment by Willem Post on April 28, 2022 at 10:41am

Penny,

You are right.

EVs used to have big parasitic/phantom loads, when parked.

They are much less at present.

You are living off the grid, so saving every kWh counts.

Comment by Penny Gray on April 28, 2022 at 9:41am

Thank you Willem Post for all your relevant information.  I'd like to add on the energy efficiency side that phantom loads should be banned.  I have an inverter that only comes on when an electrical load is triggered.  I can hear the inverter making a soft buzzing if it's on.  Otherwise it's silent and remains in search mode.  I've discovered that almost all electrical implements have a phantom draw, from stereos, TVs, Waterpik, you name it, when it's "off" it's really "On" and drawing electricity.  Eliminating this would save a tremendous amount of electricity.  In lieu of that, plugging appliances into a "power sentry" that can be shut off works quite well and has made a big difference in the health of my little battery bank.

Comment by Willem Post on April 27, 2022 at 11:49am

EXCERPT from:

POOR ECONOMICS AND MINIMAL CO2 REDUCTION OF ELECTRIC VEHICLES IN NEW ENGLAND

https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/poor-economics-of-elec...

 

This article describes the efficiency of electric vehicles, EVs, and their charging loss, when charging at home and on-the-road, and the economics, when compared with efficient gasoline vehicles.

  

In this article,

 

Total cost of an EV, c/mile = Operating cost, c/mile + Owning cost, c/mile, i.e., amortizing the difference of the MSRPs of an EV versus an equivalent, efficient gasoline vehicle; no options, no destination charge, no sales tax, no subsidies.

 

CO2 reduction of equivalent vehicles, on a lifetime, A-to-Z basis = CO2 emissions of an efficient gasoline vehicle, say 30 to 40 mpg - CO2 emissions of an EV

 

SUMMARY

 

Real-World Concerns About the Economics of EVs

 

It may not be such a good idea to have a proliferation of EVs, because of:

 

1) Their high initial capital costs; about 50% greater than equivalent gasoline vehicles.

2) The widespread high-speed charging facilities required for charging "on the road".

3) The loss of valuable time when charging "on the road".

4) The high cost of charging/kWh, plus exorbitant penalties, when charging “on-the-road”.

 

High-Mileage Hybrids a Much Better Alternative Than EVs

 

The Toyota Prius, and Toyota Prius plug-in, which get up to 54 mpg, EPA combined, would:

 

1) Have much less annual owning and operating costs than any EV, for at least the next ten years.

2) Have minimal wait-times, as almost all such plug-ins would be charging at home 

3) Be less damaging to the environment, because their batteries would have very low capacity, kWh

4) Impose much less of an additional burden on the electric grids.

 

Hybrid vehicles, such as the Toyota Prius, save about the same amount of CO₂ as electric cars over their lifetime, plus:

 

1) They are cost-competitive with gasoline vehicles, even without subsidies.

2) They do not require EV chargers, do not induce range anxiety, can be refilled in minutes, instead of hours. 

3) Climate change does not care about where CO₂ comes from. Gasoline cars are only about 7% of global CO2 emissions. Replacing them with electric cars would only help just a little, on an A to Z, lifetime basis.

 

“Electrify Everything”; an easily uttered slogan

 

It would require:                                                                     

 

- Additional power plants, such as nuclear, wind, solar, hydro, bio

- Additional grid augmentation/expansion to connect wind and solar systems, and to carry the loads for EVs and heat pumps

- Additional battery systems to store midday solar output surges for later use, i.e., DUCK-curve management.

- Additional command/control-orchestrating (turning off/on appliances, heat pumps, EVs, etc.) by utilities to avoid overloading distribution and high voltage electric grids regarding:

 

1) Charging times of EVs and operating times of heat pumps

2) Operating times of major appliances

3) Demands of commercial/industrial businesses

 

CO2 Reduction of an EV, based on real-world values

 

According to the Haas study, EVs are driven an average of 7,000 miles/y, compared to 12,000 miles/y for the US and VT LDV mix.

The difference holds for: 1) all-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, 2) single- and multiple-vehicle households, and 3) inside and outside California. See URL

Comment by Willem Post on April 27, 2022 at 11:48am

EXCERPT from:

THE UKRAINE PLOT IS THICKENING WITH GERMANY AND FRANCE BARELY IN LOCKSTEP WITH US/UK-LED NATO

https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/the-plot-is-thickening...

 

I do not approve of any wars anywhere, including in Korea, Vietnam, NATO bombing Serbia, Afghanistan, the Middle East, Libya and Ukraine.

 

This article, “Shades of Gray in the Russia-Ukraine War”, provides an excellent summary of historic developments. It should be read for background. Zelensky was elected on a “Peace-with-Russia” platform. Despite the terms of the Minsk agreements, the powers surrounding Zelensky have been unwilling to talk to and negotiate about home-rule with the leaders in the Donbas region in East Ukraine, for eight years.

https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/shades-gray-russia-ukraine-w...

 

US-led Color Revolution/Coup d’Etat of Ukraine: I wrote this article, because Russia-hating, extremists in the US State Department and US Congress have been using NATO to pressure first the USSR, then Russia.

 

They have been deluding impoverished, corrupt Ukraine with promises of future membership in the EU and NATO, since 1990

They have been weaponizing Ukraine against Russia ever since the US/EU-instigated color revolution/coup d’etat in 2014

 

Separatists in East Ukraine: In 2014, millions of Russian-speaking Ukrainians, mostly in East Ukraine, decided not to support the US-installed, puppet Kiev government.

 

Here is:

 

1) A 2014-transcript of the conversations between Assistant Secretary of State Nuland and Ambassador Pyatt, including, by Nuland: OK. He's now gotten both Serry and [UN Secretary General] Ban Ki-moon to agree that Serry could come in Monday or Tuesday. So that would be great, I think, to help glue this thing and to have the UN help glue it and, you know, Fuck the EU.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-26079957

 

2) A U-tube video with viewer’s comments

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MSxaa-67yGM#t=89

 

There has been no real “government” in Kiev since 2014; the US ambassador is in charge, because he dispenses $billions to impoverished, aid-dependent Ukraine.

 

An anti-Russia doctrine has been hatched in Washington to foment war in Europe. As part of the doctrine, the US pressured Ukraine not to implement the signed Minsk 2 agreements for 8 years, to keep the anti-Russian pot boiling.

 

The neo-Nazi-inspired, NATO-trained Ukraine army, on the line of separation, has been committing genocide of Dombas people, who fired back. Net result 15,000 dead, plus many more wounded over 8 years

 

The US/UK-supplied defensive and offensive weapons, plus military training personnel to Ukraine, so it could “defend itself”

 

At the urging of the US, Ukraine “floated” the idea of Ukraine having an “Iron Dome” similar to Israel, and reacquiring nuclear weapons.

 

This article presents an excellent history of US policy versus Russia since 1945

https://www.lifesitenews.com/opinion/monumental-provocation-how-us-...

 

EU countries reluctantly agree to sanction Russia, as otherwise they would lose access to US markets, even though it means forfeiting their profitable trade with Russia.

 

EU countries insisted on continued imports of Russian natural gas and oil, as otherwise their economies would be in depression.

https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/escobar-how-russia-will-coun...

 

Predicted Russian Reactions: Russia made certain demands regarding:

 

1) NATO encroachments beyond East Germany starting in 1999, which took place after the US/UK/German promise to Gorbachev in 1990 not to expand beyond East Germany.

 

2) The indivisibility of Russian and European security; i.e., not increase your own security at the expense of someone else’s.

 

The US/UK-led NATO rejected the demands, and offered, likely as a diversionary tactic, to talk about side issues, that had originally been raised by Russia, but ignored.

 

Russia demanded the demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine, and invaded Ukraine to make it happen.

 

Promises of the West to Russia: US Secretary of State Baker, and German Chancellor Genschler, and USSR President Gorbachev agreed East Germany would be reunited with West Germany and all of Germany would be in NATO (so it would not ever be a threat to Russia), and NATO would not expand (“not one inch”, per Baker) beyond East Germany.

NATO did expand to Russian borders, starting in 1999 to the present, for “defensive purposes”.

https://warontherocks.com/2019/11/promises-made-promises-broken-wha...

 

Some people say: 1) the Heads of State and Secretaries of State making the promises were not “authorized”, or 2) nothing was officially written down in agreement documents, which, de facto, implies:

 

1) The verbal promises of US/UK/EU/NATO-combo mean nothing

2) “The West” would determine the security of the East Europe, etc., regardless of Russia’s security; might makes right!

 

Here is an excellent history of NATO expansion by a Canadian, who thinks NATO is a problem, not a solution

https://yvesengler.com/2022/03/21/nato-is-a-problem-not-the-solution/

 

Here is an excellent interview regarding the post-Cold-War order being replaced by a multi-Polar order, by former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, the son of a Russian Ambassador stationed in Ireland.

https://www.rt.com/russia/552745-medvedev-west-relations-rt-interview/

 

The EU Conundrum: The EU is partially at fault, as it did not assert itself regarding the Kiev coup d’etat in 2014

The EU decided to become an aider and abettor of US policy goals regarding Ukraine in 2014, and onwards

The EU present predicament is significantly at variance with its vital interests.

Comment by Willem Post on April 27, 2022 at 11:45am

Excerpt from:

HEAT PUMPS ARE MONEY LOSERS IN MY VERMONT HOUSE, AS THEY ARE IN ALMOST ALL NEW ENGLAND HOUSES

https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/heat-pumps-are-money-l...

 

Vermont “Electrify-Everything” Goals Will Cost $Billions and Will Reduce Little CO2

 

The Vermont state government wants to electrify-everything (heat pumps, electric cars, and transit and school buses, no matter the:

 

1) Very high turnkey capital cost,

2) Very meager energy cost savings

3) Very meager CO2 reductions, on an A-to-Z, lifetime basis.

 

VT-DPS Survey of Vermont Heat Pumps

 

VT-DPS commissioned CADMUS to perform a survey of Vermont heat pumps, after numerous complaints from HP users regarding: 1) high electric bills and 2) minimal annual savings

 

The average energy cost savings regarding HPs was about $200/HP, as proven by the CADMUS survey report of operating data of 77 existing HP installations.

 

Those meager energy savings would be more than offset by the annual amortizing cost of $4,500/HP at 3.5%/y for 15 years, plus any annual maintenance costs, and parts and labor costs. HPs are money losers for Vermonters. See URLs

 

The result of Vermont’s HP saga been:

 

1) Lucrative benefits to the Efficiency-Vermont-Approved HP installers

2) Lucrative benefits to Canadian-owned GMP, which sells oodles more high-priced electricity.

3) Everyone else getting royally screwed; an example of “fighting” climate change, a la Don-Quixote tilting at wind mills.

 

My Experience with Heat Pumps in my Well-Insulated, Well-Sealed House

 

I installed three heat pumps by Mitsubishi, rated 24,000 Btu/h at 47F, Model MXZ-2C24NAHZ2, each with 2 heads, each with remote control; 2 in the living room, 1 in the kitchen, and 1 in each of 3 bedrooms.

 

The HPs have DC variable-speed, motor-driven compressors and fans, which improves the efficiency of low-temperature operation.

The HPs last about 15 years. Turnkey capital cost was $24,000. GMP, the electric utility, provided a $2,400 subsidy.

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/vermont-co2-reduction-o...

 

My house has a wall-hung, efficient, propane furnace to provide: 1) space heating, and 2) domestic hot water, year-round.

 

The basement has a near-steady temperature throughout the year, because it has 2” of blueboard, R-10, on the outside of the concrete foundation and under the basement slab; the thermal storage of the concrete acts as a temperature stabilizer, which has saved me many thousands of space heating dollars over 35 years.

 

Winter Operation: Downstairs heads are used for space heating during winter. Upstairs heads are always off during winter.

If the sun is shining, my south-facing house warms up, and the HPs can be turned off by about 10 AM. They are turned on again around 4 to 5 PM

 

The basement has two small propane heaters to provide space heat to my 1,300 sq ft basement during winter; that heat rises to warm up the first floor. The heaters require no electricity, which is beneficial during a power outage.

 

Summer Operation: The downstairs and upstairs heads are used for space cooling during hot days in summer

 

Hourly Operating Cost of HPs Versus Efficient Propane Furnaces

 

Cold Weather Test: On 22 January, 2022, the temperature was -20F at my house. As a test, I operated my kitchen heat pump. After about 15 minutes, there was lukewarm air coming from the wall-mounted unit, but it was much less warm, than it would be at, say 15F. That lukewarm air did not heat my kitchen from 6 AM to 9 AM, so I turned off the HP and turned on my wall-hung, propane heater.

 

Conclusion: 1) The name cold-climate HP is merely an advertising gimmick, and 2) HPs are economic:

 

1) Down to about 15F to 20F in my well-sealed, well-insulated house, depending on wind and sun conditions

2) Down to about 28F to 35F in average Vermont houses, which are energy hogs, by modern standards

Comment by Willem Post on April 27, 2022 at 11:44am

EXCERPT from:

BIDEN 30,000 MW OFFSHORE WIND SYSTEMS BY 2030; AN EXPENSIVE FANTASY  

https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/biden-30-000-mw-of-off...

 

The Biden administration announced on October 13, 2021, it will subsidize the development of up to seven offshore wind systems (never call them farms) on the US East and West coasts, and in the Gulf of Mexico; a total of about 30,000 MW of offshore wind by 2030.

 

Biden's offshore wind systems would have an adverse, long-term impact on US electricity wholesale prices, and the prices of all other goods and services, because their expensive electricity would permeate into all economic activities.

 

The wind turbines would be at least 800-ft-tall, which would need to be located at least 30 miles from shores, to ensure minimal disturbance from night-time strobe lights.

 

Any commercial fishing areas would be significantly impacted by below-water infrastructures and cables. The low-frequency noise (less than 20 cycles per second, aka infrasound) of the wind turbines would adversely affect marine life, and productivity of fishing areas.

 

Production: Annual production would be about 30,000 x 8766 h/y x 0.45, capacity factor = 118,341,000 MWh, or 118.3 TWh of variable, intermittent, wind/weather/season-dependent electricity.

 

The additional wind production would be about 100 x 118.3/4000 = 2.96% of the annual electricity loaded onto US grids.

That US load would increase, due to tens of millions of future electric vehicles and heat pumps.

 

This would require a large capacity of combined-cycle, gas-turbine plants, CCGTs, to cost-effectively:

 

1) Counteract the wind output variations, MW, aka grid balancing

2) Fill-in wind production shortfalls, MWh, during any wind lulls

 

Such lulls occur at random throughout the year, and may last 5 to 7 days in the New England area.

 

These URLs provide examples of similar wind/solar lull conditions in Germany and New England

 

https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/analysis-of-a-6-day-lu...

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/wind-plus-solar-plus-st...

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

https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/playing-russian-roulet...

 

High Costs of Balancing the Grid with Increased Wind and Solar

Comment by Willem Post on April 27, 2022 at 11:44am

EXCERPT from:

BATTERY SYSTEM CAPITAL COSTS, OPERATING COSTS, ENERGY LOSSES, AND AGING

https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/battery-system-capital...

 

This article has eight parts

 

Solar electricity increases with the rising sun, is maximal at midday, and decreases with the setting sun.

 

The Owners of traditional generating plants, to avoid grid disturbances, are required by ISO-NE, the NE grid operator, to reduce their outputs when solar is present, which decreases their annual production and increases their costs per kWh, plus increases wear and tear of their plants, i.e., those services are not “for free”.

 

Electric grids with many solar systems have major midday solar output bulges, that are counteracted by the traditional power plants reducing their outputs. They have to increase their outputs during the peak hours of late afternoon/early evening, when solar will have gone to sleep until about 8 or 9 AM the next morning.

 

Battery systems, in use during all of 2015, delivered electricity, on average, for 0.5 hours

Battery systems, in use during all of 2019, delivered electricity, on average, for 3.2 hours  

 

The increase in energy-delivery duration is required, because the main function of battery systems is to absorb midday solar output bulges. They discharge about 80% of the absorbed electricity during the peak hours of late afternoon/early evening; the other 20% are battery system losses. See Parts 2 and 4

 

This article will show: 1) the annual cost of financing, 2) plus Owner’s annual return of investment, 3) plus the annual cost of operation and maintenance will exceed 53 c/kWh of throughput, based on an annual battery system capacity factor of 0.5

 

Most of the 53 c/kWh of throughput, plus most of the battery system throughput loss (about 18.4 c/kWh of throughput, in case of net-metered solar) should be allocated to the Owners of solar systems, because: 1) they are the disturbers, and 2) almost the entire annual throughput of the battery system is due to the presence of solar.

 

This analysis assumes the net effect of financial benefits and subsidies is equivalent to reducing Owner’s annual costs by 45%. See Part 6.

 

NOTE: US Utilities, which own a large number of various type battery systems, provide a minimum amount of information regarding the:

 

1) All-in, turnkey capital cost of their battery systems, and

2) Hourly and daily operating data, including overall, round-trip, system losses. See Parts 1, 2 and 7

 

PART 1

 

Turnkey Capital Costs of Site-specific, Custom-designed, Utility-grade, Grid-scale Battery Systems

Comment by Penny Gray on April 26, 2022 at 6:40pm

"We live in this world of exaggerated promises and delusional pop science. I’m trying to bring it onto some modest track of reality and common sense."

Good luck with that.

 

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

******** IF LINKS BELOW DON'T WORK, GOOGLE THEM*********

(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 https://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?" https://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.” https://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/flaws-in-bill-like-skating-with-dull-skates/

Not yet a member?

Sign up today and lend your voice and presence to the steadily rising tide that will soon sweep the scourge of useless and wretched turbines from our beloved Maine countryside. For many of us, our little pieces of paradise have been hard won. Did the carpetbaggers think they could simply steal them from us?

We have the facts on our side. We have the truth on our side. All we need now is YOU.

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

 -- Mahatma Gandhi

"It's not whether you get knocked down: it's whether you get up."
Vince Lombardi 

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Hannah Pingree on the Maine expedited wind law

Hannah Pingree - Director of Maine's Office of Innovation and the Future

"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."

https://pinetreewatch.org/wind-power-bandwagon-hits-bumps-in-the-road-3/

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