Any notions that generously subsidized solar and wind will significantly compensate capacity losses from shuttered coal plants and overregulated oil and natural gas suppliers are scientifically and economically delusional.
And as for any prospects that truly clean non-fossil nuclear or hydropower can make up the slack, forget about that too.
Let’s start with some simple arithmetic. If you have heard some really exciting news that the Obama Administration has already doubled the amount of total U.S. energy derived from “renewable alternative” sources (solar, wind, and biofuels), that would be true.
Thanks largely to $150 billion in generous federal subsidies, combined total renewables (not including hydropower) grew from supplying slightly more than 2% of our “primary fuel” (including electricity) to a whopping 4% today.
Meanwhile over the same period, the total increase of non-subsidized oil and gas also doubled, but added eight times more energy than the total growth of wind, solar, and biofuels combined. Oil and gas now supply about 63% of all U.S. primary fuel. Coal provides another 19%.
Referring to “self-defeating claims of some clean-energy enthusiasts,” he said, “They have this statement that the cost of solar photovoltaic is the same as hydrocarbons. And that’s one of those misleadingly meaningless statements.
What they mean is that at noon in Arizona, the cost of that kilowatt-hour is the same as a hydrocarbon kilowatt-hour. But it doesn’t come at night, it doesn’t come after the sun hasn’t shone, so the fact that in that one moment you reach parity, so what?”
As Gates pointed out, “The reading public, when they see things like that, they underestimate how hard this [economical energy technology] thing is. So false solutions like divestment or ‘Oh, it’s easy to do’ hurt our ability to fix the problems. Distinguishing a real solution from a false solution is actually very complicated.”
Google learned the same very hard lesson. In 2007 the company initiated an ambitious program known as RE<C (renewable energy less than coal) to invest in promising renewable energy technologies with the goal of generating gigawatt-scale electricity more cheaply than coal plants within years rather than decades.
Included were a wide range of innovative self-assembling wind turbine towers, drilling systems for geothermal energy, and solar thermal power systems, which capture the sun’s energy as heat.
Google shut down RE<C in 2011 after determining that it could not meet its target.
Google’s engineers also concluded that even their most optimistic cost-reduction scenarios for solar power, wind power, energy storage, and electric vehicles would have little climate impact. They appropriately noted that today’s renewable sources are limited by suitable geography and intermittent nature.
Wind farms, for example, make economic sense only in certain parts of the nation. Google’s best-case renewable supply models indicated that fossil fuel use would continue to be necessary for electricity generation, transportation, agriculture, and construction.
Bill Gates is honest about the dishonesty of alarmist climate claims, pointing out that global heating levels have not matched model predictions — with much uncertainty on both the “good and bad side.” He admits, “By over-claiming, or even trying to ascribe current things more to climate change than to other effects, environmentalists lend weight to the skeptics.
“Like, in the near term, the Pacific oscillation, this El Nino thing, has a much bigger impact on current weather than [man-made] climate change has had so far.”
Nevertheless, in the interest of ending billions of years of those climate changes, President Obama has made good on his pledge to bankrupt the coal industry. And don’t expect his administration’s like-minded allies’ war on fossil fuel carnage to end there.
While previously touting natural gas as a lower emission bridge fuel to renewables, Sierra Club’s “Beyond Dirty Fuels” campaign leader Lena Moffitt takes great pride that her organization has “moved to a very clear and firm and vehement position of opposing gas.”
Interviewed on S&P Global Market Intelligence, she said, “We are doing everything we can to bring the same expertise that we brought to taking down the coal industry and coal-fired power in this country to taking on gas in the same way.”
Moffitt emphasized, “That is the one Sierra Club policy that we are all working toward: Getting us to 100% clean energy, which, of course, would include no new gas.”
Yes, this includes opposition to fracking to get it, refineries to process it, pipelines to transport it, LNG terminals to export it, and the future energy and jobs that will rely on it.
In other words, to burn down a bridge fuel to nowhere.
NOTE: This article first appeared at: http://www.newsmax.com/LarryBell/blackouts-coal-power-renewable/2016/06/06/id/732444/#ixzz4Aoh3RQzg