In what may be the grandest case of unintended consequences in history, the chemical hating UN greens have endorsed the creation and use of toxic chemicals and hazardous materials on a truly gigantic scale. It is all about batteries.
The green-driven UN is proposing that we rapidly replace the world’s fossil fueled energy with renewables. Apparently these folks are not aware that it takes a world of batteries to do this. In fact most of the electricity that people use will not be renewable energy; rather it will be chemical energy.
Here is how Bloomberg describes the UN proposal: “The world must invest $2.4 trillion in clean energy every year through 2035 and cut the use of coal-fired power to almost nothing by 2050 to avoid catastrophic damage from climate change, according to scientists convened by the United Nations.”
The colossal joke here is that “clean energy” translates into a vast amount of chemical energy. It is well established that even at the best of sites solar and wind generators produce power less than 50% of the time. The rest of the time it will be battery power that people are using and batteries are chemical energy generators.
Even worse, since we are now talking about the whole world, we are talking about a lot of truly poor sites. High latitudes get relatively little sun for months at a time in winter and everywhere it never shines at night. In many places it is common for little wind to blow for weeks at a time.
As I wrote last week, as a rule a sustained wind speed of something like 6 to 10 mph is required to get the turbines going and even then almost no power is produced. Wind speeds of 30 mph typically are required for rated power production. Heat waves and cold snaps often lack this kind of wind, when they are caused by stagnant high pressure systems.
For example, here is a chart of Denver weather for July 2018. July 16-22 is a 7 day heat wave with only a few reported wind speed values over a mere 11 mph. Almost all are below 10 mph. Little if any wind power can be generated at these low speeds, while power demand will be at its highest. Replacing reliable fossil fuel generation therefore requires wind plus a lot of batteries, in this case seven days worth.
Under the UN plan, a big chunk of the roughly 40 trillion dollars to be spent over the next 16 years will have to go for batteries. That is a stupendous amount of toxic chemicals, which will then all turn into hazardous waste. That the greens want to do this, despite their hatred of chemicals, certainly smacks of fanaticism.
There are some proposed alternatives to using batteries to store renewable energy, but these are even less feasible. Flywheels have been used experimentally. Another grand scheme is to build several duplicate and interconnected wind generating complexes so far apart that the right wind should always be blowing at one of them. But these pesky high pressure systems can be very large, covering much of the contiguous U.S. We might have to build enough wind generating capacity to supply the whole country in each of four or five different places to make this work. This would be incredibly expensive.
Oh and let’s not forget the billions of additional batteries needed to run a world full of electric cars, trucks, lawn mowers, etc. These batteries receive and store the electricity from the battery enabled generating sites. Thus a lot of the juice will actually go through two sets of chemical batteries before it is used.
One wonders what fraction of this insane 40 trillion dollars goes for batteries? Ten trillion? Twenty trillion? Or perhaps the batteries are extra.
Mind you I do not believe that humans are causing dangerous climate change so I would not pay 40 dollars to fix this non-problem, much less forty trillion dollars.
The point is that the greens, who hate chemicals, are so fanatical about the climate change issue that they are willing to fill the world with toxic chemicals and hazardous waste.
That is a lot of fanaticism.