I would venture a guess that if one were to analyze the current input of fossil energy into a production stream of renewable technologies production and output the raw numbers would stagger you into at least a bit more real world thinking.
I'm talking about an entire infrastructure built up over the last 100 + years or more entirely on fossil fuels (still almost as cheap as dirt even with massive capital inputs) and still almost %100 dependent on fossil fuels. Renewable development is entirely dependent on it to exist.
You could not even manufacture PV panels in a 'breeder plant' powered %100 by its own PV's even if it had backup power not derived from the grid.
I can just see it now
Hundreds of employees showing up for work in a 'flintstone car' driven on gravel roads.
The attempts to create replacement rubber tires produced from tree bark sap didn't go so well.
Concrete road surface replaced with crushed eggs shells mixed with hemp oil and carrots also failed when they realized there was no feed (all %100 grown using massive fossil fuel inputs) for the chickens and they all starved and Fred and Barney Rubble had to actually eat the carrots to have enough energy to get to the PV plant without fainting from hunger. And the macadam roads (crude oil waste) replaced with what? No substitute for that either? Yeah I thought so.
And on and on and on and on.
Won't even mention the fact that the entire financial industry that fuels any and all renewable energy investment and deployment is based on 'wealth' generated in fractional reserve banking that only exists if we have massive,exponential and 'endless' growth fueled by fossil fuel inputs exclusively.
I suppose the passengers on the Titanic also came up with all sorts of silly and unrealistic solutions to a reality that they WOULD sink and that only those willing to get in the lifeboats (rethinking the current madness) would survive.
I'm quite certain they were not thinking "how idiotic of the designers to build such a ship and then in their arrogance have such blind faith in an illusion that the Titanic could not and would not sink since technology could always triumph over the laws of physics" when they boarded in Liverpool. Least not till they were wet and freezing and sitting in the middle of the north Atlantic waiting on some form of rescue.
This '%100 renewable energy will let us keep up this massive destruction of our only planet pipedream' needs to be seen for what it is.
Arrogance of man.
A being whose ego is so inflated that it cannot even imagine a planet going back to a more sustainable existence. Feeding this current fossil fueled Godzilla mutant an alternative renewable energy diet to keep it alive is the height of madness. Better to let it die and not have the burden of feeding something that will eventually eat the planet anyway.
We sure cannot! Not as currently structured.
Knowing you live in the the middle of the Arizona desert and making this statement makes it all the worse.
Yes if Arizona now had a population of about 1/100th its size perhaps part of your scenario could be played out in real life. At least for a while.
Without massive daily injections of fossil fuels Arizona folks could not even drink fresh water or eat. No one has yet demonstrated how electrons get converted to tractor fuel ,fertilizer or any of the other massive amounts of energy needed in artificial agriculture.
Of course with 1/100th the population that would translate into an economy that in no way can support the likes of a Nissan Leaf.
The suburban blight that is called Scottsdale and Phoenix would be more like Barter-town in Mad Max than the Geography of Nowhere with millions running helter skelter each day across the maze of highways to and from nowhere that it is now.
And that is with a full conversion to EV's and PV's.
Living this utopian life while surrounded by a slowly dying (well camouflaged) existence is like someone marveling at how independent and safe and secure an air breathing mammal can be at the bottom of the ocean and never acknowledging it's due to the temporary compressed air in tanks on their back.
When the air runs out the 'reality' turns quite different.
Man was not meant to exist at the bottom of the ocean anymore than massive populations were meant to live in the Arizona desert.
Not to just pick on Arizona.
One look at Manhattan Island and knowing anything about where energy and food come from (directly or indirectly from crude oil at every level) quickly becomes a preview of a coming train wreck with reality.
And then there is Las Vegas etc etc etc.
"Yes, they can and they will"
Care to expound on just who this mythical they is?
Would that be the magic group of techno magicians that got us into this nonsense in the first place and have no real incentive to even try to get us out of this dilemma?
That getting us out only makes things worse.
Do yourself and others a favor
Take one look at just the USA to keep it simple
Take a look at how much renewable energy has been installed in the last 12 months.
I'll let you include any form you like.
Now take a look at how many mega watts of natural gas generators have been installed, as well as how much additional natural gas was produced and consumed for all purposes, especially for nitrogen fertilizers.
Next check on how many existing power plants were decommissioned in that same year. Yes renewable energy is not replacing anything. They are just adding too.
When you take this all together there is only one conclusion you can come to
Not only is renewable energy not having any real impact overall, especially when you consider that there is virtually no oil used directly in generating electric power (and so far I have seen no real evidence that we are making any progress of any measure in replacing that essential liquid fuel where all other forms of energy fail when oil is not available) but the other thing that is obvious is that we are at best running in place. Demand due to population increases,all with the same demented desire to "be like us" is what is driving this.
Just the carbon footprint and pollution generated to keep this futile effort afloat wipes out most benefits renewable energies offer.
And let's not even mention our dying oceans or aquifers drying up or giant plastic islands in the middle of the Pacific as big as the state of Kansas etc etc etc.
How about an entire epidemic of cancers in Argentina as they turn their country into a mass soy bean and corn toxic's plantation spraying oceans of Roundup on mutant GMO's.
And why? So we can feed millions of cows that then convert only %10 of the mutant grain input into protein and fat to feed millions of those scampering around our mega cities in SUV's.
And on and on and on. And growing larger every day.
All these negatives will still exist and even continue to get worse in spite of all the slick techno solutions.
The worst thing a civilization can do is to delude itself into believing that somehow we will overcome the laws of physics and 'win' this battle.
When it is far past too late to change and adapt the folly of this %100 renewable energy feeding an exponentially increasing demand will be evident.
But of course both you and I will be gone by then and we can just let THEM deal with it.
Again I challenge anyone to show me any evidence that any form of renewable energy can fuel even our sick agricultural system.
A system that demands ever more crude oil every day
And no that sick mutant corporation known as Monsanto has no solution
They only offer more consumption and more misery
Thank you Timothy Maloney;
For a long and detailed examination of just one of hundreds if not thousands of impediments to creating that 'holy grail' that will save all humanity from its folly in believing in "Too much magic".
Were the Belief is entertained and embraced because it makes one feel better about the chaotic shift coming as they are forced to transition from the fossil fuel 'endless buffet' that built all of our current daydreams to a more brown bag sustainable reality.
It will even happen in fairly short order even with all the Wall Street 'magic' and techno self delusion we call hydro fracking
It's certain we all have now heard the massive hype coming out of the submissive and obedient media proclaiming America's new role as The New Saudi Arabia of oil and gas.
Just remember this hype is coming from the same group of blood suckers and sociopaths that claimed that real estate prices never fall and property values can double and triple permanently while real wages fall.
Yes that group.
Those who believe this hype and then retreat from finally breaking their addiction to the 'black heroin' we now very temporarily pump from the ground at the cost of our aquifers, will soon find just how much of a fools errand this new delusion will be.
Whoever said that Fox News has the exclusive on propaganda and right wing mind pablum (not to mention a myopic lack of vision and original thinking) hasn't recently read some of the inane comments on this blog.
"Wind and solar energy is not a replacement for fossil fuel. It’s an add-on."
True it is an add on. That states the obvious.
Of course it is false that it is not a replacement for fossil fuel; of course with a caveat.
As anyone who has read my other posts on this site will know I have very severe reservations on the ability of renewables to be a direct generic replacement for fossil fuels,but I don't blindly accept the current non sustainable,self defeating and destructive system that this energy is fed into and just sit down and become a passive slave to 19th century technologies.
I'm quite certain that the author's true intention was to denigrate renewable energy's in a wholesale manner and ignore introducing any caveats to the reader that could elicit further thinking and possibly encourage them to come up with a solution to the limitations renewable energy admittedly has.
We all know the Wright Brothers had limitations to transporting 400 people at 500 mph from New York to London in a few hours,all the while enjoying the latest movie.
That took time and creative thought and a lack of intentional propaganda that would lead people to think 40 mph and altitudes of a few hundred feet were all we could ever expect.
"the nacelle alone weighs 500 tonnes" -- that's as large as the biggest nuclear reactor vessel capable of generating over 1GW, 24/7 for decades. If we counted the CO2 generated by producing the steel from ore, concrete from rock and so forth we'd additionally see there's no reason to erect any such wasteful machines, because their carbon footprint is worse than geothermal, hydro or nuclear, "
So let's parse this.
A nacelle that weighs 500 tonnes.
A pressure vessel weighs about 500 tonnes also but does not a nuclear power plant equal.
Add in the other million tons of steel,concrete and copper and then totally ignore the massive tax payers subsidies needed to even get one off the drawing boards,and add in the billions of further costs needed to even partially deal with the waste and pollution.(dealt with exclusively with current and future tax payer money) And of course let's ignore the damage done to marine and aquifer environments in supplying the oceans of cooling water etc etc.
Now let's also ignore the fact that the wind turbines also have severe downsides due to the fact that they are built in a futile attempt to keep our current oil and coal based reality alive so that no real fundamental changes will appear to be needed. At least until the effluents from an artificially created affluence eventually reduces the planet to an unlivable wasteland as we try to live off of wind and sun and in addition try to avoid the cancers generated by that other 'benign and green' smoke screen promoted by those who volunteer to be deaf and dumb while praying at the altar of nuclear power.
Those who are now drunk on 'green' energy and see it as the silver bullet to problems that can only be solved by a fundamental shift in how we view what actually created the problems in the first place should be ignored like you do any drunk at a bar.
Those who are so damaged and mind altered by what can best be called Conservative KoolAid, that they respond in a well rehearsed response like a version of Pavlov's Dog when renewable energy is mentioned should also be ignored.
Yes we all know that the $$$ connected with wind and solar subsidizes are tainted and are not applied in a manner that will create real and lasting benefit overall.
But is one so naive that they think that somehow those $$$ don't all come from the same common source as those spent on coal,nukes and oil?
If that is so then please take a look at this fine ocean side property I have here in Arizona.
As Johnson notes in his article, “there's no technical reason renewable energy can't provide 80% of the power in the U.S. by midcentury.”
Provide 80% of the power??
How we delude ourselves.
What does this statement even mean?
So we have %80 of our power from renewables and the number of those who need it
keeps getting smaller as not one electron can ever be practically converted to more land,fresh water and especially more liquid fuels needed to keep transportation moving ( all electric transport by 2050 is at best a dream) and just how do we feed another billion souls without the current massive injection of over 10 units of fossil energy for each unit of calorie.
Yes let's keep focused on renewable energy such as PV and wind so that we can keep ignoring the 800lb elephant in the room that will eventually crush us.
@P J Van Staden
I would think that discussion or debate over Mr Kazantsev's version of the hydrogen economy, (yes remember that gratefully dead nonsense sold with the same hype) algae bio diesel,ethanol "fuel" or perhaps zero point free energy magnetic motors that avoid the limitations of the first and second law of thermodynamics , could be entertaining but it's no more a solution to anything as all the other 'pie in the sky' attempts at whistling past the "we have painted ourselves into a catastrophic energy corner" graveyard.
Getting flattened by his water balloon would be the least of our worries.
@ A G Gelbert
Wow! How did I miss this one?
"I will post a blog here within a week detailing how we can, in less than 10 years, switch WORLDWIDE to 100% renewable energy. "
It is nonsense such as this statement that fuels the knuckle-draggers.
The Faux News viewers (or should I say 'receptors or vessels' as they are daily injected with mind numbing pablum and dogma)
I can see it now
A plastic barbie doll talking head with the requisite two or three male drones in traditional monkey suits and ties displaying this statement and saying "see our conservative cult is correct once more.The evil liberal greens live in an altered universe. Now go vote like good Republicans and shut up about that communist global warming scam"
And how about the fossil fuel addicts and oil pimps (who actually pay the plastic Barbie and her drones) that conveniently use these mindless statements to show that the so called greens live in La La land.
I must say though that as someone who has been heavily involved in renewable energy technologies and sustainable methods for over 40 years I hear far too much of this simplistic crap. Perhaps it's that like all homo sapiens we prefer to create fantasy and myth to soothe our fears of a reality we continue to ignore. The myths and fantasies don't tax our brains to address reality.
I would spend some electrons here to give substance to my argument that this statement the "%100" is nonsense and fantasy but it would be like trying to debate how many angels dance on the head of pins.
In other words a waste of electrons
Sad to say but most posts, even here, where folks should be more enlightened we continue to see far too much belief in the fantasy of %100 renewable energy fueling essentially a global cancer that can and eventually will kill its host.
Dog save us all.
@P J Van Staden
A man once asked his friend "so what do you think of this beautiful forest"?
His friend replied "I don't know since I can't see it for all the trees".
You made my point perfectly
You perhaps just don't know it
As I said
Dog save us all
I'm not surprised at your comments
Not certain why that dog would be so hungry for a stake though.
Perhaps a steak but then that's not just a splinter of wood is it?
Yes I have little surprise anymore as even PHD Classically Trained Economics (not certain there is any actual real training for such a non scientific 'voodoo' discipline but that's for another time) believe in magic fairies. You know the ones that step in any time an oil well finally runs bone dry,with not a drop to pump, and yet in the economists world and apparently also in the world of the magic fairies,when a certain price point in the demand/supply curve is met a flood of money will be created and just like Jack in the Bean Stock the magic beans (borrowed money they like to call capital which by the way has no intrinsic value unless backed up by the value of an endless stream of more and more crude oil) the well will revive somehow and the Giant in the Sky will bestow on all of us another gift of black 'heroine' for yet another fix and yet one more massive suburb created with a new fleet of SUV's complete with GPS for directions to the next cross street to yet another numbing suburb with an address known as The Geography of Nowhere.
This may appear to be a silly rant and some form of made up nonsense.
Perhaps it is
But no more so than the wishful thinking involved in a delusion that simply because a few humans can think of all sorts of fancy inventions (remember an Iphone cannot feed you or keep you warm. (Well depends on whether you like plastic for dinner and perhaps can warm your freezing hands over a smoldering cell phone) that they can also somehow violate all the laws of nature and especially the first and second laws of thermodynamics and presto changeo the magic fairies (in this case apparently divinely inspired technologists) will keep all of this current Petro chemical theatrical tragedy alive for at least one more encore.
I believe it was in the movie The Graduate where Dustin Hoffman was given the secret to his future success. It was all about plastics he was told.
Well when you think about the magic beans and our transformation to a %100 renewable world keep in mind the word capital.
Capital exists primarily because of sources of energy and massive amounts of capital exist because of massive amounts of energy almost cheap enough to be called free.
In spite of the oil industries huge need for capital the end result is still a source of energy so dirt cheap that you can transport several thousand pounds over a mile and a half on less than 20 cents worth of dead dinosaurs. Try getting someone to carry you that same mile and one half on a pedi cab or richshaw and for the same 20 cents and the same speed. Sure that will happen.
And please spare me the "well electric vehicles can go farther on less money."
And just how does it do that when there's no ready source of 28 gallons of crude oil just to produce the tires it rolls on. And that's just tires. How about the millions and millions of miles of tarmac better known as crude oil waste that it rides on? That also needs almost constant replacement?
Yeah we'll pave with a mixture of french fry grease and some pig fat.
No it is time for all to wake up and smell the crude oil or lack thereof.
Maybe not today and maybe not even tomorrow but eventually no amount of magic beans or a benevolent giant in the sky will be bestowing one more black,slimy,toxic fix to preserve the current skilled prestidigitator now on stage entertaining us.
One thing without question and simply based on fundamental geology and physics? The lights will finally go out and we will be politely ushered out to a darkened street called reality. But then it will be too late as we stumble around in the dim glow of those further dimming LED street lights recently installed in a futile attempt to simply keep us running in place in attempts to keep the Energy Grim Reaper at bay.
Of course we will at least still have a few magic beans left over. Wont' we?
@ A G Gelbert
Please,Please,Please tell me that you referenced my comments as a quote because you feel I in fact DO NOT feel fossil fuels are truly cost effective but that you used it for some other reason.
I have been promoting and been heavily involved in the renewable energy and sustainability movement for over 40 years and in the many times when I make the effort to instruct,convince,enlighten,etc, others in the benefits of renewable energy and sustainable practices I have never been told "can you be more specific and deliver your message in a more clear and concise manner". In general it has been the exact opposite.
So having said that I still affirm and reiterate that anyone who makes a statement that somehow we can transition from the current fossil fuel reality to an entirely new paradigm of total renewable energies without massive and fundamental changes in what we consider a normal lifestyle is either delusional,badly misinformed,engaging in wishful thinking or perhaps all of the above.
Anyone willing to take the time to look clearly, rationally and dispassionately at how we got into this current terribly self destructive and non sustainable reality can see that there are several basic and fundamental parts of that reality that must and will be abandoned and discarded in order for a much smaller and more sustainable world population to make some rational sense of their future existence. You never paint yourself into a corner without making a big mess in getting out.
I challenge anyone who wishes to come well armed to debate me and many others who feel similarly inclined ,that ignoring the less than attractive changes needed before we can ever see renewable energies truly once again (surprise we in fact did do this at one time) to become our primary energy source are on a 'fools errand' and are doomed to failure.
It's all about basic geology,physics and other fundamental principals that govern our lives in spite of our best efforts to ignore or attempt to circumvent them simply because those non negotiable elemental challenges don't give you a great feeling of hope and euphoria.
Perhaps those who are seeking temporary euphoria should begin cultivating a couple of marijuana plants and just leaning back and taking a toke.
You'll get far more from that than you will from all the wishful thinking I see coming from many in the renewable energy industry today.
Sad but true
Now let's let Dog sort things out shall we