A friend of mine recently bought a Tesla and I asked him last week how he was enjoying his coal and natural gas powered vehicle, since those two fuels represent the majority of power generation in Wisconsin. It led to an interesting discussion, and one that I have been trying to have with many people, most of whom simply won’t listen, don’t care, or would rather just talk about something else. The source of electricity generation seems to get glossed over or lost in the haze to most.
I live in HVAC world, where we are right now in the middle of massive changes in efficiency and product selection due to new energy mandates (and some old ones now coming due). While these changes and the stampede toward electrification seem to make some sense (and are loved by voters, apparently) the cost of the equipment keep skyrocketing. The equipment is now larger so you get fewer units on a truck, and fewer in the warehouse, which also adds costs. No matter how hard you want to fight physics, it stays undefeated. To hit the new standards, you need more materials. Which brings me to mining.
Mark Mills in this very interesting video speaks of the massive volume of minerals that will need to be extracted to meet the coming demand of the “energy transition”. I think the most eye opening point for me was the fact that China is in charge of the vast majority of mineral refining.
More to my world of HVAC, China has led the world in Fluorspar production, well, forever. This building block for most commonly used refrigerants is in some form in almost every building and vehicle in the world.
This is also an interesting video about where the minerals are that we need and how volatile this situation will/may become (starting at around 14 minutes this jumps the shark a bit).
I guess my main point to this random mess of a post is that I don’t really have a problem with those who “want to make things better” – but to willy-nilly issue edicts and create laws with no basis in reality does nothing but hurt everyone involved.
17 thoughts on “A Weekend Energy Information Drop – Random Thoughts”
“The source of electricity generation seems to get glossed over or lost in the haze to most.”
How many people could explain how electricity is made, even at the most basic ‘fuel boils steam, steam spins a turbine’ level? I observe that very few journalists understand the difference between a megawatt and a megawatt-hour, which is kind of important when you’re talking about energy storage. (And this also applies to business and ‘technology’ journalists.)
The Sputnik scare resulted in greatly increased funding for all US levels of education, motivated in large part that we needed to have a scientifically literate populace. It seems that most teaching about actual science and technology for the general run of students has gone away…the funding, however, remains.
It cannot be done but the attempt may result in catastrophic “unanticipated” consequences.
“fuel boils steam, steam spins a turbine’…should have been “fuel boils water”, of course.
Geologist Simon Michaux has produced some studies and videos about the rank non-feasibility of so-called “Green Power”. Simply, Planet Earth does not have enough minerals.
That’s a super paper Gavin. Many of those points were mentioned in the videos but there are a lot more interesting tidbits in there as well.
You need a dry steam to avoid damaging the turbine, so “fuel heats steam” would have been technically correct (the best type of correct).
Superheated steam, correct?
What is so significant to me is how the greenies reject nuclear power. This either means they are not serious or that they plan to end civilization, itself. Either way, the future holds unanticipated consequences of major magnitude.
More to delete. China is offering the Taliban, with whom they already have a good relationship, $10 billion for access to all their Lithium. Chile just nationalized their entire Lithium resource, among the greatest in the world.
You are on your own now. The world is upset with your thieving ways.
well lithium is not that easily extracted, and china might find as with koltum and cobalt in the congo, there is more than one party they have to contend with,
they are a cult, tucker reminded us of the heavens gate crew, that were trans humanist, decidely non binary and trans sanity, well we know how that turned out
Regarding the lack of science & technology literacy, see my post Classics and the Public Sphere:
There are a lot of things to point out in this shoddy green energy program: from the lack of an integrated plan on how it’s all supposed to work, that such a transition is just a matter of some determination (cue Soviet-style propaganda poster showing green energy worker beating down kulak oil executive) to the hoodwinking of the public who think they’ll be able to continue living as before. But that stuff just rolls off people and like real-life Lyle Lanleys the Left sells us with the smooth talk as if they know what they are doing and it’s not a big scam
I think someone should go out and make a film, maybe 45 minutes or so, and give a nice visual explanation to the public of what this all means. It will not be fair because it should use the Left’s tactics of nutpicking not only freaky people with freaky ideas but also the biggest liars. Show film of the big strip mines in Congo that provide critical minerals for EV, show children working in the mines, show how much ore from the mine is needed to produce each EV battery, and go down the street in NW Washington D.C. Doing a slow roll of all the EVs on the streets. Show how the rare earth minerals we need are controlled by China, show how China controls the solar panel industry, show footage of slave laborers in Chinese factories (they don’t have to to be the specific ones making panels, just use the footage from the Nike factory)
Meanwhile juxtapose how this new world is sold by politicians and the media
To make the real impact show how Evs will change your personal life. The cost of the EV, the fact that a simple collision can total the car, to catching on fire (it just has to be true, not fair) The real kicker is show how an EV will affect the quintessential American family experience, driving to grandma’s for Thanksgiving dinner – a nice long drive that requires a re-charge.. Start with the night before with mom and dad trying to plan deckplated range with charging stations along the route, show how that deckplate range drops the next day due to the cold weather and the family almost doesn’t make the charging station (make it like a suspenseful disaster movie – “kids, we need to conserve power if we’re going to make it – shut down the flat panel and pray!”) Then when they make it to the charging station show how they have to wait for the better part of an hour to charge it, show the kids getting out of hand during the wait, show the wife complaining that she wanted to spend this day with her family and not a gas station, show a family in a regular car pull in and pull out in 5 minutes which is just enough time for their happy kids to run into the store to get candy and drinks. In other words show them what their old life was once like and what their new life now is.
Yeah people will say the film is unfair because all the new charging stations we’re building and yeah… Show some B-roll of Biden making promises, show Biden making promises about EVs.
Remember it just needs to be accurate, not fair. Objective? The Left gave up on that so we don’t need to worry (https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2023/01/30/newsrooms-news-reporting-objectivity-diversity/)
The other green energy element that never gets discussed is its environmental impact and how they will affect the implementation process. All those new transmission lines, solar and wind farms, rare earth mines, disposal of batteries and panels are going to have a huge environmental impact and any large project takes years of paperwork and studies. Heck it took 2 ½ years of actual construction, let alone planning, to build a new exit in I-270 a few years ago when I was out there. Not only that as we have seen for the last 50 years, the whole American regulatory system is geared toward special interest groups being able to block large scale construction projects. Name a single project that hasn’t run years over-schedule and over-cost.
Yes it’s “green” energy but do you think environmentalists are just going to waive all that power and just let’s these projects proceed unopposed? Well some will, but others will not and it doesn’t take very many to gum up the works because you know, it’s the law. Why would they want to restrict “green” energy? Because there are many who would not be disappointed by modern society was scaled back a bit and if that means slowing up the green energy future while the old carbon-energy present is strangled then so be it. Paul, “giving society cheap abundant energy to giving a child a machine gun”, Ehrlich is not an outlier
Nobody who has been alive for the past 50 years and has any experience in observing how environmental regulation has affected construction projects or just the ineffectual nature of public planning in general can tell me that this will not be anything short of an epic disaster.
You make an overly generous mistake that many people make when dealing with the collectivist/statist/authoritarians when you say: “I guess my main point to this random mess of a post is that I don’t really have a problem with those who “want to make things better” – but to willy-nilly issue edicts and create laws with no basis in reality does nothing but hurt everyone involved.” They have zero interest in “making things better”; these are simply the excuses and rationales that they provide as cover for their true motivations.
As Rand wrote (back in 1946, fer cryin’ out loud):
““Social gains,” “social aims,” “social objectives” have become the daily bromides of our language. The necessity of a social justiﬁcation for all activities and all existence is now taken for granted. There is no proposal outrageous enough but what its author can get a respectful hearing and approbation if he claims that in some undeﬁned way it is for “the common good.”
Some might think—though I don’t—that nine years ago there was some excuse for men not to see the direction in which the world was going. Today, the evidence is so blatant that no excuse can be claimed by anyone any longer. Those who refuse to see it now are neither blind nor innocent.”
The sole motivations for the destruction of, well, pretty much everything, by the left-wing in this country and the world are for the twin goals of POWER and CONTROL. Nothing else. They can not be credited with “good intentions”, they are not simply wrong about all of their outcomes. They are simply EVIL, and must be addressed as such. Every time and in every place, in every medium, they must be confronted with the uncontested fact that they are evil. We must shout it from the rooftops, because these pieces of human-shaped garbage are “neither blind nor innocent”; they are evil.
The problem with the right-wing of the UniParty in this country is that they refuse to have a coherent set of standards, values, ethics and morals from which to judge this evil. They therefore have exactly zero backbone for standing up to the evil, since they implicitly embrace it themselves. They will forever sell us out “for the good of the peeeeple” (however the left-wing defines it) because they have no firm philosophical ground on which to stand and defend their lack of principles.
At least in America, we’ve progressed to fueling our EV’s with coal. In England especially, Germany and other parts of the EU, they’ve had to resort to burning wood, brought from as far as British Columbia. How green is that?
I’m not so sure things are made better, efficiency-wise: according to this Fox article it is a set up, a collusion btwn HVAC manufacturers and lawmakers.
“At least in America, we’ve progressed to fueling our EV’s with coal. ”
A little less shortly:
Homer City — Pa.’s largest coal-fired power plant — will close in July
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