Energy

Why replacing fossil-fuel generation of electricity with solar or wind is dangerous

Renewable energy for generation of electricity (solar and wind) is the politically correct panacea to fight the bogeyman of global warming. However, experience has shown that replacing electrical generation by fossil fuels with wind or solar generation makes the power supply unreliable and leads to electrical grid instability, much higher electricity costs, environmental problems, and very little decrease in carbon dioxide emissions. The renewable energy industry would probably not exist without mandates and subsidies. Fossil-fuel generated electricity responds to demand and is available 24/7; solar or wind generated electricity is not.

There is currently a campaign by the Arizona Corporation Commission to mandate that 50 percent of electricity be generated from renewable sources. This is very dangerous as noted below.

Experience from Europe shows that the more installed solar and wind capacity per capita a country has, the higher the price people pay for electricity. In some European countries, electricity prices are three times higher than the average price in the U.S., see:

https://wryheat.wordpress.com/2018/02/27/the-high-cost-of-electricity-from-wind-and-solar-generation/ 

Also, there is no physical evidence that carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels intensifies the greenhouse effect. On the other hand , there are several lines of physical evidence that such emissions do not enhance the greenhouse effect, the alleged cause of global warming:

https://wryheat.wordpress.com/2014/11/19/evidence-that-co2-emissions-do-not-intensify-the-greenhouse-effect/

Following are some articles on this issue. Perhaps these stories will convince Arizona voters and Arizona legislators of the foolishness of renewable energy mandates.

AZ Clean Energy Constitutional Amendment Would Shut down Nuclear Power in State

By H. Sterling Burnett, Heartland Institute

California hedge fund billionaire Tom Steyer is pushing a ballot measure in Arizona to amend the state’s constitution requiring utilities to get 50 percent of their electricity from favored renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar power, by 2030.

The Clean Energy for a Healthy Arizona, HCR 2017 increases the current renewable power mandate from its present requirement of 15 percent by 2025, in an attempt to reduce the carbon dioxide generated from electric power production in the state to fight climate change.

Effect on Nuclear Power

Arizona Public Service Company (APS), the owner of the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station (Palo Verde), warns if voters approve this constitutional amendment, its nuclear plant would have to close in six years instead of continuing to generate electricity for 27 years as its current operating license permits.

Palo Verde is the largest source of electric power in Arizona, providing 36 percent of the state’s electricity. By comparison, non-hydro renewables in Arizona, dominated by solar power, generate about 4 percent of the state’s electricity. Coal produces about 25 percent and natural gas about 30 percent of the state’s electric power.

Palo Verde just received a 20-year extension from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to operate the plant until 2045. Attempting to build sufficient renewable power to take the place Palo Verde, as well as also replacing the electricity from coal-fired power plants in the state, which will also have to be closed prematurely, will require almost 30 times the amount of electricity from renewable sources as they produce now, to be online in less than 12 years.

APS officials say under the measure solar and wind development would produce more electric power than is needed during half the year when Arizonans are not using their air conditioners, with the oversupply forcing the closure of baseload nuclear and coal-fired power plants, which provide a constant flow of electricity. APS also says the cost of electricity would rise significantly if this measure passes. Read more ☼

Why Proposed Wind and Solar Power Projects Should Be Rejected Nationwide

by Alan Carlin

While USEPA is trying to reduce the number of regulations it has, the climate industrial complex (CIC) is busy making use of Federal and other subsidies to promote their inefficient, unreliable, and expensive “renewable” sources of electric power. America, however, is more and more dependent on reliable and inexpensive electric power for almost everything it does. One problem is that each proposed new “renewable” site has its own environmental problems such as killing birds or offensive sounds bombarding humans. They are also all very high cost when the costs of turning intermittent, unreliable electric power into useful, continuous, reliable energy are taken into account.

And now that it has been rigorously shown that higher levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) have no significant effect on global temperatures in the real world it is long past time to bring a halt to the use of taxpayer and ratepayer money to build additional wind and solar generating plants in addition to removing all regulations which have the effect of killing existing “non-renewable” power plants without a solid environmental justification. The case that the CIC has long made that CO2 has a significant effect on temperatures has always been shaky at best and has never been proved. Now we know that it is simply wrong. Yet the CIC is continuing to try to spend other people’s money–that of ratepayers and taxpayers–to build ever more wind and solar power plants. If this is allowed to continue, it will hobble America’s future just as it already has Germany’s and other Western European nations who have bought into the climate alarmist scam. Read more ☼

All-Renewable Energy Is a Prescription for Disaster

by Robert Bryce, Manhattan Institute

Last year, an all-star group of scientists thoroughly debunked the work of Mark Jacobson, the Stanford engineering professor who for years has been claiming the US can run solely on renewables.

In a paper last June in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the scientists — including Ken Caldeira of the Carnegie Institution, Dan Kammen of the University of California, Berkeley, former EPA Science Advisory Board chairman Granger Morgan and Jane Long of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory — concluded that Jacobson’s all-renewable scheme used “invalid modeling tools, contained modeling errors, and made implausible and inadequately supported assumptions.”

Those errors “render it unreliable as a guide about the likely cost, technical reliability, or feasibility of a 100-percent wind, solar and hydroelectric power system.”

The scientists also concluded that Jacobson’s all-renewable proposal would require covering about 500,000 square kilometers — a land area larger than the state of California — with nothing but wind turbines.

The idea of covering that much land with wind turbines is preposterous on its face, particularly given that rural residents from New York and numerous other states are already rejecting the encroachment of Big Wind.

The high cost of renewables can also be seen in California, which has mandated 50 percent of the state’s electricity be sourced from renewables by 2030. In February, Mark Nelson and Michael Shellenberger of the Berkeley-based think tank Environmental Progress reported California’s electricity rates rose at more than five times the rate of electricity prices in the rest of the US between 2011 and 2017. Californians now pay about 60 percent more for their electricity than residents of other states. Read more ☼

30-years later, James Hansen blasts renewables

The liberal news media lauded James Hansen, former head of NASA’s Goddard Institute, on the 30-year anniversary of his U.S. Senate testimony bringing global warming into the American political consciousness. Conveniently, however, most of the media failed to note Hansen’s criticisms of the environmental impacts of wind and solar power, while also failing to note his strong support for nuclear power. If not for Hansen taking matters into his own hands by writing multiple editorials on the topic, Hansen’s criticisms of wind and solar power may have never been known to anybody other than his close personal associates.

In a column this Wednesday in the Boston Globe, Hansen savaged the Paris climate accord and its predecessor the Kyoto Protocol as “wishful thinking” that allowed most countries to continue business-as-usual energy and environment policies. Sounds a little like President Trump, doesn’t it?

Hansen adds, “The notion that renewable energies and batteries alone will provide all needed energy is fantastical. It is also a grotesque idea, because of the staggering environmental pollution from mining and material disposal, if all energy was derived from renewables and batteries.” He follows that up by referring to the notion of an economy powered entirely by renewable energy a “fantasy.” (Source) ☼

A Trove Of New Research Documents The Folly Of Renewable Energy Promotion

By Kenneth Richard

The advocacy for widespread growth in renewable energy (especially wind, solar, and biomass) usage has increasingly become the clarion call of the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) movement. And yet more and more published research documents the adverse effects of relying on renewables. Over the course of the last year, at least 30 papers have been published in the peer-reviewed scientific literature detailing the fatuity of promoting renewable energy as a long-term “fix” for climate change mitigation. (This article gives summaries and links to the research, read more) ☼

UK Study Debunks Efficiency of Rooftop Solar Battery Backup Power

by Bonner R. Cohen

A new study from Great Britain refutes claims backup battery storage systems can cost-effectively offset the intermittency of residential rooftop solar power.

In assessing the cost-effectiveness of backup battery systems for rooftop solar panel arrays, the study concludes “such an installation is unlikely to provide any financial benefit.”

“Battery Wastage: Why Battery Storage for Rooftop Solar Doesn’t Pay,” was written by Capell Aris, a fellow at the Institute for Engineering and Technology in the UK, and published by the London-based Global Warming Policy Foundation. Read more Read full study ☼

If Renewables Are So Great for the Environment, Why Do They Keep Destroying It?

By Michael Shellenberger, Forbes

If solar and wind farms are needed to protect the natural environment, why do they so often destroy it?

Consider that:

New offshore wind turbines in Germany could “lead to the extinction of individual species” including the rare, intelligent, and highly-threatened harbor porpoise, according to Friends of the Earth-Germany (BUND).

Migratory bat populations, including the hoary bat, could could go extinct, say scientists, if the expansion of wind energy in North America continues.

A single California solar farm, Ivanpah, required the killing of hundreds of desert tortoises, the state’s threatened reptile, and annually kills six thousand birds by lighting them on fire. Wind turbines on California’s Altamont Pass killed an estimated 4,700 bird kills annually including Golden Eagles. “Some lose their wings,” says the Audubon Society, “others are decapitated, and still others are cut in half.” Read more ☼

A Crisis In Electric Power Everyone Is Ignoring

by Stephen Moore

Is anyone paying attention to the crisis that is going on in our electric power markets?

Over the past six months, at least four major nuclear power plants have been slated for shutdown, including the last one in operation in California. Meanwhile, dozens of coal plants have been shuttered as well — despite low prices and cleaner coal. Some of our major coal companies may go into bankruptcy.

But this is not a free-market story of Schumpeterian creative destruction. If it were, then wind and solar power would have been shut down years ago. They can’t possibly compete on a level playing field with $3 natural gas.

In most markets, solar and wind power survive purely because the states mandate that as much as 30% of residential and commercial power come from these sources. The utilities have to buy it regardless of price. The California state legislature just mandated solar panels for homes built after 2020 (an added construction cost of about $10,000 per home).

Over $100 billion in subsidies have been doled out to big wind and big solar over the last decade. Even with the avalanche of taxpayer subsidies and bailout funds, many of these companies, such as Solyndra (which received $500 million in handouts), failed.

These industries are not anywhere close to self-sufficiency. Without a continuation of a multibillion-dollar tax credit, the wind turbines would stop turning. Read more ☼

Junk generators: 2 million expensive solar panels cut Australian total CO2 emissions by 1% Read story ☼

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Don’t recycle plastic – burn it or bury it

Plastic in the oceans has been deemed an environmental problem and a danger to wildlife. Where does this plastic come from? According to a new report from the Global Warming Policy Foundation, much of the plastic comes from “leakage” from recycling operations. Some of that “leakage” is deliberate dumping in oceans and rivers by shippers in order to avoid fees.

The report: Save the Oceans – stop recycling plastic may be read in full here:

https://www.thegwpf.org/content/uploads/2018/06/Save-the-oceans.pdf

The report is just ten pages, but it cites 50 scientific studies and articles.

Here is the executive summary:

A marine plastic litter crisis has been declared and the mass media around the world has given their front pages over to the story for a while now. The European Union – among other actors – has declared a war against marine litter. Annually over 10 million metric tons (Mt) of plastic litter end up in oceans, harming wildlife. The International Solid Waste Association (ISWA) – the most competent specialist organization in the field – has summarized the origins of the marine litter crisis:

75% of land based marine litter in low to upper-middle income economies comes from litter and uncollected waste, while the remaining 25% of the land-based sources is plastic which leaks from within the waste management system.

In other words, the ISWA report shows that 25% of the leakage is attributable to the waste management option preferred by green ideologues; meanwhile, waste incineration can prevent any leakage of plastic if municipal solid waste (MSW) is incinerated along with sewage sludge. Despite this, incineration is vehemently opposed by green ideologues and also by the EU, which chooses to believe in the mirage of a circular economy.

The vast majority of the marine litter problem is attributable to poor waste collection and other sanitary practices in Asian, and to a lesser extent African, towns and cities in coastal areas and along rivers. The problem is particularly acute in China. The neglect of urban sanitary policy – the backbone of development agendas until that time – started when the ‘mother of sustainability’, Norway’s Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland, personally refused to have it be part of her World Commission’s work program and ultimately its 1987 report, which famously led to the adoption of ‘sustainable development’ goals by the UN General Assembly.

This report describes the absurdities, inefficiencies, double or even triple waste management structures and horrible consequences of the EU’s erratic green waste policy, its fact-free claim that its waste policy helps to implement the Paris climate agreement, and its dumping of 3 Mt of plastic in China each year, with horrific consequences for the marine environment and health.

The EU has now started to sideline – in the name of circular economy – the highly successful waste incineration policy implemented in seven EU member states – Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden – which all have major waste incineration capacity and now landfill less than 3% of their MSW.

The study notes the best thing to do is bury plastic in landfills or burn it. However, these methods don’t fit into the environmentalist’s scheme of sustainable development. Burning plastic along with other material has very few undesirable emissions. The resulting ash can be sent to landfills or used for applications such as road-building materials.

The study’s author, Mikko Paunio, opines: “that ideologically motivated environmentalists in the 1980s and their dreams of recycling and a ‘circular economy’ are the ultimate cause of the marine waste problem, because they have discouraged development of municipal waste schemes in Asia and Africa, and because they have encouraged developed nations to use management schemes that make it hard or expensive to deal with waste and therefore tend to ‘leak’ to the environment, sometimes catastrophically so.”

Recycling plastic poses some problems. First much plastic has to be washed which uses large amounts of water. Plastic also has to be sorted from other waste and by type of plastic because recycling processes are different for different types of plastic.

Save time, water, energy, and expense by burning or burying plastic. Don’t recycle it.

The plastics in the ocean problem has spawned some dumb regulations. For instance, silly in Seattle:

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/07/02/seattle-bans-plastic-straws-utensils-becoming-first-major-us-city-to-do-so.html

The solution is to have more-careful waste collection and management.

Related:

Plastic bags and global warming

Renewable energy mandates and politics versus science

Competing renewable energy mandate legislation will appear on the Arizona this fall. You can read about them in two Arizona Daily Star stories:

Arizona utility APS crafts renewable-energy initiative with escape clause

Arizona Senate puts utility-written renewable energy plan on ballot

Neither addresses the real issue: electricity produced from utility-scale solar and wind is unreliable, expensive, plays havoc with electrical grid stability, and is not as green as advertized. Rather than play with tricky fixes, the Arizona legislature should repeal the Arizona Corporation Commission’s renewable energy mandate and forbid the ACC from mandating how electricity is generated. I can find no place in the Arizona Constitution nor in the Arizona Revised Statutes that gives the ACC authority to impose such mandates.

For background of ACC action, read a report from the Goldwater Institute: “Rediscovering the ACC’s Roots: Returning to the Original Purpose of the Arizona Corporation Commission” (link)

Here is the executive summary of the 26-page report:

The Arizona Corporation Commission was established through the state constitution to regulate corporations, public utilities, securities, and other investments. But in an unprecedented move, the Arizona Corporation Commission sought to single-handedly determine alternative energy policy in Arizona with a bold and unconstitutional energy mandate in 2006.1 This mandate forced energy producers to embrace state-favored alternatives instead of deciding for themselves which options are most attractive in Arizona.

Arizonans now face the real threat that the Arizona Corporation Commission will continue to seize power meant to be held by the state’s legislative branch. Important decisions about energy policy, corporate governance, and other areas have been removed from the legislative process which, for all its faults, offers more transparency, citizen input, and accountability than the opaque and bureaucratic proceedings of the Arizona Corporation Commission.

The framers of the Arizona Constitution had serious concerns about the Commission’s potential to abuse its authority. Records of the state constitutional debate show the constitution’s authors intentionally limited the Commission’s powers to prevent interference with internal business decisions. The framers’ fears have been borne out.

The Commission’s attempt to act as the state’s de facto energy czar clearly oversteps its original role.

Arizona courts should re-establish a proper balance between the Commission and legislative power. Courts in other states with similar utility regulatory commissions already have concluded such agencies don’t have constitutional authority to mandate statewide policy. The Legislature also can reassert its authority by ordering an audit of the Commission that would recommend ways to streamline the agency and to restore it to its proper role. Finally, the state constitution could be amended to transfer necessary functions to other agencies and decommission the ACC to stop its policymaking power grabs, which Arizona’s founders specifically aimed to prevent.

See these articles for more detail on the consequences of the ACC mandate:

Six reasons Arizona should repeal its renewable energy standards mandate

The economic impact of Arizona’s renewable energy mandate

The high cost of electricity from wind and solar generation

The more installed solar and wind capacity per capita a country has, the higher the price people pay for electricity.

Political correctness versus science:

The alleged rationale for these mandates is that we must reduce carbon dioxide emissions to forestall dread global warming. But, there is no physical evidence that emissions from fossil fuels play a significant role in driving global temperature. See these ADI posts for more detail:

A Simple Question for Climate Alarmists

“What physical evidence supports the contention that carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels are the principal cause of global warming since 1970?” I posed that question to five “climate scientist” professors at the University of Arizona who claim that our carbon dioxide emissions are the principal cause of dangerous global warming. Yet, none could cite any supporting physical evidence.

Evidence that CO2 emissions do not intensify the greenhouse effect

The “greenhouse” hypothesis of global warming makes four major predictions of what we should see if the “greenhouse effect” is intensified by adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. All four predictions are shown by physical evidence to be wrong.

What keeps Earth warm – the greenhouse effect or something else?

An alternative hypothesis with observable evidence.

Failure of climate models shows that carbon dioxide does not drive global temperature

Results from climate models based on the assumption that carbon dioxide controls global temperature diverge widely from reality.

Climate change in perspective

An overview of climate history

The 97 percent consensus of human caused climate change debunked again

The fake climate consensus

Russian collusion with environmentalists to disrupt American energy production

It seems that there is indeed Russian collusion, collusion with environmental groups to harm American energy production. This has been going on for years.

Environmentalists have campaigned for the following:

1) US nuclear energy facilities to close down

2) US fossil fuel reserves to stay in the ground (onshore and offshore)

3) the costs of fossil fuels to go up (e.g. with a carbon tax)

4) a high percentage of the US electric grid to be based on unreliable sources? (wind and solar)

5) the US to waste trillions of dollars on unreliable electricity

All of this plays into Russian hands as they battle to maintain their European markets.

 

See a Congressional Report about this collusion:

Mar 1, 2018,WASHINGTON – U.S. House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) released a staff report uncovering Russia’s extensive efforts to influence U.S. energy markets through divisive and inflammatory posts on social media platforms. The report details Russia’s motives in interfering with U.S. energy markets and influencing domestic energy policy and its manipulation of Americans via social media propaganda. The report includes examples of Russian-propagated social media posts.

According to the report: “Russia has a significant interest in disrupting U.S. energy markets and influencing domestic energy policy. American energy is booming. America’s emergence as a global energy exporter presents a significant threat to Russian energy interests. Such competition reduces the revenue and influence generated by Russian energy exports. This adversely affects the Kremlin’s ability to leverage Eastern Europe’s reliance on their energy and their ability to carry out their geopolitical agenda. The surge of American energy into the global marketplace heightens the Kremlin’s desire to eliminate or mitigate the American energy threat and to do so by influencing social media users, American voters, and public officials.”

 Read press releaseRead full report.

 

Consider these stories:

Environmental group may have to register as foreign agents

Reported by Washington Examiner, 01/15/18 Link to story

“U.S. environmental activists who are working to halt the production and use of fossil fuels could be required to register as foreign agents if Congress gets serious about enforcing an existing law.” The Foreign Agents Registration Act, passed in 1938, calls for individuals and organizations to provide full disclosure when they are working to advance the public policy interests of a foreign government.

Democrats dig for Russian connection and uncover environmentalists.

Reported by The Hill, 10/26/17. Link to story

“Democrats and the media have been on a year-long deep dig into Russian involvement into U.S. elections. But when you dig a hole you sometimes run across things you wish had remained buried — like the dirt pointing to Russian ties to the U.S. environmental movement.

Russia secretly working with environmentalists to oppose fracking.

Reported by The Guardian, 19/06/14. Link to story

Anders Fogh Rasmussen, secretary-general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (Nato) said: “I have met allies who can report that Russia, as part of their sophisticated information and disinformation operations, engaged actively with so-called non-governmental organizations – environmental organizations working against shale gas – to maintain European dependence on imported Russian gas.”

 

See also:

 

https://wryheat.wordpress.com/2018/02/27/the-high-cost-of-electricity-from-wind-and-solar-generation/

The high cost of electricity from wind and solar generation

Written by Jonathan DuHamel

Some European countries, particularly Germany and Denmark, have invested heavily in electricity generation from solar and wind sources with the result that the cost of electricity has increased substantially. The alleged rational for using “green” energy is that it would reduce carbon dioxide emissions and save us from dread global warming. The reality is that carbon dioxide emissions have not been reduced and real world evidence shows that carbon dioxide emissions have almost no influence on global temperature. (See my Wryheat post: Evidence that CO2 emissions do not intensify the greenhouse effect).

Here is what is happening in Europe. The more installed solar and wind capacity per capita a country has, the higher the price people pay for electricity. In the graph below the vertical scale is Euro cents per kilowatt-hour, the horizontal scale is the installed capacity of renewables (solar and wind) per capita. (For reference, the U.S. average residential cost is 12 cents/kwh which is about 9.6 euro cents/kwh, lower than all European countries on the graph.)

 

Pierre L. Gosselin, a graduate of the University of Arizona who resides in Germany, writes: “Despite the rapidly growing green energy capacity being installed, the effort to reduce CO2 has failed, and what’s left is an unpredictable power grid that often produces energy when it is not needed (waste energy) and thus costing Germans hundreds of millions annually. The Green Party claims that wind energy is “the most inexpensive” on the market, but “If that is really true, then why do they need subsidies? Why are we paying 25 billion euros annually for their feed-in?” An array of expert panels have determined that wind energy is not leading to more climate protection, but rather is only making electricity outrageously expensive.” (Source)

Australians are experiencing the same thing. The last 65 years of Australian electricity prices — indexed and adjusted for inflation show that during the coal boom, Australian electricity prices declined decade after decade. As renewables and national energy bureaucracies grew, so did the price of electricity. (Source) See graph at source.

Peter Rez (Professor at Arizona State University) explains Why solar and wind won’t make much difference to carbon dioxide emissions (Oxford University Press)

“In many circles there is a comforting belief that renewables such as solar and wind can replace fossil fuel electrical generation and leave us free to live as we do without carbon dioxide emissions. Fundamental physics and engineering considerations show that this is not so.”

“Power needs fluctuate with time of the day and, to a lesser extent, day of the week. In most places, peaks occur in the evening when people come home, start cooking, and turn on lights and entertainment systems. In Arizona in summer, the peaks are even more extreme due to the air conditioners all cutting in. There are also morning peaks, as people get up and turn on lights and hair dryers. Commercial and industrial use generally doesn’t change much throughout the day. The electrical utilities call this a baseload.”

“Solar and wind present two problems. One is low power density; massive areas have to be devoted to power generation. The other, more serious problem is intermittency. If we only wanted to run electrical appliances when the wind is blowing or the sun is shining, fine, but don’t expect to use solar to turn on your light at night! So solar and wind cannot manage on their own; it’s always solar or wind AND something else.” Read more

All of this has implications for Arizona energy policy.

In 2006, the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) imposed the Renewable Energy Standard and Tariff (REST) on non-government-owned electric utilities. REST requires that electric utilities generate an ever increasing amount of electricity from renewable sources such as wind and solar. The original mandated goal was to reach a total of 15 percent renewable generation by the year 2025.

Now ACC commissioner Andy Tobin is campaigning for what he calls an “Energy Modernization Plan.” (See ADI article “Tobin Appears To Overstep With Energy Modernization Plan”)  Read full plan at:   http://www.azcc.gov/commissioners/atobin/letters/energyplan.asp 

From the plan: “The singular unifying goal is to have Arizona’s economy powered by clean energy sources that make up at least 80 percent of the state’s electricity generating portfolio, by 2050, with the ultimate goal being 100 percent.

The high cost of electricity from wind and solar generation refers not only to the price of electricity, but also to the cost to the environment and health of humans and other animals.

Several years ago I wrote a Wryheat post: “Petition to Arizona Legislature – Dump Renewable Energy Mandates” which lists six reasons why the Arizona legislature should get rid of this mandate. Besides the cost and grid instability, solar and wind generation are not as “green” as advertised.

For example, many PV solar panels rely on polysilicon being manufactured in large quantities and at high quality. A byproduct of polysilicon production is silicon tetrachloride, a highly toxic substance that poses a major environmental hazard. Wherever silicon tetrachloride is dumped, the land becomes totally infertile. A major environmental cost of photovoltaic solar energy is toxic chemical pollution (arsenic, gallium, and cadmium) and energy consumption associated with the large-scale manufacture of photovoltaic panels.

Concentrating solar plants such as the Ivanpah generating station, in the Mohave Desert southwest of Las Vegas, uses 173,500 heliostats each with two mirrors to focus sunlight on a tower where water is converted to steam to generate electricity. This method is called “solar-flux” and it generates very high temperatures. Birds experience traumatic impact with the mirrors, but the larger danger is getting singed by the heat flux which is up to 800 degrees F. (See my post: Avian Mortality from Solar Farms)

Wind turbines chop up millions of birds and bats every year. (See: Wind Turbines Versus Wildlife) Wind turbines also cause health problems in humans and other animals due to their low-frequency noise and the “flicker” of the turbines themselves. (See: Health Hazards of Wind Turbines)

I can find no place in the Arizona State Constitution nor the Arizona Revised Statutes that gives the ACC explicit authority to dictate the methods by which utilities must generate electricity. I recommend that the Arizona legislature repeal the Renewable Energy Standard and Tariff and forbid the ACC from dictating how electricity must be produced. Instead, let the free market decide.

Generating more electricity from solar and wind is just a very expensive exercise in political correctness that will have little impact on carbon dioxide emissions, but a big impact on your wallet.

See also:

A Simple Question for Climate Alarmists

“What physical evidence supports the contention that carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels are the principal cause of global warming since 1970?”

This article may be reprinted/reposted  provided that credit of authorship is given with a link back to the source.

URL: https://wryheat.wordpress.com/2018/02/27/the-high-cost-of-electricity-from-wind-and-solar-generation/

Coal – A Possible New Source of Rare Earth Elements

The US Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) has identified high concentrations of rare earth elements (REE) in coal samples collected from several American coal basins and is doing research to see if these minerals are economically recoverable.

According to the Energy Business Review, samples

were collected from the Illinois, Northern Appalachian, Central Appalachian, Rocky Mountain Coal Basins, and the Pennsylvania Anthracite regions. The samples were found to have high REE concentrations greater than 300 parts per million (ppm).

NETL said: “Concentrations of rare earths at 300ppm are integral to the commercial viability of extracting REE from coal and coal by-products, making NETL’s finding particularly significant in the effort to develop economical domestic supplies of these elements.”

NETL has partnered with West Virginia University (WVU), the University of Kentucky (UK), Tetra Tech, and the XLight for the research project.

The current difficulties and high expenses associated with REE extraction has left the U.S. dependent on foreign REE imports. Currently, China supplies about 90 percent of REE used in industry.

Rare earth elements are vital to modern society. Some of the uses include computer memory, DVDs, rechargeable batteries, cell phones, catalytic converters, magnets, fluorescent lighting, night-vision goggles, precision-guided weapons, communications equipment, GPS equipment, batteries, and other defense electronics.

There are 17 naturally occurring rare earth elements: yttrium, scandium, lanthanum, cerium, praseodymium, neodymium, promethium, samarium, europium, gadolinium, terbium, dysprosium, holmium, erbium, thulium, ytterbium, and lutetium.

Despite the name “rare earths” the more common REE are each similar in crustal abundance to commonplace metals such as chromium, nickel, copper, zinc, molybdenum, tin, tungsten, and lead, but REE rarely occur in economic concentrations, and that’s the problem.

The U.S. used to be self-sufficient in REE due to one deposit, Mountain Pass in the Mojave desert, California, just west of Las Vegas, Nevada. That mine, a carbonatiteintrusion with extraordinary contents of light REE (8 to 12% rare earth oxides) was discovered in 1949 and began production in 1952. Mining ceased in 2002 due to low prices and some environmental regulatory trouble triggered by a tailings spill. However, the mine was reactivated in 2012 but went bankrupt in 2016. Another company (a Chinese consortium) purchased the property in July, 2017, and is working to restart operations.

Some other U.S. rare earth resources are shown on the map below.

See a power-point essay on REE that explains geology, deposit types, and many more details.

One of the authors of that power-point says:

“For example, a typical coal contains 62 parts per million (ppm) of total rare earth elements on a whole sample basis. With more than 275 billion tons of coal reserves in the United States, approximately 17 million tons of rare earth elements are present within the coal—that’s a 1,000-year supply at the current rate of consumption.” —Dr. Evan Granite, NETL

The report also says that abandoned tailings piles from coal and iron mines may be important resources of REE.

Dr. Granite says that the United States consumes around 16- to17 thousand tons of REE each year, and this demand could be completely satisfied by extracting rare earths from domestic coal and coal by-products.

See also:

Rare Earths Resources in the US

How we use rare earth elements

Rare Earth Elements Deposits in New Mexico

Illustrating the failure of the climate movement – in one graph

This post is reblogged from

People like Bill McKibben of 350.org make a big deal out of the “successes” of carbon divestment, where the 350.org organization bullies convinces some hapless organization to divest from coal and petroleum stocks in investment portfolios. Besides the fact that this has no real impact, since when one person or group “divests”, another one buys the shares up, this graph shows why 350.org, Sierra Club, Greenpeace, NRDC, and the whole lot of climate campaigners are just practicing an exercise in futility.

Dr. Roger Pielke writes on Twitter:

I’m preparing some slides for an upcoming talk (on climate policy, yowza!). The attached is an effort to show in a readily understandable way the mind-bending scale of the energy challenge associated with deep decarbonization. What do you think?

This graph of global fossil fuel consumption tells the true story: green efforts to reduce fossil fuel use have not succeed with any impact at all. With a 57% increase in fossil fuel use since 1992, their efforts have been completely without effect.

Be sure to save this post URL and share it widely to those that think they have “made a difference”.

See also:

Evidence that CO2 emissions do not intensify the greenhouse effect

An examination of the relationship between temperature and carbon dioxide

What keeps Earth warm – the greenhouse effect or something else?

It’s time to dump the EPA “endangerment finding” which classified carbon dioxide as a pollutant

In 2009, the EPA ruled, under the Clean Air Act, that “the current and projected concentrations of the six key well-mixed greenhouse gases—carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6)—in the atmosphere threaten the public health and welfare of current and future generations.” In essence, the EPA classified carbon dioxide as a pollutant even though Carbon dioxide is necessary for life on Earth.

For some perspective, note that current atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide is about 400ppm (parts per million) while the air we exhale with every breathe contains 40,000ppm carbon dioxide. Is breathing causing air pollution?

This EPA ruling in effect allowed EPA to regulate everything from automobile exhaust to power plants to refrigerators. In order to overturn the finding, one would have to successfully show that the underlying scientific basis is wrong – and it is. Another tactic would be to have Congress amend the Clean Air Act, something that is very unlikely in the current contentious Congress.

The EPA’s scientific basis is derived from climate models, predictions of which diverge widely from reality. See my ADI articles:

Evidence that CO2 emissions do not intensify the greenhouse effect

Failure of climate models shows that carbon dioxide does not drive global temperature

Additional reading on the “Endangerment Finding” if you want to get into the details:

 

The EPA CO2 endangerment finding endangers the USA by Dennis Avery.

“In science, if your theory doesn’t take account of all the relevant data, you need a new theory.” Avery shows how the climate models fail to explain observations and notes that thousands of new coal-fired power plants are being built around the world – even in Europe. Avery is a former U.S. State Department senior analyst and co-author with astrophysicist Fred Singer of Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1,500 Years.

 

Why Revoking the EPA GHG Endangerment Finding Is the Most Urgent Climate Action Needed

by Alan Carlin. Carlin is a scientist and economist who worked for the RAND Corp. and the EPA.

“Revoking the EF is the only way to bring the climate alarmism scam to the untimely end it so richly deserves in the US and hopefully indirectly elsewhere. Until that happens the CIC [climate industrial complex] will continue to pursue its bad science through reports such as the National Climate Assessment with the recommended disastrous policies that would seriously damage the environment, impoverish the less wealthy, and bring economic disaster for our Nation by raising the prices and decreasing the availability and reliability of fossil fuel energy which is so central to our way of life and economy.”

 

In a separate post, Carlin also said that “EPA never engaged in a robust, meaningful discussion. Rather, there was a pro forma review after a decision had already been made which met many but not all of the legal requirements.” He lists “six crucial scientific issues that EPA did not actively discuss despite my best efforts to bring a few of them to their attention in early 2009.”

 

Dr. Pat Michaels on the ‘voluminous science that the USGCRP either ignored or slanted’ for the EPA endangerment finding

Patrick J. Michaels is the director of the Center for the Study of Science at the Cato Institute. Michaels is a past president of the American Association of State Climatologists and was program chair for the Committee on Applied Climatology of the American Meteorological Society. He was a research professor of Environmental Sciences at University of Virginia for 30 years. Michaels recounts his testimony before the EPA. USGCRP is U.S. Global Change Research Program.

 

60 scientists call for EPA endangerment finding to be reversed

“We the undersigned are individuals who have technical skills and knowledge relevant to climate science and the GHG Endangerment Finding. We each are convinced that the 2009 GHG Endangerment Finding is fundamentally flawed and that an honest, unbiased reconsideration is in order.”

Earth Hour: A Dissent

Reblogged from WUWT

Earth Hour: A Dissent

by Ross McKitrick

Ross McKitrick, Professor of Economics, Univer...

Ross McKitrick, Professor of Economics, University of Guelph, Canada. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

In 2009 I was asked by a journalist for my thoughts on the importance of Earth Hour.

Here is my response.

I abhor Earth Hour. Abundant, cheap electricity has been the greatest source of human liberation in the 20th century. Every material social advance in the 20th century depended on the proliferation of inexpensive and reliable electricity.

Giving women the freedom to work outside the home depended on the availability of electrical appliances that free up time from domestic chores. Getting children out of menial labour and into schools depended on the same thing, as well as the ability to provide safe indoor lighting for reading.

Development and provision of modern health care without electricity is absolutely impossible. The expansion of our food supply, and the promotion of hygiene and nutrition, depended on being able to irrigate fields, cook and refrigerate foods, and have a steady indoor supply of hot water.

Many of the world’s poor suffer brutal environmental conditions in their own homes because of the necessity of cooking over indoor fires that burn twigs and dung. This causes local deforestation and the proliferation of smoke- and parasite-related lung diseases.

Anyone who wants to see local conditions improve in the third world should realize the importance of access to cheap electricity from fossil-fuel based power generating stations. After all, that’s how the west developed.

The whole mentality around Earth Hour demonizes electricity. I cannot do that, instead I celebrate it and all that it has provided for humanity.

Earth Hour celebrates ignorance, poverty and backwardness. By repudiating the greatest engine of liberation it becomes an hour devoted to anti-humanism. It encourages the sanctimonious gesture of turning off trivial appliances for a trivial amount of time, in deference to some ill-defined abstraction called “the Earth,” all the while hypocritically retaining the real benefits of continuous, reliable electricity.

People who see virtue in doing without electricity should shut off their fridge, stove, microwave, computer, water heater, lights, TV and all other appliances for a month, not an hour. And pop down to the cardiac unit at the hospital and shut the power off there too.

I don’t want to go back to nature. Travel to a zone hit by earthquakes, floods and hurricanes to see what it’s like to go back to nature. For humans, living in “nature” meant a short life span marked by violence, disease and ignorance. People who work for the end of poverty and relief from disease are fighting against nature. I hope they leave their lights on.

Here in Ontario, through the use of pollution control technology and advanced engineering, our air quality has dramatically improved since the 1960s, despite the expansion of industry and the power supply.

If, after all this, we are going to take the view that the remaining air emissions outweigh all the benefits of electricity, and that we ought to be shamed into sitting in darkness for an hour, like naughty children who have been caught doing something bad, then we are setting up unspoiled nature as an absolute, transcendent ideal that obliterates all other ethical and humane obligations.

No thanks.

I like visiting nature but I don’t want to live there, and I refuse to accept the idea that civilization with all its tradeoffs is something to be ashamed of.

Ross McKitrick
Professor of Economics
University of Guelph

Will Trump rein in regulation?

Have we just witnessed a second American revolution; one that repudiates the policies of the political establishment of both Republicans and Democrats? We had a hint of this when Trump beat out establishment Republicans in the primary.

Trump will have much to deal with. In this article I will concentrate on the EPA, an agency whose regulations have trampled private property rights, and killed much inexpensive electricity generation.

What if, in his inaugural address, Trump were to issue an executive order that says something like “no federal agency shall regulate carbon dioxide emissions from burning of fossil fuels and all existing regulations to that effect are null and void?” Even the EPA admits that the possible effect on climate of its “Clean Power Plan” is prevention of just 0.03°C by the year 2100. That would be a great positive step in quelling the climate madness. It would also boost our economy. EPA regulations on particulate matter have no basis in science (see references below).

The EPA itself could be phased out and replaced by the environmental agencies of each state.

The EPA’s “Waters of the United States” rule (WOTUS, see here and here) impacts private property rights because the rule has become so invasive that it regulates every puddle and rill that may occur on or pass through a property.

In addition to the above:

The U.S. should withdrawal from the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, from the Paris climate agreement and from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change IPCC). These agencies and agreements suck money and provide no benefit. In the thousands of pages from reports by the IPCC, they have never produced any physical evidence that carbon dioxide emissions play a significant role in controlling global temperature.

The U.S. should also terminate all federal government subsidies for climate change research and for “renewable” energy. Let the solar and wind turbine companies test the demand for their product on the free market without any artificial markets produced by mandates and subsidies.

Endangered species listings based on projected climate change should be rescinded. In fact, the Endangered Species act should be amended or replaced with something that is more science-based and provides a positive incentive for conservation.

I hope Trump can “drain the swamp” and make the government serve the people once again.

 

See also:

EPA Clean Power Plan is Junk Science

EPA’s own human experiments debunk health claims

EPA claims on dangers of particulate matter are false

EPA Clean Power Plan is Junk Science

Replace the Environmental Protection Agency

EPA targets wrong cause of haze in Grand Canyon

The Flaws in the Endangered Species Act