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Renewable Energy Sector Toppling as Investors Pull out Billions

Renewable Energy Sector Toppling as Investors Pull out Billions

It looks like a green energy bloodbath.

I have been chronicling the toppling of the green energy dominoes for quite some time, as people begin to discover that climate cult beliefs in technology is not the same as scientific and engineering realities. Some recent highlights include:

Sweden’s government has ditched plans to go all-in on “green energy,” green-lighting the construction of new nuclear power plants. Fossil fuel giant Shell announced it was scaling back its energy transition plans to focus on . . . gas and oil!  Specific wind farm projects began to topple due to strong economic headwinds because the cost of the electricity to be generated was deemed too high.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced his decision to open the North Sea to more oil and gas drilling. French President Emmanuel Macron is surrendering to reality and asked for a “regulatory pause.

Now comes the news that investors are fleeing renewable energy funds due to rising costs and escalating rates.

Investors ditched renewable energy funds at the fastest rate on record in the three months to end-September as cleaner energy shares took a beating from higher interest rates and soaring material costs, which are squeezing profit margins.

Renewable energy funds globally suffered a net outflow of $1.4 billion in the July-September quarter, the biggest ever quarterly outflow, according to LSEG Lipper data.

However, the outflows only partially reversed the trend for the first half of 2023 when investors added a net $3.36 billion, the data showed.

The sector’s total assets under management now stand at $65.4 billion, a 23% decline from end-June, according to the data.

It looks like a green energy bloodbath.

Escalating interest rates are a significant contributing factor to this decision.

Renewable energy firms with high growth potential are falling victim to the current economic climate shaped by high interest rates, elevated costs and supply chain issues, with China dominating the solar supply chain, for instance.

Renewable companies often have long-term contracts with a fixed price, while their current borrowing costs are soaring due to high interest rates and raw material is affected by high inflation.

The rise in costs is therefore eating away their profits.

Companies including Denmark’s Orsted, the world’s largest offshore wind farm developer, and US panel maker First Solar have seen sharp share price falls in recent months.

“Renewable energy funds have faced weakened sentiment due to company performances in recent quarters and a shift in investor attention this year towards other themes like AI and US Infrastructure,” said Global X research analyst Madeline Ruid.

Interestingly, six Atlantic shore Governors are begging the federal government to bail them out of a huge looming offshore wind cost overrun (hat-tip Hot Air’s Beege Welborne).

They sent Biden a joint letter asking for a list of relief measures ranging from tax breaks to revenue sharing.

The outcome is far from clear but my guess is the largess is unlikely to appear, especially given the ongoing federal budget battles. Maybe later. However most of the requests also likely require major regulatory changes, which could take years. They might even take legislation which could be never.

But the need is urgent as the offshore developers are demanding immediate power price increases of around 50% lest they leave for better opportunities elsewhere. They can do this because offshore wind is a global boom. Even mid-income developing countries like Indonesia are talking big offshore numbers.

Ironically, it is this boom that is driving some of the sticker-shocking price increases. There is even a shortage of highly specialized crane ships to erect these huge towers. The supply chain is a seller’s market, at least on paper. Rising interest rates are another big driver.

As a reminder that is a wise idea to base investments and infrastructure on real science and practical engineering, here is a information on more highly energy-productive options.

  • Coal is a remarkably dense energy source: A single metric ton of coal can produce up to 1,927 kilowatt-hours of electricity. In the United States, 52% of the electricity comes from coal generation. A typical coal fired power plantcan produce 109 kWh/year (1,000,000,000 kWhr/year) of power, the plant burns 14,000 tons of coal every day.
  • Nuclear energy takes production up a notch, so the units are in megawatts (1 million watts).  As an example of potential capacity, one example reactor operates at 582 MW capacity for 24 hours, and generate 13,968 megawatthours (MWh) during this time. IDuring the year, it would create 5,098,320 MWh.


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Even if the entire scheme collapses, we’re going to be stuck with thousands of zombie towers cluttering up the state, not to mention those huge blades that are almost impossible to dispose of when the windmills go out of service.

    paracelsus in reply to txvet2. | October 14, 2023 at 4:39 pm

    “… that are almost impossible to dispose…”
    that are totally impossible to dispose…

      txvet2 in reply to paracelsus. | October 14, 2023 at 6:58 pm

      Not impossible, but difficult. There is at least one little company that has figured out a way to recycle them, but there is obviously the big problem of scale and possible uses.

        RandomCrank in reply to txvet2. | October 15, 2023 at 1:28 pm

        Fiberglas is very hard to recycle, so most of it winds up in landfills. That’s true of insulation and wind turbine blades. Last I read, they’re looking at materials that are more easily recycled. But I add that this isn’t the big issue. The big issue is the hubs. A wind turbine is supposed to last for 20 years, but the hubs are crapping out at 7 years because of the wobble induced by wind pressure variation during the spin.

        The manufacturers have been losing money because of this. No one other than the financial analysts (raising hand here) who read the Qs and Ks pay attention. This is THE disabling issue.

    Gosport in reply to txvet2. | October 15, 2023 at 4:48 am

    Turn them into artificial fishing reefs is the best idea I could come up with.

    But I’m sure EPA clearance would take a century or so.

    JPL17 in reply to txvet2. | October 15, 2023 at 2:06 pm

    I don’t know, I think those “thousands of zombie towers” would make great stands for The World’s Tallest® Water Slides, Ferris Wheels, Tilt-A-Whirls, Pendulum Rides, Alpine Slides, Drop Towers, etc. Just imagine the giant offshore amusement parks you could build! And you know they’ll be more useful and productive than those useless windmill generators.

All sorts of financial boondoggles are able to exist when we have artificial low to near zero interest rates. When rates rise back to more normal levels as they are doing now suddenly the math no longer works. Consider that not quite 2/3 of the $33 Trillion Federal debt is going to roll over during the next couple years. The cost of debt service will roughly triple. Our Federal debt service cost will exceed total DoD spending probably this FY and certainly the next FY. The implications for the budget and reevaluated spending priorities are beyond big. Either we continue to kick the can until we run out of road and we are very close or we make very tough decisions to eliminate and reduce whole categories of current Federal expenditures. Both choices will have serious and tumultuous consequences politically and socially but only one leads to a sustainable path forward.

If all the cars in America were electric we would require 50% more electric energy than we do now. This is based on the assumed fuel economy advertised for electric vehicles which is inflated by at least 50%. And that is not counting electric trucks, busses, trains, etc. etc.

    RandomCrank in reply to Peabody. | October 14, 2023 at 5:58 pm

    That’s simply not true, but you can keep making up numbers to make yourself feel good. If all of the cars were electrified, electricity demand would rise by 10%-11%. Unlike you, I have done the research. Moreover, given that most charging happens overnight when demand is otherwise low, and that the vast majority of chargers are the electric equivalent of a clothes dryer, there’s very little need for upgraded distribution networks to handle it.

    No, I am not the electric car bitch. Among other things, I don’t think they should be subsidized or required. They stink as road trip vehicles, and are even worse as heavy-duty pickups of the sort that haul RVs or are used as agricultural work trucks.

    EVs have their upsides (cheaper fuel, much lower maintenance cost) and downsides (limited range, especially in cold weather, and higher purchase price). But, unlike you, I don’t regard them as either a cause or the devil. They’re just cars with a different propulsion mechanism and different fuel. I advise that you unclench and do some actual research

      MattMusson in reply to RandomCrank. | October 14, 2023 at 6:45 pm

      It’s a moot issue because the grid won’t be ready, the increased electricity won’t be available and there won’t be enough Strategic minerals or capital available to fund the green / EV transition.

        RandomCrank in reply to MattMusson. | October 14, 2023 at 8:23 pm

        The grid IS ready right now. Apparently, you have a reading comprehension problem, a mental block, or both. Poor you.

      stevewhitemd in reply to RandomCrank. | October 14, 2023 at 7:46 pm

      Show your work.

        RandomCrank in reply to stevewhitemd. | October 14, 2023 at 8:24 pm

        I have done that here. Go back and look it up.

        RandomCrank in reply to stevewhitemd. | October 14, 2023 at 8:32 pm

        By the way, when I did it before, I used the numbers from the Dept. of Transportation and the Dept. of Energy, which has published them for years. I cross checked to be sure that nothing had changed between the Trump and Biden administrations. No changes in methodology or in aggregate data. My guess is that, like the typical leftist pukes, you’ll be fact-denying.

        If I get in the mood, I will do it again, and watch you sputter and stammer and puke out utter bullshit. We shall see.

          healthguyfsu in reply to RandomCrank. | October 14, 2023 at 11:06 pm

          I’m not going to attack you for this because I don’t totally know the numbers. However, Elon Musk himself has said that we dont’ have the infrastructure for it. He’s said we need triple in the US and double worldwide. How do you reconcile his statements with yours?

          RandomCrank in reply to RandomCrank. | October 15, 2023 at 12:27 pm

          If every single light-duty passenger vehicle (cars, SUVs, vans, pickups) were electric, residential electricity demand would rise by 30%. So I was full of shit? Not quite, children. You see, residential electricity use is 38% of the total. Thus, the increase in total electricity demand would be 11.4%.

          Now let’s cross check that.

          There are 160 million light-duty passenger vehicles registered in the United States. An EV that gets an average of 3.5 miles/kWh will use 3,100 kWh a year. Multiply that by 160 million, and you get 496 billion extra kWh needed. The U.S. generates 4.243 trillion (4,243 billion) kWh a year. 496 billion / 4,243 billion = 11.7%

          Here are the numbers I used. They came from the Census Bureau, the Depts. of Transportation and Energy, and the EPA.

          – Household electricity use: 10,226 kWh/year = 28 kWh/day

          – Average miles driven: 29.75 miles/day

          – EV electricity use: 3.5 miles per kWh, or 8.5 kWh per day

          – 8.5 kWh per day / 28 kWh per day = 30% at the residential level

          – U.S. electricity generation: 4,243,136 million kWh/year

          – Electricity use: 38% residential, 62% commercial and industrial

          – Average electricity demand is 25% higher during the day than it is at night.

          Some caveats:

          1. There’s an alternative lighty-duty vehicle estimate of 254 million. Plug that into the numbers above, and total demand would rise by 787 billion kWh, or 18.5%. Given the spare nighttime capacity (let alone spare daytime capacity, which I did not examine), even the higher estimate wouldn’t break anything.

          I don’t believe the higher vehicle count, and here’s why. There are 143 million housing units. (Census Bureau.) The lower estimate suggests 1.12 vehicles per household, while the higher one suggests 1.8 vehicles per household. Yeah, yeah, LI readers are rich and have 2 or more vehicles at home, right? Well, most people have one, and some people have none.

          2. Not all vehicles will be converted any time soon, and probably never.

          3. >90% of EV recharging is done at home, overnight. The vast majority of chargers are “Level 2,” which use the same amount of juice as an electric clothes dryer.

          4. If EVs become far more popular, we won’t have everyone charging them at the same time. At 8.5 kWh/day for average driving distances, and new-generation EV batteries now at 60 kWH, and assuming that people recharge when they hit the equivalent of a quarter-tank, an EV needs recharging about every 5 days (60 x .75 / 8.5 = 5.3), so you won’t have all those “electric dryers” on at the same time and burning out neighborhood transformers.

          5. If neighborhood transformers (1 transformer per 6 houses) become a problem, there will be plenty of time to make adjustments.

          6. It’s a big country. Results will vary.


          Past all of that, I don’t think we’ll see mass EV adoption unless and until there is a different battery chemistry that enables much higher capacity. No matter what, this won’t hit all at once.

          So, kids, piss and moan all you want. Deflect. I’m sure you will. But your numbers are wrong. You’re lazy and addled, just like the leftists. I’m not lazy or stupid. My research was honest, and my numbers are correct. And you will keep right on denying the facts, because — just like the lefties you hate — you are invested in a narrative, no matter what. Have fun. LOL

      chrisboltssr in reply to RandomCrank. | October 14, 2023 at 7:57 pm

      How can you do the research when we haven’t even begun to convert anything in our economy to support an all-electric future? And even if we took your number at face value, a 10-11% increase is still an increase which would still require massive investment in increasing our energy production to support that increased consumption.

      There are no upsides to anything “green”: It is a society that is intentionally choosing to invest in more inefficient technologies and energy production simply because they have a diseased view that mankind is destroying the planet.

        RandomCrank in reply to chrisboltssr. | October 14, 2023 at 8:24 pm

        At night, generation declines big-time. Do you even bother to read anything?

          chrisboltssr in reply to RandomCrank. | October 14, 2023 at 10:01 pm

          You would still have to factor in the increase in usage when people are charging all of their electric shit at night. It’s still increased consumption. So how can you act certain your math is right, when none of this is currently undertaken and with what little is done now is a not panning put as the green zealots have predicted?

          RandomCrank in reply to RandomCrank. | October 15, 2023 at 12:36 pm

          I gave the numbers above. I’m sure you will deny them, because just the leftists you hate, you are invested in a narrative regardless of the facts. “I have met the enemy, and he is us.”

      number crunch in reply to RandomCrank. | October 15, 2023 at 11:07 am

      You’re quoting the low end of the modeling whereas Peabody is quoting nearer the high end. Neither of you mention peak load which is what the grid must be built. Right now, the argument is moot as the grid is at maximum capacity for peak load. Added to that, the continued push for electrification for heating and that places further demands. Not going to happen anytime soon as the range on these vehicles and their infrastructure simply isn’t there to make them viable except for local commuters.

        number crunch in reply to number crunch. | October 15, 2023 at 11:09 am

        Oh, and here’s my reference:

        RandomCrank in reply to number crunch. | October 15, 2023 at 12:28 pm

        The vast majority of EVs are charged at home, overnight.

        RandomCrank in reply to number crunch. | October 15, 2023 at 12:43 pm

        So now you include “electrification for heating,” which is a deflection from the topic. Here’s the deal: You are no different from the leftists you hate. You have a narrative, and when people have a narrative, facts and reason go out the window. And here you think you are one bit different than Senile Joe.

          CommoChief in reply to RandomCrank. | October 15, 2023 at 8:31 pm

          I don’t see why adding the impact of the ongoing push to raise use of electric appliances including heating is controversial.

          IMO the EV push is also a push to get rid of NG appliances while also ending use of coal fired electric capacity and Nuke power plants. The backers of eliminating those also want adoption of EV. Many also want wind and solar adoption at grid level.

          I am aware that some EV backers are not raving loonies and don’t subscribe to those ideas. IMO EV can make sense for urban short commute drivers as a primary vehicle and as second vehicle in suburb maybe exhurb.

          IMO, the pushback you are getting is based on not differentiating your position re EV from the broader push to end ICE vehicles, ram solar wind power, replace our NG appliances and so on. FWIW I think point of use Solar in the sun belt probably makes some sense as well at least as a personal plan b for independent power production capacity.

          RandomCrank in reply to RandomCrank. | October 15, 2023 at 8:42 pm

          No, not one thing is everything. Even if Idea A is pushed by people who push Idea B, they are still two ideas, and mixing them is a deflection. (By the way, I think the jihad against gas stoves is High Horseshit.)

          I have entirely separated EVs from all the rest in discussing them here. Throwing the rest into discussion about EVs, pro or con, only fuzzes it up. Anyone who bothers to read my comments about them will see that a) I know what I’m talking about, b) I am objective about them, and c) I don’t think they’re The Answer unless there’s a big leap in battery chemistry, about which I have expressed quite a bit of skepticism.

          The fact is that electrifying the light passenger vehicle fleet — something that will not happen any time soon, if ever — will not require a 50% increase in electricity generation. That’s what got me going, because that statement was the same sort of unresearched, knee-jerk horseshit that gets puked out by “progressives” on other issues.

          Sorry, but a lot of comments in this thread vividly illustrate that the left-wingnuts hardly have a monopoly on lazy, stupid, invented, fact-free crapola.

2smartforlibs | October 14, 2023 at 2:48 pm

These stories always remind me of the Warren Buffet quote about the only reason he was in turbines is the insane money from taxpayer subsidies.

    henrybowman in reply to 2smartforlibs. | October 14, 2023 at 3:03 pm

    There’s a whole sector of parasites who operate like that. I used to work for a company that made some of the most gawdawful mainframes in the world, but always turned a profit at the end of the fiscal year because the franc did something relative to the yen.

No, no, press on, press on. Look at that beautiful estate Barky was able to build on the Vineyard by cashing in his Solyndra stock!

Local energy company has pulled coal and natural gas to force solar farms down our throats. We just had 14% power increases with another 10% next year and another 10% the year after and this is with government tax bailouts to the green nonsense. They are going to make electricity unaffordable much like the planned beef increase. We will use less electricity and eat less beef whether we like it or not because we can’t afford it

    RandomCrank in reply to diver64. | October 15, 2023 at 1:30 pm

    Solar farms are such bullshit. The best ways to generate electricity — in order — are nukes, hydro, natural gas, and coal. Nukes are far and away the best, which is why you’re seeing Sweden, et. al., do a 180 on nukes.

The unstated reality, both here and in the intrepid media, are that wind turbines have a critical engineering problem. The wind pressure on the blades varies during the spin, resulting in much more failure at the hubs than has been “reported.”

This issue is not new. It’s been known for at least a decade. The maintenance and repair costs are MUCH greater than people have been told, other than those who actually bother to follow the financial results of the big three turbine manufacturers.

This is a “secret” in plain sight, and neither the proponents or most of the opponents of wind turbines will even pay any attention to it. I’ve posted about it here before, and with sources. Oh well. LOL

Idiots in my neck of the Hoosier cornfields are building tens of thousands of acres of solar panels on some of the best cropland in the country (no irrigation needed here)selling for $15k+/acre

It’s usually absentee land owners that inherited the family farm, live far away and will never see what they’re doing to the land

All they see are dollar signs for the lease.

    chrisboltssr in reply to murkyv. | October 14, 2023 at 8:04 pm

    Indeed. Solar fans have occupied a lot of space in AZ and parking lots are turned into de facto solar farms. They are a blight.

    gibbie in reply to murkyv. | October 14, 2023 at 11:09 pm

    Can you see over them in the summer?

      murkyv in reply to gibbie. | October 15, 2023 at 10:51 am

      All I see is corn around my house this summer . Next year it’ll be beans

      My concern, is that after the solar fad is gone and obsolete, that land will take many years to regenerate into prime cropland again

      From what I’ve read, when they decommission them, all they remove are the panels themselves and leave all the frames and infrastructure

      And then, where do the panels go?

        RandomCrank in reply to murkyv. | October 15, 2023 at 1:32 pm

        I think solar farms are bullshit, but the reality is that every component can be recycled. If they’re leaving the metal frames in place, they’re leaving money on the table.

Nuclear is by far the most consistent way to generate electricity. Nothing else even comes remotely close. Annual generation relative to capacity is >90%. Solar is the worst, barely >20%.

Part of the problem in a discussion like this is people obfuscate the units!

Case in point: 1,000,000,000 kWh/yr is being compared to 5,000,000 MWhr/yr. Please choose one or the other! Either way, you could state that, for this example, the nuclear plant output 5x the energy of the metric ton of coal… but it’s that a big nuclear plant or a small one? What was the point of this comparison?

    broomhandle in reply to Jubedgy. | October 15, 2023 at 8:10 am

    The idea is to emphasize the huge energy density of fission over hydrocarbon fuels.

    RandomCrank in reply to Jubedgy. | October 15, 2023 at 1:37 pm

    Word to the wise (as if there’s much wisdom in this comment section): There’s a big difference between the nameplate capacity of a generation plant and its actual generation. This is where nuclear shines. Those plants generate >90% of their nameplate capacity.

    The arithmetic is this: If a generator has a nameplate capacity of, say, 2 gigawatts, it means that in operation it will produce 2 gigawatts per hour. There are 8,760 hours in a year, so a 2 gigawatt generator at 100% will produce 17.5 terawatt hours a year.

    No generator runs at 100%, not even the nukes. But the nukes run at >90%, while the rest run much lower. Hydro is seasonal, depending on snowmelt into rivers. Wind is intermittent as all get-out, and runs at an average of about 26%. Solar is the worst, running at about 21%.

The biggest problem for EVs is the low energy density in batteries, followed by long charging times. Today, an EV is a viable second car for urban commuters — a big market — but that’s all.

It will take breakthroughs in battery chemistry to change the energy density equation, and even the strongest promoters say that the current chemistry is baked in the cake until at least the end of this decade.

If they crack that code, EVs will triumph. I have followed all of this for almost 15 years, and there has been a steady production of hype about this or that breakthrough. None of them have materialized.

People who are implacably opposed to EVs have it wrong. There is no question whatsoever that, if the energy density issue were solved in a cost-effective way, allowing EV batteries to store much more energy than they now do, electric motive power would win.

There are no downsides to it. EVs are far better at everything we know about cars, but the batteries are the achilles heel. Those costs have declined through manufacturing scale economies, but further progress now requires different chemistry. I have yet to see anything out there that solves the problem.

    Conservative Beaner in reply to RandomCrank. | October 14, 2023 at 7:11 pm

    Toyota and Honda are talking about solid state batteries versus the liquid Lithium battery used today. They claim it will be lighter, safer and better range. They are talking ranges of 700 miles plus in the next few years and over 900 miles a few years after that.

    They also claim rechaging will be faster as well taking 10 to 15 minutes for a 80% charge.
    We’ll see. I would still prefer a plug in hybrid to an all electric vehical.

      Yes, I have read about solid state batteries. If they materialize, it will be outstanding news. You will have to forgive my skepticism, given how much hype there’s been. I’d love it if it comes true. The opposition to electric motive power, which is universal in the train locomotive sphere, is flatly ignorant. The issue is battery chemistry, and if that can advance in a cost-effective way, it will be nothing but positive.

      I say this as someone who owns a big diesel truck, a mid-size gasoline SUV, and a dinky little EV that I’d never recommend as an alternative for anything other than short ranges. I’d qualify this by also stating skepticism about ranges, which are always “up to,” and ignore the challenges of going uphill, and of winter temperatures.

      If a different chemistry can provide an authenic all-weather range of 400 to 500 miles in a heavy-duty truck, at an acceptable cost, I have no doubt that it will be broadly adopted. But that’s a very big “if,” and we shall see.

      By the way, my Ram 3500 adds 90 miles of highway range per minute at the diesel pump, and my SUV adds 150 miles of range per minute. I am skeptical of “10 to 15 minutes.” I will add that, on a recent trip, I asked a guy driving an EV how much he was paying for electricity at a charger. The answer was 36 cents/kWh, which is 4 times what I pay at home, and more expensive than gas is for an equivalent vehicle.

      Hype is everywhere, and those of us who have a single standard for everything approach these announcements with well-founded skepticism. With apologies to the State of Missouri’s motto: Don’t tell me, but “show me.”

      By the way, I’ve been entirely in favor of plug-in hybrids, given the current battery chemistry. Stick a 60 kWh lithium-ion battery into a gas vehicle, and it’s a winner IMO. Battery-only has a range problem, and confines BEVs to a niche.

    EVs will always have problems in cold climates.

      RandomCrank in reply to gibbie. | October 15, 2023 at 12:30 pm

      Correct. That’s why batteries must have much larger capacity than they do now, and why today’s battery chemistry doesn’t cut it.

    nordic prince in reply to RandomCrank. | October 15, 2023 at 1:34 am

    To suppose that EVs are about “the environment” or “decreased dependence on fossil fuels” is to miss the point about why they are pushed so heavily, I believe. IMO the true impetus for pushing the EV agenda is the desire to control and corral the population by restricting mobility.

      RandomCrank in reply to nordic prince. | October 15, 2023 at 12:31 pm

      To me it’s ENTIRELY an engineering question. You’re a fanatic, and I am not.

      RandomCrank in reply to nordic prince. | October 15, 2023 at 1:43 pm

      See, I don’t give a rat’s ass in hell about CO2 emissions. I think that’s the epitome of what I call secular religious faith, or Old Time Religion with a smiley face sticker. I’m not high on EVs for any reason other than their engineering characteristics.

      The issue there is the energy density of the batteries, which thus far makes them niche vehicles and not a suitable replacement for gas and diesel engines. If cost-competitive, reliable new battery chemistry emerges, then EVs will be the way to go. Even the most grizzled rancher will be buying an electric heavy-duty pickup truck, because the torque will put diesel to shame.

      But that battery chemistry question is a very big “if,” and thus far I see little evidence that new chemistry is really in the works.

Biden green new deal is trillion dollar fraud.

Won’t lower temps by 1 degree.

Yeah wind is a no go and the reasons go so far beyond even worth pointing out all of the flaws. The ONLY reason to still be trying wind on an industrial level at this point is grift. That said, if all of our infrastructure goes to shit and we have a cataclysmic shift of global life, then they might have some niche use for small communities if they can be maintained by a small group of people. The big industrial turbines are giant wastes of resources for SO many reasons.

Solar is okay for a niche market but making “farms” of it by destroying natural land is just a laughably sad boondoggle. Solar comes out pretty well when you take commercial buildings that otherwise have a useless roof and turn it into a power generator. However, the lithium batteries to store it are ridiculously expensive and have caught on fire in several cases. It’s best to keep it on the grid for now as long as it can be handled and not create overload stress points. It always will be an auxillary source no matter what, but it is better than wind.

Fossil fuel remains reliable but demonized. Nuclear power remains superior to all but demonized. Our world is such a pile of shit eating grifters and waste of space rabble rousers that I don’t know how we get things going for the general good of the human race again.

As for electric cars, they are impractical and they would suck rare earth minerals dry if they were used all over the world in place of ICE cars. These mandated changeovers are a far bigger threat to continued human existence than fossil fuels could ever be.

The level of anti-EV emotion here reminds me of a trans-gendered freak insisting that it’s really a woman. Narrative first, facts be damned.

There are some great comments here and I appreciate all of you for posting them.

My only comment on ‘green’ energy such as solar and wind is they cannot power an industrialized society. If you have a cabin in the mountains, great, put some solar panels up so that your refrigerator can keep your deer meat cool. If I’m the mayor of LA and some industrialist comes to me and wishes to build a manufacturing plant, green is a non-starter.

As far as EVs are concerned from an engineering standpoint, if your concern is CO2 generation, they make no sense unless the grid is powered by nuclear power plants. EVs are about twice as heavy as ICE vehicles. If you are generating your electricity with fossil fuels, it will require much more burning of fossil fuels to generate enough electricity to push your EV one mile down the road than the amount of fossil fuels your ICE vehicle requires to push it one mile down the road.

From a sociological standpoint, EVs are only reasonable for urban commuters and small fleet vehicles like mail delivery trucks that can complete their circuit on one charge.

Also from a sociological standpoint, EV batteries are such a serious fire hazard that homeowner insurance companies will refuse to insure your home if you are charging an EV battery in your garage. Once they ban charging your EV car in your garage, they will come up with something like a 50′ separation from your home entirely, which puts most EV charging on the street.

There is simply no way that a fully-laden 18-wheeler is going to be powered by electricity. If we want to move large heavy amounts of material around with electricity, we would have to go back to rail, with again, a full nuclear grid.

As far as chemical storage of electricity, aka batteries, there is no ‘breakthrough’ forthcoming. We have been developing chemical batteries for over 200 years. Any improvements will be marginal, say a few %. There is simply no way that any dramatic increase in the chemical storage of electricity is forthcoming, either in capacity or charging time.

I do not know anything about any ‘solid-state’ storage of electricity so I will not comment on that, except to say that I am extremely doubtful.

I do not believe that CO2 is ‘warming the planet’. Even if I am wrong and it does, what about India and China? Between the two of those countries, about four new coal power plants are brought online every week. Are we going to send in a ground invasion and disable their coal and oil facilities, causing hundreds of millions of deaths?

However, if society does believe that CO2 is some ‘existential threat’, the only solution is a full nuclear grid. Nuclear power plants take about a decade to build, and there is no political will in this country to build any.

The bottom line is that if your goal is to eliminate CO2 emissions, only a full world-wide adoption of nuclear power will do anything.

As another commenter here said, the whole ‘green energy’ solution is a grift, and it is harming people. It has got to stop.


    RandomCrank in reply to not_a_lawyer. | October 15, 2023 at 5:36 pm

    Please substantiate the insurance claim.

    I completely agree that utility solar and wind are a joke. They cannot provide base load, and they are ridiculously expensive.

    Whether EVs are fossil-fuel powered is a state-by-state issue. It depends on the generation mix. Where I live, about 80% of the electricity comes from hydro and 8% comes from a nuke. If someone cares about CO2 (and I don’t), an EV is not fossil-fuel powered here, anyway.

    I am skeptical of new battery chemistry, having seen the march of the hype. That said, the lithium battery really was quite new, and a breakthrough about 20 years ago, maybe 25. Will solid-state and/or different chemistries, with much greater energy density, be developed? I hope so, but I will believe it when I see it.

    My guess about exploding lithium car batteries is that this happened when the supply chain was disrupted by the vastly overinflated covid scare. I think the car companies turned to non-automotive grade semiconductors, with bad results. Also, there is the matter of adequate hardening of the containers, because intrusion of air or water will cause them to burn.

    I strongly agree about nuclear, and about 18-wheelers. I’ve looked into the latter, and those simply won’t cut it for long-haul absent much more energy density. To the extent we see Tesla semis out there, they’ll be strictly for short haul.

    Today, solar and wind are niches. They work for some applications, but expensively. I thought about both of those when building a new house 6 years ago, and rejected them on cost grounds. They were never going to be anything but adjuncts, and the costs and reliability (on the wind side — small scale) ruled them out.

    All that said, the urban commuter vehicle market is viable given that the average vehicle is driven 29.5 miles a day and that the new ones have 60 kWh batteries. It’s a niche, but a substantial one. I think there should be no subsidies for them, and that the market should decide.

    My complain about the comments here is that so many of them are fact-free and emotion-heavy. You say “no way” to new battery chemistry that’s reliable and cost effective. I say, let’s see what happens. If it does, it will be unalloyed good news. To me, it’s the only obstacle. Maybe insurmountable as you assert, and I won’t let hope override reason, but there have been enough technology breakthroughs in my life that I think it’s very rarely a good idea to say “never.”

    The only energy-related “never” for me is fusion, but that’s a different discussion.

    RandomCrank in reply to not_a_lawyer. | October 15, 2023 at 6:20 pm

    My check of homeowners insurance and EVs did not substantiate your claim. All I could discern is that homeowners policies don’t cover vehicles (duh), not that homeowners insurance won’t pay for damage to a house if an EV catches fire in the garage.

    The EV insurance issue is an issue of repairing or replacing the cars themselves. One reason to avoid Teslas, IMO, is that they’re so expensive to fix that the insurance rates are much higher. There is a wide range of non-EV problems with Teslas, including suspensions, seals, and electronic components.

    I expect the same to be true of the new Rivians, which are said to be gruesomely expensive to fix. Not because of the batteries, but because the mechanical engineering makes for incredibly high costs for fixing non-EV issues, such as getting in a minor collision.

    This is why I’d be extremely reluctant to buy an EV from anything other other than an authentic car company, an example being Chevy and their Bolt. In any case, if you have evidence that homeowners coverage is being denied on the grounds of battery fires, I’d like to see it. Unlike many commenters here, I am always persuaded by facts.

      RandomCrank in reply to RandomCrank. | October 15, 2023 at 6:32 pm

      As an aside, the Tesla issues with ordinary components dovetails with my Starlink satellite dish experience. Starlink is a division of SpaceX, and their rockets are the leaders. In fact, just about all satellites (not just Starlink’s) go up on SpaceX rockets, along with whatever NASA launches. The dishes themselves are also bona fide high tech rocket science.

      The problem is the cables that connect the dishes to the routers. There’s a Starlink feature called “Snow Melt,” which works by sending extra current through the cables to melt any snow that falls on the dishes. Great idea, poor execution.

      Simply put, “Snow Melt,” which is activated by a thermostat in the dish, sends way too much power through the 26AWG wires in the cables. As a result, there is a widespread problem with fried cables.

      This is prototypical Elon Musk. He is focused on the highest tech side of things, to the detriment of low-tech basics. Those cables could be redesigned by a bright community college graduate, just as Teslas would be reliable if the company paid attention to the unglamorous components like suspensions, seals, and body panels.

      Combine that with the worst customer service you can imagine (Starlink cannot be reached by phone, and response times via email measure in weeks), and it’s a clusterfudge. I’ve solved “Snow Melt” by turning it off and relying on a squeegee duct taped to a long pole. It’s ridiculous, but where I live Starlink is really the only way to get enough throughput to support anything more than basic web surfing.

      I’ve heard that HughesNet (my backup) will be raising its speeds as the result of a new satellite to be launched this fall by none other than SpaceX, which is great at rocketry. If that happens, I’ll ditch Starlink in a heartbeat. As for Teslas, if someone gave me one, I’d turn right around and sell it and buy a Chevy Bolt.

Your comments are great RandomCranck.

My comments about chemical storage of electricity are based on how that electricity is stored. The electrons are pulled off the protons during charging and allowed to return to their original state during discharging. There is no way to magnify this amount of electric storage. It cannot be done chemically. There is no way physically to double or triple the electricity capacity of chemical batteries.

Maybe a few % can be gleaned, but there is no way, and I mean NO WAY that chemical batteries can be manufactured to do much more than they already do. It would violate the laws of physics.

As for the homeowner insurance providers, perhaps they are not forbidding the charging of EVs in garages at this time, but they will once the statistics come in and they have to start paying out large claims due to EV fires in garages that burn entire homes down.

I have seen a video of an electric school bus that went from completely normal to engulfed in flames (due to electrical malfunction) within less than sixty seconds. Perhaps most school kids can evacuate a school bus in sixty seconds, but once you have some tragedy in which twenty or so kids are immolated, there will be a change in opinion.

To provide enough battery storage of electricity, these things are built with the batteries directly underneath the floorboards where students sit, as opposed to an ICE vehicle where any malfunction would be confined to the engine compartment, allowing the students to disembark in a reasonably safe fashion.

If I had a child, I would never allow them to be bussed to school on an electric bus.

I appreciate your comments, RandomCrank. I think we agree on most things.


    RandomCrank in reply to not_a_lawyer. | October 16, 2023 at 12:21 pm

    Chemistry was my worst subject, followed closely by physics. I’m superior in logic, great with arithmetic, but embarrassingly weak in the hard sciences. I wish it were otherwise, but I’m way too old to start over. So I’d actually be interested in a detailed article about the prospects for more energy-dense chemistry in batteries, but written for the intelligent layman who sucked as hard science but would struggle through what he needed to if it was worth it. It would need to explain other battery advances, in particular lithium-ion, and why it’s as good as it’s going to get.

    (As an aside, my explanation of why Starlink cables crap out is the product of maybe 20 hours of intermittent research that began with next to no knowledge of wire gauges, zero knowledge of the current maximums for various wire gauges, no idea what happens in a step-down transformer (cut volts from 120 to 48, and amps go up by the reciprocal minus a smidgen for the conversion, and that’s what fries the Starlink cables), and zero knowledge of power over ethernet. All of which is to say that, if I get intertested, I am self-educable.)

    I’ve seen equivalent articles about solar panels, which went from capturing (or converting?) 2% of sunlight energy to about 23%, and that’s the most it’ll ever be. And I had a conversation 20 years ago with a nuclear engineer who very effectively convinced me that, even if science eventually produces a reaction with a positive EROEI that it cannot effectively be contained by any materials on earth.

    So, at the moment, I don’t write off a battery energy density leap, but that’s only because I stink at chemistry and always did. If lithium-ion is the end of the line as you say it is (and I’d love to see references that show this), then EVs are confined to a niche without massive government suppression. I see that this suppression is a far-right narrative, and while I don’t entirely dismiss it I’m a skeptic in all things.

    As for electric school buses, apart from safety issues, the articles I’ve read say that actual rollouts have been unsuccessful. In my rural county, where those buses would be climbing a thousand feet or more on long, twisting country roads, with the usual frequent stops, and in cold weather? I don’t expect to see the diesel ones around here replaced, especially if batteries aren’t going to materially improve their energy density. Safety can be improved, but if we’re at the chemical end of the line, that’s another kettle of rotting fish entirely.

    I really doubt that EVs are as much of a spontaneous fire risk as you think they are, relative to ICE vehicles. Yes, there have been spectacular incidents, but I don’t see this as a big risk.

      RandomCrank in reply to RandomCrank. | October 16, 2023 at 12:34 pm

      Again, please substantiate your claim about battery energy density being as good as it’ll ever get. I am genuinely interested in this. By energy density, I mean watt hours to weight and watt hours to volume. Both of them, because that’s what relevant for transportation. A lighter battery that huge wouldn’t help, nor would a smaller one that’s much heavier.

      I don’t know where the break point is, but I’m sure there is one with respect to lithium-ion batteries being so heavy relative to their energy yield that there’s no point in adding more of them. I have done some reading about ekectric semitrucks and have seen a wider weight/kWh range than I expected.

I like your comments RandomCrank, and I wish no battle with you.

Here is how Lithium-Ion batteries, and all chemical storage of electricity works.

Lithium is an element, with an atomic number of 3. That means it has three positively charged protons. Every proton ‘wants’ an electron, a negatively charge particle, and if it does not have an electron, it is not ‘happy’ in layman’s terms.

An Ion is merely an element that has some of its electrons pulled off. It is an element that has protons that do not have an equal number of electrons to balance it out electromagnetically. We can apply electromagnetic forces to elements (not just Lithium) to strip the electrons away from the protons. We can do this with all of the elements. After we strip away one or more of the electrons so that the number of electrons do not balance out the protons, we call it an ion. That’s where the term ‘Lithium-Ion’ comes from.

Insofar as Lithium has three protons, it ‘wants’ three electrons. A chemical battery works by stripping away the electrons during charging, and when those electrons are returned, it is discharging, allowing electricity to be returned.

That is the fundamental physics/chemistry of chemical storage of electricity.

The chemical storage of electricity has reached its peak, except perhaps a few % that might be gleaned through marginal improvements in technology. There is no physical way to increase capacity by double, half, or any significant amount.

People keep saying that with enough research money, we can double or triple the electrical capacity of chemical batteries. We cannot. It is much like saying that if we give NASA a trillion dollars we can figure out a way exceed the speed of light. No, we cannot, and neither can we significantly increase the chemical storage of electricity.

Thank you for your thoughtful comments RandomCrank, and I wish the best to you and all commenters here.