I am going to start summarizing updates I make to the pages I maintain at Pragmatic Environmentalist of New York and Reforming the Energy Vision Inconvenient Truths. I have an extensive list of reference materials on my original blog that I occasionally update when I run across an article that is particularly interesting and relevant and this blog also has reference material. This article describes some recent page updates.
I started blogging in late 2017 on New York’s energy policies because I was convinced that they are going to end as an expensive boondoggle driving electricity prices in particular and energy prices in general significantly higher. Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) was the previous comprehensive energy strategy for New York. I wrote about the inconvenient unpublicized or missing pieces of New York State’s REV policy: implementation plan, costs and impacts. At some point I should probably combine that blog with this one but in the meantime, I will maintain them both. The opinions expressed in this post do not reflect the position of any of my previous employers or any other company I have been associated with, these comments are mine alone.
I linked two articles to the renewable energy feasibility page. This very good overview of all the problems associated with green energy was described at the Australian Stop These Things website. Author Andrew Roman points out six issues ignored by New York State energy policy:
All energy sources have some adverse effects on the environment, including wind and solar:
- extensive use of scarce minerals supply, largely controlled by China;
- massive concrete bases and steel towers of wind generators require extensive use of coal in manufacturing;
- low energy density requires huge amounts of land (some 25 per cent of the US land area if all electricity was to be generated by solar panels);
- wind turbines kill birds and bats;
- both solar panels and wind turbines create huge amounts of un-recyclable waste
- China dominates solar panel and wind turbine manufacturing by burning a lot of coal.
The article goes on to document these issues.
The second renewable feasibility article by Francis Menton made the point that the easiest Net-Zero goal is to eliminate emissions in the electric generation sector. However, he points out that not only has no jurisdiction successfully made the transition but also argues that it will be never be achieved. He notes that wind and solar development is entirely dependent upon government subsidies. All other energy transitions have been based on organic consumer demand not on government mandates. His article describes the current situation in Europe where net=zero energy transition policies have created a situation where they don’t have dispatchable, emissions-free generating resources available for extended periods of low wind and solar resource availability causing affordability and reliability issues. He concludes:
So, if you have a chance to make a bet, you’ll be extremely safe betting against Net Zero generation of electricity any time during your life. Nuclear is the only way it could potentially be done, and that’s blocked by regulatory obstruction more or less everywhere.
Chris Denton from New York’s Southern Tier wrote a great article describing a reasonable development policy for industrial solar that I linked to my solar issues page. He points out that it is reasonable to have a policy framework in place before we “advance the production of electric energy by means of industrial free-standing solar collectors”. He argues that developing industrial solar facilities diverts land from an existing use (e.g., habitat or agriculture) it follows that “how much and where we divert the sun’s rays ought be very carefully measured and studied before allowing any further industrial development of solar electric generation.” He points out that there are plenty of locations that do not impact agriculture and sequestration so those should a priority. He concludes:
The damage caused by our refusal to recognize these impacts can destroy our environment as effectively as any other unexamined industrial or commercial project. It is that very blindness to incremental, unplanned action that has led to the very global warming which we are now trying to unwind. We should not make the same mistake in the cure as we did in acquiring the disease. We need to take care that in our zeal to protect our environment from unrestricted global warming, we don’t destroy the very plants, animals, land, water, and scenic values which we are trying to protect.
I added a link to this article on offshore wind turbine spacing to the wind issues page. As turbines become bigger their wakes become bigger and that leads to a reduction of output at any existing turbine that is too close. “An important new working paper from renewables consultants ArcVera is reporting that the wake effects behind the huge turbinesthat are now coming onstream are going to be much worse than previously thought.”
Other Articles of Interest
There were a couple of other articles that were interesting but inappropriate for my pages.
- Tony Heller writes that On March 21, 2022 the Shetland Islands were leaders in the race to net zero. By April 2023, ninety-six percent of the population will be in fuel poverty.
- A Guide to the Catechism of the Climate Emergency by Antti Lehtniemi describes ten parallels between climate change advocacy and religion. He concludes:
Science and religion belong to separate domains. Science is empirical, falsifiable and logical, where later scientists “stand on the shoulders” of the earlier. It constitutes the finest achievement of Western civilization. The Tenth Climate Commandment’s prohibition against debate leads to the death of science, when science is replaced by an ideology that justifies its authority by its order not to question. This is the same claim which religions have made through the ages. As the Roman poet Horace warns: “vestigia terrent”- the footprints are frightening