Free Markets, Free People

The most important reason the left’s “War on Coal” is wrong

Energy Matters takes a look at the progress of the green energy renewables that were supposed to be saving the day and justifying the “war on coal”:

“So while we can expect that hydro will continue to provide most of the energy generated by renewables for some time to come it isn’t likely to contribute to decarbonizing global energy generation any more than it already has. If decarbonization is to be achieved by expanding renewables the expansion will have to come in wind, solar and biomass. So let’s take hydro out and see how far growth in wind, solar and biomass has carried us along the decarbonization path so far…Clearly they still have a long way to go.”

Ya think?!


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22 Responses to The most important reason the left’s “War on Coal” is wrong

    Read the whole thing.  I read a blurb about a U.S. power plant having to buy coal from Russia, which is simply obscene.
    It’s time to cut these idiots off at the knees.  They will literally kill us if we don’t.

  • Oh, wait, there IS something on that graph ain’t there!     Waaaaaaay over there in the lower (heavy emphasis on the word lower) right hand corner.
    I was sitting here waiting for it to load the data.
    Now show us the graph of the amount of money the government has spent on making these useful in the last 6 years.
    Bet it doesn’t look at all like THIS graph.

  • I’m a bit color-blind, but it looks to me like wind is the “big” winner in that small chunk of growth recently. That can only be due to the massive subsidies already pumped into it I assume. Nice trough if you can get your snout in it!

    • When I saw T. Boone Pickens get all “green”, I knew that he had seen a honey pot laying around asking for exploitation.
      Being right is a burden…

    • Wind would seem to be the dumbest renewable, though perhaps in certain places it would make sense. Its not really able to be distributed like solar, i.e. no personal windmills for homes that take off some of the overall load. Its not reliable in many places.
      Now maybe in certain coastal places it makes total sense, in places with lots of wind that’s fairly steady. But due to the money being thrown at it, its probably located in all manner of poor locations for political reasons.
      Its quite sad to drive around central Taiwan and see huge wind turbines that no longer function due to lack of subsidy. All of the eyesore with none of the power.

  • T. Bone – cronyist, not capitalist.

  • Germany invested massively in solar power, despite having a less than sunny clime.
    Solar power now accounts for 5% of German electrical production. However, on one day in May 2012, solar power accounted for 42% of electrical production…must have been clear and sunny all over Germany.
    That is a huge differential. It shows just how much capacity they installed for so little result.

    • Now, if Germany had instead installed all of that solar in hot, sunny climes, say Nigeria or Egypt, they would have done far more to help the planet.
      Solar now makes actual sense in hot sunny places where you have to run air-con. The solar handles a lot of the air-con load, and reduces the necessary base-load.
      But I doubt German voters would accept that.

  • Of all the renewables, if forced, I would bet on solar.
    Solar is already pretty decent for heating water, and in sunny, hot places now is closer to break-even or beyond.
    It has an advantage that in many parts of the world, when the sun is shining strongly is the exact moment you turn on your air conditioners to max.
    And air conditioning is more than just a luxury. For many places in the world, air conditioning allows for higher levels of productivity, increased learning, etc. Part of the success of the American South in the past decades has been due to air conditioning.
    Now, as a libertarian-leaning person I am not sure I buy the argument that subsidies creates demand, which creates supply, which allows for break-throughs in these technologies that would not otherwise happen, but I’m closer to buying that argument if the consumer is subsidized, not the suppliers. (Even then, Germany has stopped the subsidies, so I wonder.)
    What works against this is that many hot desert countries have tons of oil, otherwise they’d be prime markets for solar.
    Again, as a libertarian, I don’t like the idea that subsidies create these positive externalties, but I have to wonder if without German and other subsidies, would massive amounts of over-investment in solar in China not have happened, thus keeping it expensive?
    I also have to note that one person who seems to be the exception to the rule for government money producing disaster, Elon Musk was behind Solar City.  He really drives me nuts, because everyone else takes government money and squanders its right and proper. Only Elon Musk consistently delivers at least something of value – he even shakes up private industry that actually needs shaking up.
    Of course, PayPal was not started with government money, and has seeded all of these other efforts in some way. This is why taxes should be light. Imagine if we had Piketty’s crushing 80% tax on capital gains. Its quite possible that even with government funds, Elon Musk would simply not have enough spare capital lying around to try Space X or Tesla or Solar City. And if taxes were lighter, he may have done so without any government subsidies?

    • “Lung I-tao (龍宜島), the man charged with solar energy research at the National Science Council-funded Solar Energy Project of Institute of Nuclear Energy Research in Longtan, Taoyuan County, says it is ironic that Taiwan — alongside China — has been at the forefront of the solar panel industry yet the energy source itself remains very much on the sidelines of national power production.
      “Taiwanese manufacturers have significantly influenced the solar market and this is because [the country’s] semiconductor and electronics industries are so prominent. However, the domestic market is too small … There has been no strong incentive to invest since subsidies [for sustainable energy] are low,” Lung says.”
      OK…maybe its not economic yet.

      • None of the “alternate” energy systems are economical.  And they won’t be for the foreseeable future, either.
        Now, a solar hot water heater/booster makes all kinds in sense in many places, but that is a spit in the ocean of our needs/uses.

  • The war on coal then forces us to Natural Gas almost exclusively for Electrical Generation.  We end up with the same situation as for auto fuel where we only have oil as an option.
    Nuke it out of the question and now soon coal.
    Prepare to get reamed with your electrical bill.

  • The radiative transfer models used by government climate scientists show that going up to 550 PPM or even 1000 PPM CO2 will make minimal difference to the radiative balance of the atmosphere. The knee of the CO2 curve is at about 30 PPM, and additional CO2 has little first order effect. This is because almost all radiation in the CO2 absorption spectra is already being absorbed by H2O or CO2 molecules. Adding more CO2 has minimal effect, because there is not much radiation left to be absorbed. (This is a bit of an oversimplification because of second order effects, but those are also small.) There is no indication from the radiative transfer models used by government scientists that additional CO2 will cause large amounts of heating.

  • Rags says
    ” … It’s time to cut these idiots off at the knees … ”

    You say “knees”, I say “neck”.

    Oh, well, close enough.

  • Harun-
    Regarding Elon Musk: go check out Alberto Zaragosa’s site, .  Start with his first entry and read forward.
    Essentially, Calif gives Zero-Emissions-Vehicles carbon credits; Musk has scammed Calif with a claim of fast-battery-swap for which he gets EXTRA carbon credits(*); he sells the credits to other manufacturers and THAT is where he gets his piles of money from.   It’s fraud.
    (*)  Per Zaragosa in the Oct 2013 post, Tesla “… earned about $50,000,000 due to a feature that nobody can actually use” since “there are no {battery-}swap stations, {and} the car cannot swap batteries anyway”.
    Then read the following December 2013 articles, headlined:
    “Tesla’s car business continues to lose money: “profit” dwarfed by credit sales”
    “Some people really suck at math”
    “Wealth creation, Tesla style: $1.3 billion and counting”  –(( That’s the total cumulative LOSS ))
    “What California says about zero-emission vehicles, and why Tesla is committing fraud”
    Oh, heck, I can’t list all the interesting posts here.  As I said, start from the earliest and go forward.  Like Solyndra, like SO MANY OTHER examples, wads of government money (or “credits”) being tossed in front of “entrepreneurs” does NOT lead to exciting technological breakthroughs; it leads to clever people gaming the system as hard as they can for as long as they can.

  • These renewables have increased what ??? 200% .. 300%

    Green…a bust everywhere it is tried.  That’s because economic facts don’t care about borders.

    • Ya’ll just be racists, hatin on the green people.
      or something.

  • Today, against expectations, Guam capsized.
    President Obama taking a brief break while he selected his club for his next shot on the 12th at Andrews said “Let me be clear, this isn’t a time for games, this may be a real tragedy.”
    “now watch this shot”.

    • Ah, but remember…  He can do his job anywhere.
      Blackberries…is there anything they cannot do…???

  • If only he weren’t so smart.
    Ukraine, Syria, Gaza, the economy, IRS, Immigration, (and as the King of Siam would say, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera)
    Just no challenges worthy of his intellect.
    See, this is why it’s so dangerous to get the big brain boost from the Krell machine on Altair IV.    Morbius tried to warn him!

    • Woo-hoo! “Monsters from the Id” !! (And yes, he is a monster.) I haven’t been reminded of “Forbidden Planet” in a long, long time; but very appropriate.