There Is No Future Without Power

What Does Energy Suicide Look Like?

With the best of stated intentions, Germany is cutting its own throat. The unfolding disaster called Energiewende is slowly but surely destroying the foundations of Deutschland’s industrial base, thus destroying Germany’s economy in a way that cannot be easily or cheaply reversed.

According to Germany’s Enegiewende program, the share of renewables in electricity generation should reach 45 percent by 2030 and 100% by half century. Complicating matters is Germany’s Atomstop decision to close down its nuclear power plants under pressure from the powerful Green movement. __ Germany’s Slippery Green Slope

EROI Germany
Buffered Wind and Solar Cannot Pass the Threshold for Germany

Without massively expensive “buffering” or “backing up” by costly fossil fuel plants, wind and solar cannot power German residents, much less German industry. Germany’s large power utilities are already hurting, downsizing, laying off workers, and closing down power plants that Germany will need as it moves deeper into energy suicide. (see “Germany’s Slippery Green Slope” above)

And without expensive government financial supports and destructive mandates, investment in big wind and big solar is just another way to burn money, then run the ashes down the drain.

Germany wants to replace all of its reliable forms of electric power with unreliable forms of energy by the year 2050. But there are excellent reasons why unreliable sources of energy such as wind and solar cannot replace power-on-demand from coal, gas, and nuclear power plants.

More ambitious boosters of unreliable energy want to achieve 100% unreliable energy by 2030. But despite the hoopla, the numbers simply don’t add up. Wouldn’t it be wiser to watch Germany for another 15 years before committing ritual sepuku on the altar of self-righteous delusion?

The difference in costs of nuclear vs. “renewables” in the UK is instructive. Intelligent observers without an ideological axe to grind would quickly come to the conclusion that humans cannot afford to sacrifice themselves for the sake of a green ideology that offers nothing but poverty, misery, and death in return.

Money Returned on Investment
Wind and Solar Lose Money

More Atmospheric CO2 Boosts Global Vegetation

Commercial greenhouses pump CO2 into their controlled growing environments to boost plant growth and crop yields. And now scientists are slowly discovering that atmospheric CO2 is boosting the growth of crops, forests, shrubs, and other vegetation.

If CO2 was so terrible for the planet, then installing a CO2 generator in a greenhouse would kill the plants. But scientists and even governments actually recommend supplementing CO2 in greenhouses in order to boost plant growth and food production.

“The benefits of carbon dioxide supplementation on plant growth and production within the greenhouse environment have been well understood for many years,” says the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food.

1500 ppm CO2 Generators
Image Source

“CO2 increases productivity through improved plant growth and vigour. Some ways in which productivity is increased by CO2 include earlier flowering, higher fruit yields, reduced bud abortion in roses, improved stem strength and flower size. Growers should regard CO2 as a nutrient… increasing the CO2 level to 1,000 ppm will increase the photosynthesis by about 50% over ambient CO2 levels.”

In fact, as recent scientific studies have shown, the slight rise in CO2 levels of the atmosphere has actually helped re-green deserts and arid areas, accelerating the growth of trees, shrubs and grasses which produce the oxygen human needs to breathe. __ CO2 is Natural

Boosting greenhouse CO2 levels above 1,000 ppm causes crops to grow more quickly and vigorously. Not surprisingly, we are seeing the same phenomenon on a smaller scale as warmer oceans release more CO2 to the atmosphere.

Knowledge is the Antidote to Green Stupidity

Once we understand that small increases in atmospheric CO2 generate a negative feedback in the form of more biomass photosynthesis, we begin to see one of the small threads in the natural fabric of control over several different innate global cycles, including climate cycles.

If humans want to create an abundant and expansive future for themselves and their progeny, they will need abundant supplies of reliable and affordable energy. Over the long spans of time, that means that advanced forms of nuclear energy are absolutely vital to sustaining the future of the only intelligent class of creatures in the known universe. Green energy, on the other hand, is a form of national, societal, and civilisational suicide. And it is all for nothing, in the end. Germany’s CO2 production has risen, rather than fallen, and even so it makes no difference to long term climate trends either way.

Internationally, Coal is in Resurgence

Hydrocarbons such as natural gas, coal, oil etc. should be seen as stopgap forms of energy — bridges to a longer term future powered by newer advanced forms of nuclear power & heat. But stopgaps and bridges can be crucial for survival. And as we now know, small increases in atmospheric CO2 levels such as we have seen, are more beneficial than harmful.

China consumes as much coal as the rest of the world combined…

Natural gas prices are unlikely to remain this low for very long. $2.50/mmbtu is uneconomic in most of the shale plays and very uneconomic in the Gulf of Mexico, except on a cost-forward basis. When natural gas production and consumption come back into balance, it will probably be at a price of $3.50 to $5.00/mmbtu. Coal is very competitive with natural gas above $3.50/mmbtu… __ Coal Bounces Back

Committing to the Future Means Stepping Back from the Precipice

An abundant and expansive future demands massive supplies of affordable and reliable power and energy. Knowledgeable people understand that big wind and big solar can never supply the energy density that the future needs — no matter how much “storage” can be ginned up and concocted for the diffuse and ancient energy sources. No matter how successful he becomes in space, on energy, Elon Musk is just shining you on.

Energy Density Comparison from Wikipedia
Fusion, Fission Orders of Magnitude Better than Chemical and Other Energy Sources

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6 Responses to There Is No Future Without Power

  1. aWanderer says:

    Fission Salt reactors followed up by Thorium then eventually when tech permits Fusion are the no brainers. Where I live in New Zealand we are fortunate to have significant hydro and geothermal resources – solar/wind doesn’t get much of a look in.

  2. Pingback: This Week In Reaction (2017/04/09) - Social Matter

  3. infowarrior1 says:

    Given the failures of the big nukes and cost overruns. It looks like small more resillent compact reactors of the Gen IV which will much more thoroughly consume its nuclear fuel hence leaving much less nuclear waste will take its place.

    Not only will it be much cheaper but it can be built much faster too. And can be stacked when required.

    • alfin2101 says:

      Yes. You rightly point to our expectations for smaller reactors, safer more fool-proof reactors, and more efficient reactors.

      NuScale and mPower reactors are definitely smaller and safer in many ways, although they are not Gen IV and are thus fairly conventional in terms of fuel consumption. But both designs are ready for testing, with approvals.

      Small reactors are more scalable and can find a lot more ideal locations and uses than the full multi-gigawatt nuclear installations.

      We know that even the worst nuclear power designs are safer than every other form of large power generation, if operated according to design. But there is always room for improvement, and certainly no one wants another Chernobyl in their back yard.

      Politics and the judiciary seem to be the main hurdles in the advanced nations of Europe and the Anglosphere. The financing and science/engineering are all doable.

      • infowarrior1 says:

        Not only judiciary and politics but initial costs of constructing the big Conventional Nuclear in the 1st place. Its really expensive to start it up in the 1st place.

        SMRs gets over that problem.

  4. infowarrior1 says:

    Important to take into consideration also is the EROEI of the entire supply chain involved in the production of energy.

    If a way cannot to be found to improve EROEI for energy resources then it will result in net energy decline long-term

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