The benefit of understanding the processes upholding our worlds, is that it becomes more difficult for our overlords to bamboozle and hornswoggle us. If we allow ourselves to be deceived over some particular issues, we may be signing our own death warrants, and those of our descendants.
Our modern existence is built upon affordable and reliable electric power and fuels. If those things are removed, the conditions allowing our existence begin to crumble. Currently, the leaders of most modern societies are attempting to cram down our throats particular energy and transportation policies that will not only bring ruin upon our societies — they will also make it difficult or impossible to recover from that ruin.
How can the forceful imposition of green energy bring ruin to a vibrant western society? By eliminating energy systems that allow societies to thrive, and replacing them with energy systems that cannot sustain modern life. To understand how green energy is a powerful force of destruction, one has to understand a few key concepts. Otherwise you run the risk of being talked into killing yourself unwittingly, along with everything and everyone you love.
EROI stands for energy return on investment. Once we understand the huge underlying investment behind green energy, we can see how relying on wind & solar for our electric power needs will trigger a cascading loss of infrastructure across societies.
Wind & solar have such a low EROI that they do not produce enough energy to replace themselves. Since wind & solar generators only last about 20 years on a generous average, they must be replaced frequently — but if all we have are wind & solar, our electric generation days are numbered once we commit to all wind & solar. Fossil fuel and nuclear plants last 60 to 90 years or more, and produce multiples of energy amounts in EROI to replace themselves.
In the next video, we are given a detailed look at the materials that are required to build enough wind and solar energy devices to bring about a green energy transition. It is a very ugly and painful lesson, for those with the fortitude and attention span to learn it:
Simply put, there will not be enough minerals to feed all of these green energy dreams, and the “unstoppable force” of green energy promotion will be hitting the “immovable object” of material reality very, very soon.
The following video looks at congressional testimony before the US Congress from the last decade. It is a simple, clear verbal explanation of some of the problems faced when trying to integrate intermittent unpredictable energy into a life-or-death critical electric power grid.
Conventional power generation from coal, gas, nuclear etc. is stable and reliable. But when political ideologues force unreliable energy sources onto the power grid, chaos will ensue. Germany and California are learning a parallel lesson in the toxicity of intermittent energy, and their societies are beginning to feel the pain. Australia and Spain have committed similar errors. Denmark is lucky to be so close to Scandinavian hydroelectric power, or it would be feeling the pain as well.
Because wind & solar cannot be counted on to provide power-on-demand, an entire parallel energy generating infrastructure must be built and maintained at considerable cost to society. This forced redundancy is one of several reasons why wind & solar drive up the costs of electric power wherever they are mandated by governments. More and more consumers in Europe and California are being faced with hard and sometimes devastating choices when it is time to pay the monthly power bill.
The Issue of Complexity Hits the Wind & Solar Industry
Actuary Gail Tverberg is a good data analyst. When the data is put in front of her, she does a good job of explaining it to the general reader. Her latest posting on her blog deals with the issue of “complexity” as it relates to the green quest to replace all fossil fuels and nuclear power with wind & solar energy.
Many people believe that installing more wind turbines and solar panels and manufacturing more electric vehicles can solve our energy problem, but I don’t agree with them. These devices, plus the batteries, charging stations, transmission lines and many other structures necessary to make them work represent a high level of complexity.
A relatively low level of complexity, such as the complexity embodied in a new hydroelectric dam, can sometimes be used to solve energy problems, but we cannot expect ever-higher levels of complexity to always be achievable.
According to the anthropologist Joseph Tainter, in his well-known book, The Collapse of Complex Societies, there are diminishing returns to added complexity. In other words, the most beneficial innovations tend to be found first. Later innovations tend to be less helpful. Eventually the energy cost of added complexity becomes too high, relative to the benefit provided.
The reason I consider electricity from wind turbines and solar panels to be much more complex than, say, electricity from hydroelectric plants, or from fossil fuel plants, is because the output from the devices is further from what is needed to fill the demands of the electricity system we currently have operating. Wind and solar generation need complexity to fix their intermittency problems.Our Finite World Gail Tverberg
Gail is quite correct that electric energy from wind & solar is further from what is needed to meet the demands of the operating power grid. The power grid runs optimally when synchronous rotating machines generate high voltage AC power at specific frequencies which can be transformed for transmission and distribution to users. Wind and Solar are nothing like what the grid needs, in fact the kind of intermittent low-grade energy that comes from wind & solar is toxic and damaging to the electric power system and ultimately damaging to the environment.
(Parenthetical note: Gail is an active participant in the peak oil community, and has been for decades. Peak oil, like climate change, involves predicting the future. Data used for prediction purposes is a bit trickier than data used to compare actual phenomena, and in those realms failed predictions are the frustrating norm.)
Wind & solar are more complex than conventional forms of producing electric power in the difficulty involved in integrating their output onto power grids, and in the difficulty and expense involved in mining and producing materials for building the devices, and constructing the land installations, and new grid infrastructure necessary, and in the absolute requirement for reliable parallel power generating capacity, and in whatever system of energy storage and power conditioning electronics required to keep wind & solar from crashing the grid.
Wind & solar require massive amounts of land, both for the wind farm and solar array installations themselves, but also for the mad proliferation of new power lines necessary to move the energy from the place it is generated to where it is integrated into the grid at large.
Your lives are based upon modern critical infrastructures which all rely closely on electric power and/or hydrocarbon fuels. The attempt to transition to infrastructures that are based almost entirely on wind & solar is doomed to fail. The question is how much damage will this attempt do to societies, and will they be able to recover from that damage?
Hope for the best. Prepare for the worst. It is never too late for a Dangerous Childhood © .
Bonus: Another sobering video look at green energy “solutions”
The above analysis is from an investment firm specializing in resource investments, such as energy and fuels.
Another good video from one of the principals in G & R. This video was featured here two weeks ago, and is well worth watching if you haven’t already.
More: On the topic of collapse, Russia’s invasion of the sovereign nation of Ukraine is an example of how empires tend to collapse through overreach. Many observers have noted that China is watching closely to determine how vulnerable Russia is willing to make itself.
High casualties and loss of scarce elite troops put Russia’s military in a difficult to escape situation, like the tar baby in the Uncle Remus tales. Every action sinks the Kremlin deeper and deeper.
Very Important: Wind & Solar Cannot “Black Start” a Dead Power Grid
If the power grid crashes and dies, it can only be restarted through a “black start.” This is difficult enough for a reliable power generation infrastructure, but for an intermittent low density non-synchronous system like wind & solar, it is impossible. Unicorn fantasy engineers sometimes claim that wind & solar + battery storage could black start a power grid, but no such high density battery storage exists which can start and stabilize an all wind & solar grid. It never will. Without the ballast of high capacity coal, gas, and nuclear power generation, black start of a large grid will be impossible.
In some locations, hydropower is a large enough resource to black start a grid. But if the grid is penetrated by a large proportion of wind & solar, it will just crash again. Especially if the grid is a “smart grid” which is easily hacked and crashed by outsiders.
Black start from a total grid-wide blackout can take weeks. And that is only if the grid still has a large proportion of reliable synchronous generators. If you only have wind & solar, you are dead.
Over a period of 10 years, $4 trillion in investment in renewables reduced reliance on fossil fuels by about 1%. The attempts of green enthusiasts to mortgage the future of the human race on the adoption of renewables and the abandonment of fossil fuels and nuclear, will kill us all. But perhaps that is the objective?