Live the American Dream? #WakeUpAmerica

carlin

#WakeUpAmerica

Like many entrepreneurs, I have faced many challenges. They’re called opportunities. I’ve met most, failed many, but I’ve persevered. The American Dream is about opportunity. It’s not a given. You have to face your challenges, because you can live the American Dream.

Many Americans no longer believe in the American Dream. There is a hashtag, #WakeUpAmerica trending on Twitter. I hope it resonates with more Americans. To realize your dreams, you have to wake up to those dreams. You have to live them. You have to have hope, passion, trust in others, work smart, and never give up.

From Forbes, The American Dream? are quotes from many well-respected leaders of the free world. Pick a liberal, a conservative, a libertarian or an independent, and they will say what you want to hear. In large part, Americans are supposed to believe what they say.

Take Nancy Pelosi for instance. She says, “The American Dream is the hope for a better future with equal opportunity for all to participate in the prosperity and success of our great nation.” Sounds good! You would think her basic beliefs are aligned with most Americans. In reality, that’s not the case.

An Obama quote is absent from The American Dream Forbes article. I Googled “Barack Obama on the American Dream.” From a 2012 NPR interview he said, “I think the history of the United States, the reason we became an economic superpower is because, not always perfectly, not always consistently, but better than any other country on Earth, we were able to give opportunity to everybody,” he said. “That’s what the American dream was all about.”  Obama says, “Preserving that dream requires a balancing act between self-interest and community. Success is not an entitlement in his book. But neither is it a reward for individual effort alone.” Obama said it to get reelected but his words fell on the deaf ears of many small business owners, a.k.a., taxpayers.

My support for Obama died when he said:

There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me because they want to give something back. If you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there.  It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something – there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there. If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.

Bullshit! He’s talking about the celebrity elite, not the guy that is building a successful business from nothing. He’s right! They didn’t build America, small businesses built America!

In 2012, we again, elected a president who is so self-absorbed with issues like a bad Iran deal, Islamaphobiaclimate change, Obamacare, and gun control.As for gun control, I believe we are entering a new era of lone wolf terrorist attacks on innocent civilians. Americans will absolutely recoil from any future gun control legislation.

Many American’s disagree with the president on almost every major issue, like Russia’s new conquest, Syria.  This president has gone so far as to put those who have taken all the risks, at risk of losing everything we’ve built, like life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. American exceptionalism is driven by individual effort multiplied by millions of Americans and it won’t take a backseat to entitlement. So sorry Mr. President, you didn’t build that, and you can’t take that away, either. #WakeUpAmerica

Bill Gates Says The Cost Of Switching To Wind And Solar Would Be “Beyond Astronomical”

Bill Gates says renewables are rubbish.

Bill Gates says renewables are rubbish.

Finally! Someone with some serious creds behind him talks common sense solutions!

Retired software kingpin and richest man in the world Bill Gates says today’s renewable-energy technologies aren’t a viable solution for reducing CO2 levels, and governments should divert green subsidies into R&D aimed at better answers.

Here is Obama’s GREENTECH FAIL list WHICH HAS LAID WASTE ON TAXPAYER DOLLARS!!!

Real Science

Bill Gates points out that wide scale wind and solar energy are a farce, and that people who claim it isn’t have no idea what they are talking about.

Retired software kingpin and richest man in the world Bill Gates says today’s renewable-energy technologies aren’t a viable solution for reducing CO2 levels, and governments should divert green subsidies into R&D aimed at better answers.

Gates expressed his views in an interview given to the Financial Times yesterday, saying that the cost of using current renewables such as solar panels and windfarms to produce all or most power would be “beyond astronomical”. At present very little power comes from renewables: in the UK just 5.2 per cent, the majority of which is dubiously-green biofuel burning1 rather than renewable ‘leccy – and even so, energy bills have surged and will surge further as a result.

In Bill Gates’ view, the answer is for governments to divert the…

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Liberals fly 1,700 private jets to Switzerland so they can PRETEND to care about global warming and income inequality

I guess pigs can fly?!

Dan from Squirrel Hill's Blog

Perhaps someday, these global warming conferences will be done using environmentally friendly Skype instead of the current policy of burning massive amounts of fossil fuel on 1,700 private jets.

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Google billionaires request $539 million federal bailout after spending $1.6 billion of “stimulus” funding on failed solar power project

google ivanpahThis is all about Obama and his kickbacks to his campaign donors. Ivanpah is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the billions of taxpayer funded stimulus dollars spent on failed Greentech. You can blame CEOs of corporations for their greed but in the end they have to answer to their stockholders. I would expect no less from corporations, but a whole lot more from our POTUS.

ROMNEY to OBAMA in 2012 Presidential debate: “…you don’t just pick the winners and losers, you pick the losers…”

romney

Romney – click on Romney to hear video

Romney said i n the debate, “And in one year you provided $90 billion in breaks to the green energy world. Now, I like green energy as well, but that’s about 50 year’s worth of what oil and gas receives and you say Exxon Mobil, actually this $2.8 billion goes to small companies, to drilling operators and so forth. If we get the tax rate from 35% to 25%, why that $2.8 billion is on the table.  Of course it’s on the table. That’s probably not going to survive to get the rate down to 25% but don’t forget, you put $90 billion, like 50 years worth of breaks into solar and wind to solar and wind, to Solyndra and Fisker and Tesla and I had a friend who said you don’t just pick the winners and losers, you pick the losers. This is not the kind of policy you want to have to get America energy secure.

Dan from Squirrel Hill's Blog

Ivanpah is a solar power company owned by Google, BrightSource Energy, and NRG.

In April 2011, as part of Obama’s “stimulus,” Obama gave Ivanpah a $1.6 billion loan guarantee to build a solar power plant.

In November 2014, when the plant was up and running, Associated Press reported that it was producing only “about half of its expected annual output.” The California Energy Commission blamed this failure on “clouds, jet contrails, and weather.”

In November 2014, Ivanpah asked Obama for a $539 million bailout.

Google is owned by Larry Page and Sergey Brin. At the time they requested this $539 million bailout, Page was the 19th richest person in the world, with assets of $30.4 billion, and Brin was the 20th richest person in the world, with assets of $30 billion.

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Alternative Energy: Should other nations follow Germany’s lead on promoting solar power?

tragicomic sad-happy

Tragicomic

Answer posted on Quora by Ryan Carlyle, BSChE, Subsea Hydraulics Engineer (Reposted with permission)

The answer is the most forceful possible no. Solar power itself is a good thing, but Germany’s pro-renewables policy has been a disaster. It has the absurd distinction of completing the trifecta of bad energy policy:

  1. Bad for consumers
  2. Bad for producers
  3. Bad for the environment (yes, really; I’ll explain)

Pretty much the only people who benefit are affluent home-owners and solar panel installation companies. A rising tide of opposition and resentment is growing among the German press and public.

I was shocked to find out how useless, costly, and counter-productive their world-renowned energy policy has turned out. This is a serious problem for Germany, but an even greater problem for the rest of the world which hopes to follow in their footsteps. The first grand experiment in renewable energy is a catastrophe! The vast scale of the failure has only started to become clear over the past year or so. So I can forgive renewables advocates for not realizing it yet — but it’s time for the green movement to do a 180 on this.

Some awful statistics before I get into the details:

  • Germany is widely considered the global leader in solar power, with over a third of the world’s nameplate (peak) solar power capacity. [1] Germany has over twice as much solar capacity per capita as sunny, subsidy-rich, high-energy-cost California. (That doesn’t sound bad, but keep going.)
  • Germany’s residential electricity cost is about $0.34/kWh, one of the highest rates in the world. About $0.07/kWh goes directly to subsidizing renewables, which is actually higher than the wholesale electricity price in Europe. (This means they could simply buy zero-carbon power from France and Denmark for less than they spend to subsidize their own.) More than 300,000 households per year are seeing their electricity shut off because they cannot afford the bills. Many people are blaming high residential prices on business exemptions, but eliminating them would save households less than 1 euro per month on average. Billing rates are predicted by the government to rise another 40% by 2020. [2]
  • Germany’s utilities and taxpayers are losing vast sums of money due to excessive feed-in tariffs and grid management problems. The environment minister says the cost will be one trillion euros (~$1.35 trillion) over the next two decades if the program is not radically scaled back. This doesn’t even include the hundreds of billions it has already cost to date. [3] Siemens, a major supplier of renewable energy equipment, estimated in 2011 that the direct lifetime cost of Energiewende through 2050 will be $4.5 trillion, which means it will cost about 2.5% of Germany’s GDP for 50 years straight. [4] That doesn’t include economic damage from high energy prices, which is difficult to quantify but appears to be significant.
  • Here’s the truly dismaying part: the latest numbers show Germany’s carbon output and global warming impact is actually increasing[5] despite flat economic output and declining population, because of ill-planned “renewables first” market mechanisms. This regime is paradoxically forcing the growth of dirty coal power. Photovoltaic solar has a fundamental flaw for large-scale generation in the absence of electricity storage — it only works for about 5-10 hours a day. Electricity must be produced at the exact same time it’s used. [29] The more daytime summer solar capacity Germany builds, the more coal power they need for nights and winters as cleaner power sources are forced offline. [6] This happens because excessive daytime solar power production makes base-load nuclear plants impossible to operate, and makes load-following natural gas plants uneconomical to run. Large-scale PV solar power is unmanageable without equally-large-scale grid storage, but even pumped-storage hydroelectricity facilities are being driven out of business by the severe grid fluctuations. They can’t run steadily enough to operate at a profit. [2,7] Coal is the only non-subsidized power source that doesn’t hemorrhage money now. [8] The result is that utilities must choose between coal, blackouts, or bankruptcy. Which means much more pollution.

So it sucks on pretty much every possible level. If you’re convinced by these facts, feel free to stop reading now, throw me an upvote, and go on about your day. This is going to get long — I haven’t even explained the half of it yet. There are lots of inter-related issues here, and the more you get into them, the worse the picture gets.

Issue 1: Wrong place, wrong tech to start the green revolution

Renewables advocates constantly hold up Germany as an example of how large-scale rooftop solar power is viable. But the problem is, Germany’s emphasis on solar power is bad policy. I’m pretty sure other countries can do solar better, but that isn’t saying much because German solar is just awful. To be blunt, it’s a stupid place for politicians to push solar panels. I was there all last week for a work meeting and I didn’t see the sun the entire time. From talking to the locals, it’s overcast for about a third of the year in the region near Hanover where I was staying. Their solar resource is simply bad, nearly the worst of any well-populated region in the world:

Annual Solar Irradiance

Between the northern latitude, the grey weather, and the Alps blocking much of the diffused morning sunlight from the south, Germany is a terrible place for solar power. When you put the US side-by-side on the same scale, you realize that Germany has the same solar power potential as dismal Alaska, even worse than rain-soaked Seattle:

Solar Radiation Map

I look at this and ask, “what on earth are they thinking?” They couldn’t have picked a worse generation technology for their climate.

But most people seem to look at it and say, “if Germany is investing so much in solar power, then it’s obvious the US should build solar panels too.” I insist we examine the contrapositive: if solar power is only taking off slowly in the US, even with significant subsidies/incentives and one of the world’s best solar resources, then the Germans should be building even less solar capacity. It’s clear their market must be severely distorted for them to pursue such a sub-optimal energy policy.

You’re welcome to disagree with my thought process here, but the simplest proof can be seen in the capacity factor, which is the percent of the nameplate capacity that is actually generated over the course of a year. The existence of nighttime means solar capacity factors must be less than 50%, and when you add clouds, dawn, dusk, dust, and non-optimal installations, 18% is the average capacity factor for panels in the continental US. [9] In contrast, Germany’s total solar capacity factor in 2011 was under 9%! [1]

German residential solar panel installations today cost about $2.25/watt capacity, [10] versus a hair over $5/watt in the US. [11] (Numbers vary over a considerable range. Most of this is labor/permitting costs.) But German panels generate less than half as much actual power over time. So when you normalize the panel install cost by capacity factor, US and German solar power generation are already at cost parity. The payback periods for solar investments are about the same in California and Germany. This is surprising to most solar advocates, who tend to blame higher costs for the low uptake rates in the US. But system economics alone do not explain disparities in installation rates.

So why does Germany have 16 times as much nameplate panel capacity per capita as the US? [12] Yes, permitting is much easier there, but that’s mostly captured by the $/watt costs since installation companies usually pull the permits. And I don’t think the German people are that much more pro-environment than the rest of the world. There’s no good reason for the disparity that I can find — it ought to swing the opposite way. Solar just isn’t a good power source for a cold, dark country that has minimal daytime air conditioning load. Solar in Phoenix, Arizona makes sense, but not in Frankfurt. The only conclusion I can come to is that Germany’s solar power boom is being driven entirely by political distortions. The growth of solar is not economically justified, nor can it continue without massive political interference in power markets.

Many people are surprised to hear that Germany only gets a tiny 2.0% of its total energy / 4.6% of its electricity from solar power (in 2012). [5,13] All the headlines about new records on peak summer days make it seem more like 50%. Despite all the cost and pain and distortions, PV solar has turned out to be a very ineffective way of generating large amounts of energy. They could have generated at least four times as much carbon-free power via new nuclear plants for the same cost. [14] (Nuclear would have been a better option for a lot of reasons. I’ll get to that later.)

With subsidies for new solar systems phasing out over the next 5 years, solar growth has already started to decline. The installation rate peaked and is now dropping. [13, 15] Despite falling panel and installation costs, the majority of new German solar projects are expected to stop when subsidies end. They’re already on the downward side of the technology uptake bell curve:

(Data after 2008 from [14], prior to 2008 from Wikipedia)

If you pay close attention, all the pro-solar advocates are still using charts with data that stops after 2011. That’s because 2011 was the last year solar was growing exponentially. Using data through July 2013 and official predictions for the rest of this year, it’s now clear that solar is not on an exponential growth curve. It’s actually on an S-curve like pretty much every other technology, ever. Limitless exponential growth doesn’t exist in the physical world. [13]

Also note the huge gap on that graph between the actual generation and the nameplate capacity. That’s where the miserable capacity factor comes in. (I think this is the source of a lot of misplaced optimism about solar’s growth rate.) Green media outlets only report solar power either in peak capacity or as percent of consumption on sunny summer days. Both of these measurements must be divided by about 10 to get the true output throughout the year.

In reality, solar is scaling up much slower than conventional energy sources scaled up in the past, despite solar receiving more government support. This graph shows the growth rate of recent energy transitions in the first 10 years after each source reached grid scale (1% of total supply):

[13]

I think this chart is the best way to make an apples-to-apples comparison of uptake rates. Only about a quarter of the “renewables” line is due to solar (the majority is biomass, wind, and trash incineration). So the true solar growth rate from 2001-2011 is only 1/4th as fast as nuclear from 1974-1984, and 1/6th as fast as natural gas from 1965-1975. [13]

When a new energy source is genuinely better than the old energy sources, it grows fast. Solar is failing to do so. Yet it’s had every advantage the government could provide.

What this all implies is that without government intervention, PV solar can’t be a significant source of grid power. The economics of German solar have only made sense up til now because they tax the hell out of all types of energy (even other renewables), and then use the proceeds to subsidize solar panels. Utilities are forced to buy distributed solar power at rates several times the electricity’s market value, causing massive losses. The German Renewable Energy Act directly caused utility losses of EUR 540 million in August 2013 alone. [16] It’s a shocking amount of money changing hands. When you strip away the well-intentioned facade of environmentalism, this is little more than a forced cash transfer scheme. It’s taking from utilities (who are losing money hand over fist on grid management and pre-existing conventional generation capacity) and from everyone who doesn’t have rooftop panels, and shoveling it into the pockets of everyone who owns or installs panels. Which means it’s both a massive market distortion and a regressive tax on the poor.

This explains why per-capita solar uptake is so high in Germany. The government has engineered a well-intentioned but harmful redistribution system where everyone without solar panels is giving money to people who have them. This is a tax on anyone who doesn’t have a south-facing roof, or who can’t afford the up-front cost, or rents their residence, etc. People on fixed incomes (eg welfare recipients and the elderly) have been hardest hit because the government has made a negligible effort to increase payments to compensate for skyrocketing energy prices. The poor are literally living in the dark to try to keep their energy bills low. Energiewende is clearly bad for social equality. But Germany’s politicians seem to have a gentleman’s agreement to avoid criticizing it in public, particularly since Merkel did an about-face on nuclear power in 2011. [17]

Issue 2: Supply Variability

One major problem with all this solar-boosting, ironically, is oversupply. It’s mind-boggling to me that a generation technology that provides less than 5% of a country’s electricity supply can be responsible for harmful excess electricity production, but it’s true. On sunny summer afternoons, Germany actually exports power at a loss compared to generation costs: EUR 0.056/kWh average electricity export sale price in 2012, [18] vs EUR 0.165/kWh average lifetime cost for all German solar installed from 2000 to 2011. [14] (This is optimistically assuming a 40 year system life and 10% capacity factor — reality is probably over EUR 0.20/kWh.) German utilities often have to pay heavy industry and neighboring countries to burn unnecessary power. On sunny summer days, businesses are firing up empty kilns and furnaces, and are getting paid to throw energy away.

You can argue that this excess summer solar generation is free, but it’s not — not only is this peak summer output included in the lifetime cost math, but excess solar power actually forces conventional power plants to shut down, thereby lowering the capacity factor of coal & gas plants. Yes, this means large-scale solar adoption makes non-solar power more expensive per kWh, too! On net, excess solar generation is a significant drag on electricity economics. You’re paying for the same power generation equipment twice — once in peak conventional capacity for cloudy days, and again in peak solar capacity for sunny days — and then exporting the overage for a pittance.

Why would they bother exporting at a loss? Because the feed-in-tariff laws don’t allow utilities to shut off net-metered rooftop solar. Utilities are forced by law to pay residential consumers an above-market price for power that isn’t needed. Meanwhile, Germany’s fossil-burning neighbors benefit from artificially-low EU energy market prices. This discourages them from building cleaner power themselves. It’s just a wasteful, distorted energy policy.

Remember, electricity must be used in the same moment it’s generated. [29] The technology for grid-scale electricity storage does not yet exist, and nothing in the development pipeline is within two orders of magnitude of being cheap enough to scale up. Pumped-hydro storage is great on a small scale, but all the good sites are already in use in both Europe and the US. The only plan on the table for grid-scale storage is to use electric car batteries as buffers while they’re charging. But that still won’t provide anywhere near enough capacity to smooth solar’s rapidly-changing output. [19] And if people plug in their cars as soon as they get home from work and the sun goes down, the problem could get even worse. California’s regulators have recently acknowledged that the generation profile at sundown is the biggest hurdle to the growth of solar power. The classic illustration is the “duck chart” (shaped like a duck) that shows how solar forces conventional power plants to ramp up at an enormous rate when the sun stops shining in the evening:

[29]

People often complain about wind power being unreliable, but when you get enough wind turbines spread over a large enough area, the variability averages out. The wind is always blowing somewhere. This means distributed wind power is fairly reliable at the grid level. But all solar panels on a power grid produce power at the same time, meaning night-time under-supply and day-time over-supply. This happens every single day, forever. At least in warm countries, peak air conditioning load roughly coincides with peak solar output. But Germany doesn’t use much air conditioning. It’s just a grid management nightmare. The rate of “extreme incidents” in Germany’s power grid frequency/voltage has increased by three orders of magnitude sinceEnergiewende started. [20]

The severe output swings have even reached the point where Germany’s grid physically cannot operate without relying on neighboring countries to soak up the variability. The ramp-down of solar output in the evening happens faster than the rest of Germany’s generation capacity can ramp-up.(Massive power plants can’t change output very quickly.) Which either means blackouts as people get home from work, or using non-solar-powered neighbors as buffers. Here’s one day’s generation profile for German solar power, showing how net electricity imports/exports are forced to oscillate back and forth to smooth out the swings in production:

[21]

If Germany’s neighbors also had as many solar panels, they would all be trying to export and import at the same time, and the system would fall apart. The maximum capacity of the entire EU grid to utilize solar power is therefore much lower than the level reached by individual countries like Germany and Spain.

Solar boosters often say people need to shift their energy consumption habits to match generation, instead of making generation match consumption. That’s feasible, to an extent — perhaps 20% of power consumption can be time-shifted, mostly by rescheduling large consumers currently operating at night like aluminum electrosmelters. But modern civilization revolves around a particular work/sleep schedule, and you can’t honestly expect to change that. People aren’t going to give up cooking and TV in the evening, or wait three hours after the sun goes down to turn on the lights. And weekends have radically different consumption profiles from weekdays.

It all adds up. PV solar output doesn’t properly sync up with power demand. That severely limits the maximum percentage of our electricity needs it can provide. Germany hit that limit at about 4%. They are now finding out what happens when you try to push further.

Issue 3: Displacing the wrong kinds of power

You may have noticed in the daily generation chart above how wind power is throttled back when the sun comes out. Residential solar has legal right-of-way over utility-scale wind. A lot of the power generation that solar is displacing is actually other renewables. Most of the rest is displacing natural gas and nuclear power. Coal power is growing rapidly. [6,8]

Here’s what the weekly generation profile is predicted to look like in 2020:

[22]

Notice the saw-tooth shape of the big grey “conventional” (coal/gas) category. What all this solar is doing is eating into is daytime base load generation, which seems good for displacing fossil fuels, but in the long run it’s doing the opposite.

The majority of electricity worldwide comes from coal and nuclear base load plants. They are big, efficient, and cheap. But base load generation is extremely difficult and expensive to throttle up and down every day. To simplify the issue a bit, you cannot ramp nuclear plants as fast as solar swings up and down every day. It takes several days to shut down and restart a nuclear plant, and nuclear plants outside France are not designed to be throttled back, so nuclear cannot be paired with the daily oscillations of PV solar. Supply is unable to match demand. You end up with both gaps and overages.

Most people think Germany is decommissioning its nuclear fleet because of the Fukushima accident, but the Germans didn’t really have a choice. They are being forced to stop using nuclear power by all the variability in solar output. That’s a big, big problem — Germany gets four times more electricity from nuclear than solar, so the math doesn’t add up. The generation time-profile is wrong, and the total power output from solar is too low. They have to replace nuclear plants with something else.

The normal way to handle variable power demand is via natural gas “peaker” plants. But Germany has minimal domestic natural gas resources and load-following gas plants are very expensive to operate, so what they’re doing is building more coal plants, and re-opening old ones. [6,8,22] It’s expensive and inefficient, but you can run a coal plant all night and then throttle it back when the sun comes up. It has better load-following capabilities than nuclear (although worse than gas). The German Green Party has been fighting nuclear power since the 1970s, and has finally won. Nuclear is out, and coal is in.

If you’re a regular follower of my writing, you’ll know what a terrible idea this is. [23] Replacing nuclear power with coal power is unquestionably the most scientifically-illiterate, ass-backwards, and deadly mistake that any group of environmentalists has ever made. It’s unbelievable how much cleaner and safer nuclear power is than coal power. The Fukushima meltdown was pretty much a “worst case scenario” — one of the largest earthquakes ever recorded, the largest tsunami to ever hit Japan, seven reactor meltdowns and three hydrogen explosions — and not a single person has died from radiation poisoning. [24] The expected lifetime increase in cancer rates due to the released radiation is somewhere between zero and a number too small to measure. [25] Even spectacular nuclear disasters are barely harmful to the public. Studies are now showing that the stress from the evacuation has killed more people than would have been killed by radiation if everyone had just stayed in place. [26,27]

In comparison, coal power kills about a million people per year, fills the oceans with mercury and arsenic, releases more carbon dioxide than any other human activity, and is arguably one of the greatest environmental evils of the industrialized world. [23]

This is counter-intuitive, but second-order effects are enormously important.Expansion of photovoltaic solar power past 1-2% of total electricity demand means less nuclear, and more coal. The amount of damage this does completely overwhelms the environmental benefit from the solar panels themselves. You have to avoid building so much solar power that it destabilizes and eliminates other clean power sources. When you get to the “duck chart” stage, things start to get bad. Otherwise you’ll end up worse off than when you started, as Germany has found out to its dismay.

So that all sucks a lot. German solar power is hurting people and the planet. But there’s more.

Issue 4: The kicker

The category for “biomass” power you see in all these charts is actually firewood being burned in coal plants. 38% of Germany’s “renewable energy” comes from chopping down forests and importing wood from other countries. [28] Effing firewood, like we’re back in the Middle Ages or something. Due to overzealous renewables targets, and a quirk in the EU carbon pricing system that considers firewood carbon-neutral, Europe is chopping down forests at an alarming rate to burn them as “renewable biomass.” The environmental movement has spent most of the last 200 years of industrialization trying to fight deforestation, and that noble goal has been reversed in an instant by bogus carbon emission calculations.

In the very long run, over 100 years or so, firewood is close to carbon neutral because you can regrow the trees and they absorb CO2 as they grow. Unfortunately, using firewood for fuel destroys a living carbon sink and releases all its carbon to the atmosphere right now. When you consider that you’re destroying a carbon sink as well as releasing stored carbon, firewood is actually much worse than coal for many decades thereafter. [28] The next few decades is humanity’s most critical time for reducing carbon emissions, so this policy is mind-boggling lunacy.

Germany is so focused on meeting renewables targets that it is willing to trample the environment to get there. They’ve managed to make renewables unsustainable! It’s tragicomic.

To summarize: Energiewende is the worst possible example of how to implement an energy transition. The overzealous push for the wrong generation technology has hurt citizens, businesses, and the environment all at the same time.

I want to make it clear that I’m not saying we should abandon solar. It should definitely be part of our generation mix. Due a mix of bad climate and bad policy, Germany ran into problems at a very low solar penetration, and other countries will be able to reach higher penetrations. But even if we ignore cost, there is still a maximum practical limit to solar power based on the realities of grid management.

  • You can’t build more PV solar than the rest of the grid can ramp up/down to accept. The necessary grid storage for large-scale solar power is a “maybe someday” technology, not something viable today. Calls for 50% of power to come from solar in our lifetimes are a fantasy, and we need to be realistic about that.
  • You can’t force utilities to buy unneeded power just because it’s renewable. The energy and materials to build the excess capacity just goes to waste. That is the opposite of green.

We have to learn those lessons. We can’t sweep this failure under the rug.

Every time a renewables advocate holds Germany up as a shining beacon, they set back the credibility of the environmental movement. It’s unsupported by reality and I think even gives ammunition to the enemy. We have to stop praising Germany’s Energiesheiße and figure out better ways to implement renewables. Other models should work better. They have to — the future of the world depends on it.

[1] Solar power by country
[2] Germany’s Energy Poverty: How Electricity Became a Luxury Good – SPIEGEL ONLINE
[3] German ‘green revolution’ may cost 1 trillion euros – minister
[4] Global Warming Targets and Capital Costs of Germany’s ‘Energiewende’
[5] Germany’s ‘Energiewende’ – the story so far
[6] Germany: Coal Power Expanding, Green Energy Stagnating
[7] Merkel’s Blackout: German Energy Plan Plagued by Lack of Progress – SPIEGEL ONLINE
[8] Merkel’s Green Shift Backfires as German Pollution Jumps
[9] Capacity factor, Price per watt
[10] German Solar Installations Coming In at $2.24 per Watt Installed, US at $4.44
[11] It Keeps Getting Cheaper To Install Solar Panels In The U.S.
[12] Germany Breaks Monthly Solar Generation Record, ~6.5 Times More Than US Best
[13] Germany and Renewables Market Changes (source link in original article is broken, here is an updated link:http://www.bp.com/content/dam/bp…)
[14] Cost of German Solar Is Four Times Finnish Nuclear  — Olkiluoto Nuclear Plant, Plagued by Budget Overruns, Still Beats Germany’s Energiewende
[15] 313 MWp German PV Capacity Added in July 2013 – 34.5 GWp Total
[16] EEG Account: 5,907 GWh of Renewable Energy in August Sold for EUR 37.75 at Expenses of EUR 399.52 per MWh – EUR 540 Million Deficit
[17] Germany will dilute – not abandon – its Energiewende plan
[18] German power exports more valuable than its imports
[19] Ryan Carlyle’s answer to How large would an array of solar panels have to be to power the continental US? How much would such an array cost to build? And what are the major engineering obstacles to powering the US this way?
[20] Electricity demand response shows promise in Germany
[21] Energiewende in Germany and Solar Energy
[22] Problems with Renewables and the Markets
[23] Ryan Carlyle’s answer to What are some policies that would improve millions of lives, but people still oppose?
[24] Stephen Frantz’s answer to What is a nuclear supporter’s response to the Fukushima disaster?
[25] Fukushima Cancer Fears Are Absurd
[26] Evacuation ‘Fukushima’ deadlier then radiation
[27] Was It Better to Stay at Fukushima or Flee?
[28] The fuel of the future
[29] Fowl Play: how the utility industry’s ability to outsmart a duck will define the power grid of the 21st century

A former White House science advisor speaks out about “settled science”

stossel beach.1.583 (1) houseCelebrities are afraid their Taj Ma-hall homes will slide int the ocean.  Hollywood personalities and the mainstream media monopolized every avenue of opportunity to get Barrack Obama elected and their global warming agenda imposed on the public through every media outlet available.

“Rigidly promulgating the idea that climate science is ‘settled’ (or is a ‘hoax’) demeans and chills the scientific enterprise, retarding its progress in these important matters. Uncertainty is a prime mover and motivator of science and must be faced head-on. It should not be confined to hushed sidebar conversations at academic conferences.”  Computational physicist Steven E. Koonin*, Director of the Center for Urban Science and Progress at New York University.  *Formerly undersecretary for science in the Energy Department during President Barack Obama’s first term, professor of theoretical physics and provost at Caltech, and chief scientist of BP.

Freedom of speech is precious.  Paid for by the blood of hundreds of thousands of brave fighting men and women and a country of people who believe in truly democratic society, freedom is priceless.  Unfortunately freedom of speech has been compromised and severely curtailed due to lack of media coverage and unfair public commentary from over-zealous celebrity sound bites.  Their man-made climate change agenda (claims) paid for by influence peddlers.

Real people look up to people they have invited into their hearts and into their living rooms. The media outlets represent a modern-day, overwhelmingly effective form of communication and persuasion.  For this reason, as a person of influence, the mainstream media and celebrities should hold themselves to a higher standard, both in temperament and by example.  As people of influence and public figures, they’re responsible for their words and their actions in public.  For that very reason, there should be a real debate over the science of global warming, not a simple consensus of like minded liberals, the mainstream media and the Obama Administration and EPA.  News Flash! Man-made climate change is not settled! Read more below…

 

Watts Up With That?

Feeling unsettled? Try new Climate Science™, now with extra certainty!
HistoryOfSettledScience-big1[1]

Climate Science Is Not Settled

We are very far from the knowledge needed to make good climate policy, writes leading scientist Steven E. Koonin

The idea that “Climate science is settled” runs through today’s popular and policy discussions. Unfortunately, that claim is misguided. It has not only distorted our public and policy debates on issues related to energy, greenhouse-gas emissions and the environment. But it also has inhibited the scientific and policy discussions that we need to have about our climate future.

My training as a computational physicist—together with a 40-year career of scientific research, advising and management in academia, government and the private sector—has afforded me an extended, up-close perspective on climate science. Detailed technical discussions during the past year with leading climate scientists have given me an even better sense of what we know, and don’t know, about…

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Here is Obama’s GREENTECH FAIL list WHICH HAS LAID WASTE BILLIONS IN TAXPAYER DOLLARS!!!

President_Obama_Clapping_310_249

The Federal Government Just Announced the Biggest Clean Energy Boost Since the Stimulus

When Obama blames Republicans for infrastructure failure, think again!

Families will have less disposable income as they spend more to light and heat their homes, with seniors, families on fixed incomes and lower-income Americans being hit the hardest.

Read more: EPA rule puts U.S. economy, electric grid at risk – Politico

LATEST: How do you screw taxpayers and reward your cronies that got you elected?  By handing over billions.  Obama administration has a 5 point plan.  Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell, an Obama appointee can tell you.  She stated, “This (the Desert Sunlight project) is the beginnings of a renewable energy future.”  Another future failure costing taxpayers billions.

Here’s the truth.  The Desert Sunlight, a CA state project involves 1) $1.5 billion of federal government subsidized loans.  It mandates purchases of overpriced power, to benefit three of the world’s largest corporations— GE, NextEra Energy and Sumitomo Corporation. 2) They rent Federal government land at bargain basement prices. 3) The Government provides loan guarantees and 4) offer Federal government tax credits of 30% to buy their solar panels. Still not enough for Desert Sunlight to succeed?  5) California requires utility companies 33 percent of their energy come from renewable sources

Here is Obama’s GREENTECH FAIL list WHICH HAS LAID WASTE TO BILLIONS OF TAXPAYER DOLLARS!!!

The list has grown so large I have decided to make this an ongoing project. Fox News list October 2012.

39. World’s largest solar plant applying for federal grant to pay off federal loan.  Owned by Google and NRG, shame on them for asking for a taxpayer handout.  “This is an attempt by very large cash generating companies that have billions on their balance sheet to get a federal bailout, i.e. a bailout from us – the taxpayer for their pet project,” said Reason Foundation VP of Research Julian Morris. “It’s actually rather obscene.”

38. NEW –Bankrupt Fuel Cell Maker Lilliputian – MIT spinout and consumer fuel cell startup Lilliputian Systems recently declared bankruptcy after more than twelve years of development and hype, $150 million in VC investment and dozens of press releases attesting to the strength of its portable charging technology. Lilliputian had won several government R&D grants.

37. NEW – With the news of another tragic FAIL, Abengoa which received a $1.4 billion loan guarantee in 2010 to build one of the world’s largest parabolic trough solar plants near Phoenix, Ariz.  The following year it received another $1.2 billion in loan guarantees to build another solar plant in California’s Mojave Desert.  The following year it received another $1.2 billion in loan guarantees to build another solar plant in California’s Mojave Desert.

36. NEW – Smith Electric Vehicles – Despite $32 million in federal stimulus funds and status as one of Obama’s favorite “green” companies, the firm has halted production, having built just 439 of the promised 510 vehicles.  Bright Automotive (electric delivery vans)Carbon Motors (clean diesel-powered police cars)Aptera Motors(three-wheeled electric cars)Coda Automotive (inexpensive electric sedans), all bankrupt or near bankruptcy, applied for Government funds but didn’t win the lottery.  Tesla Motors, on the other hand has met with growing success.

35. Ecotality, an electric car charger maker, who won a $99.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy four years ago filed for bankruptcy. Green Energy Co. Folds after Obama gives it $99.8 Mil.

34.  GreenTech Automotive is owned by Capital Wealth Holdings, an investment company incorporated in the tax haven, the British Virgin Islands.  GreenTech president and Chinese businessman, Charles Wang, owns the investment company.  Wang is an expert on the EB-5 visa program and has coached other U.S. companies on how to effectively make use of it.  Virginia Governor, Terry McAuliffe is involved in electric car company.  The U.S. Securities and Exchange commission currently is investigating GreenTech’s use of the federal EB-5 visa-investor program, which raises funds from foreign nationals in exchange for U.S. green cards.

33. A $50-million loan previously award to Vehicle Production Group LLC (VPG)through the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing loan program (ATVMP) has gone unpaid. VPG, a maker of compressed natural gas-powered wheelchair-accessible vans, shut its doors in May after running out of cash.

32. SoloPower, the startup pitched as the most innovative player in Oregon solar manufacturing, will suspend its Portland operations.  State officials, too, were working to get in touch with the company, which has received a $10 million loan and a $20 million tax credit.  It also is in line for a $197 million federal loan, meant to help fund later stages of growth.

31. Rentech Incorporated For most of its 33-year history, Rentech Inc. tried to make money on green fuel development. But like its plans to sell synthetic diesel to major airlines in 2009, those efforts never really left the ground.  Rentech received $23 million from the DOE for a Colorado refinery turn wood into fuel.

30. SunTech Power, a China owned solar company struggling from a downturn in photovoltaic solar panels, benefited from a combined $84 million in Energy Department tax credits.

29. SolarWorld, a German company received more than $100 million in state and local tax incentives – only to see companies like SolarWorld in Hillsboro and SoloPower in Portland struggle in the wake of fierce competition, especially from Chinese companies. Source: Oregon bet big on this emerging technology

28. VESTAS, A Danish wind turbine company whose subsidiaries received over $50 million in U.S. stimulus dollars. Vestas also reported a net loss of 62 million euros, or $83 million, for the second quarter, compared with a loss of 8 million euros in last year’s comparable period. Revenue declined to 1.2 billion euros, compared with 1.6 billion euros a year earlier.

27. COMPACT POWER Plant that received $150M in taxpayer money to make Volt batteries furloughs workers.

26. CH2M HILL, is embroiled in atime card fraud scheme that took place between 1999 and 2008 when CH2M was servicing a DOE contract worth $2.2 billion, and at the beginning of 2013, it was discovered that CH2M HILL Plateau Remediation Company (CHPRC) “provided inaccurate cost data to support a multi-billion-dollar federal nuclear waste cleanup contract, “reported the Washington Free Beacon. Despite their history of legal and workplace safety violations, in 2009 an additional $1.3 billion was awarded to a different CH2M subsidiary to go toward the Hanford cleanup.

25. Bankrupt Amonix.

24. Bankrupt Babcock & Brown.

23. Bankrupt A123 Systems.

22. Bankrupt EASTERN ENERGY

21.Near Bankrupt 5N Plus The State of Wisconsin handed over $500 thousand to a Canadian company to open a solar panel recycling plant near De Forest.

20. BANKRUPT Fisker Automotive–was awarded a $529 million loan under an Obama admin program designed to spur production of advanced tech.  Fisker drew about $193 million of the Energy Department loan to engineer its Karma luxury plug-in hybrid. AL GORE!  Now the Chinese benefit from our hard earned taxpayer dollars!!!

19. BRIGHTSOURCE — President John F. Kennedy’s nephew, Robert Kennedy, Jr., netted a $1.4 billion bailout for his company.

18. Bankrupt Solar Trust for America.

17. Bankrupt Energy Conversion Devices.

16. Bankrupt Raser Technologies.

15. Bankrupt First Solar – of course GE’s in the mix.

14. Bankrupt NEVADA N.G.P.

13. ENN Mojave Energy LLC – linked to Harry Reid,

12. Bankrupt Ener1—

11. Tonopah Solar – linked to Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and Crescent Dunes

These 10 failed projects ALONE, cost $3.4 billion in taxpayer funds AND COUNTING!

10. Bankrupt SolarReserve,

9. Bankrupt Beacon Power,

8. Bankrupt Geo Thermal,

7. Bankrupt Sempra Energy

6. Bankrupt Evergreen Solar, Inc.

5. Bankrupt SpectraWatt

4. Bankrupt the Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project.

3. Bankrupt Abound Solar of Loveland, Co. $400 million from Obama

2. Bankrupt SunPower: Twice As Bad As Solyndra.

1. Bankrupt SOLYNDRA

NOTE:  I agree much needs to be done (more practical examples abound, like passive shading) regarding pollution and the reduction of CO2 emissions but this post  is about pure politics, corruption and an abusive waste of taxpayer money.  I am not a climate change denier so don’t report me to the good professor.  I still do believe the jury is out on the all the reasons climate change advocates attribute to climate change.  Rather than panic and spend billions MORE of taxpayer dollars on failed Greentech technology, I believe in a pragmatic, limited government approach, such as that espoused by Bjørn Lomborg, author of The Skeptical Environmentalist and Cool It, to lower CO2 emissions.  I believe existing and new technology such as driverless cars will do much more to reduce emissions than government backed wind and solar.  Let the private sector do it’s job, which is to innovate, create jobs and grow the economy.  Let government get out of the way.

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