As the cost of renewable energy keeps going down and the technology used to generate and store it improve, the fossil fuel industry, especially coal, is feeling the pinch as energy companies move away from using fossil fuels. Despite Trump’s electioneering promise to coal miners that he would revive the industry and bring back the mining jobs that were disappearing, he did not really do anything other than eliminate some clean air regulations.
The latest effort by Wyoming, one of the nation’s biggest coal mining states, is a measure of how desperate the situation is for the industry. It is telling other states, “Buy our coal or else!”
A new state law has created a $1.2m fund to be used by Wyoming’s governor to take legal action against other states that opt to power themselves with clean energy such as solar and wind, in order to meet targets to tackle the climate crisis, rather than burn Wyoming’s coal.
“We have seen a spike in states trying to block Wyoming’s access to consumer markets to advance their political agenda,” said Jeremy Haroldson, a Republican state legislator who introduced the new law.
Fellow Republicans previously proposed banning the closure of any coal plants in the state. Haroldson said phasing out coal would risk the sort of disastrous power blackouts suffered by Texas in February. “It is time we start truly caring about the future,” he said.
Legal experts have said the new strategy is on shaky ground.
While the US constitution’s commerce clause prevents one state from banning goods and services based upon their state of origin, there is nothing to prevent them banning certain things, such as coal, as long as the measure is not targeted at one specific state.
Environmentalists argue that lawmakers should be helping build alternate industries to compensate for the inevitable demise of coal, rather than prop up a sector increasingly viewed as polluting and outmoded.
“In many ways this legal fund sounds crazy, like a Flat Earth idea,” said Rob Godby, an expert in natural resources at the University of Wyoming. “But for people in Wyoming, there is no other industry. It’s not just people losing their livelihood but also their culture – people here were proud they kept the lights on across the US. It’s very difficult to go from the hero to the villain.”
Godby said lawmakers privately acknowledge that coal is in a steep decline that will force either cuts in services or wildly unpopular tax increases, but that fighting for the industry publicly has become a litmus test for the Republican-voting electorate.
“The lawsuits will fulfill that rhetoric because it will look like the state is pushing back against the leftists,” he said. “But it’s symbolic, the fight is over – even if you win a court case it’s a pyrrhic victory because no-one really wants the coal. The losses to the state are going to be so large that the rationale is to try to postpone that for as long as possible.”
What the state should be doing is helping coal miners and others who are dependent on the coal industry transition to other jobs. But Republican legislators don’t really care about workers. What these measures seem designed to do is to protect the interests of the owners of the mines and factories.
Shouldn’t they also go after natural gas? I use gas to heat my house, not coal.
But what jobs are they going to transition to? The inconvenient fact that no politician is willing to even admit is that there just are not enough jobs with living wages for everyone. This is a result of open trade, deregulation, and a culture that puts corporate profits above social good. I don’t know if there is any good solution that can be enacted in a timely fashion.
Numenaster, whose eyes are up here says
“Fellow Republicans previously proposed banning the closure of any coal plants in the state.”
Government control of the means of production? Why, that’s socialism!
Mano Singham says
These people have no objections to government intervening on behalf of business interests, only that of ordinary people.
Mano Singham says
If the state governments invest in alternative energy, then at least some of those workers will be able to move into those.
“at least some of those workers will be able to move into those”
The numbers are a tiny minority of the sort of armies you need to run things like coal mines or the power generating stations that run on it. Part of the problem is the renewable sources like wind and solar generate energy in its final usable form -- electricity -- rather than needing many complex steps to get there (mining, drilling, refining, burning, turbines etc.). Fewer steps = fewer people needed to make it happen. And the difference isn’t slight, it’s orders of magnitude.
The UK went through a similar death of its coal mining industry in the 1980s. If it’s any consolation, all the communities that were gutted and deliberately destroyed by a Conservative government in that decade are now consistently voting …. Conservative. Fucking morons. (see UK by-election result, in which a solidly working class community in Hartlepool returned its first ever Conservative MP. It’s practically unheard of for a government mid-term to win a by-election -- they’re so often seen as an opportunity for a protest vote against the incumbents -- but this shows that the left, if you can call it that, in the UK is absolutely dead on its arse.
John Morales says
Are you imagining pick-and-shovel mining?
The real problem is technological advances and automation in particular.
Even without a transition to renewable power, those jobs would keep disappearing, and with that transition, the demand for coal is plummeting.
It’s not economic any more.
This is a token action for show.
$1.2 million isn’t going to go far in funding legal actions.
Legal costs for major lawsuits can easily be in the tens of millions of dollars.
Matt G says
Whatever happened to the Free Market I used to hear such good things about?
No, you patronising twat, I’m not “imagining” anything. My uncle was a mechanical engineer in one of the largest coal-fired power stations in the UK, I come from a mining town where literally half my primary school class became miners and most of my colleagues in my last job but one were miners.
Are YOU imagining a hole in the ground filled with self-repairing robots under the control of one dweeb on the surface with a computer? Or do you have any direct personal knowledge and experience of the mining and power generation industry and how many people it typically takes to run it?
tldr; oh, fuck off JM.
I do find this interesting. The equivalent of the Republicans in the UK -- Thatcher and her ilk -- made it their mission to destroy mining as an industry because of the power of the miners’ unions. To see the right pandering to them is strange to English eyes.
John Morales says
Sonof, instead of guts and feels, I go by facts.
On the one hand,
On the other,
(It’s akin to the story of the buggy whip manufacturers)
Mark Dowd says
I’ll bet they can stretch that to quite a few lawsuits since none of them will last longer than a motion to dismiss, like the election “Kraken”. Performative litigation at its dumbest.
Tabby Lavalamp says
If American workers would get off their high horses and take $0.30/hr jobs, manufacturing would come roaring back. Nike would love to save money on transportation costs. Just look at the countries where the factories are and follow their lead in wages and environmental and employment regulations. The nation would be swimming in jobs (and toxic waste)!
You are new to Calfornia Mano, but the TransWest Express Transmission Project is a project intended to get wind energy from Wyoming to California, and possibly solar energy from California back to Wyoming. This was in the state-level news four years ago, and the TransWest Express Transmission Project website doesn’t show it being rolled up or stopped. We had to pass some laws to get it to go.
TWETP had been proposed for more than a decade before that. I wanna say first rumors of such a thing were 2006-ish? Doing a major infrastructure thing like this takes a long time to plan. It also takes a long time to implement, so I would expect that it would still be ongoing. It is likely if the infrastructure bill passes/has passed that it will be boosted.
All y’all are buying into the phrasing of this in terms of rescuing the coal industry. Just like FORMER president Draftdodger about coal jobs, ‘rescuing coal’ is a disinformation lie and it has to be known that it is a lie. It’s about attempting to kill this infrastructure project/being mulish about it in the same way as was done with the ACA Obamacare. They are hiding their deep evil underneath a lesser evil and hoping you will continue to take the bait.
Murdering the earth, for political posturing and political power. Yes, they really are that suicidal, or they are certain that their voters are.
What I don’t get is that coal, and other fossil fuels, have a lot of other uses besides as fuels, which don’t create carbon dioxide.
The Fischer-Tropsch industrial process has been known for almost a century: it converts coal to saleable chemicals that the chemical industry needs to make things like soap and plastics, etc. The coal is heated with water (steam reforming), which converts it to carbon monoxide and hydogen gases, which are then passed over catalyst beds and converted to higher chemicals.
Coal apparently wasn’t cheap enough to develop this to produce much except things like diesel fuel, but the process can be tweaked to produce all kinds of products.Supposedly a few coal-mining states are starting to move towards using their coal for that.
So, if not so many are buying coal for fuel, why not use it for something else, that is *already known* and does work? If you want to mine coal at all.
Bit slow. Alberta has had the Canadian Energy Centre (CEC), founded in 2019 to counter what Alberta said was disinformation around its energy industry.
So far it has managed to recycle some crazy alt-right conspiracy theories and attack a cartoon movie set in Alaska. We can hope that Wyoming is as successful.
Premier Kenny of Alberta is “slightly” cracked and seems to think he is living in the 1980’s.
Alberta politicians slam ‘vicious’ Netflix cartoon for kids
rich rutishauser says
According to the Wyoming Mining Association https://www.wyomingmining.org/minerals/coal/coal-production-employment/ there are less than 6000 coal mining jobs in the whole state! Let’s just divide up the $1.2M evenly, give them each $200 to buy bootstraps to pull themselves up with.
Uh, what? That’s patent nonsense. https://www.bbc.com/news/business-26921145
Of course coal gasification releases a lot of CO2. It’s the same conversion of a high potential energy molecule to a low potential energy molecule. This isn’t alchemy.
PS: Another reminder that most climate scientists, plus the latest IPCC reports, say that substantial amounts of nuclear power are required in any feasible plan.
While solar cells and wind turbines are getting cheaper -- transmission, storage, frequency control services, grid inertia, and blackstart capability are mostly not. Solar cells and wind turbines could be completely free and plentiful, and it wouldn’t be enough because of great difficulty converting intermittent unreliable electricity into reliable dispatchable electricity.
John Morales says
So, John is going to trust an organization with a built-in agenda over the expertise of the internationally recognized climate scientists, and over the reports based on their work and input prepared by the United Nations committee specifically organized for this purpose. Green energy advocacy is a cult.
John Morales says
Those are facts, not policy positions.
And you were making an an implicit argument on top of those facts as an implicit rebuttal to my points. And now you’re being an obstinate ass for making me explain all of this to you because you already know it. You’re just being a pedantic troll; same as every day.
John Morales says
Sure, Gerrard. I’m pointing out that the transition is happening. Right now.
You say it’s not doable, yet it is being done. Demonstrably.
You say it’s cult ideology, yet it’s business-driven. Demonstrably.
Here is Forbes — that well-known green cultish media outlet:
So, exactly as I said. You “played stupid”, aka you dishonestly pretended that you didn’t know my point, and you strawmanned my argument. You’re just being a dishonest shit as always.
At least in this most recent post you’re actually addressing my points -- sort of. You’re still not addressing how basically all of the leading climate scientists disagree with you and the latest IPCC reports disagree with you.
PS: Inappropriate extrapolation. Evidence that shows getting to 15% solar and 9% wind is cheap -- that is not evidence that getting to 100% renewables is cheap. The problems of intermittency are being hidden down because of relatively small percentages of grid electricity. Intermittency costs will rise as solar wind percentages rise. Again, your fact citations here are simply non-sequitir to the argument that I, leading climate scientists, and the IPCC reports, are giving, and you should know this, and you should feel bad for making such a willful non-sequitir argument.
John Morales says
What? I doubt very much they dispute that the uptake of renewables is ever-increasing, and that technology is progressing.
Is it (so far) fast enough or sufficient to prevent global warming? No.
Is widespread use of nuclear facilities a cheaper and better technological solution? Yes.
Would that be safer, overall? Possibly.
But it just ain’t gonna happen, for various reasons, whereas the transition to renewables is indeed happening.
So yeah, I am addressing it, just not to your satisfaction. I don’t consider that the one and only possible way is to binge-build centralised nuclear power plants.
And yet, those percentages keep rising, year-on-year.
(E pur si muove)
Look, your whole schtick is that the decarbonisation of the world is not doable using only renewables, and I agree that it’s harder that way.
Difference is, I don’t think it’s impossible, and I’m aware of the vast technological and economic advances that have occurred in the last decade, and that keep going. We’re at the bottom of an S-curve.
And the fossil fuel industry is aware of this. The bigger enterprises are investing heavily in (a) FUD, (b) greenwashing, and (c) investment in renewables.
They can see the writing on the wall.
Are you aware that that the experts say that “barring a miracle”, powering the world on renewables is impossible? (Many quotes below.) Do you doubt that the leading climate scientists say and believe this?
You also say that finally, just now, green energy technology advancements have been solar and wind competitive, or it will be competitive in just a few years time. Are you also aware that Green energy experts” have been saying the same thing, exactly the same thing, for 50 years now? They’ve been wrong for the last 50 years, and they’re wrong now. (Many quotes below.) Do you doubt this?
Claimed all-renewable solutions depend on drastic increases in transmission capability, and the transmission costs alone are more expensive than the base costs of the solar cells and wind turbines. This is why I say that the cost of the solar cells and wind turbines don’t matter. They could be free and it wouldn’t be cheap enough.
The brute facts of the matter are that we don’t have a technology that is feasible at scale for the energy storage that we need. There’s not enough lithium in estimated worldwide resources and reserves. Nor nickle. Nor lead. The pumped water storage approach would require impossible amounts of landspace and water. Everything else is worse. It’s impossible with current tech. Again, solar cells and wind turbines could be free, and it wouldn’t be cheap enough. Sources:
Grid inertia probably cannot be supplied by batteries. Adding replacement grid inertia -- that’s another substantial cost which is basically never included in all-renewable plans. Again, solar cells and wind turbines could be free, and it wouldn’t be cheap enough.
There’s the need for blackstart capability, and wind and solar cannot do that. You’ll need massive amounts of traditional synchronous generation to pull that off. Another cost which is basically never included in all-renewable plans. Again, solar cells and wind turbines could be free, and it wouldn’t be cheap enough.
There are deep, fundamental physical reasons why solar cells and wind turbines can never work. The first is power density. A modern day nuclear power plant uses about 5x less steel and concrete compared to a comparable output solar farm or wind turbine (under the pretend assumption that we have infinite free storage). The nuclear power plant lasts about 4x as long. Under basically all academic plans of all-renewable, there’s a 2x or higher overbuild factor on the solar panels and wind turbines to reduce trasmission and storage requirements. That’s 40x more steel and concrete. That’s under unrealistically optimistic assumptions. Under realistic assumptions, we’re talking 100x or more steel and concrete. Two orders of magnitude. At the first level of approximation, this is an unavoidable outcome because of the inherent power densities that are involved -- very high for nuclear, and very small for solar and wind. This is one reason why solar and wind can never be cheap.
The second fundamental physical reason is intermittency. We don’t have, and I think likely never will, have a cheap abundant method of storing electricity in a form which can be later regenerated into electricity. Thermodynamics places strict limits on the round-trip efficiency for any simple approach that burns the fuel. Real electrolyzers IIRC get an efficiency of around 70%, and the best combined cycle gas turbines get an efficiency of around 64%, for a round-trip efficiency of about 45%. If one uses a simple open-cycle gas turbine for faster load-following to accomodate large amounts of solar and wind, then half that number. Also, fuel-cell technology has slightly higher efficiency, but looks inherentable unscalable. This is another reason why solar and wind can never be cheap.
The third is something that is rarely talked about, but vitally important. Big industrial equipment operates best when running 24-7. Industrial processes that involve any amount of heat cannot simply be turned off and on to accommodate intermittent solar and wind. For example, it takes months, months, to turn on a glass furnace from cold shutdown. Any faster and you risk damage to the equipmentWhile that might be an extreme example, it goes to show that industrial equipment cannot just be turned on and off to accomodate intermittent electricity supply from solar and wind. Something similar is true for electrolyzers, the equipment underlying hydrogen storage and power-to-gas. They suffer horrible hits to their efficiency and equipment timetimes from frequently being turned on and off, yet all of the Green academic modeling just assumes that they can be turned on and off, as many times as is needed, and as quickly as is needed, to accommodate the intermittent electricity supply of solar and wind. This is another reason why solar and wind can never be cheap.
Four leading climate scientists have come out in favor of nuclear power: Dr James Hansen, Dr. Ken Caldeira, Dr. Kerry Emanuel, and Dr. Tom Wigley.
Here are some quotes from those scientists from a press conference and other sources.
Quoting leading climate scientist Dr. Ken Caldeira:
Quoting leading climate scientist Dr. Kerry Emanuel:
Quoting preeminent climate scientist Dr. James Hansen:
Dozens more prominent scientists have also come out with another open letter in favor of nuclear power.
The Green energy lobby saying that solar and wind are finally ready, and being wrong about it, for 50 years straight. Example sources.
The leadeers of this movement know what they’re doing. It’s a scam. It’s a scam for money, and additionally many of these scammers do it because many of them are neo-Malthusians who want the world to de-industrialize. The question is John, why are you falling for this transparently obvious scam?
Also, yes, some parts of the world are building solar and wind, but it’s only because of unfair government subsidies and other regulations. In a world where energy sources could fairly compete, no one would be building and solar or wind. Let me explain the subsidies and regulations, direct and indirect, that are causing solar and wind to be built at a profit for certain people even though it’s more expensive for society.
In some places, like Australia and Germany, competition is banned. Nuclear cannot outcompete solar and wind if it’s illegal.
In some places, like California and many other US states, competition is partially banned. Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards mandate X% of electricity must come from non-nuclear renewable sources. Of course solar and wind will grow, and nuclear will decline, with laws like this that mandate it.
In many places, renewable operators like solar and wind operators receive direct subsidies from the government which are tied directly to their production. These are often known as Renewable Energy Credits. They are paid money by the Joule, even when the electricity spot prices are negative. In other words, solar and wind operators have to pay money to the grid operator to take their worthless electricity, but they still earn their subsidy from the government for “selling” electricity, allowing them to still earn profit. In some places, solar and wind operators earn most of their money from these subsidies as opposed to actually selling electricity.
In some places, the so-called deregulated energy markets require grid operators to purchase electricity at spot prices and forbid or restrict long-term purchase agreements. This is a huge indirect subsidy to solar and wind, and a huge financial penalty to nuclear power. Why? Nuclear power’s costs are basically fixed -- it costs about as much to run at 50% power output as it does at 100% power output. You see, if the grid operator could make longer term purchase agreements, it would be cheaper for the grid operator, and the end consumer, to make a longer-term purchase agreement from the nuclear power plant. However, because they’re required to bid at hourly auctions, grid operators are required to purchase cheaper solar and wind electricity when they’re available, which means less money going to nuclear, which means nuclear operators raise their hourly bids in order to recoup their fixed daily costs, and thus grid operators pay a higher hourly bid price to nuclear when sun and wind are not available, and these raised costs are passed on to the end consumers. The net effect of the legislation requiring hourly auctions is to take extra money from end consumers and give it directly to the solar and wind operators who are not providing anything of real value. Eventually, the hourly bid prices of nuclear power plants will exceed competitors like coal and natural gas, and then the nuclear power plant cannot make money, even though it really is basically the cheapest source of electricity if long-term purchase contracts were allowed.
Worse still, while nuclear power plants can be designed and built to adjust their output to follow load, like those in France, most nuclear power plants were not designed to do so. If these nuclear power plants reduce their power output for too much / for too long, they are forced to shut down by the physics of the reactor -- from a xenon transient. They have to wait a few hours or a few days in order for the xenon to decay away in order to be physically able to turn the reactor back on again. So, in a market where solar and wind are dumping free electricity -- no, they are paying money to the grid to give away electricity -- nuclear power plant operators can continue operating and pay money to the grid to take their electricity, in addition to their fixed costs, or they can shut down, and a shutdown often leads to xenon preventing a quick restart. So, while the solar and wind oversupply situation might be short lived, the xenon transient might last longer, meaning that a shutdown during the solar and wind oversupply situation could cause the nuclear plant to be offline when it could be selling electricity at a profit. The nuclear power plant operator must choose between these two options -- 1: continue operating and paying money to the grid operator because of negative prices, on top of the nuclear power plant’s fixed costs, or 2: shut down, and stay shut down for a long period of time because of xenon. Either way, the nuclear power plant bleeds even more money, and the costs are passed on to the end consumer. (The nuclear power plants could be retrofit to lessen the xenon problem, but that’s costly and risky because government safety regulations could easily cause the plant to be forced to shut down because of accidents during the retrofit because of excessive regulations.)
Even worse still, at least in the US, the US has additional regulations that require nuclear power plant operators to submit a form on the cause of the shutdown, and they must receive approval before restarting, even when the cause is entirely known and trivial, like shutting down because of negative prices from a solar and wind oversupply. This can add days or more to any shutdown. This further kills the profitability of a nuclear power plant.
Further, solar and wind can very quickly cease production. A large area can go from windy to not windy very quickly. A cloud can pass over a large solar facility and cause a drop of 50% in just minutes. In order to keep the grid on, the grid operator must obtain promises from other reliable generators to be ready to go on a moment’s notice. These promises do not come for free. The grid operator must pay money for these promises. These purchase agreements are known as capacity payments. Adding more solar and wind to a grid requires more capacity payments. Capacity payments often go to natural gas open cycle turbines because of their ability to quickly ramp up power output and because of their low capital-to-fuel costs ratio (low capital costs, high fuel costs). In a proper world, the costs of additional capacity payments would be passed on to the cause of the need of additional capacity payments, e.g. solar and wind. However, in the real world, these costs are just passed on to end consumers. This is another way that solar and wind are leeches on the system and how the costs are just passed on to consumers.
These factors all compound together to make it even worse than the mere sum: Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards and Renewable Energy Credits put more solar and wind on the grid than optimal, causing a glut of electricity, causing low or negative pricing, frequently causing nuclear power to shut down, which is then extended by regulatory requirements before restart and xenon transients, all cutting into nuclear’s ability to earn an hourly profit, and all in the face of nuclear’s fixed daily costs. In particular, Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards, and especially Renewable Energy Credits, cause an overabundance of solar and wind and lead to negative spot prices where the solar and wind operators can still earn money with negative spot prices, and these costs are passed on to the end consumer.
Then there’s also the costs of transmission, grid inertia and frequency control services, and blackstart capability, which AFAIK are often simply passed on to the end consumer. Another hidden subsidy for solar and wind.
It’s for these reasons that some nuclear power plants are not profitable today, and why some nuclear power plant operators say that “nuclear power is not profitable in the markets as currently structured“.
John Morales says
Gerrard, no point relitigating.
To get to the topic at hand, there are three main forms of fossil fuels (they’ve been created over many millions of years, we’re using them up from the store which takes those millions of years to replenish, so when they’re gone they’re gone, on human timescales, and we’re fucking up the atmosphere in the process).
Those are coal, oil, and natural gas.
Burning them for their energy has been cheap enough, because the externalities have been mostly ignored — a notable exception being the worldwide concerted effort back in the 70s and 80s to first ameliorate and then avoid acid rain.
Burning coal to generate electricity is most certainly on the way out — it’s the dirtiest, and the most expensive. Burning oil is too expensive — more profit to be made using it for petrochemicals and transport. So, burning gas is the current trend, wherever it’s available — cheaper and around half the pollution per unit of energy.
In every case, though, whether it’s renewables or nuclear, using those resources as fuel (cf. #16) is only cheap because it mostly ignores externalities — specifically, atmospheric change. So, they’re becoming less and less competitive as the reality sets in and as the economics change — other forms of non-polluting energy are the new growth area in the energy industry.
Coal is not on the way out. Barring a proper international regime for greenhouse gas emission taxes and tariffs, many poor developing countries are going to continue to burn coal because it’s in their own best interests to do so. Coal pollution sucks, but coal electricity is better than no electricity, and for many poor countries, that is the choice that they face because they don’t have any money to spare. They need energy for refrigeration for safe food and medicine, for clean drinking and sewage, for agriculture. For many people in the poor world, it’s the difference between life and death, and in that kind of situation, they’re going to choose fossil fuels. It’s a textbook tragedy of the commons. They’re not going to look at the price including externalities because no one is going to make them include externalities, and because the benefits of some electricity probably outweigh the local effects of coal pollution (but maybe not the global effects of climate change, sea level rise, ocean acidification, etc.).
Again, fossil fuels are not on the way out worldwide. If you look at the stats, they’re continuing to rise with a temporary pause because of COVID-19. Coal and natural gas usage is simply going to increase until 1- we run out of it, or 2- we provide a cheaper alternative, e.g. nuclear, or 3- the very politically unlikely outcome where we get a rigorous international greenhouse gas emissions tax and tariff regime. Unfortunately, it’s likely to be 1, because 2 and 3 are politically very difficult for their own particular reasons. 3 is very hard because it’s a tragedy of the commons and getting different nations to voluntarily cooperate in this manner is very hard. 2 is very hard because there’s been 50 years of gross misinformation overselling green energy and demonizing nuclear energy.
It’s people like you that ensure the continued dominance of coal and natural gas by refusing to accept the only politically feasible alternative, lots of nuclear power.
John Morales says
I have told you multiple times, Gerrard. I personally have no problem whatsoever with nuclear power, and back 1980 or 1990 I too advocated for it. Here in Oz we were mining it but not using it. Now, we don’t need it.
Thing is, (a) times change, and (b) I accept reality as it is, instead of living in la-la land.
I do note your simultaneous claims both that (1) a non-nuclear transition is not doable and (2) it’s doable where it’s happening, but expensive or impractical. Really, you should make up your mind.
Also, many of your links are rather dated, and haven’t aged at all well.
For example, you quote @28: “We can get to 30%, and then you hit a brick wall.”, and I quote @20: “The share of renewables in energy generation worldwide now stands at nearly 30%, according to the International Energy Agency and other sources.”
So that’s it, maximally-achievable renewables penetration has been reached, right? 😉
John Morales says
(I can’t resist)
Saw this story a few days ago: https://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2021-05-08/wallerawang-power-station-finds-new-lease-on-life/100119980
John Morales says
By the way, this claim of yours is false:
“In some places, like Australia and Germany, competition is banned. Nuclear cannot outcompete solar and wind if it’s illegal.” The only legal obstacles are those required to meet planning approval, same as anywhere else.
That there are no nuclear power plants in Oz is not because they’re somehow illegal, rather, because the political reality is that it’s unpalatable to the public. Me, I’ve always been in favour, as I keep telling you, and yes, there were numerous bullshit arguments about the issue.
John Morales says
Um, OK, I am wrong. It is banned in Australia.
You could switch to nuclear electricity easily in less than 30 years. With help from another country with expertise in building nuclear, it could be easily less than 20 years. In 2041, when your country is still burning substantial amounts of coal, I want you to look back on this day, on this conversion, and see how wrong you were.
John Morales says
We always could have, but we didn’t. And yes, we could.
A twenty-year time span, eh? A lot of potential change, then.
Think about the implications.
You want it now, but I think you shan’t when the time arrives.
So, you repudiate the thrust of this post, and expect fossil fuel enterprises to continue to thrive twenty years hence.
Mano’s OP post? Yea. I repudiate it. We won’t get off fossil fuels without embracing nuclear power and accepting nuclear part as a significant part of the world’s energy production. Maybe the US can get off coal without nuclear, but that will only happen by burning lots of natural gas instead. Solar and wind and other renewables can take a chunk out, an approx 30% size chunk, but they can’t be a complete replacement.