Getting to a Greener World with a Win-Win Agenda

by James A. Bacon

Climate Change Alarmism is out of control. We’re being told that we have ten years to re-engineer the global energy economy or the world will reach a tipping point after which it will inevitably descend into an apocalyptic climate meltdown. A couple of weeks ago, the Washington Post published an article observing that “Kids are terrified, anxious, and depressed about climate change.” Climate Alarm is feeding the anxieties of an entire generation of Greta Thunbergs, who think they have no future worth living.

There’s just no escaping it. Today we read in the Washington Post an op-ed by Parris N. Glendening, a former Maryland governor and now president of Smart Growth America’s Leadership Institute, arguing that states (including Virginia) in the Northeast should joint the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) to reduce carbon emissions from the transportation sector. His rhetoric isn’t alarmist, but he advances a sweeping agenda. Not only does Glendening want more bike lanes, more walkable communities, more mass transit, and more charging stations for Electric Vehicles, he wants Americans to pay more to get them sooner than we otherwise might.

Similarly, we read today in the Roanoke Times an op-ed by Virginia Tech sophomore Heidi Hahn decrying the “existential threat caused by industrial pollution and overconsumption.” Ms. Hahn demands that Virginia Tech acknowledge “that we are in a climate emergency,” denounce the Mountain Valley pipeline, divest publicly traded companies tainted by fossil fuels, set a cap on greenhouse gas emissions at Tech, retrofit buildings to become more energy efficient, embrace distributed energy, and appoint student representatives — not just random students but those “selected by well-informed members of established student-led environmental organizations” — to university bodies that make decisions affecting energy use and climate justice.

I share some of these goals. I think we should build more walkable communities. We should invest in energy-efficient buildings. We should embrace renewable, nonpolluting energy sources. We need to take precautions against rising sea levels and increased flooding. But not at any cost. I do not believe that climate change is an “existential threat” that justifies commandeering resources at the expense of all other needs. And I sure as heck don’t want to entrust my fate to self-anointed elitists and experts who think they’re smarter than everyone else.

I’ll believe people like Glendening and Hahn are serious about climate change when they sell their cars, rely exclusively upon walking, biking and mass transit for mobility, purchase carbon offsets when they jet around the country, move into tiny “net-zero” dwellings, eat local (and cut beef and pork out of their diets while they’re eating local), and reduce their consumption of consumer goods — especially products that are produced by energy-intensive supply chains. In other words, I’ll take them seriously when they don’t just talk the talk but walk the walk. Until their deeds match their words, they have no business imposing their values on others. They’re green analogues to Jimmy Swaggert who infamously preached family values while consorting with prostitutes.

I would feel entirely different if the Climate Warriors backed win-win, market-based approaches to carbon reduction in which compliance was voluntary. Some examples:

Building automation and conservation. Invest in smart-building technology that conserves heating, A/C, lighting, and water consumption, and increases space utilization in commercial and industrial buildings, all of which results in a lower energy footprint per employee. Oh, gee, this is occurring already. There’s an entire industry devoted to doing just this. Maybe it would be worthwhile talking to the leaders in the building-automation industry to see if government can play a helpful (not coercive) role, say, by creating the legal structures for eco-districts creating new ways for property owners in office parks and downtown areas to collaborate.

Transportation. Climate Warriors are in love with mass transit. The trouble is, Americans are not. Mass transit ridership is on the decline. Why? Because people prefer the convenience of driving their own automobiles as opposed to limiting themselves to times and locations on scheduled routes. But people do like walking, and there is significant unmet demand for people to live in communities where they can walk, rather than drive, to many of their destinations. This requires a loosening of zoning and land-use restrictions so developers are free to build mixed-use projects at higher density. The answer is more freedom and more choice, not central planners dictating how people should live.

Electricity. The U.S. economy is becoming more electricity-intensive with each passing year. If the grid collapses, our society collapses. Preserving grid security and reliability is non-negotiable. At present, the people in charge of grid reliability say the system can safely accommodate up to 30% intermittent renewable energy sources. Above that amount, extra wind and solar becomes problematic. Well, by all means, let’s encourage more solar up to that 30% level. (I’m less enthused with offshore wind, which is incredibly expensive.) Over time, new technologies — battery storage, advanced control systems — will make it possible to increase the percentage of wind/solar in the electric grid. As those new technologies are deployed, we can safely increase our reliance upon renewables. The key here is to create a regulatory framework that allows the power companies to continually increase their use of renewables without getting ahead of the technologies and putting the system at risk.

We can create a greener world using win-win approaches. The approaches I’ve discussed may not satisfy hair-on-fire Alarmists, but they will take us to a cleaner, more energy-efficient, less carbon-intensive than the world we have today.

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75 responses to “Getting to a Greener World with a Win-Win Agenda”

  1. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    Good for the oped writers. Bad for Bacon comparing them to Jimmy Swaggert. Goog Lord where did THAT come from? It’s worse by the day?

    1. The definition of hypocrisy: “the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform.”

  2. LarrytheG Avatar

    Many folks who do believe we are experiencing climate change don’t know for sure what the timetable is for ultimate disaster but they do feel that we should immediately begin to squeeze down the emissions as much as we reasonably can.

    It does not mean we stop everything right now but it does mean we need to start cutting down with an eye to what more might need to be done in the future.

    Therel are others on either side of this – and to the extremes and I’m no fan of dumping everything that some folks want into something that must be done in the name of climate change – like walkable communities or not flying or not eating meat or destroying the reliability of the grid.

    Why we have some folks who treat it as an all or nothing dilema is beyond me and certainly not very constructive or as a reason to do nothing or near nothing at all.

    Your mileage might vary as they say.

    but the extremes in my mind are the advocates who say we must do everything and the naysayers who use what the other extreme is saying to justify their extreme to do basically nothing.

    None of us really knows nor do the scientists but the scientists are alarmed – the vast majority of them are – and in my mind, it’s like 90% of scientists saying that cigarettes cause cancer. Yes.. they could be wrong and if they are – we can go back to before but to disregard or write it off is foolhardy.

    We went through this with CFCs… and it was controversial and some said it was a hoax and others said there was no way we could turn it around but, in fact, there has been some success. We still have the Ozone Holes but they havd stopped growing.

    We might be able to achieve something like that with climate change if we do what we can do right now even if we cannot stop everything at once.

    In all things – moderation is a good thing.

  3. TooManyTaxes Avatar

    Didn’t Al Gore predict the end of time for which we have time to stop catastrophic change was 2016? And I remember the imminent Ice Age predictions of the 1970s. When one makes a projection that does not actually occur as predicted, one loses credibility except in the area of climate.

    We can work toward renewable energy without freaking out. As far as Ms. Hahn is concerned, the appropriate response is what a university official in the U.K. said to a similar demand. Many of the things requested cannot easily be done but we can reduce the central heating in the dorms. The protesting students were without words in response. What is Ms. Hahn’s carbon footprint?

    And why are most of the lefties strongly supporting drastic and immediate changes to energy use and life style supportive of immigration amnesty and open borders? Any fool knows that one’s carbon footprint will be greater in the United States than in Guatemala.

    If we can chose our gender and legally bind the public to support that choice irrespective of science, why can’t I chose what to eat or how to get to and from work?

    I agree with Larry on this one. “In all things – moderation is a good thing.”

  4. Jane Twitmyer Avatar
    Jane Twitmyer

    Market solutions are not enough … some of the reasons they haven’t done the job include the $20billion in tax write-offs and offloaded costs that have not been included in the price of oil and electricity. Another reason, as you mention, the inability of legislatures that have not changed the basic old rules for utilities that require building more central generation to make more profits. Legislative inaction rests on the political power of large corporate donations of election monies to legislators, allowing those corporations to even write the legislation in some cases.

    So market power isn’t really a solution …. Regulation is required. The concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in our atmosphere, as of 2018, is the highest it has been in 3 million years.

    What part of the science do you all not believe?
    Do you accept that science has been predicting climate issues since the 1960’s, and that starting in the 80’s scientists at the major gas companies told their bosses of the problems with continued fossil emissions, … that starting in the early 90’s the American Petroleum Institute began spending millions every year creating doubt about the science? … They based their disinformation campaign on the tobacco wars. The evidence is clear from papers and emails within the corporations. I would hate to think Virginia as a whole bought the fossil fuel corporate propaganda.

    Do you not believe NASA? Do you believe what the DOD says is a problem? DOD has been investigating and responding to Climate Change issues since 2006. The 2016 Report, “finds that climate change is a security risk … The Department of Defense’s primary responsibility is to protect national security interests around the world … This involves considering all aspects of the global security environment and planning appropriately for potential contingencies and the possibility of unexpected developments both in the near and the longer terms. … the department must consider the effects of climate change — such as sea level rise, shifting climate zones and more frequent and intense severe weather events — and how these effects could impact national security.” DOD is spending money to secure vulnerable bases, including in VA where they are working with others to fix issues in Hampton Roads.

    Whatever we put out into the atmosphere in the way of CO2 remains there to trap heat for 100+ years except for the methane which dissipates in 15 years but is 85 times more effective trapping heat for those 10-15 years. Natural gas is not a ‘bridge” to clean energy.

    Incidently, that 30% of renewables that the grid can handle is based on the way the grid is currently configured. It does not include the ability to generate locally, nor the ability of software to build flexibility into gird operations.

    “A cleaner, more energy-efficient, less carbon-intensive than the world we have today” just won’t hack it. We have lost 30 years of change already. We now only have 10 to make substantial progress. Price tag: US$ 140 billion per year is the cost of making the changes humanity needs to adapt to a warming world. It may sound like a lot, but it’s less than 0.1% of global GDP.

    1. Jane Twitmyer Avatar
      Jane Twitmyer

      Just wanted to back up my dispute with the statement in Jim’s post that … “At present, the people in charge of grid reliability say the system can safely accommodate up to 30% intermittent renewable energy sources. ”

      Here are great sources .,, and the 80% solution … “Studies by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Evolved Energy, and Vibrant Clean Energy have found that 80% or more of our electricity could be produced from renewable sources without reliability or affordability issues.”

      1. LarrytheG Avatar

        yes.. I don’t know where the 30% number came from much less the info to support that number.. I suspect it’s a WAG from Dominion or similar.

        1. Jane Twitmyer Avatar
          Jane Twitmyer

          OI think it came from a very early study about what the grid could handle.
          Now we have some software and such to help smooth the intermittent issue, so can make it to 80% without dramatic changes.

          1. LarrytheG Avatar

            The 30% is one of several stock talking points that opponents use these days.

          2. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
            Reed Fawell 3rd

            “Now we have some software and such to help smooth the intermittent issue, so can make it to 80% without dramatic changes.

            LarrytheG | March 4, 2020 at 2:14 pm |

            The 30% is one of several stock talking points that opponents use these days.”

            Ha, Ha, Ha!!!!!!!!! It never ends.

  5. The Rocky Mountain Institute does a lot of the nitty gritty work that would get us to a greener world without the coercive power of the state shoving it down our throats. In this article, it talks about overcoming the challenges of electrifying the heavy trucking industry. Perhaps the biggest barrier is creating charging infrastructure.

    “Since 2009, RMI has been working with the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE) and the trucking industry to increase confidence in energy-efficient technologies and practices, and guide fleets as they adopt disruptive new technologies. Through its extensive work, NACFE has discovered that regional trucking operations are well suited to be early adopters of electric trucks.”

    It’s not sexy. It doesn’t give politicians an opportunity to grandstand. Student activtists can’t flaunt their virtue. But work like this is the best path forward.

    1. Jane Twitmyer Avatar
      Jane Twitmyer

      Jim, Just to be clear … RMI has lots and lots of great solutions and they have been working at this longer than most.

      However, here is what they currently say about Climate Change …
      “Today, we are in the race of our lifetimes: a race against the climate clock that ticks faster with every ton of carbon dioxide emitted into our atmosphere, but fortunately, also a race to a clean, prosperous, and secure low-carbon future.”

      1. LarrytheG Avatar

        Jane, if someone is a skeptic, even the ones who say they “believe” but not that much and the choice is between draconian “coercive” stuff and nothing.. well nothing it is!

  6. LarrytheG Avatar

    re: ” without the coercive power of the state shoving it down our throats.”

    Almost ALL laws including all of our pollution laws are “coercive”.

    For example, every single wastewater treatment plant is there NOT by the “market” but by the “coercive power of the state”, so are pollution regs for coal plants, cars, and most every manufacturing plant with air or water discharges.

    why we feel the need to toss around that phrase is beyond me – what’s the purpose of doing it?

    1. Coercion is never a problem — as long as the coercion is happening to someone else. But if you think climate change is such an all-fired emergency, why aren’t you walking the walk? Why wait for laws to be enacted? Why aren’t you living in a tiny house, turning the temperature down to 60, buying carbon offsets, eating soy burgers, and all the rest of it? I mean… if you REALLY believe that irreversible and catastrophic global warming is upon us, what are you waiting for?

      Every little bit helps, right? Someone needs to serve as an example to inspire the others, right?

      1. LarrytheG Avatar

        re: ” Coercion is never a problem — as long as the coercion is happening to someone else.”

        no, “coercive” laws apply to everyone when it comes to pollution.

        ” But if you think climate change is such an all-fired emergency, why aren’t you walking the walk? Why wait for laws to be enacted? Why aren’t you living in a tiny house, turning the temperature down to 60, buying carbon offsets, eating soy burgers, and all the rest of it? I mean… if you REALLY believe that irreversible and catastrophic global warming is upon us, what are you waiting for?”

        because only extremists make it this all or nothing approach. There is a LOT of in-between when we do the things we can do early on and work towards more reductions as we move forward.

        “Every little bit helps, right? Someone needs to serve as an example to inspire the others, right?”

        yes it does. we cannot clean all poop to drinking water standards but that does not stop us from cleaning as much as we can practically – and in the future – remove even more pollution.

        It works the same way with coal/gas plants and cars and recyling and electricity use.

        When you make it an all or nothing right now this minutes, you are not serious and you certainly are not part of any solution.

        Why do you folks work this way? It’s just wrong.

        1. “When you make it all or nothing…”

          This post lays out an agenda that advances green energy… though not as fast as you’d like. You haven’t given two seconds’ consideration to the ideas I outlined as an alternative do doing nothing and going whole hog. You are the one who calls for all or nothing.

          Of course, when the fate of the world is hanging by a thread, there’s no room for compromise, is there?

          1. LarrytheG Avatar

            I’m call for what we can do now – reasonably and work towards more rather than saying if we can’t make all changes right now that we’re hypocrites.

            that’s wrong.

          2. Peter Galuszka Avatar
            Peter Galuszka

            There should be a Red Flag Law for Jim’s postings. Somebody call a magistrate!

  7. Jim Loving Avatar

    “Climate Change Alarmism is out of control… I would feel entirely different if the Climate Warriors backed win-win, market-based approaches to carbon reduction in which compliance was voluntary.”

    Its tough to achieve a win-win solution, if you do not have an agreement on the nature of the problem. Some people, for example, feel that Global Climate Change’s impacts are the result of a market failure. So, agreeing on “market-based approaches” may be a non-starter to many. But, even if a market based solution was feasible, as was discussed by Al Gore along with Democrats and Republicans in the 2006 timeframe, there was then widespread agreement for the need to send proper market signals and properly pricing carbon emissions – that meant either a Carbon Tax or an exchange for trading carbon credits. Essentially, 14 years later, neither idea has gained any traction because Conservatives/Libertarians are blocking any action on this issue. The market and deniers fiddle while the planet burns.

    One commenter referenced cigarette smoking. There was a major campaign to discredit the science on cigarettes smoking causing cancer, this went on right up until the major lawsuit settling this market failure with the consumers. The same advertising agencies are working with Oil & Gas Dark Money shops to gin up similar campaigns to discredit and call into question the science behind GCC. So, again, tough to have win-win solutions when one side is obfuscating the science and fighting addressing the problem.

    This is not a new problem, its been around for over 30 years. The answers were two fold – 1- Mitigation – reduce and eliminate carbon emissions, and this has been a big failure, and it is the first part of the problem the market and government’s are still fighting over, and 2- Adaptation – hoow to address what will happen, because it is going to happen. This is essential risk planning, every organization does it.

    Here is but two examples of people thinking about Adaptation (mind you, Conservatives and Libertarians still want to argue about the need for mitigation).

    As for those pesky college students, they are not going anywhere, and with the launch of Charlottesville based Climate Voice, expect a whole lot more of this, especially with the knuckle and foot draggers fighting addressing this at all.

    As for your three ideas for win-win solutions: Smart Buildings, Smart Transportation, and a Smart Grid, those are not new, I personally worked on all three of them with IBM over 10 years ago. But again, there are no market signals to move business to act, other than their own shareholders, their customers, and their understanding of the market risks of inaction, which are well documented.

    Global problems require national leadership and global leadership. That has been missing and there is none on the horizon either.

  8. vaconsumeradvocate Avatar

    We can’t stop every use and make every change at once – but we can start seriously attacking the problem. Different ones of us will select different priorities. One way to do that is to stop committing to more fossil fuel infrastructure that we know we will not use for its expected lifespan. Instead, put the resources into infrastructure that we can expect to still be useful in 2045 or 50.

    Seems over the top to label as hypocritical anyone who doesn’t do ALL the things you listed but seeks change and changes what they can while stopping digging the hole deeper.

  9. Nice try Jim but you really need to do some more learning on this one (I work with RMI and spend a TON of time trying to get the private sector moving via market forces. Not easy and not fast enough..)
    1) Agree with not being overly coercive – it provokes the antibodies and often does not work -but do not pretend that those who benefit from NOT changing do not have a heavy foot on the scales here, slowing everything down in any way possible, and at the Federal level via corruption as well. Hence the state and local overshoot at times – they feel they have to counter the Federal crooks. That needs to stop. There is an emergency, and anyone joking about hair on fire and preaching “be careful we are not sure yet” is just clueless. You too. For example, fires in Australia were not thought likely to happen for 80 years yet and happened this year. And they certainly could not predict the catastrophic heavy rains and hail just after! The models are wrong – in the wrong way. Its worse than they say….
    2) 30% electricity from renewables is now simple , far more is possible and proven in a few non-US and coming fast in some US (Hawaii, anyone) locations too. But the grid will need investment and therefore costs will go up. The secret – the grid needs investment anyway, and costs would go up anyway. But what the investment IS really matters. MY advice – Stop quoting large;y from those who benefit from slower change. They are wrong. A few years ago they were saying 10% was impossible. Oops.

  10. Finally – stop saying you have to sell cars, live in tiny houses etc to be serious on climate. That is not systemic change and should be for those who want to play the personal example role (many do), helped by scale-up and industrialization of change to make it much cheaper than the one-offs you suggest.. There are other roles to play and all are valid. Challenging in this way is silly, just another stupid excuse not to take the issue seriously. Talk to your kids and grandkids and wake up. Stop being stupid about climate. Better ideas are welcome – but not slow-moving ones that will not succeed or are based on out-of date data.

  11. Steve Haner Avatar
    Steve Haner

    This is fun. Go to about 45 minutes in. New Zealand promised zero carbon by 2020, but went up instead. Now it is promising zero carbon by 2050, but it did ask for some realistic cost projections. Well….how about 16% of GDP? That’s for a nation of (currently) 5 million, smaller than Virginia. It works out to $5 trillion US. To lower the carbon level in 2100 by a few THOUSANDTHS of one degree. This is the reality. Fellow does a nice job of shooting down the bullcrap about the Australian bush fires, which the hair on fire crowd won’t want to hear. It is impossible to have a rational discussion with the alarmists, it’s just a political thing for them.

    Of course it is YouTube, so on the screen you get the “climate change is the end of the world” disclaimer, and every ten minutes a Democratic candidate ad interrupts…..

    1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
      Reed Fawell 3rd

      The other bookend to Virginia’s absurd green energy Fools Errand that is nothing more than money and power grab is this:

      “China and India rejecting renewables for coal-fired futures
      Guest Blogger / 4 days ago February 20, 202o By Ronald Stein
      Founder and Ambassador for Energy & Infrastructure of PTS Advance, headquartered in Irvine, California

      “China and India are NOT buying into the global alarm movement. Never in human history have we seen two countries (China and India), each with over a billion people, in need of such gargantuan amounts of energy to keep their economies accelerating and their citizens alive.

      China and India are the two most populous countries in the world. As of 2018, China had almost 1.4 billion people, a figure that is projected to grow to 1.5 billion by 2045. India accounted for approximately 1.3 billion people in 2018 and is expected to grow to almost 1.7 billion by 2045.

      Though China has spent more on clean energy than any other country and is pushing to burn natural gas (a different fossil fuel) instead of coal to counter smog, it’s still pumping money at home and abroad into coal-fired generation.

      Bloomberg reports that China has enough coal-fired power plants in the pipeline to match the entire capacity of the European Union, driving the expansion in global coal power and confounding

      the movement against the polluting fossil fuel.

      Over half (5,884) of the world’s coal power plants (10,210) are in China and India whose populations of mostly poor peoples is roughly 2.7 billion. Together they are in the process of building 634 new ones. They are putting their money and backs into their most abundant source of energy – coal.

      Currently, 2 out of every 7 people on our planet are Chinese or Indian. Both countries are desperate for energy and are rejecting renewables for coal fired power plants. They are not following Germany’s failed climate goals which should be a wake-up all for governments everywhere. Germany’s obsession with intermittent wind and solar has resulted in power prices that are now the highest in Europe, if not the world, for those Germans who are lucky enough to be supplied with it.

      How these two countries use energy is obviously of great importance to world emissions levels, since coal is the dirtiest form of scalable, reliable, affordable, and abundant energy currently available to the billions in the developing world. The International Energy Association (IEA) shows that CO2 emissions in 2019 outside advanced economies (like China and India) are growing.

      China isn’t embracing this “Green New Deal.” Chinese President Xi Jingping has touted his country’s transition to clean, carbon-free energy and electricity from renewables, but the facts show a much different energy reality. China accounts for roughly half the world’s coal consumption.

      Tom Steyer, the same guy that wants to claim a national climate crisis in and obliterate the fossil fuel industry in America, is the same guy that made his billions financing coal fired power plants around the world. For more than 15 years, Mr. Steyer’s fund, Farallon Capital Management, pumped hundreds of millions of dollars into companies that operate coal mines and coal-fired power plants from Indonesia to China for some of the largest coal-fired power plants in India locking in decades of carbon pollution.

      Shockingly, the U.S. could literally turn off the entire country from any source of energy, and global emissions would still grow according to U.S. Congressional testimony in 2017. The entire U.S. economy, military and government could disappear, and global pollution, and respiratory illness would still rise. The reason why is “one of the biggest sources of carbon dioxide emissions is developing countries.” Think China, India, and Africa …” End quote.

      For More see:

      1. Sorry Steve those are far from accurate or unbiased sources. You just damage your case by joining the anti-change PR chain, funded by some real PR pros who have hobbled climate for many years now. Find some real data and you will think differently. Like China’s natural gas imports.

        1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
          Reed Fawell 3rd


          You remind me of the enviros of old, telling us all that renewable green energy was, by golly, right around the corner in the mid-1970’s. And that same bunch of carnival barkers doing their same hysteria spin, their same b/s progress reports, and their same grabs for ever more vast amounts of other people’s money, that has been going on constantly for more than 40 years since, none of which promises have come to pass. Thus we are no more closer to solving the real problems in the real world than we were in 1975.


          Because we are chasing a myriad of man made illusion. Ones that has no grounding in the facts of what is happening in the real world. Wake up. We ain’t anywhere close to solving this problem, only sure to steal ever more of other people and bankrupt them, the middle class first, then us later with a mountain of new problems that our bogus solutions generate, on our wild goose chases that guarantees failure.

          Hell, we already proved this. But for people like you and your friends, we would have solved this problem easily by now with nuclear power. And now your want to screw up practical solutions yet again.

          In short,

          The real world spins on and on, unchanging on its own irrevocable course, irrespective of all your spin, myth making, jargon speaking, hysteria building and propaganda selling, that does no more than hover false solutions in the air, so they never touch the ground insofar as solving any real problems going on in the real world in any remotely practical way.

          And your dismissive arrogant comment above illustrates the point.

    2. Jane Twitmyer Avatar
      Jane Twitmyer

      “It is impossible to have a rational discussion with the alarmists, it’s just a political thing for them.”

      OMG! It is also impossible to have a rational discussion when one side has announced that the reasoning of 97% of the scientists studying the issue are wrong. Facts matter and now we have facts about climate change’s now effects but those facts aren’t believed either.

      The Australian bushfires were exacerbated by two factors that have a “well-established” link to climate change: heat and dry conditions, says Stefan Rahmstorf, department head at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany and a lead author of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fourth Assessment Report.

      Before we begin to lower the carbon level in the atmosphere we have to stop increasing it. The carbon we put up there stays for 100+ years! Maybe that atmospheric vacuum cleaner will start working before then?

      AND REED … “China isn’t embracing this “Green New Deal.” An alternative judgment with no facts.

      China is an absolute world leader in embracing this transition. In July 2019 China announced the biggest renewable energy tender in the world – 23 gigawatts of renewable energy with zero subsidies, to be operational by the end of 2020.

      During the past five years, China has outspent the United States almost twice over, investing more than $600 billion in expanding production of electric vehicles and batteries, installing wind and solar farms and improving energy efficiency, according to data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, a research unit of the data provider and news service Bloomberg LP.

      The global offshore wind market will experience a 16% compound annual growth rate over the next ten years, with China, Taiwan and Europe being the leading markets, according to the Global Wind Energy Overview report.

      Already the world’s dominant supplier of wind turbines and solar panels, China is looking to do the same with batteries and electric cars, pumping billions of dollars into new factories.

      India is moving right along too … faster than we are after a late start.

  12. Part of the issue America has right now is great divisiveness. To paraphrase Larry Sabato (who was NOT talking about climate change) but he was wondering about America’s future with such division. Me too.

  13. Thanks Reed for telling guys like me who spec and build these systems and celebrate as they take share GLOBALLY (in cases life cycle economics are truly calculated) that he is an armchair alarmist. Not to call anyone names, but your arguments were out of date years ago. Stop reading the BS that fossil and friends put out and wise up, The new path is not at all easy but its real and smart and (except when dealing with old fossils) fun. Done right its not stealing from anyone – solar is the cheapest thing around in many countries now – and in parts of the US. Even with batteries sometimes.

    Your dismissive fact-free enviro-labelling lecturing proves MY point.

    BTW I am not antinuke – and I worked in that industry too – trying to figure out the causes of Three Mile Island. Yes, I am old too.

    1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
      Reed Fawell 3rd

      Sorry, the snark, does not work, hhutch, nor does your claim of expertise, nor does your pretending you know what I think the solution is, because you have not a clue as to that.

      The only thing that matters at this point is not your opinion nor mine. At this point in time what is happening is a pure political power play, and the idea that renewables in Virginia are going to take care of Virginia’s or the worlds problems, is pure nonsense, as is the idea that you or anybody else has got any control over what is happening globally. What needs to happen is this. When nuclear power and gas dominate the discussion as the two critical keys to short and mid-term solutions, only then will I take seriously any talk about green power solving any real problem, and only then it will be coming up behind to be the final solution.

      Until that happens we are off in LA LA land, fiddling while Rome and everybody’s money burns up in the bonfires of the vanities.

      PS how funny all the enviros painting nuclear power as the dinosaurs of late 1990s energy policies. They are still stuck there.

      1. Reed – get off your Chevy Chase sofa and do your homework old man. Lawyerlike opinions do not compete with the on the ground projects which my peers and I place in the ground. Gas already dominates the discussion thanks to enormous subsidy of many decades to its co-product, oil. Nuclear is out of the money with no US industrial base to speak of.

        To be less snarky, I hear you that Virginia politicians may be doing stupid things. Not surprising – its the lefts turn after the right held sway for a bit. As a Marylander you can certainly opine on that. But the climate emergency will not go away because you disdain (or pick the bulls__t sources for) facts and data. You should be quiet until you get them straight and let the doers, do.

        1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
          Reed Fawell 3rd

          hhutch says: “Reed – get off your Chevy Chase sofa and do your homework old man. Lawyer-like opinions do not compete with the on the ground projects which my peers and I place in the ground.”

          Well, you’ve just exposed yourself for who you are. Arrogant and a bully, who can’t take the pressure, and have not the foggiest notion about what you speak. You made my day.

  14. Larry the G: In a number of places solar is already cheaper. Not always a done deal, however- the “market” is not at all free – it is strongly biased towards larger deals and existing system architecture (and suppliers) from which $$ can be siphoned, in the less developed countries that are truly the issue now (Yes, the die is already cast for most the US, regardless of Virginia politics. Coal plants are being closed in Wyoming – right next to the cheapest US coal…). Since we cannot build everything at once, and there are entrepreneurs willing to get going, building where it makes sense is going on now. Subsidized natural gas is the US competition, but even it is starting to lose and the smart $ is no longer going long gas. As I mentioned to Reed – thanks for posting this BTW – too often the old guard gets its way by asserting history and history is not always the same, especially regarding technology. The old guard fights back too. A new article today highlighted that about 1/4 of all comments on climate on the internet (and mostly denying it happens) are from bots – I see them everywhere I go – clearly someone wants to buy influence and slow down change…and waste the time of the people doing the real work – and business – of getting new stuff in the ground.

  15. LarrytheG Avatar

    on the Columbia Plateau, it looks like this:×2048

    This is a region that has more hydro power than anywhere else in the US.

    It’s also, ironically, where there are millions of gallons of highly radioactive nuclear waste at Hanford.

    These turbines run 24/7 as the winds sweep across the plateau high above the Columbia down below that runs hydro in tandem with the turbines.

    1. OK per Oregon but we do not have the Hydro resources of PNW. I am not sure about on-shore wind comparison, considering we could go to WV/MD/PA. But also we have a more demanding winter/summer heat load requirement.

      1. Jane Twitmyer Avatar
        Jane Twitmyer

        Way back in 2012 the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, part of DOD, put out a report called “US Renewable Energy Technical Potentials: A GIS-Based Analysis.” It calculates technical potentials by state. And includes the description of how it’s done.

        In 2012 VA used 113,806 GWhrs of electricity. According to Bloomberg, since 2010 electricity use in the US has essentially been flat so I didn’t look up Dominion’s current use. The potentials are way beyond any ‘need’.

        Quoting the NREL “technical potential” numbers, VA could produce almost 50,000 GW/hrs of electricity from rooftop and utility scale urban PV, or almost half of consumption in 2012, and that does not include what is now thought of as ‘community solar’, small local generations that serve users regardless of their site’s sun availability.

        The major renewable opportunities for VA is the 1,882,467 GW/hrs the state could potentially generate from utility scale rural PV and the 360,000 GW/hrs of offshore wind electricity.

        Urban utility scale PV 27,451
        Rooftop PV 22,267
        Offshore Wind 361,054
        Utility Scale rural PV 1,882,467
        Also ….
        Onshore wind 4,589
        Hydro 3,657

        1. LarrytheG Avatar

          Seems like a reasonable goal would be to rely on the Nukes for baseload – and to power the night and during the day, use as much solar as we can – in tandem with the nukes – and any shortfalls, fill in with natural gas.

          At some point, utility scale storage and/or other breakthroughs for capturing solar-generated power for later use – should move us more and more to less and less emissions.

          We’ll still have to burn gas but we should be able to cut back when solar is available.

          And I continue to be puzzled why islands are not doing that. There are over 7000 islands in the Caribbean, and they burn diesel 97% of the time at a cost of about 3 times what we pay for electricity. Imagine an electric bill 3 times what you pay right now.

          1. Jane Twitmyer Avatar
            Jane Twitmyer

            Here is something about islands and moving away from diesel …
            “We have exciting news! On March 1st at 7 p.m. EST you can watch Rocky Mountain Institute on CBS’ 60 Minutes. My colleague Chris Burgess from the Islands Energy team and I are featured with partners from Bahamas Power and Light and The Government of the Bahamas discussing the power of distributed renewable energy to build a more resilient future for the islands and set an example for the world grappling with climate change. “

  16. OK, guys, we’re veering into ad hominem attack territory (I’m not referring to you this time, Larry). Rather than dissing each others’ credentials, let’s still to facts and argument.

  17. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    But Jim. I like a good dog fight!

  18. Sorry I think I got Reed’s goat. Most people who work in the business of energy do not bother with the Reeds or the world – its seen as a waste of time, versus doing the real work. And I overreacted to his use of whatsupwiththat – a great source of climate denial nonsense (to get a more fact-based perspective, Reed, read and look at the credentials of or do as Jim suggests and follow RMI).

    The key struggle I am seeing is folks like Reed not believing that efficiency and renewables are relevant and of course they are, long since proven, though not every where all the time yet. But way more than 30% renewable electricity is certainly doable – its 80% or so where things appear to get really tough in many geographies.

    China and India are not easy problems to solve, but on many fronts they are trying – far harder than our national government, which has been bought by fossil $. For years the Fossils and their supporters have pitched the usual line that the US can do nothing (despite being second largest emitter, and the richest large country, and the one every one watches, and the source of much of the new technology). Australian “conservatives” use the same logic despite exporting a lot of the world’s steam coal. For both countries continued denial and driving false economics of fossil superiority and not innovating around how the grid operates will lead to extremely expensive transition modes down the road, rather than smoother cheaper ones if we avoid putting excess fossil assets in play that cannot get paid for over their lives.

    What politicians in places like Virginia need to do is what Jim also espouses – make sure the rules are clear, new ideas and land uses are not blocked, the incumbents not unduly favored, that the needed longer term investments are ones that will stand the test of time (ie lowering of many kinds of demand (but maybe more of EVs and data centers); 1-2 cent per kilowatt solar at wholesale – its now about 3 cents BTW – happening at not-always-convenient times, and offshore wind coming in a few years at competitive prices as is already happening in England, and more expensive natural gas than today). Having some big goals is not a bad thing either (read about Hawaii in RMI’s report).

    1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
      Reed Fawell 3rd

      No, I got yours. You can’t shut your potty mouth.

  19. Jane Twitmyer Avatar
    Jane Twitmyer

    Just thought I would add another line of reality and contradict another Whatsupwiththat pie3ce of garbage …
    Tom Steyer quit his own company 10 years ago because the Board would not along with his ideas about quitting funding carbon energy. Sold out his ownership rather than continue to finance carbon based energy.

  20. Jane Twitmyer Avatar
    Jane Twitmyer

    Just thought I would add another line of reality and contradict another Whatsupwiththat piece of garbage …
    Tom Steyer quit his own company 10 years ago because the Board would not along with his ideas about quitting funding carbon energy. Sold out his ownership rather than continue to finance carbon based energy and started funding advocacy for Climate Change instead.

  21. LarrytheG Avatar

    The thing about Whatsupwiththat is that it’s a blogger with almost no scientific credentials and he is “interpreting” data collected by scientists.

    In other words, he did not collect the data, scientists did, and he is basically saying that THEY are either incompetent or lying.

    And people believe this……….

    1. Unfortunately they also seem in many cases to believe that bots are real people and that they have joined a large group instead of understanding that they are relative outcasts, statistically, and wondering why and looking up the real facts. No wonder they lash out so.

      1. Peter Galuszka Avatar
        Peter Galuszka

        Jane. Congrats on 60 Minutes

        1. Jane Twitmyer Avatar
          Jane Twitmyer

          TKS BUT that was a quote …not me! Clarity was missing here 🙂

  22. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    Jane . I am sorry. I should read things more closely. Peter

  23. LarrytheG Avatar

    re: solar on islands.

    The paltry amount of solar on islands that have to use diesel for electricity is a mystery to me.

    Electricity on most Caribbean islands costs 40-50 cents per KWH.

    One would think – even if solar could be available during daylight hours, it would cut the overall costs significantly.

    And what is really disconcerting to me is that the idea that solar can power the day and gas at night – seems to be the plan for the mainland where we do have gas.

    Are there other costs or complications with using solar?

    1. to LarrytheG – main solar challenge in islands is design, construction and operations skills, and land use – and fending of the folks that want to make money important oil or gas. Batteries and other storage and ideally some wind will likely work at night – demand goes down a lot then. Diesel for backup. EVs will help – can help balance out peaks and valleys – already working in a test islands (canaries, Alaska)

  24. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
    Reed Fawell 3rd

    “Rejecting Climate Denialism, Top Republican Leader Urges Expansion Of Nuclear Energy And Natural Gas –

    In a clear break from conservatives and Republicans skeptical that human emissions are warming the planet, the highest-ranking leader of the House of Representatives is urging Republicans to advocate nuclear energy and natural gas as core solutions to climate change.

    “Some [conservatives] insist no action is necessary, whether because the left is wrong (they are) or the environmental challenges do not exist or are overblown,” said House of Representatives Minority Leader, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), in a statement.

    “To be sure, the left and the media have lost their way propagating doomsday,” adds McCarthy. “But as countries like China continue to lead the rise in global emissions, prescribing nothing in the way of sensible environmental policy is a bad approach.”

    As a Democrat who has been seeking bi-partisan solutions to climate change for over a decade, I was thrilled to see the statement by Leader McCarthy.

    In January I testified before the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology where I pointed out that while there is no scientific evidence supporting apocalyptic claims, climate change nevertheless poses risks to human societies and natural environments, and that the best solution was a “Green Nuclear Deal.”

    McCarthy quotes from my testimony, where I cited research by retired NASA climate scientist James Hansen that nuclear has saved nearly two million lives by preventing deadly air pollution.

    In his statement, McCarthy criticizes the extreme nature of the Green New Deal promoted by Sen. Bernie Sanders as a threat to the American economy.

    McCarthy points to research by my organization, Environmental Progress, which found that electricity prices in renewables-heavy California rose seven times more than they did the rest of the U.S. “We can’t afford to enact these radical policies across the country,” he said.

    Conservative advocates of climate action praised McCarthy’s statement. “Leader McCarthy and the conference are focusing on solutions that can make clean energy more affordable while preserving economic growth and reflecting the global nature of the challenge,” said Rich Powell, Executive Director of ClearPath. “Any debate on climate change must be rooted in political and technical realism, as well as economic competitiveness.”

    Natural gas reduced emissions 11 times more than solar energy and 50 percent more than wind energy in the U.S. And the unreliable nature of renewables means that they do not substitute for fossil power plants like nuclear plants do and instead must be backed up by natural gas or hydro-electric dams.

    Globally, nuclear energy produces nearly twice as much electricity at half the cost. And nuclear-heavy France pays little more than half as much for electricity that produces one-tenth of the carbon emissions as renewables-heavy, anti-nuclear Germany.

    Despite the outsized role played by nuclear and natural gas, Democratic presidential front-runner Bernie Sanders is calling for eliminating both technologies and relying entirely on renewables.

    Experts agree that eliminating natural gas and nuclear would made climate mitigation far more difficult. They provided 56% of US electricity in 2019, or 37% and 19%, respectively.

    McCarthy’s statement singled out Rep. Garrett Graves (R-LA) who has championed stronger action by Republicans on climate change.

    Graves’s office points to data showing that carbon emissions from electricity likely declined more without cap and trade climate legislation than it would have had the legislation passed.

    Indeed, in 2009, the Los Angeles Times reported that cap and trade would have resulted in more coal being burned in 2020 than if the legislation were not passed. Cap and trade legislation died in the Senate in 2010.

    US electricity sector emissions decreased 34 percent from 2005 to 2019, including an astonishing 10 percent in 2019, which is the largest year-on-year decline in history

    By contrast, the Obama administration’s proposed carbon regulation of the power sector, the “Clean Power Plan,” proposed emissions reductions of 32 percent — by 2030.

    In his statement, McCarthy points to the role of natural gas in reducing emissions. “This energy renaissance was made possible by exactly the policies Republicans are advocating for today: federal investments in innovation coupled with a robust private sector with the freedom to deploy new technologies,” he writes.

    McCarthy advocates increasing exports of natural gas around the world, both to reduce emissions and to compete with Russia. “Increased American production of cheaper and cleaner gas will supplant dirtier Russian oil currently purchased by our allies and other nations.”

    The next obvious step for Republican leaders is to advocate a Green Nuclear Deal to take nuclear from today’s roughly 20 percent of electricity to 50 percent in 2050. Today, the US risks losing 50 to 75 percent of its nuclear plants, due to over-regulation of nuclear energy from the 50 year-long war on nuclear.

    Follow me on Twitter. Check out my website or some of my other work here..

    Michael Shellenberger
    President, Environmental Progress
    2569 Telegraph Avenue,
    Berkeley, CA 94704


    In addition the US Energy Information Agency just reported that natural gas prices have fallen to its lowest winter price in 20 years. This is a long term trend. Natural gas prices have fallen 90% since 2005, and 80% over past 12 years. We now have hundreds of years of supply of this fuel, whose prices are turbo charging our economy and economies all over the world, while making otherwise impossible and highly unreliable wind and solar energy possible, while also cutting enormous, indeed massive, amounts of carbon in America, and around the world.

    This revolution in energy is so great that Bloomberg news, recently reported that “Cheap Gas Imperils Climate Fight by undercutting Wind and Solar Power.”

    In fact gas, because it is so reliable, cheap, and highly efficient, it makes otherwise impossible wind and solar that is none of these things, possible around the globe, in ever more places.

    And, along the way, all this gas that is cheap, efficient, plentiful, and reliable, is lifting untold million of poor people out of poverty around the world, and doing so in ever increasing amounts in more and more places.

    Meanwhile, in the US, after we have spent more than $100 Billion on wind and solar, and have massive subsidies and tax breaks of wind and solar in our future as far as eye can see, renewables still manage to power only 10% of America’s energy, and require massive amounts of support for other energy sources, just to survive.

    1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
      Reed Fawell 3rd

      More news for perspective:

      “Report: Green New Deal Will Impose A $75,000 Per Year Cost On Swing-State Households published by Charles Rotter / February 27, 2020

      but first published Feb. 26

      “From The Daily Caller
      Daily Caller News Foundation
      Chris White Tech Reporter

      February 26, 2020 5:42 PM ET

      Americans in nearly a dozen swing states could expect to spend roughly $75,000 per year if the Green New Deal is ever implemented, according to a report Wednesday from a conservative nonprofit group.

      The Green New Deal would cost households an average of between $74,287 and $76,683 in Colorado, Michigan and Pennsylvania, among others, a report from the Competitive Enterprise Institute noted. CEI worked with Power the Future and the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty on the report.

      “Right now, our booming national economy and record low unemployment rate is driven by abundant, domestic, reliable, and inexpensive energy produced by millions of men and women across the country,” Daniel Turner, executive director of Power the Future, said in a statement.

      He added: “Any policy that proposes to reverse this success is a threat to jobs, to rural communities, to national security, and to the very prosperity that Americans are experiencing.”

      Power the Future is a 501(c)4 group that was founded to promote and defend people who work in the energy industry.

      CEI president Kent Lassman made a similar argument.

      “Our analysis shows that, if implemented, the Green New Deal would cost for American households at least tens of thousands of dollars annually on a permanent basis,” Lassman said.

      “Perhaps that’s why exactly zero Senate Democrats, including the resolution’s 12 co-sponsors, voted for the Green New Deal when they had the chance,” he concluded.

      The Washington, D.C.-based think tank’s report builds on a study the group produced in July 2019 showing Americans would incur massive expenses if the Green New Deal passes.

      The authors incorporated the costs of electricity production within the first year after Green New Deal’s implementation and the costs of a one-time upgrade to buildings and vehicles. They also determined how the plan’s mandate would increase the cost of logistics in a modern American economy.

      CEI said the costs could be much higher due to the vague, overarching nature of the Green New Deal, not to mention other variables that could pop up in an economy run exclusively on green energy.

      Other reports have made similar findings. The Green New Deal could cost up to $93 trillion over 10 years, a report from right-leaning group American Action Forum (AAF) noted in 2019.

      All told, that amounts to $36,100 to $65,300 per American household per year to meet the lofty proposal’s goals, AAF reported in February 2019. The plan initially intended on producing widespread high-speed rail, guaranteed jobs, universal health care and refurbishing every building in the country …”

      For more of article see:

  25. Several quick points, to ensure perspective.

    1) gas leaks – a lot. And that makes it very bad for climate. New data indicates that much of the excess unexplained methane in the atmosphere is from fossil fuel extraction (isotopes tell the story) including here in the US. Solve that and things look better. But that is hard – and regulators in Texas and South Dakota consistently allow flaring and venting that make it worse. And natural gas is not turbo charging the world – thats government BS. The big new demand is China trying to clean up its air. I am sympathetic to taking share from Russia and Iran of course – their systems leak far more than ours…
    2) Nuclear at this point is impossible to build, because its too expensive. Ask Southern Co. They are losing theri shirt trying, and the citizens of Georgia re pretty upset about being forced to pay for it. The power will more more than 2X solar. Almost all new nukes globally are in totalitarian countries (like China). Wish it were different, but its not. Shellenberger wishes it were too but hides the truth.
    3) RMI just released a report showing that wind and solar are already competitive with gas powered generation in several geographies. And no one will sell you a 25 year cheap gas contract so you are taking the supply risk. Everyone in the business got killed last time this all happened so they know. The smart $ is not building huge plants – just peakers.
    4) These subsidy numbers are true – but nuclear has been far MORE subsidized (And still is) and fossil has permanent subsidies and tax benefits that dwarf the startup $ into solar and wind. Cherry picking again.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      all the bad things about gas are true but the problem is what do you power with when demand exceeds what solar can generate – especially at night and cloudy/stormy days?

      The Nukes basically run 100% 24/7. They run at max and they cannot modulate so they are basically incompatible with varying generation like wind/solar.

      SOMETHING needs to be able to generate when wind/solar are not.

  26. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    The daily caller is not exactly credible and unbiased. Wiliepedia says it has ties to white supremacists. Beware

  27. Jane Twitmyer Avatar
    Jane Twitmyer

    First … so much in this article make NO SENSE …
    One solution: taking “nuclear from today’s roughly 20 percent of electricity to 50 percent in 2050”…

    “More affordable nuclear” … France’s cheap nuclear power comes from plants built in the 1970’s, so they are paid for, but today France will reduce the amount of nuclear power produced by 25% by 2025. … Nuclear is too expensive to build.
    And inflexible nuclear doesn’t work with the newest and cheapest way to generate electricity … close to where it is used. Solar and storage are beginning to be the local generators of choice.

    “Natural gas is so reliable, cheap, and highly efficient.”
    Actually, gas is a temporary filler because the gas market is tanking. There is oversupply everywhere, demand is flat, prices can’t support positive cash for the frackers who have never made any money, and the oil majors who bought in as an oil substitute are now trying to sell their leases.
    Then there is the problem of methane, which is 85 times worse as a GHG while it is in the atmosphere.

    “preserve economic growth”. No need to because clean energy is expanding the economy and “more choice has meant lower prices and lower overall energy bills for customers of all kinds.”
    From Bloomberg … Over the past decade the GDP expanded 25% … “up $19 trillion in those 10 years. Over that time total energy use expanded just 6.6%. In five of 10 years of the decade, energy usage actually shrank year-on-year.” Emissions from the power sector are off by more than a quarter in the last ten years and transportation is now the largest contributor to GHGs.

    Finally, “massive subsidies and tax breaks of wind and solar in our future … require massive amounts of support for other energy sources, just to survive.” So not true!
    Renewable subsidies are phasing out and have never equaled the $20billion annual tax write-offs and offloaded costs of the fossil fuel industry. Some of those subsidies have been in place for 100+ years!

    Clean energy is good for the economy as well as health and the environment.

  28. Great approach, Reed, wear us all out with a continued diet of absolute rubbish from well-known purveyors. CEI, Daily Caller, whatsupwiththat – good grief! I read some of them too, but just for laughs – those of us in the business know better.

  29. LarrytheG Avatar

    re: ” The 30% is one of several stock talking points that opponents use these days.”

    Ha, Ha, Ha!!!!!!!!! It never ends.”

    but totally true.. it’s number than came out of a hat – and almost always from someone who opposes… just more silly hand-waving..

    1. Jane Twitmyer Avatar
      Jane Twitmyer

      I used it too … back about 6 or 8 years ago! Maybe because it was true once they can get away with using it today.

      1. Jane Twitmyer Avatar
        Jane Twitmyer

        And it came from either FERC or PJM. I think PJM but I don’t remmber exactly. Not from a hat at all.

        1. LarrytheG Avatar

          I’d like to understand the reason for that number – beyond what someone just claims … For instance, if you have enough solar on a sunny day – is there some restriction or technical issue that tops out at 30%?

          I don’t know but suspect I’m not alone.

          1. Jane Twitmyer Avatar
            Jane Twitmyer

            Here is something … from NREL The basic issue is to make the whole system a ‘flexible’ system in order to meet and integrate those intermittent technologies.

            • Renewable electricity generation from technologies that are commercially available today, in combination with a more flexible electric system, is more than adequate to supply 80% of total U.S. electricity generation in 2050 while meeting electricity demand on an hourly basis in every region of the country.
            • Increased electric system flexibility, needed to enable electricity supply and demand balance with high levels of renewable generation, can come from a portfolio of supply- and demand-side options, including flexible conventional generation, grid storage, new transmission, more responsive loads, and changes in power system operations.

            “RE Futures ( the report from NREL and others) provides initial answers to important questions about the integration of high penetrations of renewable electricity technologies from a national perspective, focusing on key technical implications. The study explores electricity grid integration using models with unprecedented geographic and time resolution for the contiguous United States to assess whether the U.S. power system can supply electricity to meet customer demand on an hourly basis with high levels of renewable electricity, including variable wind and solar generation. “

            It means being able to send and receive generations from a huge variety of generators at a variety of locations. depending on the weather etc.

    2. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
      Reed Fawell 3rd

      Then use your own money and take the risk instead of bilking everybody else into bankruptcy.

  30. LarrytheG Avatar

    re: NREL –

    I suspect that PJM’s standards for grid reliability – i.e. the ability of the grid to react to changes in demand and/or loss of substations may be different for large amounts of solar and perhaps that’s where there might be some numbers…

  31. Jane Twitmyer Avatar
    Jane Twitmyer

    Nope … The study came from NREL back in 2016 and I can’t believe that it would not meet PJM standards. NREL is part of the DOE

    That is an article about the report.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      thanks… well that 30% actually comes from a legitimate organization so I need to go read the “why”. thanks.

      Fast Facts from the Analysis

      The maximum penetration of wind and solar was 60 percent over a five-minute interval.
      The maximum annual curtailment of wind and solar was 6.2 percent.
      Wind and solar generation result in a 30 percent reduction in generation and commitment from coal and natural gas plants in the high wind and solar scenarios.
      Over the baseline scenario, CO2 emissions were reduced by up to 33 percent annually in our high wind and solar scenarios.

  32. hhutch Avatar

    The NREL study (known as the REFS study) was published in 2012 and the analysis was pretty much completed in 2010. Industry pressure kept NREL from publishing it for a while. That was back when industry thought the renewables limit should be, maybe 5 or 10%. Yes, they keep learning more and being able to raise even the number they are comfortable with. At the point the study itself is pretty out of date – some countries have operated at higher levels of renewables than they envision (ie >60%), and even some US states have operated well above the 30% number for a while. PJM had discussions with many relevant folks, after that study and much more similar information and international experie, but has never been the most aggressive player around and at this point seems under the thumb of an increasingly politicized FERC to boot when it comes to renewables.

    and Reed – the rate of return from solar and wind is way better than (permanently subsidized) oil and gas. And than coal, which is still being pushed in any way possible by a bunch of fossil fuel socialists in the Federal government. Trying to get the taxpayer to bail out a dying industry. Hope you are saying the same about those investments too.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      If someone said that solar can only be 50% because it can only do the daylight at 100% and not the night at all – then throw in some cloudy days and some other factors to get it to 30-40 .. if that’s how you’d look at it.

      Take out the coal but keep the Nukes and you have a 3-way thing.

      Nukes only run flat out 24/7 – so the Nukes apparently have more than enough for the night because they’re used also to re-fill pump-storage reservoirs.

      Nukes are also incompatible with wind/solar because they cannot modulate – so, for instance, if he had wind at night – but the Nukes already have the night covered – it’s not useable.

      During the day- you also have the nukes for baseload – but you need more for daytime demand. If there is solar/wind – you don’t need to burn gas when you do have solar/wind but you do need to burn gas when solar/wind fall short.

      So I can sorta see the 30% for the times during the day when solar/wind are not sufficient to cover that 1/2 of the 24 hour time period.

      And we’re gonna be stuck there until we find a cost-effective way to store wind/solar.

      When/if we do – then the use of gas should be rare.

      But we’re stuck with gas until we get that breakthrough – even though in the end – it may further damage the climate.

      1. hhutch Avatar

        You are assuming everything has to be solved locally. It is not now, why must it be in the future for renewables? The wind is always blowing somewhere, including offshore at some of the crucial times of day. Sun is more of a pattern. The end result will be much more than 30 but without storage, as you say, short of 100. Easier some places than others of course. And various storage technologies continue to progress, already cheaper than nuclear I expect…anyway with the right ground rules the market can figure out these techno-economic tradeoffs – but it must be allowed to bring new things into the mix and work them down the cost curves. IF they have negative economies of scale like traditional nuclear I would be pretty suspicious…

        1. LarrytheG Avatar

          well, it had that “local” feeling. But, for instance, in Virginia – not necessarily other states, we have enough Nukes to power the night and have some left over to push water back up to top reservoir so wind from the Chesapeake Bay at night might have to go elsewhere in the grid.

          I’d have to totally rethink how this would work without the Nukes.

          Then, if you did not have enough wind at night, you’re gonna burn a bunch of gas.

          For those concerned about Climate – the most critical issue by far is when/if we get cost-effective storage at the grid scale (but decentralized.)

          And if we actually did have storage – the Nukes could power it up also.

          I keep hoping we’re going to figure out how to use solar to produce hydrogen….

    2. Jane Twitmyer Avatar
      Jane Twitmyer

      Glad for the correction. I did look up the Eastern Grid study that upped the number to 80% and that was done in late 2018.

  33. hhutch Avatar

    The other dimension of course is demand varies – a lot. Slightly more control of that – precooling and preheating buildings a little, for instance, and timing the charging of cars and storage – gets rid of most of the need for gas. All in some places. We are certainly not stuck with it.

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