The Myths of Green Energy

Finance is often cloaked in arcane terminology and math, but the one dynamic that governs the future is actually very simple. Here it is:

All debt is borrowed against future supplies of affordable hydrocarbons (oil, coal and natural gas).

Since global economic activity is ultimately dependent on a continued abundance of affordable energy, it follows that all money borrowed against future income is actually being borrowed against future supplies of affordable energy.

Many people believe that alternative “green” energy will soon replace most or all hydrocarbon energy sources, but this belief is not realistic. All the “renewable” energy sources are about 3% of all energy consumed, with hydropower providing another few percent.

There are unavoidable headwinds to this appealing fantasy…

Reality Check

1. All “renewable” energy is actually “replaceable” energy, analyst Nate Hagens points out. Every 15-25 years (or less) much or all of the alt-energy systems and structures have to be replaced, and little of the necessary mining, manufacturing and transport can be performed with the “renewable” electricity these sources generate. Virtually all the heavy lifting of these processes require hydrocarbons and especially oil.

2. Wind and solar “renewable” energy is intermittent and therefore requires changes in behavior (no clothes dryers or electric ovens used after dark, etc.) or battery storage on a scale that isn’t practical in terms of the materials required.

3. Batteries are also “replaceable” and don’t last very long. The percentage of lithium-ion batteries being recycled globally is near-zero, so all batteries end up as costly, toxic landfill.

4. Battery technologies are limited by the physics of energy storage and materials. Moving whiz-bang exotic technologies from the lab to global scales of production is non-trivial.

5. The material and energy resources required to build alt-energy sources that replace hydrocarbon energy and replace all the alt-energy which has broken down or reached the end of its life exceeds the affordable reserves of materials and energy available on the planet.

6. Externalized costs of alt-energy are not being included in the cost. Nobody’s adding the immense cost of the environmental damage caused by lithium mines to the price of the lithium batteries. Once the full external costs are included, the cost is no longer as affordable as promoters claim.

7. None of the so-called “green” “replaceable” energy has actually replaced hydrocarbons; all the alt-energy has done is increase total energy consumption. This is what’s called Jevons Paradox: every increase in efficiency or energy production only increases consumption.

Here’s a real-world example: Building another freeway doesn’t actually reduce congestion in the old freeway; it simply encourages people to drive more, so both freeways are soon congested….[     ]

What do you think?

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wale
1 month ago

Just wait until the green industry’s waste, and particularly the looming battery disposal problem chokes the globe. Those are just the tip of this giant iceberg.

final frontier
1 month ago

Solar and wind energy are classified as “variable energy;” they are unreliable. EROEI (Energy Return on Energy Invested) is horrible. Their main purpose is to meet some green generation regulation and/or woke/virtue signaling.

Me Too
1 month ago

The US military’s carbon footprint. About 270,000 barrels per day which is more hydrocarbons than most countries

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/06/190620100005.htm

infinity
1 month ago

Here’s a real-world example: Building another freeway doesn’t actually reduce congestion in the old freeway; it simply encourages people to drive more, so both freeways are soon congested.
See LA!

RV
RV
1 month ago

Be honest. The only credible replacement for hydrocarbons is modern nuclear 

Uhm
Uhm
1 month ago

Green energy dream utopia is a watermelon, green on the outside, but socialist on the inside, or more sold as green to socialists by crony capitalists getting rich off the subsidies.

WTF
WTF
1 month ago

Out of sight, out of mind = It doesn’t exist.

This is the basal concept of Cancel Culture, and is endemic to all their thinking on a myriad of subjects.

Electric is more ecologically sound than hydrocarbon fuels
because they are burned at the power plant where they can’t see them.
Newer fuel-efficient vehicles, with their electronics have a maximum life span of about 20 years regardless of use or repair. Such a truck with a 25 MPG rating will last about 3-5 years in use, and has very limited repairability.

After that it must be separated into components and melted down.

30-year-old trucks, built on a 70-year-old design, are essentially infinitely repairable at low cost. New rubber seals every 15-20 years or 200k miles, new bearings and piston rings every 300k-1m miles and it essentially functions as new. It gets about 10MPG.

Which one is more efficient?

They don’t see cars being recycled, so it doesn’t exist to them.

Look for this precise view-bracketed thinking in such people’s plans and views and you’ll begin to see giant holes everywhere in their thinking.

Space Marine
1 month ago

The world consumes the equivalent of one cubic mile of oil per year. Alternatives are decades away from making a dent.

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