Worth Comparing on Climate Attitudes – Pope to Pruitt

February 27, 2018

I produced the above just before the publication of the Pope’s encyclical on climate.
It still holds up.
Apologies for bad sound a couple places.


3 Responses to “Worth Comparing on Climate Attitudes – Pope to Pruitt”

    • greenman3610 Says:

      The piece talks about energy storage, noting “current prices” – which has not been a durable talking point over the last decade in critiques of wind, solar, and now, battery storage.
      A decade ago experts “knew” that solar energy was still a long way away from economical deployment, — then California started buying PV solar “peaking” plants, China geared up to serve markets there and in Germany, and econ 101 took over.
      Wind surprised everyone with price drops that now make it literally the cheapest energy out there. Even offshore wind is now at prices in Europe that would have made grid gurus swoon a decade ago.

      We are now at that stage with battery storage.

      Questions about how fast transmission can be built out are valid, but new approaches and tech are gaining on that problem as well.

      I wish the nuclear folks nothing but good luck – but even the most optimistic projections for “new” nuclear are a decade out just for construction of the prototype. It would still need a decade of road testing.

      Should be noted that the costs of building a network of these new nuclear plants would be easily as great, history shows probably much greater, than any expenditure on storage or transmission. No way around it folks, we are going to spend a lot of money on our generation and transmission no matter how we slice it going forward. But guess what, that creates jobs and prosperity.

      The MIT piece talks about “carbon capture and storage” as if that were actually a thing. It is not. vaporware, and absurd to compare to costs of renewables when no functioning carbon capture system actually exists at any viable scale..

      The argument devolves into two camps — one that says renewables are unworkable without huge conventional backup, and those that support all-renewable. So far, renewables have outperformed the naysayers consistently over the last 25 years.

    • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

      From the TR article “Pushing to meet 100 percent of demand with these resources would require building a huge number of additional wind and solar farms—or expanding electricity storage to an extent that would be prohibitively expensive at current prices.”

      As Peter pointed out, they’re talking about “current prices” when the industry itself has barely started to take advantage of standardization, modularization, high-volume production, financial investment products like futures, and smarter energy management.

      Furthermore, I note the article does not address increasing efficiency of home/industrial energy use, the reduction in costs of switching from transporting molecules around to transporting electrons, the reduction in pollution externalities (e.g., public health and oil spills) and the ongoing conversion to household smart meters which shift loads off-peak.

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