The Race We are Losing

July 19, 2021

New Wind turbines rising in Mt Haley Township, Midland County, MI.The evening sky is hazy with the smoke from wildfires in Western North America.

To head off catastrophic climate change, deployment of clean energy needs to accelerate 10x.

Citizens needed willing to stand up for clean energy deployment across the planet. There is a tough struggle ahead, and no time left to dither.

15 Responses to “The Race We are Losing”

  1. Brent Jensen-Schmidt Says:

    To note another lurking problem, with deploying low carbon infrastructure, to be addressed. Wind turbines have a limited lifespan, especially older ones. What percentage will need to be replaced, approaching use by or broken by 2030? Suspect most of them presently deployed!
    Recent posts are so damn depressing, one more bad thought doesn’t make it worse, for me anyhow.

    • redskylite Says:

      Wind turbine lifespan’s are improving and most of the components are recyclable. They do need careful monitoring and maintenance, just like other forms of producing electricity.

      • Brent Jensen-Schmidt Says:

        The thought was prompted by a article, somewhere, about “modern wind turbines can now last 20+ years”. Adds urgency to the need for speedy action.

      • J4Zonian Says:

        And with the ongoing exponential growth in deployment, and increase in lifespan, the vast majority of turbines (and even more so, solar panels) are new and long-lived. We have to continue to improve both, so most turbines won’t need to be replaced until after 2040 or 2050. Many might be replaced before then as old fields are repowered with bigger, better, newer turbines. But the numbers are fantastic on that. The replaced turbines can be either resold or recycled, (including the blades) so total capacity will increase even faster than it seems.

        On the rolling hills of Altamont Pass, east of San Francisco, one of the country’s oldest wind farms has produced power for more than 30 years.
        Almost 1,500 old turbines were taken down in recent years. Only 82 new ones were installed in their place, but they produce about the same amount of electricity. [with a larger capacity factor and lower kick-in speed so they’re even more likely to be available when they’re needed. But even the new ones are small compared to cutting edge turbines so further increases/reductions are possible.

    • grindupbaker Says:

      Some bloke in the GooglesTubes comments provided link to a Web Log article titled something about wind turbines last either 10 years or until the subsidies run out. I read the article and it had a study that clearly indicated an average wind turbine life expectancy of 85 years, based on experience so far, and nothing else.

    • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

      Wind turbines have a limited lifespan, especially older ones.

      Fear not. Not surprisingly, early-generation tech wind turbines had shorter lifespans, less efficiency, and smaller power generation. I’d expect plans to upgrade (replace) them are in the works for most of them (i.e., it’s not a Hard Problem).

  2. We haven’t even started fight for the the energy transition. So we have not lost yet. It will be a though fight. The old fossil energy companies have a lot to lose and a lot of money to burn. They will always find politicians, pseudo-scientists and lunatics to support theire case. But they can’t win. They are the one’s who fight a losing cause. But this time one without any glory. It is after all just a energy transition and we had quit a few in the past.

    • J4Zonian Says:

      Winning slowly is the same as losing. Bill McKibben

      So we are losing. And the people fighting against us, and survival, certainly can’t win, because if they lose, they lose, and if they win, we all lose, including them. But either way, we all lose if we don’t start fighting this though fight. And they are getting glory–and lotsa money–from the only ones who matter to them, their own in-group. So they’re perfectly OK with their inevitable loss. We aren’t. And it’s not just an energy transition; it’s a new agricultural and industrial revolution, a new mental health revolution, a new economic regime. So yes, we have to start the revolution, you know, sometime this millennium. And no quiting. Since in 10 years it will be too late.

  3. John Kane Says:

    New Wind turbines rising in Mt Haley Township, Midland County, MI.The evening sky is hazy with the smoke from wildfires in Western North America.

    Any chance some of that smoke is from the fires in Northern Ontario?

    • greenman3610 Says:

      I’m not a meteorologist, but the satellite image suggests that western smoke is carrying across North America, and well beyond, so seems possible that other fires along the way are adding to it – but last year’s experience was much this same, we had similar kind of sky.

    • J4Zonian Says:

      It’s from Mohandes Gandhi’s funeral pyre.

  4. rhymeswithgoalie Says:

    Is it too much to expect that the rain-bomb disasters in Germany will goose them to accelerate their transition away from coal plants?

  5. ubrew12 Says:

    When you say “The race we are losing” I’m reminded of the race the American right thinks it is in. It’s the race where two people are running from a bear, the first asks if they’ll outrun it, and the second responds “I don’t need to outrun the bear. I just need to outrun you.” I used to explain to online critics that the purpose of science-based policy is to avoid wandering into valleys full of bears, but it’s too late for that. The best we can hope for, now, is to helpfully explain that ‘the race we are losing’ is not to a bear, but bears. There are bears on all sides now, because we wandered into the Valley of Bears, and we better sharpen some spears, and work to defeat them, together. This is one of those valleys in which “We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.”

    • dumboldguy Says:

      One of the few bright spots is that “the American right” is deliberately and mindlessly allowing the bear of the covid-19 delta variant to catch and “devour” them as a result of their refusal to get vaccinated.

      That’s one bear anyone with a brain and any scientific knowledge at all can outrun. The right’s stupidity and ignorance will cost them dearly in the summer covid surge. Isn’t Karma great?

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