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2022-06-07 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Energy , 1823 references Ignore this thread
This Is Why It Doesn't Work
[Comments enabled]

Folks, right here:

To meet the nation's clean energy goals, the US must develop a robust manufacturing capability to produce solar energy panels and components. It can do that by providing financial incentives to US manufacturers to help offset higher domestic production costs, which have been estimated to be 30% to 40% more than imports.

That is the problem.

Congress handing out money will not solve it; forcing Americans to pay that 30-40% more simply bankrupts Americans but through a different way.

There are many things we can do but they don't make any sense to do.

The only reason someone does it is that there's a boot on someone's neck (they're a slave), the environment is destroyed without care (remediation costs money) and similar.

That's the beginning and end of it, when you get down to facts.

This is not just limited to solar panels.  Its also true for EVs; you have to dig half a million pounds of earth up to make just one battery, and there is no economically viable means of recycling them either.  Yes, technically they can be recycled, but then you get to pay even more.

If the industry will collapse if the 30-40% has to be paid by the end consumer of the product then whatever you're proposing does not work.

Why would you pay 30 cents/kwh for power you can have for 10?  Do you understand that this is exactly what we're talking about here?  At 30-40% more the panels are non-economic to put in and use; they're simply not competitive.  At 300% more than what you pay now for electric power you can't heat or cool your house and eat at the same time.

Understand this folks -- I love technological advancement.  I believe we should have invested in LFTRs a long time ago, and we should do so today.  Not just directly for electrical power, but because we have several hundred years of known fuel for them, and what we get while digging it up we can use to turn into synfuel at the same time with some of the produced energy.  The latter is not fanciful nonsense; Nazi Germany used it close to eighty years ago.  We know it works.  Yes, there are engineering challenges remaining.  But those are engineering problems and thus can be solved.  They are not attempts to claim that which is thermodynamically impossible will work.

Physics, chemistry and thermodynamics (which are functionally a subset of physics, when you get down to it) are not suggestions.  Irrespective of how you feel these are facts you cannot evade.  Shoving off the damage somewhere else, whether to people or planet doesn't change the math.

It only changes who gets screwed, and if Congress subsidizes this the person who gets screwed is you.

Food prices, rent and similar are high enough already -- right?

You don't want any more of that -- right??

That's what I thought.

Now tell me why we allow (and yes, we are allowing it) the current Congress and Executive to remain in office.

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Radiosity
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Sunny UK
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"then whatever you're proposing does not work."

Yep. One of the cheapest energy providers here in Blighty is Octopus Energy, who claim to be 'green' (all solar/wind). We're with them for one reason: they're the cheapest, and WAY cheaper than the big providers, all of whom are greedy fuckbags.

The problem? Octopus's business model is broken. In the letter where they informed us our prices were going up (thanks once again, government), they actually made a point of proudly proclaiming that 'we've never turned a profit'. Can you believe that shit? They sent CUSTOMERS a letter telling us that their business model is literally bankrupt, as if we were supposed to be impressed.

Of course, most people are dumbfucks, so they'll have seen that and thought 'look how much they care about their customers, losing money so they can provide a good service'. Because you can't fix stupid, I guess.

Anyway, I doubt I need to explain how this company is still in business. Government subsidies... which means we ALL get to pay for it. Yay.
Kalel666
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Michigan
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From http://chizumatic.mee.nu/ghosts_of_my_pa....
In order for "alternate energy" to become feasible, it has to satisfy all of the following criteria:

1. It has to be huge (in terms of both energy and power)
2. It has to be reliable (not intermittent or unschedulable)
3. It has to be concentrated (not diffuse)
4. It has to be possible to utilize it efficiently
5. The capital investment and operating cost to utilize it has to be comparable to existing energy sources (per gigawatt, and per terajoule).

If it fails to satisfy any of those, then it can't scale enough to make any difference. Solar power fails #3, and currently it also fails #5. (It also partially fails #2, but there are ways to work around that.)

The only sources of energy available to us now that satisfy all five are petroleum, coal, hydro, and nuclear.

My rule of thumb is that I'm not interested in any "alternate energy" until someone shows me how to scale it to produce at least 1% of our current energy usage. America right now uses about 3.6 terawatts average, so 1% of that is about 36 gigawatts average.

Show me a plan to produce 36 gigawatts (average, not peak) using solar power, at a price no more than 30% greater than coal generation of comparable capacity, which can be implemented at that scale in 10-15 years. Then I'll pay attention.

Since solar power installations can only produce power for about 10 hours per day on average, that means that peak power production would need to be in the range of about 85 gigawatts to reach that 1%.

Without that, it's just religion, like all the people fascinated with wind and with biomass. And even if it did reach 1%, that still leaves the other 99% of our energy production to petroleum, coal, hydro, and nuclear.
The problems facing "alternate energy" are fundamental, deep, and are show-stoppers. They are not things that will be surmounted by one lone incremental improvement in one small area, announced breathlessly by a startup which is trying to drum up funding.

The way you can tell that a fan of "alternate energy" is a religious cultist is to ask them this question: If your preferred alternate source of energy is practical, why isn't it already in use?
Ocdawg
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Let's go Brandon, WI
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@KD
"Now tell me why we allow (and yes, we are it) the current Congress and Executive to remain in office."

Because BOOBUS AMERICANUS is now nothing but lazy, stupid, balless simps who possess not a single survival/fighting gene in their bodies or the ability to think independently or take a stand for anything.

A turtle dove has better survival skills
smileysmileysmiley

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"You're a stupid son-of-a-bitch"
-Scrappin' Joey Shitpants to Peter Doocy the American People
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Prof_dilligaf
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"the US must develop a robust manufacturing capability to produce solar energy panels and components"

How many of the necessary materials (wonder why they call them "rare earth"?) are available at any price in the US? Can they build a manufacturing capability so "robust" it doesn't require any inputs?

The charge against the hydrogenation of coal has always been economics, but that hardly seems relevant now. What is relevant is a decades-long refusal, owned by both branches of the Uniparty, to invest anything in infrastructure, especially any infrastructure that could make the eco-clowns start mewling as they always do.

The Nazis were on their way to making it work on a national level, even though the technology was relatively new, until ol' Mr. Silly Mustache bounced them into a two-front world war 5 years too soon. We could do it better and faster (though we may not be able to avoid our own too-soon war at this point); what we lack, as a nation, is not the means but the will.
Evergreen
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Why do they remain in office?

Because a couple of generations have been raised without spanking, so unacceptable behavior is the norm, up to and including criminal activity that warrants standing-army-sized police forces.

Those police forces are so endemic that a platoon of parents stood around next to the cops and watched while their kids bought it for an hour. The strongest impulse in human nature--protect your kids from mortal, clear, and present danger--overridden by societal conditioning to stand down while the cops are present.

That's the inaction part.

The motivation part is conditioned by a fundamental stupidity in all things logical in applications of physics. Covid happened because they were told to be scared, whereas people did not witness pandemic illness first hand. Huh?

HCQ was available as a potential curative in March of 2020, and the thought existed at the time that this event was OVER. Nope. Induced mass hysteria over a decades-long, wantonly prescribed safe malaria prophylactic prevented its use in firewalling mortality from the pandemic. Huh?

IVM showed statistically solid causative effect in the same, and countless trials were uniform in their DIRECTION of effect. No one noticed. Huh?

The EV doesn't pump out exhaust fumes. Therefore, to the voter, it is environmentally pristine and without pollutive contribution. Huh?

Society has become functionally illiterate in many ways. The box labeled "Pandora" on it has been encountered by the new generations. Tribal knowledge passed down advised to avoid it and never mess with it. Witness the voter and politician hovering over it. The citizen says, what does "Pandora" label mean? The politician says, "It means 'OPEN ME'".
Nadavegan
Posts: 548
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The South
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"It can do that by providing financial incentives to US manufacturers to help offset higher domestic production costs, which have been estimated to be 30% to 40% more than imports."

This is a shockingly stupid statement. Yet the majority of the "educated" class does not understand why it is so.
Greenacr
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Northern Ohio
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Even if these solar panels could be made economically and in a way that is environmentally neutral, I do not understand how they can be used effectively in the northern half of the USA.

Government has built some small solar farms here in Northern Ohio. My understanding is that they only produce energy 30 - 40 percent of the year. How can there be a ROI with that type of production.

There is also a grass movement here growing to fight solar farms (NIMBY) as well as farmers unwilling to give up their land.
Mikeyinfl
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FL
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I've wondered why they haven't focused much on harnessing the energy of ocean currents like the gulf stream with underwater turbines like the one that is being tested in Japan?

https://www.freethink.com/environment/de....

The only issue I have with designs that mimic your basic oster blender is the potential harm to aquatic life, but rather than using a bladed/propeller to spin, why not engineer some type of hollow corkscrew where fish can swim through with out getting blendered???

I also wonder if we installed a substantial number of turbines in the gulf stream that might even alter (reduce) the amount heat brought from the Gulf of Mexico over towards Europe, even slightly?
Phoenix800
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Humanity is cursed with a ball-and-chain in the form of emotionaly driven stupid people.

This is compounded by 'democracy' where we allow the utterly stupid thoughts and emotions of the stupid the same weight as logical, scientific, experimentally proven 'thoughts.' We let stupid people vote and we are out numbered. Politicians (more stupid people) cater to the stupid majority, and rule over the logical, science minded minority.

One of my leftist-in-laws (LIL) was over for dinner. She had recently been shopping for a stove and had discovered induction stoves. She knows that I'm technically literate and was trying to impress.

The conversation went something like this:

LIL: Have you seen those new electric stoves! They make things hot really fast.

Me: Are you talking about induction stoves?

LIL: Oh, you've seen them, aren't they amazing!

Me: It's induction heating, it's nothing new. We have an induction heater at work, about 40 years old, that we use to braze tungsten carbide to 1018 steel for our...

LIL: Oh, so you'se seen them! Do you know how they work?

Me: Yes, there's a coil in the stove top, beneath the pan. An alternating electrical current flows through the coil, radio frequency, and it induces current in the pan. Eddy currents flow through the pan. Electrical resistance to the current causes it to get hot.

LIL: Blank stare...

Me: Radio frequency electromagnetic radiation induces eddy current...

LIL: OMG! RADIATION!!!!

Me: Non-ionizing radiation. It's no big deal. Radio frequency electromagnetic radiation...

LIL: OMG! RADIATION!!! That's so scary...

There really, truly, is no hope. These people are never going to understand what a LFTR is. They are never going to understand its benefits.

They are just going to be frightened and emotional. They will embrace their ignorance-fueled fear. They will use their kindergarten level skills to take magic marker to poster board, make signs, protest, and feel their emotionally driven high as they "do something" to stop nuclear power.

And all of humanity will suffer.
Smacktle
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How high will gas and diesel have to get before people stop driving so much?

The truckers are passing along these costs that will eventually hit your pocketbook. You think prices are high now, you aint see nothing yet.

Hold on to your hats boys and girls, this is going to be one helluva ride!

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YES! FUCK TWITTER
Whitehat
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They will never admit they were wrong until they are forced to do so. And, i am not referring to the political class or moneyed interests pushing these unworkable solutions.

The people are the problem.

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smiley "How are you feeling? Kind of under the weather? Like you've got the flu?"
Wayiwalk
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It occurred to me while reading this that the green economy the progressives are pursuing is like any other failure in a planned economy, chasing yesterday's ideas when unfettered innovation is the best way to address challenging issues.

Solar panels, windmills, battery powered cars/airplanes, etc...all of that is OLD TECH, and the folks pushing them are fighting the last century's battles.

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The Lockdowns Will Continue Until the Morale Improves!

I keep thinking, "it can't get any worse" and then it does!
Ingar
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America doesn't have a robust solar panel and components manufacturing capability because solar power isn't economical and besides, the Chinese manufacturers can outbid domestic manufacturers for the loyalty of CONgress. What say you Mitch McConnell and Eric Swalwell?
When grass begins to grow beneath too-expensive-to fill Suburbans and the like, and Doritos and Bud Light double in price, it may dawn on a few Americans that their government isn't operated for their interests. But most will still participate in the World Wrestling Federation-style political system.
We may have too diverse a population for focused rage such as that directed at the French monarchy during their revolution.
Jacksparrow
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Olympia WA 98506
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I have 12,000 watts of solar. I received an 80% subsidy between the idiots of WA state & the federal renewable credit. Even with all of that it takes 8 years to break even. Solar is a joke.
Susanlauren
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I am not all that worried about these green energy initiatives and subsidies. This is why: it won't happen because it can't happen. Simply Not Sustainable.

At the rate we are going, we will be in the Greater Depression soon enough.

Or we will be in WWIII with two fronts - China and Russia. Biden and Company is begging for a fight. And this time it won't be against the Taliban with AK-47s.

My liberal friend thinks "green is great" until she figured out she can't afford it
Tickerguy
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It's utterly astoundingly-amusing to see all the panels on roofs up in Wyoming. And there are. It makes exactly ZERO sense, unless you CAN'T grid-tie for some reason. And no, backup in the event of a nasty snowstorm doesn't count because it will snow on the panels and you ain't going up there when there's 4' of snow on the ground to clear them off either.

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Civil Society requires 99%+ consent.
Stop consenting and it is forced to stop. Always.
No violence required.
Purplefang
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They know none of this is going to work. My opinion, the best solution for the people, the economy, and the environment is to let the free market take care of it. Want less waste? Cut government spending. Perhaps try to solve differences through diplomacy instead of starting wars.
Ljf
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You are assuming they will not drive up the price of electricity to make solar cells competitive. When I was in school, in the 80s, one place in the country where solar would be competitive was Long Island, if they could put the Shoreham Nuclear plant online. If the plant went online, the cost of the plant could have been passed to the electricity customers. This would have made electricity in the area so expensive solar cells would have been competitive.
Whitehat
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Tickerguy wrote..
It's utterly astoundingly-amusing to see all the panels on roofs up in Wyoming. And there are. It makes exactly ZERO sense, unless you CAN'T grid-tie for some reason. And no, backup in the event of a nasty snowstorm doesn't count because it will snow on the panels and you ain't going up there when there's 4' of snow on the ground to clear them off either.

Can't help myself, but did mini, courtesy consults for some people recently who are using solar as an emergency back-up. It took a while for it to dawn on some of them that said emergencies better only happen when it is not snowing. Some could not grok my advice that a ground install was much better.

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smiley "How are you feeling? Kind of under the weather? Like you've got the flu?"
Whitehat
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@Ljf -- and now the poor bastards are wishing that they had that nuke plant.

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smiley "How are you feeling? Kind of under the weather? Like you've got the flu?"

Reason: corrected misphrasing
Swredpill
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The Desert
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@jacksparrow

Quote:
I have 12,000 watts of solar. I received an 80% subsidy between the idiots of WA state & the federal renewable credit. Even with all of that it takes 8 years to break even. Solar is a joke.


Then you paid too much. I have 18kw of solar and I spent less than $20k total for it and I received zero government tax credits by my choice. The REC credits from the power company were state mandated and they were substantial to be sure and they have expired a year ago. Payback was 42 months. I'm 9 years and 6 months in on this system.

Granted I installed it myself so I saved on labor but I also am like a vulture. I wait for something to become "obsolete" before I buy it. A generation or two older than state of the art works well and it costs a lot less.

Right now my PV system produces in the neighborhood of 3000KwH a month. I use about 1000KwH a month in the summer. I'm paid 3 cents (the wholesale rate for power) per KwH I send back to power company. I get a check for $60 each month from a paid for system. Not much but it covers my internet and water bill.
Ljf
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@whitehat they built the nuclear plant. After Three Mile Island and Chernobyl happened someone figured evacuating Long Island would not be possible, so the plant never went online.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shoreham_N....
Veeger
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Washington state
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As I went through the assessment process for solar last year, I was pretty unimpressed with the time required to reach break even. The unknown part of that equation is just how fast and how high will our electric rates climb. Triple? Quadruple? In 3-5 yrs? If so, that pay back figure shifts real quick into my favor. Such numbers seemed impossible to grok last year. This year? Not so much.
Tickerguy
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Triple to quad? Half the people in the US freeze or broil. Won't happen.

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Civil Society requires 99%+ consent.
Stop consenting and it is forced to stop. Always.
No violence required.
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