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wind energy is uneconomic

Someone has actually bothered to check the numbers.

"At a density of, very roughly, 50 acres per megawatt, typical for wind farms, that many turbines would require a land area greater than the British Isles, including Ireland. Every year.

If we kept this up for 50 years, we would have covered every square mile of a land area the size of Russia with wind farms. Remember, this would be just to fulfil the new demand for energy, not to displace the vast existing supply of energy from fossil fuels, which currently supply 80 per cent of global energy needs."

And here's some of why harnessing wind energy is unecological:

"As machines, wind turbines are pretty good already; the problem is the wind resource itself, and we cannot change that. It’s a fluctuating stream of low–density energy. Mankind stopped using it for mission-critical transport and mechanical power long ago, for sound reasons. It’s just not very good.

"As for resource consumption and environmental impacts, the direct effects of wind turbines — killing birds and bats, sinking concrete foundations deep into wild lands — is bad enough. But out of sight and out of mind is the dirty pollution generated in Inner Mongolia by the mining of rare-earth metals for the magnets in the turbines. This generates toxic and radioactive waste on an epic scale, which is why the phrase ‘clean energy’ is such a sick joke and ministers should be ashamed every time it passes their lips.

"It gets worse. Wind turbines, apart from the fibreglass blades, are made mostly of steel, with concrete bases. They need about 200 times as much material per unit of capacity as a modern combined cycle gas turbine. Steel is made with coal, not just to provide the heat for smelting ore, but to supply the carbon in the alloy. Cement is also often made using coal. The machinery of ‘clean’ renewables is the output of the fossil fuel economy, and largely the coal economy."

And plenty more.

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carbon to stone experiment - carbon capture

"Under a pilot project called Carbfix, started in 2012, the plant began mixing the gases with the water pumped from below and reinjecting the solution into the volcanic basalt below. In nature, when basalt is exposed to carbon dioxide and water, a series of natural chemical reactions takes place, and the carbon precipitates out into a whitish, chalky mineral. But no one knew how fast this might happen if the process were harnessed for carbon storage. Previous studies have estimated that in most rocks, it would take hundreds or even thousands of years. In the basalt below Hellisheidi, 95 percent of the injected carbon was solidified within less than two years."

basalt rock in Iceland with (white) sequestered carbon dioxide deposits

This article in Science provides the chemical processes and reactions involved.

"The fast conversion rate of dissolved CO2 to calcite minerals in the CarbFix storage reservoir is most likely the result of several key processes: (i) the novel CO2 injection system that injected water-dissolved CO2 into the subsurface; (ii) the relatively rapid dissolution rate of basalt, releasing Ca, Mg, and Fe ions required for the CO2 mineralization; (iii) the mixing of injected water with alkaline formation waters; and (iv) The dissolution of preexisting secondary carbonates at the onset of the CO2 injection, which may have contributed to the neutralization of the injected CO2-rich water via the reaction CaCO3 + CO2 + H2O = Ca2+ + 2 HCO3–.

"The dissolution of preexisting calcite is supported by the 14C/12C ratio of the collected fluid samples, which suggest a 50% dilution of the carbon in the fluid, most likely via calcite dissolution just after it arrives in the basaltic reservoir. Nevertheless, the mass balance calculations clearly demonstrate that these preexisting carbonates re-precipitated during the mineralization of the injected CO2.

"The results of this study demonstrate that nearly complete in situ CO2 mineralization in basaltic rocks can occur in less than 2 years. Once stored within carbonate minerals, the leakage risk is eliminated and any monitoring program of the storage site can be significantly reduced, thus enhancing storage security and potentially public acceptance. Natural aqueous fluids in basalts and those at the CarbFix site tend to be at or close to equilibrium with respect to calcite, limiting its redissolution. The scaling up of this basaltic carbon storage method requires substantial quantities of water and porous basaltic rocks. Both are widely available on the continental margins, such as off the coast of the Pacific Northwest of the United States."

basalt rock in Iceland with (white) sequestered carbon dioxide deposits

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electric cars - good news and a backlash

good news - racing ahead

Chevrolet Bolt electric car
"General Motors Wednesday introduced the Chevrolet Bolt, the first long-range, plug-in electric car that real people can afford to drive. Priced around $30,000 (after government rebates), the five-passenger Bolt has an electric range of around 200 miles, more than enough for families to use as their daily driver without fear of running out of juice. Most people would never need to recharge anywhere but home. But if you do, you can refill the battery to 80 percent of capacity in about 30 minutes."

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backlash - the threat of government tax returns

So, a spy in every car.

"State governments are starting to worry about how they'll pay for road maintenance. With the rising popularity of EVs and hybrids, and the increasing fuel efficiency of new vehicles across the board, the traditional per-gallon fuel tax that funds state road operations is looking less robust. The state of Oregon is ready to experiment with a new alternative, by testing a per-mile tax that could replace the state's current fuel tax. Beginning July 1st, the state will provide an OBD mileage-tracking device to up to 5,000 volunteers. The test subjects will still pay Oregon's current fuel tax at the pump—$0.30 per gallon, plus a local tax of up to 5 cents in some cities—but at the end of each month the state DOT will analyze the vehicle data, and either rebate or charge the drivers the difference between the fuel tax they paid and the proposed 1.5 cent-per-mile levy."

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fracking report - some moderate bias, but mostly sound

"30. World energy consumption is less than 500 exajoules per year, equivalent to approximately 500 Tcf [trillion cubic feet]. Thus recoverable shale gas resources of, say, 8,000 Tcf (i.e., 20-30% of in-place resources) would last at least a century if their consumption displaced half of conventional gas use (which is 23% of total energy use). In January 2011 the International Energy Agency raised its estimate of how long world gas reserves will actually last to quarter of a millennium. Given the likelihood of other energy sources coming on line long before then, the energy expert Nick Grealy has said that shale gas may be essentially eternal".
"44. However, as it became apparent that shale gas was a competitive threat to renewable energy as well as to coal, the green movement has turned against shale."
• The concrete, forest clearance and visual impact of more than 50 wind turbines with equivalent energy output is gigantic by comparison
• Shale gas is now being produced more cheaply than most conventional gas"
"61. According to the Institute of Energy Research, the cost of electricity from new plants designed to open in 2016 from different sources will be approximately as follows (in dollars per megawatt-hour):

Solar thermal 312
Offshore Wind 243
Solar photovoltaic 211
Coal with CCS 136
Nuclear 114
Biomass 112
Wind 97
Coal 95
Gas with CCS 89
Hydro 86
Gas, combined cycle 63

"66. Gas versus coal. Given the higher efficiency of gas turbines and the lower carbon content of gas, burning gas produces only 37% of carbon dioxide as burning coal for the same electricity output. In addition, unlike burnt coal, burnt shale gas includes no sulphur dioxides, no mercury and fewer nitrogen oxides. It requires no surface mining and mountaintop removal, no tunnelling and ground subsidence and results in many fewer human fatalities. Gas is piped to customers rather than transported by congested road or rail. Therefore, while coal is cheap, it has many environmental externalities, not all of which are fully priced in. `Clean coal‘ with carbon dioxide emissions removed would probably be – at 9 cents per kilowatt hour – roughly twice as costly as gas for electricity generation, yet have only a slim carbon emission advantage. Gas, because it burns cleaner, is also more amenable to carbon capture than coal."
" the effect of shale gas has been to decouple the price of gas from that of oil, with gas prices now much lower per unit of energy, further pricing oil out of the electricity generating industry. The same decoupling will happen in the rest of the world as long term linked oil-and-gas contracts gradually expire. Oil is effectively priced out of baseload electricity generation for the foreseeable future"
"76. Gas is a common feedstock for the chemical industry; so is ethane, a glut of which is now coming out of shale gas wells as a byproduct. Thus the shale gas revolution has already begun to draw chemical companies back to the Gulf of Mexico from the Persian Gulf, and hand them a competitive advantage. As well as being a fuel, gas and natural-gas liquids such as ethane are used in the manufacture of plastic, specialty chemicals, agrochemicals and pharmaceuticals. Shale gas is therefore revitalising the chemical industry wherever it can be produced.
"87. The dominant fuel in the world fuel mix has gradually shifted from wood to coal to oil over the past 150 years, with gas the latest fuel to grow rapidly. At this rate gas may overtake oil as the dominant fuel by 2020 or 2030. The consequence of this succession is that the carbon-hydrogen ratio in the world fuel mix has been falling steadily, because the ratio of carbon to hydrogen atoms is about 10-to-1 in wood, 2-to-1 in coal, 1-to-2 in oil and 1-to-4 in gas. On its current trajectory, the average ratio would reach 90% hydrogen in 2060, having been 90% carbon in 1850."

[Methane 'pollution' is also stabilising.]

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