Over in the Greenworld alternative reality simulation, the energy transition continues and even accelerates. The Atlantic’s “Weekly Planet” chortles that “Fighting Climate Change Was Costly. Now It’s Profitable.” And according to Canary Media, “Clean energy is cheaper than coal across the whole US, study finds/ Almost every coal-fired power plant in the country could be cost-effectively replaced by local solar or wind and batteries, according to a groundbreaking new analysis.” And free money for all: “Now, with Inflation Reduction Act tax credits and federal financing on the table, the coal-to-clean transition is not just more cost-effective than ever before – it can also be accomplished by building clean energy close to retiring coal plants.” Strange that the people with skin in the game didn’t notice. And that the more jurisdictions adopt this cheaper technology the more horribly expensive energy becomes.
Guess we better replace capitalism with something less fixated on the petty bottom line. Especially as this claim comes from an impeccably unbiased source:
“So says the latest Coal Cost Crossover report from think tank Energy Innovation. The report finds that all but one of the country’s 210 coal plants could be shut down and replaced with clean energy and batteries at a net savings to energy consumers, up from 72 percent of coal plants as of Energy Innovation’s last such analysis in 2021.”
Meanwhile Zeke Hausfather assures us that mining lithium may gouge open sores in Mother Earth but it’s nothing compared to sucking out all that black blood of the Earth called oil. Actually his argument made even less sense to us than usual. (He seems to be having an off month since he also wrote a piece on how we’re save-doomed on climate that we couldn’t untangle back in January.) He Tweeted that:
“The energy transition will require mining lots of materials, even if we pursue smart strategies around public transit and minimizing need for large vehicles. But its helpful to have some perspective here; lithium mining is a drop in the bucket compared to fossil fuel mining”.
Well, yes. Because in the first place there are so many more vehicles and processes that use petroleum derivatives than big batteries and in the second because lithium is so much harder to get.
Over at the New York Times “Climate Forward” they’re just as sure, from their equally remote ivory tower: “The shift to renewable energy is speeding up. Here’s how.”
Well, thank Vladimir Putin: “Russia’s war in Ukraine seems to have sped up the global energy transition from fossil fuels to renewables.” It has done lots of good. For starters:
“First, according to the International Energy Agency, an estimated $1.4 trillion poured into ‘clean energy’ projects in 2022, a category that includes solar farms, batteries and electric vehicle charging stations. That’s more than ever before, and more than the money that poured into new oil and gas projects. Fatih Birol, the head of the agency, described the energy crisis spurred by the Russian invasion as ‘an accelerator for clean energy transitions.’”
But was it private investors betting on profitable technology, or governments hurling subsidies into another pit? Only enemies would ask. Though if they did, they’d hear from “Weekly Planet” that:
“It is a good time to be in the decarbonization business in the United States. The Inflation Reduction Act – with its $374 billion cornucopia of green incentives, subsidies, and grants – was designed to entice private companies to invest in the transition away from fossil fuels. Initial reports already suggest that the IRA may be working. An analysis by American Clean Power, a lobbying group of renewable-energy companies, indicates that even just the anticipation of its bounty catalyzed $40 billion in investments and created nearly 7,000 jobs in the last few months of 2022.”
The next piece of good pseudo-news from “Climate Forward” is that:
“Second, BloombergNEF, a research firm, described this direction of change in a report published last week. Investments in low-carbon energy ‘reached parity’ with capital aimed at expanding fossil fuels, it said.”
Right. With governments killing reliable energy and dumping public money into the unreliable kind, you get a massive investment imbalance and call it progress. Plus words:
“And finally, the oil giant BP said this week that it expected the war in Ukraine would push countries to ramp up renewable energy projects for the sake of energy security, and that oil and gas demand could peak sooner than the company had anticipated just a year ago.”
Could. Anticipated. Expected. Woke boilerplate. One thing state subsidies can produce. So we’re doomsaved because:
“Spoiler alert: The shift away from fossil fuels isn’t happening fast enough to stay within relatively safe boundaries of climate change.”
But we sure did spend money not getting there.
"An analysis by American Clean Power, a lobbying group of renewable-energy companies, indicates that even just the anticipation of its bounty catalyzed $40 billion in investments and created nearly 7,000 jobs"
That comes to about $5.7 million per job, which must be a record even for the US.
I love how “mining” oil and natural gas is so much more damaging than open pit digging 500,000 tons of rock (with massive diesel vehicles, that are too big to be replaced with electric ones), then transporting it via ship (burning bunker oil with no amelioration of real pollutants) to China for processing with some of the nastiest acids known, to get one ton of lithium for batteries. And I love how grid batteries will power everything when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine, which NOAA says isn’t that unusual across the US. Texas, which gets up to 25% of its electricity from wind, is building the largest grid battery in the world. I can replace the loss of the wind power for a whole 30 seconds. So one down, only 5,759 left to build so they can replace the wind power for a two day calm.
Wait, wait, I've got a solid idea!!!!! Let's just cover California, New York State and Illinois from corner to corner with solar panels and battery stations and line the coasts of California, Washington and Oregon and the New England states with wind turbines, that should power the entire nation right????? Just need three billion miles of new power lines to reach every community in the nation, what could go wrong?? I'm sure Joey and his buddies in DC can find money to invest in this profitable idea.
Drum: Invest in copper. It is going to get scarce.