Lie of the Day: Going 100% Green Will Pay For Itself in 7 Years

Mish

A Stanford University professor says the world can go totally green by spending $73 trillion.

Totally Green

Stanford University professor Mark Z. Jacobson wants to spend $73 trillion for the world to go totally green. Not only that, supposedly it will pay for itself in 7 years.

You can download the 119 page PDF from [One Earth](https://www.cell.com/one-earth/pdfExtended/S2590-3322((19%2930225-8).

The report is called Impacts of Green New Deal Energy Plans on Grid Stability, Costs, Jobs, Health, and Climate in 143 Countries.

Jacobson claims Going 100% Green Will Pay For Itself in Seven Years.

It would cost $73 trillion to revamp power grids, transportation, manufacturing and other systems to run on wind, solar and hydro power, including enough storage capacity to keep the lights on overnight, Mark Jacobson said in a study published Friday in the journal One Earth. But that would be offset by annual savings of almost $11 trillion, the report found.

“There’s really no downside to making this transition,” said Jacobson, who wrote the study with several other researchers. “Most people are afraid it will be too expensive. Hopefully this will allay some of those fears.”

The report published Friday looked at 143 countries that generate more than 99% of the world’s greenhouse emissions. The savings would come from not extracting fossil fuels, using higher-efficiency systems and other benefits of shifting entirely to electricity. It follows a paper Jacobson published in 2015 laying out a state-by-state plan for the U.S. to convert to 100% renewables.

AOC's Green New Deal

The article notes that Jacobson 's work "underpinned" Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) Green New Deal.

On February 25, I commented AOC's Green New Deal Pricetag of $51 to $93 Trillion vs. Cost of Doing Nothing.

AOC's the Boss

On March 26, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell put AOC's Green New Deal to a vote. Hypocrite Democrat Senators Refuse to Back the New Deal and it failed 57-0.

Doug Jones (Ala.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.), and Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.), along with Independent senator Angus King (Maine), who caucuses with the Democrats voted against the deal.

At a press conference ,the Senate bill’s primary sponsor Ed Markey (D., Mass.), claimed he stood behind the proposal. “It is the national-security, economic, health-care, and moral issue of our time,” he said.

But he did not vote for it.

PNAS Review of Jacobson's Plan

A PNAS study (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA) did a Review of Jacobson's Plan

Jacobson et al. (11) along with additional colleagues in a companion article (12) attempt to show the feasibility of supplying all energy end uses (in the continental United States) with almost exclusively wind, water, and solar (WWS) power (no coal, natural gas, bioenergy, or nuclear power), while meeting all loads, at reasonable cost.

Wind and solar are variable energy sources, and some way must be found to address the issue of how to provide energy if their immediate output cannot continuously meet instantaneous demand. The main options are to (i) curtail load (i.e., modify or fail to satisfy demand) at times when energy is not available, (ii) deploy very large amounts of energy storage, or (iii) provide supplemental energy sources that can be dispatched when needed. It is not yet clear how much it is possible to curtail loads, especially over long durations, without incurring large economic costs. There are no electric storage systems available today that can affordably and dependably store the vast amounts of energy needed over weeks to reliably satisfy demand using expanded wind and solar power generation alone.

We show that refs. 11 and 12 do not meet these criteria and, accordingly, do not show the technical, practical, or economic feasibility of a 100% wind, solar, and hydroelectric energy vision. As we detail below and in SI Appendix, ref. 11 contains modeling errors; incorrect, implausible, and/or inadequately supported assumptions; and the application of methods inappropriate to the task. In short, the analysis performed in ref. 11 does not support the claim that such a system would perform at reasonable cost and provide reliable power.

Implausible Assumptions

The energy storage capacity consists almost entirely of two technologies that remain unproven at any scale. To give an idea of scale, the 100% wind, solar, and hydroelectric power system proposed in ref. 11 envisions UTES systems deployed in nearly every community for nearly every home, business, office building, hospital, school, and factory in the United States, although only a handful exist today.

Although both PCM and UTES are promising resources, neither technology has reached the level of technological maturity to be confidently used as the main underpinning technology in a study aiming to show the technical reliability and feasibility of an energy system. The relative immaturity of these technologies cannot be reconciled with the authors’ assertion that the solutions proposed in ref. 11 and companion papers are ready to be implemented today at scale at low cost and that there are no technological or economic hurdles to the proposed system

Alleged Costs to Go Totally Green

US Contribution to Greenhouse Gasses

If the US spent $7.8 trillion, and it worked perfectly, we would rid the world of 14.75% of the alleged US contribution to global warming.

Hooray?

No Transmission Modeling

The PNAS review debunked assumptions that Jakobson made regarding capital costs, ability to ramp up hydroelectric power as required, and land constraints for wind turbines.

Moreover, and a PNAS points out, the authors do not perform any modeling or analysis of transmission. As a result, their analysis ignores transmission capacity expansion, power flow, and the logistics of transmission constraints.

Thus, not only would there be insufficient capacity, even if by some magic capacity was adequate, there would be no way to store that power for periods in which wind and solar were insufficient.

To that I would add the environment impacts of damming waterways that harm the environment by silting up, kill fish, etc.

And what about millions of dead birds that would be killed by the wind farms? Are the environmentalists suddenly not concerned about such things?

Lies, the Best Way Forward

Does Mark Z. Jacobson really believe what he says?

Occam's razor suggests the simplest explanation is the one that is most likely. Thus, when "stupidity" is one of the answers, it's usually a decent bet.

In this case, however, I believe Jacobson has seen PNAS and other reviews of his previous work and chooses to purposely lie as the best way forward.

After all, he did get activists like AOC to latch on to the idea as her own. He also has the UN on his side.

This came up yesterday in Dave Collum's Satirical, Comedic, Insulting Year in Review.

Climate Change

  1. “Nobody on the planet—not one person—knows what will happen to the World’s climate and ecosystem 50 years from now. We are all guessing, some more than others.” Me [David Collum]
  2. “Vintners in France haven’t seen such a succession of hot weather and dry harvest since the 14th century, during a time called “the Black Death.” Bloomberg news, inadvertently noting it was hot 600 years ago.
  3. We’ve got to ride the global-warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right things in terms of economic policy and environmental policy.” Tim Wirth, Senator, chair of Clinton-Gore Campaign, and UN official
  4. …one has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. Instead, climate change policy is about how we redistribute de facto the world’s wealth…” Ottmar Edenhofer, IPCC official speaking in November 2010
    Please pay attention to quotes 3 and 4.

So, is Mark Z. Jacobson a Stupid Liar (for his faith in global warming nonsense)?

Or is Jacobson Lying Stupidly (by promoting technologies he knows don't scale if they exist at all)?

Any votes for both?

Global Warming Religion

This article is as likely to change global warming views as the Pope is to announce his belief in Hinduism.

But can we at least stop the blatant lies?

Unfortunately not. It takes fearmongering and lies to spread the Global Warming Religion.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (147)
No. 1-40
themonosynaptic
themonosynaptic

It is simple science based on proven theories and easily observable facts. Hating the people who accept it like Greta isn’t a scientific position, but it is a better explanation than the wing nut alternatives the deniers dream up. “solar flares” for Pete’s sake.

shamrock
shamrock

But let's say it did work, would it pay for itself in 7 years? I spend an average $5,000/year on electricity and gas. Could I spend $35,000 on solar panels, batteries, and an electric vehicle lease and drop that to $0? Might be more like $60k.

Tony Bennett
Tony Bennett

Professors.

When it comes to professors and business reality ... the class room scene from Back to School comes to mind ... where Dangerfield schools the widget professor ... as someone who went to business school I saw some of this nonsense first hand.

Scooot
Scooot

$73 trillion, surly the Fed could just print it. Problem solved. 😀

Realist
Realist

In due time, renewable energy will supplant the vast majority of fossil fuels because of the cost/benefit. Probably by the end of this century, fossil fuels will be primarily used as a manufacturing feedstock as opposed to an energy source.

Because it will take time to phase out the burning of fossil fuels, atmospheric greenhouse gas levels should continue to increase for several more decades, which will increase global temperatures further.

The worry is that temperatures will increase to the level where tipping points are triggered and the earth begins releasing huge amounts of stored carbon on its own (such as in melting permafrost and burning forests) If that point is reached, man will no longer be the primary cause of global warming, just the catalyst.

Other tipping points include; the irreversible melting of ice; the disruption of ocean currents; rainforest destruction; etc.

Based on current trends, we will most likely reach those tipping points. (That is what the 10 year time frame estimate is referring to; not the end of the world; just the time frame to reach the tipping points).

Once the tipping points are reached, the focus will shift to: mitigating the effects of global warming (sea level rise, mass migrations, loss of farmland, etc) and technology that will remove greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere in order to attempt to reverse what we created. The technology exists today, but it is not very economical yet. I suspect we will get very good at managing the levels of greenhouse gasses in the next century.

Reality is that we will probably have to suffer through a hundred years or more of global warming consequences in the meantime.

Carl_R
Carl_R

It's a free country. If Jacobsen thinks that the average payback is 7 years, that would imply that he thinks there are many projects with a payback much faster. He needs to set up a company, raise capital, and start building out the fast payback projects immediately. He could become a billionaire. Maybe.

Sechel
Sechel

Don't know about the 7 year payback. I do know that Coal is not able to compete with Solar and Wind at this point and the cost for solar and wind keep dropping.

Sechel
Sechel

wonder if fossil fuel cost are understated and fail to account for the destruction to the environment and the lungs of miners. i'm speaking about coal in particular.

Mish
Mish

Editor

Rooftop solar is not going to happen in Chicago - Nor is Hydro or wind.

Assume solar happens in Phoenix. How do you get that stored and sent to Chicago?

Mish
Mish

Editor

"Don't know about the 7 year payback. I do know that Coal is not able to compete with Solar and Wind at this point and the cost for solar and wind keep dropping."

If coal cannot compete with solar and wind, I believe China would have figured this out. Instead it is building mammoth numbers of coal-fired plants

Tawdzilla
Tawdzilla

The problem with solar that almost nobody talks about, is the panels degrade every year. Within 20-25 years their useful life is all but done. At this point the property owner has this entire dead system on their roof that needs to be removed and replaced. Solar may pencil out in some cases, but ALL costs must be considered including removal and replacement within 20-25 years. (I haven’t even mentioned the environmental impact of how to dispose of old panels.)

CautiousObserver
CautiousObserver

@Mish: I think your critical comments are spot-on. Solar with 7-10 year payback relies on a grid-tie arrangement where the utility and other non-renewable customers are saddled with carrying the cost of load matching and backup power. When those distributed systems are installed in significant numbers within one area, that hidden subsidy gets terminated via a law change and it is replaced with a significant "solar connection fee" to defray that cost. Then the payback for these systems goes "poof."

Last time I ran the numbers (admittedly some time ago), there is no payback for most stand-alone renewable systems that have energy storage. Unless one lives in a remote location or on an island where everything is powered by imported diesel, renewable is more expensive than conventional grid power. This will not change unless energy storage becomes much more economical. As of today, it is not there.

Of course, if one is allowed to assign an arbitrarily high costs for environmental damage caused by conventional energy production, and if one ignores the high environmental cost of energy storage, then it is possible to justify almost any alternative.

Quenda
Quenda

These type of stories irritate me as they're in the same vein as the "we have a dozen years to save the planet" themed ones. Sensationalism masquerading as science promoted by a hysterical fringe that detract from the sober analysis of global warming done by the mainstream scientific community.

One question which I don't have the foggiest idea about is what happens to power grids when you have millions of renewable energy inputs. Will new smarter distribution/management systems be the answer? or will girds break down into isolated microgrids? some combination of the two or something else altogether.

I wonder about the environmental concerns of disposing of batteries too.

My belief (and its just that) is that its inevitable that we'll transition to some mix of nuclear and renewable energy, but that in the sorter term we will have to eventually consider geoengineering projects. We're already in the middle of conducting one vast geoengineering project so I fail to see the rationale against not conducting small trials of iron fertilisation at sea, stratospheric aerosol injection (Volcanoes already do this for us naturally), cloud seeding and super simple stuff like planting more trees and painting house roofs white.

SMF
SMF

So much to say, so little time, but I will give it a shot.

Electrical system size is given in amperes (amps). Per the National Electrical Code (NEC), our building electrical service is sized at 400 amps. The building next to us is sized at 400 amps, too. However, the utility company electrical transformer that feeds both buildings is sized at only 200 amps. In about 30 years, it has failed maybe 3 times, during heatwaves. It failed this year and it was replaced by another 200 amp transformer.

Codes are very conservative, we size electrical services as if all the electrical loads are turned on at the same time. Utility companies can size their loads according to actual demand, so that's why the transformer outside is only 200 amps as opposed to 800 amps total.

Most of the electrical loads in the world are intermittent, not used in a continuous basis. But EV chargers can be charging for hours at at time, at a considerable load. For the home, the load is calculated at 40 amps, though fast chargers can go up to 80 amps. For a regular size home, the electrical capacity is usually in the range of 125 to 200 amps. And the electrical companies have sized their system according to this demand.

But add a bunch of EV changers in the future, that could be expected to be continuously charging for hours at a time, in most homes, and you will quickly reach beyond capacity.

And changing that capacity means you remove ALL the current infrastructure, down to the wires and all that equipment.

thimk
thimk

oh for god's sake , plant a tree.

Tengen
Tengen

If the Fed can keep this game going for another 7 years (they probably can) I expect we'll rack up around $15T in additional debt by then.

People should admit that the current system is already green albeit in a dark way. US life expectancy has been falling since 2014 and while media stokes the anger among us and wars continue unchecked around the world, we could start to see global net population decline in the next decade or two. It'll be hellish, but we can comfort ourselves with the "greenness" of it all!

MaxBnb
MaxBnb

Vaclav Smil Distinguished Professor Emeritus recommended by Bill Gates

Smil, V. 2019. Energy (r)evolutions take time. World Energy 44:10-14. PDF

Sechel
Sechel

If coal cannot compete with solar and wind, I believe China would have figured this out. Instead it is building mammoth numbers of coal-fired plants

Really Mish? You really believe that? China the country that is the poster child for mal-investment? The one that builds empty shopping malls and office buildings? You seem to have taken a position far from the consensus on this one.

China is looking to put people to work. Building coal plant does that. This is just stimulus. ROI had nothing to do with this. Thought since you follow Michael Pettis and has posted so much on China you would not have submitted this answer. China is also the country that sells Steel and other items below cost. China might be an economic power but its built on mal-investments with non-economic investments. They simply want to keep that GDP machine running.

JanNL
JanNL

Totally off the wall. Back to the Middle Ages. Nuclear energy must ofcourse be the next phase of human energy production - ask any physicist - and is not even mentioned.

wendmink
wendmink

In 1964 all I heard was we are going into an ice age, I was in 6th grade, I was scared and wanted to move from North Idaho. Today it's global warming. What's next???? One thing I do know is the more ethanol with use the more yellowish haze over earth. I think big money is pushing this whole global warming issue, making it worst pushing ethanol. For example in WY. The coal power plant is the main power feed to the North West, they could every easily change it to natural gas, but O NO, they want to build 2,500 windmills and 1,000 acres of solar. Where will big money make the most $$$$, with trillions of government subsidies money, all new windmills and solar of course. Any guess what's going to happen????

Carl_R
Carl_R

Obviously Trump believes in global warming. He wants to position the US for that by acquiring the next hot resort area, Greenland. ;)

RonJ
RonJ

The Iraq War was supposed to pay for itself.

mkestrel
mkestrel

Green energy sources only survive due government subsidies. If the government provides a subsidy then by definition the “products” are economically unfeasible because otherwise entrepreneurs would already have taken it to market because it was financially advantageous. With subsidies government picks winners and losers. The only green energy that makes sense is where you have no access to the power grid and need electricity. PGE will be raising their prices this year which is in part due to California’s green subsidies and general mismanagement of the maintenance of the distribution system. Gavin Newsome thinks everything is swell because he gets his cut.

Maximus_Minimus
Maximus_Minimus

It's the population, stupid. Ivory towers b.s. professors wouldn't be where they are if they pointed out the obvious.

bradw2k
bradw2k

Ever since the ecological movement of the 70's "won", such that environmentalism is now part of the cultural establishment, peddling a high-brow version of "Nature is good, humans are evil" can be very rewarding to one's career.

Sechel
Sechel

If coal is so cheap why do we subsidize it?

Conservative estimates put U.S. direct subsidies to the fossil fuel industry at roughly $20 billion per year; with 20 percent currently allocated to coal and 80 percent to natural gas and crude oil. European Union subsidies are estimated to total 55 billion euros annually.

renewableguy
renewableguy

[“Nobody on the planet—not one person—knows what will happen to the World’s climate and ecosystem 50 years from now. We are all guessing, some more than others.” Me [David Collum]]

Boy is that statement wrong on its head.

Even 50-year-old climate models correctly predicted global warming

“How much warming we are having today is pretty much right on where models have predicted,” says the study’s lead author, Zeke Hausfather, a graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley.

renewableguy
renewableguy

[Vintners in France haven’t seen such a succession of hot weather and dry harvest since the 14th century, during a time called “the Black Death.” Bloomberg news, inadvertently noting it was hot 600 years ago.]

So was that local or global back then. That's really a cherry picked cheap shot.

renewableguy
renewableguy

[But can we at least stop the blatant lies?

Unfortunately not. It takes fearmongering and lies to spread the Global Warming Religion.]

Either Mike Mish is lying himself or ignorant. The real cultural religion is around fossil fuels. Addiction is when you can't let go of the destructive behavior. 100% Renewable energy improves health and fits into the climate much much easier than polluting fossil fuels.

renewableguy
renewableguy

[So, is Mark Z. Jacobson a Stupid Liar (for his faith in global warming nonsense)?

Or is Jacobson Lying Stupidly (by promoting technologies he knows don't scale if they exist at all)?

Any votes for both?]

I'm leaning towards Mike Mish is the liar. Haven't declared it yet. Jacobsen has put forth a really good paper that has brought to a head a conversation on 100% renewable energy. This is needed.

renewableguy
renewableguy

[In this case, however, I believe Jacobson has seen PNAS and other reviews of his previous work and chooses to purposely lie as the best way forward.

After all, he did get activists like AOC to latch on to the idea as her own. He also has the UN on his side.]

You aren't even using the right term of lying. Keep in mind that Jacobson's paper is peer reviewed and this is now a discussion of the way forward on 100% renewable energy.

renewableguy
renewableguy

Let's see, it there isn't enough transmission capacity, then we string up more wires. So what is so debastating about this?

While estimates for losses are included in the model, transmission is assumed to be unproblematic. Interestingly, one result of this, and also possibly of the exclusion of (storable) biomass, is that CSP with integral heat storage figures strongly in the list of low-cost balancing options. However, CSP is obviously location specific, and the options for longer distance grid-integration are also location sensitive.

renewableguy
renewableguy

[There are no electric storage systems available today that can affordably and dependably store the vast amounts of energy needed over weeks to reliably satisfy demand using expanded wind and solar power generation alone.]

There are a lot of grid storage solutions available to build and use. This is being run now.

renewableguy
renewableguy

[On March 26, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell put AOC's Green New Deal to a vote. Hypocrite Democrat Senators Refuse to Back the New Deal and it failed 57-0.]

Talking about slanting things. The author put his own spin on this peice of information by exclusion of the whole picture.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer accuses McConnell of putting on a “stunt” vote as he tries to put Democratic senators and 2020 presidential contenders on the record.

renewableguy
renewableguy

This is a study of how to go forward on 100% renewable energy. Disagreeing with someone does not make either one a liar. Disagreement is needed and healthy.

Markets Going 100% Green Will Pay For Itself in Seven Years, Study Finds By Will Wade December 20, 2019, 10:00 AM CST Annual $11 trillion savings offset upfront $73 trillion cost Some of the author’s past findings have been questioned

ReadyKilowatt
ReadyKilowatt

These guys love to deal with the theoretical ideal instead of the practical. The installed "nameplate capacity" of wind power is growing by leaps and bounds every year. And there are days now and again when wind will produce more electricity than coal. But over time the contribution from wind is very low, still in the single digits. And it's all backed by gas turbines, some of which are running 24/7 just to be ready to augment as needed. That said, yes, the US power industry has reduced their GHG emissions over the last few years, but only because natural gas is so cheap thanks to fracking.

Besides, water is far too precious to use for power generation as a primary use. Look at the problems with Las Vegas and lake Mead. They want electricity and drinking water (most of which is destined for the Imperial Valley anyway), but they can't have both. So every year becomes a balancing act of keeping the penstocks open for the turbines and not letting the LV intake get too close to the surface. If we're on our way to a permadrought we really shouldn't be wasting water generating electricity.

Sechel
Sechel

Important to realize why Trump is complaining about light bulbs and windmills. Yes he's crazy. Yes he's bitter about his golf course but there is a method to the madness.

Trump bets that his pitch to a bygone era will sway voters turned off by calls from some Democrats on the left for a transformative Green New Deal.

JohnH
JohnH

Realist,

You state your argument very well! I’m glad to see you are one of the few that has studied long term climate cycles. It sounds like your basic argument is that the climate has fluctuated greatly over many thousands of years and that over the last 250 years temperatures have been going up, which climate scientists believe is not natural and only explainable by increased levels of CO2.

CO2 itself is not a strong greenhouse gas, and climate models rely on positive feedback mechanisms to show a catastrophic exponential rise in temperatures. They intentionally ignore negative feedback mechanisms to make their models look dire. The models for the last 20 years have been totally, completely wrong. Should we then trust that they can predict what our climate will be like in 50 or 100 years?

There is only a catastrophe if there is a runaway exponential rise in temperature, which is not happening. Former senior NASA climate scientist Dr. Roy Spencer says it simply: climate scientists "have the mistaken belief that climate sensitivity is high, when in fact the satellite evidence suggests climate sensitivity is low”. (1)

This came about from a small group of climate scientists that cherry picked data and manipulated mathematical models to make it look like the earth has had a historically stable climate in the last 1,000 years, until the burning of hydrocarbon fuels. This resulted in the birth of the “hockey stick” chart made famous by Michael Mann and others. The eye opening Climategate (2) emails show exactly how this manipulation was performed.

Many people have difficulty believing that so many climate scientists would lie, fake data, and manipulate models. Yet, that is human nature. People at the top lie, and everyone else goes along with it. Those that don't are shamed and lose their jobs (and their friends).

There is no human caused climate catastrophe awaiting us.

2 .http://wattsupwiththat.com/climategate/

JohnH
JohnH

My posts keep getting deleted - any reason why?

renewableguy
renewableguy

Truth takes no sides. That's what science is.


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