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renewables

Wild Energy Ride

Next Up: A Wild Energy Ride

By Energy Rant One Comment
It has been a frothy year for the energy industry, and it will continue well into next year and beyond. How far? Heh heh. Let’s start with coal. After plummeting 30% in 2020, consumption bounced back, gaining 35% in 2021. Doing the math, that doesn’t quite get coal back to 2019 consumption. Coal plants are still closing at a breakneck pace, so consumption in the United States is bound to decline in the long haul, but will load balancers and utilities be able to keep the lights on in 2030? This is a concern to me because no source of...
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Lithium is Not Nirvana

By Energy Rant No Comments
I am typically afforded the freedom to chase rabbits as I write these posts, but last week my mission was to reflect on 2020 and forecast 2021. In the process of starting that, I chased a rabbit that is the subject of this post. It is as easy to shoot down ideas as it is to be negative because humans have a negativity bias, which means negative events have a greater impact on brains than positive ones. For example, I recently read that the joy of finding $20 in a coat pocket, say from a year ago, is overwhelmed by...
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energy industry predictions

Soothsayer Says: Eight Predictions for the Energy Industry

By Energy Rant No Comments
If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing now. That quasi-cliché is why I have never had a New Year’s resolution, and I’m not going to start in 2021, but I can review the past and forecast (guess) the future. Soothsaying is part of my job, and I’m at least as accurate as next week’s weather forecast. At the start of 2020, we had just reorganized, defined who we are, what we do, and why we do it. Sounds simple, right? What is your personal purpose? What do you value? What makes you tick? Keeping it concise is very hard. Our...
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electricity storage - climate change

Innovative Electricity Storage Crushes Batteries; Death Sentence for Duck

By Energy Rant One Comment
I’m not in the electricity storage business, but I can recognize lousy ideas when I see them. Grid-scale battery storage is a bad idea. It will never be anything more than a frequency and voltage regulation technology, although I have to say these are critical functions that batteries can provide. Innovation comes out of left field while everyone else is trying to make a pig fly. And when I see it, I think, “Wow, why did I not think of that?” The Roots of Sound Storage Thermal power generation, particularly from coal, and to a lesser extent, nuclear, have enormous...
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climate

Little People Take on the Climate Industrial Complex

By Energy Rant No Comments
My undergraduate mechanical engineering curriculum at South Dakota State University included requirements for six credits of humanities and nine credits of social sciences. What is this? Who needs this stuff? Walk on the Slippery Rocks I actually enjoyed most of these courses, one of which was philosophy. What a flaky class. There was no work. There were no exams. The goofball professor spewed philosophy and moderated discussions of paradoxes and whatnot. One of those discussions was whether South Dakota should be America’s garbage dump, for princely fees of course. Essentially, should we trade self-induced exploitation for money so we can...
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bipartisan

Efficiency’s Problem: Cyborgs, Fragments, and Climate

By Energy Rant 2 Comments
The number of bipartisan political issues that can be counted on one finger is shrinking fast. All this while the definition of bipartisan has been lowered to a single vote from the opposing party. Energy efficiency is not among the bipartisan issue (sic). It is unfortunately limited to the left-wing of the political spectrum as once again demonstrated by Ohio where the deep red legislature in House Bill 6 passed a $1.1 billion bailout to keep two nuclear plants afloat, and efficiency - dead. Ohioans – Screwed, Coming and Going But there is more. Since it would be unfair to...
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Dig Some Wind – Blown Away by Inversions

By Energy Rant 2 Comments
As children, some engineers liked to take things apart to see how they worked – and maybe even put them back together. That was too much work for me, but I was curious. I would intently watch my Mom as she accelerated the 1970s Ford Galaxy 500[1] down the road. What was she doing to make it shift gears? I had to know! Of course, it was an automatic transmission. Today, I see some scientific claims, and I can’t help myself but to dig in and find the big lie, er, the big why. This week’s adventure started two months...
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Renewables Killed the Nuclear Star, And Other Price Oddities

By Energy Rant One Comment
In April of this year, I commented on the Center of the American Experiment’s report, Energy Policy in Minnesota: The High Cost of Failure. That post is here. As a wee lad, I liked Curious George, so let us dig in and see if we can tweeze the fibers that drive the cost of electricity. Wind and Electricity Prices American Experiment’s claim is that wind energy with near-zero marginal cost of production does not result in lower energy prices for consumers. In fact, they say it increases electricity prices. This is where I began. Data for this post come from...
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Maxed Out Renewable Energy

By Energy Rant One Comment
We’re leading off with Texas once again – the petri dish mixing massive shares of wind energy, the nation’s largest free-market for electricity, and commensurate spikes in cost. See the $900 per gallon kWh. Fatefully, on July 27, 2018, the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) rejected a proposal for 2 GW of new wind generation proposed by American Electric Power. For perspective, that would be about 700 giant turbines, although I’m not sure of the exact capacity of these behemoths today. Wind’s Speed Limit Possibly, the PUCT realizes there is something a little weird with a market providing long...
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Baseload Generation Cost

Stage 4 Climate Change and the National Debt

By Energy Rant 4 Comments
You are not reading the Rant for a weekly dose of pink hearts, yellow moons, orange stars, and green clovers. You read it for the spicy beef jerky – even vegetarians. I mean, vegetarians can’t resist the beef jerky. Nobody wants to eat a vegetarian. Anyway, the Rant is a dose of what you need to hear and what you want to hear. This week is no exception. Confession But first, I have a confession to make. Exactly one year ago, I wrote about the Paris climate accord in The Abominable Snowman (inferring that it was toothless). I had only...
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