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Can Solar & Wind Fix Everything (e.g., Climate Change) with a battery break-through?

"The Economics Just Don't Work": Demand For Electric Semis Plunges Due To High Costs​

For the last year, we've been writing extensively about how high costs and low demand have made EVs uneconomical - and, as a result, unpopular to produce - for the auto industry.

It turns out unionized employees extorting you on labor costs while the government mandates you produce a money-losing product isn't a combination that leads to prosperity and profit. Go figure.

Now, it isn't just car manufacturers that are balking from the idea of all electric vehicles: the trucking industry, once expected to eventually make the shift to all electric as well, is seeing tepid demand for new rigs, according to a new Wall Street Journal article.

“The economics just don’t work for most companies,” Robert Sanchez, the chief executive of Ryder, said earlier this month.

Ryder’s experience highlights the difficulties state and federal governments encounter in encouraging truckers to transition from polluting diesel rigs to zero-emissions vehicles, the report says.

It also indicates that significant improvements in battery weight, range, and charging times are necessary for battery-electric trucks to effectively compete with diesel rigs in the cost-sensitive freight industry.

Rakesh Aneja, head of eMobility at Daimler Truck North America, told Wall Street Journal: “Quite frankly, demand has not been as strong as what we would like.”

Aneja said orders for its Freightliner eCascadia battery-electric semi truck are about the same this year as they were in 2023.

Battery-electric trucks are about three times more expensive than diesel rigs, the Journal notes. And while federal and state programs help offset purchase costs, significant hurdles remain due to high operating costs and setup challenges.

Truckers find these electric trucks difficult and costly to run, with installation of on-site charging facilities taking years. These trucks travel less than half the distance of diesel rigs per charge and require several hours to recharge.

Ryder launched a service a year ago to assist companies in setting up and maintaining battery-powered fleets. So far, it has sold only 60 vehicles, mostly light-duty trucks. Three companies use five battery-electric heavy-duty trucks, but only within yards for shuttling trailers.

Sanchez noted that unlike individual electric car buyers, companies will only switch to battery-electric trucks when they can compete with diesel on operational costs.

The cost of changing a fleet over is also expensive. Using data from 13,000 vehicles, Ryder analyzed the annual operating expenses of battery-electric commercial trucks and found they are significantly higher than those of diesel rigs. The analysis, assuming existing fast-charging infrastructure, considered costs like vehicle purchase, maintenance, labor, and fuel.

Ryder found that light-duty battery-electric vans increase annual operating costs by several percentage points, with the gap widening for heavier trucks. Operating battery-electric big rigs costs about twice as much annually as diesel trucks.

In California, converting a fleet of 25 commercial vehicles, including 10 heavy-duty trucks, from diesel to battery power would raise annual operating costs by 56%, or $3.4 million. In Georgia, the increase would be 67%, or $3.7 million. Ryder stated that these higher costs would add 0.5% to 1% to inflation.

The American Trucking Associations said of the U.S. EPA's new rules mandating more BEV semi truck sales by the end of the decade: “Considering that 96% of U.S. trucking companies operate 10 or fewer trucks, these mandates are simply cost-prohibitive for most truckers.”
 

BBC Comes to Terms With Collapsing EV Market​

The BBC is confronting the possibility that the once promising surge in sales of EVs is going flat. Naturally, this is starting to cause a panic because all those pesky climate targets enshrined in law aren’t going to be met. Range anxiety and costs are the two most serious obstacles.

Only cheap EVs will plug the gap but the tidal wave of lower-cost Chinese imports will wreck domestic manufacturers, and the only solution to that on the table is tariffs. Here’s the story:

Buoyant electric car sales are a must if we’re to hit our climate targets. But EV sales in the West are down and if governments want them to recover it may have to be at the expense of their own economies.
By 2035, the International Energy Agency (IEA) says there will need to be 790 million EVs if we’re to hit Net Zero by the middle of the century.
That implies growth in sales of 27% every single year.
China’s largest EV manufacturer BYD has been vying with Tesla for the number-one spot. BYD also saw a slowdown between January and March.
And EV sales in Europe fell more than 10% year-on-year in the final quarter of last year – although in the U.K. total sales are running up on last year.
That’s why the fact that global sales of the world’s largest EV maker, Tesla, were actually lower in the first quarter of 2024 than in the same period in 2023 has raised eyebrows.
In the U.K., analysts say strong EV sales in recent years were fuelled by company car purchases, thanks to generous tax breaks.
But the household market is proving a tougher nut to crack, with people saying they are mostly put off by the high cost. The average price of a new EV in the US is over $60,000 (£47,433). Prices are similarly high in Europe and the U.K.
Large state subsidies and greater production efficiencies mean the average cost to a Chinese consumer is just $30,000. And BYD’s Seagull hatchback sells for less than $10,000.
China is also making massively more EVs than its domestic market needs – it could easily flood the U.S. and European markets with cheap cars if they weren’t held back by tariffs.
Here is the dilemma for European and U.S. politicians. They want cheaper EVs to facilitate the climate transition, but not at the cost of undermining their own car manufacturers – the likes of Ford and Volkswagen – and local jobs.
In fact, the talk is actually of raising tariffs and other trade barriers on imports to keep out ultra-competitive Chinese EVs.
That’s precisely what U.S. President Joe Biden did this week with a new 100% tariff on Chinese EV imports.
Apparently, the hope is that second hand sales will expand the use of EVs. But as any reader of this website knows, the unlikely prospect of there being any secondhand market in EVs at all is a whole other story. EVs are set to be one-owner commodities, like a washing machine or vacuum cleaner.

If prices of new EVs stay where they are then there is a rocky road ahead:

If that happens, expect that tension between the desire of Western governments to decarbonise transport and their desire to protect domestic manufacturing champions to grow even more acute.
At some stage they might be forced to choose.
Well, who could possibly have anticipated that? Worth reading in full.
 
now take "climate change" and substitute "Santa Claus". exact same make believe trash.
nothing new about that thinking.
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world war III can have no bullets or booms if we all pitch in.
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3rd day of heat advisory - extended for all of South Florida
Opinion: Seems to be a great deal of surprise in my northern neighbors that it's happening in May (they usually don't see heat advisories until July). Yesterday the heat index here peaked at 120.7°F. That means we beat the New Deli heat wave that made national news!

Cities look for new ways to keep people safe — and alive — as extreme summer heat looms
Nationally, heat kills more people than any other extreme weather event; it’s often referred to as a “silent killer”

La Niña could lead to above-normal temperatures across the U.S. in summer 2024

Thunderstorms, Wind and Climate Change: Here’s What to Know
The severe storms that swept through Houston and the Gulf Coast on Thursday left all the destructive traces of a hurricane, yet they didn’t blow in from the tropics.

Fossil Fuel Companies expanding with >700 billion in loans

Economic damage from climate change six times worse than thought
A 1C increase in global temperature leads to a 12% decline in world gross domestic product (GDP), the researchers found
Opinion: Seems odd, I'll see if I can find and dig into the assumptions in the paper.
Update: Found the paper, it's a future project not past and hasn't been peer-reviewed and the margins of error run to 25%. So probably best to wait to see if other experts concur or shred them. China seemed to a "winner" with a growing GDP. A lot of the projection is based on "social "costs, so who knows. Didn't see any counter based on automation advances, so I suspect the analysis is more of "if nothing changed" rather than attempting to be an accurate prediction.

What does Florida's HB 1645, Energy Resources, do?
HB 1645, which passed largely along party lines, does the following:
  1. Promotes natural gas use, relaxes regulation on building natural gas pipelines within the state, requiring state certification and coordinated permitting only of pipelines 100 miles or longer, rather than the current 15-mile standard.
  2. Removes mentions of "climate change," "greenhouse gas emissions," "climate-friendly" and similar language and removes any emphasis on renewable energy resources from multiple Florida statutes, including the state's energy policy, and aims the state's energy goals at developing more fossil fuels.
  3. Prevents local governments from approving any energy policy restrictions.
  4. Bans the construction of offshore wind turbines or wind energy facilities within a mile of the coast
  5. Removes requirement for state agencies, local governments to select vehicles for the greatest fuel efficiency available and for government agencies to hold conferences and meetings at hotels certified by the state’s environmental agency as "green lodging."
  6. Requires rural electrical cooperatives to create mutual aid agreements with public utilities or private contractors to restore power more quickly after a natural disaster or lose state financial assistance.
  7. Requires the Public Service Commission to develop plans to assess the state's power grid and natural gas facilities against physical threats and cyber attack, and investigate the feasibility of increased use of nuclear power in the state and hydrogen as a transportation fuel.
Opinion: Or in political-speak, it's probably about his presidential bid for the 2028 election.

Republicans are trying to snuff out climate embers around the country

ESS 10x cheaper than Lithium
Opinion: No phase change, so like other mass systems it's going to have a size issue.

Tesla wins approval for second Gigafactory in Germany - protesters plot revenge

Comments on Global Warming Acceleration, Sulfur Emissions, Observations
Global temperature is likely to continue to rise a bit for at least a month, peak this summer, and then decline as the El Nino fades toward La Nina.
Confidence in global warming acceleration thus exceeds 99%
 
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Discussion

My impression of the speakers at this meeting is that they were desperately trying to make the point that the transmission challenges for the Climate Act mandates and schedule were impossible goals without actually saying that. I believe that all the technical people who really understand the electric grid in the DPS, NYISO and the electric companies are being held hostage to the political narrative that “All is well”. That did not work out for Kevin Bacon in Animal House and it won’t work out here either.

This overview of the transmission challenges for an electric grid that relies on renewable energy is a useful overview for any jurisdiction thinking about the transition away from fossil fuels. While it may not be necessary to develop and deploy a not yet commercially available technology like the generation sector to make this all work there still are inverter-based resource integration issues that need to be resolved.

In my opinion the bigger problem is the scale of the transmission upgrades and additions needed. New York has already committed $6 billion to start “unbottling” renewable resources which is code in New York for Upstate utilities paying for support for New York City access to renewables. New York also has plans for three major bulk transmission projects to get hydroelectric power from Quebec, another to collect the energy from part of Upstate to New York City, and the third to start the process of connecting the expected 9 GW of offshore wind into the grid. Nobody has admitted to the total costs.

The other New York problem that I suspect is common elsewhere is that the politicians who enacted these net-zero laws were more concerned with the optics of aspirational timelines and not the feasibility of those schedules. A question about longer planning processes planning and deployment timing made the point that the NYISO resource adequacy process that identifies specific need for transmission development, the New York’s de-regulated market process to propose, bid, and choose the development, and the project planning, permitting, and construction plan development which all need to be completed before construction can begin takes a lot of time. Reading between the lines all the speakers are highly skeptical that the artificial deadlines of the Climate Act can be achieved.

One final point not addressed in the webinar but certainly affecting the viability of New York’s energy transition goal is the decarbonization of heating and transportation. That is going to require a complete rewiring of the distribution network.

Conclusion


Francis Menton’s recent article on the Green Energy Wall concluded that something has to give with these energy transition policies. The magnitude, costs, and technical challenges of the generation and transmission electric grid transition ensure that that there is no question that New York will hit that wall. The only question is when New York’s crash dummies will hit it.
 

Twelve Reasons Why I Don’t Believe There’s a Climate Emergency​


  1. Looking back through history, there have always been doomsday prophets, folk who say the world is coming to an end. Are modern-day activists not just the current version of this?
  2. I look at some of the facts – CO2 is 0.04% of the atmosphere; humans are responsible for just 3% of CO2; Britain is responsible for just 1% of the world’s CO2 output – and I think “really“? Will us de-carbonising really make a difference to the Earth’s climate?
  3. I have listened to some top scientists who say CO2 does not drive global warming; that CO2 in the atmosphere is a good or vital thing; that many other things, like the Sun and the clouds and the oceans, are more responsible for the Earth’s temperature.
  4. I note that most of the loudest climate activists are socialists and on the Left. Are they not just using this movement to push their dreams of a deindustrialised socialist utopia? And I also note the crossover between green activists and BLM ones, gender ones, pro-Hamas ones, none of whom I like or agree with.
  5. As an amateur psychologist, I know that humans are susceptible to manias. I also know that humans tend to focus on tiny slivers of time and on tiny slivers of geographical place when forming ideas and opinions. We are also extremely malleable and easily fooled, as was demonstrated in 2020 and 2021.
  6. I have looked into the implications of Net Zero. It is incredibly expensive. It will vastly reduce living standards and hinder economic growth. I don’t think that’s a good thing. I know that economic growth has led to higher living standards, which has made people both safer and more environmentally aware.
  7. Net Zero will also lead to significant diminishment of personal freedom, and it even threatens democracy, as people are told they must do certain things and they must not do other things, and they may even be restricted in speaking out on climate matters.
  8. What will be the worst things that will happen if the doomsayers are correct? A rise in temperature? Where? Siberia? Singapore? Stockholm? What is the ideal temperature? For how long? Will this utopia be forever maintained? I’m suspicious of utopias; the communists sought utopias.
  9. If one consequence of climate change is rising sea levels, would it not be better to spend money building more sea defences to protect our land? Like the Dutch did.
  10. It’s a narrative heavily pushed by the Guardian. I dislike the Guardian. I believe it’s been wrong on most issues through my life – socialism, immigration, race, the EU, gender, lockdowns and so on. Probably it’s wrong about climate issues too?
  11. I am suspicious of the amount of money that green activists and subsidised green industries make. And 40 years ago the greenies were saying the Earth was going to get too cold. Much of what they said would happen by now has not happened. Also, I trust ‘experts’ much less now, after they lied about the efficacy of lockdowns, masks and the ‘vaccines’.
  12. I like sunshine. I prefer being warm to being cold. It makes me feel better. It’s more fun. It saves on heating bills. It saves on clothes. It makes people happier. Far few people die of the heat than they do the cold.
 

Climate Comedy​

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Twelve Reasons Why I Don’t Believe There’s a Climate Emergency
aenyc, while I enjoy your list, something seems missing. look at the trend line of the graph below, keep in mind
the values are in billions of metric tons :oops: and increasing at a rate that in IMO is not going to end well for anyone.

I'm sure that would have no long term effects on the health of the earth/us 🤪

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being a older RINO I've learned the many uses for wars, but being a human I hate the cost
in young human life, WW3 which is now a thing is a war I can get behind, all the countries
of the world are our allies in this one, while the enemy is human hubris and greed.

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IMO ford making EV's not tanks is a win/win, dresser rand company making wind turbine
generators not torpedo denotators is a win/win.


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How much is net zero? When I google I see every price under the sun...
The reason for the different prices are there's no one plan, and the pricing depends on the plan of action. Each country (or state) can also have special needs (e.g., solar might not work well for Alaska). Certainly the anti-climate change rhetoric picks the most expensive plans whereas the Greens go the other way. Neither typically give you all the fine details.

Master Plan 3 is fairly comprehensive and released last year, it puts the price at $10T spread over ~30 years. That plan is interesting as takes advantage of synergies which other plans don't. The WEF is on the high end and says $3.5 trillion a year globally to 2050.

The cost is frequently pointed to by deniers, but really it's a silly argument to say I don't believe it because it costs to much.
If climate change is true, then we have to pay it or suffer the consequences of in-action. But a price tag is a reason to be willful, not as proof of reality.

The numbers sound like a lot... but typically it's given as a global cost. For example, the WEF plan is about $435/person/year or $1.19/day. A cup of coffee costs $4.90, so yeah, we're arguing about a 1/4 cup of coffee a day Vs. the health of the world and to avoid a crisis of epic propotions

Finally, those are not new costs. It's costs we were going to pay that anyway. For example, over the next 30 years most coal and natural gas power plants will hit their end-of-life and need replacements. If they're replaced with renewables/ESS that have the same or lower LCOE, then we actually saved money in the long run.

The longer we delay the more it costs us. For example, the graph to the right shows how severe weather has been increasing, and so has the repair bill. $600 Billion last year alone.


 

What Is The Most Pernicious Example Of “Misinformation” Currently Circulating?​



“Misinformation” — It has been one of the most-used buzzwords of the past few years. The “misinformation” label has been applied by advocates on both sides of the political divide in the attempt to discredit their opponents. Numerous assertions that have dominated the news cycle for months or even years have ultimately proven to be completely false, that is, “misinformation.” Examples of such assertions that have been established as “misinformation” include the assertion that Trump colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 election; the assertion that the Hunter Biden laptop was a Russian plant; and the assertion that the Covid virus originated in a wet market in Wuhan.

After the thorough discrediting of so many false narratives during these years, there remain plenty of narratives still out there that richly deserve the “misinformation” label. But of those, which is the very worst, the very most pernicious? Here is my candidate: the assertion that the cheapest way to generate electricity today is with wind and solar generators.

I recognize that there are many candidates for the title of the worst of all misinformation, and we are dealing here with a very crowded field. Numerous other endlessly-repeated false assertions contend for the title, many of them having very large real-world consequences. For example, other serious contenders for the title of “most pernicious misinformation” could include the assertion that emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases constitute a danger to human health and welfare; or the assertion that Israel is conducting a “genocide” against Palestinians. Undoubtedly, you have other candidates to add to the list.

So why do I say that the assertion of wind and solar being the cheapest ways to generate electricity is the very most pernicious of misinformation currently out there? Here are my three reasons: (1) the assertion is repeated endlessly and ubiquitously, (2) it is the basis for the misallocation of trillions of dollars of resources and for great impoverishment of billions of people around the world, and (3) it is false to the point of being preposterous, an insult to everyone’s intelligence, yet rarely challenged.

How ubiquitous is the assertion that wind and solar are the cheapest ways to generate electricity? Try Googling the question “What is the cheapest way to produce electricity?” You will get multiple pages of results advocating for wind and solar electricity, with almost no mention of the problems or costs of intermittency. A few examples of what turns up:

  • The top result from Galooli.com, March 13, 2022, “Which Renewable Energy is Cheapest? A Guide to Cost and Efficiency”: “According to the IEA’s World Energy Outlook and other research projects, solar and wind energy have continued to occupy the top spots in terms of the cheapest renewable energy sources. Both energy sources cost significantly less than fossil fuel alternatives and continue to become more affordable every year.”
  • Next up, decarbonization.com, August 2, 2023, “Ranked: The Cheapest Sources of Electricity in the U.S.”: “According to Lazard’s 2023 analysis of unsubsidized LCOE in the U.S., both onshore wind and utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) technologies are more cost-effective than combined cycle natural gas power plants. In the case of onshore wind, this has been true since 2015.”
  • Next, carbonbrief.com, October 13, 2020, “Solar is now ‘cheapest electricity in history’, confirms IEA.”: “The world’s best solar power schemes now offer the “cheapest…electricity in history” with the technology cheaper than coal and gas in most major countries. That is according to the International Energy Agency. . . .”
Keep going for dozens of these for page after page. Try to find in any of them a serious discussion of the costs of backup, storage, or transmission upgrades to try to make an electrical grid work with these intermittent generators. You won’t. And don’t think that the high-brow mainstream sources can be trusted for anything better. Here is the New York Times from August 17, 2023: “The cost of generating electricity from the sun and wind is falling fast and in many areas is now cheaper than gas, oil or coal.”

In the face of hundreds of different journalism outlets endlessly repeating in unison the mantra of cheap “renewable” electricity, it becomes difficult to blame the voters or the politicians for just nodding along with the crowd. Why do any mentally taxing independent thinking when everybody seems to be saying the same thing?

The problem is that the idea that wind and solar make the cheapest electricity is plain wrong. At least, it is plain wrong if the electricity you are talking about is the reliable sort that works whenever you want to turn on the switch. The idea that wind and solar are cheapest fails to take account of any of the ancillary costs necessary to make a fully-functioning grid: the entire system of backup facilities to provide the power when the wind is not blowing and the sun not shining; the transmission facilities to take the power from wherever is windy or sunny to anywhere else it may be needed on a moment’s notice; the batteries or other storage facilities to save up energy in anticipation of inevitable wind and solar droughts; and so forth. In short, the idea that wind and solar generation of electricity are the “cheapest” is classic misinformation, the endless repetition of an assertion that is clearly false and known to be false.

Meanwhile, among the people incapable of seeing through the fog of misinformation on this subject are our current President, and the Governors of New York and California. In the case of the states, they throw tens of billions of dollars of handouts and subsidies to develop wind and solar facilities (hundreds of billions of dollars in the case of the feds), never having the presence of mind to realize that none of that would be necessary of this method of generation were actually cheaper as claimed.

Between the vast mis-allocation of resources and the sheer preposterousness of the proposition in question, I think that this assertion of wind and solar electricity generation being “cheapest” definitely has the claim for the number one spot.
 
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