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Biden’s Not-So-Clean Energy Transition

Brad Prociuk's picture
Water Treatment Consultant Cornerstone Engineering

Experienced leader with a positive history of working in the oil & energy industry. Skilled in Gas, Petroleum, SAP Implementation, Water Treatment, Value Selling, Oilfield Treating Chemicals...

  • Member since 2021
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  • Jun 2, 2021
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I am all for clean energy. The current path here in California is to transition away from fossil fuel. It is reported that there is a bill tabled in Sacramento for new home construction to have hookups for electric ovens, dryers only, and phase away from natural gas.

With the desire to transition to electric cars by 2035 and initiatives like the one above, I surely hope they already are upgrading each neighborhood in California for increased electricity usage? Right now if everyone in your neighborhood purchased a Tesla, the local transformer to your neighborhood can't handle the load and brownouts will occur. As well, electricity generation? With California's green energy mandate. how many new power plants must be constructed to reach these lofty goals? They can't be built in a year, are there plans for the power generation for the future or are we going to be stuck buying electricity from outside the state which comes from coal or natural gas generation?

Just curious if the politicians who mandate these goals have addressed these questions? #cleanenergy

 

Biden’s Not-So-Clean Energy Transition

The International Energy Agency exposes the hidden environmental costs and infeasibility of going green.

By Mark P. Mills

The International Energy Agency, the world’s pre-eminent source of energy information for governments, has entered the political debate over whether the U.S. should spend trillions of dollars to accelerate the energy transition favored by the Biden administration. You know, the plan to use far more “clean energy” and far less hydrocarbons—the oil, natural gas and coal that today supply 84% of global energy needs. The IEA’s 287-page report released this month, “The Role of Critical Minerals in Clean Energy Transitions,” is devastating to those ambitions. A better title would have been: “Clean Energy Transitions: Not Soon, Not Easy and Not Clean.”

The IEA assembled a large body of data about a central, and until now largely ignored, aspect of the energy transition: It requires mining industries and infrastructure that don’t exist. Wind, solar and battery technologies are built from an array of “energy transition minerals,” or ETMs, that must be mined and processed. The IEA finds that with a global energy transition like the one President Biden envisions, demand for key minerals such as lithium, graphite, nickel and rare-earth metals would explode, rising by 4,200%, 2,500%, 1,900% and 700%, respectively, by 2040.

The world doesn’t have the capacity to meet such demand. As the IEA observes, albeit in cautious bureaucratese, there are no plans to fund and build the necessary mines and refineries. The supply of ETMs is entirely aspirational. And if it were pursued at the quantities dictated by the goals of the energy transition, the world would face daunting environmental, economic and social challenges, along with geopolitical risks.

The IEA stipulates up front one underlying fact that advocates of a transition never mention: Green-energy machines use far more critical minerals than conventional-energy machines do. “A typical electric car requires six times the mineral inputs of a conventional car, and an onshore wind plant requires nine times more mineral resources than a gas-fired power plant,” the report says. “Since 2010, the average amount of minerals needed for a new unit of power generation capacity has increased by 50% as the share of renewables has risen.” That was merely to bring wind and solar to a 10% share of the world’s electricity.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/bidens-not-so-clean-energy-transition-11620752282

 

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Audra Drazga's picture
Audra Drazga on Jun 3, 2021

Brad - welcome to the community and thanks for your post.  I am curious how Sacramento plans to power all the electric ovens put into homes?  I recently read an article in the community that talked about reducing consumption first.  It seems like maybe a focus could be put on how to make homes more energy-efficient first.  It also seems like these programs perhaps could cost less than a full transition plan.   I would love to see a full logical transition plan vs just we will be carbon neutral by x date.  I hear those terms a lot but have yet to see or read about a transition plan that is within reason.  Also, I am curious how utilities are keeping up with the rapidly changing environment and pressures to change to renewable energy.  

Joe Deely's picture
Joe Deely on Jun 3, 2021

I am curious how Sacramento plans to power all the electric ovens put into homes?  I recently read an article in the community that talked about reducing consumption first.  It seems like maybe a focus could be put on how to make homes more energy-efficient first

California has always been at forefront of energy efficiency.. 

How California became far more energy-efficient than the rest of the country

 

Also, I am curious how utilities are keeping up with the rapidly changing environment and pressures to change to renewable energy.  

Utilities are dropping out of energy procurement in CA. Moving forward they will mostly just be in the "wires" past of business.  Electricification of homes may involve some work on the utility side in beefing up local distribution. 

 I would suggest visiting the CalCCA news page if you want to see "changes to renewable energy" on the production side.

For more on overall electrification - here is good article from LA Times.

In residential buildings, two-thirds of gas consumption is for space and water heating, and an additional 18% is for washing clothes and dishes. Just 7% of residential gas use is for cooking, with the rest going toward clothes drying, pool heating and hot tub warming.

 

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Jun 6, 2021

"Utilities are dropping out of energy procurement in CA. Moving forward they will mostly just be in the 'wires' past of business. 

Joe, not a single California utility has dropped out of procurement - there's too much money to be made selling dirty energy to CCAs, which can unload it on unsuspecting consumers as clean energy.

Renewables can't reliably power existing electricity needs now - much less cooking, clothes drying, pool heating, and space heating in the future. Much, much less electric transportation.

Please explain how more wires, empty batteries, and efficiency would be an improvement. (?)

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