My Favorite Topic, Feedback

I have posted on this a zillion times over here, and most of you are up to speed on this, but I posted this for my Coyote Blog readers and thought it would be good to repost over here.

Take all the psuedo-quasi-scientific stuff you read in the media about global warming.  Of all that mess, it turns out there is really only one scientific question that really matters on the topic of man-made global warming: Feedback.

While the climate models are complex, and the actual climate even, err, complexer, we can shortcut the reaction of global temperatures to CO2 to a single figure called climate sensitivity.  How many degrees of warming should the world expect for each doubling of CO2 concentrations  (the relationship is logarithmic, so that is why sensitivity is based on doublings, rather than absolute increases — an increase of CO2 from 280 to 290 ppm should have a higher impact on temperatures than the increase from, say, 380 to 390 ppm).

The IPCC reached a climate sensitivity to CO2 of about 3C per doubling.  More popular (at least in the media) catastrophic forecasts range from 5C on up to about any number you can imagine, way past any range one might consider reasonable.

But here is the key fact — Most folks, including the IPCC, believe the warming sensitivity from CO2 alone (before feedbacks) is around 1C or a bit higher (arch-alarmist Michael Mann did the research the IPCC relied on for this figure).  All the rest of the sensitivity between this 1C and 3C or 5C or whatever the forecast is comes from feedbacks (e.g. hotter weather melts ice, which causes less sunlight to be reflected, which warms the world more).  Feedbacks, by the way can be negative as well, acting to reduce the warming effect.  In fact, most feedbacks in our physical world are negative, but alarmist climate scientists tend to assume very high positive feedbacks.

What this means is that 70-80% or more of the warming in catastrophic warming forecasts comes from feedback, not CO2 acting alone.   If it turns out that feedbacks are not wildly positive, or even are negative, then the climate sensitivity is 1C or less, and we likely will see little warming over the next century due to man.

This means that the only really important question in the manmade global warming debate is the sign and magnitude of feedbacks.  And how much of this have you seen in the media?  About zero?  Nearly 100% of what you see in the media is not only so much bullshit (like whether global warming is causing the cold weather this year) but it is also irrelevant.  Entirely tangential to the core question.  Its all so much magician handwaving trying to hide what is going on, or in this case not going on, with the other hand.

To this end, Dr. Roy Spencer has a nice update.  Parts are a bit dense, but the first half explains this feedback question in layman’s terms.  The second half shows some attempts to quantify feedback.  His message is basically that no one knows even the sign and much less the magnitude of feedback, but the empirical data we are starting to see (which has admitted flaws) points to negative rather than positive feedback, at least in the short term.  His analysis looks at the change in radiative heat transfer in and out of the earth as measured by satellites around transient peaks in ocean temperatures (oceans are the world’s temperature flywheel — most of the Earth’s surface heat content is in the oceans).

Read it all, but this is an interesting note:

In fact, NO ONE HAS YET FOUND A WAY WITH OBSERVATIONAL DATA TO TEST CLIMATE MODEL SENSITIVITY. This means we have no idea which of the climate models projections are more likely to come true.

This dirty little secret of the climate modeling community is seldom mentioned outside the community. Don’t tell anyone I told you.

This is why climate researchers talk about probable ranges of climate sensitivity. Whatever that means!…there is no statistical probability involved with one-of-a-kind events like global warming!

There is HUGE uncertainty on this issue. And I will continue to contend that this uncertainty is a DIRECT RESULT of researchers not distinguishing between cause and effect when analyzing data.

If you find this topic interesting, I recommend my video and/or powerpoint presentation to you.

  • Wally

    Shills,

    Do we really need to play this game of he-said, she-said?

    “Your quote reads (as does Adam’s) as if the ‘naturally occurring’ part needs consideration in determining if it is a pollutant or not by definition.”

    Look, I’m sorry I wasn’t perfectly clear or that you could not understand what I meant by ‘naturally occurring’. I meant it as it naturally occurs in a certain range. By the next post of mine that should have been abundantly clear when we started talking about concentrations specifically. If you want to go on playing “gotcha” based on what you think I meant in one short explanation, instead of based on clarifications later made, go right ahead with your juvenile games. It seems that you’ve realized as the conversation evolved, and everything made clear, you where clearly in the wrong, and my point valid, but you wish to rewind to this one sentence, where you thought you were clearly right. Very childish behavior, even for you Shills.

    “Given the context of this wider discussion and the motivations behind slowing AGW, the meaning within his statement is pretty clear–the predicted harm to human civ., biodiversity loss, and all that other stuff we are so familiar with and why we get called alarmists. ”

    Right, its based on a predicted harm. Predictions, however, may not come true. If you’re saying something that can only be supported by a prediction, you need to make sure your prediction is at least likely to be true. Right? We need to accept the truth of the assumption, before using the assumption to build the argument.

    “Well just by looking at the abstracts, are you still convinced the whole issue is debunked?”

    Having read maybe a dozen of the most referenced papers on the issue, I find the ones looking furthest back in history (those cited above) the most compelling, and to debunk the claims made in those looking just in the ~100 years, or even just based on models. I’d have to read past the abstracts to know just how these meta-studies where done to know if they change anything. If they are just treating every finding as equally significant and running their meta-analysis from that, then their study is worthless. Basically, I can’t judge the value of the paper, regardless of its conclusions state in the abstract, without seeing the whole paper. So, yeah, still thinking its debunked over here… I’m happy to rethink that if you can give me something more concrete.

  • Wally

    Renewable,

    “Solar is increasing ramping up at about 30% a year. Tell these people they are all wrong.”

    Ah, the beautiful appeal to popularity? This is only happening thanks to government handouts. Take those away and lets see how much solar grows, mmk?

    “NASA runs their satellites with solar. The space station runs with solar. Do you think NASA doesn’t study this ahead of time. I have a BSEET. YOu have got to do a better job of making your arguments.”

    Reasons this line of thinking is stupid:

    Satellites and the space station operate in space, where there is no atmosphere.
    Satellites and the space station have to launched out of the Earth’s atmosphere.
    Satellites and the space station operate on TINY amounts of energy compared to even small towns.

    Powering small objects in space, and large things down on Earth are vastly different jobs, and thus they have vastly different solutions.

    Here’s the only actual data presented in that article regarding the economic viability of solar:

    ” In the next decade, the research firm projects CSP plants will be generating electricity in the $0.10 to $0.12 per kWh range and PV will be producing electricity in the $0.07 to $0.08 kWh range.”

    There is no mention if that is only based on maintenance cost and day/night yield, or if it includes capital investment cost without government subsidy. Without these specifics, I’m lead to believe this article was written to be misleading, and you’re mislead.

  • Renewable Guy

    http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=1744

    Arctic sea ice at a record low again; a warmer February for the U.S. coming.

    There are postive feedbacks active today. Artic amplification is taking place. The more ice that melts the more the albedo flips from an ice reflection to an ocean absorption. Combine that with the thawing of the tundra with an estimated 1500 gigatons of methane and co2 that could be released if the thaw is let to go on too long.

    If we let carbon emissions go on long enough to let the icesheet in Greenland disintegrate, you can pretty much kiss the tundra staying frozen goodby. Now add to that the frozen methane on the bottom of the artic and a warming artic ocean, there’s a real serious issue that our future families could face 200 to 300 years out.

  • Ted Rado

    Renewable Guy:

    Your arguments are all based on the assumption that the AGW thing is absolutely correct, that there are viable alternative energy sources, and that EVERYONE will get on board. The first assumption is in doubt. The second and third are not true.

    Solar energy is only growing because of huge government subsidies. This is true of wind, ethanol, and all the other schemes as well. Almost anything is scientifically possible. Very few are physically and economically feasible.

    Assuming that AGW were unquestionably true, moving north would be a better option that destroying the economy. After all, people moved south with the advent of air conditioning.

    I don’t understand the logic of the argument that we must be stampeded into economic suicide. There are all sorts of peripheral issues as well. How do you do modern farming without tractors and fertilizers? Billions of people would starve. Don’t tell me to use biofuels, because the most simple calcs show that with land area limitations and the consumption of fuel in its production, it is nonsense. The ethanol fiasco is a good example. The only reason all these schemes are moving at all is because of government subsidies. If you can give me a reasoned factual explanation of how to practically do what you propose, I would be delighted to hear it. Merely listing all the crap being pushed at gov’t expense is not a valid argument. These can all be shown to be faulty by any competent engineer. The reason that many “scientists” argue for them is because they are on the gravy train. We have already wasted many buillions on ethanol, solar, wind, etc. The day will come when mankind will look back at the current madness with wonderment.

    Doing research on alternative energy if fine as long as it is done under the sort of controls as used in competitive business. Proposed schemes are checked out on paper before big R&D programs are started. Industry thus saves their resources for promising projects, not stupid money wasters. In my own career, I have done at least a hundred such studies, as has every other engineer. It amazes me that this is not done routinely with government sponsored projects. I guess the idea is to push money out the door to get votes. I cannot imagine a more idiotic way to do scientific and technical investigation.

  • Renewable Guy

    Ted Rado:
    Doubt but nothing to really back up what you say.

    http://www.ucsusa.org/ssi/climate-change/scientific-consensus-on.html

    Here is the world’s scientific consensus.

    http://climateprogress.org/2011/02/09/wikileaks-peak-oil-saudi-arabia-reserves-overstated/#more-42156

    Here is the overestimation of the Saudi Arabia oil reserves and they are exporting less, because they are using more themselves. UK use to be an exporter of oil and now imports oil because the north sea oil is becoming more depleted.

    Iowa gets 14% of its electricity from wind. They subsidise it because they eventually would like to become exporters of electricity. Texas has the most installed wind generators in the United States.

    The UNIPCC for AR4 gathered in their papers 28,500 peices of information of which over 90% agreed with AGW theory.

    The evidence is there that AGW is marching right along the world is defintely not cooling. It is predicted to get warmer this decade also and the decade after that.

    After the artic reached a certain point the temperature increase will start to accelerate.

    The ice sheet melt per year of the Greenland ice has doubled in the last 5 years.

    In business those who cannot change with the times fail. Business is just as much about failure as it is about succes.

  • Renewable Guy

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stern_Review

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    The economic argument is that to start now would be 1% to 2% of the total GDP of the world. To wait as you would have us do would be about 20% GDP of the world. An ounce of prevention would be 10 pounds of cure. Its just good business sense.

    #########################################################
    Summary of the Review’s main conclusions[2]

    The benefits of strong, early action on climate change outweigh the costs.

    The scientific evidence points to increasing risks of serious, irreversible impacts from climate change associated with business-as-usual (BAU) paths for emissions.

    Climate change threatens the basic elements of life for people around the world — access to water, food production, health, and use of land and the environment.

    The impacts of climate change are not evenly distributed — the poorest countries and people will suffer earliest and most. And if and when the damages appear it will be too late to reverse the process. Thus we are forced to look a long way ahead.

    Climate change may initially have small positive effects for a few developed countries, but it is likely to be very damaging for the much higher temperature increases expected by mid-to-late century under BAU scenarios.
    Integrated assessment modelling provides a tool for estimating the total impact on the economy; our estimates suggest that this is likely to be higher than previously suggested.

    Emissions have been, and continue to be, driven by economic growth; yet stabilisation of greenhouse gas concentration in the atmosphere is feasible and consistent with continued growth.

    Central estimates of the annual costs of achieving stabilisation between 500 and 550ppm CO2e are around 1% of global GDP, if we start to take strong action now. […] It would already be very difficult and costly to aim to stabilise at 450ppm CO2e. If we delay, the opportunity to stabilise at 500-550ppm CO2e may slip away.'[12]

    The transition to a low-carbon economy will bring challenges for competitiveness but also opportunities for growth. Policies to support the development of a range of low-carbon and high-efficiency technologies are required urgently.

    Establishing a carbon price, through tax, trading or regulation, is an essential foundation for climate change policy. Creating a broadly similar carbon price signal around the world, and using carbon finance to accelerate action in developing countries, are urgent priorities for international cooperation.

    Adaptation policy is crucial for dealing with the unavoidable impacts of climate change, but it has been under-emphasised in many countries.

    An effective response to climate change will depend on creating the conditions for international collective action.

    There is still time to avoid the worst impacts of climate change if strong collective action starts now.

  • Renewable Guy

    My own view of farming in an oil restricted will force adaptation. My Uncle is a farmer who is benefiting from the biofuel pressure on the corn market. I’m happy for his better prosperity. Yet he also realizes corn is not a good source to efficiently make biofuels. Brazil is able to run on a great deal of biofuel from sugar cane.

    The more we prepare ahead of time for an oil restricted world, the better off we all are. It will take time to make all these huge changes. Waiting is one of the most foolish things our society can do.

    Interesting thought as I see it, the economy will go through several recessions simply because we are too slow to change.

  • Ted Rado

    Renewable Guy:

    All you are doing is parroting the AGW crowd. I have made my points and I see no point in further discussion with you on the subject. I have heard all this a thousand times. I am still looking for answers to my questions, not a rehash of the AGW stuff.

    Re your comment about forcing adaptation. I guess if you are thrown out of an airplane, you will be motivated to invent a parachute. Wouldn’t it be better to do it the other way around?

  • Renewable Guy

    Ted Rado:

    I understand the material Ted. If you don’t want to understand it that is your choice. My view of you is that have your opinions and won’t move beyond them.

  • Wally

    Renewable,

    Do you really understand though? Because it seems to me that you never really address any of the issues brought up by critics and simply copy-paste only tangentially related articles.

    Ie. Who cares how much power Iowa gets from wind? That had NOTHING to do with the issues raised in Ted’s preceding post. What you need to show is that wind power actually provides energy at competitive costs sans subsidy. What we need is an honest and thorough comparison of true energy costs. This can include costs relating to environmental damage and personal injury if you can reasonable justify them.

    Until you can attempt to answer questions like this, I won’t believe you understand this issue at all.

  • Wally

    Renewable,

    “My own view of farming in an oil restricted will force adaptation.”

    AH HA! Adaptation! What a concept. Might we, and other species on the planet, be able to adapt to a warmer planet as well?

  • Ted Rado

    Renewable Guy:

    I don’t have opinions. I have questions that you won’t answer. I am not a climate expert. However, as an engineer, obvious questions come to mind re AGW and the consequences of reducing CO2. I simply ask the question: If we assume AGW is right, what viable alternative energy sources do we have, and will everyone get on board the fossil fuel ban. You will not address this question, but merely repeat the “we must do something immediately” argument. If we follow your admonition, we must answer the questions I have raised in order to implement it. As I stated earlier, if you have such answers, I would be delighted to hear them.

    There are endless studies going on related to alternate energy sources. Every one is flawed, but since the USG is funding them one way or the other, they keep going. In private industry, all would have died long ago. The existence of these programs is not proof that viable alternatives exist. It merely shows that government incompetence knows no bounds.

    I suggest you run some calcs of your own on your favorite large scale alternative energy schemes. You will find that when you hang some numbers on them, they are all nonsense. The old admonition “don’t believe anything you read and only half of what you see” is true in spades in the alternative energy scene.

    Incidentally, I am much in favor of studying what to do in a fossil fuel-free society. In a very few hundred years, fossil fuels will be gone or prohibitively expensive and the AGW thing will be moot. We will have to completely restructure our cities, our society, and our economy. Our current efforts seem to be to perpetuate the existing automobile/airplane system. I think this will have to change in coming centuries.

  • Eric Anderson

    Good post and definitely an important issue, the feedbacks. You may be right to characterize it as the most important aspect of the science, but I am not sure it is the most important aspect of the debate. Specifically, let’s assume that the feedbacks are positive, resulting in a 3-4C increase. So what? Why would any rational individual feel that this is a crisis of unprecedented proportions that must be averted? Why focus on attempting to reduce CO2 emissions to avert unknown natural catastrophes that may or may not occur at unknown locations at some unknown time in the future?

    The feedback issue is definitely key, but even if the alarmist viewpoint on the science were settled, we still have to commit several additional logical leaps of faith in order to buy into the “need to act now” viewpoint.

  • Renewable Guy

    Wally:
    Renewable,

    Do you really understand though? Because it seems to me that you never really address any of the issues brought up by critics and simply copy-paste only tangentially related articles.

    Ie. Who cares how much power Iowa gets from wind? That had NOTHING to do with the issues raised in Ted’s preceding post. What you need to show is that wind power actually provides energy at competitive costs sans subsidy.
    #########################################################
    All forms of utility generation have subsidy. Its just a straw man argument.

    http://www.ecogeek.org/wind-power/3430-wind-energy-now-cost-competitive-with-coal?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+EcoGeek+%28EcoGeek%29

    ##########################################################

    What we need is an honest and thorough comparison of true energy costs. This can include costs relating to environmental damage and personal injury if you can reasonable justify them.

    Until you can attempt to answer questions like this, I won’t believe you understand this issue at all.

    ##########################################################

    I don’t find it necessary to make you believe me. That’s another straw man.

    http://climatecrocks.com/2011/02/04/why-does-fox-news-hate-renewable-energy/

    Here is Denise Bode standing up to the several Fox News people defending the competitiveness of wind.

  • Renewable Guy

    Ted Rado:
    Renewable Guy:

    I don’t have opinions. I have questions that you won’t answer. I am not a climate expert. However, as an engineer, obvious questions come to mind re AGW and the consequences of reducing CO2. I simply ask the question: If we assume AGW is right, what viable alternative energy sources do we have, and will everyone get on board the fossil fuel ban.
    #########################################################
    The easiest cost effective to achieve 17% reduction by 2020 is to switch coal over to natural gas. That cuts co2 emissions by half from the present coal plants.

    ##########################################################

    You will not address this question, but merely repeat the “we must do something immediately” argument.
    ##########################################################

    That’s pretty vague statement. Can you be more specific?

    ##########################################################
    If we follow your admonition, we must answer the questions I have raised in order to implement it. As I stated earlier, if you have such answers, I would be delighted to hear them.
    ##########################################################
    There are endless studies going on related to alternate energy sources. Every one is flawed, but since the USG is funding them one way or the other, they keep going. In private industry, all would have died long ago. The existence of these programs is not proof that viable alternatives exist. It merely shows that government incompetence knows no bounds.

    ##########################################################

    Offshore wind is gaining contracts for utilities to buy their power. They will pay back their loans and pay taxes, hire people for jobs and be the future conerstone our power industry.

    All power utilities get gov tax breaks. As Denise Bode is saying from AWEA its time for a level playing field.

    Guess what kind of fight there will be when they try to take away oil subsidies in the house of reps.

    ##########################################################

    I suggest you run some calcs of your own on your favorite large scale alternative energy schemes. You will find that when you hang some numbers on them, they are all nonsense. The old admonition “don’t believe anything you read and only half of what you see” is true in spades in the alternative energy scene.

    ##########################################################

    You don’t seem to be willing to see the whole picture. Carbon based fuels will increase in price in future, peak oil. Removing tax payer subsidy for the oil industry would automaitcally increase the price of fuels.
    Electric cars are cheaper to operate than gasoline cars. Especially if you can charge at night. With a volt type car you have the best of both worlds. I read somewhere that a guy said that he has only used 5.6 gallons in his first 1000 miles.

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=a-path-to-sustainable-energy-by-2030

    I’ll let the people at Harvard do the calcualtions for me for now.

    http://www.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/WindWaterSun1009.pdf

  • Renewable Guy

    http://mitpress.mit.edu/catalog/item/default.asp?ttype=2&tid=11798

    I googled “transportation in an oil constrained world” and got climate constrained.

    I haven’t read this book, but the articles that I have read look to electrify whatever is practical to do. The volt and prius are a start. Trains can be electrified, heat pumps instead of gas furnaces, energy efficiency is the easiest cheapest to save money for the consumer and decrease the power production load.

    Farm tractors can be made more efficient, shipping at sea can be made more efficient, they aren’t practical to be electrified. Some other solution will have to be found.
    ##########################################################
    Incidentally, I am much in favor of studying what to do in a fossil fuel-free society. In a very few hundred years, fossil fuels will be gone or prohibitively expensive and the AGW thing will be moot. We will have to completely restructure our cities, our society, and our economy. Our current efforts seem to be to perpetuate the existing automobile/airplane system. I think this will have to change in coming centuries.

  • Wally

    Renewable,

    “All forms of utility generation have subsidy. Its just a straw man argument.”

    Yes all forms of energy have different subsidies and taxations. I never said anythign otherwise.

    In fact, if you’d just read the next two sentences of my last post, then you might have a different responce. Please reread: “What we need is an honest and thorough comparison of true energy costs. This can include costs relating to environmental damage and personal injury if you can reasonable justify them.”

    Right…A true cost comparison for EVERYTHING without subsidy, can you give me that? If you can’t, you’re just flapping your fingers in vain.

    “I don’t find it necessary to make you believe me. That’s another straw man.”

    Read up on what a straw man is. A straw man is chaning the argument of another in order to make it easier to attack. I’ve never done that. Yet another thing you’re wrong about.

    Second, if you don’t want to convince me, why exactly are you parroting your propoganda here? And if you’re not able to come up with an answer to this simple questions, you’re not going to be able to convince anyone that actually tries to think logically and thoroughly about this issue.

    So, all you’ve done is come up with a pretty lame excuse for why you can’t answer some very basic questions…

    “Here is Denise Bode standing up to the several Fox News people defending the competitiveness of wind.”

    A videa…of a news clip…come on. Give me the real thing.

  • Renewable Guy

    Eric Anderson:
    Good post and definitely an important issue, the feedbacks. You may be right to characterize it as the most important aspect of the science, but I am not sure it is the most important aspect of the debate. Specifically, let’s assume that the feedbacks are positive, resulting in a 3-4C increase. So what?
    ##########################################################

    http://www.world-science.net/othernews/110109_climate.htm

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110109184025.htm

    The heat goes into the oceans and takes several 100 years to mix. That heat signal isn’t finished after a 1000 years. We have triggered a long term geologic event. The longer we continue business as usual, the more energy we are putting into effecting the earth. Not changing produces more sea level rise, higher temperatures, greater desertification, more intensity in storm, etc.

    http://www.pewclimate.org/federal/memo/national-security-implications

    ##########################################################

    Why would any rational individual feel that this is a crisis of unprecedented proportions that must be averted? Why focus on attempting to reduce CO2 emissions to avert unknown natural catastrophes that may or may not occur at unknown locations at some unknown time in the future?

    The feedback issue is definitely key, but even if the alarmist viewpoint on the science were settled, we still have to commit several additional logical leaps of faith in order to buy into the “need to act now” viewpoint.

    ##########################################################

    http://www.ucsusa.org/ssi/climate-change/scientific-consensus-on.html

    All the major science organizations of the world agree on AGW. 2500 scientists have an open process for coming to an agreement on the thousands of peer reviewed science papers in the world.

  • Renewable Guy

    Wally:

    http://www.ecogeek.org/wind-power/3430-wind-energy-now-cost-competitive-with-coal?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+EcoGeek+%28EcoGeek%29

    In regions of Brazil, Mexico, Sweden and the U.S., wind power now costs $68/MWh and coal power costs $67/MWh. Natural gas remains cheapest at $56/MWh.

    Eventually renewables will be cheaper than cabon based fuels. Saudi Arabia exagerated oil reserves along with other middle east countries. The middle east countries burn more of their own oil and export less.

    http://www.theoildrum.com/node/7465?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+theoildrum+%28The+Oil+Drum%29

    Peak oil will force us into more efficient vehicles due to its high cost.

    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Comparative_electrical_generation_costs

    Coal/Nuclear/Gas: (cents per kilowatt-hour in 2008 dollars)

    Gas peaking: 22.5 – 34.2 (assumes $8.00/MMBtu for gas)
    IGCC: 11.0 – 14.1 (assumes $2.50/MMBtu for coal)
    Nuclear: 10.7 – 13.8
    Advanced supercritical coal: 7.8 – 14.4 (high end includes 90% carbon capture and storage) (assumes $2.50/MMBtu for coal)
    Gas combined cycle: 7.4 – 10.2 (assumes $8.00/MMBtu for gas)
    Alternatives: (cents per kilowatt-hour in 2008 dollars)

    Solar PV (crystalline): 16.0 – 19.6
    Fuel cell: 12.7 – 15.0
    Solar PV (thin film): 13.1 – 18.2
    Solar thermal: 12.9 – 20.6 (low end is solar tower; high end is solar trough)
    Biomass direct: 6.5 – 11.3
    Wind: 5.7 – 11.3
    Geothermal: 5.8 – 9.3
    Energy efficiency: 0.0 – 5.0

  • Renewable Guy

    Wally:
    “Here is Denise Bode standing up to the several Fox News people defending the competitiveness of wind.”

    A videa…of a news clip…come on. Give me the real thing.

    ##########################################################

    Maybe you have difficulty ferreting out the information. I’m sorry, I’ll give you something easier next time.

  • Wally

    Renewable,

    Any jackass can make what every claims they want on a video, just like you on this blog. Show me the data, then make an argument using it. Quoting or linking to bogus and irrelevent claims of others is intellectually lazy.

  • Renewable Guy

    Wally:
    Renewable,

    Any jackass can make what every claims they want on a video, just like you on this blog. Show me the data, then make an argument using it. Quoting or linking to bogus and irrelevent claims of others is intellectually lazy.

    ##########################################################

    Denise Bode is an authority on wind. She is the head of AWEA (American Wind Energy Association). I would say you aren’t willing to do any work to check it out. So how about how about doing some of your own work. Any jackass can sit and do nothing disagreeing with what is going on.

  • Ted Rado

    Renewable Guy:

    You mention that a 17% reduction in CO2 can be achieved by switching to natural gas. The AGW folks state that an 80% reduction is required to stop AGW. Further, the supply of NG is limited (100 yrs or so). If we increase consumption massively, it will be gone that much quicker.
    To reduce CO2 by 80% gets us back to the 1870’s in terms of per capita energy consumption. How do we manage on that?

    All these arguments are nonsense without a complete comparative study of all schemes, including flowsheets, heat and material balances, and capital and operating cost estimates. These must include where all feedstocks come from. For example, electricity for electric cars must come from somewhere. Electrons don’t fall out of the sky. Wind and solar must have standby. The type of standby and its costs must be included. Etc. etc. Without these studies, we degenerate into “my dad can lick tour dad” sort of argument. In other words, the whole system must be descreibed and evaluated. Taking one step (electrc cars, for example) out of context without describing the whole system in meaningless.

    Quoting people to support one’s argument makes no sense. The complete study must be presented as described above.

    Interestingly enough, some of the AGW blogs state that there is no present solution to the energy problem. They argue that passing AGW laws will force us to come up with something. As an engineer, no matter what torture I am subjected to, I cannot make water spontaneously flow uphill. Therein lies the problem. We need proven alternatives before we destroy our energy system. The mere hope that “we will think of something” is idiotic.

    In the real world, engineers would come up with a complete energy production and use analysis, with all factors completely taken into account. I have seen nothing remotely resembling that.

    By the way, Denise Bode was a politician who is now paid to tout wind energy. Wind energy is uneconomical without huge subsidies and free standby. Maybe we should free Bernie Madoff to push it.

  • Bob

    Renewable:

    So she’s a person whose entire livelihood depends on the success of wind power? How exactly is she different than someone shilling for the oil industries against AGW other than that she agrees with your viewpoint?

  • Ted Rado

    A point that seems to be missed is the role of private enterprise. As fossil fuels become more expensive, alternatives will be sought by companies in the energy industry. They have been looking for centuries. They all maintain large R&D departments for that purpose. The USG should not intervene and pick winners and losers.

    Competitive private enterprise has served the nation’s needs well for over two hundred years. The idea that government mandates should replace that system would be laughable if it was not so destructive. If a scheme has merit, profit-seeking firms will pursue it.

    The idea that we turn the determination of scientific truth over to the Supreme Court or the EPA belongs on the comedy channel.

  • Wally

    Renewable,

    “Denise Bode is an authority on wind. She is the head of AWEA (American Wind Energy Association).”

    Doesn’t matter. Show me a more complete and referenced argument than some stupid Fox News interview.

    “I would say you aren’t willing to do any work to check it out. So how about how about doing some of your own work. Any jackass can sit and do nothing disagreeing with what is going on.”

    Well, if you’re making the argument, the onus is on you to provide compelling data to support that argument. It isn’t my job to look up that data for you….

  • Renewable Guy

    Ted Rado:

    This is present costs and then there will be future costs. The future costs of carbon based fuels will eventually go up. There are professionals in the filed ready to do the work of evening out the intermittency.

    The price of producing wind has been steadily coming down.

    Coal/Nuclear/Gas: (cents per kilowatt-hour in 2008 dollars)

    Gas peaking: 22.5 – 34.2 (assumes $8.00/MMBtu for gas)
    IGCC: 11.0 – 14.1 (assumes $2.50/MMBtu for coal)
    Nuclear: 10.7 – 13.8
    Advanced supercritical coal: 7.8 – 14.4 (high end includes 90% carbon capture and storage) (assumes $2.50/MMBtu for coal)
    Gas combined cycle: 7.4 – 10.2 (assumes $8.00/MMBtu for gas)
    Alternatives: (cents per kilowatt-hour in 2008 dollars)

    Solar PV (crystalline): 16.0 – 19.6
    Fuel cell: 12.7 – 15.0
    Solar PV (thin film): 13.1 – 18.2
    Solar thermal: 12.9 – 20.6 (low end is solar tower; high end is solar trough)
    Biomass direct: 6.5 – 11.3

    Wind: 5.7 – 11.3

    Geothermal: 5.8 – 9.3
    Energy efficiency: 0.0 – 5.0

  • Renewable Guy

    Ted Rado:
    By the way, Denise Bode was a politician who is now paid to tout wind energy. Wind energy is uneconomical without huge subsidies and free standby. Maybe we should free Bernie Madoff to push it.

    #########################################################

    Nuclear power cannot get off the ground with Wallstreet because they refuse to take the risk. U.S. subsidy is less than what Europe subsidizes. Your statement is false based on the rest of subsidies for the whole energy sector. 5 to 6 cents per KWHR. Go back to my previous post and you can get some comparisons of the different power costs.

    Iowa sees wind as the avenue to export power in the future and is building a CAES system to transfer night time wind to daytime energy where the higher rates apply.

  • Renewable Guy

    Ted Rado:
    A point that seems to be missed is the role of private enterprise. As fossil fuels become more expensive, alternatives will be sought by companies in the energy industry. They have been looking for centuries. They all maintain large R&D departments for that purpose. The USG should not intervene and pick winners and losers.

    Competitive private enterprise has served the nation’s needs well for over two hundred years. The idea that government mandates should replace that system would be laughable if it was not so destructive. If a scheme has merit, profit-seeking firms will pursue it.

    The idea that we turn the determination of scientific truth over to the Supreme Court or the EPA belongs on the comedy channel.

    #########################################################

    Private enterprise is very good at taking care of itself. They are also famous for taking all the handouts they can get from the government.

    Private enterprise does need help from the Gov to get over the hump in some areas of high large capital risk but also great reward. Nuclear power puts a great deal more burden on the taxpayer than the other utility industries.

    We also live in more of a socialized society than you may let on. Try privatizing your water and sewer in your town and see what happens to your rates.

  • Renewable Guy

    Bob:
    Renewable:

    So she’s a person whose entire livelihood depends on the success of wind power? How exactly is she different than someone shilling for the oil industries against AGW other than that she agrees with your viewpoint?

    #########################################################

    The oil and coal industries get someone to do their dirty work for them while they take the high road.

    I’ve been an acitve mostly unpaid supporter for the last 20 years. Denise was accurate in what she portrayed as I know the conditions to be. Wind would like to get the same sweet heart deals that oil, coal, natural gas, nuclear get. They will compete and crowd out coal of their market. Which has them concerned.

  • Renewable Guy

    Wally:

    Have you even listened to whole thing? Any content that you disagree with in what she said? Bring up any point you want that don’t believe of what she said isn’t true. I offer what she has said as discussion. If you aren’t willing to even listen how can I discuss this with you? I got out my pencil and paper and found 9 points I found interesting from the whole conversation.

  • Renewable Guy

    Ted Rado:
    To reduce CO2 by 80% gets us back to the 1870′s in terms of per capita energy consumption. How do we manage on that?

    #########################################################

    YOur statement isn’t accurate. The per capita energy consumption will not sink back to the 1870’s?

    From this chart energy efficiency is the best deal of all. 25% efficiency can be acheived without reduction in services and work acheived. As an engineer I shouldn’t have to explain that to you. Load management and power production efficiency improvments.

    When the majority of energy consumed is from electricity there will be a reduction in the transportation of coal and oil.

    Solar PV (crystalline): 16.0 – 19.6
    Fuel cell: 12.7 – 15.0
    Solar PV (thin film): 13.1 – 18.2
    Solar thermal: 12.9 – 20.6 (low end is solar tower; high end is solar trough)
    Biomass direct: 6.5 – 11.3

    Wind: 5.7 – 11.3

    Geothermal: 5.8 – 9.3
    Energy efficiency: 0.0 – 5.0

  • Ted Rado

    Renewable guy:

    Our local power company asks “greenies” to sign up for wind power and pay a premium on their electric bill. Even with free standby and huge subsidies, wind cannot compete.

    The energy efficiency increases will continue, with or without a cap and trade scheme. You can’t attribute that to the AGW program.

    All the energy sources you quote are very expensive and are very limited, as described earlier. The enviroloonies go on about all sorts of things that are not feasible. Stating how much energy will come from alternative sources is nonsense. If they were feasible, they would be used now and without government subsidies.

    It is possible to supply electricity via nuclear energy, but transportation fuels are another matter.

    It may very well be that we will have to create a catastrophe to disprove all this nonsense, a la ethanol. It would be a shame to wreck everything rather than do proper studies, but it may come to that if the AGW crowd gets their way.

    All I am asking is that the type of complete engineering studies that have been standard practise in engineering for generations be used before charging off. For reasons best known to the gods, this is resisted tooth and nail by the AGW crowd. Apparently, you included.

  • Wally

    Renewable,

    I’m not interested in simple discussion of what someone think, I want a referenced study, proving their facts to be true and using them to make a logical argument. An interview on fox news, or any other new station, is simple not the kind of media that allows for that. You just aren’t given the time without interuption, nor the data presentation abilities, to fully explain yourself in such a situation.

    We can however do that in this space. You can make an argument, supported by data you analyze and post yourself, or by referencing others that do. This does not mean simply referencing people saying things you agree with, this means actual references to data and data analysis. Until you can do that you’re not even making a real argument based on fact and logic, you’re just stating an uninformed opinion. And until we can move this “discussion” out of the relm of uniformed opinion and into facts, we’re just wasting eachothers time.

  • Ted Rado

    Wally:

    Amen, brother!

  • Renewable Guy

    http://www.awea.org/documents/factsheets/Energy_Storage_Factsheet.pdf

    This is a technical paper on the storage and costs of different storages.

    http://www.ecogeek.org/wind-power/3435-renewables-supplied-75-of-spains-electricity-on-ja?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+EcoGeek+%28EcoGeek%29

    Spain averaged 35% renewable energy content for their grid
    with 75% as a peak.
    quote:
    Last year, coal-fired power in Spain dropped 34 percent and gas-fired power dropped 17 percent leading to a 20 percent cut in emissions.
    quote:

    I’m ready to show that it is being done. I’m not ready to discuss the actual nitty gritty details of the engineering.

    http://www.awea.org/la_pubs_factsheets.cfm

    Here are the fact sheets from AWEA that Denise Bode represents.

  • Renewable Guy

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iowa_Stored_Energy_Park

    Iowa Stored Energy ParkFrom Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaJump to: navigation, search
    Coordinates: 41°41′17″N 93°35′35″W / 41.688°N 93.593°W / 41.688; -93.593 The Iowa Stored Energy Park (ISEP) will use electrical energy generated from a large wind farm located in Iowa. This wind power will be used to store compressed air in an underground geologic structure. During peak power demands, the stored air will be released, mixed with a fuel and used to power combustion turbines that produce environmentally friendly, dispatchable, and economical electricity.[1]

    ISEP will utilize some of the latest innovations in the generation of electricity. Wind turbines, deep underground air storage, and efficient combustion turbines will be used to take the variability of wind and turn it into clean energy on demand. The project will enable utilities to add additional renewable energy to their power supplies.[1] The project is hoping to store a 20 week supply of compressed air for subsequent use.[2]

    ##########################################################

    This is a smaller model of what can be done across the United States.

  • Renewable Guy

    http://www.matternetwork.com/2011/2/vestas-unveil-design-6-mw.cfm

    Here is a new wind generator coming out with 6 mw output potential. The larger generators are more desireable for ocean installations. With larger generators fewer are needed to meet existing electric demands, reducing installation costs.

    Reasons for government support is to accelerate the market. With positive feedbacks being dominant with increased GHG emissions, the sooner we peak co2 emissions and reverse downwards, the less severe the economic consequences of adaptation. See the Stern Report. 2% gdp mitigation cost vs doing nothing with 20% gdp cost.

    Accelerating the market saves the whole economy about 18% gdp per year over the long run.

  • Renewable Guy

    http://www.science.smith.edu/~jcardell/Readings/uGrid/Solar_Plan_08.pdf

    KEY CONCEPTS
    ■ A massive switch from
    coal, oil, natural gas and
    nuclear power plants to solar
    power plants could supply
    69 percent of the U.S.’s
    electricity and 35 percent
    of its total energy by 2050.
    ■ A vast area of photovoltaic
    cells would have to be
    erected in the Southwest.
    Excess daytime energy
    would be stored as compressed
    air in underground
    caverns to be tapped during
    nighttime hours.
    ■ Large solar concentrator
    power plants would be
    built as well.
    ■ A new direct-current power
    transmission backbone
    would deliver solar electricity
    across the country.
    ■ But $420 billion in subsidies
    from 2011 to 2050
    would be required to fund
    the infrastructure and
    make it cost-competitive.
    —The Editors

  • Wally

    Um.. yeah, that wasn’t the kind of thing Ted and I have been telling you that you need to do in order to make a logical and valid argument.

  • Renewable Guy

    SOrry Wally,
    I’m not going to hold your hand in this.

  • Ted Rado

    Renewable Guy:

    Has anybody calculated the volume and pressure of air required to store this amount of energy? Without a study showing the complete flowsheet, with everything quantified and costs calculated, this is nonsense.

    I havw run numbers on many of the proposed schemes. For example, use wind or solar to pump water up into the mountais and then water turbines to recover the energy at a steady rate. This solves the intermittent problem. Are you willing to have a several thousand dollar electric bill? If so, we’re ready to go. All the technology is in place. By the way, some Ausies have done a detailed study on hydraulic storage. We are in better shape to do this, as the Rocky Mts. provide us with a high head storage place. Minor problem: cost.

    All this stuff is fantasy. As I pointed out earlier, almost anything is scientificallt possible, but so far none of it is feasible. Hang some numbers on these schemes and you will see thay are absurd.

    There still remains the problem of transportation fuels.

    I will give you credit for finding all sorts of far out articles in the media. My personal favorite is the TV piece showing showing a H2 fuel cell powered bus with the note that only H2O is in the exhaust. Whoopie! Minor problem: where does the H2 come from and what is the overall efficiency compared to using the natural gas directly in an engine rather than converting it to H2? The scheme collapses if you RUN THE NUMBERS!!

    I have reached the point that I am not even slightly interested in hearing about alternative energy schemes unless they are accompanied by complete engineering and cost calcs.

  • Renewable Guy

    Ted Rado:

    I have reached the point that I am not even slightly interested in hearing about alternative energy schemes unless they are accompanied by complete engineering and cost calcs.
    #########################################################

    http://www.ecogeek.org/wind-power/3435-renewables-supplied-75-of-spains-electricity-on-ja?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+EcoGeek+%28EcoGeek%29

    On that day, conditions must have been ideal for renewable energy production, but even on any given day, Spain is cranking out some clean energy. Spanish power transmission company Red Electrica reports that in 2010, renewable energy sources supplied 35 percent of all of Spain’s electricity, which means the country surpassed its goal of having 30 percent of its energy come from renewable sources by 2010 and has almost hit its target of 35.5 percent by 2020 way ahead of schedule.

    #########################################################

    I hear your statement Ted. I’m just an armchair person doing this for entertainment. But I can give examples of countries doing this already.

    The article from Scientific American has given a summary of the grand solar plan. Its a slightly older article. But only needed 10 billion a year in subsidies up through 2050. With this kind of plan, oil imports alone are reduced giving the United States more energy independence.

  • Renewable Guy

    Ted Rado:

    I will give you credit for finding all sorts of far out articles in the media. My personal favorite is the TV piece showing showing a H2 fuel cell powered bus with the note that only H2O is in the exhaust. Whoopie! Minor problem: where does the H2 come from and what is the overall efficiency compared to using the natural gas directly in an engine rather than converting it to H2? The scheme collapses if you RUN THE NUMBERS!!
    ##########################################################

    I would like to see hydrogen workable, but its incredibly impractical. TThat one is just a pipe dream for practicality. Batteries are the closest to being practical. The Prius is affordable and a working example that batteries are effective on a small scale. The prius can run on batteries for about a 1/2 to 1 mile. With the support of the gov. batteries can reach affordability sooner. The affordability of batteries is essential to our transportation working in the future. What I would like to see work and move forward also is supercapacitors.
    Not ready for primetime yet. But it is an area if it works well could replace capacitors in the future. Its energy density is low, but its power delievery for things like acceleration are superior to the battery. THere are labs looking to see if they can marry the two technologies together.

  • Renewable Guy

    I wish I could edit my mistakes on here. Instead of replace capacitors I want replace batteries.

  • Austin

    Renewable Guy, how many times do you need to hear that nobody is interested in fluffy stuff without actual numbers?? Can you supply numbers and back them up with some science or not? It really starts looking that you can’t. If so, I suggest you pause for the moment, take a deep breath and ask yourself why exactly you are so convinced that the alternative energy schemes you are bringing up are actually cost-effective?

  • Renewable Guy

    Austin:
    Renewable Guy, how many times do you need to hear that nobody is interested in fluffy stuff without actual numbers?? Can you supply numbers and back them up with some science or not? It really starts looking that you can’t. If so, I suggest you pause for the moment, take a deep breath and ask yourself why exactly you are so convinced that the alternative energy schemes you are bringing up are actually cost-effective?

    #########################################################

    Not can’t, don’t want to do that work. Its not prepublished on the internet.

    But here is a back of the paper paper napkin type calcualation. For about $7/watt for partial solar generation on each home. Would come to $14,000 per home. Kind of hard to do for each person to spend that kind of money up front on their own.

    In Germany they have a feed in tarif in which the utility pays them for their electricity at a certain rate above retail price of electricity. Germany did this kind of program at 50 cents/kwhr. Putting a cap on the total money spent per year keeps the total expense from getting out of hand. A guaranteed contract spurs the homeowner and business person to invest their own money knowing they will get the cost of the system back.

    There is a certain amount of capital that an economy can afford to do without putting undue stress on it. I’ll let Germenay decide where that is for themselves. And you can find articles of complaint of the amount is too much. That’s for each society to work out. Germany’s program was so successful it drove the price of solar
    photovoltaics up world wide. I believe they hired 150,000 people directly in the industry of doing so.

    For the justification of the expense, I have been making these cases the whole time I have been on here. Business as usual in our emissions will set off geological changes for the next several thousand years. The higher the temperature we reach from our world emissions the more it costs in adaptation costs world wide. From the Stern Report 20% of GDP in business as usual with adaptation when we just feel like it. 2% of GDP to start mitigation of GHG’s now. A 10 to 1 savings. 2% of GDP is an agressive attack on emitting less GHG’s. I don’t know what the world number is for the economy. Just looked it up. 58.22 trillion. Which is a little over a trillion per year to spend on reducing GHG’s per year. THere’s our budget to spend per year to reduce ghg’s. If you decide to take the time, I believe the benefits of mostly electric society for its energy are enormous.

    The future costs in terms of today’s dollars for adaptation for business as usual will be about 10 trillion per year in today’s dollars.

    So for easy back of the napkin numbers

    1 trillion/7 for photovoltaics would buy us 1.4 x 10*11 watts per year installed

    1 trillion/2 for wind on land would buy us 5 x 10*11 watts per year installed.

    1 trillion/3 for wind on the ocean would buy is 3.33 x 10*11 watts per year installed.

    These are name plate watts. MOre than likely the wind on the ocean will outperform all of the others due to higher quality wind for utility purposes. The north atlantic on the east coast is just such a place.

  • Ted Rado

    Renewable Guy:

    The German government pays 50c per KWH for solar power. Electricity is under 10c here. Thus the Germans pay over five times as much in order to be enviroloonie friendly.

    Spain is in deep financial trouble. One financial article I saw blames some of it on their galloping into the wind energy thing. The fact that someone is doing something does not prove that it is wise.

    The idea of compressed air storage of energy is absurd. Large axial flow and centrifugal compressors have a thermodynamic efficiency of about 70%. Expansion turbines likewise. Thus, we lose half the energy compressing and expanding. In addition, we have the huge capital and operating costs for the enormous compressor stations. Wind and solar are not competitive even without backup costs. If we add compressors, expanders, underground storage, pipelines, etc., plus lose half the energy on the way, the idea winds up being a huge joke. Alternatively, standby gas turbines add hugely to the cost. Further, open cycle gas turbines are much less thermally efficient than conventinal power plants. Thus we lose much of the fuel we save because of lower standby efficiency. Combined cycle gas turbines are not feasible because they cannot be started up quickly, as is the case with conventianla boilers.

    There has been a prototype solar power plant in the Mojave desert for 50 years. It uses reflectors and has a gas fired backup. There is plenty of technical experience and data in this field. Nobody has moved further because it is not economical. I am not sure who is paying the bill.

    Wind farms in the US produce less than 30% of nameplate electricity because the wind dies down. Thus, we must build almost four times the capacity we need, storing the excess when the wind is blowing. In Germany, where they do not have the Great Plains, it is 18%. Their solar is 8%.

    One can go on forever pointing these things out, and asking for explanations from the AGW crowd. All we get is more technical BS or “you are a horrible person who wants to destroy the world”. Worse yet, “we must act now!!”.

    There are all sorts of studies on the internet (with numbers yet!!!) re wind, solar, energy storage, biofuels, etc. You can study these or run some numbers of your own.

    The mainstream press is full of articles such as you quote. I gather that journalists are technically illiterate or are on the AGW bandwagon. They are also fed stories by researchers who depend on USG grants. In either event, don’t believe everything you read.

    You mention government subsidies for nuclear power. The opposite is true. The USG makes them drag the approval process out for ten years, thus multiplying the cost. Efforts by the industry to streamlinre the process (have a standard pre-approved design, for example) are repeatedly shot down by the anti-nuke people. Even with all this, nuclear power is competitive.

    As pointed out before, all this is moot unless we get the Indians and Chinese on board. Fortunately for them, they are not blessed with our AGW crowd and have no intention of doing so.

    To start the cap and trade scheme without having in place a plan to later get rid of 80% of the CO2 is nonsense, assuming that the AGW theory is true.

  • Wally

    Renewable,

    It isn’t that you don’t want to “hold my hand”, its that you don’t have a hand to grab hold with, if you allow me to use your metaphor.

  • Renewable Guy

    Ted:

    http://www.awea.org/documents/factsheets/Energy_Storage_Factsheet.pdf

    As the chart indicates, pumped hydroelectric storage and compressed air energy storage (pumping air into underground caverns, to be used later to help drive a turbine generator) are among the lowest cost energy storage options at several cents per kWh. However, existing sources of flexibility, like hydroelectric and natural gas plants, are able to provide flexibility at a fraction of this cost. For example, the average market price in New York state for reserve generation to provide flexibility within 30 minutes is just over $0.001/kWh, or 1/10th of one cent per kWh.5

    I’ve read about higher cost sources being used. CAES is competitive.