Some pundits are calling Elon Musk the smartest man in the world. I’m always suspicious of people making such claims, as they never include me on that sort of list, so how smart can they be? Even so, Musk is accurate in this claim:
Tesla CEO Elon Musk says we’ll need more electricity to power cars like his. A lot more.
Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk said on Tuesday that electricity consumption will double if the world’s car fleets are electrified, increasing the need to expand nuclear, solar, geothermal and wind energy generating sources.
Increasing the availability of sustainable energy is a major challenge as cars move from combustion engines to battery-driven electric motors, a shift which will take two decades, Musk said in a talk hosted by Berlin-based publisher Axel Springer.
There’s no unicorn energy source or free lunch. Currently, electric cars are primarily powered by coal, natural gas, and nuclear. Those are the sources we use to generate electricity, after all, according to the Energy Information Agency. Renewables are growing but still account for less than 20% of U.S. electricity.
Only two decades? It must always be remembered solar and wind are intermittent, and do not produce a consistent level of power even when producing at their peak. Wind works only when the wind blows, and the wind seldom blows at a consistent velocity for any given period of time. In addition, if the wind is too strong, windmills must feather their blades lest they be destroyed. Solar, of course, works only when the sun is shining, and even then, the amount of energy it produces may be badly degraded by clouds, rain, snow and other weather. It’s also important to realize whatever electricity is produced by solar and wind are a “use it or lose it” proposition. There is no such thing as battery storage so huge and efficient it can store the massive amounts of electricity necessary for residential and commercial use. So “20%”? Maybe, sometimes, and in some places, but usually much, much less.
Even so, there is a great deal of battery production necessary if we are to transition from fossil fuels to “renewable” sources, and not just in electric vehicles:
Mining is a dirty business.
Weighing those trade-offs — between supporting mining in environmentally sensitive areas and sourcing metals needed to power renewables — is likely to become more common if countries continue generating more renewable energy. That’s according to a report out Wednesday from researchers at the Institute for Sustainable Futures at the University of Technology Sydney in Australia. The report, commissioned by the environmental organization Earthworks, finds that demand for metals such as copper, lithium and cobalt would skyrocket if countries around the world try to get their electric grids and transportation systems fully powered by renewable energy by 2050. Consequently, a rush to meet that demand could lead to more mining in countries with lax environmental and safety regulations and weak protections for workers.
‘If not managed responsibly, this has the potential for new adverse environmental and social impacts,’ the report says.
I’ve written about the environmental impact of the hundreds of thousands of windmill blades that must be disposed of. They can’t be recycled, and at present, only a very few Midwestern landfills accept them, where, under the soil, they persist for millenia.
Energy comes at some cost and likely always will. Stopping drilling wouldn’t just stop gas-powered cars. It would eventually stop the whole economy. Natural gas, our largest source of electricity, is a byproduct of drilling for crude oil. Stopping drilling for crude means little or no natural gas as well. That would reduce our electric generation by about a third by itself. Even if America stopped drilling because Obama said so, the rest of the world wouldn’t. Russia and the Middle East would go right on drilling, and we would become far more dependent on them for our energy, in turn endangering our national security and making the world less stable.
Let’s not even consider China’s massive military buildup and their goal of world domination. We’re not going to be running warships—apart from aircraft carriers and submarines—or aircraft and other military vehicles on anything but fossil fuels, and if we can’t produce those ourselves, China will be able to dramatically accelerate its timetable for world domination, a horror of which many of our politicians seem to approve.
What’s the point? We’ve spent more than a century building up our current electric generation and distribution system, and our fossil fuel production and distribution systems. There are gas stations on every corner, and refueling usual vehicles with affordable gasoline takes no more than 15 minutes, usually less. Drivers seldom, if ever, have to wait in line to fuel their vehicles.
Under Jimmy Carter, I did, and if D/S/Cs have their way, we may be soon longing for those heady days of drive 55, gas shortages, long lines at the pump, rampant inflation and sky high prices.
Energy needs for homes are also affordable everywhere but D/S/C ruled cities and states, where high prices and brown and blackouts are a tragic reality. The media loves to blame Republicans for everything with headlines like “women, children, minorities and the poor hardest hit,” but nothing damages the poor more than unnecessarily high energy costs.
The climate cultists at the UK Guardian try to put a rosy face on this, but, ‘taint working
‘Why did it take nine hours to go 130 miles in our new electric Porsche?’
A Kent couple love their new car – but their experience suggests there are problems with the charging network
A couple from Kent have described how it took them more than nine hours to drive 130 miles home from Bournemouth as they struggled to find a working charger capable of producing enough power to their electric car.
Linda Barnes and her husband had to visit six charging stations as one after another they were either out of order, already had a queue or were the slow, older versions that would never be able to provide a fast enough charge in the time.
While the couple seem to have been ‘incredibly unlucky’, according to the president of the AA, Edmund King, their case highlights some of the problems that need ironing out before electric car owners can rely on the UK’s charging infrastructure.
The couple, who love their new fully electric Porsche Taycan 4S, which has a range of about 250 miles, contacted the Guardian to describe how difficult it is to recharge a car away from home. Their journey would have taken two and a half hours in a conventional car, they say.
This is a universal problem. Joe Biden wants to force America to drive nothing but electric vehicles, as I noted back in November in Your Biden EV Future. Even if sufficient electric generation capacity could be miraculously produced in the very brief time frame lack-of-visionaries like Biden and California’s dimwitted and plastic haired Gavin Newsom demand, it would still be unreliable and intermittent, but that’s not the biggest problem.
Our current gasoline power system works because it’s inexpensive and there are stations everywhere, but even the largest stations don’t have more than 10 or so pumps, and smaller, neighborhood stations have fewer. This is so because they don’t need more. Vehicles are fully fueled and on their way within minutes. It won’t be possible to merely convert gas stations to charging stations.
When it takes from 2-4 hours—under ideal conditions—to charge an EV to something resembling a full charge, where are drivers and passengers going to wait? This is particularly an issue in winter and summer weather. One can’t run the heater or AC while charging, lest an EV never recharge, so stations will have to be rebuilt into much different and larger facilities, not only to provide far more charging stations than pumps, but to provide a place for all those drivers and passengers to stay warm or cool. There will have to be many, many more of them too, unless the government’s intention is to make travel so insanely difficult and expensive no one will travel anymore. In cold weather, batteries don’t charge as fast, nor do they charge as fully, greatly lengthening recharge and lay over times.
Imagine the increase in electric demand when every American is recharging one or more EVs each and every night, which is precisely the future the lunatic D/S/Cs in charge of California envision. Let’s visit reality instead via Chuck DeVore at The Federalist:
California’s electricity problem is simple. Its energy policies demand ever-increasing amounts of wind and solar power, but electricity must be generated the moment it’s consumed. The wind doesn’t always blow—especially when it’s hot—and the sun doesn’t always shine. Therefore, California must import vast amounts of power from the 13 other states (along with Canada and Mexico) in the Western Interconnection whenever that’s required to keep the lights on and the air conditioners running.
As always, California legislators rely on unicorn farts and fairy dust:
In 2018, almost a third of the retail electricity California used was imported—with coal, gas, and nuclear power in the mix. California’s environmental virtues do have a limit. But coal-fired power plants in Arizona, Utah, and Wyoming may not be around much longer to sell power to California during a heat wave. There are two reasons for this.
First, Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a law in 2006 that banned renewing contracts to import coal-fired electricity. This law was later expanded to cover municipal utilities, such as the behemoth L.A. Department of Water and Power.
Second, California’s aggressive subsidies and mandates for solar and wind power have led to frequent surpluses of very cheap (but very unreliable) power flooding the Western grid. Under most states’ public utility rules, the lowest-cost electricity must be purchased first, often idling reliable—but more expensive to operate—coal and gas plants.
This has put significant financial pressure on reliable fossil fuel plants, leading many to close, often decades ahead of their planned decommissioning dates. As these reliable generators of power have shuttered, it has complicated grid operators’ ability to balance the grid.
Thus does California experience rolling brownouts and blackouts, not only because of lack of supply, but to prevent physical damage to the grid.
The environmental left holds up California as the avatar of America’s energy future. For decades, the Golden State’s elected officials and regulators have been boosting renewable energy. Renewable electricity targets have been accelerated, with the state’s goal of 33 percent of its power from renewable sources, mostly solar and wind, this year, moving to 60 percent of its electricity from renewables by 2030. By 2045, all of California’s electricity must come from carbon-free sources.
This effort doesn’t come on the cheap. For the privilege of having electricity when it’s available over the past few days, Californians pay 61 percent above the national average for electricity.
Doesn’t everyone want to pay that much—and more—more? I’m sure Joe Biden will tell us it’s our patriotic duty, if he can still read a teleprompter when he gets around to it.
To try to solve this problem of its own making, California is increasingly turning to batteries to store power. This is especially needed for wind power, which, in most places around the world, generally produces more wind at night when demand is lower. But despite spending billions on batteries, the state can still only store enough power to keep California energized for a few minutes.
Apparently CA pols think all they need do is get a much, much bigger 12 volt battery like the kind cars use. Surely manufacturers make cheap, ten story high batteries that cover an acre or two?
Battery proponents always hint at big improvements just around the corner. But unlike computing, which is governed by Moore’s Law, with the capability of computers doubling every two years, batteries are constrained by chemistry and physics. They have to do physical work, whereas computers only manipulate 1s and 0s.
And even computers use electrical energy.
As an example, San Francisco’s 890,000 people would need an $8 billion battery farm weighing about 380,000 tons to avoid frequent blackouts if it were to go 100 percent renewable by 2045, as per California law. The cost would be about $16,000 per household. It’s important to note that after being drained over 12 hours, on a windless, cold winter’s day, power would be then unavailable in subsequent days if the state relied on such batteries.
As I noted in my last article, EV proponents seem to have no idea from where electricity comes. From where is the electricity to charge the massive batteries–which don’t exist, but let’s roll with it–necessary to charge all those EV batteries going to come? That’s a lot of fairy dust and unicorn farts. And if it takes four hours to charge an EV at home with a $2000 fast charger, how long would it take to recharge that $8 billion—you don’t really think it’s going to cost only $8 Billion, do you, gentle readers?—battery farm that is supposed to charge millions of EVs? Batteries, particularly those under constant, high load, don’t last long, so $8+ billion per year or so for battery replacement with attendant costs per household? No, it’s not going to be a mere $16,000 household only once. Oh, and when those batteries are being serviced or replaced, they aren’t going to provide any fairy dust. On the other hand, hundreds of thousands of Californians are fleeing to the free states, so that might help…
Hmmm. Maybe getting all this wondrous electrical infrastructure isn’t as quick and easy as it sounds—unless the point is to control every aspect of people’s lives and keep them sweating during summer and freezing in winter in their homes, and of course, wearing masks for eternity.
So sure, EVs are our future, but only if we want to take great civilizational leaps backward.