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#351 2024-04-01 10:07:04

kbd512
Administrator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 7,413

Re: Why the Green Energy Transition Won’t Happen

Spaniard,

I'm not assuming anything.  I can use my eyeballs to simply look at the prices for absolutely any commodity over time.  You're the one refusing to acknowledge that prices have gone up in the past 4 years, by a lot, because it doesn't support your belief about renewables getting cheaper over time.  The thing is, prices for absolutely eveything have gone up, and to protect your beliefs about renewable energy, you're refusing to address ugly objective reality.

The issue with Lithium is not that it was double the price a year ago, but prices have fallen since then so it's no longer an issue of any substance.  The issue is that the price of Lithium / gasoline / bread / furniture / etc, is never going back down to where it was before COVID.  That is purely a product of inflation from governments spending money they don't have.  It's stuctural.  There's no amount of money that can be printed to solve that problem.

The variables at play was the market charged more money for Lithium because demand shot up and the world collectively lost its mind over COVID.  The same applied to all other commodities and goods or services, be it gasoline or eggs and bacon, until it created destruction for demand of that product, at which point the prices went down to levels consumers could afford, because fewer and fewer people were buying the goods or services or commodities at the prices being demanded.  That's an example of market dysfunction that is not unique to anything related to green energy.  Green energy was neither the cause of nor the result of the market panic, but like everything else, green energy machines were affected.

The present price increases are not a temporary "blip" or "spike".  They're permanent.  Gasoline could be purchased for less than a dollar per gallon when I was a child.  Gasoline prices are never going back down to $1 per gallon for any significant period of time, unless something cataclysmic happens.  So, this belief about prices being capable of going down forever is clearly and objectively false, especially over greater periods of time measured in decades.  You know what else you can't get for $1 anymore?  A gallon of milk, or a loaf of bread, or a dozen eggs.  That stuff is now permanently more expensive as well, and not because there's a shortage of milk, bread, or eggs.

I'm laying out reality as it presently is, you don't like it because it doesn't support your beliefs about what reality should be, so you're presenting a bunch of "what-ifs" and generalizations instead of making a simple acknowledgment that what is presently going on is the opposte of what you're claiming about the future.  To be clear "what is going on", has been going on since before I was born.  Cheap energy depletion has caused a stagnation of growth over decades.

If I predicted that the average purchase price of a car would be greater in 10 to 20 years time, as compared to car prices today, then I'd be correct almost 100% of the time unless we were to cherry pick the starting and ending point to try and manipulate the result to show something is cheaper or more expensive.

Incidentally, this is how upsets or "disappointments" as you called them, tend to happen.  Someone is telling you something that is self-evident, you don't want to hear it because you don't like what it means, and insist that everything is fine, despite the evidence to the contrary.  How is this any different than false beliefs about climate change not existing or going away?

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#352 2024-04-01 10:42:18

kbd512
Administrator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 7,413

Re: Why the Green Energy Transition Won’t Happen

Spaniard,

Renewables remain competitive when the cost of energy storage or production when there is no sunlight or wind is completely ignored.  Everybody who has renewable energy knows that the cost of any kind of renewable plus storage is completely uncompetitive with coal.

Transportation costs are largely one-time costs for devices that will be installed any used over 15 to 25 years, so this argument doesn't withstand cursory scrutiny.  If the cost of shipping a solar panel was $50 or $100, that makes almost no difference at all to the cost of energy over 25 years.

Yes, I've heard this common refrain that we only need more renewables, and then we'll quit burning coal.  Germany has more installed renewables than just about any other country on the planet.  They're still burning coal.

The energy storage market is part of the same energy generating market as the one involving renewable energy, because it's feeding power into the same electric grid.  This claim is absurd.  If renewables didn't need energy storage, and storage was just an optional extra, like adding Bluetooth audio to a car stereo, then you would have a point, but since renewables are intermittent, it's not optional without daily electric grid crashes, the power is going to the same place as the renewable energy generating plants, and is therefore part of the same market, whether you think so or not.

Yes, we are "way below the level of required storage" in all parts of the world.  That means lots and lots of additional money, materials, and energy must be spent to create that green energy storage, which goes well beyond what renewable energy requires when natural gas and coal backstop their variability.  One thing certainly is true, and that is electricity bills and water bills are going way up from where they were previously.  People who are not ideological would notice "what's changed", which is the cost of energy, which is largely driven by all the inputs, which are all substantially higher for green energy, and somebody is going to pay for that, and that "somebody" is always going to be the consumer of the energy, never the producer of it, because the producer is a business, and no business can remain in business if their operating costs exceed revenue for a great enough period of time to wipe out any reserve money or profits that they have invested into their business.

What we will see in the coming years is burning of coal and gas at increasing rates, until there is no more left to burn, and then we won't have the surplus energy presently being used to create green energy machines at the rate demanded.  This is "coffin corner", as I call it, because when the energy runs out, shortly thereafter you start filling coffins with all of your "mistakes".  This planet doesn't natively support a population of 8 billion people without energy sources as dense and abundant and always-available as hydrocarbon or nuclear energy.  I have all of human history up to the point of industrialization to point to as evidence for that assertion.  We've had windmills to grind grain for centuries and we used solar power to grow our food.  At no point in time in our pre-industrial history was the average life expectancy much beyond 30 to 40, even though a comparative handful of people lived into old age.  Anyway, depopulation is an active / ongoing phenomenon, so maybe we have one remaining "get out of energy jail free" card to play here, or at least I hope we do.

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#353 2024-04-01 11:53:53

kbd512
Administrator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 7,413

Re: Why the Green Energy Transition Won’t Happen

All I want is an actual win to point to, not something that is performative or "feel good" in nature, but an actual unmistakable achievement showing, in no uncertain terms, that "we installed XYZ renewable energy here, and then our total global CO2 emissions were reduced, full stop".  I consider that a victory.  I don't consider happy talk about the future or playing semantics games with definitions of terms or ignoring what we see that we don't like to be an achievement.  Thus far, at best, we might achieve a pyrrhic victory at some undefined point in the future, but that would first require total global CO2 emissions to remain unchanged from where we started from decades ago.  In another 10 years, if per-capita CO2 emissions haven't improved, then perhaps it's time to consider alternative approaches to energy generation which might have an absolute positive effect on emissions.  We've been working on photovoltaics and wind turbines since the 1970s.  If this all-electric future takes another century to implement, then it's a future solution we can revisit after we actually reduce our emissions.

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#354 2024-04-01 18:24:11

Calliban
Member
From: Northern England, UK
Registered: 2019-08-18
Posts: 3,398

Re: Why the Green Energy Transition Won’t Happen

According to natural resource investors Goehring & Rosencwajg, about 2/3rds of the price drop in solar projects from 2008 to 2020, was a result of falling energy costs and very low interest rates.  When you consider that inflation adjusted interest rates were less than zero, it is no wonder that capital intensive, front end loaded projects were historically cheap.  That is precisely the problem with low interest rates.  They can stimulate growth, but they also encourage inefficient use of capital.
https://blog.gorozen.com/blog/the-price … -subsidies

Goehring & Rosencwajg don't specifically mention the use of slave labour and cheap coal in China.  But we know this is part of the reason for declining costs as well.  The investment driven growth model in China, also led to really dramatic declines in the cost of industrial materials like steel, after about 2011.  All of these things have played in favour of solar PV, which is the most energy and material resource intensive means of generating electricity (See Table 10.4, in link below).
https://www.energy.gov/sites/prod/files … pter10.pdf

Unfortunately, cost declines cannot continue forever, especially for an energy source that needs so much steel, concrete, copper, etc, to produce each TWh of energy.  When the cost of materials increases, so to does everything that is being made from those materials.  That includes solar powerplants.
https://colitetech.com/blog/why-is-the- … ncreasing/

A couple of other things are clear from the references above.  (1) The poor EROEI of solar PV is a direct result of its low power density and the heavy material needs that result; (2) Wind power is much superior to solar PV in terms of overall EROI and materials needed per TWh.  (3) Dealing with intermittency through storage, cuts EROEI by roughly half.  This suggests that the best way to use renewable energy is to avoid storage and simply accept the fact that demand must adapt to supply.  There is no way around that without terminally crushing the whole system EROEI.

There are plenty of people who find these facts of life to be unacceptable.  But they aren't negotiable.  These are physics driven problems that stem from low power density.

Last edited by Calliban (2024-04-01 18:28:22)


"Plan and prepare for every possibility, and you will never act. It is nobler to have courage as we stumble into half the things we fear than to analyse every possible obstacle and begin nothing. Great things are achieved by embracing great dangers."

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#355 2024-04-02 00:33:44

Spaniard
Member
From: Spain
Registered: 2008-04-18
Posts: 133

Re: Why the Green Energy Transition Won’t Happen

https://medium.com/@erofeev.yury/solar- … 711debf309

Solar photovoltaic energy is growing at a monstrous rate. For example, BloombergNEF expects that about 400 GW of solar energy capacity will be commissioned around the world this year.

One of the factors for rapid growth is the reduction in prices for equipment and solar panels.

Aside from a two-year bump between 2020 and 2022, when solar module prices rose more than 50%, the cost of photovoltaic systems has fallen steadily since the mid-2000s, averaging about 10 to 15 percent per year.

In 2023, module price declines resumed, reaching an all-time low of around $150/kW (15 cents/W) — a staggering 42% drop from the January 2020 price.

Rethink Energy predicts that wholesale solar module prices will halve again by 2040 in a new report.

The decline in silicon prices through 2030 will be driven by “a wide range of incremental technology upgrades that will continue at a slower pace through 2040.”

“By 2040, silicon-perovskite tandems — perhaps some will even be silicon-perovskite-perovskite — will account for 61% of the market share,” the authors say.

A report from Rethink Technology Research predicts that the price of PV systems, based on the current “off-the-line silicon solar module cost in China” of US$154/kW, will fall again to US$92.2/kW by 2030 year and 71.1 US dollars/kW by 2040 — a decrease of 53%.

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#356 2024-04-02 04:50:22

Calliban
Member
From: Northern England, UK
Registered: 2019-08-18
Posts: 3,398

Re: Why the Green Energy Transition Won’t Happen

Solar photovoltaic energy is growing at a monstrous rate. For example, BloombergNEF expects that about 400 GW of solar energy capacity will be commissioned around the world this year.

Much depends on how long the Chinese system holds together.  They are using forced labour to convert stranded coal into a product (PV modules) that they can ship out by rail.  It is an innovative, though inhumane, approach.  But it does offer some insight into how stranded fossil fuel reserves can be exploited in other places.  Most other places on Earth have no equivelant of Uiyger forced labour.  Nor would it be acceptable in most countries.  We couldn't replicate the Chinese model using stranded coal in Australia or Russia, for example.  Even the Russians aren't low enough to do what the Chinese are doing to the Uiygers and Siberia doesn't have a high enough population density to try it.  But if stranded coal or gas can be turned into something energy dense that can be shipped, i.e. aluminium, then we have a way of putting an otherwise trapped energy resource to use.

EROEI is only weakly relevant to the case of Chinese solar PV.  They are using extremely cheap coal to build modules.  That coal would otherwise be useless to them and labour costs are minimal thanks to slavery.  PV modules are therefore a very effective way of storing coal based energy accessed by slave labour.  It is unethical on just about every level imaginable - climate, human rights, trade ethics, sustainability - the list is long.  But for the time being it works for them and for anyone else that wants to build solar capacity and doesn't care to look too closely at what it takes to do it.

The question is, are we willing to hold our noses and buy up this energy source whilst it is available?  It isn't a bad deal financially, but it is effectively a trade in human bones and flesh.  Not really that different to the lampshades the Nazis manufactured from the skin of slaughtered Jews, Slavs and Gypsies.  Very practical I'm sure, but would you really want one in your house?  The Chinese are selling a product of slave labour that the western Left doesn't want to sanction too strongly because it aligns with their Green transition goals.  So they mostly turn the other cheek and turn their attention to boycotting Isreali pistachios instead.  So the Chinese equivelant of skin lampshades will continue to get made, until they either run out of Uiygers or their demographic collapse ends their export dominated economic model. Whichever comes first.

The Chinese model isn't really compatible with reducing CO2 emissions or any human rights consideration.  But maybe there are other ways of making it work that don't flood the atmosphere with CO2?  We could find a country where nuclear safety regulation is more sensible and build out lots of nuclear reactors far more cheaply than could ever be done in the west.  That cheap electricity coukd then be used to make solar modules that are installed in idiot run countries like Germany and Britain.  That way, the PV panels are storing nuclear energy instead of coal based energy.  We would still need cheap labour to build the panels.  Bangladesh perhaps?

Last edited by Calliban (2024-04-02 05:15:38)


"Plan and prepare for every possibility, and you will never act. It is nobler to have courage as we stumble into half the things we fear than to analyse every possible obstacle and begin nothing. Great things are achieved by embracing great dangers."

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#357 2024-04-02 19:09:47

Calliban
Member
From: Northern England, UK
Registered: 2019-08-18
Posts: 3,398

Re: Why the Green Energy Transition Won’t Happen

Some 20% of the world's refining capacity is at risk of closure.
https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-Gene … osure.html

Mostly in OECD countries.  The official stated reason is declining demand due to EVs.  Saying that makes people feel happy about it.  But so far this is having a minor effect on petroleum product demand.  Product demand has been dropping in OECD countries since 2008.  At this time, EVs were little more than prototype curiosities.  One real factor behind declining demand is declining prosperity for the majority of people.  As people get poorer, oil products become less affordable.  Couple that with demographic ageing in the western world and you have a perfect recipe for falling demand.  Falling EROIE of petroleum is making it less affordable to a poorer population.  At the same time, workforce is shrinking.  Declining oil demand is therefore a harbinger of economic ruin.


"Plan and prepare for every possibility, and you will never act. It is nobler to have courage as we stumble into half the things we fear than to analyse every possible obstacle and begin nothing. Great things are achieved by embracing great dangers."

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#358 2024-04-03 00:41:56

Spaniard
Member
From: Spain
Registered: 2008-04-18
Posts: 133

Re: Why the Green Energy Transition Won’t Happen

Calliban wrote:

Much depends on how long the Chinese system holds together.  They are using forced labour to convert stranded coal into a product (PV modules) that they can ship out by rail.  It is an innovative, though inhumane, approach.  But it does offer some insight into how stranded fossil fuel reserves can be exploited in other places.  Most other places on Earth have no equivelant of Uiyger forced labour.  Nor would it be acceptable in most countries.

https://tradingeconomics.com/china/wages

Wages in China has being on the rising all of these years, and coal in the mix has slightly lost weight (relative. Of course, in total consumption they have grown because total energy has grown more than the change of the mix).

You can check the mix here.

https://ourworldindata.org/energy-mix

Although you need to select manually China instead of worldwide and relative instead of absolute. Then the trend is clear.

So both arguments, worsening labor conditions and more coal usage doesn't match the data on China.

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#359 2024-04-03 01:46:35

Spaniard
Member
From: Spain
Registered: 2008-04-18
Posts: 133

Re: Why the Green Energy Transition Won’t Happen

Calliban wrote:

Some 20% of the world's refining capacity is at risk of closure.
https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-Gene … osure.html

Mostly in OECD countries.  The official stated reason is declining demand due to EVs.  Saying that makes people feel happy about it.  But so far this is having a minor effect on petroleum product demand.  Product demand has been dropping in OECD countries since 2008.  At this time, EVs were little more than prototype curiosities.  One real factor behind declining demand is declining prosperity for the majority of people.  As people get poorer, oil products become less affordable.  Couple that with demographic ageing in the western world and you have a perfect recipe for falling demand.  Falling EROIE of petroleum is making it less affordable to a poorer population.  At the same time, workforce is shrinking.  Declining oil demand is therefore a harbinger of economic ruin.

I seems I lost my last response.

Anyway, as I said before, investors doesn't look EROEI. Investors only care about return of investment. They will only see if the investment will be good or bad. As the number of voices against the usage of fossil fuels grows, and it exists a growing risk of fossil fuel bans or massive investment on replacement, the risk of investment on oil also raises.

Besides, BEV are not the only technology that reduce oil. Hybrids, while only reduce a fraction, that reduction is also noticeable. But the greatest reason is not CURRENT data, but bad FUTURE perspectives. This kind of infrastructure can have amortization periods of three decades, so the risks are high.

Investors will wait in countries where the growing demand is not clear, waiting if the prices raises. With higher prices, the amortization period shrink and also the risk of investment.

OR... the demand will really shrink, and the new capacity won't be needed. The old capacity will probably be extended beyond their optimal lifetime because there is no enough time to the new capacity to amortize, at least at the same levels than the previous years.

I personally expect a mix of both. If the BEV replacement come sooner, oil prices should maintain or even reduce a little, but I expect to maintain and even increase a little because the infrastructure becomes old and cost more to maintain. Also the reduction of oil investment will generate a cascade of reduction of scale that will hit against it.
But it's also true than if we replace fast enough, the first oil wheels to close will be the least profitable (so, most expensive) so there are a mix of variables in both directions.

I expect slightly raising price in oil, while contained, as too high will push the BEV replacement sooner. Still, there is a limit to the speed of the replacement because multiple bottlenecks, so there will be multiple spikes in prices as the change is very fast and not enough and too much offer and demand can change very quickly.

The same can occur in the renewables/EV side. In fact, there is currently growing voices warning about a lack of lithium PRODUCTION. Nothing about reserves, but a possible surge in BEV interest beyond some predictions that will require to use more lithium than current investment in the lithium industry.

That can surely occur, and the reason is basically the same. Contradictory projections about the future. Most investors prefer to wait than risk in a investment that it's not clear.
If the EV expand more than the conservative projections, they will soon lack lithium production, raising the prices, generating a new wave of investments that will drop the price sometime later.
These phenomenons are not energy related, but pure economic.

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#360 2024-04-03 08:22:13

Calliban
Member
From: Northern England, UK
Registered: 2019-08-18
Posts: 3,398

Re: Why the Green Energy Transition Won’t Happen

Spaniard wrote:

Anyway, as I said before, investors doesn't look EROEI. Investors only care about return of investment. They will only see if the investment will be good or bad. As the number of voices against the usage of fossil fuels grows, and it exists a growing risk of fossil fuel bans or massive investment on replacement, the risk of investment on oil also raises.

Spaniard, EROEI tells us how viable an energy source is as an energy source.  There are all sorts of issues that can distort short term investment decisions.  The Chinese use of stranded coal and slave labour have made Chinese panels extremely cheap.  But if an energy source has EROEI of 2.45, it is clearly impossible for it to produce enough energy to replace itself before end of life.  If we were ever to try and do that, the result would be so expensive as to be unaffordable, because there just isn't enough surplus energy to do anything useful. 

This is key for photovoltaics to be a large part of the solution that gets us off of fossil fuels.  If it cannot be built without huge investments of fossil fuels, then it isn't useful as part of a net zero programme.  There is no work around that can change that unless it can increase the EROEI and allow solar panels to be built using energy from solar panels.  That is the key for sustainability for any energy source.  The best it can ever be under present technology sets is a fossil fuel extender - a way of using otherwise stranded fossil fuel to make something that stores the energy.  It can do that, but under that scenario it won't do anything to reduce CO2 emissions.  And this is all that photovoltaics are as things stand - a way of storing fossil fuel energy.

There is no way of arguing or wordsmithing this problem in a way that changes anything.  If the EROEI calculated by Charles Hall is close to reality, then it isn't possible to make PV without subsidising it with another high EROEI energy source.  It isn't negotiable - nothing we say here will actually change it.  It isn't a function of politics that will change depending on how well we debate.  It is a physics problem.

That isn't to say that PV has no place at all in our future solution sets.  Even if it is an energy sink, it can still have local uses, in much the same way as other tools can be useful even if they don't produce energy at all.  I have a PV powered watch.  Even though it likely took more energy to make the solar cell than it will ever return, it is still a better option overall than batteries.  Likewise for powering traffic lights in the middle of nowhere.  Even with EROEI <1, PV could still be the cost optimum solution if the other options are a DG that needs to be refuelled daily or a power cable that is miles long connecting to the grid.  This remains true for many small power uses where the cost of grid connection is the greatest cost.  But an energy source with EROEI 2.45 cannot do the heavy lifting that society needs.  It cannot power steel production or transportation or the local district heating network.

This is a result of the first and second laws of thermodynamics.  The energy produced by an energy source, must ultimately cover its own maintenance needs and the maintenance and operation of the system it powers.  If EROEI is too low, then there just isn't enough surplus energy to do those things.  We can talk about that more if you find it useful, but unless you or I can invent something new here it isn't going to change.  It doesn't matter how much you want it to work if the physics is against it.

The rollout of BEVs is a seperate but related issue.  Kbd512 and I have already explained on the 'Lithium for Batteries' thread why this probably isn't a sustainable solution either.  So I won't repeat that discussion here.  That doesn't mean it won't continue in some form for a while longer.  It just isn't contributing to sustainability goals.  It is digging us into a deeper hole, quite literally.

Last edited by Calliban (2024-04-03 08:42:17)


"Plan and prepare for every possibility, and you will never act. It is nobler to have courage as we stumble into half the things we fear than to analyse every possible obstacle and begin nothing. Great things are achieved by embracing great dangers."

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#361 2024-04-03 08:52:50

Spaniard
Member
From: Spain
Registered: 2008-04-18
Posts: 133

Re: Why the Green Energy Transition Won’t Happen

Calliban wrote:

Spaniard, EROEI tells us how viable an energy source is as an energy source.

The EROEI you are insisting is more and more difficult to conciliate with the data of the constant advancements and renewable forecasts of Terawatts of new power.
I already told about it. The industry focus on LCOE, because that's the important number for investors to calculate their return of investment.
But continuous improvement of LCOE are incompatible with fixed EROEI. More and more excuses are needed to "explain" why this happen.

While the answer is simple although some people dislike. EROEI data is obsolete or wrong. Sometimes even intentionally manipulated. After all, one of the most focused community around this value is the peakoiler community and their discourse depends on that value to be bad.
Otherwise the renewables would be perfectly fine to replace our current energy model and their proposition for "degrowth" is unnecessary.

For the same reasons, other groups how dislike the competition of the renewable in their markets also uses this to justify attacks and stops to the renewable initiative.

But... whatever. If you want to believe that EROEI calculus are in the right, and LCOE are just temporary, suit yourself waiting for the renewable to fail.

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#362 2024-04-03 13:37:41

kbd512
Administrator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 7,413

Re: Why the Green Energy Transition Won’t Happen

Spaniard,

Spaniard wrote:

But continuous improvement of LCOE are incompatible with fixed EROEI.

I don't think anyone here has ever claimed that the EROEI of wind and solar is engraved in stone, so this is a strawman argument against a claim that was never made by Calliban, myself, or others.  You made that up in your head because your belief system felt threatened, so you attempted to assign your belief about what we said to what we actually told you.

We are claiming that even after short-term to mid-term improvements are taken into consideration, the gross EROEI of the entire solution is not very likely to become dramatically more favorable to an electronics-based energy generation and storage solution, which is what the bulk of money is being spent on at the present time.  Electricity is already powering many industrial processes  and the majority of residential / commercial energy needs.  To believe there will be some fantastic reduction in energy consumption if absolutely everything was powered by electricity, is to ignore the present electrical energy consumption.

When 70% of the energy consumption comes from photovoltaics and wind turbines, there will be a requirement for either a storage of some kind or dramatic over-production of energy to account for diurnal and seasonal variability.  All forms of energy storage result in a significant net reduction in EROEI, and that includes coal.  Maintaining a coal pile costs money.  Maintaining an electrochemical battery also costs money.  The major difference is in the total cost of the energy storage system over time.  For coal, you store it by dumping it on the ground.  Any reasonably flat patch of dirt will work.  A battery doesn't do so well when it's exposed to the elements, so we devise elaborate means to protect it.  In addition to the battery itself and all equipment required to use it, all of that "stuff we do to protect the battery" requires energy input.  In total, the battery requires dramatically more energy input, even if it's dramatically more electrically efficient than coal.

The poorest grades of coal store about 5,000Wh/kg.  The best batteries money can buy store about 500Wh/kg.  Short of some miraculous new discovery related to battery energy density, it's highly improbable that electrochemical batteries ever achieve 5,000Wh/kg in our lifetimes.  I don't have a crystal ball, and neither do you, but I wouldn't bet any money on that happening.  If we're going to use other energy storage methods and devices, then those methods are likely to have even poorer energy densities than Lithium-ion batteries, as well as total efficiencies, so they will require even more materials.  They might be much cheaper or more abundant materials, but we will require more of them if their energy densities are lower than Lithium-ion.

All of this strongly implies that the cost of energy won't go down as ever-greater consumption of more energy-intensive materials is required to inch closer to wind and solar becoming 70% of all power generation.  The IEA has noted that the cost of green energy machines has only increased over the past 4 years, but expects cost reductions to occur this year, because that forecast is compatible with their desires for photovoltaics and wind turbines.  It's entirely belief-based, rather than recent history-based.  If that doesn't happen, they'll say it'll happen in 2025.  Eventually, a thinking person would have to notice that there were non-repeatable reasons behind the dramatic apparent initial cost reductions that weren't related to dramatic improvements in battery efficiency, and that those trends cannot continue forever.  Aluminum was once more expensive than Gold, but process improvement made it dramatically cheaper than Gold, but a century later there are no fundamentally new ways in which Aluminum production has improved to make it dramatically cheaper than it already is.  There are clearly limits to the improvements possible with any given process or technology, whether it produces a base metal like Aluminum, a solar panel, a car, or a house.

LCOE can be manipulated in ways that EROEI cannot.  I can vote for legislators who write laws that make it functionally impossible to build or even operate an existing nuclear reactor, but that's an artificial manipulation of the market.  The physics of how much material is required didn't change, I just voted for someone who would ensure that my favored sources of energy would be made artificially more competitive by legislating their competition out of existence.  That's objective reality here in America.  The NRC exists for the express purpose of making nuclear energy cost-prohibitive.  We've even had NRC members, to include the chairman of the NRC, make public statements, an article in The Washington Post, to that effect.  The article's title is a misnomer, because he said that his beliefs about nuclear power were that it was a greater threat to humanity than climate change, and that anything but nuclear power was "more acceptable", even if that meant burning coal.

I oversaw the U.S. nuclear power industry.  Now I think it should be banned.  The danger from climate change no longer outweighs the risks of nuclear accidents.

He arrived at his view that it should be banned while he was chairman, as he stated in the article, not afterwards as the title implies to those who don't read more than the headline.  He went about implementing his ideology by preventing the approval of new build nuclear reactors.  There have been no new nuclear reactors built after the NRC was formed.  All the reactors built now were on the books before the NRC existed.

After I left the NRC in 2012, I argued that we needed new ways to prevent accidents altogether. When a reactor incident occurs, the plant should not release any harmful radiation outside the plant itself. I was not yet antinuclear, just pro-public-safety. But nuclear proponents still see this as “antinuclear.” They knew, as I did, that most plants operating today do not meet the “no off-site release” test. I think a reasonable standard for any source of electricity should be that it doesn’t contaminate your community for decades.

The plastics used to create insulation for wires for batteries and photovoltaics and wind turbines use chemicals that contaminate the ground, essentially forever.  Mercury and Arsenic never become non-toxic over time.  They're toxic to humans and most other forms of life, from now until the end of time.

Coal and natural gas do not create this kind of acute accident hazard, though they do present a different kind of danger. Large dams for hydroelectric power could require evacuation of nearby communities if they failed — but without the lasting contamination effect of radiation. And solar, wind and geothermal energy pose no safety threat at all.

Wait, so there's no Mercury and Arsenic or Radon in coal dust anymore?

This guy must be a clown, yet he was the NRC Chairman, appointed by our beloved Democrats.

I must have missed the part where Gallium Arsenide solar panels were made without Gallium or Arsenic.

I must have missed the part where you can go bathing in the water used by Lithium mines without dying.

This is what happens when you hold dogmatic religious beliefs about energy without much apparent understanding of math and science.

Gregory Jaczko served on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission from 2005 to 2009, and as its chairman from 2009 to 2012. The author of "Confessions of a Rogue Nuclear Regulator," he is the founder of Wind Future LLC and teaches at Georgetown University and Princeton University.

He wasn't any kind of a "rogue", though, he did what every single Democrat appointed to the NRC has done since it was created.  The only people who we appoint to the NRC are leftist wind and solar zealots who think their sole job is to prevent nuclear power from doing what it did for France before their own green religious zealots gained power and used it to promote their backwards ideology.

When they talk about the cost of electricity going down, they're not talking about what consumers actually pay, which is always higher with wind and solar than it is with any other forms of energy, until the market is so heavily manipulated as to make that statement true by virtue of not allowing any other forms of energy to exist.

Spaniard wrote:

EROEI data is obsolete or wrong.

Two different people can believe different things about the same data, but to assert that any data which disagrees with your beliefs about the data is "obsolete or wrong" strains credulity.

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