Energy Realities for Confronting Crackpots and Frackpots

natural gas nowTom Shepstone
Shepstone Management Company, Inc.

Energy realities are the proper tools of rebuttal for cleaning up the green slime generated by crackpot and frackpot utopians with ideas that can’t work.

Mark Mills is one of those experts at the Manhattan Institute who are so darned good at confront fantasy with facts. I previously published some of his material here and here, but now he’s gone one better. He’s put together a list of 41 energy realities in an article titled “Inconvenient Energy Realities” on the Manhattan Institute website E21. It’s well worth reading in its entirety, but I thought I’d just highlight a few of the most stunning energy realities.

energy realities

  1. The small two percentage-point decline in the hydrocarbon share of world energy use entailed over $2 trillion in cumulative global spending on alternatives over that period; solar and wind today supply less than 2% of the global energy.
  2. A 100x growth in the number of electric vehicles to 400 million on the roads by 2040 would displace 5% of global oil demand.
  3. Renewable energy would have to expand 90-fold to replace global hydrocarbons in two decades. It took a half-century for global petroleum production to expand “only” 10-fold.
  4. Efficiency increases energy demand by making products & services cheaper: since 1990, global energy efficiency improved 33%, the economy grew 80% and global energy use is up 40%.
  5. Since 1995, energy used per byte is down about 10,000-fold, but global data traffic rose about a million-fold; global electricity used for computing soared.
  6. Batteries produced annually by the Tesla Gigafactory (world’s biggest battery factory) can store three minutes worth of annual U.S. electric demand.
  7. To make enough batteries to store two-day’s worth of U.S. electricity demand would require 1,000 years of production by the Gigafactory.
  8. It costs about the same to build one shale well or two wind turbines: the latter, combined, produces 0.7 barrels of oil (equivalent energy) per hourthe shale rig averages 10 barrels of oil per hour.
  9. It costs less than $0.50 to store a barrel of oil, or its equivalent in natural gas, but it costs $200 to store the equivalent energy of a barrel of oil in batteries.
  10. In order to compensate for episodic wind/solar output, U.S. utilities are using oil- and gas-burning reciprocating engines (big cruise-ship-like diesels); three times as many have been added to the grid since 2000 as in the 50 years prior to that.
  11. At least 100 pounds of materials are mined, moved and processed for every pound of battery fabricated.
  12. It takes the energy-equivalent of 100 barrels of oil to fabricate a quantity of batteries that can store the energy equivalent of a single barrel of oil.

Pretty fascinating energy realities, aren’t they? So, the next time you hear or read something from some crackpot ideologue or frackpot (a term for which I give credit to a faithful reader) trust-funder stating how the world will be shifting to all renewables in a blink of the eye, retort with some of the above. You might also mention it is the massive lowering of electric generation costs by fracking that has allowed states such as New York to redeploy the savings by using them to finance ridiculous renewables subsidies at ratepayer expense. The community profits of fracking are too often being wasted on more green eggs and scam.

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7 thoughts on “Energy Realities for Confronting Crackpots and Frackpots

  1. Let Mark live next to one of our 53 gas compressor stations in my Pa. county and take in the noise, emissions, lights and trucks and live next to a fracking site in development like our residents have to deal with.

    Let Mark live next to an industrial site for gas development with his kids and pets and write about it and sing its praises if he can.

    alternatives to gas are imperative.

    the ones who praise gas like Tom, Vic, Frank and others don’t live next door to it or near it and watch their countryside get industrialized.

    • But I do live a quarter mile from a major pipeline, Vera; a fact you ignore. And, I’ve visited numerous compressor stations and held normal conversations immediately outside the doors. That’s because their built to muffle sound and keep it at or near ambient levels.

    • Vera, I know that living near industrialization is not pleasant. So what are the alternatives? Per item 8 in the list, it will take 14.3 wind turbines to produce enough energy to replace the energy produced by one shale gas well. So how many shale gas wells are in your county? Multiply that number by 14.3 to see how many wind turbines would need to be constructed to replace just those wells in your county. Would you want that many wind turbines constructed in your county? Even if there is room for that many or the equivalent solar panels, those still do not supply full time power and the number of batteries required to store sufficient power to eliminate the need for back up fossil fuel electric generation will be enormous (refer to items 6 and 7 in the list). I do not argue that we need to move away from fossil fuels; but it must be done in a reasonable manner. The current technology will not allow for nearly as rapid a transition to alternatives as the rabid greens will have you believe.

  2. thanks, for writing nicely and respectfully to explain your perspective.

    no wind turbines next to homes are desirable either, unless they are small and only one…like some homes have in my county.

    and Europe is developing smaller ones and different designs and low noise if any.

    we definitely need better alternatives.

    • Vera,
      Please tell us about these smaller turbines from Europe.
      Once again, the reason is why they make them so big is because it is more economical to do so. Once again, the wind doesn’t always blow.

  3. As of this posting – mid day, Monday – natgas and nuclear just crossed the 91% threshold in providing the grid electricity for anti gas New England. (The natgas share alone is 67%).
    Solar and wind are under 2% contribution.

    Wholesale cost is a dirt cheap $22/Mwh.

    It is getting into the realm of derangement in how disconnected renewable advocates are becoming regarding modern day, real world electricity generation.

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