Reality Blind - Vol. 1

Renewables Point #2: FFEMs (Fossil Fuel Extension Mechanisms)

Summary: At present, the human superorganism has self-organized around “global GDP growth” as its goal and neoclassical welfare economics as its playbook. Under such social organizing principles, the choice to build solar panels and wind turbines ends up not replacing coal, natural gas and oil, but just growing a bigger heat engine. (There’s a societal mechanism to “make solar panels” since that increases GDP. But there’s no such GDP mechanism to stop using coal). The graph above 204 shows the amount of the Big 4 “low carbon” energy sources has grown rapidly, while coal oil and natural gas have grown slowly, but still much more in absolute terms, remaining around 85-87% total energy sources for the last 30 years. Solar and wind have become economical to add to the grid - at a limited percentage - without subsidies. But as these intermittent and variable sources become a larger and larger part of the total system, they require increasing “overhead complexity”, as output from other dispatchable sources becomes essential to provide backup on cloudy or non-windy days. Once you add the costs of batteries or storage, the per-kWh cost of solar/wind power almost triples. And we learned earlier that benefits decline sharply (or disappear entirely) under such cost increases. Solar CAN be 100%, but not for a baseload grid . There are ongoing experiments to


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