Clean Energy Has Questions to Answer
Xcel Energy out of Colorado is shutting down two coal-fired generating power plants in favor of the largest solar-plus storage project in the United States. This $2.5-billion "scheme" allowed only 11 companies to bid on the project out of 400 applicants. Pueblo County, Colorado originally had reservations over losing tax revenue from the former coal-fired power plants. Xcel wants zero emission electricity by 2050 without saying publicly how that will happen.
California billionaire coal-fired power plant investor turned environmentalist Tom Steyer assisted Xcel's decision to move toward taxpayer-subsidized renewable energy, which is the backbone of the clean energy economy. Colorado officials never questioned Mr. Steyer's intentions or asked if solar and wind farms can replace reliable, abundant, affordable, scalable, and flexible coal-fired generating capacity. Currently, renewables only make energy and electricity more expensive for rate-payers.
Maersk, the world's largest container shipping company, announced that it would cut CO2 emissions to zero by 2050, according to its CEO, Soren Toft. Mr. Toft reiterated, "This goal would require coming up with emissions-free engine technologies by 2030 and we will have to abandon fossil fuels."
Maersk will need to invent a different type of fuel to power its massive ships. An entity or Maersk will need to identify who funds the endeavor to change the way transportation assets have been powered on a large-scale basis for over one hundred years.
In November 2018, Bloomberg News headlined: "Clean Power See First Win Over Fossil Fuels in Emerging Markets." BloombergNEF added: "Developing Nations Assume Mantle of Global Clean Energy Leadership." Then, ironically, OilPrice.com reported in December 2018:
Clean electricity surpasses fossil fuels in emerging markets by adding more clean electricity generation than fossil fuel generation for the first time ever. [Data were taken from 2017.]
A recent major study said oceans are rising. This study had serious mathematical miscalculations and other bias that came to light. In fact, oceans are not rising. Will clean energy be needed if oceans aren't rising?
NASA data confirmed that global temperatures "dropped sharply over the past two years from February 2016 to February 2018." Yet reporters found editorial space to write about a group wanting to carve President Donald Trump's face into a glacier to prove that climate change is occurring instead of understanding the geopolitical implications of clean energy.
Major media outlets never covered the global cooling story by investigative journalist Aaron Brown of Real Clear Markets. If the planet is cooling, warming, or somewhere in between, then how will clean energy counter these changes? Unfortunately, the answer is, it won't. Clean energy will not be the answer in the near or distant future.
Amid the impressive number of graphs, charts, tables, and prognostications by the likes of Western governments, leading environmental organizations, and energy researchers, "the percentage of total global primary electricity demand provided by wind and solar is 1.1%." Forecasts to 2050 show renewables and clean energy unable to eliminate fossil fuels or nuclear.
The world still runs on fossil fuels, and the IEA confirmed this fact with the release of The World Energy Outlook 2018. China's, Russia's, Iran's, and North Korea's militaries all run on fossil fuel or nuclear for their blue-water navies. Renewables and clean energy are niche energy options to the detriment of global security and prosperity.
Even the technologically sophisticated Germans have increased emissions from German chancellor Angela Merkel's "Energiewende" policy, which consists of transitioning the German economy away from nuclear and fossil fuels into renewables. Now the Germans are building and using coal-fired power plants to power their country.
All of the above mentioned examples, reports, and studies are major reasons why clean energy is an unfolding geopolitical nightmare. The reports and headlines also failed to mention that global emissions rose in 2018, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA) off increased oil, petroleum, natural gas, and coal usage.
If clean energy is the future, then it is time to build a better solar panel, wind turbine, electric vehicle, and smart grid that can store and disperse power on cloudless and sunless days. Otherwise, Germany will continue relying on Russian-owned and operated Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines for natural gas, since clean energy cannot meet Europe's domestic or national security needs. This is a continued geopolitical issue for NATO and U.S. security arrangements in place since the end of World War II.
The get-off-fossil-fuel leaders like former vice president Al Gore are crusading at all costs to pursue intermittent, dilute, low–energy density renewables in their quest to "save the world." China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea have never indicated they will use only solar and wind or eliminate oil, natural gas, coal, and nuclear energy.
Additionally, billions of people are still without reliable electricity; instead, they are burning cow dung and rotted wood for energy. As an example, 600 million Africans do not have electricity. This is a breeding ground for Islamic extremism, failed states, and chaos, leading to continent-wide war.
The hopes of using diplomacy, soft power, and realist balancing against China off the Horn of Africa are dashed when so many are without reliable energy and electricity. The problem with clean energy are the countless misconceptions about the origin and nature of electricity — its reliability and its scalability, plus whether the electricity sources being contemplated are cost-effective and do not create national security problems and geopolitical havoc.
Energy at its core should empower individuals, nations, and continents. If you want clean, carbon-free energy, only nuclear meets those qualifications.
Understanding the limitations of clean energy will people help come up with the best energy policies to bring billions out from crippling poverty, lowered life expectancies, and the allure of terrorism and war as economic choices. There is an opportunity to alleviate poverty and war if every person on the planet has access to scalable, reliable, affordable, abundant, and flexible energy. When facts are shoved aside for political gain, then rational energy discussions no longer happen.