The Fidget Spinner
Our solar/wind power fantasies will be thwarted by climate/weather extremes. Solar panels and wind turbines work only under a limited range of optimal conditions and require far more maintenance. Wind turbines shut down when it’s too windy and stand still when it’s not. Solar panels require a lot of water to clean, don’t work well in heat, and are only on half the day. On a small scale, wind and solar work fine, but not so fine on grand scales.
Our jet streams are slowing and wandering further and further north and south. In the olden days, when dinosaurs like myself were young, the jet stream formed a faster. tighter circle that stayed mostly over the north pole. Now, when we look down at the earth directly over the north pole, the jet streams look like some kind of slomo multi-wheeled fidget device. All this means is that the winds aren’t as reliable as they used to be. They blow too strong, or not at all. Stationary high and low pressures zones can become severely stalled for prolonged periods, like the legendary ridiculously resilient high pressure ridge parked off Oregon, or the big cooling zone south of Greenland. The rain is harder and the winds of change are blowing, and not exactly when and where we want them.
Maine is building a huge wind farm out on the Atlantic ocean, exactly where all the ocean heat is driving larger floods, and more extreme storms that swing inland because other stationary highs blocks them. That’s what caused superstorm Sandy to swing west. These wind turbines are sunk into oceans that are rising faster than anywhere else due to heat distorted oceans.
Australia was caught in a similar predicament during our last winter when changing wind patterns stilled the air, and along with scorching heat, conspired to make homeowners turn up the air conditioners after the turbines stopped, catching gas-fired power plants off guard, as they were shut-down to reach political emissions targets. This was extraordinarily short-sighted. But, they aren’t the only ones. Don’t even get started on Germany.
We are planning to flood the world with electric cars and IOT devices, increasing electricity demands beyond what population projections call for. By 2060, we’ll need 100% more electricity without these things, and we could make it 200% more if we keep going this way. This is all happening while we plan to shut down our nuclear power plants. You can’t shut down nuclear power, sell millions of electric cars and run it on solar/wind power while maintaining your tax base, especially if those cars are built by robots.
Meanwhile, by 2050, the west will shut down many of its old nuclear plants while China and India build 400 more new ones. China is even building nuclear plants on barges. China’s built more infrastructure next to the world’s biggest ocean in the last decade, than the whole United States has in all its history. This mega infra-structure sits smack dab in the middle of oncoming flood, drought and super storm zones, right up against a bunch of volcanoes and earthquake zones. Who are behaving badly as the melting polar glaciers send mass to the equator, while earth’s northern crust rebounds.
There is no economic energy policy no matter what Naomi Klein says. We are not going to get rich installing solar panels and wind turbines. The chaos is already here. How can climate scientists tell us the worst-case scenario is nonsense when that is exactly where we’re headed, and their climate models are always wrong? Have they been caught in public with no clothes just like economists did ten years ago?