Thoughts on economics and liberty

Key extracts from “The “New Energy Economy”: An Exercise in Magical Thinking” by Mark P. Mills

This is a superb paper – available here.


  1. Hydrocarbons are the most concentrated form of readily usable energy

Since hydrocarbons are so easily stored, idle conventional power plants can be dispatched—ramped up and down—to follow cyclical demand for electricity. Wind turbines and solar arrays cannot be dispatched when there’s no wind or sun.

2. The key hidden cost of solar and wind is the storage problem

average monthly wind and solar electricity output can drop as much as twofold during each source’s respective “low” season.

$200,000 worth of Tesla batteries, which collectively weigh over 20,000 pounds, are needed to store the energy equivalent of one barrel of oil.

IT WILL TAKE TESLA 1000 YEARS (ONE **THOUSAND** YEARS) TO PRODUCE BATTERIES FOR JUST 2 DAYS ENERGY FOR USA: “to fabricate a quantity of batteries to store two days’ worth of U.S. electricity demand would require 1,000 years of (Tesla’s) Gigafactory production”

IT REQUIRES VAST AMOUNTS OF FOSSIL FUELS TO FABRICATE A BATTERY THAT STORES FAR LESS ENERGY THAN IS USED IN PRODUCTION: “it requires the energy equivalent of about 100 barrels of oil to fabricate a quantity of batteries that can store a single barrel of oil-equivalent energy.”

THE BATTERY OF AN ELECTRIC AIRPLANE WOULD NEED TO BE FIVE TIMES THE PLANE’S WEIGHT: “The energy equivalent of the aviation fuel actually used by an aircraft flying to Asia would take $60 million worth of Tesla-type batteries weighing five times more than that aircraft”

3. Renewable can never beat coal

RENEWABLE CAN NEVER BEAT COAL: “More than a decade ago, Google focused its vaunted engineering talent on a project called “RE<C,” seeking to develop renewable energy cheaper than coal.”

Google cancelled the project in 2014 after concluding that its objective is IMPOSSIBLE.


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Sanjeev Sabhlok

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