We CAN make the switch to clean energy.

'It can be done.' That's the take away from a new report that says our world can make the switch to 100% renewable energy by 2050.

That new analysis, called “World Energy Revolution: A Sustainable World Energy Outlook 2015”, was produced by Greenpeace, in collaboration with researchers from the German Aerospace Center.

The report states, “100% renewable energy for all is achievable by 2050, and [it] is the only way to ensure the world does not descend into catastrophic climate change.”

While the authors of that study admit that the initial costs of making the switch would be “huge”, they explain that “the savings will be even bigger.”

The fact is, it's already costing us way more to extract dirty energy like oil, gas, and coal, and the prices don't even reflect the clean up costs and environmental destruction that the fossil fuel industry dumps into the laps of taxpayers.

Meanwhile, the cost of clean energy like solar and wind is dropping, and oil and gas subsidies are the only reason that renewable energy sources aren't more affordable already. The report explains, “Dynamic change is taking place in the energy sector. Renewable energies have become mainstream in most countries, and prices have fallen dramatically.”

If we consider the real costs of fossil fuels, making the switch isn't only feasible, it's the only affordable option for the future.

The Executive Director of Greenpeace, Kumi Naidoo, said, “I urge all those who say 'it can't be done' to read this report and recognize that it can be done and must be done for the benefit of people around the world.”

Well said, Kumi. Now it's up to the rest of us get to work making it happen.


mjolnir's picture
mjolnir 8 years 38 weeks ago

One only has to read to page 12 to see why Thom didn't include a link to this voluminous report - it's full of innuendo and crap and short on substance. From the report itself:

"the global energy [r]evolution – key results
Renewable energy sources accounted for 12% the world´s primary energy demand in 2012. The main sources of today are biomass and hydro, which are mostly used for heating and transport but increasingly in the power sector as well. for electricity generation, renewables contribute about 21%, just as for heat supply (21%). While solar photovoltaic and wind revolutionize the power sector with increasing shares, hydropower remains the largest renewable source. biomass is the number one source for renewable heating. However, geothermal heat pumps and solar thermal collectors increasingly contribute as well. About 81.2% of the primary energy supply today still comes from fossil fuels energy." Emphasis mine.

If anyone believes that 80+% of the World's energy supply is going to be replaced in 35 years by wind or solar (barring an orders of magnitude increase in efficiency in photovoltaics), I have some lunar deeds I'd like to sell.

Vaughn B's picture
Vaughn B 8 years 38 weeks ago

I agree with Windy's statements, it's our motivations political or otherwise, ...are we desparate enough? What kind of mandate or catastrophe is sufficient to compel our tremendous potential to achieve the unachievable? Obviously the pain, whether in death or destruction, or in someone's pocket book is insufficient. Our incredible incapacity to move or make a decision, even when we're on the precipice, will cause great suffering and unnecessary hardships to millions.

The question is not, "Can we accomplish 100% renewables in 35 years?" but Do we have the will? The willingness to stop the oligarchs, take back our democracy, to demand a safe, habitable and prosperous world for our children's future?

paulsol's picture
paulsol 8 years 38 weeks ago

Dear Thom:

Here is my solution to energy crisis: Since none of the issues that really matter will be resolved by elected represenatives whose best interest are to honor and be rewrded by the status quo and they wont legislate against their own interest then in my opinion disclosure and transparency, peer pressure and public outrage are the only options avaiable beside violent revolution.

Draft 9/12/14
Proclamation and pledge for disclosure, transparency and accountability.

Whereas the democratic process in this United States of America is being corrupted, usurped, contaminated and negated it is hereby proposed that a pledge be
delivered to all Senators ,Representatives and those running for those offices to publish and archive on their websites;

a daily log of who they communicated with in their official capacity, where and for what purposes. (limited exclusion for reasons of national security).

publish on a weekly basis on their websites a list of all monies, donations, contributions,gifts,good,services or any thing of any value receive, and who it was received from. (small contributions would be listed by amount, larger contributions by amount , occupation and location of contributor and really large contributions would would require disclosure of doner , occupation or trade, location and name).

publish a full and complete financial statement on a quarterly basis.

Senators and Representatives and prospective Senators and Representatives would be notified that they have 30 days to comply, or respond and no response will be considered a rejection of the pledge.

Since our congress persons are in the employ of the citizens of these United States
it is the right and responsibility of the citizens to demand accountability from those who receive our monies, and the responsibility of the congress and potential congress persons to provide that information freely and willingly without guile or deception.

And that the names of all those who comply and all those who do not comply will be published and continue to be published on websites, Twitter, Facebook, letters to editor, and all other media possible to notify citizens on who is beholding to the people and who is in the employ of special interests.

For this to be effective it needs to be launched as a campaign with a coordinated effort to use timely press releases , letters to the editor and social network activity etc. in hopes of making it go viral as the more publicity behind it the more effective it will be.
As this would not be a legal contract and would be enforced by the court of public opinion there would be no need to bog this down by making it comply with legalese nor would it take any legal action to enforce. The enforcement would be achieved thru exposure in media and peer pressure.

Tentative and partial action plan highlights:
Draft finalized pledge
Create petition, create buzz and get celebrity endorsements
Develop letters to editor and letters to congresspersons and candidates campaign
Create coalition (make media part of coalition where possible)
Develop a “info central” website, twitter account and face book page
Contact media announcing campaign and asking for coverage
Contact senators, representatives and candidates and deliver “pledge”.
Wait 30 days and publish on internet results notify media of results
Use 30 day period to hype the campaign

mjolnir's picture
mjolnir 8 years 38 weeks ago

I think you guys are missing an important point. Certainly we can do it, but at what price? I live in the TVA area and pay some of the lowest prices per kwh in the country because of hydro-electric generation which, as the study suggests, is already counted in the +/- 20% of the energy production of this country that is non-hydrocarbon.

I'm not rich but I'm certainly well off so I wouldn't neccessarily like a price increase but I could live with it. Without the great increase in solar cell efficiency I referenced above I firmly believe that poor, working poor and lower middle class people, especially in the citiies, would be very adversly affected by price increases.

cccccttttt 8 years 38 weeks ago

One vote for Mjoiner's analysis.

The next decades will be dirty until something new comes along.

But by all means get active.

Recommend donating to the fusion energy project of your choice.

Here is a significant development for home use:

A practical roofing system that combines heat pipes used on the international

space station and PV solar cells.

The roof panels can harvest almost 100% of solar energy striking the roof.



WindyCity's picture
WindyCity 8 years 38 weeks ago

It's never really been a question of technological feasibility. The obstacles arise in the realms of politics and economics. What is needed is a mass movement-based revolution that strips the influence of the oil and gas lobby from policy decision-making in Washington. What are the near-term prospects of such a revolt, which is what matters in terms of there occurring immediate action to halt climate change? They seem dim.

I believe that alternative energy will soon become competitive with oil and gas—it is already in some regions of the country for electricity production—but the fossil fuel industry's resistance to government initiatives to foster a rapid changeover to solar, wind, and geothermal, among other alternatives, will be fierce. For instance, they'll most likely try to resist the proliferation of battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) by promoting fuel cell electrics (FEVs), which use hydrogen, because such vehicles will still require fueling stations and a network of centralized suppliers. Also, hydrogen is largely produced from the processing of fossil fuels.

Yes, in an ideal world, the United States could be relying 100% on renewables and non-polluting energy sources by 2050. Unfortunately, we don't live in an ideal world.

David32's picture
David32 8 years 38 weeks ago

The goal won't be reached when we have power companies here in Arizona charging significant surcharges to connect home solar to the the grid. The charges are high enough that even with the cost reductions of solar and incentives the home solar industry has ground to a halt in Salt River Project areas charging $60 a month plus which combined with the less than retail byback per Kw make upgrading to solar a wash vs SRP. My guess is this is a tactic that is or will be used all over.

Thom, I know your opinion of nuclear power is less than favorable but I urge you to look into Liquid Flourine Thorium Reactor technology. It appears to have a lot of positives with few of the negatives of today's reactors. LFTR's use up to 95% of the fuel, are meltdown proof, do not need enormous amounts of water for cooling and may be engineered to use the spent fuel from BWR's currently stored with no real permanent solution for long term use. Thorium is abundantly available being derived from the waste products of rare earth mining. Mining that is no longer done in the US because of the waste disposal problems (waste that could be used in the LFTR's). Rare earth mining is currently the sole province of China (95% of US use imported from China) who is presently stockpiling the waste. China is actively persuing LFTR technology and the the likely scenario is that we will buy energy from China in the future rather than generating it from a safe nuclear technology invented by America 50 years ago and abandoned mostly for political reasons. Elon Musk's Powerwall battery charged by solar should not be overlooked as well. The rate surcharge must be eliminated as well.

WindyCity's picture
WindyCity 8 years 38 weeks ago

More than enough solar energy falls on our nation each day to power our entire civilization, and we wouldn't need to cover that much area with PVs to do it. See Elon Musk's launch event presentation of Tesla's new battery storage systems (http://www.teslamotors.com/powerwall) He shows a graphic at about 3:10 into the talk that indicates the amount of land area required. Remember that this is with current technology. It's quite startling. Of course, the country would have to make substantial changes to its grid architecture to do this, and new regulatory rules would have to be drafted to handle the transition to distributed power generation, but we could do it! What it would take, I believe, is a commitment from the government to stimulate the rapid growth of the industry. If the government gave even a fraction of the incentives it gives today to the fossil fuel industry, amounting to tens of billions of dollars each year (see http://priceofoil.org/fossil-fuel-subsidies/), imagine what a difference that would make. Give, say, $5 billion annually in subsidies to solar and we'd meet 100% of our electrical energy needs from the sun in a relatively short time. But that won't happen for the reasons we've discussed above. As I and others have mentioned, it will take a mass movement applying pressure on corporate-owned legislators to do it.

Instant-RunOff-... 8 years 37 weeks ago

WindyCity: "...It's never really been a question of technological feasibility..."

No in fact it is both a question of techological feasibility and economic feasibility. It is not a question of political will.

Technologically it is impossible to replace our energy supply with renewables. The available energy sources are not capable of that. The EROI - Energy Return on Energy Invested is just too low to sustain a modern civilization, as I documented here:


Economically the cost would quickly bankrupt the world economy. Greenpeace makes these Schlock annual reports based on wishes and dreams, ignoring all serious energy analysis. Similar reports to this have been ripped to shreds many times. Hopefully some retired power engineer with time to spare, with no pay as usual, will get around to doing a thorough critique of Greenpeace's latest piece of garbage. Unfortunately Greenpeace gets massive funding from Bankster/Oil Barons to produce these reports, all part of their bait-and-switch scam to ensure realistic alternatives to Fossil Fuels are not developed. Only gullible fools believe in renewable energy pipe dreams. With wind only contributing 3.1% of world electricity, and 0.55% of world energy in 2014. Solar 0.8% of world electricity and 0.14% of world energy in 2014. And those minute numbers come with major caveats.

Ted Trainer analyzes a similar report from 2011 parroted by the IPCC:


"...• In the key Chapter 10 most attention is given to one study which concludes that by 2050 70% of world energy could come from renewables. This study, by Greenpeace, is highly challengeable. It does not establish its claims, and it fails to discuss a number of problems confronting renewable energy..."

A whole collection of critiques of Schlock renewable energy plans similar to Greenpeace's:


Typical fundamentals of energy anlaysis that are ignored in these fantasy reports:

Assume 100% wind & solar emissions displacement. That is a blatantly false.

Ignore the abysmally low Energy Return ond Energy Invested or EROI of Wind & Solar, which in itself is a deal-breaker for wind & solar energy.


Ignore the severe geographical limitations of wind & solar. Blindly assumed you can install them anywhere, just ridiculous. There are major constraints on where you can install wind & solar and costs will escalate drastically as the low hanging fruit = where current installations are focused, are saturated. There are many areas with monsoons, rainy seasons, snowy, cold winters with little sunlight, heavily forested, poor wind resource regions, too heavily populated areas, lack of available land, sand storms, mostly cloudy weather, ecologically sensitive areas - the list is long.

Jacobson and Delucchi energy dreams are irresponsible fairy tales by Alice Friedeman, Similar to Greenpeace:

"...Jacobson & Delucchi are like religious preachers who tell people what they want to hear. Energyskeptic has hundreds of articles from peer-reviewed sources that explain why their ideas are absolutely crazy. Here are just a few of the problems off the top of my head, other critiques follow...":


Ignore curtailment costs. Wind & solar commonly peak when energy demand is low and that means energy must be dumped or wasted = energy inefficiency.

Ignore overbuild costs. You can't help but overbuild wind & solar so that you will get more energy when these unreliable sources are not meeting demand. More energy wasted, more energy inefficiency.

Ignore long distance transmission costs of wind & solar which must be oversized by 3-10X. Long distance transmission not only = energy losses = energy inefficiency and large high energy input materials but it costs more than a replacement zero CO2 nuclear power plant. At even a low $2 per kw-km. 1000km is $2000 per kw peak. For wind that's over $6000 per kw avg output, as much or more than a NPP. For Solar $10,000 to $20,000 per kw avg. output. Costs as much as two or three NPP's just for transmission. And recent 2GW HVDC Spain to France was $7 per kw-km. 3.5X those costs.

Ignore negative priced exports of surplus wind & solar generation. Added losses = higher costs.

Ignore storage costs for wind & solar. Storage is only practical for max one day's energy, and very expensive at that. To store 24 hrs electricity at a very-very low $200 per kwh is $4800 plus 20% loss is $6000 per kw, as much as a replacement NPP, that lasts for 60-100 yrs vs batteries may only last 5 yrs and have to be replaced. And wind & solar are commonly absent for weeks at a time and have large seasonal variation that does not match demand. Not properly accounted for in Greenpeace's fantasy pipedream.

Ignore decommissioning, recycling & disposal costs of Wind & Solar, which must be replaced every 12 to 25 yrs.

Ignore the cost of the 100% backup power generation and peaking fuel storage & distribution infrastructure required for wind & solar electricity generation. That will be mostly fossil, but in the Greenpeace fantasy that will be moved to mostly much more expensive Biomass & Hydrogen. More energy inefficiencies. Around a 20% round trip efficiency for Hydrogen. Maybe 10x the cost.

Ignore induced cycling inefficiency costs and thereupon increased carbon emissions associated with wind & solar generation.

Ignore grid integration costs, i.e. fast response battery banks and spinning reserve.

Ignore the short lifespan of wind turbines 12-15 yrs and solar pv of 25 yrs.

Ignore the reduction in wind resource due to increased wind farm operation and climate change will change areas with good wind resources. As is now a serious problem with Hydro, drought is greatly reducing Hydro output in many areas.

"...Large-scale exploitation of wind energy will inevitably leave an imprint in the atmosphere," says Kleidon. "Because we use so much free energy, and more every year, we'll deplete the reservoir of energy." He says this would probably show up first in wind farms themselves, where the gains expected from massive facilities just won't pan out as the energy of the Earth system is depleted..."

Way under-report O&M costs for Wind & Solar and especially increased maintenance costs and reduced output in last 1/3rd of lifespan.

Ignore the much higher cost of Offshore wind which must bear the brunt of a large scale wind expansion.

Assume a continuing downward drop in Solar PV installed costs, whereas in fact that cost is stabilizing and is already beginning to trend upwards. Cost of wind & solar will rise rapidly if cheap fossil energy inputs are replaced with expensive solar & wind inputs and even more expensive energy storage.

Ignore severe problems of Biomass production, pollution and sustainability:


And most ridiculous of all, they assume reduced worldwide energy consumption, whereas worldwide energy consumption and world population are both rapidly increasing. In particular, Greenpeace seems to think poverty stricken developing nations will embrace there poverty and do without the basics of a modern civilization: transportation, health care, education, pensions, a diverse food supply, sufficient water, refrigeration, heat, air conditioning and lighting, law enforcement, military and other infrastructure. All of which are energy gobbling. Shameful and utter nonsense.


So give up on pipe dreams. It ain't gonna happen. Even the very pro-Renewables EIA & IEA recognize that. They project modest increases, EIA puts Solar @ 0.45% of USA electricity production, Wind @ 4.5% in 2014, cleaner & greener Nuclear @ 19.5%. And projects in 2036 Solar @ 0.56%, Wind @ 5.1%. That's the wealthy USA, not developing countries that can't afford anything close to that.

Only nuclear energy is capable of replacing fossil fuels and that is proven:

Sweden and France show that China, India and the World could go 100% nuclear within 25-34 years:


"...Staffan Qvist, physicist at Uppsala University, and his co-author Barry Brook, an ecologist and computer modeler at the University of Tasmania, relied on comes from two countries in Europe to prove nuclear energy scaling: Sweden and France. The Swedes began research to build nuclear reactors in 1962 in a bid to wean the country off burning oil for power as well as to protect rivers from hydroelectric dams. By 1972, the first boiling water reactor at Oskarshamn began to host fission and churn out electricity. The cost was roughly $1,400 per kilowatt of electric capacity (in 2005 dollars), which is cheap compared to the $7,000 per kilowatt of electric capacity of two new advanced nuclear reactors being built in the U.S. right now. By 1986, with the addition of 11 more reactors, half of Sweden's electricity came from nuclear power and carbon dioxide emissions per Swede had dropped by 75 percent compared to the peak in 1970...."

Wally2007's picture
Wally2007 8 years 37 weeks ago

Hi Thom,

The BEST program on radio & free TV. Thom you are the real deal when it comes to spreading the progressive, liberal and the TRUE reality of practically all of the socalled rights untruthful agendas. Keep up to the your good work.

I would simply like to express my experiences with solar power. I had my system installed in August of 2014. Its one of the many improvements I have made with my home over past few years. Solar City did a remarkable job with the installation. A great bunch of people who did the installation, neat, professional and thorough with the installation. I have enrolled in Solar Citys ambassador programs and I have since encouraged other friends and family to consider getting solar. Its simply a no brainer.I opted for the 20 year program with a reasonable locked kilowatt rate for the 20 years, at no cost to me what so ever. I have realized practically a 35% savings with my overall energy usage, and I strongly encourage everyone to make the switch, which not only saves on energy expenses, but adds less to every ones carbon foot print as well.

mathboy's picture
mathboy 8 years 37 weeks ago

IRV, are you saying petroleum companies are paying Greenpeace to tell us that we can get off petroleum?

Instant-RunOff-... 8 years 37 weeks ago

No I'm saying Banking, Oil & Coal interests are paying Greenpeace and thousands (yep I said thousands) of other ENGOs to kneecap & blockade the only feasible alternative to their energy hegemony, which is of course Nuclear Energy. And using these same ENGOs to promote nutty scams, like wind & solar, hydrogen, ethanol, biomass, geothermal etc that have no chance of replacing Fossil Fuels, but they redirect energy, capital, manpower & resources and effort from realistic solutions. That's called Bait-And-Switch, and it is the oldest trick in the book and it just works SO-OOOO Well. One good example of how successful it has been:

Way back in 1979 the Oil Heat Institute of Long Island financed a vicious campaign against the Nuclear power plant being built there. And in their large newspaper ads and bumper stickers, the slogan was SOLAR NOT NUCLEAR. Most of Long Island's electricity came from burning oil. Now 35 years later they are almost up to 1% solar electricity. No nuclear. Some success for the environment that was – a success for Big Oil. As I said: Bait-And-Switch.


In fact Wind & Solar cause Fossil Fuel Lock-In, because Wind & Solar can only exist in a fossil fuel dominated world economy.

Greenpeace refuses to reveal the sources of their funding but you can find from other sites that they get donations from Big Oil/Bankster lobby groups like various Rockefeller foundations. Mostly though they get giant personal donations, which are revealed on IRS990 forms.

NRDC a rabidly anti-nuclear ENGO is a good example. It has multi-million$ annual donations including an $11M personal donation in 2013. Mysteriouslessly they have the donor names left blank in the required IRS form field, as usual for these anti-nuclear ENGOs. And salaries of 17 directors of more than $161k per year with the president getting $423k/yr. With a Rockefeller Bankster/Oil Baron on the (unpaid) executive. And of course donations from Rockefeller foundations. What rich charitable individual would give $11M to some Schlock ENGO with a bunch of super well paid executive, when he could give that money to a Real Charity, i.e. to help sick kids, cancer research, child hunger, homelessness etc. Obviously they are giving them money because they are getting payback. Return on Investment. And unlike media campaigns or planted news stories, those investments in schlock ENGOs are classified as "charitable donations". What a scam, Big Oil lobby firms masquerading as Environmental Organizations.


The American Environmental Movement - The American Counter-Movement Perspective:


"...Here is a partial list of leading enviro-grantmaking foundation directors as drawn from the names appearing in this web-posting’s four main source documents: Nancy Packard Burnett, David Orr, Susan Packard Orr, Julie Packard, Gordon Moore, Adelaide Park Gomer, Richard Rockefeller, Stephen Rockefeller, David Rockefeller, Justin Rockefeller, Laurence Rockefeller Jr, Richard Schmidt, Nathanial Simons, Tom Steyer, Astra Wallace, Scott Wallace, Christy Wallace, Walter Hewlett, Joanie Bronfman, Susan Ford Dorsey, Sam Rawlings Walton, Laura Turner Seydell, Daniel Tishman, Frances Beinecke, Henry Paulson, Michael Bloomberg, and Anne Earhart. These people range from multi-millionaires to billionaires, and each give significant money and time to the environmentalist cause. The full list of Americans of similar wealth and ideology would be ten times as long. That list would encapsulate the nucleus of American environmentalism.

Thus, Barbara Dudley, foundation executive and Greenpeace leader, understated things when she blurted:

“It is true the environmental movement is an upper class, white movement.” ..."

The Super-rich Rent-Seekers love envirofascism because it creates shortages, and shortages = high profits.

Instant-RunOff-... 8 years 37 weeks ago

@ WindyCity I mentioned Stanford University renewables salesmen Jacobson & Delucci, whose claptrap is debunked here:

Jacobson and Delucchi energy dreams are irresponsible fairy tales by Alice Friedemann:


Stanford climate scientists promote 100% renewable revolution using natural gas money:


Stanford’s University’s New Natural Gas Initiative:


Big Oil/NG loves wind & solar because NG is the perfect complement for their unreliable, intermittent energy. Total system energy: 80-90% NG, 10-20% solar & wind. And the solar & wind greenwashes the NG making it look clean. And blocks out much cheaper & cleaner, steady baseload Nuclear. Gullible greenies soak that right up. Win-Win for Big Oil, Lose-Lose for us lowly energy consumers.

Another critique here:

A Critique of Jacobson and Delucchi’s Proposals for a World Renewable Energy Supply by Ted Trainer


2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 8 years 37 weeks ago

Germany is doing just fine with conversion to renewables.

Germany has a representative government ....... The United States does not!

old lady's picture
old lady 8 years 37 weeks ago

I buy 100% wind power in Wyoming. It's here and everyone can be a part of renewable. It's absolute BS that we don't have the infrastructure!

Instant-RunOff-... 8 years 37 weeks ago

Germany only produced 6.1% of total electricity production by Solar in 2014. in 2013 Germany's electricity generation was 66% NG & Coal, mostly dirty lignite with some chopped down forests mixed in to greenwash the filthy coal, 15% Nuclear, 4.3% Hydro and a whopping 14% combined Geothermal, Solar, Wind, Tidal. i.e. They still produced more from their "long abandoned" Nuclear than their massively subsidized Solar & Wind.

And now Germany's Solar PV installation rate is now on a steep decline. 7.6 GW in 2012, 3.3 in 2013, 1.9 in 2014. So much for solar energy.

Germany, after 25 yrs of all out effort on wind & solar, has the 2nd highest emissions per kwh generated in Europe. 9X Nuclear France. 5X Nuclear Ontario. And they have the 2nd highest electricity prices in Europe. Double that of nuclear France. And now they are building giant dirt-burning Coal power plants by the dozens. Why aren't they building Wind & Solar instead?

Even little old Ontario achieved 62% nuclear with It's own indigenous CANDU PHWR natural uranium, nuclear. Whereas the biggest economy in the USA, high tech haven, Thom's poster boy, California, after 30 yrs of all out effort on Solar has only achieved 3.5% & 4.4% with Wind of its electricity consumption. Some impressive that is.

old lady's picture
old lady 8 years 37 weeks ago

You're a troll aren't you? Or are you a coward that can't come clean? Do tell...your stats don't agree with the info I've heard and read from facts!? Who are you Instant Runoff?????

old lady's picture
old lady 8 years 37 weeks ago

You're a troll aren't you? Or are you a coward that can't come clean? Do tell...your stats don't agree with the info I've heard and read from facts!? Who are you Instant Runoff?????

BMetcalfe's picture
BMetcalfe 8 years 37 weeks ago

I am worried. The chemtrails (those so-called "contrails" that most laypeople THINK are normal contrails), will eventually dim the amount of sunlight the people with solar panels get... therefore rendering the solar panels ineffective for a lot of people in a lot of places... Anyone else have any ideas on this?!

brutondavidc's picture
brutondavidc 8 years 37 weeks ago

CLIMATE-SCIENCE DEBATES ASIDE: From my perspective, firstly the problem is with the if not billions, then hundreds-of-millions of machines worldwide engineered to take in cool sweet air and in-turn exhaust-out hot/acidic gases.

So, if for example a densely populated urban area like Manhattan or Hong Kong had an all-electric transportation infrastructure; I can imagine the citizens there would energetically oppose any proposals that threatened going back to cars, trucks, trains and/or buses that burned fossil fuels.

Mystic's picture
Mystic 8 years 37 weeks ago

This just in on Democracy Now. Exxon has know about the effects of CO2 on the environment for at least 40 years, and use a very clever trick to cover that up.


WindyCity's picture
WindyCity 8 years 37 weeks ago

If it's a matter of money, distributed solar energy supported by a revamped grid architecture and advanced storage systems will be far less costly to implement than nuclear energy, and will carry none of the risks nor present any of the vexing issues such as the sequestration of spent nuclear fuel for thousands of years. Yes, a transition to solar will be costly, too, but not nearly as much. Nuclear power has many hidden and societal costs, not just the expense of R&D, construction, operation, and maintenance; for instance, decommissioning a nuclear power generator costs billions, more than the original cost of building the plant. In the event of an accident, it can make large territories uninhabitable. I grant that progress has been made in safety, but the argument that nuclear power is cheaper, safer, more practical than solar, wind, geothermal or renewables is simply wrong. All the energy for electrical power that we need shines down on us every day of the year. We just need to harness it. The cost of PVCs is falling steadily, and the growth of the solar energy industry has become exponential. Solar is the future. Nuclear energy will have certain niche applications; it will be useful, for instance, in space exploration for powering ion propulsion systems and will no doubt still be applied as an energy source for powering large ocean-going vessels. But for feeding the national power grid? It makes no sense whatsoever. I realize that the industry has powerful advocates, just as, for instance, the fuel cell industry does. But just as fuel cells make absolutely no sense in terms of physics—why mine and refine dirty fossil fuels to produce hydrogen, an inherently dangerous gas, difficult and costly to control, to use as feedstock for an expensive fuel cell to make electricity when the electrons can be harvested directly from sunlight, stored in a battery, and drawn as needed?—nuclear power suffers from the same deficit of common sense. Why dig up uranium, spend billions to refine it, stick it in a reactor, produce tons of hazardous waste, to send electricity over costly and inefficient power lines to end users? It's like using a cannon to kill a fly when a fly swatter is all you need and does a better job at it. Solar is the future for large-scale electrical energy generation. Nuclear will fill a number of niches, but it's the wrong choice to meet our larger needs.

David32's picture
David32 8 years 37 weeks ago

Windy City, have you researched Liquid Flourine Thorium Reactor technology? Lumping all nuclear technologies into the same basket is a serious error. LFTR technology is has significant advantages and far fewer disadvantages over current boiling water reactors. The most significant is that it does not use Uranium as a fuel, hence none of the disadvantages of mining another non-renewable and finite resource. LFTR uses 95% of its fuel vs less than 1% of BWR's. Thorium is primarily derived from monazite a waste product of rare earth mining and is abundant worldwide. LFTR technology is safe.

PaulHosse's picture
PaulHosse 8 years 37 weeks ago

I don't think it's a a matter of "can" but one of "will". Yes, we "can" make the switch to clean(er) energy. The technology is there. Several industrial nations are ready have. They've proven that it could be done. We've even tried it on smaller scales such as various communities, and it's worked.

However, it's a matter of "will". Do we have the national willpower to implement it. Do we have the national willpower to fight and defeat the special interests groups---especially the oil and gas industries---which have a near stranglehold on Washington. And finally, do we still have the fortitude as a nation to stick to the gameplan and not allow ourselves to be distracted by one make believe crisis after another, designed to delay and then postpone any changes to who knows when?

David32's picture
David32 8 years 37 weeks ago

Paul has hit the nail squarly on the head. It's a matter of will. Does the public possess enough will power to force change through the election process or have the wealthy special interests who have clearly bought our government won already?

I believe the combination of Elon Musk's Powerwall and LFTR technology alone are scaleable such that they can replace the use of fossil fuels for electricity generation. Google thorium and read some of the articles about LFTR technology. They have convinced me.

A side note: LFTR technology was developed and tested by the DOE in the 60's but was discarded because it was not a viable source of weapons grade Uranium and Plutonium. There was no technological reason for not using LFTR technology, only a political one. When will we start basing technological problem solving on science instead of politics? If we continue to make political decisions over scientific decisions to tecnological problems particularly as it realates to the climate destruction taking place today we may be facing our own extinction.

mathboy's picture
mathboy 8 years 37 weeks ago

Contrails are temporary and I doubt they represent a significant amount of cloud cover.

As for the idea of chemtrails, you'd have to explain how airlines keep going bankrupt and choosing to squeeze money out of their customers while being paid by the government (or whoever) to carry extra weight in their planes.

Instant-RunOff-... 8 years 37 weeks ago

@ mjonir That's liquid FLOURIDE Thorium Reactor. Flouride salts are extremely stable just as table salt is an extremely stable salt of Chlorine which is similar to Flourine.

It takes 250 Tonnes of natural uranium enriched down to 35 tonnes of fuel to run a typical Light Water Reactor used in America. One Tonne of Thorium will run a 1 GW LFTR reactor for a year. One person can dig that up for free, with a shovel, in 3 hrs from the waste or tailings of a Rare Earth mine, where they produce metals for Wind Turbines. That's a lifetime energy supply for over 10 thousand Americans.

Dr. Kiki (she's very hot) does an interview with Kirk Sorenson on LFTR:


Instant-RunOff-... 8 years 37 weeks ago

@ WindCity nice fantasy. As usual with these pipe dreams, no numbers, no analysis, lots of vigorous arm-waving, all the usual renewables talking points and all the typical anti-nuclear jargon, disinformation and fear mongering.

Latest NREL data for 2014 California is $4.66 per watt peak for solar installs. So 10 kw system costs $46,600 generates hopefully 15,800 kwh per year. Powerwall battery bank is $500 per kwh installed, so storing 16 hrs of power would be at least 10kw x 18%CF X 16hrs /0.8 eff/(1-0.2 DOD) = 45 kwh storage needed just to supply one days energy. That's $22,500 for the battery bank good for 15 yrs max, so two of those plus your solar panels gets you 25 yrs of electricity, 1800 watts for ~$90k in sunny California. That's a mere $50 thousand per avg delivered kw for 25yrs.

Nuclear power plants, even at rip-off US prices for FOAK (First of a Kind GenIII) are $7 thousand per avg delivered kw for 60-100 yrs. Chinese, Indian & Korean reactors are < 1/3rd of those costs.

And that storage is only good for one day. In California, very sunny place that would cover you most of the time, but not always, you would still need fossil to cover cloudy weather or storage cost would explode. Most places on this Earth are not like California, often weeks and even months of cloudy weather. And in Northern areas sun is minimal in winter when energy demand is max.

To supply the per capita US or Canada energy consumption of 10 kw. Family of four that's 40 kw. Add a couple retirees, disabled, non-productive and each US family needs to supply 60 kw to supply our avg energy consumption. At your one day, sunny California special that's $50 thousand/kw X 60 kw = $3 million per avg US family every 25 years. And add 2 cents per kwh O&M cost to that. Or 60 X 8760hrs X $0.02 = $10,500 per year. Or $260 thousand over 25 years. I don't know about you but I can't afford that. I can't afford that for everything never mind just energy and I'm just avg middle class. You want even the poor to pay that.

And you still need to pay for a full 100% backup fossil fuel storage, distribution & generation infrastructure for when the solar is missing in action for more than one day. Almost entirely fossil in the winter in more northern or rainy areas. And transmission of 1000 kms costs as much as 3 or more replacement, USA priced FOAK NPPs.

Those are the real numbers not your arm-waving fantasy.

As for your nonsense about Nuclear safety. The facts speak for themselves:

Deaths per TWh of electricity:

Coal: 161

Oil: 36

Biomass: 12

NG: 4

Hydro: 1.4

Wind: 0.15

Nuclear: 0.04


So nuclear is merely 4000X safer than our current coal enery supply. Not safe enough for nutball greenies though. Despicable fanatics is what they are.

mjolnir's picture
mjolnir 8 years 37 weeks ago

Correct of course, nice link.

Reply to post #29.

WindyCity's picture
WindyCity 8 years 37 weeks ago

Many scientific and technical analyses support a transition to solar, wind, and renewables. For instance, http://web.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/Articles/I/USStatesWWS.pdf

May I add, Instant-RunOff, that ad hominem weakens your argument and is a big turn-off. I have flagged as offensive the post in which you wrote, "So nuclear is merely 4000X safer than our current coal enery supply. Not safe enough for nutball greenies though. Despicable fanatics is what they are."

Instant-RunOff-... 8 years 37 weeks ago

I already dealt with your Standford Jacobson schlock studies in links above. BTW Jacobson is not qualified to do energy analysis, he is a civil engineer.

Windy you should learn what Ad Hominem means before you use the word falsely. And it's when you've lost an argument because you really have no rational points to make, so you are sooky and try to get the comment censored - a really chicken shit thing to do.

In fact by all standards of fairness my comment stands. People who claim to be green, and yet could care less about 4000X more dangerous coal power, instead incessantly attack the most safe energy supply on the planet are indeed despicable fanatics. They are putting our entire planet in peril of a global warming and/or energy shortage catastrophe as well as being completely indifferent to the 7 million people killed every year by fossil fuel & biomass burning waste.

WindyCity's picture
WindyCity 8 years 37 weeks ago

Once again, offensive, troll. I'm through with this conversation.

Instant-RunOff-... 8 years 37 weeks ago

Now that is a genuine Ad Hominem. So now you can honestly add a new term to your vocabulary.

Instant-RunOff-... 8 years 37 weeks ago

@mjolnir, I like how Sorensen tells us that just one Rare Earth mine proposed for the USA, would produce enough Thorium, 5000 tonnes each year, as a waste product, to supply the entire World's energy supply, burnt in a LFTR. And they are willing to give that away. And ironically those Rare Earth mines supply essential minerals for Wind & Solar energy, in order for them to supply a tiny fraction of World Energy, currently <1%.

Now you can understand now how the Fossil Fuel Barons and their Bankster Overseers have a seething hatred of Nuclear Power. Interesting, in spite of the incredible promise of LFTR and other MSRs (molten-salt reactors), the US gov't gives precisely zip in funding for their development. Yet it will spend > $50B per year funding nutty scams like Wind & Solar, Hydrogen, Ethanol and Carbon Capture and $trillions on Oil Wars that won't do zip to reduce our dependence on terrorist Oil & Gas or alleviate Climate Change emissions. Just another example of runaway Crony Capitalism.

WindyCity's picture
WindyCity 8 years 37 weeks ago

Journal of Power Sources

Volume 225, 1 March 2013, Pages 60–74

Cost-minimized combinations of wind power, solar power and electrochemical storage, powering the grid up to 99.9% of the time


We model many combinations of renewable electricity sources (inland wind, offshore wind, and photovoltaics) with electrochemical storage (batteries and fuel cells), incorporated into a large grid system (72 GW). The purpose is twofold: 1) although a single renewable generator at one site produces intermittent power, we seek combinations of diverse renewables at diverse sites, with storage, that are not intermittent and satisfy need a given fraction of hours. And 2) we seek minimal cost, calculating true cost of electricity without subsidies and with inclusion of external costs. Our model evaluated over 28 billion combinations of renewables and storage, each tested over 35,040 h (four years) of load and weather data. We find that the least cost solutions yield seemingly-excessive generation capacity—at times, almost three times the electricity needed to meet electrical load. This is because diverse renewable generation and the excess capacity together meet electric load with less storage, lowering total system cost. At 2030 technology costs and with excess electricity displacing natural gas, we find that the electric system can be powered 90%–99.9% of hours entirely on renewable electricity, at costs comparable to today's—but only if we optimize the mix of generation and storage technologies.

WindyCity's picture
WindyCity 8 years 37 weeks ago

Rocky Mountain Institute


Research Sources

WindyCity's picture
WindyCity 8 years 37 weeks ago

Union of Concerned Scientists Statement on Thorium-Fueled Reactors

While there may be some applications of nuclear power that make sense, to provide the vast bulk of our needs, it just doesn't make sense to me. The case for solar, wind, geothermal, and renewables is scientifically and technically strong.

Instant-RunOff-... 8 years 37 weeks ago

Yes, yes I linked above dozens of documents that critique these renewable energy fairy tale schemes and show them to be nothing short of fantasies. Always ignore critical issues like material inputs, costs, EROI (Energy Return on Invested), transmission, curtailment, overbuild, storage costs, climate variation, weather, backup power & distribution.

I gave you a very simple example of solar PV in sunny California, which you claimed would be practical and I showed you with real, published numbers how impractical and in fact impossible that is. So far you haven't shown us any way you can make that work. You are big on distributed energy, that means you should be able to make California work. Show us how.

Instant-RunOff-... 8 years 37 weeks ago

That UCS critique on Thorium fueled reactor is a piece of Schlock garbage, obvious they don't have a clue about the various types of thorium or molten salt reactors.

A typical nonsensical statement in the idiotic report "..uranium-based fuel
and thorium-based fuel is seen basically as one of preference...".

That DOE claim is based on a traditional LWR or PHWR reactor technology, where indeed it is a case of preference. So? CANDU's can burn natural thorium or uranium, uranium is commonly produced and dirt cheap as a fuel so why develop an alternative to it? The answer is if we want to power the entire world on nuclear we need a much more efficient fuel & nuclear tech. That is where thorium and molten salt reactor tech merge. Also a lower cost, more compact reactor that has greatly increased & inherent safety features, reduced proliferation risk, higher operating efficiency, low water requirements, < 1% of the waste production and that is valuable short-lived waste, no need for mining, very high EROI, very suitable to factory production, load balancing, ship propulsion and thermal heat source for industrial & building heat applications. Sounds like a whole lot of major advantages to me.

A good synopsis on Thorium Molten Salt Reactors and how they will solve our energy & climate change dilemna:


I would also point out that UCS is a rabidly anti-nuclear fanatic organization, that makes upwards of $40M per year, paid to oppose Nuclear Power. Notable giant salaries of their large executive and their refusal to show us the sources of their funding.

Whereas the pro-nuclear crowd are almost entirely just unpaid volunteers, as I am, although I don't consider myself pro-nuclear, I really am pro-Rational Energy Policy - for which Nuclear is just one component - albeit are very essential component.

WindyCity's picture
WindyCity 8 years 37 weeks ago

Renewable Electricity: Insights for the Coming Decade Camila Stark, Jacquelyn Pless, Jeffrey Logan, Ella Zhou, and Douglas J. Arent Joint Institute for Strategic Energy Analysis

World Economic Forum: What’s the Future of Solar Power

In a broad new assessment of the status and prospects of solar photovoltaic technology, MIT researchers say that it is “one of the few renewable, low-carbon resources with both the scalability and the technological maturity to meet ever-growing global demand for electricity.”

Use of solar photovoltaics has been growing at a phenomenal rate: Worldwide installed capacity has seen sustained growth averaging 43 percent per year since 2000. To evaluate the prospects for sustaining such growth, the MIT researchers look at possible constraints on materials availability, and propose a system for evaluating the many competing approaches to improved solar-cell performance.

Instant-RunOff-... 8 years 37 weeks ago

"...Use of solar photovoltaics has been growing at a phenomenal rate: Worldwide installed capacity has seen sustained growth averaging 43 percent per year since 2000...."

No kidding, thanks to massive, unbelievable subsidies, i.e. Ontario 40-80 cents per kwh, Japan 53 cents per kwh. Growth will only occur as long as the vast subsidies continue and all these new countries, are jumping on the bandwagon. Once the cost can no longer be sustained by these countries, the solar installation rate rapidly declines, as it already has in Europe:

i.e. Germany's Solar PV installation rate is now on a steep decline. 7.6 GW in 2012, 3.3 in 2013, 1.9 in 2014. And yet they are only up to 6.1% solar electricity in 2014. About 1.2% of total energy supply. And they are the most gung-ho Solar proponents on the planet. 30 yrs of all out effort and 1.2% - and you call that a success?!?

You still haven't shown us how you can make solar work in sunny California or countered how I showed you that it can't work.


A Critique of Proposals for a World Renewable Energy Supply by Ted Trainer:


Instant-RunOff-... 8 years 37 weeks ago

So you are admitting you don't know how to supply California with solar energy. I thought so.

WindyCity's picture
WindyCity 8 years 37 weeks ago

IREC Interstate Renewable Energy Council

Reports available:

12,000 MW of Renewable Distributed Generation by 2020

Blueprint for the Development of Distributed Generation in California

Easing the Transition to a More Distributed Electricity System

Market Trends & Analysis

IREC’s Annual Updates & Trends Report 2015

This annual report provides information and independent, thought-leading insight from IREC’s national experts on the year’s renewable energy and energy efficiency progress and challenges in trend-leading states and across the U.S. Released at Solar Power International in Anaheim September 2015.

U.S. Solar Market Trends 2014

An annual in-depth review of solar photovoltaics, solar thermal and concentrated solar activities and progress in the U.S. Authored by IREC Vice President/COO Larry Sherwood.

Instant-RunOff-... 8 years 37 weeks ago

And your Schlock Ecologist critique of thorium reactors is just using the NNL study as its source. Kirk Sorensen did a point by point response to the NNL study and showed it to be full of blatant errors, deliberate omissions, downright falsehoods and gross exaggerations, as usual for these disinformation specials:


Kirk’s analysis has made the NNL study worth about as much as the paper I wiped my butt with this morning.

For real sound information on Thorium energy:

Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor - Thorium Nuclear Energy - Revolutionary Energy Source:


ThorCon: A Thorium Molten Salt Reactor System that can be built Now -by Lars Jorgensen @ TEAC7



Instant-RunOff-... 8 years 37 weeks ago

I'm still waiting for you to show us in your own words how you are going to supply California with solar energy and counter the hard analysis I provided right in front of your face. Your failure to do so is tantamount to an admission that you have no idea how to achieve that, you don't even read the crap you post, or if you read it you don't understand it, since so far you haven't providing even a bare-bones basic plan for solar in one of the best locations on the planet.

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