Thursday, September 8, 2016

WARNING: Renewable Energy Limited Solution To Future Electrical Grid

Intermittent Renewables Can’t Favorably Transform Grid Electricity

Many people are hoping for wind and solar PV to transform grid electricity in a favorable way. Is this really possible? Is it really feasible for intermittent renewables to generate a large share of grid electricity? The answer increasingly looks as if it is, “No, the costs are too great, and the return on investment would be way too low.” We are already encountering major grid problems, even with low penetrations of intermittent renewable electricity: US, 5.4% of 2015 electricity consumption; China, 3.9%; Germany, 19.5%; Australia, 6.6%.
In fact, I have come to the rather astounding conclusion that even if wind turbines and solar PV could be built at zero cost, it would not make sense to continue to add them to the electric grid in the absence of very much better and cheaper electricity storage than we have today. There are too many costs outside building the devices themselves. It is these secondary costs that are problematic. Also, the presence of intermittent electricity disrupts competitive prices, leading to electricity prices that are far too low for other electricity providers, including those providing electricity using nuclear or natural gas. The tiny contribution of wind and solar to grid electricity cannot make up for the loss of more traditional electricity sources due to low prices.
Leaders around the world have demanded that their countries switch to renewable energy, without ever taking a very close look at what the costs and benefits were likely to be. A few simple calculations were made, such as “Life Cycle Assessment” and “Energy Returned on Energy Invested.” These calculations miss the fact that the intermittent energy being returned is of very much lower quality than is needed to operate the electric grid. They also miss the point that timing and the cost of capital are very important, as is the impact on the pricing of other energy products. This is basically another example of a problem I wrote about earlier, Overly Simple Energy-Economy Models Give Misleading Answers.
Let’s look at some of the issues that we are encountering, as we attempt to add intermittent renewable energy to the electric grid.

Finland to Test Basic Income Scheme

Sipila wants to see if the measure can boost employment and simplify the welfare benefits system, and plans to test the idea on a 2,000-strong sample of randomly selected working-age residents. "The primary goal of the basic income experiment is to promote employment,"

Four Terrifying Examples of a Post-Coup Brazil Future

The interim Temer administration has made its plans to roll back economic, social and political rights and empower the nation's oligarchy with cuts to key social programs and ultimately impose neoliberalism. 
49 of 81 Brazilian senators who ousted the president for corruption are the targets of criminal inquiries. 

Rousseff is not accused of corruption but that she cooked the federal budget books in the runup to her 2014 reelection. However, a June Senate report proved the allegations were false. 

Apple hit by EU tax ruling

Apple is facing a $14.5bn fine from the European commission over unpaid back taxes, stemming from arrangements it made over nearly 25 years with the Irish government. The ruling found that Dublin afforded Apple illegal state aid, allowing the US tech company to pay as little as 1% corporate tax rate on two-thirds of its global earnings 

Image result for labor day parade moscow

Labor Day Summary: Wage Earners Have 

Taken a Beating

Let's honor Labor Day by reviewing what's happened to wage-earners in the eight years since central banks "saved the financial system" with free money for financiers: wage-earners have taken a beating and been dumped in a ditch.It's really very simple: wage-earners have seen their real earnings (as measured by purchasing power) stagnate or decline while those chosen few with access to near-zero interest borrowed capital have seen their net income and wealth explode higher.
Do the math, people: annual wage increases once real-world inflation is factored in (roughly 7% to 10% annually for those who rent, have significant healthcare expenses or buy higher education) are either negative or are measured in the hundreds of dollars--in other words, trivial increases for all but the very top echelon of wage earners.
Increases in wealth for those with central bank-supplied free money for financiers are measured in the millions of dollars. Even small-fry with capital invested in bubble markets have experienced gains in the hundreds of thousands of dollars--entire lifetimes of earned income for those earning $25,000 to $35,000 annually.
There are forces at work that are beyond the power of central banks: the technologies of automation, robotics and software are replacing human labor not just in low-skill sectors but increasingly in sectors that provided the bulk of middle class jobs.
One reason why automation is gaining ground is the soaring cost of healthcare (paid by the employers and employees in America, except for those on federally funded Medicaid). Healthcare expenses are labor overhead--employers don't pay labor overhead on robots or software.

While wage earners see their tiny raises wiped out by inflation, employers see theirtotal compensation costs skyrocketing due to employee healthcare expenses.

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