* To establish feasibility, it is necessary to include some items in the energy invested term that are normally not thought of as investments. For example, the cost of sequestering such carbon dioxide as will be produced by the energy technology under investigation should be added to the energy invested term because feasibility requires that our society be sustainable (until astronomical events intervene). In this thought experiment, the support of an alternative energy technology would be the sole concern of every citizen.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Renewable Energy

Here is a letter to Energy Resources and Denis Frith's Google group too:
To everyone except Denis Frith,

Denis doesn’t want to admit that solar and wind energy either are renewable or would be if it were not for the ridiculous energy cost of supporting a market economy*.  As it turns out, in a debate with another of Denis’s critics, Dave Kimble of Running on Empty Oz, who argued that the front-loaded investment costs of photovoltaic solar installations disqualify PV solar as a way to mitigate the effects of Peak Oil even in Australia, I conceived of a plan to bootstrap solar by purchasing abroad solar energy equipment to start up with.  Now, renewable energy technologies came into a world dominated by coal, oil, natural gas, and nuclear fission; so, it is understandable that the first front-loaded energy invested in “renewables” probably came from fossil fuel and nuclear, but possibly hydroelectric.  Let us assume, though, that the solar installations purchased abroad to get started in a solar economy were produced without the application of any energy that could not be termed “renewable”.  Then, the first wave of solar energy installations slated for Australia would be completely renewable.  That is, they would produce enough stored energy such that no fossil fuel at all need be used to maintain the infrastructure and build replacements for it when they were needed – and, for that matter, to restore such portions of the earth as were occupied by solar installations to Earth-as-a-garden ideality.  If the ratio ERoEI*, as defined at http://dematerialism.net/eroeistar.htm and, in greater detail, on my new blog at http://eroei.blogspot.com/, is greater than 1.0, this can be done, although ERoEIs very close to 1.0 will be poor investment risks because of long payback times and because a very slight change in circumstances could render them infeasible or because ERoEI* is actually less than 1.0 except for minor computational inaccuracies.  In the spreadsheet analysis done by Dave Kimble and me, we used an ERoEI equal to 3.0.  I assumed that ERoEI*PV = 3.0.  Both Dave and I included construction, maintenance, and eventual replacement energy costs in perpetuity in EI.  In any case, if solar and wind are not strictly renewable, a competent energy analyst would compute ERoEI* < 1.0 and be fore-warned.  See http://dematerialism.net/pv.htm.

The reason investors are bailing out of renewables is that they have become convinced by investment bankers that the ERoEI for shale plays is greater than 1.0 if, in fact, they know what ERoEI is or should be.  To their sorrow, they are about to find out that ERoEI for shale is less than 1.0 even if operators neglect their responsibilities toward Earth.  When the shale bubble bursts, there will be much gnashing of teeth here in Texas. I feel sorry for all the new Houston citizens who are about to be left high and dry except for submergence in unmanageable credit card debt based upon false hopes for a prosperous future.  It’s too bad that they didn’t invest their futures in solar and wind and political change.

By the way, Denis Frith has been most helpful by suggesting various concrete problem areas in energy production that have to be addressed to calculate ERoEI*.  The difficulty of finding a new recycling methodology or a substitute material resource in case a material is encountered with no known substitute for which recycling is impractical remains a tough nut to crack; however, we shall cross that bridge when we come to it – and perhaps we never will.  I am certain he will continue to be of service by suggesting problem areas in establishing renewable energy technology.  It is, of course, the component of energy input that comes from the sun that suggested the term “renewable” to earlier workers.  Although we intend to “pay” Mother Earth, we have no such intention to “pay” Papa Sun.

Thomas Wayburn, Houston, Texas

http://modrr.net/ (model railroading)

From: senescence-of-civilization@googlegroups.com [mailto:senescence-of-civilization@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of Denis Frith
Sent: Monday, December 10, 2012 9:30 PM
To: Google IPP Group
Cc: Robert Gregory; energyresources@yahoogroups.com
Subject: {senescence-of-civilization:1833] Fw: alternative energy and the rise and fall . . . .

The article below provides insight into misguided decisions stemming from the misperception arising from the misuse of terminology. The issue considered relates to systems providing energy. Investors with little understanding of physics are only slowly learning that the term 'clean energy' relates to systems that supply electrical energy with less use of the emission producing fossil fuels for their construction, operation and maintenance. There is no such commodity as 'clean energy'.The decline in the stock reflects the realization by many investors that they have been conned by the spurious rhetoric. If realistic terminology had been employed in describing these projects, investors would have been in a much better position to assess the worth of the proposed system, bearing in mind that it would have a limited life.

Denis Frith

----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Robert Gregory <bobbygreg@gmail.com>
Sent: Tuesday, 11 December 2012 10:10 AM
Subject: alternative energy and the rise and fall . . . .

So, how's your green energy stock doing?

The RENIXX index of the world's largest renewable
 energy companies hit a new low last month. Has the green energy fad run its course?


  1. You may be interested in my analysis of wind output. Quite pathetic, especially in the summer when we need it the most.


    Wind will never replace fossil fuels, ever.

    In fact, renewable boondoggle is a nice example of planned ecomony going grossly wrong. This happened in the USSR with their rejection of genetics. That centrally planned policy killed millions from starvation.

    One property of a planned economy is its inability to admit when it is wrong. They are quite resistant to being shown they are wrong.

    Solar and wind is going through that right now. Governments who have sunk billions into them dont want to be told they blew it all for nothing.


    1. Is ERoEI* less than 1.0 for wind power. So far, the only planned economy I have discussed cannot share this feature of not wanting to admit its wrong. See the item in A Natural Economy wherein what I have recently learned is called "demarchy" is described.


      Public servants [are] chosen quasi-randomly, somewhat as jurors are chosen, for limited terms that cannot be followed by another such appointment. Recall is by direct vote of all members of the community whom I call citizens for lack of a better term. The term fractal government denotes a system of small communities wherein every citizen belongs to a local parliament that is tied in a loose federation with other such communities in similar parliaments that are tied in loose federations to other parliaments of parliaments. This is similar to fractal structures, except that a loose federation of the world can have only a finite number of sub-levels, as does every representation of a fractal in the real world. Among a very small number of public servants are the members of local communities who sit in the parliaments that determine public policy for the community’s eco-region, which randomly selects members of itself who make policy for a collection of eco-regions. And so on. Every one of these “members of parliament” is subject to immediate recall by the direct vote of the body that chose him or her. Thus, the only permanent members of the government are the people themselves who share political power at the community level in the sense of one-person-one-vote. Naturally, some people will have more influence than others if they are widely respected; but, they cannot convert this influence to greater wealth. Ultimately, this arrangement should evolve into no government at all.

  2. Wait a second! I believe that you are suggesting that governments should not "sink" billions of dollars into wind and solar and bio-fuels too. That's one of the advantages of a planned economy. We don't expect for-profit corporations to invest in a technology that is financially disadvantageous under present-day market conditions. But, if the research and development were not done and the construction of full-size operations, even, was not begun, the Die-Off is guaranteed to be much more catastrophic in the long run. These technologies should be rendered sustainable eventually - unless something better is found.

    And, by the way, I did not imagine that AGW denial could lead you into such a bad policy position; but, if this is the way of it, you had better figure out the science pretty quickly. Tell me what gives you the idea that AGW isn't happening?