Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Electrical constraint and inequality

Electrical constraint and inequality

Solar and wind energy collecting devices are extensions of the fossil fuel supply system and the global industrial infrastructure.  These devices will not be made without these inputs unless someone has a magic wand.  (see:  I am proposing that solar and wind energy collecting devices are business as usual, if we do not impose constraints on all energy and other natural resource use. 

In addition, without constraints on electrical usage (toys and tools) then the gross inequality globally will continue with solar and wind energy underwriting it.  Without constraints solar and wind devices and their auxiliary accessories are elitist equipment of the entitled.

This opens two critical questions of the energy/electricity that we are requiring.  How do we bring more equitable distribution of energy resources?  Is this imbalance and the consequent strife our destiny and our demise?

What do we need the energy for? This must be one of the mantras for survival now and tomorrow. Imagine beginning at the earth resources –the mine and the well- and the subsequent flow of these products. This creates a tremendous picture in motion of "energy" and resources flowing around the world. It is a Catch 22; we can't live with it and can't live presently without it. 

I took the table from this site:

I copied it to an Excel spread sheet.  I rank ordered the least energy use to the most, and then did an accumulation of population from least energy use to most.  I could then look at what 50% or 80% of the world’s population used compared to the USofA.  (The table is at the end.  Sorry I can't get it larger)

Caveat:  these figures are approximate however, realistic.

Caveat: The per capita electric use is misleading.
The wealth get the lion's share of the energy.

- people living in countries in the top half of "energy-per-capita consuming countries" consume more than 90% of all electricity consumed (or more than 1.8 times an equitable share);

- people living in countries in the top 20% of "energy-per-capita consuming countries" consume almost 57% of all electricity consumed (or roughly 2.8 times an equitable share);

- people living in countries in the top 10% of "energy-per-capita consuming countries" consume almost 40% of all electricity consumed (or roughly 4 times an equitable share); and

- people living in countries in the top 5% of "energy-per-capita consuming countries" consume about 25% of all electricity consumed (or about 5 times an equitable share).

Even that is misleading, because all the products made elsewhere 
and shipped to the USA add to the electrical (and total energy) 
available for our consumption.

So again I ask what do we want the electricity for? 
How will we use the electricity from these solar and wind energy capturing devices? 
This isn’t a trick question.  There is no hidden trap.
It however is a question that I ask of promoters of these devices and I get no answer. 
So it is business as usual.  Put up as many wind turbines and solar collecting devices as the earth can bear.  Build all the auxiliary equipment to run these devices.  Consume by mining, refining, fabricating, manufacturing and transporting all the toys and tools we want to use.
It is like a person diagnosed with lung cancer saying he/she will just smoke these organic, non sprayed cigarettes for a little bit longer instead of facing the reality of the situation, quitting and having the operation.   
Lament climate change but blind yourself to the energy and resource needs of these devices.

Can we honestly call ourselves green? Call ourselves renewable? Call ourselves sustainable?

Set the consequences to the global economy aside, what do we really need?  What devices.

We cannot ask “what can we get rid of?”

We must start at the most basic –
“What devices, what functions do we need?”

Pumps for our water?

If there was a “game” and you were given one quarter of the electricity you now use (which is what the 80% have) or even one half of what you now use, what would you choose? 

How much electricity does an American home use?
In 2013, the average annual electricity consumption for a U.S. residential utility customer was 10,908 kilowatthours (kWh), an average of 909 kWh per month. Louisiana had the highest annual consumption at 15,270 kWh, and Hawaii had the lowest at 6,176 kWh.

What is other?

Above we indicated residential.  Think about all those panels
on roof tops, with inverters, controllers and batteries.

How about this electrical usage:

What are we using the 60% industrial and commercial electricity for?  Are we lighting up car lots at night commercially?  How about Times Square of its equivalent?

Industrially, what are we making with this electricity?  Critically necessary products?

We must start at the most basic –
“What devices, what functions do we need?”

As stated in the beginning without constraints on electrical usage (toys and tools) then the gross inequality globally will continue with solar and wind energy underwriting it.  Without constraints solar and wind devices and their auxiliary accessories are elitist equipment of the entitled.

So are we talking about solar devices and their auxiliary equipment on each of these homes?


  1. Hi, John:

    The biggest lesson I've learnt from Eastern Island, is that sustainability is not an energy or technology issue. Its a culture, society, human behaviour question.

    PV is the most BAU of all the so called (mileadingly) renewables. Why this persistence in PV when it is, by far, the worst performer (and there are many numbers out there, check Pedro Prieto and Charles Hall book on PV's EROEI)?

    My personal and biased believe is quite filosphic: we create an 'artificial leave' as God creted the natural ones, that give us the most (over)valuated kind of energy, the most technical and 'human' one, electricity.

    Thus PV, in fact, is an act of our divinity. Pure human egotism, hedonism.

  2. Guilem - We agree. thank you for the comment.

  3. The sad reality is that 99.999% of the developed world do not care where their electricity comes from, as long as it's there 24/7, on demand. Why else do we accept 2 to 3 million premature deaths per annum from burning fossil fuels. It can only be described as "macabre indifference" (Google it).

    "...The gross inequality globally..." can be overcome because a proven technology exists to supply all of the [emission-free] energy humanity can possibly use, from existing fuel sources for many hundreds of years - or at least until fusion power is a reality.

    The technology is that of the Integral Fast Reactor (IFR). One of these reactor was de-funded in 1994, after 30 successful years of generating electricity.

    It demonstrated inherent safety, whereby the reactor shut itself down according to the laws of physics, without human intervention under experimental accident conditions like those experienced at TMI and Fukushima.

    It burned legacy nuclear waste such as plutonium as fuel and this most precious energy resource can - as was previously stated - provide energy to all of humanity, at developed world standards for many centuries.

    All means electricity and process heat, carbon-neutral liquid fuels for all of our transport needs and carbon-neutral fertiliser feedstock to feed the world.

    The minuscule waste stream left behind by these reactors, decays to background radiation levels in only 300 years - easily, cheaply and safely stored, until it's as safe as the ground beneath your feet.

    The real problem to occupy the minds of 'thinkers' is not that of wondering what we can do without, but how to educate short-sighted politicians (with a one or two term attention span) and anti nuclear media moguls (rich from the bountiful headline fruits of nuclear power) that a technology is in place now that could be rapidly rolled out for the benefit of all.

    There's a stack of great videos on this technology, if you just punch in: "integral fast reactor" and listen to the people who were there and did it all.

  4. Hey you haven't posted for a bit, you okay? :) I enjoy your blogs as you deliver realism to our dismal reality. Also found this recently which also confirms your positions too , it admits, beyond China, the reality that renewable production is done by fossil fuels.

  5. The outlook for renewable energy for the current fiscal appears to be bright.

  6. Thanks for posting this informative article for us. We expect some more relevant post from you in coming future. Keep updating.
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