Peak Oil and Plug-in Vehicles

Oil output (crude plus condensate or C+C) is likely to peak by 2020 (or may have peaked already in 2015 or 2016). Electric Vehicles (EVs) and Plugin hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) may allow about 40% of current oil consumption to be substituted with electricity, under the simplifying assumption that the use of oil based fuels in PHEVs is minimal due to high oil prices. It is assumed here that high oil prices are the likely result of the decline in oil output. I have modified my medium oil scenario with slightly higher extraction rates, shown in the chart below.


An important question is how quickly Plug-in vehicle sales can be ramped up. Data from Inside EVs for Worldwide plug in vehicle sales from 2014 to 2016 shows an average growth rate of 44% per year in annual sales. I create two scenarios one based on sales growth of personal computers (PC) from 1980 to 2009 (low scenario) and sales growth of smart phones (SP) from 2001 to 2015 (high scenario), my expectation is that a realistic scenario would be between these two scenarios.

PC sales grew at 27%/year from 1980-1989, 23%/year from 1990-1999, and 12%/year from 2000-2009. SP sales grew at 67%/year from 2001-2007 and 36%/year from 2008-2015. The high scenario growth rates are lower than the smart phone growth rates at 47%/year for 7 years and 20% for 8 years and falls to 3.2% per year until most internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEV) are replaced. The low scenario is nearly identical to the PC sales growth rates from 1980-2009, with the final decade being slightly lower (11%).

In this analysis I ignore fuel used by commercial vehicles (trucks and buses), ships, and aircraft.  In the US, about 55 barrels of gasoline are produced for every 100 barrels of C+C input into refineries, I have assumed for the World about 40% of C+C output is consumed by personal vehicle transportation. The share is lower in the developing World relative to the OECD, but I do not have good data so 40% is a rough estimate.

The growth in commercial vehicle fuel use will slow as rail is used more for transport and as oil becomes scarce some rail will be electrified, also the truck fleet will become more efficient as oil prices increase and trucks can slow down to save fuel as oil prices rise. In 2025 (high scenario) to 2035 (low scenario) less fuel will be needed for personal transportation and there may be adequate fuel for commercial vehicles, though cheaper batteries and higher rail use may lead to very low demand for oil as trucks may be mostly used for the last few miles from the rail terminal and batteries might suffice for that use.

Oil prices can only fall so far before supply is affected by lack of profits. At some point after 2040 oil supply may be limited by oil demand. Note that both commercial vehicles and personal vehicles may double in number by 2035 (assuming no major recession or depression), if commercial vehicles used roughly the same amount of fuel as personal vehicles worldwide in 2016, a rapid increase in efficiency will be needed in the commercial transport sector as oil output declines, especially from 2020 to 2035 (or 2025 in the optimistic case).


2006-2014 average growth rate in number of registered personal vehicles was 3.6%/year.

Low Scenario


The 3.6 % growth rate continues until 2020 and then decreases by 0.1% each year until 2048 when the growth rate has fallen to 1% per year and it remains 1% until 2060. Slower population growth, development of autonomous vehicles, more densely populated cities, and higher oil prices is assumed to lead to slower growth in the personal vehicle fleet over time.


I have assumed for simplicity that after 16 years a vehicle is scrapped so that from 2016 to 2032 the registered plugin vehicles are equal to cumulative sales and for every year from 2033-2060 the cumulative sales from 16 years earlier is deducted from current cumulative sales to arrive at registered plugin vehicles.


I assume no fuel use by PHEVs as a simplification, as oil prices rise I expect the share of PHEVs will fall relative to EVs and this assumption may become more accurate. The MPG(miles per gallon) of the ICE vehicle fleet (in US gallons) can be calculated using the assumption above and assuming the average personal vehicle travels 12,000 miles per year and 40% of total C+C output is the number of barrels of fuel used by personal vehicles. There are 42 US gallons per barrel.


Note that I have assumed no changes in behavior as far as combining trips, slowing down, car pooling, less driving, or increased use of public transportation. All of these changes in behavior in response to high oil prices are likely as oil output declines and would reduce the miles travelled per vehicle and reduce the overall average MPG.  Note that a Toyota Camry hybrid averages about 40 MPG and 50 MPG is a fairly common average fuel efficiency in a Toyota Prius (non-plugin).

High Scenario





Note that although MPG levels off in this scenario earlier than the low scenario, this is simply because I assume the share of oil used by personal vehicles is fixed. In reality oil is likely to remain scarce due to the growth of commercial land transport as well as shipping by sea, and growth in air travel and shipping. Thus the MPG chart from the “low scenario” is likely to be more realistic than the MPG shown above from the high scenario.

Reality is likely to fall somewhere between these two scenarios in my view. If we are closer to the low plug in vehicle (EVs and PHEVs) growth scenario, then constrained oil supply may lead to severe disruption as oil prices spike due to competition between various uses for oil (personal transport, trucking, rail, sea shipping, and airline travel and transport) and a depression is likely between 2025 and 2035. If the higher scenario is closer to reality the chances are better that a severe recession might be avoided.

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220 Responses to Peak Oil and Plug-in Vehicles

  1. Electric vehicles? Where will the primary energy come from? Australia is facing a power crisis due to indecision in energy policy for more than 10 irreplaceable years.

    Power Supply in New South Wales: how will it cope in coming heatwave?

    • Fred Magyar says:

      Electric vehicles? Where will the primary energy come from?

      Hey Matt, maybe check out Jack Rickard’s EVTV site, you might find some answers there.

      The answer is pretty obvious, enjoy!


      • GoneFishing says:

        It takes 4 to 9 PV panels to run an EV (depending on insolation, car, and driving conditions).

        • Provided you have enough roof space and sufficient solar energy through all seasons. The point I made in my post is that all those living in an increasing number of apartments in Sydney can’t do that

          • Dennis Coyne says:

            Hi Matt,

            Widely dispersed wind and solar can provide most of the energy in more densely populated areas connected to the grid, the rest can be provide by nuclear or battery or fuel cell backup. Cars can be charged during the day while parked at work. Solar can be mounted on the ground, over parking lots, on top of commercial and industrial buildings, it doesn’t all need to be on homes. For remote locations in Australia a combination of solar and battery backup may be more economical as fossil fuel depletion drives up prices in the future and the cost of solar and batteries falls.

          • GoneFishing says:

            Those panels could be located in a big field of panels just outside of town. Just gave the number needed, not the location.
            They also could be on the side of a building and on the apartment roof.
            There are so many ways to do it right now, just use google.

    • Dennis Coyne says:

      Hi Matt,

      Wind, solar, geothermal, nuclear, natural gas and coal.

      Note that because of fewer thermal losses for wind solar and hydro, only about 1/3 of the energy is needed to provide the same exergy relative to most coal power.

      • islandboy says:

        Dennis, I did an exercise on this site, where I attempted to calculate what the additional demand on the grid would be if all the VMT for the US was traveled in vehicles with the electricity consumption of a Tesla Model S as opposed to vehicles with ICEs. I chose a year I could get the data for (2014) and the result was 17.2%. I asked if anyone could detect any glaring errors and those who responded thought the results were good enough.

        I’m too lazy to look up the data for Australia but, it’s hard to imagine a country with higher VMT per capita than the US, not impossible, just hard! As a result, I wonder just how much the Australian grid would be affected by a massive transition to EVs? According to the map below, the solar resource for most of Australia is pretty and according to this article:

        The stars are aligning for Australia to transition to 100 per cent renewable electricity. Our fossil fuel infrastructure is ageing, which means we will soon need to invest in new power generators.

        New technologies such as battery storage could revolutionise long-standing business models. With care, the transitions away from fossil fuels could offer greater job opportunities.

        Our latest research, which corroborates previous work, shows the technology already exists to solve many of the remaining questions around technological capability.

        For instance, the fact that wind and solar don’t generate electricity when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining can be dealt with by installing a network of diverse generators across a wide area, or by increasing our use of energy storage.

        One of the biggest remaining barriers to transition is cost. But this is also rapidly changing. Much work is going into reducing the cost of renewable energy, including the latest funding announcement from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) of $92 million for 12 solar projects.

        Note also that currently Australia is one of the hottest markets in the world for storage batteries for solar electricity. See Battery Powered Homes.

        What do you think?

        • George Kaplan says:

          A TWh is 1000 GWh not 100, so I think you might be a factor of 10 out (but then the decimal point moved by 3 in the GWh number as well, so something else might be happening). In the UK travel energy use and electricity are similar orders of magnitude so a factor of 2 makes more sense to me (allowing for USA having higher numbers but you including only light vehicles).

          If you include intermittency issues (even assuming a big interconnected grid that somehow encompasses the whole country) and a need to generate enough excess to cover construction and maintenance (for the grid and the EVs) I think it will probably be more like a factor of 50 to 100 out (i.e 8 to 17 times bigger).

          • islandboy says:

            Hi George, I’m assuming that you are referring to the calculations in the exercise I linked to, so to I have copied and pasted it here with each step in the calculation numbered. I myself was a little confused when I looked back at step 5 so, I converted the TWh figure in step 4 to GWh (in bold) for clarity. Is that where you are saying “A TWh is 1000 GWh not 100″?

            Also at the end in bold, I have added that the assumption that there would be ” no reduction in electricity use to refine the needed motor fuels from crude oil”, is not a reasonable assumption.

            1) US 2014 Light duty vehicle, short wheel-base Vehicle Miles Traveled – 2,072,071 million miles (Source US DOT BTS)

            2) Worst case EV power consumption 340 Wh/mile (Tesla Model S)

            So if all VMT for the US in 2014 were traveled in EVs with the consumption of a Tesla Model S, the total electricity required would be:

            3) 2,072,071 x 1,000,000 x 340 = 704,504,140,000,000 Wh = 704.5 TWh

            4) Total Generation at Utility Scale Facilities in the US for 2014 – 4,093,606 GWh = 4,093.606 TWh (Source EIA EPM)

            Increase required on top of 2014 total generation to power all Light Vehicle VMT in 2014 if traveled by EVs nwith the consumption of a Tesla Model S:

            5) 704.5 x 100 ÷ 4,093.606 = 17.2%

            So, according to the above calculations, if all VMT by light vehicles in the US in 2014, had been using EVs with the power consumption of a Tesla Model S it would have required the production of 17% more electricity. This assumes that there is no reduction in electricity use to refine the needed motor fuels from crude oil, not a reasonable assumption so actually less than 17% would be required.

            • Dennis Coyne says:

              Hi Islandboy,

              The only thing I can see is no inclusion of “charging losses”.
              Typically about 90% of the energy from the outlet makes it into the battery as there are losses as the AC voltage is converted to DC to charge the battery and probably some thermal losses in the charging process.

              This may indeed be offset by the electricity consumed by the refining process, extraction, transport, and distribution processes in the petroleum industry. More wind and solar can certainly be built and it is not as though the process will happen overnight, it will take 25 to 35 years before most personal transportation will be replaced by plugin vehicles.

              In short, I agree.

              • HVACman says:


                I took the basic US driving statistics and scenario you presented (item 1) and then did NOT look at your calculations below it, but did my own back-of-the-envelope independent estimate (using my OWN assumptions based on what my own first-hand EV drving experience has shown me, and my own calculation process). I came up with 750 TWH/year of EV energy required (at the metered, not at the battery). I was happy to then look at your calcs and see you had about 705 TWh – just 6% different from my calcs. So, independent confirmation. Your numbers look good.

              • HVACman says:


                EV charging technology continues to improve. GM’s engineers, in an SAE technical paper presented last year, revealed that their current generation AC on-board chargers (used in the Gen 2 Volt and the Bolt EV) are operating at between 92% efficient (at 115 volts AC input) and 96% efficient (at 240 volts AC input). That is AC input to DC output. Including battery internal resistance, AC wire-to-stored energy efficiency to about 92%.

                The improvements in power electronics technology is a relatively unsung advancement that has ripple effects throughout our lives and is quietly making a growing impact on utility power generation and consumption. Photovoltaic DC-AC power inverters. EV battery chargers and motor controllers. In the past, most wind-generators used induction generators that were relatively constant-speed. Now to improve efficiency and operable wind-speed range, most current-generation wind generators use variable-speed generators connected to massive solid-state inverters to create utility-grade power.
                Even home emergency generators now use variable-speed technology and inverters to reduce noise, improve efficiency, and create cleaner constant-frequency power.

                We in the HVAC industry commonly specify variable-frequency inverter drives to provide variable-speed control for conventional AC induction motors on pumps, fans, and refrigeration compressors on HVAC system fans. Every “mini-split” heat pump system uses inexpensive inverter drives on their fans and compressors as part of their “secret sauce” to achieving both high efficiency and high heat output at low outside air temperatures.

                • Dennis Coyne says:

                  Thanks HVACMan.

                  Great insights. A post from you on Realistic scenarios for reducing energy needs for homes would be very interesting, mini splits, ground source heat pumps (in very cold weather areas) and the energy savings (not money) relative to natural gas.

                  If you are ever interested let me know at peakoilbarrel at gee male dot cm.

                • likbez says:

                  Why did not you put just 0.1Kw per mile for simplicity? If you do not question the data what is the value of reproducing the calculations.

            • George Kaplan says:

              Right – my mistake, I was forgetting the efficiency of motors for transport (and then got mixed up with percent and TWh/GWh trying to understand the difference); so for UK there’d be about a 30% increase to electricity demand for the road transport sector . But that is not the same as saying the grid has to be only 30% bigger which is what you seem to be implying. To meet intermittency and EROI issues it would surely have to be about 5 times larger in terms of overall installed generating capacity than now if it ran on renewables, and probably the same or more in terms of transmission lines, transformers etc.

              • islandboy says:

                As Dennis pointed out, there’s also the issue of charging losses, which I completely ignored. I’m curious as to why you say the UK grid would need 30% more energy (TWh). Is it that the energy intensity of the UK economy is lower, such that that the energy required by cars would make up a larger share of the total electricity consumption than the US?

                On the other hand, the UK is so much smaller than the US and I imagine commutes are shorter resulting in significantly lower VMT per capita. Plus the mass transit systems are so much better. (On a visit a few years ago, I commuted from London to the NEC in Birmingham by train to attend a solar trade show rather than stay in Birmingham. It cost me less). In addition, EVs are much more efficient in slow moving, stop and go traffic if climate control, especially heating, is not being used.

                The issue of intermittency is something else altogether. I expect that the UK will eventually get most of it’s renewable energy from wind since the wind resources in the UK are good (see The profile of the wind resource makes a huge difference. When is it strongest? How much does it vary? Is it strong at night? It is the general profile of the intermittent resources compared to the demand profile that is going to determine how much storage will be needed and how much excess capacity will be needed. Someone with a fairly intimate knowledge of the nature of the renewable resources in the UK would be best equipped to make that determination.

                • alimbiquated says:

                  >On the other hand, the UK is so much smaller than the US and I imagine commutes are shorter resulting in significantly lower VMT per capita.

                  The size of the country is irrelevant actually. The real issue is the design of the cities. To see this, imagine Alaska quit the union. The country’s area would fall by roughly a sixth. VMT would not change at all.

                  It is often said that population density is an important measure for traffic planning, but a much better measure is median distance between households. Density includes square miles, but nobody has ever driven a square mile. Median is better than average because it removes outliers.

                  Median distance between households is determined by zoning laws, which in most American cities state that vast swathes of the city are reserved for single unit houses on a minimum plot size, and mixed use areas are not allowed. That means you have to drive miles to get a bottle of milk. But it has nothing to do with the size of the country.

                  • islandboy says:

                    “The size of the country is irrelevant actually.”

                    I beg to disagree. You say it has more to do with the design of the cities and zoning laws but, these things are very heavily influenced by the approach to land use which is heavily influenced by the size of the country. Smaller countries tend to be far more careful about land use. In places like Japan a standard sized lot for a single dwelling house in the US might be considered exorbitant in Japan.

                    The age of the country also has an influence on the development of settlements. Many Old World cities are thousands of years old and hence had huge areas that were developed long before the advent of mechanized transport. Is there anywhere in the US that you can find a street or alley as narrow as some of those in the major cities in the old world?

                    The zoning laws of which you speak that make “you have to drive miles to get a bottle of milk”, would be considered crazy in many places and would just not work in places that do not have a “car culture”.

                  • notanoilman says:


                    “The zoning laws of which you speak that make “you have to drive miles to get a bottle of milk”, would be considered crazy in many places and would just not work in places that do not have a “car culture”.”

                    In most places people just would not live in that sort of area. Something badly wrong with the American psyche for them to think they have to.


              • Dennis Coyne says:

                Hi George

                Current grid has roughly 2 times as much capacity as average load. Transmission already exists. So for the most part does not need replacing. Existing capacity serves as backup to intermittent wind and solar. As long as the wind is widely dispersed there would not be too much of an intermitency issue.
                Undersea cable to Ireland and France would reduce the problem further. Offshore wind would help. Expensive though, nuclear is also an option.

            • likbez says:

              This is definitely a way too optimistic calculation. Probably by a factor of two or three.

              You probably should use 0.6-0.7 KW/h per mile at the level of generating stations due to losses (10% in transmission, 15% in conversion, 10% in battery itself as it has the impedance).

              Everything else is just a wishful thinking. But even this is way too optimistic. My feeling is that 1 Kw/h per mile is more realistic for summer time if you add air conditioning costs.

              Double that in winter as battery efficiency drops and heating of the cabin is required.

              Add “vampire losses” when the electric car is parked and drop of efficiency of the litium battery with age when 90% efficiency becomes 80% on the second or third year.

              There are a lot of problems with your calculation (which actually assumes that Tesla S is as efficient as Leaf – a much smaller car).

              What I mentioned is just a tip of the iceberg. For gas powered car we can calculate what the well-to-wheel efficiency is. For electric car this is more difficult as parameters of battery change with its age and influence of air conditioning and heating is far more greater.

              In this sense, with air conditioning and heating factored in, Prius 50 mpg per gallon might still be quite competitive with 15 cents per kilowatt and three years old Tesla S.

              == quote ==
              For one thing, the charging process is only about 85 percent efficient. Which means that for every 85 kWh used by the car, 100 kWh came through my electric meter. In reality, that 5,074-kWh number is actually more like 5,700 kWh.

              In addition, my car’s “vampire” power draw while parked and shut down averaged about 4.5 kWh per day for the first 10 months, and then about 1 kWh per day after a software update two months ago. I estimate the vampire draw sucked up an additional 1,400 kWh or so.

              That brings total actual energy usage for the year: about 7,100 kWh–putting efficiency at about 466 Wh/mile, or about 2.1 miles/kWh.

              The vampire and charging losses bumped the year’s real fuel cost up to $820, or about 5.3 cents per mile. Which is still barely a quarter of the fuel cost of a comparable gasoline car.

              Winter vs summer

              As with all electric cars, my efficiency was much lower in cold weather. For the April-to-October period, I averaged 301 Wh/mi, compared to 371 Wh/mi for November to February.

              Although I didn’t measure month by month, these numbers imply that energy usage in July–the hottest month–was probably in the range of 290 Wh/mi, while January’s was close to 400 Wh/mi.

              Earlier this winter, during my first January with the car–which was followed by the coldest February in recent history around these parts–I found that my energy usage nearly doubled for the short local trips that I usually take.

              Time after time, I’d come home from a run to the grocery store or the chiropractor with an average consumption of well over 500 Wh/mile. (That’s before counting vampire and charging losses.)

              • islandboy says:

                Thanks for your input. I put that out there to stimulate discussion on the impact large fleets of EVs would have on national grids.

                IMO the panic about charging infrastructure and grids not being able to cope is a red herring. Charging stations can be set up in many more places and do not require the same kind of restrictions that gas stations do. They can be set up anywhere cars are parked for more than half an hour. In terms of additional load on the grid, in the US electricity demand should fall considerably as inefficient lighting is replaced by more efficient lighting.

                • likbez says:

                  1 KW/h per mile at 12 cents per kilowatt is $6 per 50 miles or one gallon gas for Prius.

                  Should not EV be renamed “California cars” and Tesla “San-Francisco Tesla” ?

                  There are very few places in the USA when there is no either hot summers (which require air condition, which is gas-powered cars is approximately 3 kW in modern cars, more in luxury models with dual zones) or winter heating which can be 4-5 kW.

                  Distributing this for all year you will get additional 1 kW of power consumption.

                  So get a viable per mile cost EV users should not use either.


                  • wehappyfew says:


                    Your numbers aren’t realistic. No existing EV consumes 1000 W-hrs/mile, unless it is parked with the AC or heat on 16 hours/day.

                    Actual real-world EV cost-per-mile, from personal experience:

                    Chevy Volt:
                    winter = 2.3 US cents/mile
                    spring-fall = 2.2 cents/mile
                    summer = 2.5 cents/mile

                    Fiat 500e:
                    winter = 1.8 cents/mile

                    Based on 0.08 USD/kW-hr marginal costs here in Texas. (lots of cheap lignite and even cheaper wind)
                    (…. originally, incorrectly, 0.08 cents/kW-hr… obviously wrong, should be dollars, not cents… )

                    Assumes 85% efficiency from wall to battery to motor.

                    (thanks for catching my typo, Ron… the calculation results are unaffected)

                    …. (some damage to credibility may still remain, however) ….

                  • In reply to wehappyfew:

                    Based on 0.08 cents/kW-hr marginal costs here in Texas.

                    Eight one hundredths of one cent per kilowatt hour is absurd. No one who makes such a claim has any credibility whatsoever.

              • GoneFishing says:

                0.3 to 0.37 kwh/mile average is not bad for real conditions. What speed do you generally travel at and with what car?

                • JN2 says:

                  Even Tesla’s AWD Model S 75D does 0.29 kWh/mile. Or 3.45 miles per kWh.

                  Chevy Bolt is 237 miles combined with 60 kWh.
                  0.25 kWh per mile or 3.95 miles/kWh.

                  This would be $1.50 per 50 miles, not likbez’s $6.00

                  The average US car uses 1.35 kWh per mile or 0.74 miles/kWh. [33.4 kWh/gall; av mpg 24.8]

                  So Bolt does over 5x miles/kWh as average US car.

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi Jn2,

                    But if you warm the car up for an hour in the morning in winter or cool it down for an hour in the summer, eat lunch in the car while running the heat or air conditioning and spend hours in stop and go traffic with heat and/or air conditioning running, then the mileage is much less. 🙂

                    Of course in a Prius you can do all those things and you still get 50 MPG. 🙂

            • Nathanael says:

              Islandboy: in fact, the Tesla Model S is the worst electricity hog of all the electric cars on the market (except for its sister the Model X). Model 3, for example, will be more efficient. Which also means that less than 17% would be required.

              • islandboy says:

                That is precisely why I used that figure for the calculation. Lower figures like the 250 Wh per mile for the Chevy Bolt, would have resulted in a lower percentage and my aim was to come up with a rough maximum. As has been pointed out, I ignored the charging losses which I am guessing are in the region of 10% so adding 10% to the 704.5 TWh requirement raises the additional electricity required by 1.7% to 18.9%.

                We end up with a worse case of 18.9% from which we ought to subtract all the electricity not used to refine all the gasoline displaced.

      • Look here how far we are away from sustainable energies

        • islandboy says:

          Hi Matt, in your Crude Oil Peak piece, you express concern that a brown coal fired power plant in Victoria with a nameplate capacity of 1,600 MW is closing end March 2017. The link the post I am replying to, takes me to a page showing Total Australian Black Coal generation at 12,378 MW (Tue 07 Feb at 01:50 (NEM Time)) and the Crude Oil Peak piece shows the same web page giving a figure of 17,537 MW (Wed 18 Jan at 14:30 (NEM Time)). Assuming that the low figure is a typical middle of the night low and the high figure is a typical middle of the day high that gives a difference of 5,159 MW between the low and the high. For Gas the difference is about 3,000 MW so to make up for the difference in just black coal and gas would require a source with a capacity of over 8,000 MW (8 GW).

          I am thinking particularly about the peak daytime load and whether this can be powered by solar PV. This would mean Australia would have to install 8 GW of PV fairly quickly. Can this be done? Let’s look at the experience of some other countries (Source mostly ). At it’s peak Germany connected roughly 7.5 GW to it’s grid each year for three years running (2010-2012) with the record for monthly connections being roughly 3 GW in one month. Japan connected almost 7 GW in 2013, more than 9.5 GW in 2014, again more than 9.5 GW in 2015 and is expected to install between 8.9 GW to 11.2 GW in 2016. The US connected 4.7 GW in 2013, 6.2 GW in 2014, about 9 GW in 2015 and is projected to install some 14 GW for 2016. China connected 5 GW in 2012, 12.9 GW in 2013, 10.6 GW in 2014, about 15 GW in 2015 and a mind blowing 34 GW in 2016.

          Unfortunately, looking at the data for Australia, annual installations have not exceeded 1,000 MW for any given year so, I would guess that the manpower resources to install multiples of that in short order are not available locally. On the other hand it would appear that the market (pricing) mechanisms to facilitate rapid deployment are in place so it would seem logical that rapid deployment of solar PV in Australia should happen. One other consideration is that owners of existing generation facilities and fuel suppliers will not welcome the new competition so there is likely to be some resistance. Making up for the loss of the 1,600 MW coal plant is not impossible, challenging but, not impossible.

        • Dennis Coyne says:

          Hi Matt,

          I would think solar would work well in Australia, but maybe the coal industry calls the shots in Australia. Interesting, thanks.

          What is the average price of electricity from the coal fired plants in Australia?

          • Nathanael says:

            The current federal government of Australia is nicknamed the “COALition” and is widely considered to be in the pocket of coal mining companies. However, the Australian states are ignoring the federal government and pressing ahead with reliable renewable energy.

            See for long discussions on the state of the energy transition in Australia.

        • islandboy says:

          Australian outlook: solar’s impact felt across range of energy metrics, data shows

          Large-scale solar capacity also showed encouraging signs of growth last year, with notable ground-mounted installations such as the Moree and Mugga Lane and Barcaldine solar parks coming online, adding 56 MW, 13 MW and 25 MW of solar power respectively.

          Rooftop solar PV capacity, meanwhile, grew by a further 620 MW in 2016 according to the NEM data, mirroring the same amount added in 2015 and generating 856 GWh in total energy capacity. Combined with large-scale solar, Australia’s installed solar base in 2016 contributed 1,851 GWh of electricity to the nation, the stats show.

          Large-scale solar in Australia is poised for something of a breakthrough year in 2017, with data from Sustainable Energy Research Analytics (SERA) forecasting investment in the sector to reach AUS$1.3 billion this year, rising to AUS$2 billion in 2018.

          As much as 1 GW of large-scale solar capacity is expected to reach financial close this year, and the data shows that in excess of 3.7 GW of grand ground-mounted projects are at various stages of development nationwide.

          In terms of actual installations, conservative estimates expect large-scale solar to grow 202 MW this year, increasing to 700 MW in 2018.

          I’d say that’s a start!

        • islandboy says:

          I find it remarkable that Australia gets as much electricity as it does from solar, given that in the attached graphic, only 130 MW was coming from “Large Solar”. I would think there is huge potential for utility scale solar to do most of the heavy lifting during the summer mid day peaks..

          • islandboy says:

            Looking at the same page for later in the day, 7:30 pm, shows that the gas peaker plants have kicked in/ramped up to take care of the evening peak, having increased output by some 2.7 GW. This is a role that could be played by batteries, suggesting that Australia could use some 3 GW or more of battery capacity.

            edit: The “Battery Powered Homes” piece linked to in my 02/05/2017 at 8:28 pm comment above, suggests that this is already happening even though the NEM charts do not show it. The quote in the same comment is taken from an article at the following page:


            An interesting approach would be to use plug in vehicles with some amount of vehicle to grid capability to help deal with the evening peak. Many vehicles should be available once their owners have returned to their homes following the evening commute. If workplace charging was made available, it should be possible for the vehicles to have plenty capacity left after they have finished th evening commute.

            A massive increase in PV capacity in conjunction with workplace charging would help to answer Matt’s question up top, “Where will the primary energy come from?”. The sun during the day and base load plants late at night.

    • Sydney Mike says:

      Exactly. In order to replace internal combustion engines with electric motors, the energy needs to be supplied by electric power plants. Building these would take an unprecedented effort and fast tracking. There no chance to do this anytime soon.

      The most consistent flaw in such proposals is to overlook the foundation of our just in time food and consumer supply chain: oil powered trucks, tractors, railway engines, ships and aircraft. None of these will be replaced by lithium battery powered electric motors. So when oil becomes scarce and more expensive, everything we do in our society will need to contract.

      • Boomer II says:

        “In order to replace internal combustion engines with electric motors, the energy needs to be supplied by electric power plants. Building these would take an unprecedented effort and fast tracking. ”

        Why would it take any longer to build renewable power plants than fossil fuel power plants? Solar lends itself to distributed generation, so it should actually involve less planning and construction than fossil fuel and nuclear power plants.

        • alimbiquated says:

          In fact, one of the most salient features of wind and solar (but not hydro) is the speed of deployment. You can build a gigawatt solar plant and have it pay for itself in the time it takes to build a nuclear power plant.

      • Fred Magyar says:

        Building these would take an unprecedented effort and fast tracking. There no chance to do this anytime soon.

        Says who? It’s a lot quicker and cheaper, right now, to put up a solar powered plant than it is to build any other kind of electricity generating plant bar none. And you don’t even need to that, since you can build out distributed solar on rooftops even faster than that! You can connect rooftop solar into micro grids and store the electricity for when you need it in car and home batteries storage systems. Centralized generation is just so last century.

        The most consistent flaw in such proposals is to overlook the foundation of our just in time food and consumer supply chain: oil powered trucks, tractors, railway engines, ships and aircraft. None of these will be replaced by lithium battery powered electric motors.

        Again, says who. Except for aircraft, which are a little bit behind the others, though not by much, all of the other items on your list are most definitely being powered by batteries right now!

        Check out these battery powered electric buses…

        And we are still only at the very beginning of the energy density and cost drop curves for the batteries for these kinds of vehicles.

        Seems like a lot of people are just not keeping up with the technology revolution. Things are starting to change very fast right now.

        Battery cells are now in production at Tesla’s Gigafactory

        Already out of date information from last year…
        Top EV Battery Producers (2015 vs 2014 Top 10 List)
        March 26th, 2016 by James Ayre

        • notanoilman says:

          I see the big, red Coke trucks going past on their rounds, stop start, stop start, leave the engine running to save time. I look at all the sun shining on that big flat roof and think “no brainer”.


          • GoneFishing says:

            They will probably run them on sugar instead. 🙂

          • HVACman says:

            Actually, before putting a few hundred watts of PV on a Coke truck that would about run the cab’s AC system – sometimes – if it isn’t parked under a tree or it is cloudy or night – look at drive train hybridization, either electric or hydraulic. Delivery trucks are perfect candidates for being hybrids, as every “stop” can provide about 70% of the energy for the next “start” with minimal additional technology. Plus with the booster electric or hydraulic motors in the driveline, the engine doesn’t even have to be running to get the truck going again. Eliminates idle fuel use.

            • GoneFishing says:

              I think that putting the fizz in the soda as it travels is the best way. Highly compressed CO2 tanks under the frame would drive the hybrid system, the exhaust would bubble through a tank of soda and then be electrically pumped into bottles/cans and sealed as they travel.
              Part of a factory on wheels putting the CO2 where it needs to go.

          • Caelan MacIntyre says:

            Sure, but reality isn’t always as simple as what you’re insinuating, and often turn out to be ‘no-brainers’ in ways we ‘don’t think’.

      • GoneFishing says:

        It takes 4 to 9 PV panels to run an EV.
        Railway engines actually run on electricity.
        Batteries are improving.
        Hydrogen power is possible as are synthetic fuels.
        Just converting to renewable electricity uses far less power than fossil fuels due to the inefficiencies of oil production and use, as well as natural gas and coal.

        • Duncan Idaho says:

          Railway engines do run on electricity– powered by diesel.
          I can see personal transportation, like cars or bikes, becoming EV’s, in fact I use them frequently. (I’m currently electric bike shopping)
          A 18 wheeler is not going to happen.
          The battery would be the entire payload (I know Sweden has EV trucks- that travel 2k in distance, and the 710 corridor from San Pedro has been electrified, using horrendous amounts of electricity)
          Unfortunately, the world runs on diesel.

          • GoneFishing says:

            Railway locomoties can run directly on electricity. Many do around here. They are also used in a number of countries. So it means stringing wires and attaching catenary to the locomotive and setting up substations. All known and available equipment used every day. Nothing new here.
            Here are 50 pages of them, just click on the thumbnail for better view.

            Chinese Electrics.

            Electrics are generally more powerful than diesel-electrics. Up to 12,000 HP.

            The electric locomotive is more efficient than the diesel-electric and is 20 times more efficient than a truck..

            You seem to neglect synthetic liquid fuels made using electrical power. You also neglect that batteries will get cheaper and lighter.
            And then there is this:

            We have ships running on natural gas now, so why not ships running on solar+hydrogen?

            • Duncan Idaho says:

              Sure you have local electric vehicles with overhead lines.
              Aside from the San Pedro line, all long haul workhorses of our transportation that supplies food and needed are diesel to electric trains or diesel trucks.
              (Almost all examples were local passenger trains)
              (Your hydrogen cell example is operating at such a energy loss when externalities are added, it is embarrassing)

              Battery tech is stuck in the 1990’s as my post below.
              While personal EV’s make sense, the physics doesn’t pencil out for transportation that keeps our current society together.
              Hopefully tech will keep up—
              We need a Crisper in Batteries.

              • Dennis Coyne says:

                Hi Duncan,

                Can you cite some physics for why electric trains cannot be built? I don’t follow your argument. Just because we have not done it (because fossil fuel prices have been low) does not mean it cannot be done. More demand for rail vs long haul trucking will result in more rail facilities being built.

                As oil prices continue to rise, rail companies that convert to all electric freight trains will have lower cost and be more competitive and all trains will gradually convert to electric. The same will occur in short haul trucking, hybrids first, then plugin hybrids, then EVs as battery costs continue to fall as economies of scale and competition drives battery prices lower.

                There was a time when I imagine the coal barons scoffed at the idea that oil would be the dominant form of energy (around 1870 say). One hundred years down the road coal is still with us, but it no longer has a 90%+ market share in energy.

                Diesel is important, but its share of total US energy consumption is about 8.8%. Petroleum is about 36.6% of US energy consumption and diesel is about 24% of petroleum consumption (0.366*0.24=8.8%).

                In the US 38.8% of energy is provided by electric power and 18% of primary energy was provided by renewables and nuclear in 2015 based on EIA data.


                • GoneFishing says:

                  We have lots of electric trains all over the world. They exist and are running right now, more efficient than any diesel. The reasons for not doing it are that diesel has been cheap, available and initial infrastructure is cheaper too. Taxes are higher on electric routes.
                  “One advantage of electrification is the lack of pollution from the locomotives. Electrification results in higher performance, lower maintenance costs and lower energy costs.”


          • Dennis Coyne says:

            Hi Duncan Idaho,

            The rail lines can be electrified so that no diesel would be required, it will take time, but as oil depletes and prices increase it will be cheaper than using diesel. The post attempted to say that long haul trucks would be replaced with shipping by rail which is considerably more efficient when using diesel. The last few miles from the rail head to the store or factory can be covered by PHEV trucks, main roads could even have overhead electric wires for trucks and buses and the truck would only need the batteries after getting off main roads, or could use a diesel engine for that last mile (depends on which is cheaper).

            Yes diesel output from refineries in the US is about 30% of total C+C input to refineries, eventually this will need to be reduced. Jet fuel output from refineries is about 10% of C+C input, and gasoline is about 54% (if we deduct the 10% of gasoline that is ethanol).

            In Europe diesel use is higher because a lot more is used for personal transportation, according to Eurostat for 2015 diesel was 45% of total crude consumption, so about 50% higher than in the US. Some of this is for personal transport, but in Europe they use rail less for freight so use of diesel for shipping by truck may be higher as a share of total crude use in Europe. I could not find any data to determine the truck personal transport split for Europe. In the US most of the personal transport uses gasoline.

            Also the US share of diesel use has increased from 22% from 1973-2000 to and average of 28% from 2001-2015 with the most recent 3 years at 31%, the share has been over 30% since 2011.

            From 2003 to 2015 diesel output in the US has grown at an average rate of 2.35%/year. The crude input to refineries has only grown by
            0.2 %/year over that period, gasoline output also grew slowly at about 0.4%/year in the US.

            • Duncan Idaho says:

              We shall see Dennis.
              Electrifying long distance freight is going to be challenging, resource intensive, and incredibly expensive.
              The range of Swedens EV Trucks?
              Battery: Li-Ion 5 kWh (gives a driving range up to 3 km when not running on the e-way)

              • Dennis Coyne says:

                Hi Duncan,

                Do you believe that the energy density of batteries will not improve over time?

                I agree that at present EV trucks don’t make sense, but hybrid or plugin hybrid for short haul trucking may become economic as oil prices rise. The long haul trucking makes the most sense to focus on imo, working to replace that use with rail shipping will give the biggest bang for the dollars invested, as oil prices continue to rise electrifying rail lines will be the next logical step, perhaps.

                Think tanks and the government will need to crunch the numbers and guess at future trends to see where the limited resources are best used. Oil will become scarce prices will rise and the market will decide what the best solution is to this scarcity. Some government guidance might be helpful or not depending on one’s philosophy (the Walrasian model’s optimal allocation of resources is critically dependent on several unrealistic assumptions, so I don’t have a lot of faith in “Mr Market”.)

                • Duncan Idaho says:

                  Rail makes the most sense, no doubt.
                  Island water ways are even more efficient most of the time.

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi Duncan Idaho,

                    Excellent point, where water routes exist they are far more efficient for moving freight.

                • Caelan MacIntyre says:

                  “More generally, it’s impressive how many people can look at the landscape of dysfunctional technology and failed promises that surrounds us today and still insist that the future won’t be like that. Most of us have learned already that upgrades on average have fewer benefits and more bugs than the programs they replace, and that products labeled ‘new and improved’ may be new but they’re rarely improved; it’s starting to sink in that most new technologies are simply more complicated and less satisfactory ways of doing things that older technologies did at least as well at a lower cost. Try suggesting this as a general principle, though, and I promise you that plenty of people will twist themselves mentally into pretzel shapes trying to avoid the implication that progress has passed its pull date…

                  The heart of that case, as already noted, is the fact that certain theories about the future do in fact make accurate predictions, while others don’t. This in itself shows that history isn’t random—that there’s some structure to the flow of historical events that can be figured out by learning from the past, and that similar causes at work in similar situations will have similar outcomes. Apply that reasoning to any other set of phenomena, and you’ve got the ordinary, uncontroversial basis for the sciences. It’s only when it’s applied to the future that people balk, because it doesn’t promise them the kind of future they want.” ~ John Michael Greer

                  • likbez says:

                    That’s a great quote. Thanks you !

                  • Caelan MacIntyre says:

                    Glad you like it, likbez.

                  • Nathanael says:

                    And what does this have to do with the price of tea in China?

                    I know exactly what’s happening in the energy transition. My theories are making accurate predictions. Yours aren’t. Maybe this means you should listen to me.

                    My theories are not predicting what I actually want. They are predicting the end of the age of fossil fuels. They’re also predicting neo-feudalism.

      • Dennis Coyne says:

        Hi Sydney Mike,

        I left out the rail, ships, airplanes, and trucks. As oil becomes scarce all of these will become more expensive and they will become more efficient. Long haul trucking will move to rail, ships will travel slower to reserve fuel and the just in time scheduling will be adjusted to match, rail will be electrified, short haul trucking will convert to plugin hybrid electric or all electric or to natural gas (whatever the industry believes will be cheaper). Ships can also convert to hybrid wind-fossil fuel or to nuclear depending on what is cheaper, coal is also a possibility for ships. Airplanes might be used less and will become more energy efficient, possibly liquid biofuels could be developed or air travel may become too expensive except for the very wealthy.

        Such a transition will be difficult, but the higher oil prices become, the more efficiently the oil will be used. Note that C+C output has been steady at about 79.9 Mb/d from July 2014 to Oct 2016 (most recent EIA data point) the 12 month centered mean has fluctuated slightly above and below this level (red line in chart below). I expect oil prices will rise and output will remain about 79-81 Mb/d until 2022 as oil prices rise the economy will use oil more efficiently, but eventually the adjustment will become too difficult and lead to a severe recession unless policy action is taken to speed the adjustment process (public private partnerships and tax breaks on rail and light rail infrastructure, more investment in public transport, and better urban and suburban design are a short list of possible policies).

        Most governments do not see peak oil coming so severe recession is a more likely outcome, my guess remains 2030+/-5 years for the start of the recession (either GFC2 or GD2).

      • alimbiquated says:

        I think one of the first markets that will be taken over by electric vehicles is delivery vans and short range trucks, so I disagree.

        European cities are under tremendous pressure to reduce particulate counts and are moving fast.

        Also the logistics companies maintaining these fleets see the clear advantage of electric vehicles, both in maintenance and fuel costs. The beauty of an electric vehicle is you can builds one with no pressurized fluids at all — no pumps, no gaskets, no tubing, and these are the main causes of maintenance costs.

        Furthermore, electric vehicles don’t require transmissions, which are fiddly mechanical devices that have to endure tremendous stress. They are a nightmare if you have to maintain a fleet.

        As to long distance trucks they are mostly a waste of money, and could easily be replaced if fuel was short.

    • notanoilman says:

      EVs will start coming with free solar panels thrown into the deal.


      • JN2 says:

        Free fuel for life. What’s not to like? Bring it on 🙂

        • Caelan MacIntyre says:

          “Free fuel for life. What’s not to like?” ~ JN2

          How about when the huckstered so-called ‘free fuel for life’ industrial doors to the processes suddenly and permanently slam shut (due to intermittent electricity and falling demand?), maybe without warning or explanation, leaving how many out?

          ‘Free fuel for life’ is food (and even then…).

          Why Are You Closed?!

          • alimbiquated says:

            It doesn’t matter. Nobody is arguing that solar will solve all the world’s problems, including opening the door for the cat.

            The point is that renewables are already starting to hammer the fuel industry hard, even though they are a small part of the total energy mix. So yeah, you might have to buy an occasional bit of backup fuel, but that won’t stop renewables from destroying the fossil fuel industry as we know it.

            • Caelan MacIntyre says:

              Pseudorenewables are doing that?
              Is it, instead, the pseudoeconomy that’s doing that, through a big-gulp straw?

              • Nathanael says:

                What drugs are you on, Caelan?

                The fact is that real renewable energy — solar photovoltaic and wind turbines — are destroying the fossil fuel industries. This doesn’t mean we’re going to live in a utopia — more like a feudal society ruled over by the Technology Lords — but it’s happening.

  2. Jeff says:

    Could you make on more graph that illustrates how much oil consumption is offset in the two scenarios? Perhaps this can be shown in the “world oil shock model”.

    • SRSrocco says:


      I have an even better idea for a graph. Maybe we can plot how much battery powered electricity could be generated from the methane collected by shoving hoses in the azz’s of the millions of cows across the mighty US of A.

      I would imagine this could charge at least a million electric cars per day.

      Let’s call it the COW GAS EFFLUENT SHOCK MODEL.


      • Guy M says:

        Read an article where refuse from humans can be manipulated to provide .5% of the gas needs.

      • alimbiquated says:

        Actually cows burp more than they fart, though farting sounds funnier. The culprit is the bacteria in the cud.

        There is an interesting attempt underway to convert cows to more efficient kangaroo bacteria, which would save a lot of feed and reduce emissions at the same time.

        Reduced antibiotic use probably makes sense too.

        The real solution is vat-made beef, I guess. Most beef consumption is ground beef anyway.

    • Dennis Coyne says:

      Hi Jeff,

      Excellent idea, thanks.

      Chart below, included is an “intermediate case” which is the average of the low and high scenarios, labelled “low-high avg” on chart. The “no PV case” (where PV=Plugin vehicle) is just the medium oil shock model with the increased extraction rates (from the first chart in the post).

      • Nathanael says:

        Thanks for the graph. It’s exactly the graph we need to watch… except for the part that’s wrong…

        As noted way below, you’ve got a good model for PV deployment (the high scenario), and I think you have a good model for gasoline demand displacement, but you have the wrong model for converting PV deployment into oil displacement.

        The key point is that gasoline is the *marginal barrel* of product for most refineries. If gasoline demand drops, refinery production drops and refinery demand for crude oil drops. Doesn’t matter what the demand for the other products is. If the demand for other products remains strong, why then their prices will go up.

        So if you reduce demand by 55 barrels of gasoline, you reduce oil demand by 100 barrels. Period. This happens until something else (probably jet fuel) becomes the marginal product. This only happens once gasoline demand has dropped very *very* low. (I have not calculated exactly when this happens. It depends on the demand curve for gasoline and the demand curve for jet fuel. But it’s clear that by the time this happens most of the oil companies will be bankrupt.)

        Can you run a model based on the *correct* ratio of gasoline-demand-reduction to oil-demand-reduction? Because then you’ll get an actual realistic model. It should be interesting…

      • Nathanael says:

        OK, followup. A very rough estimate based on modifying your chart by replacing the displacement with 100 / 55 / .40 of the displacement you use, sees 60 Mb/day in 2025, and NONE in 2030.

        Now obviously that’s not correct. Kerosene becomes the marginal product before then. So I think it becomes important to predict when kerosene becomes the marginal product, but I haven’t worked that out yet.

        Also worth noting: even with 4.5 times as much oil displacement, we still have results practically the same as your chart in 2020. (Exponential growth is like that in the early years.) And even by 2023, it’s still around 75 Mb/d — not quite enough to cause the death of the oil industry. (10% demand drop was considered to be enough to kill coal) In this model, the financial collapse happens quite suddenly in the 2023-2025 timeframe.

  3. GoneFishing says:

    Looks like we have to spend 4 trillion a year on cars and another trillion a year on renewables, storage and efficiency. Steep but not bad considering it will replace most fossil fuel use and help avoid an oil crisis (maybe). We would have a world that looked a lot like ours today, operate much cleaner and quieter and be 1.5 to 2 degrees warmer. Aircraft will be using about half the fuel within 15 to 20 years (new airframes need to replace the old ones). Ships can be made more efficient. Batteries might be approaching the energy density of gasoline, considering the high efficiency of electric motors.
    Nice to think about, but where are the flying cars and jetpacks?
    Will Tesla have a factory on Mars by then or be mining asteroids? Will cars and trucks hit the highway and all go MagLev?
    Unless calamity occurs there will be a couple more billion people in the world and many more that want modern conveniences than now. But it could be a brighter, cleaner world with less disease.
    Computers might not be anything like what we have today. Houses and buildings will be energy providers not energy consumers, same with most people. Industry might look a lot different also, with many things being manufactured using 3-D printing right near where it is being used.
    Agriculture is a big question mark. Many species will be gone so we won’t worry about them. A typical day on a crowded warm world will probably be similar to one today, except jobs will be a lot different if the machines keep taking over. Maybe most commuting will be a thing of the past and the need for cars a lot less as most people will live in a giant megalopolis. Will we have new generation nuke power or fusion power by 2050? Grow new limbs and eyes? Generate force fields? Cured cancer?
    Fun to think about, but the approaching dust bowl will be a big factor in what we do. We might have control over it by then. Most people eat poorly and too much anyway.

    • Fred Magyar says:

      You forgot Big Data, General AI, which could be a feature or a bug. Also Genomics, CRISPER, Gene Drives etc… Then again 60 million Americans voted to bring back coal mining jobs and return to the 1950s or so… there is a lot of push back against the changes occurring right now. I’m pretty sure that for better or worse at least coal is not coming back.

      • GoneFishing says:

        Gene drives General AI to see Big Data who is putting salad in his Crisper. Meanwhile Big Cole is having a natural gas attack an goes to Big Pharm for some medication.

        Oh come on Fred, don’t you know a politician act when you see it? Put on a baseball cap and tell coal people they will have more jobs and America will bring back manufacturing. Chicken in every pot type stuff, Fred. Probably been going on since before Roman times.

        • GoneFishing says:

          AI is troublesome, but it looks like we are approaching the sensory limit of most people with all the devices in things like cars, so it may help.
          Technology is already beyond most people but like shiny objects it can sell well.
          If people don’t start making more money in the US, they won’t be able to afford all this tech and the economy will crash. People are spending several hundred dollars a month just on tech and communications. They are spending away their retirement funds to watch TV and text/chatter to each other. No problem if civilization crashes soon, but come on, it could do a slow crash and conversion at the same time.

          • Fred Magyar says:

            AI is troublesome, but it looks like we are approaching the sensory limit of most people with all the devices in things like cars, so it may help.

            Dunno! I think we are at the end of the oil age and the kind of civilization and thinking it brought us. It may be too late and the next stage may be still born and it may well be game over already. However I don’t think even a very small minority of people have any idea what kinds of technologies exist right now and how those technologies might change the world as we know it.

            Nice TED talk on Intuitive AI.
            Maurice Conti: The incredible inventions of intuitive AI

  4. Jeju-islander says:

    Great article.
    The island I live on is intending to be 100% EV by 2030. Using 100% renewable energy. It is being using as a test bed by the Korean government to prepare for such a roll out elsewhere.

    The targets are
    2017 – 29,000 EVs
    2020 – 135,000 EVs – 50% renewables.
    2020 – 370,000 EVs – 100% renewables.

    There is a lot of useful data on how this transition is occurring in the Jeju EV Report –
    It’s in Korean but if you download the pdf you should be able to figure out the meaning of the graphs.

    • alimbiquated says:

      Renewables are a no-brainer for places heavily dependent on fossil fuel imports.

      Take Nebraska — They import vast amounts of coal (or coal fired electricity) and liquid fuel. If the state government wasn’t owned by corrupt fossil fuel industrialists, they would be scrambling as quickly as possible to a wind/solar regime.

      All that money that is flowing out of state could be going to local farmers.

  5. GoneFishing says:

    When I log in, the site is not updating, so I do not see recent comments. When I put a comment in it updates and I see all the comments. Anyone else notice this problem?

    • Survivalist says:

      I thought perhaps it was my device. I need to refresh/reload after opening the page in order to get the most up to date view of the comments feed.

    • notanoilman says:

      Yeah, I’ve had to do a forced refresh (hold down shift key during a browser refresh) a couple of times recently or I just get the same page I looked at last time.


    • Boomer II says:

      Yes, I too have to do a page refresh every time I check it to get the latest comments. It’s been that way for a week or so for me.

    • Fred Magyar says:

      Yeah, I noticed it a few days ago. It happens on more than one of my devices so I’m pretty sure it is caused by something done to this site. I now have to refresh my browsers before I see new posts. Annoying but I can deal with it. I was too lazy to look into why it might be occurring.

  6. I’m wondering if the numbers of “electric vehicles” in the above charts is inclusive of 18-wheel trucks, intermodal-type trucks, garbage trucks, the trucks that plow our highways in the midwest during winter storms, and other industrial-type trucks? And, given that all heavy freight locomotive engines are diesel-electric (emphasis on “diesel”), what is the expected replacement scenario for all of these? We have at least 48 full Canadian National rail shipments through this small city each and every day, for example, using this type locomotion.

    You also have to wonder what is the fate of the nation’s fleet of jet aircraft in the coming renewable phase-out of petroleum fuels.

    Since I live in an area where 100% of the farming is huge-scale, deploying loads of 220+ horsepower John Deere diesel-locomotive-size tractors, I also wonder how these are going to be transitioned to renewables.

    Finally, unless the overwhelming number of electric vehicles are going to be strictly renewably-powered, not powered by electric generating plants fueled by fracked natural gas (subject to the same depletion curves often seen in this blog), I would foresee fracked-gas-powered EVs as not much of a reprieve from the oil crash.

    Cheers, from Wisconsin

    • Fred Magyar says:

      How nice, Caelan has a post consisting entirely of quotes from me and nothing else, It is so wonderful to know that I’m so important to him!
      Yet he still has no idea who I am or what I really think. Taking a few sound bites out of context here and there is actually quite amusing… Too bad he isn’t capable of connecting the dots and seeing the bigger picture. Let alone understanding that comments posted on a blog are only a momentary snapshot of someone’s state of mind. My ideas and world view are a constantly changing stream of consciousness. Unlike those whose world view is like a brick wall painted black on one side and white on the other. My thoughts are turbulently fluid with multiple chaotic swirls and eddies…

      • JN2 says:

        Think you meant to reply to Caelan below…

        • Fred Magyar says:

          Yeah, that should be obvious except that there was no active reply option on his comment so I went upthread to where I thought he was replying to but hit the wrong reply button. Mea Culpa!

    • Dennis Coyne says:

      Hi Green People’s media,

      No trucks, ships, jets, and farm tractors are not included. I could not find great data for the World so the analysis is somewhat (or very) US centric. The simplified assumption is that the share of C+C use for personal transportation is about 40% for the World (it is about 50% in the US on an energy basis) and that the share will remain fixed. In reality as less C+C is used for personal transport, more will be used for jets, ships, trucks, and tractors so that the share will not remain fixed, the fuel “saved” by transitioning to EVs may be used by other things, but if oil prices rise these other sectors will increase efficiency and substitute other types of energy (electricity, natural gas, nuclear, and biofuels). Trains can be electrified as can city buses, more light rail can be built, trucks can convert to plugin hybrid for short haul, long haul will be replaced with rail, ships could be nuclear, wind, or coal powered, and planes could be electric biofuel hybrids and tractors can use biofuels.

      Yes the electric power will gradually transition to a higher percentage of wind, solar, hydro, geothermal, and nuclear power. A highly interconnected widely dispersed wind and solar power system in North America can provide 90 t0 99% of electric power needs if overbuilt to about 3 times average power load.



      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.

    • alimbiquated says:

      > given that all heavy freight locomotive engines are diesel-electric

      Not in Europe they aren’t.

  7. Caelan MacIntyre says:

    “Thank you Tribe Of Pangaea- First Member and hightrekker for these two comments. As a long time proponent of non ideological… anarchism myself, I understand very well why such a POV is highly threatening to any entity that concentrates power, such as nation states and corporations… Cheers, Fred

    “And may that Star Spangled Banner yet wave upon the early morning light of a new world. A world connecting people to people with all the benefits of technology… Happy Fourth of July!” ~ Fred Magyar

    “Battery cells are now in production at Tesla’s Gigafactory… Top EV Battery Producers…” ~ Fred Magyar

    “You forgot Big Data, General AI… Genomics, CRISPER, Gene Drives etc…” ~ Fred Magyar

    Dark Forces

    “Get up
    Wake up
    Taking you for a ride…”

    • Duncan Idaho says:

      Yep, battery storage is the problem.
      Lithium-ion batteries were commercialized in the early 1990’s.
      Nothing has scaled since. We have improved the technology, worked on some great software management, but the technology is the same.
      And the energy density pales compared to diesel.
      It has been a while comrades.

      • Dennis Coyne says:

        Hi Duncan,

        Yes, the energy density is lower than diesel. Diesel will deplete, wishing for something with the same or better energy density, that is as convenient will not make it so.

        Also note that when comparing energy density you should take account of thermal losses and consider exergy per unit volume. The lithium ion battery’s energy has perhaps a 5% loss so about 95% of the stored energy is converted to work, for the diesel it is about 33% so the Lithium battery would have about 20% of the exergy density of the diesel and this will continue to improve.

        Things change, they always have and always will imo.

        • Duncan Idaho says:

          You are correct about thermal loss, but it doesn’t compare with the energy received from diesel use.

          I hope something happens soon, things change, but they better change soon.

          The feedback loops are great, but don’t you think things are getting a bit late?

          • Dennis Coyne says:

            Hi Duncan,

            Yes unfortunately there will be a lot of disruption because most people do not see peak oil coming. Humans generally need to be slammed hard before they wake up and act. I foresee a Great Depression caused in large part by Peak Oil (though this is one of many problems), hopefully the response will be a WW2 type effort to transition to non-fossil fuel energy, rather than WW3.

            I agree it is getting late. EVs, wind, PV are encouraging (rapid price decreases) once Peak Oil hits and oil prices rise we may see more rapid transition or that is the hope.

            • Survivalist says:

              Hi Dennis, in regards to you forseeing a Great Depression; what time frame would you suggest? I tend to agree with you. One of my concerns is high frequency trading/algorithms and how this may create a rapid crash in stock prices once future trends start to look more bearish. I’m no expert on all this but I sense we are very vulnerable to a rapid deterioration as opposed to something that we can anticipate and prepare for by getting out at the top, so to speak. Post Soviet Russia looks like a good case study to me if one wants to see what might transpire. Who saw a booming export in mail order brides coming just several months after being a super power?

              • likbez says:

                Post Soviet Russia was mercilessly looted by its former competitor. And that was a plan, not an accident. Essentially this was an attempt to colonize the country.

                Which failed, but produced immense sufferings for Russian people. Google “Harvard mafia” and “Rape of Russia” for more details.

                Not a good example.

                • Survivalist says:

                  Look at how the people in post Soviet Russia lived. It’s quite a fine example of how people in post ‘America the Great’ are gonna be living. It’s quite likely America too will be looted by the Harvard Mafia types, or some reasonable facsimile. The tools of oppression from the margins of empire have come home; a fairly common feature of collapse in most of recorded history. Washington ruling class runs America like Britian ran India. Prepare to be looted.

              • Dennis Coyne says:

                Hi Survivalist,

                My WAG for the start of Great Depression 2 is 2030+/-5 years and I expect it will last about a decade. Not sure if high frequency trading will be the culprit, there are many potential problems that might tip us into recession, but the permanent decline in oil(C+C) output, which is likely to begin between 2020 and 2025 may be a root cause. All fossil fuel energy (sum of energy output from oil, coal, and natural gas is likely to peak by 2030. Unfortunately the possibility of peak fossil fuels will only be believed when it arrives (or is in the past by 5 years), at that point we may get to work on non-fossil fuel energy.

        • likbez says:

          Diesel can run on bio oils.

          This fuss above EV replacing all other types smells of technical incompetence. I think outside personal car transportation (aka small cars, “Leaf class” ), trains and city buses/delivery trucks (small range delivery and fixed routes) EV run into such huge infrastructure problems that any other alternative looks slightly better.

          Natural gas is one as it will definitely last quite a bit longer then oil. And before it depletes I think EV has no chances above the niche market they occupy now.

          All those dreams about infinite drop of lithium batteries cost are based on overestimation of the possibilities of the current technology. The most lucrative ways to slash costs are already in and the energy concentration in cells of this type of batteries reached really dangerous level. So chances of dramatic improvement of energy storage to weight ratio are slim.

          Actually natural gas is already used on mass scale in Eastern Europe (city buses, taxi, etc).

          I wonder, if Tesla survives the next decade as an independent company.

          • Dennis Coyne says:

            You forget economies of scale and its tendency to reduce production cost.

            No technical breakthrough required to reduce cost.

            In short an economic analysis suggests you may be wrong.

            • likbez says:

              OK, let’s do simple economic analysis.

              Power of car air conditioner is 3 KW (more for luxury cars), Power of car heater in 5 KW (more for luxury cars).


              Let’s assume that they add one KW per mile for a year (in places outside California)

              The brings us to 1.5-2 kW/h per mile for EV. Or at 12 cents per kW/h 18-24 cents per mile.

              Prius can get 50 miles per gallon. That means that Prius is competitive with EV up to gas price of 50*18=$9 per gallon.

              • Dennis Coyne says:

                Hi Likbez,

                Air conditioning and heat are not always needed, real world experience of EV owners suggests your numbers are not accurate. At $2.50/gallon a prius costs 5 cents per mile.



                where author gets 5.4 miles per kWhr, if we assume 0.12 cents per kWhr that is 0.022 cents per mile, less than half the cost of a Prius at 50 MPG and $2.50/gallon gasoline.

                8,232.2 miles with 1,513.2 kW used = 5.4 Miles-per-kWh

              • likbez says:

                I agree that my previous example is too extreme and involve standing a lot in traffic as in NYC (say 60 miles each way with half in heavy traffic — 2 hour commute one way) plus eating lunch in the car as well as pre-heating/pre-cooling the car for 10 min each day in winter and summer (say, 200 days a year)

                Let’s assume less drastic case when you commute 30 miles spending in traffic on average 1 hour (each way) with either air conditioner or heating on, and do not eat in the car. With the consumption of electricity for travel only around 0.5 kW per mile (0.38/(0.9*0.85))

                That will bring us to probably around $3.5 per gallon price at which Prius is still competitive with EV as for “per mile” costs (Prius is a much better car then Leaf, with proven viability of long term ownership). Leaf range is just 105 miles which is insufficient for long trips.

                I would repeat that we probably need $4 per gallon for mass adoption of EV.

                • likbez says:

                  Please also note that we should compare apples to apples and for its price Prius ($32,115 fully equipped) is a much better car in comparison with Leaf (MSRP $30,680). And Lexus GS 450h ($63K) is a much better car the Tesla S 60 ($71,300, lease $845 /mo.)

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Disagree that lexus is nicer than tesla.
                    Prius might be a little nicer than leaf.

                • Dennis Coyne says:

                  Prius does not get 50 Mpg in conditions you suggest.

                • Dennis Coyne says:

                  Hi Likbez,

                  Let’s take the Chevy Bolt at about 30k after rebate and compare to the Prius at roughly a similar price.
                  The Bolt uses about 0.32 kWhr/mile, so for 50 miles and 12 cents per kWhr, that would be $1.92/gallon(0.32*0.12*50) compared to a Prius getting 50 MPG. The Bolt travels about 238 miles on a full charge. The Tesla Model 3 is likely to do somewhat better(lower drag coefficient), but the $7500 rebate may no longer be available so the cost will be about $35k for the Tesla Model 3, but the cost will fall as battery cost falls, by 2020 the purchase cost of EVs may be the same as ICEVs. Fuel costs will be at least $3/gallon (and maybe $4/gallon) by 2020 and the ICEV may quickly become the high cost mode of transport, by 2025 EVs may have 50% market share if supply can ramp up to keep up with demand.

          • Survivalist says:

            Bio diesel/oil- We use crude oil products to grow crops and now we’re gonna use those crops to make crude oil products. Sounds like a perpetual motion machine to me. As well number 2 diesel is a highly regulated product. Biodiesel voids engine warranties.

            “When using high-level blends, a number of issues should be considered. The higher the percentage of biodiesel above 20%, the lower the energy content per gallon. High-level biodiesel blends can also impact engine warranties.”


            “The only freight electrification project being considered in the United States is a $28 billion dollar project in the Los Angeles area. It would combine electrified passenger trains with trains specifically designed to handle cargo containers on a fully elevated guideway system from Los Angeles area ports to distribution centers about 30 miles away (SCAG 2008, SCAG 2012).
            The main argument for freight rail electrification is that it will pay for itself when oil prices rise and electricity prices grow cheaper as renewable power is added to the electric grid. Yet it’s a bold assumption to assume that electricity will fall in price because at this point in time, the energy storage systems needed to store extra wind and solar power and keep the grid stable (Halper) are still not cheap enough, long-lasting enough, or reliable enough (CEC). Nor is it like the grid will be expanded enough to integrate intermittent power (Wald). Currently the grid is stabilized by fast-reacting natural gas power plants, and it’s possible natural gas production will peak in 2016 or 2017 (Hughes, Powers) and we don’t have enough LNG facilities to import natural gas currently.”


            Someone better pull a magic rabbit out of their hat pretty soon here. And maybe a few trillion dollars worth of overhead wire too.

            • GoneFishing says:

              Naah, the oil industry will pull the plug and the scurry to get wires up and power to them will be a real circus. If you can’t see it coming, then something happens called being blindsided.

              China has been running electric freight for a long time now.
              Europe has a lot of electric rail but it is a mish-mosh of voltages.

              In 2006 there were 240,000 km of electrified railway worldwide. That is about 25%.

            • Dennis Coyne says:

              Hi Survivalist,

              With the existing grid and some hydro, nuclear, natural gas, or coal backup about 90 to 99% of load hours can be provided by a widely dispersed wind and solar power system built to about 3 times average load.

              A lot of natural gas use for space and water heating can be provided by heat pumps (ground source in colder climates) which will reduce the need for natural gas.

              Yes natural gas will eventually peak and the price will rise and make wind and solar power more competitive and reduce the amount of natural gas used for both heat and electric power.

              The process will probably be gradual, but the higher the price of fossil fuel the more rapid the rate of transition, unless a recession or depression hits, but that also may reduce demand.

              Once it is apparent to all that peak fossil fuels has caused the economic stagnation, proper policy might be enacted to transition as rapidly as feasible to non-fossil fuel energy and improve energy efficiency.

  8. Verwimp says:

    Hi Dennis,
    Very interesting scenario’s. Two remarks from my side:

    I believe your assumption PHEV sales might ramp up as quickly as smart phones or computers looks somewhat optimistic. Besides the fact (I take your word for it) that at the moment growth rate of PHEV sales is somewhere in between the historical growth rates of computers and smartphones, it’s unclear why it should stay in between these two markers.

    The growth rate of smartphones (a $500 affaire) is higher than the growth rate of computers (a $1.500 affaire). PHEV cars are a lot more expensive than computers. Wouldn’t that taper the growth rate sooner?

    The final number of sold cars looks very big to me too. I don’t think individual automobility will be an as widespread phenomenon in the PHEV era compared to the ICE era. (Because of increasing poverty, ageing population, insufficient and crumbling infrastructure, increased taxes, internalisation of external costs, …)

    Anyway: your analysis makes clear the shift away from the ICE might go very fast. Whether or not all of us will end up with our own personel PHEV is another question.

    • Dennis Coyne says:

      Hi Verwimp,

      The EVs are falling in price and will continue to do so. People are already used to paying $30k US for a car, here they will get a car that has lower operating and maintenance costs. People are already buying almost 80 million new cars per year and the sales growth rate has been increasing at about 3.2%/year. The point of the previous sales growth rates is to show that these sales growth rates were maintained for many decades, so there is a precedent for rapid growth rates to continue for quite a while. My guess is that the growth rate will be at least as high as personal computers, but I could be wrong, if oil prices rise to $120/b (and by June 2018 I think this is likely) and battery costs continue to fall as predicted, EVs will sell very rapidly the only limit will be how quickly production can be ramped up. Perhaps it will be more difficult to accomplish than PCs and Smart phones, but the car manufacturing facilities exist, batteries may be the bottleneck.

      I agree my estimate for the total number of cars may be too high. With AVs and better public transportation fewer cars may be needed.

      Consider that in the US in 2014 there were 1.23 vehicles registered per person. For a World with a Population of 8.7 billion in 2060, my scenario has about 2.4 billion registered personal vehicles or 0.28 cars per person in the World, less than one fourth the US level in 2014.

      Do you have a number in mind? My guess is that as World incomes rise the number of vehicles per person will also rise. In 2015 the level was 0.13 personal vehicles per capita, I have the level slightly more than doubling in 45 years, but I still agree that might be too optimistic, hard to guess that far in the future and fewer cars will be better for the planet. Also AVs, telecommuting and Uber-like services might result in far fewer cars than I have estimated, perhaps only half which would be about 1.2 billion personal vehicles (more like autonomous taxis). That would be about 0.14 vehicles for personal transport per person, similar to 2015 levels for the World ( the distribution will be much different with more cars in Asia and fewer in Europe and North America).

      Good criticisms, thanks.

  9. Romeo says:

    With the EV growth than I wish to see how the government will make money that they earn from gas taxation. The government is not affording to lose the money from gas tax. They will tax the electricity? How? I think this will skyrocket! I think also is going to be a long war till the EV will win.

    • likbez says:

      You probably should not worry before gas will be over $4 a gallon. There will be no sizable EV adoption in the USA before that.

      Currently it is SUV fleet that is growing fastest in the personal car segment. Even hybrid cars sales are suppressed now.

    • GoneFishing says:

      They will tax the miles on the car.

    • Dennis Coyne says:

      Hi Romeo

      Road tax will be collected when the car is registered based on miles driven the past year. For new cars the fleet average will be used.

    • alimbiquated says:

      Well, maybe the US government will wake up and stop wasting money building new roads. The country needs to retrench after two generations of insane overbuild.

      • GoneFishing says:

        Yep, they will be hard pressed just to maintain the roads and bridges we have now.

        • Dennis Coyne says:

          And it would be better to focus on rail, light rail, and an High voltage direct current (HVDC) grid, rather than on roads.

          Roads? Where were going we don’ t need roads… 🙂

  10. aws. says:

    Audi tells dealerships to get behind electric vehicles because it will dominate the market within 10 years

    Fred Lambert,, Jan. 31st 2017 7:52 am ET

    The [Audi of America President Scott Keogh] expects that most of the industry will go entirely “battery-electric” within the next 10 years:

    “All this fright about where am I going to get a charge is going to go away extremely fast. The technology on this front is moving at a staggering pace. You’re going to be looking at a marketplace in the next seven, eight, nine, 10 years where for 30 or 40 some brands their entire business is going to be battery-electric vehicles.”

    • likbez says:

      10 years is about right.

      • likbez says:

        In a sense that the person who made the projection is safe from embarrassment — his/her projection will be forgotten by then 🙂

  11. Hickory says:

    Thanks for the excellent discussion thread, all. Saw my first Bolt parked on the street last week, in Oakland, CA. Its small, but good looking. The owner was 6 ft tall, and said he was really enjoying it.

  12. Survivalist says:

    Video emerges of suicide boat ramming Saudi frigate

    Hardcore Yemenis

    And in response the KSA Coast Guard, er I mean the USS Cole is patrolling the area.

  13. Dark Fired Tobacco says:

    Dennis, excellent analysis. A major disruptor to the auto market will be autonomous vehicles. Uber and Lyft already see the potential for owning fleets and providing ride sharing services with no labor costs. Once municipalities realize they need only add natural gas fueled buses serving key terminals, one can summon a ride-sharing vehicle within a neighborhood, take it to the closest rapid transit terminal, switch to bus (or rail in large cities), then summon another autonomous vehicle on the opposite end. This eliminates parking garages and surface lots entirely. Moreover, the use of buses on freeways and major arterials, plus the higher occupancy of autonomous vehicles, means a major reduction in the number of vehicles on the road. This is before the capacity benefits of advanced cruise control and forward collision are considered.

    Eliminating the need for a two-car garage (or any garage at all) reduces house prices. It also dodges the issues in power supply for recharging vehicles at home. Neighborhood street widths are reduced, saving more costs in home ownership.

    Urban freeways can be converted to managed lanes once the capacity pressures are reduced. A ten lane freeway could have separate lanes for trucks, for express buses, or for tollways, all without major infrastructure investment. Larger cities can then focus on commuter rail and light rail buildout.

    The USDOT already has a number of preliminary engineering studies on intercity rail constructed within the medians of Interstates. Those studies assume connections with existing air terminals. Such facilities could easily provide intercity travel up to 500 miles using hourly trains. With no need for personal vehicles at either end such trips are far more attractive. We also eliminate 75 percent of auto fatalities, injuries, and vehicular repairs.

    The Metro Nashville city government recently approved a downtown hotel project which will use ride-sharing for the bulk of its guests. Those who arrive with a personal vehicle will park it at a remote lot, then be transported to the hotel via an autonomous vehicle. As a result, the hotel dodged the cost of a parking structure with an average cost of $25,000 per parking stall.

    • Dennis Coyne says:

      Hi Dark fired tobacco,

      In my analysis I chose to ignore growth in AVs and public transportation, your observations I agree with and these would tend to reduce the total vehicle fleet which might top out at 1.5 billion or less.

  14. GoneFishing says:

    We won’t get rid of pollution until the fossil fueled power plants are gone, meaning EV’s will have to charged by renewables and nuclear. It’s not just CO2 that is the problem, it’s ozone production. Ozone is another strong greenhouse gas and causes health problems. NOx is produced by the burning of fossil fuels, it travels on the wind until it interacts with hydrocarbons in the air, where with sunlight it makes ozone.
    Ozone is a strong greenhouse gas, causes major health problems and inhibits photosynthesis.

    So the faster we convert to PV, wind and possibly nuclear, the better for everyone including the plants (crops too).

  15. Caelan MacIntyre says:

    Gasoline vs. Electric Cars: Energy Usage and Cost

    Electric cars offer no savings in energy, money, or emissions at present. Electricity supply from renewables cannot cover but an insignificant portion of road vehicles…

    Should electric cars become ubiquitous, electricity will be taxed to yield that revenue

    As a side issue related to the electrification of the U.S., it may interest you that should all the cars (200 million of them) be the electric Leafs, and driven as today for 15 000 km annually, their charging would draw some 80 billion watts based on the earlier MJ/km number. Of course, not everybody will be satisfied driving a small car so the overall consumption will be higher, say 100 GW.

    To put that number into perspective, the present electricity consumption of the whole country amounts to 450 GW. That wattage powers everything, from toasters and air conditioners to factories, hospitals and cities. Adding that new generating and grid capacity any time soon is of concern when considering that the present level was being developed since the time of Edison.”

    Renewable Energies: The Mirage of Mass

    “As most people are, I too am subjected daily to the mass media reports that broadcast the need for building renewable, clean energy sources. Those sources are usually identified as ‘wind, solar and others’ followed by a hint at their rapidly increasing output.

    Suspicious, I looked up the sources and their annual output as compiled by our Department of Energy (…

    Do renewables matter? Can wind and solar impact global climate change measurably?

    Apparently not. There is also no chance that the US, or individual states, will meet the repetitious commitments for 20, 50 or 100 percent of energy to ‘be derived from renewable, clean sources’ in the usual 5, 10 or 20 years timetable, numbers repeatedly proposed by the facts-ignorant politicians and prejudiced media in cohorts with the ‘Big Wind and Big Solar’ interests

    The above numbers, the graphs, and the proper meaning of terms should help us challenge the ‘green’ media and the other-people-money-spending politicians.”

    “I have found the subject of renewable energy (wind and solar) maddening. It simply doesn’t work. At all.I’ve come at the problem every way I can think of, and the bottom line is that transforming diffuse, intermittent, weak energy sources into reliable, powerful energy sources is simply not possible.

    For most power sources we are doing the opposite – taking extremely powerful sources of energy (hydrocarbons, falling water, nuclear energy) and downscaling it to my electrical socket. In such an effort, inefficiencies and loses don’t matter much. In the case of wind and solar, I’m trying to upscale the energy – take low energy solar power and make it strong enough to boil water on my stove. Entropy just doesn’t work that way.” ~ Frustrated Scientist

    “Clean Energy” is a Dirty Joke

    ‘Clean Energy’ is a rhetorical device of unprecedented scope. A poorly defined but effective shield for any pundit, mouthpiece or messaging agent to use when speaking of a seemingly uncertain energy future. ‘Clean Energy’ has given its name to many formal processes, organisations, and campaigns. Our climate leaders use the term when they talk about targets, and renewables, and ‘low carbon’ futures…

    As someone who is hellbent on finding a way to destroy fossil fools there is one thing that is certain, this juggernaut will not rest till it’s all gone. That’s how fossil fools have always played their cronyistic, monopolistic, deeply networked game. That’s how I look at motive and likelihoods…

    When I discovered that some of the very same people who were presenting the most popular arguments for why we should #keepitintheground were also paving the way for carbon capture and storage I began asking questions about the development of this particular form of energy generation. Questions like: Why would organisations that are telling us about carbon bubbles, carbon budgets, unburnable carbon, and stranded assets be supporting the continued burning of gas, coal, and trees, and the expansion of geological storage of CO2 under the North Sea in old oil and gas fields owned by Shell and Statoil? Surely they care about ending the destruction?

    I quickly realised I was asking the wrong questions…”

    Do alternative energy sources displace fossil fuels?

    “A fundamental, generally implicit, assumption… is that each unit of energy supplied by non-fossil-fuel sources takes the place of a unit of energy supplied by fossil-fuel sources. However, owing to the complexity of economic systems and human behaviour, it is often the case that changes aimed at reducing one type of resource consumption, either through improvements in efficiency of use or by developing substitutes, do not lead to the intended outcome when net effects are considered. Here, I show that the average pattern across most nations of the world over the past fifty years is one where each unit of total national energy use from non-fossil-fuel sources displaced less than one-quarter of a unit of fossil-fuel energy use and, focusing specifically on electricity, each unit of electricity generated by non-fossil-fuel sources displaced less than one-tenth of a unit of fossil-fuel-generated electricity. These results challenge conventional thinking in that they indicate that suppressing the use of fossil fuel will require changes other than simply technical ones such as expanding non-fossil-fuel energy production.”

    • Fred Magyar says:

      Caelan are you completely incapable of any critical thinking? Have you ever taken a physics or chemistry course?! You are copying and pasting absolute nonsense written by idiots. The first link you provide is by a guy called Stanislav Jakuba.

      He also wrote this bullshit:

      Renewable Energy: High Jobs, Little Power (inefficiency personified)
      By Stanislav Jakuba — July 14, 2016

      As illustrated, 200,000 people work in the solar industry (Photo-voltaic and Concentrated Solar Power combined), and they enabled the generation of 3.0 GW in 2015, which comes to 15 kW per employee. The down-sloping lines, combined, represent the 400,000 employees in the fossil fuel industry.

      Assuming that about a half of those are needed just to supply fuel to generate the 310 GW electricity reported for that year, then the remaining 200,000 employees were responsible for 1550 kW per employee.

      In other words, one employee in the fossil fuel industry produces 1550 kW, while it takes 100 employees in the solar business to produce roughly that amount.

      Solar is thus the most expensive source of electricity. Plus, its output varies daily, sometime randomly (because of clouds and storms) and always intermittently (because of nights). Its inexhaustibility parallels the abundance of nuclear fuel, but the latter provides cheap and steady electricity, as well as heat, and is no less “clean” than solar.

      Its production in terms of kW per employee, at 2000 kW, actually exceeds that of the fossil fuels, and has since the start of the industry a half a century ago.

      Do you seriously not see the problems with what he says?!

      Your post deserves my Steaming Hot Bullshit image previously reserved exclusively for Don Xavier de la Mancha!

      • Caelan MacIntyre says:

        Hi Fred,

        Is that one of your ‘Draw Your Own Conclusion’ or ‘Non-argument Argument’ fallacies, speaking of critical thinking? If so, if you would like to actually make an argument, please feel free and we’ll consider it.

        In the mean time, hey, nice graphic. Thanks for sharing.

        (I suspect that Stanislav Jakuba has taken physics and chemistry, BTW, and may have a patent or more as well, if it’s the same person.)

        Incidentally, remember this one?


        The main notion of Ivan Illich is the concept of counterproductivity: when institutions of modern industrial society impede their purported aims. For example, Ivan Illich calculated that, in America in the 1970s, if you add the time spent to work to earn the money to buy a car, the time spent in the car (including traffic jam), the time spent in the health care industry because of a car crash, the time spent in the oil industry to fuel cars… etc., and you divide the number of kilometres traveled per year by that, you obtain the following calculation: 10000 km per year per person divided by 1600 hours per year per American equals 6 km per hour. So the real speed of a car would be about 3.7 miles per hour.” ~ Wikipedia

        In the year 1930…

        … John Maynard Keynes predicted that, by century’s end, technology would have advanced sufficiently that countries like Great Britain or the United States would have achieved a 15-hour work week. There’s every reason to believe he was right. In technological terms, we are quite capable of this. And yet it didn’t happen. Instead, technology has been marshalled, if anything, to figure out ways to make us all work more. In order to achieve this, jobs have had to be created that are, effectively, pointless. Huge swathes of people, in Europe and North America in particular, spend their entire working lives performing tasks they secretly believe do not really need to be performed. The moral and spiritual damage that comes from this situation is profound. It is a scar across our collective soul. Yet virtually no one talks about it.” ~ David Graeber

        • Fred Magyar says:

          …etc., and you divide the number of kilometres traveled per year by that, you obtain the following calculation: 10000 km per year per person divided by 1600 hours per year per American equals 6 km per hour. So the real speed of a car would be about 3.7 miles per hour.~ Wikipedia

          Okay Caelan, if you say so!

          • Caelan MacIntyre says:

            I had posted it over at The Oil Drum.

            Here’s one of the responses:

            “That calculation is similar to one I heard about the use of a bicycle. It was said that the average commute in a car, starting from the time one turns the key until it’s parked only achieves (roughly) 25 mph effective speed. The driver must then work (again, roughly) 1 hour to pay for every hour of automobile travel, so the real effective speed is only 12.5 mph. A bicycle ridden over relatively mild terrain can easily produce this speed and the rider gets added benefits from the exercise. Of course, this only works over short commutes with good roads and tolerable weather, but it shows how much more efficient transport systems can be… ~ E. Swanson

            Thanks for offering your jacket, by the way, but you can keep it, you may need it more than we. ^u^

            …So where’s your argument, by the way? Cold feet? All tied up?

            • Fred Magyar says:

              …So where’s your argument, by the way?

              Dunno, I live on a rocky planet that orbits an average sized star at about 30 km per sec. I guess I could take the total distance traveled around the sun by all the 7.5 billion inhabitants and use some arbitrary time factor and perform some totally irrelevant calculation and call it something different. The planet would still orbit at 30 km per sec, regardless!

              As much as you might like to, you can’t mix political ideology, ideas about morality, references to a souls being harmed, etc… with physics and math and come up with an average speed of 3.7 mph for a car trip and expect to be taken seriously…

              I had to go for jury duty today and actually drove to Ft. Lauderdale via I95 and my speedometer was registering over 75 mph at certain times. Given the total distance I traveled and the total time the trip took me, a rough back of the envelope calculation gives me an average speed of about 35 mph. The trip there was taken relatively early in the morning before morning rush hour.

              It would be ridiculous to factor in the time my car was parked at the city garage into the total time of the trip!

              The return trip was about the same also done before afternoon rush hour. Roughly an average of 35 mph.

              • GoneFishing says:

                If a car travels 100,000 miles in 10 years, it’s average speed is 1.14 miles per hour. Just like the averages used for global warming and climate change, they don’t describe reality or tell much about what is actually going on in places or at times. Averages are just numbers. There is no average anything.
                I just looked outside and my car had no relative speed to it’s surroundings, thank goodness. Maybe soon it will become autonomous and take trips without me. Maybe it will not come back. That would be way outside the average and the normal distribution. If it does such a thing, I might not want it back. 🙂

                • Fred Magyar says:

                  Maybe soon it will become autonomous and take trips without me. Maybe it will not come back.

                  LOL! If it is a Smart car it might even leave you a goodbye note! Who knows it might even feel a little bit guilty for running away from you and text you from somewhere to let you know it is doing just fine driving little old ladies to their Bridge games… 😉

                  • GoneFishing says:

                    Just as long as it doesn’t have my credit card info to pay for it’s forays! Maybe it will go to work for Uber and send some money home.

              • Caelan MacIntyre says:

                Only I was referring to your aforementioned ‘non-argument argument’, rather than, say, a literal misinterpretation of the essence of Illich’s illustration.

                You can go backwards by driving forward.

                That’s society in a (straitjacketed) nutshell.

                “I might not want it [the car] back.” ~ GoneFishing

                • Fred Magyar says:

                  You can go backwards by driving forward.

                  I guess you could…

                  “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.” “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”

                  Let’s see now, a couple of points from your post…

                  “Electric cars offer no savings in energy, money, or emissions at present.

                  Beyond absurd. Patently false!

                  “I have found the subject of renewable energy (wind and solar) maddening. It simply doesn’t work. At all.I’ve come at the problem every way I can think of, and the bottom line is that transforming diffuse, intermittent, weak energy sources into reliable, powerful energy sources is simply not possible.

                  That’s pure unscientific bullshit!

                  These results challenge conventional thinking in that they indicate that suppressing the use of fossil fuel will require changes other than simply technical ones such as expanding non-fossil-fuel energy production.”

                  What now!? Repressing fossil fuel use requires expanding non-fossil-fuel energy production and that is a non technical problem?

                  Yep, wind and solar are truly maddening.They simply don’t work at all!

                  Anyone who makes such a claim is a moron of the highest order or has some kind of anti renewables agenda they are trying to push. Coincidentally your buddy Stanislav Jakuba’s patents mostly have to do with internal compression engines, gee, how surprising, eh!

                  Hey, maybe you should apply for the position of White House Communications Director, I hear they are looking for a replacement for Sean Spicer, I think you’d be perfect for the job.

                  • Caelan MacIntyre says:

                    Hi Fred,

                    It is a bit squished at the margins here and my time is limited these days, but what I will nevertheless write is that the last bold quotes you refer to, for examples, are ostensibly from the intro of an accepted published work in, and/or affiliated with, the scientific journal, Nature (Nature Climate Change).

                    Now, as you suggest as a ‘moron of the highest order’ of the author, Richard York, are we to presume that you have some sort of superior knowledge and/or character? Because it doesn’t appear readily apparent.

                • GoneFishing says:

                  You have to learn to let go.

  16. Doug Leighton says:

    Hi Fred,

    By the time we manage to destroy the planet there will be some truly amazing stuff floating around.


    Microfluidics, electronics and inkjet technology underlie a newly developed all-in-one biochip that can analyze cells for research and clinical applications.

    • Doug Leighton says:

      My advice for my Grand kids: Train as a robotics engineer.

      • Duncan Idaho says:

        Then again, this may possibly be more in demand:

        • Caelan MacIntyre says:


        • Survivalist says:

          My advice to the grandkids is get a herd of goats.

          • Fred Magyar says:

            +10! (exclamation point, not factorial) 😉

          • Duncan Idaho says:

            A mountain lion killed both of mine.
            A good spear (or a 3030 rifle) would of been handy.
            The 12 gauge was packed away, and I only had a .17, which would of just pissed it off.

            • Survivalist says:

              30-30 Win is my all round fav. I’m also partial to the 308 Win for longer range jobs but those are few and far between for me. Most of my forested landscape keeps the view down to 75 yards. I know I’ve got a cougar around and the foot prints are large. Got a pic of it on my game cam once too. Never seen it with my own eyes though, and as it stands I’ll let it be. If it becomes a nuisance I’ll likely just have the loggers in to thin out the timber and that’ll shoo it away. I don’t venture far from the porch without either a 30-30 or a 12G though.

              • Duncan Idaho says:

                I see the deer kills all the time, and tracks everywhere.
                You just don’t see them. Although down in Mexico now (I have been doing some jungle trails, but Jaguars are the least of my concerns), there was a robust lion population in my former environment.

    • Fred Magyar says:

      Hey Doug,

      How about this 50 cent foldable cardboard microscope with the optical characteristics of a research microscope.


      It is knowing about people like the ones behind foldscope instruments and hundreds of thousands of other incredible startup companies with even more incredible products helping people all over the world that give me some hope. They are the true soldiers against the neo-fascists and neo-luddites who who are out in full force at the moment.

      • Doug Leighton says:

        Yeah it’s amazing isn’t it, how you can build near-research-grade instruments with very cheap consumer electronics — like cel-phones. There have been some great marriages between astronomical telescopes with cels as well producing professional-class results.

  17. Survivalist says:

    Latest analysis showing January 2017 as the 2nd warmest on record (2016 –> warmest). Extremes again in the Arctic.

  18. Duncan Idaho says:

    t 242 PM PST…THE Madera County REPORTED THAT the earthen dam on
    Lewis Fork north of Yosemite Forks has or will fail shortly.


    The whole Levee system in the Central Valley of CA is in disrepair.
    It would be interesting if it becomes a large lake.

    • Hickory says:

      Check out the news on the spillway of the oroville dam- this will be big news in a few days!

      • Duncan Idaho says:

        That caught my eye also.
        The Dam is 80% full, and they have shut off the flow.
        More rain today.
        A unlucky roll of the dice at this point would flood a huge portion of the Sacramento Valley.

  19. Ezrydermike says:

    interesting piece in LA Times wrt electrical production in California…

    Californians are paying billions for power they don’t need

    We’re using less electricity. Some power plants have even shut down. So why do state officials keep approving new ones?

    By IVAN PENN and RYAN MENEZES | Reporting from Yuba City, Calif.

  20. George Kaplan says:

    Some sense at last (I don’t know enough about the policies they seek to rescind to comment, but the tax sounds exactly right):

    Senior Republican statesmen propose replacing Obama’s climate policies with a carbon tax:

    “Representatives from a coalition of veteran Republican officials — including five who have either served as treasury secretary or as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers — met Wednesday with White House officials to discuss the idea of imposing a national carbon tax, rather than using federal regulations, to address climate change.

    “The newly formed Climate Leadership Council — which includes James A. Baker, Henry Paulson, George P. Shultz, Marty Feldstein and Greg Mankiw — is proposing elimination of nearly all of the Obama administration’s climate policies in exchange for a rising carbon tax that starts at $40 per ton, and is returned in the form of a quarterly check from the Social Security Administration to every American.”

    • Dennis Coyne says:

      I imagine they could get some Democrats to go for that, but I doubt there enough Republicans in the House to pass such a bill. Good idea, but I doubt rump would be on board, after all climate change is hoax, at least in Trump’s view.

    • Steven Haner says:

      Anybody who sees a “carbon tax” as a rational concept must explain how punishing and stifling free enterprise within certain industries would actually solve supposed global warming rather than simply shove billions of dollars off into a black hole somewhere in the Washington DC area.

      • Dennis Coyne says:

        Hi Steven Haner,

        The Carbon tax is a “free market” concept. Put a price on carbon pollution and let the market decide the best way to allocate resources rather than have the government make the choices. The tax could be set up so that al money collected is rebated to consumers, a so-called feebate. Set a price, collect the taxes, and every dollar of carbon taxes collected is credited to family tax bills, those who pay no taxes would receive a check from the government for their share of the carbon tax rebate.

        Now you may believe that climate change is a hoax, but do you also believe that peak fossil fuels is a hoax? If you believe both of these falsehoods, then the carbon tax would look like a bad idea.

        • Hickory says:

          Even if you don’t believe in global warming- the carbon tax would be a useful tool to fund the nations energy security and efficiency. Electrification of the vehicle fleet, making buildings more efficient, improving rail and barge facilities, LED lighting are examples of spending that can help the whole countries ability to handle the future risks.

      • islandboy says:

        Another fun thought, brought to you by the kind sponsorship of the happy billionaires! (Steven’s comment, that is)

  21. aws. says:

    Took possession of a new 2016 LEAF in December. I knew I’d be saving a lot of money as my utility has one of the lowest residential electricity rates on the continent. Stumbled on my utility’s EV savings calculator, and I was surprised how much I would be saving annually for a modest annual mileage of 15 000 Km the LEAF will save me ~ $1400 CAD annually over the Subaru AWD wagon it replaced. Our Subaru’s real gas mileage was 10 L/100km, nominally it was something like 8 L/100km.

    When your saving that much a year in energy costs why wouldn’t one buy an EV. Granted, most residential rates are much higher than Hydro Quebec’s but there must be some off-peak time of use rates in the U.S. that EV’s would typically be charging at that are relatively low?

    Hydro Quebec Energy Cost Savings Calculator

    • Caelan MacIntyre says:

      Nissan’s LEAF sales are still in free-fall…

      …Nissan published its US sales report for the month of May and confirmed that it delivered only 979 LEAFs – down 53.5% from the same period in 2015.

      LEAF sales are now down 39% in 2016 versus the same period last year despite the availability of the upgraded battery pack and as previously mentioned, we need to take into account that last year’s performance was extremely disappointing and should have been easy to surpass.”

      • Fred Magyar says:

        LEAF sales are now down 39% in 2016 versus the same period last year

        So what?!

        While sales for every single other EV have been rising steadily! Just curious why did you pick the only brand that fell? Are you perhaps trying to portray a false reality because it doesn’t conform to your world view a reality which for some reason you dislike?

        2017 brings new found optimism for plug-in electric vehicle sales in the US, as 2016 showed marked monthly improvements during each month of the year.

        Chevrolet Bolt EVs arrived at dealership in California in significant volumes in January (Bolt EV at Capital Chevrolet in San Jose shown above)
        In fact, EV sales were up ~37% in 2016 to almost 160,000 total sales, with the 2nd half of the year showing an even more impressive 47% gain, thanks to a record setting December in which ~24,785 plug-ins were sold.

        • Caelan MacIntyre says:

          “Just curious why did you pick the only brand that fell?” ~ Fred Magyar

          aws’ comment is about the Leaf.

          In any case– and see my other recent post(s)– increasing sales in EV’s don’t necessarily mean ‘anything’ or what some might hope or suggest they mean…

          You have economic limits and conditions in general, market saturations, subsidies by the tax-coerced, decreased and decreasing ecological wiggle room, (given a population of 7+ billion), u-shaped cost-curves, electrical grid issues, gasoline/petrol tax/price issues and/versus/related-to electricity tax/price and affordability issues, resource constraints, competition, and so on, for stuff like these.

          If EV’s are more for the ‘global privileged’ than anything, then this article is a bit of a ’boutique’ one, along with self-promoting ’boutique’ statistics.
          Your link appears to be just for the USA.

          • Fred Magyar says:

            You have economic limits and conditions in general, market saturations, subsidies, decreased and decreasing ecological wiggle room, (given a population of 7+ billion), u-shaped cost-curves, resource constraints, etc., for stuff like these.

            No shit, Sherlock!

            Don’t you think just about everyone on this site already knows all that?!

            That doesn’t change the fact that EV sales have been rising year over year! Does that mean the planet has been saved? No! The planet is FUBAR and about a billion people don’t have access to the basics right now. We could have nuclear WWIII before the end of tRumps term and climate change is very real and threatens global food production. Etc, etc, etc…

            But nothing about those realities changes the fact that EV sales and renewables are on the rise and fossil fuels use is being impacted. Or that we are on the verge of radical transformations to every aspect of our lives due to technologies that none of us could have imagined even a few decades ago.

            What you don’t seem to be able to grasp is that in the big picture whether or not Nissan Leaf makes it’s quarterly sales goals is pretty much irrelevant. What’s probably much more interesting and relevant is development of mass transportation technologies and rise of solar energy investment by China and the fact that electric bicycle sales are off the chart and growing world wide…

            Of all the things in the world to worry about and be upset about, I have a hunch that the development of clean energy technologies and EVs is should be rather low on the list

            • Caelan MacIntyre says:

              I doubt some know that, or at least care enough, hence my commentary. If they did, there’d be a lot more commentary like it.

              If, as you suggest, the planet is ‘FUBAR’, then their priorities seem a little screwed up, including yours.

              So how about growing a pair and considering sucking up less to that sort of industrial narrative?

              Like a good little anarchist? Or was that just out of the other corner of your mouth with one proverbial finger crossed behind your back?

              “Thanks, augjohnson, for clearly stating a major beef of mine! A very large group of Americans aren’t able to afford food and healthcare, right now. Buying a $27,000.00 EV even with a $7,500 tax credit is completely beyond their reach. They are lucky if they can buy a $3,500 ten year old ICE beater.” ~ FMagyar

              “Thank you Tribe Of Pangaea- First Member…” ~ FMagyar

              You’re welcome. 💋

          • Dennis Coyne says:

            Hi Caelan,

            Clearly you didn’t look at the link very carefully.

            Worldwide plugin sales

            2014, 320713
            2015, 550297
            2016, 777497

            From 2014 to 2016 that is a 44%/year annual growth rate.

            Much of the EV sales growth was in China where locally produced EVs cost about $9000 which is close to the average annual salary of Chinese workers.

            Clearly not a solution to all problems, but it will help with the depletion of oil and the resulting oil scarcity, next up producing more electricity with non-fossil fuels, also not a panacea, we take the problems one by one. Better access to education and birth control will help slow down and eventually reverse population growth. All of these put less pressure on the environment.

            On those U shaped cost curves, in theory they all have that U shape, but where we are on those cost curves is often unknown and depends on many factors. The low point on some cost curves might not be reached until after population has peaked and declined and often when costs rise either the item is used more efficiently or substitutes are found (probably some of both).

            • Caelan MacIntyre says:

              Hi Dennis,

              Just a quickie for now, (and only somewhat through your comment) but that’s why I wrote, ‘your link appears to be just for the USA.’.

              In any case, while I’m not necessarily suggesting this of you, anyone can pull some stats like that, point to them, and exclaim, ‘Hey look, they are going up!’. But that doesn’t really say much.

              BTW, as you may already know, I’ve been to China. It’s got problems and is not the kind of setup I would want to ‘model’.

              Back later!

  22. HuntingtonBeach says:


    Two numbers—238 and 29,995—are why. The first is the number of miles the EPA has certified the Bolt EV will travel on a full charge. The second is the price, in dollars, of the Bolt EV, after allowing for a $7,500 federal tax rebate. By offering that range at that price, the Bolt EV has made just about every other electric vehicle on sale obsolete. “Simply put, it’s twice the car for half the price of a BMW i3,” guest judge Chris Theodore said. “A better car, better package, much better handling, with twice the range.”

    Perhaps the most impressive thing about the Bolt EV is there are no caveats, no “for an electric car” qualifiers needed in any discussion. It is, simply, a world-class small car, and that’s before you factor in the benefits inherent in the smoothness, silence, and instant-on torque provided by the electric motor. The ride is firm and sporty, but transmitted road noise is very well damped. The steering has slightly artificial weighting, but brake feel is natural, and once you learn to use the higher regenerative braking modes, you can pretty much drive all the time without touching the friction brakes at all.

    The battery is expected to last the life of the Bolt EV, and it’s covered by an eight-year/100,000-mile warranty.

    • likbez says:

      The available 240-volt charging unit (professional installation required) is the fastest way to recharge your battery at home and offers more power than the standard 120-volt outlet. This higher-voltage system can provide up to 25 miles of range per hour of charge time.

      … You can even delay charging until utility rates are at their lowest off-peak prices, which is usually at night while you sleep.

      While they are rare and do not overburden the grid, they might be practical for programmers and other IT personnel, who are mad about modern gadgets and own $500 smartphones :-). Although for them Tesla is a more suitable status symbol.

      25 miles per hour charging time means that you can probably charge the car using only low night rates (say from midnight to 5AM). It’s just enough time to charge for 60 miles each way daily commute. if you drive at stable 60 miles per hour speed, a 5KW heater consumes per hour more then 15% electricity consumed by electrical motors, 3 KW air conditioner — exactly 10% (assuming 60 miles per hour, 0.5 KW per mile, 30 KWh total). In a realistic scenario your mileage will be 10% less then advertised. Still enough for commute if you assume that it will run 180-200 miles on a full charge.

      Most people commute less each way so they can even afford running air conditioner, or heater a large part of the trip (unless they are stuck in traffic for hours like happens in LA, SF or NYC).

      Also buying a pack of ice in summer and a small fan that can be directed at this pack might help too :-). A canister with hot water can help in winter too. Bags of ice at Walmart can range in price from $3.00- $6.00 depending of size. Can last several hours.

      GM probably should sell a canister for the hot water and a tray for ice with the car.

  23. Caelan MacIntyre says:

    Drumbeat: August 21, 2013

    “What don’t people understand about $27K not being cheap for many people?! Also, the $7500 tax credit isn’t meaningful if you don’t pay that much in taxes! It’s not a subsidy, it’s a reduction in FED taxes that doesn’t go below zero. It doesn’t come off SS or FICA taxes. No lower income person pays anywhere near $7500/year FED taxes. They don’t get what you are calling a ‘subsidy’. NO EV is cheap for many of your ‘common’ folk.

    As I said in a response to Nick and he totally ignores, if you don’t have stellar credit and have a low income, it’s impossible to buy this supposedly ‘cheap’ car that saves you ‘$1K+/year’ in gas. They won’t get any financing, they have to pay cash. Many, many people are stuck, it’s no different if your monthly income is just enough to pay rent. That doesn’t mean you can just go out and buy a house even if the payment would be lower than your rent. Ain’t gonna happen! Why is it that most people who are decently well off are totally blind to how anybody less well off lives?

    “Well said. A year-old used Honda Accord is $17K in these parts. Civics are $12K and get 37MPG. Both will last 10+ years with very low maintenance.

    The math would favor the hybrid when gas reaches $7/gallon, but we aren’t there yet

    I think augjohnson is probably referring to the very large groups of people who can’t afford a new car at all. Not to be critical, but most aren’t getting one year old used cars either – they buy cars that are several years old. A $5000 car is a major expense that many people can barely afford, and many people finance at even very low levels (so they pay more but less per-month, it makes no sense but neither does a mortgage).

    And then there are the people below THAT – people buying beaters. And below that are the people who buy a bus pass and/or ride a bike.

    I think many people forget how easy it is to be poor, and how hard it is to do much of anything when you are poor. Lots of people make less than $30k, even less than $20k, here in the US. I think I remember a certain presidential candidate complaining that 47% didn’t pay any taxes (the vast majority because they don’t make enough money, unlike said presidential candidate who paid 13% in taxes on millions of dollars a year).

    Seriously, there are lots of poor people. You don’t see them if you make enough money, it’s like the movie ‘The Sixth Sense’. The thing is, they are there, right across the counter from you at Starbucks, working the register at the grocery store, etc..”

    “Well said. I don’t think many understand the nature of our predicament, and that we will not be buying our way out of it.”

    Michael Dawson:
    “Exactly. And buying any new car is out of the question for probably 2/3 of the U.S. population. The lack of consciousness of the crushing expense of the whole cars-first system is one of its most important side effects. People live in their own little bubble worlds, dreaming their own little dreams. ‘Mobile privatization” was Raymond Williams’ term.

    I’m also greatly disturbed by the argument that you get to assess the impact of EVs based on your local region’s generation sources. Cars-first is a thoroughly national policy and reality. Hence, promoting EVs in hydro-heavy Oregon or NG-heavy SF is not separable from pushing them everywhere. It’s not like the transportation system is somehow going to get sane in pieces. We either talk cold turkey about national reality, or we continue driving to Carmageddon.”

    “Last time I checked the median American was driving a 3rd owner car with over a decade on it.”

    “Thanks, augjohnson, for clearly stating a major beef of mine! A very large group of Americans aren’t able to afford food and healthcare, right now. Buying a $27,000.00 EV even with a $7,500 tax credit is completely beyond their reach. They are lucky if they can buy a $3,500 ten year old ICE beater.”

    …But maybe salaries and employment-levels have shot up!, the middle-class has been reinvigorated!, and the so-called economy has new-and-improved! since then and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future! ^u^

    E-cars are playthings for the rich
    [It’s a 2016 article, so perhaps much has changed since and will continue to improve.]

    “An electric car subsidy will be a flash in the pan, not the silver bullet against climate change that the German government is seeking. From a public policy standpoint, it’s also rather dubious, says DW’s Rolf Wenkel.”

    • Caelan MacIntyre says:

      Below is an image of a proud new EV owner…
      Notice the dapper attire, the pothole-free, lickable roadway and the well-mowed lawn in the background…

      “Detroit, here we come!”

      ‘Hook ’em while they’re young…’, it has been said, and maybe one day, they, too, will have a nice internets publishings with special articles and comments…

      “Remember that first time you rode in a Tesla convertible?… the feeling of the open road and the wind in your hair…”

    • Fred Magyar says:

      “Thanks, augjohnson, for clearly stating a major beef of mine! A very large group of Americans aren’t able to afford food and healthcare, right now. Buying a $27,000.00 EV even with a $7,500 tax credit is completely beyond their reach. They are lucky if they can buy a $3,500 ten year old ICE beater.”

      Absolutely true!

      The question is, what does that have to do with the price of tea in China?!

      You seem to have this penchant for confusing completely unrelated facts!

      It doesn’t change the fact that renewables and sales of EVs are growing. So obviously there are still some people who can afford them even at those prices.

      On the other hand most people in the US can still afford to ride electric buses or trains, buy an electric bicycle and use their smartphones to call up an Uber or Lyft ride share should they need it. Case in point, my 22 year old son who is a university student, doesn’t have a driver’s license and occasionally rides in an Uber provided Prius… And meanwhile most of the rest of world is still FUBAR!

      Now please go back to your cave or whatever rock you live under!

      • Caelan MacIntyre says:

        I think it’s called systems, contextual or holistic thinking, Frederick.

        Rather than lip-servicing it, among your other apparent lip-servicing, how about giving it a try? That way, you might have a better handle on my commentary, although I have my doubts. LOL

        Everything’s related.

        “… my 22 year old son… is a university student…” ~ Fred Magyar

        Is he learning how to ‘specialize’ and see and interact with the world more myopically then? Less contextual? Like Dad?

        How Universities Are Increasingly Choosing Capitalism Over Education

        “The deteriorating situation of the universities has its own internal logic as well. In response to the decline in funding, but also to the prevalence of neoliberal ideology, universities—or rather the presidents, administrators, and boards of trustees who control them—are increasingly moving away from their ostensible mission of serving the public good to that of becoming as far as possible like private enterprises. In doing so, most of the teachers in these universities are being reduced to the status of wage labor…”

        • Fred Magyar says:

          That way, you might have a better handle on my commentary,

          Really?! You mean you actually THINK you have a cogent point?

          Short Caelan, ‘Clean Energy is a Dirty Joke’ as are EVs and anyone who says solar energy actually works is part of an evil global capitalist conspiracy! Even if they continually insist on saying that capitalism no longer makes sense in a 21st century digital economy. Technology is created by corporations to enslave the masses. There is no substitute for fossil fuels and there is not a damn thing anyone can do about it because Gail Tverberg and John Michael Greer say so…

        • likbez says:

          Thank you for the quote !

  24. Caelan MacIntyre says:

    “…in well built systems the power outages are caused by unscheduled plant shutdowns, transmission grid failures, etc. When they take place the problem is analyzed and solutions are usually put in place to reduce the risk.

    What we see in Europe is a system that’s increasingly unstable, and governments trying to replace the stronger more stable components with even more unstable systems. The imbeciles who run things here are simply unable to grasp just how absolutely stupid they are.

    As they force shutdown of coal and nuclear and install more wind and solar we are seeing more and more subsidy charges in the electric bill. If they continue on the current course the cost of electricity will double in the next 10-20 years. And that’s going to be a huge bite for people living at the lower end of the scale.” ~ Fernando Leanme

    Just wait ’til a lot of other electrified things, like EV’s, start increasingly plugging in too. Duncan’s Olduvai Gorge anyone?

    • nopitynopenope says:

      Finally somebody with some sense around here. The hopium-smoking that goes on here is rather unbearable.
      Renewables are problematic at best, and downright detested at worst. Most in my town absolutely hate the solar farms that have sprung up (thanks to government subsidies), and we might be in for some serious heat-island effect as a consequence, along with possible heavy-metal leaching and overall grid instability.
      But ultimately it’s a good thing since we will be able to charge EVs with renewables only or something. Yeah the whole nation can switch over to EV and we’ll just power it all with renewables without a problem!!

      • Fred Magyar says:

        Most in my town absolutely hate the solar farms that have sprung up (thanks to government subsidies), and we might be in for some serious heat-island effect as a consequence, along with possible heavy-metal leaching and overall grid instability.

        Oh great! Another anti solar troll! I’ve heard a lot of bullshit about solar but you do win the prize for originality…

        …Serious heat-island effect as a consequence, along with possible heavy-metal leaching and overall grid instability.

        You idiots are pure comedy gold! Even Kellyanne Conway’s alternative facts pale by comparison …

    • Fred Magyar says:

      Just wait ’til a lot of other electrified things, like EV’s, start increasingly plugging in too. Duncan’s Olduvai Gorge anyone?

      I guess you think that is some kind of insurmountable problem? Quite the contrary.

      Actually that would be just fine! EVs are the perfect battery storage medium for micro grids. There are many towns in Europe that are already using them for that purpose Case in point Utrecht.

      By turning itself into one huge Living Lab for Smart Charging of electric vehicles, the Netherlands is fast becoming the international frontrunner for smart charging EV’s, using them to store peak power production of solar and wind. Already 325 municipalities (including Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht and The Hague) have joined the Dutch Living Lab Smart Charging representing 80 percent of all public charging stations. It’s also supported by the Dutch government. /I>

      BTW By coincidence the Netherlands doesn’t think much of Trump either…
      The Netherlands welcomes Trump in his own words

      And from the same link:

      The report, called ‘Expect the unexpected: The disruptive power of low-carbon technology’, warns that fossil fuels may lose 10 per cent of market share to solar panels and electric vehicles within a single decade. In the past, a similar 10 per cent loss of power market share caused the collapse of the US coal mining industry.

      Similarly, Europe’s five major utilities lost more than €100 billion in value from 2008 to 2013 because they were unprepared for an 8 per cent growth in renewable power, of which solar panels played a big part.

      According to the report, growth in electric vehicles alone could lead to two million barrels of oil per day (mbd) being displaced by 2025 – the same volume that caused a major oil price collapse in 2014-15. The report finds 16mbd of oil demand displaced by 2040 and 25mbd by 2050.

      This contrasts with expectations of big energy companies – in which oil demand continues to grow – and could have implications for the way they conduct their business.

      “Electric vehicles and solar power are game-changers that the fossil fuel industry consistently underestimates. Further innovation could make our scenarios look conservative in five years’ time, in which case the demand misread by companies will have been amplified even more,” said Luke Sussams, senior researcher at Carbon Tracker.

      • Nathanael says:

        Thanks for the link. I hadn’t known the detail that a *10%* loss in demand destroyed the coal industry. That gives me a better benchmark for when the oil majors start declaring bankruptcy.

  25. Duncan Idaho says:

    Things in Mangostan may get interesting as slash and burn may have thier flame throwers taken away:

  26. islandboy says:

    Just in case anybody thinks the pace of PV deployment might slow down for 2017:

    Polysilicon import surge suggests Chinese H1 solar boom, says Bernreuter Research

    China is headed for a first half (H1) solar installation surge that will likely reach the installation volumes seen in 2016, according to analysis of polysilicon import volumes conducted by Bernreuter Research.

    Between October and November 2016 polysilicon imports jumped 56% from 8,680 metric tons (MT) to 13,584 MT, and then reached a record monthly high of 14,449 MT in December. This spike points to a forthcoming “Chinese PV rally”, says Polysilicon Market Outlook 2020 author and head of Bernreuter Research Johannes Bernreuter.

    Contrast that data to the same period in 2015 and there are interesting parallels. Imports of polysilicon into China in October 2015 were at a low of 7,504 MT, but the following month had increased by 33.6% to reach 10,028 MT.

    The forthcoming FIT cut scheduled for June 30 2016 was the driver behind this sharp spike in demand, and history looks to be repeating itself: on July 1 this year there will be a further FIT cut in China, prompting the upper part of the PV value chain to ready the ground for an H1 solar blitz that could well surpass the record 20 GW installed in H1 2016.

    Daqo New Energy cranks new 18,000 MT polysilicon facility into gear

    Daqo New Energy, one of the leading Chinese polysilicon producers, has this week begun operations at its new Phase 3A facility located in Xinjiang.

    Construction work on the new plant was completed at the end of 2016, and the company expects the facility to be hitting its full production capacity of 18,000 metric tons (MT) of polysilicon by the end of the first quarter of the year.

    This would place Daqo ahead of schedule in terms of output, the company’s CEO, Gongda Yao, confirmed.

    So, not only are the Chinese importing more of the raw material for the manufacture of PV modules, their domestic production capacity for the same raw material is increasing.

    On other fronts there is just so much news about new projects in India, Jordan, Australia and a first utility scale plant in Colombia that I think it’s better for me to just link to the news page :

    Then there’s this:

    New report: Renewables are now cost competitive with fossil fuels

    The Lloyd’s Register Technology Radar – Low Carbon, published on February 8th, 2017, examines the outlook for renewables, nuclear, grid and infrastructure, and energy storage.

    According to the report, low carbon generation technologies are cost competitive. 70% of renewables respondents and opinions leaders say that renewables are now reaching cost parity with fossil fuels.

    Solar photovoltaic (PV) technology is likely to have a major impact, and soon, the report finds. Renewables respondents are most optimistic about the potential of advances in solar cell technology – and the likelihood of adoption.

    The research sought the insights and opinions of leaders across the sector, as well as the views of almost 600 professionals and experts around the world – from utilities and distributors through to operators and equipment manufacturers.

    This news site also has reports of new projects in Thailand, Japan, Australia (separate and apart from the one above) and Mexico. See:

  27. islandboy says:

    On the EV front:

    World’s 4th Richest Person, Carlos Slim To Enter EV Business With Mexican-Made Offering For 2018

    Giant Motors is in the process of developing an electric car that will be produced in Mexico, for Mexican consumers, in 2018.

    Interestingly, the company is controlled by multi-billionaire, Carlos Slim’s financial services conglomerate, Inbursa.

    Carlos Slim Helu – Chairman/CEO, Telmex and América Móvil. Age: 76, Net worth: $50.6 billion (via CBS News)

    One imagines that if the venture is successful, we could see a new (and very strong player) in the EV business even outside of Mexico, as Carlos Slim is currently listed in 4th place on Forbes 2016: World’s Top 10 Billionaires list. Slim is certainly in a position to revive Mexican automotive capabilities.

    China Loves Cheap, Locally-Made Electric Cars, Tesla Far Too Expensive To Be Successful There

    The vast majority of electric vehicles sold in China are locally made and relatively cheap. That doesn’t bode well for Tesla who has neither of those qualities going for it and has had difficulties living up to initial sales expectations in the country.

    As Reuters reports:

    “More electric cars are sold in China than in the rest of the world combined, but are mainly locally-branded models that are cheaper and have a shorter range than those offered by foreign automakers such as Tesla and Nissan.”

    “The domestic EVs don’t have the ‘wow’ factor of a fast, longer-range and luxury-style Tesla. They sell on price.”

    In 2016, sales of plug-in electric vehicles (including commercial vehicles and buses) crossed 500,000 in China, but relatively few of those sales went to outsiders likes Tesla.

    One of China’s hot electric cars in the Chery eQ. After subsidies, it sells for just 60,000 yuan ($8,655). Compare that to a Tesla or Denza (BYD/Daimler joint venture brand) which sell for 300,000 to 600,000 yuan and you can see why the luxury models struggles against their much cheaper competition.

    • Fred Magyar says:

      Carlos Slim Helu – Chairman/CEO, Telmex and América Móvil. Age: 76, Net worth: $50.6 billion (via CBS News)

      LOL! Donald Trump eat your heart out. A Mexican who is worth waaaay more than little Donnie. And he doesn’t give a rats ass where American car manufactures build their ancient, outmoded, dirty ICEs.

  28. Nathanael says:

    Dennis: thanks for the attempt to model this.

    The high scenario is the only realistic one. It may actually be an underestimate, but production constraints on car manufacturing may mean that it’s about right.

    The trick is figuring out how much oil demand is, in actual fact, displaced by the increasing number of EVs on the road. I’ve actually had a great deal of difficulty modeling that.

    You’ve already made two definite mistakes in modeling, around your 40% number, which is simply too low.

    In the US 51% of the barrel goes to gasoline and nearly all of that is for land transportation. 15.3% of the barrel goes to distillate fuel oil — diesel — and nearly all of that is for land transportation too (and the non-transportation uses are declining). But the key is fractionation: the part of the barrel which doesn’t go to gasoline and diesel can’t really be used for gasoline or diesel, and to a large extent, vice versa.

    Since gasoline is the economically marginal product of fractionation — the one which determines crude oil demand levels at the margin — basically 55 barrels of gasoline demand eliminated means 100 barrels of crude oil demand eliminated. For economic purposes, that’s how it works. This continues until a different product becomes the economically marginal product (probably kerosene jet fuel) but by the time that happens, gasoline demand is WAY down.

    In the meantime, the key dynamic is refinery retooling and closure: you don’t need as many refineries if you’re making less gasoline. This ends up raising the prices of other non-gasoline products, but crude oil demand overall drops. Or refineries can retool to convert some of the stuff currently being made into gasoline into some other product, which will bring the price of other non-gasoline products down… but crude oil demand overall stays flat.

    What I’ve had difficulty figuring out is how much gasoline demand is displaced by electric car adoption. That’s tricky. Trucks and buses will be converting around the same time as cars (buses are actually moving faster), so one can just model them as “going along with the flow”.

    • GoneFishing says:

      There are several ways to look at the reduction of gasoline demand due to an EV takeover. Two billion cars at 10,000 miles per year with an mpg of 35 would mean 14 billion barrels of gasoline displaced per year. That would mean 28 billion barrels of oil displaced per year. That would be 84 percent of current oil production was displaced.
      Since a lot of electricity, natural gas and coal go into the petroleum refining and pumping process, those demands would be mostly eliminated.

  29. Preston says:

    By 2020, the global demand for coal and oil could peak and start to decline, according to a new report published this week by researchers at the Grantham Institute

    Read more at:

    Also from the same article:
    Electric vehicles are currently growing 60 per cent year-on-year and there are already more than a million on the roads. Battery costs have fallen 73 per cent to $268 per kilowatt hour (kWh) in the seven years to 2015 according to the US Department of Energy, and Tesla, the electric car maker, predicts they will reach $100/kWh by 2020

    • GoneFishing says:

      Thanks for bringing up that article. The direction for EV’s and other transistion/efficiency improvements is getting quite clear at this point. Somewhere Elon Musk let it slip that Tesla’s cost for batteries was already down to $100/ kwh. With improving efficiency in HVAC, buildings, PV and wind as well as lowering cost, energy will only be a problem if we allow it to be.

      • Preston says:

        Yes, the new cells from the Tesla gigafactory are just a little larger – 2170 (21mm x 70mm) vs the common 18650 used in the Model S. The capacity is about 6AHr per cell, about double the 18650’s, but the cost per cell is about the same. Once they ramp up, the $100/kwh sounds about right for the cells, but maybe a little higher for the assembled pack, at least at first.

        The model 3 will have a 70kwh battery and a range of about 250 miles, it should be a very nice car. With the battery cost dropping below $10,000 its going to be real hard for the fossil cars to compete – electric motors are a lot lower cost and sooo much simpler.

        Also, it wouldn’t take much of a disruption (say from a middle east war) to change the image of petrol as being the reliable choice for fuel.

        • likbez says:

          That’s the problem what we face: with the current 60KW/h batteries the realistic range for EV is around 200 miles per charge. Less in adverse weather conditions and in slow traffic with jams. Around a half of the range of a regular car and hybrids. That’s not bad, but this is a factor that people should take into account.

          In winter a half-charged battery will last only 6 hours if the car is standing still with heating. So on the way back home you can face some adversity, And the problem might be more severe if you forgot to charge the car the last night and do not have a charger in your work parking lot.

          That’s a rare event but they do happen.

          For the next decade I would bet my money of hybrids.

          • Preston says:

            At least with an electric car you don’t suffocate just trying to keep warm without adequate ventilation.

            That’s a rare event but they do happen.

            Your 6 hour number isn’t even close, the Tesla has a “camping” mode that keeps the cabin warm, lots of people use it overnight and wake with just a small drop in remaining range. The heaters just don’t need to run full blast continuously in the real world.

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