Category Archives: Energy

the posts in this category used to be in “Energy in A Nutshell” at my former web site.

Peak Fossil Fuels: overview of peak oil, coal, and natural gas

[ Below are overviews of peak oil, coal, and natural gas, each followed by additional reading material from my book “When trucks stop running”. My book also explains why we are unlikely to be able to electrify transportation, as well … Continue reading

Posted in Coal, How Much Left, Natural Gas, Peak Coal, Peak Natural Gas, Peak Oil | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Hitting the solar wall

  California peak and off peak demand in California. Solar produces power when it’s least needed: from 7 am to 4 pm during Off Peak and Super Off Peak time frames.  Adding more solar power makes the problem worse, requiring … Continue reading

Posted in Concentrated Solar Power, Photovoltaic Solar, Seasonal Variation | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Utility scale energy storage batteries: only enough material exists on earth for Sodium sulfur (NaS)

[ Natural gas is finite, but aside from hydropower, gas is the main way wind and solar are balanced now. Therefore, a tremendous amount of energy storage will be needed in the future as natural gas declines, hydropower (remains stagnant … Continue reading

Posted in Alternative Energy Resources, Batteries, Energy Storage | 2 Comments

Nasty, toxic life-threatening nuclear waste will be left for future generations

[ Below is an excerpt from the 7 March 2012 NewScientist editorial Fukushima’s dirty inheritance. Since human population growth was enabled to grow from 1 to 7.5 billion because of fossil fuel production (highly correlated, their exponential growth curves match), … Continue reading

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Benefits of promoting soil health in agriculture U.S. House hearing 2014

                    [ At last, 10 years after I first published “Peak soil: Why biofuels destroy ecosystems and civilizations“, Congress had a hearing that educated house members on why preserving topsoil is … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Biomass, Food, Infrastructure, Pesticides, Soil, Soil, Water | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How climate change will affect energy production and transportation

[ Climate change and extreme weather will harm oil and gas exploration and production, fuel transport, thermoelectric power generation (coal, natural gas, nuclear, geothermal, solar concentrated power), hydropower, biofuels, wind, solar PV, the electric grid, and increase energy demand from … Continue reading

Posted in Blackouts, Cascading Failure, Climate Change, Electric Grid, Electric Grid, Energy Production, Hydropower, Ships and Barges, Water | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nuclear waste will last a lot longer than climate change

[ Anyone who survives peak fossil fuels and after that, rising sea levels and extreme weather from climate change, will still be faced with nuclear waste as both deadly pollutant and potential weapon.  The worst last an awfully long time. … Continue reading

Posted in Climate Change, Nuclear Waste | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Decommissioning a nuclear reactor

[ Below are excerpts from the 7 March 2012 NewScientist article: How to dismantle a nuclear reactor ] about the costs and challenges of dismantling nuclear power plants in Europe ] By the start of 2012, according to the International Atomic … Continue reading

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Is large-scale energy storage dead?

 April 8, 2016 by Roger Andrews at euanmearns.com Many countries have committed to filling large percentages of their future electricity demand with intermittent renewable energy, and to do so they will need long-term energy storage in the terawatt-hours range. But … Continue reading

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Solar PV cells using rare elements unlikely to scale up enough to replace fossil fuels

[ Sunshine may be free, but the materials to make solar contraptions aren’t.   Since sunshine arrives in a diluted form (2500 kWh/m2), vast expanses of solar photovoltaic panels will be needed to produce the world’s 15 Terawatts of power that … Continue reading

Posted in Alternative Energy Resources, Limits To Growth, Photovoltaic Solar, Rare Minerals | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Solar PV cells using rare elements unlikely to scale up enough to replace fossil fuels