…America! We Have a Problem – The Green Nightmare – Part 3: Summary and Conclusion…
The purpose of these articles is not to prove it is impossible to replace fossil fuels. Obviously, there is ample area in the United States, and the rest of the world, to install required quantities of wind and PV solar.
Rather, these articles demonstrate the absurdity of trying.
From Part 2, the amount of wind capacity that needs to be added between now and 2050, to replace coal-fired and natural gas combined cycle (NGCC) power plants is 723,744 MW.
Wind and PV solar power plants have an expected life of 20 years, which means that wind and PV solar installations built prior to 2021, and in the 2020 decade, will have to be replaced before 2050.
This is the pernicious penalty of wind and PV solar. Wind and PV solar installations need to be replaced every 20 years.
- Nuclear power plants are lasting for at least 60 years.
- NGCC power plants last for at least 60 years.
- Coal-fired power plants can also last for at least 60 years.
Explorations are underway to see whether nuclear power plants can last for 100 years.
This table shows the amount of wind capacity that will have to be added by 2050.
The most wind capacity added during any single year in the United States was 16,913 MW in 2020.
To replace coal-fired and NGCC power plants, we must, beginning this year, and for every year until 2050, add more than twice as much wind capacity than has ever been added in a single year.
Much of this wind capacity will have to be imported.
As of 2019, the reported total wind turbine manufacturing capacity in the United States was 9,136 MW. GE was the largest, with a capacity of 4,146 MW. However, GE’s largest new unit, the 12 MW Haliade is currently manufactured in France.
The expected life of PV solar installations is also 20 years.
PV solar is subject to the same pernicious economic penalty as wind, with installations having to be replaced every 20 years.
Here is the current relevant data concerning PV solar.
- Total PV solar installed as of 2020 = 97,700 MW
- PV solar installed in 2020 (largest annual amount on record) = 19,200 MW
- Total USA kWh generated in 2020 by all methods = 4,009 billion kWh
- Total electricity generated by PV solar in 2020 = 88 billion kWh
To accommodate a doubling of electricity output in 2050, as projected by NREL:
- PV solar in 2050 must generate 46 times more electricity than in 2020.
This will require an installed PV solar capacity of 4,450,901 MW.
It will require installing 148,363 MW of PV solar every year between now and 2050, which is 7.7 times the amount installed in 2020.
Actually, it will require more because all PV solar installed between 2020 and 2029, will have to be replaced in the 2040 decade.
A majority of the PV solar panels are likely to be from China.
For a different perspective, it would take 232 years to install the required amount of PV solar based on the amount installed in 2020.
(While some of this capacity could be provided by on-shore wind turbines in areas not already used for wind installations, it merely shifts the problem from PV solar to wind, where wind has the same inability to construct the necessary additional capacity.)
The cost of adding wind capacity to replace coal and natural gas plants = $2.5 trillion.
The cost of adding PV solar capacity for the needed additional capacity in 2050 = $4.9 trillion.
The cost of required storage is unknown, but will likely be trillions of dollars.
(Assumes a cost of $1,300 per KW for on-shore wind installations, and $6,000 per KW for off-shore wind installation. See Part 2 for PV solar costs.)
There may be enough area in the united States to install sufficient quantities of wind and solar to replace fossil fuels, but only if battery storage technologies can be developed that are capable of storing large quantities of electricity for twelve or more days.
It is, however, absurd to attempt to replace fossil fuels with wind and PV solar by 2050.
The quantities of wind and PV solar that must be installed between now and 2050 are enormous, requiring far greater installation capacities than we have yet demonstrated to be possible.
The pernicious nature of wind and solar, of having to be replaced every twenty years, results in a never ending cycle of installing, and replacing of wind and PV solar facilities.
The costs are also unbelievably huge, and amount to roughly $7.4 trillion, which is over 25% of the nation’s debt in 2020. And, because of the pernicious nature of wind and solar, this investment would be repeated every twenty years.
Bear in mind that these Herculean efforts don’t address other important sources of CO2 emissions, such as the making of steel and cement, so these are not the full costs.
Attempting to replace fossil fuels with wind and PV solar is irrational, and a grotesque nightmare for the people of America.
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