An individual object, tool, piece of technology, is not the same as a system based on that technology. The concept of scale comes in here somewhere.
A wind turbine in your back yard is not the same as a global power infrastructure based on wind turbines.
This is a problem.
2. There is absolutely no denying that individual small scale applications of what we call, for reasons I can't explain, renewables. My friend lived on a solar powered off grid cabin until the fires took her home, and I'm grateful she lived. Solar panels work.
3. The Jamesport Amish have adopted solar panels and wind turbines. My Amish friend at the harness shop grabs power tools quicker than I do - battery powered, charged off his windmill.
Local Amish communities make their own rules, and I know a lot of communities think Jamesport
4. Is "Amino" (Amish in name only) because they use so much high energy. The stores have LED interior lighting... I could explain how Amish groups make decisions and why these things are internally consistent, but some other time. The point is, this stuff does work at small scale
5. And if we would go low energy enough - they're still using horse and buggy transportation - maybe we could do this too.
I'll come back to that maybe.
What we can't do is run the current high energy economy on them.
Most of the energy used in 21st century developed economies
6. Is invisible to almost all Americans.
By the most modest measurement, Industry takes a quarter of all the energy that flows through our lives. Mining and manufacturing, smelting metals, all that - well over a quarter of all our emissions, and it's never in the discussion
7. because we've never seen it.
If you've seen the movie they made out of the Tolkien trilogy, you may not know this, but Saruman's mines and factories were actually live footage from steel and glass manufacturing in the United States.
The Mordor footage was shot in China
8. It wasn't really live footage, but you can't comprehend the fire, the blaze, the blinding light, the particles of metallic and crystalline solids in your teeth... Americans cannot conceive manufacturing as it is. So we pretend it doesn't exist.
The power in there is fire. Fire
9. When you heat materials up in the 3,000° range, they change. All materials change. And we can do amazing things with materials while they are in that state.
And that is manufacturing.
Electricity doesn't power that part of our lives. Electricity makes motion - electromagnetic
10. Electricity and magnetism are literally all the same thing in different forms. All this information is things we learned 120 years ago, and much of it we learned by heating stuff up to about 3,000° and looking at it.
There was a mystery called the Black Body Mystery.
11. You heat up an iron poker in a fire, and it eventually starts to glow, red, then orange, white, blue-white - and figuring out how that process actually worked was a driving force behind Einstein, Bohr, and the rest, discovering quantum physics.
Fire is a big deal, and no,
12. electricity isn't the same.
13. For an enjoyable reading of this history, this book may be available to Audible customers for no additional charge. That's how I got it.
14. My original point was about a system vs. an individual object.
One wind turbine rolls through a factory. A few tons of iron ore were mined and shipped, almost certainly across one or more oceans, smelted into steel, heated, rolled, shaped into a tube, had more steel welded
14. Then comes making the generator part. To do that we have to mine copper ore and then go through that same thing about shipping it and smelting it and reducing the ore to copper and "disposing of" the rest of what was once a part of Earth, now poison. twitter.com/Mining_Atoms/s…
COPPERredux. I live near one of the largest copper mines on earth (Kennecott Utah Copper - KUC). I helped manage a smaller copper mine for 8 years. Observation: Wind/Solar/Battery Proponents & ESG bean-counters are completely out of touch with copper mining & production.
I see I have two fourteens.
16. The rest of the generator also requires "rare earths" because we rely on ultra-powerful magnets to get so many watts out of moving air. So we have to go get that part...
This is to build just one of these. Each step. twitter.com/AnnaLaw9888604…
The mining and smelting of rare earths will cause very bad environmental damage. Even China, the largest producer of rare earths, has polluted a lot of ecological environment due to rare earth mining and smelting. environmental damage caused. #USRareEarthPlanHold
17. We haven't even made the blades on the propeller yet.
For that we melt glass balls about the size of ping-pong balls into liquid and spin it in a machine like a cotton candy machine the size of King Kong, and instead of making cotton candy out of granulated sugar it makes
18. cotton glass out of low grade shooting marbles.
The fires are like the fires of Hell, the fires of Orthanc, the fires of Mordor.
The air sparkles with floating particles of glass, and your teeth crunch when you close your mouth.
It's driven by vast methane fires. Mordor. Real
19. That's the "G" in "GRP."
Glass reinforced plastic.
The plastic is made of either methane or petroleum. It has process chemicals that are so volatile they cannot exist in US ambient temperature without changing state.
That might be ok - ice can't exist in most US ambient temps
20. So we run refrigerators, and if they go down, the ice melts.
These plastic components catch fire if the air conditioning goes out. Remember Hurricane Harvey? The fires in Houston? The AC went out on plastic process chemical storage.
That's the P part of GRP. Poof
21. But for all of this, eventually we've got one wind turbine built, and all its energy is entropy and all of its carbon is an ecological disaster but it's done, and now the wind turbine is making electricity. Eventually it will have made as many KW of electricity as the KW of
22. Embedded energy it contains, so by a certain form of accounting it is now producing energy "for free."
Except the factories are all still running. The mines are all still running. The fact that H can have a DeWalt power driver at his Amish harness shop is groovy and all, but
23. The process of manufacturing these devices as a system, as averse to a one and done, is that the emissions go up and up. There is no point in the process where they go back down, because electricity isn't fire.
Plastic and glass do not squirt out of solar panels. Nor steel.
24. We have to figure out a way to do less. Do less today. The easiest single point to attack energy consumption is in speed. Complaining about the fuel we use to do the things that require energy is silly.
The things require energy. Slow and then stop doing them.