Register

Peak Oil is You


Donate Bitcoins ;-) or Paypal :-)


Page added on May 2, 2021

Bookmark and Share

Living within our energy income

Consumption

Traditional fiscal advice for a sustainable life style is to preserve your capital and live on your interest income. The cautionary tale is a person who burns through an inheritance, living beyond their income, and eventually winds up bankrupt. This same basic idea can be applied to natural resources and energy systems.

Natural resources have a rate of renewal, and harvesting at less than that renewal rate is a prudent, conservative strategy, sustainable in the long term. Harvesting above that rate eventually destroys the resource and whatever society it supports. The history of civilization is littered with societies that collapsed after exhausting one or more of their critical natural resource systems. This can be food resources, water resources, or energy resources.

All societies throughout history have depended on solar energy. Biologic systems convert the daily solar flux into carbohydrates or structural fiber, and the stored energy is used by humans in the form of crops, for food and fiber, and timber, for construction and heating. Food and fiber are generally an annual solar harvest, while timber can have several centuries of stored solar harvest.

Air heated by the daily solar flux moves around the planet as wind, which has been used for nautical transportation for over 5,500 years, and for mechanical power for over 2,200 years. Water evaporated by the daily solar flux eventually falls as rainfall, and flowing water has been used for mechanical power for over 2,400 years.

Fossil fuels are stored solar energy in the form of decomposed organic material, which were deposited long ago, buried by subsequent sedimentation, and transformed by pressure and geothermal heat. Oil and natural gas were deposited between 65M-540M years ago, and coal was deposited between 100M-400M years ago. The large-scale commercial extraction and use of fossil fuels began about 300 years ago.

Coal was the first to be developed, and powered the rise of the British Empire, giving their navy superior speed and maneuverability relative to wind powered fleets. Coal currently supplies 27 percent of global energy. With the lowest hydrogen to carbon ratio of the three fossil fuels, it is inefficient and contributes more greenhouse gases per unit of energy. Consequently, it is losing global economic competitiveness. At current consumption rates there are 133 years of global coal reserves left, but it is likely much of that will remain in the ground.

Global development of oil began about 200 years ago. With a higher ratio of hydrogen to carbon than coal, it is a more efficient fuel, and more versatile as refined transportation fuels. America’s abundant reserves allowed us to supplant the British Empire after World War 2. Oil now supplies 33 percent of global energy. However, global oil reserves are smaller than coal reserves, and depletion of existing fields has outpaced discovery of new fields for half a century. America’s production peaked in 1972, and most other large global oil fields have peaked since then. Shell Oil recently announced their entire reserve will be depleted by 2040. Global reserves could support current consumption for 42 more years, but not all of that can be recovered economically.

Natural gas is generally found with oil, and began commercial development at the same time. Natural gas lighting revolutionized civilization beginning about 200 years ago. It has the highest ratio of hydrogen to carbon of the three fossil fuels, and has been touted as a greener “bridge” fuel. But natural gas is mostly methane, a greenhouse gas 80 times more potent than CO2 over the short run. Because it can’t be refined into as many products as oil, it isn’t as versatile. The fracking boom of the last decade boosted natural gas production, but these wells deplete quickly, making it a relatively expensive energy source. Reserves can support current consumption rates for another 52 years.

Like the spendthrift burning through his capital, humanity has grown our economy by burning through our rapidly diminishing supplies of stored fossil solar energy. Independent of climate concerns, to avoid an economic collapse of unprecedented proportion, we must shift our economy to living on our solar income within the next few decades, before we exhaust our stored fossil solar capital completely. Fortunately, our solar income is enormous: 10,000 times our current global energy consumption. Does humanity have the wisdom and commitment to make such a shift?

ukiahdailyjournal



31 Comments on "Living within our energy income"

  1. DT on Sun, 2nd May 2021 1:24 pm 

    “Solar power requires manufacturing processes with chemicals which are highly toxic to those who work with them. ”

    “Wind power creates its own syndrome of nerve-wracking vibrations for those living next to “wind farms,” along with even larger issues with disposal of 160-foot blades.”

    https://dissidentvoice.org/2021/05/what-would-a-deep-green-new-deal-look-like/#more-116063

  2. makati1 on Sun, 2nd May 2021 4:54 pm 

    The negatives will be the reason wind and solar will never be the major electric suppliers. Never.

  3. Cloggie on Mon, 3rd May 2021 1:26 am 

    DT and makati, two Americans, illustrating that their country has completely lost it. Backwards, the new third world, one big black hole. A country facing collapse, that would love to imagine that the rest of the world will collapse with it.

    They won’t.
    The American Century is over.
    Anglosphere is over.
    Eurasia is next.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-XDxCb92X4

  4. DT on Mon, 3rd May 2021 8:07 am 

    Cloggie nice video showing china’s massive new road infrastructure all built and used thanks to burning FF’s.

  5. jef on Mon, 3rd May 2021 9:16 am 

    “Natural resources have a rate of renewal”

    Ya right, all we have to do is wait a few hundred million years and all the copper, iron, phosphate, coal, oil, nat gas, will be abundant.

  6. rockman on Mon, 3rd May 2021 2:04 pm 

    mak – Individual choices depend on renewable competition with the price of residential costs. I would have had fun going to solar years ago. But given a payback rate of 15+ years it would have rated as a hobby with me. A much too expensive hobby. Despite all the electricity cost horror stories you heard about Houston during the Big Freeze those were folks who lost big time essentially playing the futures market…many of them not understanding they were doing just that. Rockman’s bill was high to for Feb: about twice what would have been now: $240 vs $160. I’m on a fixed rate plan not subject to wholesale market price bumps.

    And last month: $48. I have a large (2400 sq ft) WELL INSOLATED townhome. Solar just can’t compete with $0.095 per kWh fixed no matter how cold or hot it gets.

  7. wb superttard rok im muzz lovah on Mon, 3rd May 2021 4:59 pm 

    muzz in miami displayed victim card
    Dr. Fadi Yousef Kablawi: “The only thing that is left for us – as a Muslim nation – is Islam. They fought us in every single thing, they took away from us every single thing. Who are ‘they’? The disbelievers, the West, the Jews, and the Christians.

    please be at ease among friends we’re all supremacist muzz lovers here

    supertard rok pls dont take the killshot. i personally know many (((supertards))) take the killshot and now dropout-19 and belinda is divorcing …she isn’t buying the convid-19

    i hope (((supertard))) alice won’t take the killshot either because “the sience”

  8. muzz lovah on Mon, 3rd May 2021 5:00 pm 

    supertards please love supremacist muzz more

    doesn’t make u happy knowing many infants are doing just grate having not a single killshot out of over 30

    “the science”

  9. makati1 on Mon, 3rd May 2021 5:22 pm 

    Rockman, Electric here in my neighborhood of the Philippines is about $0.12 kWh. At current exchange rates, my average electric bill is about $180 per month for a 1,000 sf. home. A/C is the main cost, but that is a luxury I could do without if necessary. Of course, it never gets cold here, just hot and humid. ^_^

  10. Cloggie on Tue, 4th May 2021 2:06 am 

    Rockman says: mak – Individual choices depend on renewable competition with the price of residential costs. I would have had fun going to solar years ago. But given a payback rate of 15+ years it would have rated as a hobby with me. A much too expensive hobby. Despite all the electricity cost horror stories you heard about Houston during the Big Freeze those were folks who lost big time essentially playing the futures market…many of them not understanding they were doing just that. Rockman’s bill was high to for Feb: about twice what would have been now: $240 vs $160. I’m on a fixed rate plan not subject to wholesale market price bumps.

    And last month: $48. I have a large (2400 sq ft) WELL INSOLATED townhome. Solar just can’t compete with $0.095 per kWh fixed no matter how cold or hot it gets.

    https://energytransition.org/2015/05/solar-twice-as-expensive-in-us-as-in-germany/

    “Solar twice as expensive in US as in Germany”

    https://news.energysage.com/why-is-solar-more-expensive-in-the-us/

    “Why is solar more expensive in the US than in other countries?”

    I had my 6 panels, 1600 Watt installation installed in 2015, wit ZERO subsidy for exactly 3000,- turnkey, although every kWh I pump in the grid is paid for the exact amount I have to pay if I consume. It has delivered consistently ca. 1600 kWh per year, which is sufficient to cover my extremely low electricity needs, since I invested heavily in the most energy-efficient gear on the market today. Fridge: 60 kWh/year. Large freezer 200 kWh/year, etc. According to the solar panel dashboard I know earned back 1800 euro of the initial investment. Extrapolating that figure, means a payback-time of 8.5 years. After that I’ll have free electricity for the rest of my life.

    Over 5 years I harvested 8110 kWh. Over 30 years, that would be 48,000 kWh for a price of 3000 euro or 8 cent/kWh. Perhaps I’ll have to replace an inverter for 400,- A kWh from the grid costs 23 cent. Shining business.

    In a couple of years, 100% feed-in tariffs will be abolished, but will be compensated by radical lower panel prices as compared to 2015 (more than halved). A 300 Watt panel costs slightly more than 100 euro these days. Additionally, battery prices are coming down fast. By 2025, a battery will cost a few hundred for 5 kWh storage.

  11. DT on Tue, 4th May 2021 5:41 am 

    ” Extrapolating that figure, means a payback-time of 8.5 years. After that I’ll have free electricity for the rest of my life.” Right Cloggie the only problem is that none of the components will last forever. Your inverter,panels,charging regulator all have an expiration date that will bring you back to square one upon the inevitable replacement date every 10 to 15 years.

  12. Cloggie on Tue, 4th May 2021 9:36 am 

    “Right Cloggie the only problem is that none of the components will last forever.”

    Neither do you, although I don’t consider that a problem either.

    What’s your point?

    Ah wait, you are going to claim again, that since the current batch of solar gear was produced mostly with fossil fuel, it will need to be produced this way for all eternity. Because, you see, these kWh’s coming out of solar panels are just fake and can’t be used for anything and certainly not for the production of new solar panels.

    Sigh.

    DT, old chap, you can’t be helped.

  13. DT on Tue, 4th May 2021 11:08 am 

    ” Because, you see, these kWh’s coming out of solar panels are just fake and can’t be used for anything and certainly not for the production of new solar panels.”
    No Cloggie my friend it is all about the life time EROEI of so called alt energy schemes that can never replace what FF’s do for industrial civ. I.E. Produce enough power to do the work you expect and have surplus power to replicate the devices on their own with no FF inputs.

  14. imma muzz lovah and i can not lie on Tue, 4th May 2021 12:40 pm 

    supertards please love supremacist muzz more

    doesn’t make u happy knowing many infants are doing just grate having not a single killshot out of over 30

    “the science”

    i hope (((supertard))) alice won’t take the killshot because “science”

    i hope supertard rok wont take the killshot

  15. rockman on Tue, 4th May 2021 3:21 pm 

    Cloggie – Not bad. But I’ve have always used 5 years payback as a choke point. Yes, somewhat arbitrary but you have to pick something. Taking money out of my savings/investments cost more then just those $’s = lost earnings.

    Mak – Not trying to one up you but If I read your numbers correctly sounds like you need more insulation. For 2000 I averaged about $70/month for 2400 sq ft townhome. But engineer I bought it from did super insulation job. Used 7840 kWh for the year with a lot of AC during the summer: wife is a Yankee and can’t handle too much heat.

    Cloggie – How long to payout your system at $70/month residential e- cost? Houston gets cold and hot…but typically not to extremes either way.

  16. makati1 on Tue, 4th May 2021 4:44 pm 

    Rockman, Hard to insulate CMU walls, and concrete roof and floors. As I said, A/C is a luxury, not a necessity here. We have the option to just open the windows and enjoy the sea breeze if we want. Yes, we get 90F+ days with high humidity in the dry months but it drops to the 70’s at night. I did not mention two refrigerators in use and some construction going on with electric welding and tools. That will soon end and the electric bill will go down.

    The house is designed to be comfortable without any electric at all, if that is the future. Gravity fed water, lots of operable windows, low maintenance, etc. And an electric bill that drops about 30% in the wet(cool)season. I prefer the weather and costs here to the freezing & hot Pennsylvania weather. At least I cannot freeze to death here. ^_^

  17. makati1 on Tue, 4th May 2021 4:48 pm 

    P.S. I am a Yankee from PA and don’t like the heat and humidity either. I’ll have A/C as long as possible. Even if I have to give up my an Mig Lite. ^_^

  18. mma muzz lovah and i can not lie on Tue, 4th May 2021 5:59 pm 

    i pray to (((supremtard))) supertard rok wont take the killshot
    i pray to (((supremtard))) (((supertard))) alice wont take the killshot
    i study kuby immunology

    supertards Please be at ease among feinds we all supremacist muzzie lovers here

  19. imma muz lovah and i cannot lie on Tue, 4th May 2021 11:21 pm 

    “We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life.”

    said dropout-19 who wants eveyone to be chipped and tracked.

    plese be at ease among friends we’re all supremacist muzz lovers here

  20. Cloggie on Wed, 5th May 2021 2:28 am 

    “Cloggie – How long to payout your system at $70/month residential e- cost? Houston gets cold and hot…but typically not to extremes either way.”

    You have 240 m2 living space, I have, very European, merely 100 m2. The Netherlands is very temperate, it hardly ever freezes here and no need for terrible energy wasting airco’s. And isolation is extremely effective here, it’s called terraced housing.lol:

    https://tinyurl.com/r8j3kdh6

    1 in 4 households in the Netherlands are like this, including mine.

    As I said, I use 1600 kWh/year electricity, central heating with natural gas, about 1100 m3/year or 1100 x 79 cent = 869,- euro/year

    Electricity grid prices 23 cent x 1600 = 368,- euro

    So my energy cost if taken from the grid would be 869 + 368 = 1237,-/year or 103,- euro/month.

    But since I have solar panels, which deliver electricity at 8 cent, provided I become 90 years old, before I stop smoking forever, my yearly bill is 869 + 8*1600 = 869 + 128 = 997 euro/year or 83,- euro/month total energy cost.

    But the Netherlands is engaged in a renewable energy transition, meaning we have to abandon natural gas (before it abandons us), so my natural gas connection will be replaced by either more electricity to power an electric heat-pump, or we’ll get collective heating called “stadsverwarming” (district heating), from a mixture of a big central heatpump in combination with seasonal solar heating.

    Here a project in Denmark, with solar thermal heat seasonal storage:

    https://deepresource.wordpress.com/2020/12/16/district-heating-with-seasonal-storage-in-vojens-denmark/

    We have several of those in the Netherlands, albeit on a smaller scale.

    Here is a good example of a project nearby where I live, with energy neutral homes:

    https://deepresource.wordpress.com/2021/03/24/affordable-sustainable-living-in-aalst-netherlands/

    The panels on the roof function both as photo-voltaic panels, as well as heat exchangers for the heat-pump cold side (PVT). The insulation is extremely good. It has to be, since it takes 24 hours to get the place warm. Not very comfortable, but it works. Bye-bye fossil fuel.

    Not sure if this answers your question.

  21. Cloggie on Wed, 5th May 2021 2:43 am 

    “1 in 4 households in the Netherlands are like this, including mine.”

    Should be: “4 in 10 households”…containing 60% population. UK same story. Both UK and Holland are extremely densely populated countries.

    20% lives in an apartment.
    16% in “vrijstaand huis” “freestanding/detached house”)
    4% in “twee-onder-een-kap” (two houses under one roof)

  22. Cloggie on Wed, 5th May 2021 3:18 am 

    Watch it, Rockman! More “f* Europeans” eating into your energy business, right in front of your doorstep!

    https://deepresource.wordpress.com/2021/05/05/orsted-now-in-solar-and-storage-too/

    “Ørsted Now in Solar and Storage Too”

    You could become a European colony again:

    https://car.utsa.edu/CARResearch/BuildingSpanishColonialTexas.html

    Que?

  23. Biden's hairplug on Wed, 5th May 2021 8:28 am 

    Rockman, If I may be honest for once, I dont have any kind of solar power in my home. I dont even own a home. I live on public assistance, or what we call ‘the dole’ over here. Its a European thing, dont worry about it. While it does not pay much, the state pays for my internet and I am here to tell you, with this new-fangled internets, you can convince almost anyone of anything. Trust me on this.

    Like you Rockman. You are just as easy to put one over on as any other American I’ve ever met. So dont feel too bad, it is not as if you are alone in this regard.

    Anyways, I going to keep on pretending I am some kind of ‘European’ science and engineering czar, or, something, and you can keep on pretending you have more than 3 or 4 brain cells working together.

    Oh lord, how I miss my dear friend Davy. I pray for his soul every day. None of you schlemiels could a candle to that dear sweet hunk of Missouri manliness.

  24. imma muzz lovah and i can not lie on Wed, 5th May 2021 12:17 pm 

    supertards pls change ur undies every 5 days
    i’d rather supertard rok and (((supertard))) alice change their undies than takin’ the killshot.

    please feel at ease among friends we r all supremacist muzzies lovers here

  25. DT on Thu, 6th May 2021 3:11 pm 

    “Ørsted Now in Solar and Storage Too”

    Cloggie in a few years time all of those solar panels and battery array’s will need to be replaced, lets say in the twenty year range. How is all of that system going to be decommissioned and replaced at the same time? What landfill is set up to take all of those unrecyclable devices?

  26. Cloggie on Fri, 7th May 2021 9:40 am 

    Living in a zero energy home or office. No external heating or cooling, but always a guaranteed temperature of 22-26 C (72-79 F):

    https://deepresource.wordpress.com/2021/05/07/2226-heating-with-light-humans-and-devices-only/

    “2226 – Heating with Light, Humans and Devices Only”

    Heating without fossil fuel or electricity or heating or cooling devices. 100% passive heating.

  27. makati1 on Fri, 7th May 2021 4:37 pm 

    A “zero energy home” is called a cave in most circles. Humans have been living there for a hundred thousand years or more. Anything else takes gigantic amounts of energy to build and maintain.

    For instance: One cubic meter of concrete takes about one barrel of oil to exit. and lets not get into the energy to make any metal stuff like steel or aluminum. And then there is the energy that goes into the workers who build, and their energy use, and the machines/tools, and on and on. Do the math Cloggie. No home is ZERO energy. It take energy just to maintain it. Dream on…

  28. makati1 on Fri, 7th May 2021 4:40 pm 

    “One cubic meter of concrete takes about one barrel of oil to EXIST.”

    Spell check didn’t catch that and there is no revision option on this cheap site. Sigh!

  29. Cloggie on Sat, 8th May 2021 2:56 am 

    “A “zero energy home” is called a cave in most circles.”

    Have you even seen the video? Have you understood the message? This is a building that has no heating or air conditioning in it whatsoever and still can guarantee pleasant temperatures, all year around. It doesn’t need oil, gas, coal or electricity to remain warm.

    “Anything else takes gigantic amounts of energy to build and maintain.”

    What’s your point? Once built, these buildings last at least a century (or 2-3). Are you suggesting we will be completely out of energy in the future? We won’t, not in a long shot. Building walls 76 cm thick (with empty spaces within) costs far less energy, if smeared out over 1-3 centuries, where you won’t need energy whatsoever to keep these buildings warm.

    And you don’t need fossil fuel to obtain cement and concrete.

    https://www.worldgbc.org/news-media/heidelbergcement-leading-way-carbon-neutrality

    But what do you care; anything to keep your gloating global collapse view alive (minus China of course, that mysteriously will be immune).

  30. Cloggie on Sun, 9th May 2021 3:51 am 

    The Netherlands, record gasoline prices of 1.90 euro/liter:

    https://www.ed.nl/auto/waarom-de-benzineprijs-blijft-stijgen-het-wordt-nog-erger~ae2435c1/

    Will soon top 2 euro or 8 euro / $10 per gallon, as the economy recovers from Covid and everybody starts driving and flying again.

    This will only encourage more people to buy e-vehicles, where you can drive 10 km on a kWh, which only costs 23 cents, instead of 150 cents with gasoline. Note that gasoline price has 50% taxes. Expect the government to look for alternative sources of income, like higher electricity prices.

  31. Fred on Sun, 9th May 2021 5:44 am 

    Lots of talk about the cheapest way to maintain a high energy, high energy consumption life style. Is driving an EV to go skiing instead of a ICE car sustainable? Never looked at all the issues associated with lithium mining?

    When can we start talking about how we are going to significantly reduce our consumption of virtually everything so that there’s still a planet for young folks to live on?

    For those trying to avoid thinking about things that matter by saying “that’s all just doom and gloom”, please engage the brain, take a few moment to think and do a reality check.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *