The physics and economics of energy combined with scale realities make it clear that there is no possibility of anything resembling a radically “new energy economy” in the foreseeable future.
The math behind “The New Energy Economy: An Exercise in Magical Thinking”
Week - Mayor - Governor - Policymaker - Pundit
A week doesn’t pass without a mayor, governor, policymaker or pundit joining the rush to demand, or predict, an energy future that is entirely based on wind/solar and batteries, freed from the “burden” of the hydrocarbons that have fueled societies for centuries. Regardless of one’s opinion about whether, or why, an energy “transformation” is called for, the physics and economics of energy combined with scale realities make it clear that there is no possibility of anything resembling a radically “new energy economy” in the foreseeable future. Bill Gates has said that when it comes to understanding energy realities “we need to bring math to the problem.”
He’s right. So, in my recent Manhattan Institute report, “The New Energy Economy: An Exercise in Magical Thinking,” I did just that.
Hydrocarbons - % - World - Energy - Form
1. Hydrocarbons supply over 80% of world energy: If all that were in the form of oil, the barrels would line up from Washington, D.C., to Los Angeles, and that entire line would grow by the height of the Washington Monument every week.
2. The small two percentage-point decline in the hydrocarbon share of world energy use entailed over $2 trillion in cumulative global spending on alternatives over that period; solar and wind today supply less than 2% of the global energy.
World - People - Energy - Use - One-third
3. When the world’s four billion poor people increase energy use to just one-third of Europe’s per capita level, global demand rises by an amount equal to twice America’s total consumption.
4. A 100x growth in the number of electric vehicles to 400 million on the roads by 2040 would displace 5% of global oil...
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