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TMFPostOfTheDay (< 20)

Shrimp on the Barbee



June 24, 2014 – Comments (1)

Board: Macro Economics

Author: qazulight

[Ed's Note: There are some issues with the grid calculations, corrected later in the thread. Still, a good read.]

After Hurricane Rita, the power was out for 2 to 6 weeks. The storm blew in on Friday night. By Sunday evening people were trickling back into the area. By Monday morning it was apparent to anyone in the area, there would be no electricity for a long, long time. Everyone who had freezers started emptying them, the treasures stored up for celebrations were put on the barbeque, cooking inside was not going to happen, it was too hot, and there was no electricity, everything got cooked on the grill.

For a couple of days, we ate like kings, grilled shrimp, grilled steaks, homemade pork and venison sausage, and deep fried fish. If it was frozen, and it could be cooked, it was cooked. The grills showed up at the relief centers, they stayed fired up from morning till dark. No one went hungry, the food had to go.

Then what wasn't cooked, ruined. For the rest of the time, it was MRE's, cold cut sandwiches and cookies and crackers.

The fracking for oil has left us with a glut of oil, but, this glut is not a 100 year glut, it will go away, even if the oil sands in Canada have a 100 year life time, they will have to make up for the declines in other places. Soon, we will be paying a lot more for gasoline and diesel fuel.

At the same time, the cost and capabilities of batteries are dramatically increasing, we are reaching a tipping point. When we do, gasoline powered cars will go away, like CRT monitors, and it will be quick. My prediction is that we will reach this tipping point at 11 am on May 22 in 2019. Ok, I don't really know, but I think we will see significant battery advances on the market by 2018 and we will see significant pressures on the price of motor fuels by 2020.

On the other hand....

The best I can tell from my searches on the web, the United States currently produces about 4 billion kilowatt hours of electricity per year. From a couple of searches, the U.S drives about 3 trillion miles per year. If everyone drove a Tesla, each mile driven would take about 250 watt hours of electricity. This would mean that if everyone drove a Tesla the U.S. would consume 750 trillion watt hours of electricity per year for transportation.

Getting the units together, 750 trillion watt hours works out to 750 billion kilowatt hours. If only 2/3s of the fleet was converted to electric cars, the electrical draw would be 500 billion kilowatt hours, or about 125 times the amount of electricity currently produced.

I am watching the discussions about energy production. Until I sat down and ran the numbers I had a queasy feeling that wind power and solar would not be enough. Now I know.

Renewable energy as we now see it, will not meet our power needs, ever.

This means that the gird is not going away, power plants are not going away and 12 cent a kilowatt electricity is definitely going away. In other words, every single power generation source being produced today is a good investment. All of them, nuclear, wind, solar, hydroelectric, mice on wheel, all of them.

If I am wrong, by a factor of 10, we still need to increase our electrical generation by 400 percent in the next 10 years.


1 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On June 24, 2014 at 3:09 PM, qazulight (< 20) wrote:

I made a math error calculating current electrical energy production by a factor of 1000. Instead of needing 125 times the electricity we now produce, we will need 12.5 percent more. However these are very wide estimates that are probably low. (I used current miles driven multiplied by the amount of electricity that a Tesla would need to drive those same miles to get the added electricity needed to power the automobiles.

 However, my original premise stands, we will be facing large increases in motor fuel prices and reduction in the cost of and size of battery electrical storage. 

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