As laid out by our senile, decrepit, corrupt old pervert of a Pretend pResident.
Precisely so. After all, it’s the only thing the rat-bastard has ever said that was actually true.
Yes, we’re going to make energy more expensive.
That’s Joe Biden’s closing message for 2022. “We’re going to be shutting these [coal] plants down all across America and having wind and solar,” Biden told a crowd in deep blue California on Friday, arguing that it was “cheaper” to generate electricity from wind and solar.
I’ve noted this before more than once here, but it bears revisiting now and again: the technology of the distant, long-dead past can never be adequate to meet the energy demands of modern industrialized economies.
The earliest-known references to windmills are to a Persian millwright in AD 644 and to windmills in Seistan, Persia, in AD 915. These windmills are of the horizontal-mill type, with sails radiating from a vertical axis standing in a fixed building, which has openings for the inlet and outlet of the wind diametrically opposite to each other. Each mill drives a single pair of stones directly, without the use of gears, and the design is derived from the earliest water mills. Persian millwrights, taken prisoner by the forces of Genghis Khan, were sent to China to instruct in the building of windmills; their use for irrigation there has lasted ever since.
The vertical windmill, with sails on a horizontal axis, derives directly from the Roman water mill with its right-angle drive to the stones through a single pair of gears. The earliest form of vertical mill is known as the post mill. It has a boxlike body containing the gearing, millstones, and machinery and carrying the sails. It is mounted on a well-supported wooden post socketed into a horizontal beam on the level of the second floor of the mill body. On this it can be turned so that the sails can be faced into the wind.
The next development was to place the stones and gearing in a fixed tower. This has a movable top, or cap, which carries the sails and can be turned around on a track, or curb, on top of the tower. The earliest-known illustration of a tower mill is dated about 1420. Both post and tower mills were to be found throughout Europe and were also built by settlers in America.
To work efficiently, the sails of a windmill must face squarely into the wind, and in the early mills the turning of the post-mill body, or the tower-mill cap, was done by hand by means of a long tailpole stretching down to the ground. In 1745 Edmund Lee in England invented the automatic fantail. This consists of a set of five to eight smaller vanes mounted on the tailpole or the ladder of a post mill at right angles to the sails and connected by gearing to wheels running on a track around the mill. When the wind veers it strikes the sides of the vanes, turns them and hence the track wheels also, which turn the mill body until the sails are again square into the wind. The fantail may also be fitted to the caps of tower mills, driving down to a geared rack on the curb.
Interesting enough as a historical study, no doubt, but there’s a reason windmills were in the main abandoned: because, as civilization progressed and technological advances were achieved one after another, something much better came along to replace them. As, y’know, tends to happen over time. As for solar panels, they are by no means anything new either.
It all began with Edmond Becquerel, a young physicist working in France, who in 1839 observed and discovered the photovoltaic effect— a process that produces a voltage or electric current when exposed to light or radiant energy. A few decades later, French mathematician Augustin Mouchot was inspired by the physicist’s work. He began registering patents for solar-powered engines in the 1860s. From France to the U.S., inventors were inspired by the patents of the mathematician and filed for patents on solar-powered devices as early as 1888.
Take a light step back to 1883 when New York inventor Charles Fritts created the first solar cell by coating selenium with a thin layer of gold. Fritts reported that the selenium module produced a current “that is continuous, constant, and of considerable force.” This cell achieved an energy conversion rate of 1 to 2 percent. Most modern solar cells work at an efficiency of 15 to 20 percent. So, Fritts created what was a low impact solar cell, but still, it was the beginning of photovoltaic solar panel innovation in America. Named after Italian physicist, chemist and pioneer of electricity and power, Alessandro Volta, photovoltaic is the more technical term for turning light energy into electricity, and used interchangeably with the term photoelectric.
…That same year (1888), a Russian scientist by the name of Aleksandr Stoletov created the first solar cell based on the photoelectric effect, which is when light falls on a material and electrons are released. This effect was first observed by a German physicist, Heinrich Hertz. In his research, Hertz discovered that more power was created by ultraviolet light than visible light. Today, solar cells use the photoelectric effect to convert sunlight into power. In 1894, American inventor Melvin Severy received patents 527,377 for an “Apparatus for mounting and operating thermopiles” and 527,379 for an “Apparatus for generating electricity by solar heat.” Both patents were essentially early solar cells based on the discovery of the photoelectric effect. The first generated “electricity by the action of solar heat upon a thermo-pile” and could produce a constant electric current during the daily and annual movements of the sun, which alleviated anyone from having to move the thermopile according to the sun’s movements. Severy’s second patent from 1889 was also meant for using the sun’s thermal energy to produce electricity for heat, light and power. The “thermos piles,” or solar cells as we call them today, were mounted on a standard to allow them to be controlled in the vertical direction as well as on a turntable, which enabled them to move in a horizontal plane. “By the combination of these two movements, the face of the pile can be maintained opposite the sun all times of the day and all seasons of the year,” reads the patent.
Uh huh…on each and every day the sun is shining, which is nothing like every day, not anywhere in the entire world. Then we get into the storage end of the solar-power equation, ie, batteries. Which, despite some genuine improvement over recent years, is a whole ‘nother kettle of expensive, unreliable, not-ready-for-prime-time fish, other than on a very small, private-home scale.
Ironic, is it not, that the very ones who have for so long insufferably claimed to have a corner on plumping for “new ideas” and “fresh concepts” and “progress”—even going so far, in their boundless hubris, as to misnomer themselves “Progressives”—are the selfsame ones who today insist that “the way of the Future” is to regress to the dim and distant past. Back to the Harsanyi piece for the sad, sorry denouement.
In California, which not only leads the nation in “clean energy” production but is leading the rest of us into rolling blackouts, residents pay 24.62 cents per kilowatt-hour for energy, around double the national average. There are only three other states where residents fork 20 or more cents over, the isolated Hawaii and Alaska and the frack-banning New York. The price of a gallon of gas in California is around two dollars over the national average, at $5.458. In Texas, it’s $3.173.
The president also forgot to mention that affordable natural gas, propelled by technological efficiencies like fracking, is as much a reason for the struggles of coal.
After West Virginia’s Joe Manchin groused about Biden’s denigration of his state’s top industry , the White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, “walked back” the comments, contending that the president’s “remarks yesterday have been twisted to suggest a meaning that was not intended; he regrets it if anyone hearing these remarks took offense.”
How they were distorted, she did not say. The statement stresses that the president understands that “the men and women of coal country built this nation” but that, yes, we must shut down the coal industry — as well as the oil and gas production. Biden is sorry that you’re offended. “Our goal as a nation is to combat climate change and increase our energy security by producing clean and efficient American energy,” the statement falsely goes on to say. Wind and solar, both victims to vagaries of the weather, aren’t, by any definition, “efficient.”
The kerfuffle, as with most debates over gas and oil, is confusing. The administration’s stated goal — one of the major policy planks of the Democratic Party — is to deliberately, through mandates or bans or taxes or contrived “markets,” make fossil fuels prohibitively expensive to force a “transition.” Biden’s Plan for a Clean Energy Revolution and Environmental Justice promises that a 100 percent clean energy economy and net-zero emissions will exist no later than 2050. California has banned new gas-powered cars by 2035. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal, supported by virtually every Democratic Party presidential candidate last time around, is far more extreme.
None of these climate plans can be implemented without the effective nationalization of the energy sector and the banning of fossil fuels. Solar, after decades of mandates and subsidies and cronyism, accounts for around 3 percent of the national portfolio. Both wind and solar need to be propped up by fossil fuel generation. In anything resembling a functioning market, “clean energy” loses, not only to oil, gas, and coal, but also to nuclear power.
Well, they need to be propped up by sustainable, plentiful fossil fuels if one assumes that the shitlib goal is to provide energy sufficient to heat and cool American homes, keep American fridges and freezers stocked and the sustenance within them unspoiled, invigorate our economy, and just generally keep Western Civ moving forward efficiently and affordably. Unfortunately for us all, there is no discernible sign to date that any such thing is their actual goal. Quite the opposite, in fact.