In the tenet of write about what you know you really need to look into PHEV before advocating them.


To expand on what they wrote, the key element is that to get enough life out of that small battery you end up having to dial down energy density and your plug in battery ends up being nearly as big as the full BEV battery.

Finally in many countries the tax credit or other incentives for PHEVs have been dialed back due to seeing what actual behaviours with PHEVs are. A high proportion of them are never plugged in at all (to the degree that the cable is still in its plastic bag when handed back at the end of the lease), of those which are plugged in a high proportion are driven in such a way (not like a hypermiler) that the ICE motor kicks in all the time anyway. Actual emissions saved are very much lower than the theory.

Obviously BEVs tend to be driven much harder than the fuel economy cycles would suggest but if you run them on low carbon electricity who cares?

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Nice airtight rebuttal, bro. Link to an article on hybrid powertrains written 16 years ago.

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Correction to your last paragraph. This "President" doesn't "know" anything. He is a vegetable at best.

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Heard you on GW as well… one of the Brst Podcasts I have heard. You know what is what and speak the truth. Respect. Now an avid reader.

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Heard your podcast with Grant today, you have fabulous onsite. I also read James Dines and Grant Williams. Thank you for your excellent work.

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Wow. Nice to make your acquaintance Mr Doomberg, I too am here because of Mr Williams and his peerless podcast. Something that I've been studying recently is the impact of wind and solar on the capacity factor of all other grid elements, transmission infrastructure included (you've probably heard the demands for more transmission investment to allow more solar and wind to be brought on to the grid). It looks like the low capacity factor of solar and wind actually lowers the capacity factor of all other generators and large swathes of the transmission network. This drives cost increases in some interesting ways that are simply not understood in what passes for public discourse these days ("sun/wind good, coal/gas/nuclear bad").

After a few thousand hours of research & analysis and having the benefit of being a professional electrical engineer, I've come to the conclusion that solar and wind will have to be integrated into the grid in a way that will make their investors very unhappy in the years ahead. The current market structure that is common in North America, UK and Australia was simply not developed with intermittent supply in mind and trying to solve market problems with more market (stolen shamelessly from the great Meredith Angwin) is just adding financial costs without improving reliability or investment efficiency. Baseload-oriented electricity supply is a fundamentally different system architecture from intermittent+storage+fast start dispatchable, not just a different source of electrons. It is a system architecture that bakes in low utilisation and high marginal cost of supply.

Love your work Mr Doomberg, can't wait for the next piece.

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Hello Doomberg.

I'm here as a consequence of Grant Williams Podcast. I'm instantly curious and will be reading as much of this stack as I can.

On energy discussions ( renewable energy is the most dominant interest for me), I'll always want to mention Dr Nate Lewis of Caltech. His "Powering the Planet" discussions are haunting food for thought and policy.

Dr Lewis has been kind enough to answer emails for me in the past. If I get any interest on what we spoke about, I'll communicate it. (it's depressing BTW)

Dr Lewis's Lectures page http://nsl.caltech.edu/home/people/nathan-s-lewis/lectures/

The most recent Powering the Planet lecture https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f1sYmBX7rNA


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Bridgewater had a nice research piece on the dynamics of the oil market recently, which you might appreciate: https://www.bridgewater.com/what-will-the-global-push-to-net-zero-mean-for-oil

TL;DR: They predict oil will rise slightly in price. If it goes up too much, then additional capacity comes online which lowers the price. OPEC has about 5-10% spare capacity, US Shale producers can spin up in roughly a year meaning price shocks higher are unlikely. They're also against hte best interests of hte players involved who don't want to give incentives for research and investment into alternatives.

They talk about a taxation regime and the impact it could have on making oil more expensive ot consumers. That might spur additional investment into alternatives because rather than being a blip in price, market participants may view it as a sustained reality.

However, they point out as well that there is no suggestion that politically this will really happen. Furthermore, the countries flirting with such regulation are all rich. Yet most of the growth in demand (>50% of consumption) will come from emerging markets. The one possibility is that there is some technological breakthrough that can be deployed worldwide and undercuts oil (which can still be pumped by many countries at a much lower price and still be profitable).

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The benevolent dictator thought experiment is also handled entertainingly well by CGP Grey in his rules for rulers video, based on a book The Dictator's Handbook. It's simultaneously enlightening and depressing.


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How does one design a pork-free policy?

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I'm assuming chicken as a replacement.

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It seems that we are all guilty of being "scientifically ignorant poseurs", or maybe even deliberately blind to reality poseurs, if we think that a migration away from carbon and on to a new power base can happen without major economic sacrifices and a loss of a standard of living which such re-industrialization (around this new base/center) would necessarily require.

Firstly, the government spending (and ensuing "financial repression") such a program would entail would absolutely kill many mainstream classes of financial instruments (apart from certain industrial- and commodity-focused sectors that stand to benefit from it), thus canceling any retirement plans for tens of millions of Americans (i.e. good luck getting electorate support to anybody who will run on such a program)

Secondly, the said re-industrialization and the new levels of debt that the US will run up will require a considerable devaluation of the dollar, a contraction of the US military machine, and a strategic "pullout" from the rest of the world except LATAM and the Caribbean basin, leaving the entire Eastern Hemisphere to the currently dominant powers there (and the rest of the industrial powers in Europe/Asia/Pacific would thus either come to terms with the new stage of the "great power competition", or feel the urge to militarize).

One of many painful lessons learned during the Soviet Union's collapse was that, reforming a weakening and obsolete system can hasten its demise.

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As an accomplished Ph.D. physicist, I just must have some fun with this statement he made:

"If you claim to be serious about reducing our carbon intensity but you are opposed to nuclear power, you aren’t actually serious about reducing our carbon intensity – you are a scientifically ignorant poseur."

Firstly I admit my non-scientific ignorance, since "poseur" was not in my lexicon!

Secondly, why would anyone who has actually looked at the Science worry about carbon intensity, let alone be serious about it? [e.g., https://timellison.substack.com/p/more-scary-climate-stories].

Thirdly, as you point out, while the U.S. has done precisely 1 nuclear power plant in the last 25 years, 1 nuclear power plant equivalent [nppe] of solar PV is installed every 2 weeks (if you include solar thermal, it would be at least 1 nppe/week, and this field continues to grow by a factor of 2 about every two years. (see: https://timellison.substack.com/p/solar-energy-in-a-nutshell).

Next (I've stopped counting): have you calculated in how many years the earth's supply of uranium would be depleted if we powered ourselves completely with nuclear? (Roughly 10 years when I looked at it about 15 years ago -- not a really long-term solution!).

And, lastly, a lot of people sure brush under the rug nuclear problems such as Fukushima and Hanover [https://timellison.substack.com/p/this-is-interesting]. Nuclear power has, IMO, long been a fig leaf to cover over our nuclear weapons programs. As well as the problems associated with shutting down and storing ad-infinitum all the nuclear waste.

And, post-lastly, to be just a little bit crazy, a really inspiring vision might be to start talking about (someday-super-conducting) cables spanning the oceans, such that all these batteries would be necessary.

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There are millions of years of fuel in seawater, many thousands of years in regular mines, and many million more in thorium. There is no nuclear fuel problem.

The high level waste for one person is a single Coke can sized, easily disposed of object.

There is no safer fuel source than nuclear power. Look up deaths per TWh.

Wind and solar plus batteries or pumped hydro, etc is 10x dirtier than nuclear, more emissions, more concrete, more land, more wires, more breakdowns, more rebuilding, etc. In fact renewables are too dirty to power the planet.

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"Millions of years of fuel in seawater": you are obviously talking about Deuterium, an element that might be used in Fusion not Fission. For the past 60 years, fusion has always been 10 years in the future.


Show me a single Thorium reactor.

If we are going to talk about what COULD or MIGHT be possible, I'll stick with PV and Superconducting cables across the oceans.

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The MSR in the fifties was a working prototype.


China is ready to test one:


And there is a US company ready to produce if it receives orders.


There reactor is projected to use 50% of the fuel of a normal nuclear reactor and there plant is save because the pressure in the primary loop is 3 bar, the loop uses salt not water. Something goes wrong salt is released into the environment and it becomes solid.

The point is that we the West are again pissing away an opportunity to be leading, we will have again to catch up. By now we should now better, catch up against China is nearly impossible.

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Solar with planet surrounding cables can't even be built, nuclear has powered lots of places for many decades.

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"if you dig up an average crustal rock, it will have 20x more nuclear energy in it than a piece of pure coal of the same mass. "

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10 years supply, starting 15 years ago? Doesn't make you wonder about that projection?

From a Scientific American piece, they estimate something like 200 years.


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Yes, notice they said "230 years at today's rate" and I said, "if we powered ourselves completely with nuclear". Today nuclear provides about 10% of electrical power (but there is also thermal power, transportation power, and additional power needed in the future). I believe both these statements are in violent agreement!

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And, just to be wild and crazy, if you wanted to argue, you could say that the big addition of "thermal energy" could be mostly discounted because today we already have 400% efficient electrical powered heat pumps: https://timellison.substack.com/p/why-in-2020-do-people-still-heat.

But that also might be taking DATA out of context to make a story!

And, you know what? Whether I liked or didn't like the story, I'd feel duty-bound to challenge any scientific errors, probably in context or extrapolation.

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e.g., context and extrapolation: But even 500% efficient heat pump, this wouldn't be more than a 20% correction, so it doesn't challenge the statement "not really a long-term solution".

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And, on the other-other hand, I certainly agree with a lot that you say, e.g., PHEV's over BEV's (and CNG [compressed natural gas] cars might also make a lot of sense).

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Yes, more and more mining and more and more processes that all rely upon more and more fossil fuel use...

I am reminded of William Catton Jr.'s warning in Overshoot, to paraphrase: the more we attempt to compensate for our overload of the planet through technology that depends upon finite resources, the faster we drawdown those resources and the lower we force the natural environmental carrying capacity to make our eventual collapse of the species even more stupendous.

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" As Roger Pielke at Forbes has pointed out, the task is truly enormous – to replace fossil fuels by 2050 – i.e., two decades after the Climate Emergency deadline – requires that globally we deploy the equivalent of 3 nuclear power plants every two days or 1500 wind turbines over 300 square miles per day, ceaselessly. And the longer we leave it, the bigger the task becomes."

"the focus on electricity generation is essentially a displacement activity designed to avoid the mental distress that arises from understanding that what we face is not just a climate crisis, but an overshoot predicament in which economic and societal collapse is as likely to come from resource depletion and food shortages as it is from a warming planet."


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the new manhattan project already exists. https://formenergy.com/

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