While the black surfaces of solar panels absorb most of the sunlight that reaches them, only a fraction (around 15%) of that incoming energy gets converted to electricity. The rest is returned to the environment as heat. The panels are usually much darker than the ground they cover, so a vast expanse of solar cells will absorb a lot of additional energy and emit it as heat, affecting the climate.
If these effects were only local, they might not matter in a sparsely populated and barren desert. But the scale of the installations that would be needed to make a dent in the world’s fossil energy demand would be vast, covering thousands of square kilometers. Heat re-emitted from an area this size will be redistributed by the flow of air in the atmosphere, having regional and even global effects on the climate. […]
Covering 20% of the Sahara with solar farms raises local temperatures in the desert by 1.5°C according to our model. At 50% coverage, the temperature increase is 2.5°C. This warming is eventually spread around the globe by the atmosphere and ocean movement, raising the world’s average temperature by 0.16°C for 20% coverage, and 0.39°C for 50% coverage. The global temperature shift is not uniform though – the polar regions would warm more than the tropics, increasing sea ice loss in the Arctic. This could further accelerate warming, as melting sea ice exposes dark water which absorbs much more solar energy.
Update — my friend contacted me and their power’s been restored, they’ve found more supplies and are better prepared should it go down again.
A friend in northwest San Antonio, TX (close to Helotes) posted this morning — there’s no wood left to purchase in the city. I know this is a long shot, but have we any readers there who might know someone who can get them some firewood?
Fell said regional natural gas and electricity prices in Oklahoma and Texas broke U.S. records over the weekend.
On Friday, Oklahoma gas transmission prices averaged US$350 per million British thermal units and Fell said one trade went as high as US$600 per mmBtu. In parts of the Texas panhandle and elsewhere, prices jumped to US$200, “all of which individually would have been new records,” Fell said, noting the previous record was US$160.
On Monday, natural gas for physical delivery in the U.S. was trading for as much as US$500 per mmBtu as demand for the heating and power plant fuel soared. Spot gas has been trading for hundreds of dollars across the central U.S. since Thursday with a surge in heating demand triggering widespread blackouts and sending electricity prices soaring. The fuel normally trades in the region for less than US$3 per mmBtu.
Similarly, electricity prices in Texas surged to US$6,000 per megawatt hour on Monday, which Fell said is “100 times the normal price.”
More details here. I have friends in Texas currently in blackout, dealing with challenges and conditions they have no experience with. We’ve been helping with what advice we can offer. Fifteen years ago, Al Gore, in his Oscar-winning film “An Inconvenient Truth” predicted “Within the decade, there will be no more snows of Kilimanjaro. We all know how ridiculous that sounds now (well, everyone but John Kerry and Joe Biden and an endless stream of miseducated social justice warriors who have never read, nor heard of, Bjorn Lomborg.)”
If you remained in Alberta during the first major cold snap of the year and are alive to read this article, you owe your continued existence to fossil fuels; coal, oil and natural gas.
Using Red Deer as an example, from January 12 to 18 the average daytime high was -25.9oC and the nighttime low -34.7oC. It was a bit warmer in the south and colder in the north, but high/low ranges for the entire province were similar.
Without heat from carbon-based plants and animals – either long dead in the form of coal, oil or gas or not yet fossilized wood or grass – we’d all have frozen to death.
Police are investigating the fatal conflagration of a Tesla Model X that killed its owner and injured two others in an underground parking garage in Seoul.
The Model X crashed into the wall of the parking garage of an apartment complex in Yongsan District, central Seoul, then caught fire, on Wednesday. This led to the burning death of the car’s owner, who was in the passenger seat.
The driver, who escaped with injuries, claimed “the car suddenly got out of control,” raising the possibility of a sudden unintended acceleration as the cause of the accident, according to police.
It is unusual for a car slowly winding its way through a parking garage to suddenly smash into a wall and result in the death of a passenger. The police will ask the National Forensic Service to try to determine the cause of the accident.
At this moment 94.8% of Alberta's electricity is being produced by fossil fuels. Wind is at 0.8% of capacity and producing 0.2% of total generation, while solar is at 0.0% of capacity and producing 0.000% of total generation. At the same time we are importing 403 MW or 3.9% pic.twitter.com/oiKMvzIOjt
“Japan would run out of electricity in the summer if all cars were running on electric power. The infrastructure needed to support a fleet consisting entirely of EVs would cost Japan between ¥14 trillion and ¥37 trillion, the equivalent of $135 billion to $358 billion, he said.
“When politicians are out there saying, ‘Let’s get rid of all cars using gasoline,’ do they understand this?” Mr. Toyoda said Thursday at a year-end news conference in his capacity as chairman of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association.”
We have the worst governing class in planetary history.
The latest auto survey from Consumer Reports shows several newer electric cars to be beset with problems, contradicting the conventional wisdom that EVs with their simpler powertrains should have fewer issues than gasoline- or diesel-powered cars. The CR reader survey harvested data on some 329,000 vehicles and specifically calls out the Audi E-Tron, the Kia Niro EV, and the Tesla Model Y.
The E-Tron is dinged for “drive-system electrical failures along with other power-equipment issues.” The Niro EV’s problems reportedly included electric-motor bearing failure. The Tesla suffers a panoply of build-quality issues include misaligned body panels and poor paint quality. Both Audi and Kia claimed to be aware of the issues. For now, though, CR has removed the E-Tron and the Niro EV from its Recommended list (which is based on vehicle test results as well as reliability). The Model Y was not on the Recommended list.
In this photo provided by the Corvallis Police Department, emergency personnel pick up batteries at the scene where a man crashed a Tesla while going about 100 mph, destroying the vehicle, a power pole and starting a fire when some of the hundreds of batteries from the vehicle broke windows and landed in residences in Corvallis, Ore., on Tuesday