Friday, January 18, 2019

Energy transition

I do not write very often outside the hamradio topic. But this time I do since the energy transition hype in my country worries me.

Ever heard about neodymium, lanthanum, dysprosium, cobalt, manganese, lithium and cerium? Probabely you heard about lithium like in Li-Ion batteries? But the other materials? They are used in electrical cars like the Tesla, Toyota Prius, Nissan Leaf and many others. The dutch government wants to forbid sales of diesel and petrol cars in 2030. They suggest electrical cars for the future. You see old wise men from national drivers organisations and even older wise men from the government on TV take a serious face and declare this is the future. We should all drive electric...

The Netherlands has one of the biggest natural gas fields in the world. When it was just discovered they thought it would last forever, we would have a cheap source of energy for a million years. But now half a century later it is evident the earth surroundings of that field are moving because the natural pressure of the gas supporting that earth is getting lower. There is a large amount of subsidence which causes earthquakes here in the northern part of the country. Those earthquakes cause a lot of damage to peoples houses. So the government decided we should look for another energy source to warm our houses and for cooking our meals. Guess what they come up with.....electricity.

At the same time the Netherlands agreed that they should make cleaner energy by closing down energy plants that burn coal and invest in wind energy. Those windturbines have to be paid for, guess what.....extra taxes on the electricity and gas price. Yes, they promised....electricity would get cheaper and gas would be more expensive. But I don't believe this. I think electricity will get more expensive, not as expensive as gas but the price will rise. Because clean energy is expensive the way it is made, you have to invest and after the investment comes maintenance. Besides that wind and sun energy is not that reliable compared to a gas or coal driven power plant. Strange isn't it? Last year I thought electricity would get dirt cheap since I see solar panels on almost every house these days, all small power sources that make a big one. There are people that produce more energy as they need with solar panels. So, were is all this left over "free" energy? But it seems it doesn't work like this. As a side effect it the dutch power grid seems to be unable to handle all this extra "free" electricity, cables and fuse cabinets are just too small.

And now my worries...
Have the old wise men thought about how much of the needed special materials is left? Did you know most of those resources are from China? Some of these resources can only be found in Africa. And did you know that if the electrical car is build like we build it now those resources will not be there within 15 years. There you 2030 there are a pile of electrical cars, but no batteries to power them. But that's not all. How long will a electrical car drive? What is the lifetime of the battery and motor? What will happen with the batteries? How many people will die because of the environmental pollution making and dumping the batteries? I'm thinking about this and many people do. The government seems not to be thinking about this they only need the comply with the political agreements they made. They need the Netherlands to be the cleanest place on earth, no matter what.

Cleaner energy to warm your house, to cook your meals to power whatever you want to power. How long lasts a windturbine? 10 years? 20 years? In the last 20 years I've seen windturbines come and go. 20 years ago the first ones were about 50m height I think. The windturbines that are build in this area now are over 200m height. In theory they will produce more energy, if there is wind. But will they produce that much energy to make it a profit? I doubt it and there are some investigations done that show windturbines only produce energy because we pay for it and not because it is free energy.  Solar panels, oh yes, it is clean energy you think? Will there be enough silicium, borium, fosfor, germanium to make these things for a long time? And what to think of the environmental pollution making solar panels. Yes, we in the Netherlands will have profit. We can breathe, we have clean they think.

....and at the end, the old wise men, they tell us we should invest in clean energy. In insulating our houses, buy solarpanels, heatpumps (on electricity), wind energy and whatsoever. We should all buy a electrical car before 2030... the old wise men probabely have money to do such things but can't imagine that ordinary people have not!

If only there was a environmental friendly and cheap power source for everyone....let me dream...

Time will tell....


  1. Een kritische website:

  2. Green sounds great in theory, but in reality it is nothing more than one BIG con!

    73 Steve

  3. Oh my God! You are sounding like me now! Well, for sure, electricity prices have indeed climbed in the UK following our own move to fund wind and solar. I think a lot of the resource problems you mention may well be resolved through better recycling of materials. Actually, I have no idea how an used solar panel might be recycled, or even whether it can be recycled; they are so recent that few will have found it necessary to dispose of them.

    But you are right. In the end, all our economic activity comes down, in the end, to digging a hole somewhere. But you can only do that for so long. Attention is turning to the potentially enormous financial gains to be made from asteroid mining, and so the motivation is there for this to actually happen (several companies are already beginning to get ready for it).

    You don't mention hydrogen. That is a very good alternative, which could be a closed cycle, with nothing much other than water as a by-product. It seems to me that the only reason hydrogen is almost never discussed in the media is that the oil and gas lobby have managed to suppress coverage of it somehow.

    On the plus side, Hitachi abandoned plans to build a new nuclear plant on Anglesey this week, which I very much welcome. Nobody has a plan for the waste from the previous 60 years of nuclear operation, and the cost of managing it for centuries is, if not infinite, then unknown but certainly extremely high.

    1. Thanks for your comment John. Regarding need electricity to make it, there you go. But if there is a way to make a powersource for instance with a harmless chemiscal reaction? That could be a solution. For years there is a rumour there already is a alternative power source only the oil and gaslobby will not allow it to be on the worldwide market. As always money and political power is involved. I guess in the end we are doomed....Except if human kind finally finds a way to travel back into time so we can change things. 73, Bas


Thanks for your comment. Bedankt voor je reactie. 73, Bas