Chapter One


A word before we begin

This book is not an argument against renewable energy.

It's an argument against a particular idea that many people believe about renewable energy, which doesn't seem to square with the facts:

The idea that renewables could actually power the entire nation – electricity, heating, transportation, industry, shipping, the works – and do it so well that
we won't need power plants that run on actual fuel.

Since our preferred source of clean energy is nuclear fuel, we framed our rebuttal by comparing an all-renewables grid with an all-nuclear grid.

Both, of course, are hypothetical scenarios, since neither grid will ever exist in its pure form. In the real world, and in the very real future, nuclear will be the best option for some scenarios, and renewables for others.

So just to be clear: we don't have a beef with renewables. Other than the claim that they can be scaled up to power the entire national grid.

You can't get there from here

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

In our view, the claim that the United States, much less the entire world, can be adequately powered by 100% renewable energy is extraordinary, indeed.

The claim that we can have an all-renewables grid with no backup from fueled power plants, and practically no energy storage, is even more extraordinary.

To confirm or dispel our doubts, we ran the numbers on the industry's most highly regarded proposal, the Solutions Project's 50-State Roadmap.1

Short answer: It's not a solution. Long answer follows.

The Solutions Project is an environmental group with a bold vision to power the world with 100% renewable energy, through an aggressive buildout of WWS systems (wind, water, and sunlight) and a simultaneous phase-out of fossil and nuclear power.

The public face of the project is professor Mark Z. Jacobson, PhD, a civil engineer helming Stanford's Atmosphere and Energy Program.

The project's website2 presents 50 detailed "roadmaps" to complete the U.S. portion of their global vision by 2050, with a custom blend of renewable systems for each state's geography and weather.

The 50-State Roadmap has become the go-to bible for

Their goal is laudable – a clean, green global civilization by mid-century.
Getting there is the problem.

WWS advocates in any discussion of U.S. energy policy.

Their goal is laudable – a clean, green global civilization
by mid-century. Getting there is the problem. And replacing carbon-free nuclear power with carbon-free renewables is not the solution.

This book show you why.

The Roadmap

The 132-page plan details the equipment required (solar panels, wind turbines, etc.) for each state's participation in the national strategy. The feasibility, resource availability, and practicality of the nationwide scheme are simply assumed.

Mass energy storage plays a big role in most large-scale WWS strategies. Various scenarios range from powering the entire grid for 4 hours, up to an entire day.

In contrast, the tiny amount of storage in the Roadmap would only provide the equivalent of around 1.5 hours of nationwide power consumption.

The basic strategy of a wind or solar farm is the same as any actual farm:
Make hay while the sun shines, use what you need, then store the rest for later or sell it.

The Roadmap takes a different approach:

  • If we build enough wind and solar farms in enough places, they should all be able to back each other up – when it's cloudy in one place, it'll be windy in another.
  • With a nationwide network of interconnected wind and solar farms, we won't have to rely on mass quantities of energy storage, or backup from fueled power plants.
  • Just in case, we can place a small amount of energy in storage, to be used for smoothing out the occasional unexpected peak loads.
  • Our fueled power plants (coal, gas, and nuclear) will become obsolete, so we'll shut them down as the buildout proceeds.

At least, that's the plan.

While enthusiasm for the Roadmap is strong, we wonder if advocates have actually read the fine print, because the more you pencil it out the sketchier
it seems.

After reviewing the entire proposal, it's our conclusion that the Roadmap is deeply flawed. We'll show you exactly how and why.

This is more than an academic argument. The long-term energy plans of towns, cities and states are being actively shaped around this popular proposal, and underwritten (for now) with substantial state and federal incentives.

So we all need to know if the proposal is sound. Particularly since the Roadmap has become a national meme, as if it were a well-proven, highly workable, ultimately affordable, and entirely do-able national project. Even though
it's not.

Before the renewables fans who are reading this become too annoyed, we should clarify something right here and now:

We all want the same thing.

We all want enough carbon-free energy to power the planet, reduce pollution, reverse ocean acidification and mitigate Global Warming. We're on the same team.

Because we are, we feel obligated to explain to our fellow environmentalists in particular, and our fellow human beings in general, why it is highly unlikely
that the Roadmap will take us where we need to go, especially in the time we
have to act.

As appealing as it may seem at first blush, the Roadmap is, unfortunately, an expensive, complex, inefficient, and ultimately unworkable idea. If not in principle, then certainly in practice.

Don't take our word for it. Twenty-one top climate experts, led by Dr. Christopher Clack, formerly with CIRES (Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences) at the University of Colorado, have reached the same conclusion, in an eye-opening analysis we call the Clack Evaluation.3

Their paper has focused even more attention on the Roadmap, which will hopefully promote a productive dialogue. We'll explore their key finding in Chapter Ten.

It is their view – and ours – that the Roadmap will get us nowhere fast.

Buckle up

There are some major potholes in the Roadmap, and we'll be driving over the biggest ones we found. First off, the sheer scale of the project verges on fantasy:

  • A half million giant 5-MW wind turbines on acreage equal to New York state, Pennsylvania, Vermont and New Hampshire, and in open sea regions equal
    to West Virginia
  • Billions of solar panels on land equivalent to Maryland and Rhode Island
  • Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) on land equivalent to Connecticut
  • Rooftop solar on 75 million homes and nearly 3 million businesses

And all of it covering 131,200 square miles (that's miles, mind you, not acres), plus the roofs and the offshore region. The number would be even larger if we accepted the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's land estimates for wind and solar at face value.

In 2009, NREL inspected 172 modern wind farms across the nation, and in 2013 they compiled land-use data for 66 of our large PV solar farms. According to their numbers, U.S. onshore wind will need 4X the land the Roadmap calls for,4 and 2X the land that the Roadmap estimates for solar.5

We should note that the Roadmap plans on siting 70% of its onshore wind on the wide-open spaces of the Great Plains (we're just using east coast states for easy visual comparisons.) So to be more than fair, we based our calculations6 on placing that 70% on the most ideal acreage possible.

We'll explain our other gimmes as we move along. However, we did take issue with the Roadmap's solar land estimate. We'll explain why when we get there.

But even with all the gimmes, the numbers still don't add up.

The Roadmap claims that with enough wind and solar, in a wide enough variety of weather zones, a self-supporting, fuel-free, 100% WWS grid could actually power the nation on a dependable basis. And that it can all be built in 35 years.

We disagree on both counts, and more. So do the aforementioned experts, whose criticisms and pro-nuclear views have been rejected by Dr. Jacobson.

The key to understanding our approach (and theirs) is that we aren't anti-renewables, we're pro-math. And a 100% renewables grid is an idea that just doesn't scale up.

The best way to show how and why that's true is to compare it to a technology that – if you had to choose just one technology – actually can be scaled up: an all-nuclear grid.

Heavy equipment

Wind and solar equipment can last from 10–40 years: about 10 years for offshore wind turbines, 25 years for onshore turbines, and up to 40 years for solar panels.

This means that nearly 500,000 giant wind turbines, both onshore and off-, will need a major overhaul before the Roadmap's 35-year buildout is even complete.

It also means that 5 years after completion, we'll have to

A 40-year solar refurbishment
schedule would mean the
recycling and replacement of
1.23 million square meters
of worn-out
panels, every single day,
rain or shine – forever.

start recycling and replacing the solar panels – all 18 billion square meters' worth.7 That's billions with a B.

A 40-year solar refurbishment schedule would mean the recycling and replacement of 1.23 million square meters of worn-out panels, every single day, rain or shine – forever.8

That's close to China's total daily volume of PV panel production. And the only thing all of that mining, fabricating, installing and recycling would do is sustain the solar half of the 2050 national grid, not expand it.

Sustaining our fleet of wind turbines won't be any easier. With 342,000 onshore and 156,000 offshore, we'll have to initiate a major overhaul on more than 80 giant wind turbines every single day. That's in addition to swapping out all those solar panels.

In contrast, an all-nuclear grid composed of, say, 6,000 Small Modular Reactors (SMRs), each one generating 250 megawatts for a 7-year runtime, would require less than three reactor swap-outs per day (about 70 a month).

Think "nuclear battery": Factory-built SMRs will be fully sealed, self-contained units, about the size of a city bus and transportable by highway or rail. The fresh reactor is installed and the spent reactor is taken to a central facility for service and refueling.

Maintaining our 2050 national grid could be as simple as swapping out 2.3 Small Modular Reactors per day. Or, we could swap out 1.23 million square meters of panel instead, and initiate a major overhaul on 80 giant wind turbines. Every single day.

So quite aside from any technical shortcomings (several of which we'll explore), sobering questions arise:

  • Can we actually pull it off?
  • Do we have the money, land, labor, factories and resources?
  • Equally important: Do we have the political will?

Even if the answer is yes to all three, and even if the Roadmap could actually work, and even if we could actually build it in 35 years:

  • Is it really the best choice we have?

"When you come to a fork in the road, take it." – Yogi Berra

At this critical juncture in history, our energy choices may well determine the survival of civilization as we know it. And even if we do get our act together in time, we'll still be in for a rough ride.

While going carbon-free is something our energy sector absolutely must accomplish, the Roadmap is such a big project that the entire nation will have to get on board or it won't get done. So consensus is king. Which raises an interesting point:

Advocates of the Roadmap tend to be politically left of center, which is fine. But they couldn't even get Bernie nominated, much less Hillary elected.

So do these same advocates really think they can convince the American public – 47% of whom voted for a person who claims that global warming is a Chinese hoax – to sign off on a long-term monetary commitment that's nearly the size of a second military budget? For thirty-five years?

Or just as daunting: Do they really think they can convince Capitol Hill to re-purpose the bulk of our military budget to fight a war on climate change?

We don't think so, either.

An inconvenient yardstick

In principle, enough renewables in enough places should provide the energy we need. But in practice, would the Roadmap actually work? Or would it be a lateral move from pipelines to pipe dreams?

The main issues that concern us are:

  • The intermittent nature of WWS systems
  • ...the bare-bones Roadmap, without sufficient
    backup or storage,

    will cost at least
    $15.2 Trillion.
    That's Trillion
    with a T.
  • The risk of relying on a fuel-free grid with no substantial backup
  • The lack of adequate mass energy storage
  • The World War Two-scale mobilization lasting
    35 years
  • The wildly optimistic buildout schedule
  • The mind-boggling amount of land
  • The eye-popping price tag

Cleaning up our energy act is not an option – there is no Planet B. But can we do it as the Roadmap suggests, without tanking the economy in the process? And if that's a real concern (and it is) the follow-up question is:

Will we actually cut the check?

It's a key question, because the bare-bones Roadmap, without sufficient backup or storage, will cost at least $15.2 Trillion. That's Trillion with a T.9 (By the way, professor Jacobson agrees with this price.10)

A modest 4 hours of pumped hydro all-grid energy storage – the cheapest mass energy storage that currently exists – would raise the price to $16.5 Trillion.

NERD NOTE: Storage would never be used to energize the entire grid at any one moment. The hypothetical scenario is simply used as a basis of comparison between various energy storage options.

Discretionary spending is the money that Congress decides how to spend, by passing various appropriations bills. It currently totals about $1.1 Trillion a year.

The cost of the bare-bones Roadmap is equal to 14 years of all U.S. discretionary spending. Spread out over 35 years, it would constitute about 40% of all discretionary spending.

However, if the cost of an all-nuclear grid were spread out over the same 35 years, the yearly outlay could be as little as what we currently spend on SNAP, the federal food stamp program. That's if the upcoming Generation-IV reactors come online as predicted, in the next few decades.

Or we could start today with a national buildout of existing Generation-III technology, and have an all-nuclear grid in probably 20 years, at less than half the cost of the bare-bones Roadmap, on a tiny sliver of the land.

Speaking of land: If you think the Roadmap is pricey, wait till you see the land requirements (which we left out of our cost calculations), not to mention all the fresh water we'll need for the pumped hydro.

In fact, with just 4 hours of pumped-hydro energy storage (the cheapest energy storage by far), the Roadmap's price breaks down to over $471 Billion a year for 35 years.11

That's over 80% of our military budget, and over 60% of our social safety net. Year in and year out, for more than three decades.

That's what the Roadmap is proposing. On over 130,000 square miles of land, and more than 75 million rooftops.

And make no mistake, we have to decide and we have to act – not now, not right now, but right freaking now, because the clock is ticking. In fact, according to the Roadmap, we're already 2 years behind schedule.

So if we're really serious about becoming a 100% WWS nation, it comes down to four options:

  • Gut the military budget
  • Gut the social safety net
  • Print the money
  • Some combination of the above

For 35 years. And anyone who tells you different is either blowing smoke or seriously misinformed.

The fifth option: Go nuclear!

An all-nuclear grid would cost somewhere between
$3 and $6.7
Trillion, depending on the reactors used.

We'll be comparing the Roadmap's hypothetical all-renewables grid with an equally hypothetical all-nuclear grid, with each grid totaling 1,515 GWs of new-build power plants (we'll explain the 1,515 as we go along.) An all-nuclear grid would cost somewhere between $3 Trillion and $6.7 Trillion, depending on the reactors used.12

In an ideal world, Generation-IV reactors would come online in the next decade. In the real world, expect to build at least the first half of an all-nuclear grid with existing Gen-III reactor technology.

A $3 Trillion, a 1,515-GW grid breaks down to about $2 an installed watt.13 That's the speculated price per watt of our favorite Gen-IV reactor design, the MSR (Molten Salt Reactor).

From what we can determine, the Roadmap won't work unless it has substantial fueled backup, or massive amounts of cheap energy storage – something that would require a technical revolution.

Just to be clear:

  • Backup is extra generating capacity on standby that can come to the rescue
    on short notice.
  • Storage holds a supply of energy that's already been generated, or a supply of fuel from which energy can be generated on demand.

The key feature of backup and storage is that either or both can be quickly brought online, and their power dispatched to wherever it's needed, to support the inevitable lapses and shortfalls of renewable energy production.

MSR is a proven and tested technology that was shelved during the Cold War, because a Molten Salt Reactor is just about useless for making weapons material. The technology is actively being revived and updated for commercial production – China has 700 engineers and scientists working on MSR science, borrowing heavily from our original research at Oak Ridge National Labs in the 1960s and '70s.

Advances have been made in mass energy storage, but the sheer scale of what would be needed to stabilize the grid just isn't there. And as we will show, the Roadmap simply will not work without it, unless we factor in substantial and sustained backup from traditional power plants, such as natural gas.

So we felt justified bringing our favorite reactor concept into the mix as the best-of-all-worlds scenario for our hypothetical all-nuclear grid. But as you will see, our rebuttal to the Roadmap stands entirely on its own with already existing Gen-III technology.

The $6.7 Trillion price tag would be for a national fleet of Generation-III APRs (Advanced Pressurized Reactors.) South Korea's KEPCO is currently building four APR-1400s (1,400 megawatts) in the United Arab Emirates for about $4.40 an average watt. The first one was finished on time and on budget.14

In their home country, KEPCO (Korea Electric Power Company) claims an installed cost of $2.50 a watt, which is significantly less than a new coal plant's $3–$3.50 a watt.15

The Roadmap's "Supplemental Information" section16 implies that the price of an all-nuclear grid would be more expensive, at $9 Trillion. But that's using the new Generation III+ AP (Advanced Passive) reactors.17 (Like any high-tech industry, nuclear has its own alphabet soup.)

KEPCO has shown that old school Gen-III designs can already be built for much less.18 This is reflected in our $6.7 Trillion price tag for a nationwide APR grid.

Make nuclear cheap again

KEPCO's standardized design allows for a rapid national buildout. In fact, they completed the first of their four reactors in the UAE before the plant's new personnel could finish their training.

In sharp contrast, every power reactor that's ever been built in the United States has been a custom design, incorporating the latest innovations. Sometimes these changes were introduced in mid-project, causing expensive challenges and delays.

The upside of this approach is that our nuclear industry's product and performance has constantly improved. The downside is that our reactor fleet is an expensive collection of hand-built hypercars.

To power the entire country, we'll need a fleet of cheap, safe, and reliable mass-produced sedans. Reactor technology has matured to where this is entirely feasible.

As the name implies, the new Generation III+ AP-1000 (Advanced Passive) reactor takes an evolutionary step forward from Gen-III, with passive safety features that automatically keep the reactor from overheating after a shutdown.

The AP will be assembled on site with factory-built modules. Prices will drop and schedules will accelerate as more units are built and the learning curve kicks in.19

But the first one of anything you build, even if it's a standardized design, is a one-of-a-kind custom project. So stuff happens – supply chain problems put our first AP-1000 project into an over-schedule / over-budget tailspin.20 Despite the issues at Vogtle, Georgia, the South Koreans in the UAE have shown that standardization saves time and money.

While the Generation III+ AP is the most advanced reactor that we can actually build right now, Gen-IV reactors are the future of nuclear power. We're especially impressed with the Molten Salt Reactor (MSR), one of eight Gen-IV designs now being developed.

A peer-reviewed energy innovation study shows that five of the eight Gen-IV designs will be as cheap or cheaper than a Gen-III+ AP reactor, two of them substantially so.21

To get the information they needed for an accurate analysis, the authors of the study kept corporate identities anonymous. It lists the eight companies and their reactors, but it doesn't reveal which set of results goes with which company or which reactor.

But we figured out that at least one of the two lowest-cost Gen-IV reactors is an MSR. We're guessing that both of them are, but here's what we actually know:

The two cheapest reactors in the study have a construction cost of right around $1.20 per watt. And according to ThorCon, an American MSR company, their manufacturing (construction) cost for molten salt reactors will be $1.20 a watt.22

So there you go.

The overall capital cost for both reactors at the low end of the price spread is projected to be $2 an installed watt ($1.20 of which is construction cost.) We'll be using $2 a watt as our benchmark price for Molten Salt Reactors – the safest reactor, with the lowest capital and operating costs.

Even so, the strength of our argument isn't built on the MSR, or any other Gen-IV reactor. There is an equally strong case to be made for an all-nuclear grid of "old school" Gen-IIIs, a mature and well-proven technology.

Indeed, if we had followed the wishes of president John F. Kennedy, we would have had a nationwide Gen-III nuclear grid by the year 2000.23

The ability to achieve a clean-energy grid already exists with Gen-III reactors. Gen-IV would simply improves the performance, efficiency, and safety of the best carbon-free energy technology we already have.

"Come now, let us reason together . . . " – Isaiah 1:18

A fair comparison of renewables and nuclear clearly shows that, if a choice has to be made between one hypothetical grid over the other, nuclear would be a far superior technology for powering the nation.

And since fuel (nuclear or otherwise) is, in essence, a cheap, stable, and compact form of energy storage, the pivotal issue of mass storage – the holy grail of renewable energy – is rendered moot.

As we see it, a national all-renewables policy is only being considered because the public has developed an overblown fear of radiation, largely generated by disinformation, sensational media, and the occasional outright lie.24

Fukushima is a perfect example: No one died from the meltdowns, and no one is expected to in the years ahead. Nevertheless, nuclear fear is what drove the news cycle, not the 20,000 lives that were actually lost in the earthquake and tsunami.

For the last several decades, this deep-seated radiophobia has been directly responsible for an overabundance of caution towards nuclear power.

In the wake of Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, 9/11 and Fukushima, the nuclear industry's excessive defense-in-depth approach to reactor construction has nearly priced their product out of the market.

In fact, no other energy source is regulated anywhere near the standards that have been set for nuclear power, in spite of its superior safety and reliability.

As George Monbiot famously wrote in the days after Fukushima: "While nuclear causes calamities when it goes wrong, coal causes calamities when it goes right, and coal goes right a lot more often than nuclear goes wrong."

Indeed, living near a nuclear power plant subjects you to less radioactivity than eating one banana per week.25

Fear-based protocols, in response to the political pressures of a misinformed populace, have guaranteed spiraling prices and failed projects, which only encourage anti-nuclear arguments.

On a level playing field, with appropriate safeguards and standardized designs, and with science and engineering as the final arbiters, reactors can come in on time and on budget, while being built to the highest international standards.

Nuclear is indeed competitive with fossil fuel, if it's allowed to compete under the same rules. In fact, the new Generation IV reactors are designed to be both cost-competitive and even safer than today's already-safe designs.

The true nature of things

Mother Nature doesn't give a
damn about
anyone's favorite technology.

Advocates of renewable energy may be uncomfortable
reading this book, but sometimes facts are uncomfortable
things. We know we're challenging some deeply held beliefs, and rest assured we have a few of our own.

To put things in perspective, here's something we said elsewhere that should be kept in mind by anyone proposing
a national energy solution, including ourselves:

". . . please understand that when it gets right down to it, Mother Nature doesn't give a damn about anyone's favorite technology.

She doesn't care if some people think that nuclear power is awesome, or if others think it's the work of the devil. And she doesn't care if some people think that global warming is settled science, or if others think that it's an anti-capitalist con game concocted by liberal academics angling for grant money.

"She frankly doesn't care what anyone thinks, hopes, or believes. All she cares about is objective reality, quantified by math and explored by science, both disciplines guided by a diligent respect for the true nature of things. . . ."

From our 2016 paper: "Wind and Solar's Achilles' Heel –
The Meltdown at Porter Ranch"26

Chapter One End Notes

    "The Roadmap."
  2. Originally published in the journal Energy & Environmental Science

  4. "Clack Evaluation."
  5. "Critique"
    (This paper by Tim Maloney is the basis of Roadmap to Nowhere.)

    See internal footnote # 33. It refers to:

    Land-Use Requirements of Modern Wind Power Plants in the United States.
    See Page 10, Table 1, Average Area Requirements row, Total Area column:
    100 hectare units (ha) = 1 km2.
    34.5 ha / MWp = 0.345 km2 / MWp capacity-weighted average per NREL study in 2009.

    Ibid. Chapter One End Note #1. Roadmap. See:

    Table 2, row 1, column 4: 1,701,000 MWp nameplate capacity of existing plus new plants. 1,701,000 MWp ×
    0.345 km2 / MWp = 586,800 km2 total area for onshore wind, per NREL data (without taking into account capacity weighting of future new construction on clear flat land.)

    Table 2, row 1, column 5: 3.59% existing, so 96.41% new construction. 0.9641 × 1,701,000 MW = 1,640,000 MW new construction, using 5-MW wind turbines.

    When NREL made its survey in 2009, such giant 5-MW wind turbines did not exist. Using larger / taller turbines can result in an improved land density value. This is part of the Roadmap's strategy.

    Row 1, column 8: 1.5912% × 9.162e6 km2 (US total land area) = 145,800 km2 for new onshore wind construction. Anticipated new land-use density with 5-MW giant wind turbines: 145,800 km2 ÷ 1,640,000 MW = 0.089 km2 / MWp (0.0889).

    So on the face of it, there is a discrepancy factor of 3.9X between NREL's and the Roadmap's land usage.
    [0.345 km2 ÷ 0.089 km2 = 3.9]

    Alternatively: Total onshore wind area: 145,800 km2 ÷ 0.9641 = 151,200 km2 per Roadmap. Or 1,701,000 MW × 0.0889 km2 / MW = 151,200 km2.

    NREL total wind area ÷ Roadmap total wind area: 586,800 km2 ÷ 151,200 km2 = 3.9X factor of difference.

  6. Ibid. Chapter One End Note #2. See internal footnote # 22.7.
    Round to 160W-ac / m2 for discussion & estimation.

    Also see:

    See page 12, Sec. 4.2.1: Evaluation of PV Packing Factors. Page 13, Figure 7, Capacity-weighted average packing factor for PV projects.

    Fixed (mount) column: 47% packing factor (PF).
    1-axis (tracking) column: 34% packing factor (PF).
    Average = 40.5%, round to 40% for discussion & estimation.

    Ibid. Chapter One End Note #1.

    See Table 2, row 9, column 4: 2,326,000e6 W.

    2,326,000e6 W ÷ 160 W / m2 ÷ 1e6 m2 / km2 = 14.54e3 km2 total PV panel area. Land area is PV panel area ÷ PF: 14.54e3 km2 ÷ 0.40 = 36,300 km2 total land area for utility-scale PV solar, per NREL-derived data.

    Table 2, row 9, column 7: 0.18973% of 9.162e6 km2 US total land area = 17,400 km2 land area for utility PV solar, per Roadmap.

    NREL total PV solar area ÷ Roadmap total PV solar area: 36,300 km2 ÷ 17,400 km2 = 2.1X factor of difference.


    Step 1.

    Click to download 50states_PDFs_all. In the Downloads folder, unzip and open the folder named 50states_PDFs_all.

    Step 2.

    Double-click the Adobe Acrobat PDF icons for the 11 “great plains” states: North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana.Upon viewing each state's info graphic, record on paper the state's name and its percentage of Primary Energy to be provided by onshore wind.

    Do this on lined paper with seven drawn columns. Percent of PRI NRG from onshore wind goes in the column second from the left (column 2).

    Step 3.

    Find each state’s Primary Energy consumption in the year 2013 by entering in your browser bar:

    Record the large-font number at upper-left, which is North Dakota's PRI NRG in units of billions of BTUs.

    In your column 3, write about 4 significant digits.

    On a calculator move the decimal point 6 places to the left to express in units of quadrillion BTUs, called Quads, unit-symbol Q.

    Do not write it on the paper. Multiply by the conversion factor 293 TWh /Q to convert to terawatt-hour units of Primary Energy.

    Record in column 4. Repeat this process 10 more times by replacing "North-Dakota" with the other states’ names in the browser bar. (South-Dakota is hyphenated.)

    Step 4.

    Multiply each state’s 2013 Primary Energy in column 4 by the following factors to obtain its estimated Primary Energy demand in year 2050, per the Roadmap's expectation of energy reduction.Write all 11 of the factors into column 5 before starting.

    These factors were obtained from the Roadmap's Table 1, column 8, “% change in end-use power”.

    ND = 0.631; SD = 0.709; NE = 0.707; KS = 0.625; OK = 0.615; TX = 0.598; MN = 0.646; IA = 0.717; MO = 0.596; IL = 0.619; IN = 0.628.

    Record the multiplication results in column 6.

    Step 5.

    Multiply each state’s estimated PRI NRG in column 6 by its onshore wind percentage from column 2. Record the result in column 7. That gives each state’s onshore wind-supplied energy in year 2050, expressed in TWh units.

    Step 6.

    Add all 11 states' wind consumption to obtain 3038 TWh in year 2050.

    Then divide 3038 TWh by 4309 TWh to obtain 0.705, rounded to 70%.
    This is the portion of the nation's onshore wind that will be located on open flat ground.

    The value 4309 TWh is obtained from the Roadmap's Table 2, onshore wind row, 30.92% in column 3.
    Multiply 30.92% × 13,937 TWh to obtain 4309 TWh.

    The value 13,937 TWh /year is the Roadmap's standard-demand load, namely 1591 GW, converted into annual TWh energy units by multiplying by 8760 hours /yr.

    Step 7.

    With 70% of 2050's onshore wind capacity located on flat land where the minimum land usage value 0.089 km2 /MW pertains, that leaves 30% in harder locations where the NREL study's 0.345 km2 /MW pertains. Calculate the weighted average of those two values as:

    0.70 × 0.089 km2 + 0.30 × 0.345 km2 = 0.166 km2 /MW. Round to 0.17 km2 /MW as the best estimate and working figure for onshore wind discussion.

    Comparison to the Roadmap's simple optimism gives a discrepancy factor of about 2X.
    [0.17 km2 ÷ 0.089 km2 = 1.9]

  8. Ibid. Chapter One End Note #1.

    See frame 8 of PDF, journal page 2098. This is the Roadmap's Table 2, row 9, which covers Solar PV utility plants:2,326,000e6 Wp-ac ÷ 160 Wp-ac / m2 [power rating of SunPower series E panel] = 14.5 billion m2 for utility PV panels.

    Table 2, row 7 covers residential roof PV: 379,500e6 Wp-dc ÷ 186 Wp-dc / m2 [SunPower series E panel] = 2.0 billion m2 for residential PV panels.

    Table 2, row 8 covers commercial roof PV: 276,500e6 Wp-dc ÷ 186 Wp-dc / m2 = 1.5 billion m2 for commercial PV panels.

    All three PV solar systems: 14.5 + 2.0 + 1.5 = 18 billion m2 of panel area.

  9. Ibid. Refer to 14.5e9 m2 of utility PV panels.
    Rooftop PV solar: 379,500e6 W-dc (residential) + 276,500e6 W-dc (commercial) = 656,000e6 W-dc combined.
    Sunpower dc power density: 158 Wp-ac /m2 ÷ 85% conversion eff = 186 Wp-dc /m2.
    Rooftop panel area: 656,000e6 Wdc ÷ 186 W / m2 = 3.5e9 m2 of rooftop PV panels.
    Combined utility & rooftop: 14.5e9 m2 + 3.5e9 m2 = 18.0e9 m2 total panel area.
    Replaced over 40-year lifetime: 18.0e9 m2 ÷ 40 yr ÷ 365 days = 1.23e6 m2 per day.
  10. Ibid. Chapter One End Note # 2. Critique.

    To determine the cost of the Roadmap, search in Critique for:

    “Total W&S build-out cost”
    “Money cost Utility PV Solar”
    “Money cost Residential PV Solar”
    “Money cost Commercial PV Solar”
    “All three PV solar categories combined”
    “Money cost Onshore Wind”
    “Money cost Offshore Wind”
    “Money cost CSP Solar”

  11. at 44:55
  12. Chapter One End Note #1. Roadmap.

    See frame 7, journal p. 2097, bottom row, column 3:

    • 1591 GWavg total end-use power in 2050
    • 1591 GWavg × 4 hours = 6.36e12 W-hr of energy storage

    See also:

    See the 7th paragraph: Unit cost = $0.20 / W-hr

    6.36e12 W-hr × $0.20 / W hr = $1.27 trillion construction cost for PHES
    $15.2 T (from End Note #3) + $1.27 T = $16.5 Trillion

    $16.5 Trillion ÷ 35 years = $471 Billion / year

  13. Ibid. Chapter One End Note # 2. Critique. See internal footnote No. 65.5:
    • Average cost of KEPCO-UAE project is $22.7 billion
    • $22.7 B ÷ 5600 MWp = $4.05 / Wp
    • $4.05 ÷ 92% CF = $4.41 / Wavg for KEPCO Gen 3 APRs

    Cost of 1,515 GWavg APR nuclear fleet: 1,515 GW × $4.41 / W = $6.7 trillion.

  14. Also, see internal footnote No. 66:

    • Near-term and future cost estimate of US Gen 3+ AP (Advanced Passive) reactors = $5.53 / Wp
    • $5.53 ÷ 92% CF = $6.01 / Wavg
      1,515 GWavg required of Gen-3+ AP fleet × $6.01 / W = $9.1 trillion for Gen-3+ Advanced Passive technology.


    Page 10, Figure 4. Capital Cost Results. Project the rightmost two bars (MSRs) to vertical axis, at about $2000 /kW = $2 /W.

  17. See:
    Table One: Supercritical coal (no Carbon Capture & Storage)
    Table Two: Advanced Pulverized coal (no CCS)
  18. Ibid. Chapter One End Note #1. Roadmap.

    Supplemental Information (SI) section begins at Frame 28. See Table S14 on
    pages 66 and 67 of SI (Frames 93 and 94).

  19. Ibid. Chapter One End Note #2. Critique. See internal footnote No. 66:
    • Near-term and future cost estimate of US Gen 3+ AP (Advanced Passive) reactors = $5.53 / Wp
    • $5.53 ÷ 92% CF = $6.01 / Wavg

    1,515 GWavg required Gen-3+ AP fleet × $6.01 / W = $9.1 trillion for Gen-3+ Advanced Passive technology

  21. Ibid. See Figure 10 in the section "South Korea Actually Lowered Costs.

    Notice that overnight construction costs have declined since 1980.

  22. westinghouse-nuclear-bankrupted-toshiba
  23. Ibid. Chapter One End Note #12.

    Compare the bar heights to $4 / MWp (shown as $4,000 / kW), the approximate KEPCO price for the U.A.E. project.

  24. Ibid. End Note #12, Chapter One. See Page 10, Figure 4:
    "Capital Cost Results."

    Project the top of the two rightmost vertical bars (one of them is the ThorCon MSR) to the vertical axis. They're both at about $2000 / kW = $2 / Watt.

    Of that $2000 /kW capital cost for complete installation, about $1000 to $1200/kW ($1.00 to $1.20 /W) is for direct construction /manufacturing cost. That cost is shown by the red portion of the vertical bars:

    See page 21, sub-section "Low Costs."

    At 3 minutes, 20 seconds: Vermont Yankee protesters eating bananas. See also:


    See section "An Inconvenient Truth 2.0"