One way governments have been trying to combat climate change is to subsidize renewable energy such as wind, solar and biomass. Wind and solar makes some sense since they do not emit any CO2 after the iron and rare earth metals have been mined using mostly diesel fuel and electricity, but biomass?
Ever since the people began to use fire to cook their food, biomass has been the fuel of choice. In forested areas wood was preferred, but if there were no trees grass was used, and if there was no grass people used and still use dried cow dung. It is used to cook the meal of the day in an open fire, a primitive stove or a clay oven. It is very polluting, even toxic, and most of the fertilizing properties of cow dung is lost, depriving the land of replenishing the ground. The environment would benefit immensely by switching to electric. The fastest and least expensive way to electrify developing countries is to build coal fired plants. The only benefit of cow dung is that it is locally produced, and transportation is one of the hindering factors for modernizing.
The biggest change that can happen to any village happens at electrification. The change from cooking over open fire to using an electric stove is enormous. It is also a major health improvement to not have to breathe in toxic smoke. Electrification must come first. In some tropical areas up to 70 percent of the food is destroyed by excess humidity and lack of refrigeration.
The first step in electrification must still be to build small coal fired plants to provide base power.
Meanwhile, during the COP27 conference President Biden promised $55 Billion in aid to Africa to promote ‘climate justice’. The aid would go out in form of solar panels and wind turbines, but most of all in promoting health care in the form of vaccines, ivermectin to protect against river blindness and reproductive rights in the form of free birth control and abortions. The villagers dream of an electric stove to get rid of the unhealthy smoke, and a cell tower to communicate with the rest of the world so they can increase commerce. But the bureaucrats that flew in to Cairo attending the conference in style with limos and lavish dinners dream of ‘climate justice’ money, so they can complete their Mercedes and Land Rover fleet, and drive around their countries making more environmental impact reports on their yet to be started grand plans; to be presented at the next COP conference.
In the meantime forests are being cut down and aquifers depleted leading to an even bleaker environmental future.
The people that have shown the best return on investment are Christian help organizations that concentrate on education and solving the food and water problems, all with a view of understanding how to preserve and improve the local ecology.
Oh, apropos ivermectin, there is a correlation in using it to combat river blindness and COVID-19. The African countries that use it have a 90% less occurrence of COVID-19 than the countries that do not use it. Scientists are puzzled why, not to the point of making a scientific study of it, for ivermectin is too inexpensive to make it profitable. Here is a picture showing the data:
6 – 18 November 2022, the Government of the Arab Republic of Egypt was hosting the 27th Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC (COP 27), with a view to building on previous successes and paving the way for future ambition to effectively tackle the global challenge of climate change.
According to alarmists’ climate change models, joining the Paris accord will decrease global temperatures by 0.05 to 0.17 degrees Celsius by the year 2100, or a catastrophe too big to fathom will occur. See the official chart below!
I want to reply to what climate alarmists say: My conclusions on climate change are not in line with political science logic. Being a climate realist, I never said that increasing CO2 is unimportant, only that the negative effects are vastly exaggerated, and the positive effects are ignored. Let me explain:
Climate alarmists and IPCC AR5 believe that the thermal response to increasing CO2 has a feedback gain from increasing water vapor that results from higher temperatures, leading to much higher temperatures. Current climate model averages indicate a temperature rise of 4.7 C by 2100 if nothing is done, 4.65 C if U.S keeps all its Paris commitments and 4.53 C if all countries keep their part of the agreement. In all cases, with or without Paris agreement we are headed for a disaster of biblical proportions.
As the chart indicates, implementing all of the Paris agreement will delay the end of mankind as we know it by at most 4 years.
Myself and quite a few scientists, meteorologists, but mostly engineers believe the feedback loop in nature is far more complicated than that, in fact, there is a large negative feedback in the system, preventing a temperature runaway, and we have the observations to prove it. The negative feedback manifests itself in 2 ways:
Inorganic feedback, represented by greenhouse gases and clouds. If there were no clouds, the tropics would average a temperature of 140 F thanks to the greenhouse effect. The clouds reflect back up to 300 W/m2 into space rather than the same energy being absorbed into water, air or soil. Clouds are highly temperature dependent, especially cumulus and cumulonimbus clouds. Cumulus clouds are formed in the morning, earlier the warmer and more humid it is, and not formed at all if it is cold and dry, thunderstorms appear when it is warm enough. The feedback, which is positive at low temperatures becomes negative at warmer temperatures, and in the equatorial doldrums, surface temperature has found its equilibrium. No amount of CO2 will change that. Equatorial temperature follows the temperature of the ocean, warmer when there is an el niño, cooler when there is a la niña. Here is a chart of temperature increases since satellite measurements began as a function of latitude.
The tropics follow the ocean temperature closely, no long term rising trend, the extratropics are also stable.
In the Arctic there is a rising temperature trend, up to 5C in the winter, less so in spring and fall, but a slightly cooling trend in the summer.
If this trend continues, all Arctic ocean ice may melt in 300 to 400 years, faster if there is further warming and nothing else is changing. Let’s take a look at the Arctic above the 80th latitude, an area of about 3,85 million square kilometers, less than 1% of the earth’s surface, but it is there where global warming is most pronounced. This chart from Nov 17, 2022 shows this trend.
Take a look at ice accumulation on Greenland.
What happened? Last year it snowed more than normal. In the Arctic, it gets warmer under clouds, warmer still when it snows. Take a look at Greenland and what has happened this freezing season. It has snowed and snowed and Greenland has so far, nearly three months into the accumulation season accumulated 60 Gigatons more ice than normal. So, at this point in the season we are a total of 80 Gt ahead of last year, and this is with Arctic temperatures this fall being five degrees warmer than normal. The counterintuitive conclusion is that it may very well be that warmer temperatures produces more accumulation of snow and ice, colder temperatures with less snow accumulate less. What happens during the short Arctic summer? With more snow and ice accumulated it takes longer to melt last years snow and ice, so the temperature stays colder longer. If this melting period ends without melting all snow and ice, multi year ice will accumulate, and if it continues unabated, the next ice age will start.
The second feedback loop is organic. More CO2 means more plant growth. According to NASA (2015) there has been a significant greening of the earth, more than 15% since satellite measurements begun. This results in a warming effect everywhere, except in areas that are drying out, where there is a cooling trend. The net effect is that we can now feed 2 billion more people than before without using more fertilizer. Check this picture from NASA, showing the increased leaf area extends over 90 % of the land area.
There are two major ways of trying to predict future temperature trends. UN IPCC uses models to predict. They look like this:
This model refers to the atmosphere between 30,000 and 38,000 feet altitude, a height where water vapor is low, so CO2 is the dominant greenhouse factor. As we can see, the models are off by a factor of 4 in average temperature rise. This is because all IPCC models suffer from a fatal flaw: they assume that the factors are additive, but it is impossible to absorb more than 100% of all the energy available in one particular wavelength, for instance, if CO2 absorbs 100% of all energy available in the 14 to 16 micrometer band, and water vapor absorbs 60% in the same band, the sum is not 160%. It is still 100%.
Abetter way to estimate temperature trends is to treat the earth as a black body with sunlight warming the earth and the same amount of energy escaping through black body radiation. If there were no greenhouse gases the equilibrium temperature would be 255 K (-18 C or 0F) according to Stefan-Boltzmann law, which states that the total radiant heat power emitted from a surface is proportional to the fourth power of its absolute temperature. But thanks to water vapor and CO2 and some other minor gases we can now enjoy a comfortable average temperature of 13.9C, up from 12.7C average temperature around 1700, just as the little ice age ended and industrialization started in earnest.
Using the black box approach and assuming equilibrium temperature at all times this method fits much better with measurements, for details, see here. The total changes in temperature when CO2 rose from 280 ppm to 400 ppm, lower cloud cover decreased 2% and leaf area on earth rose 15%.
Direct effect from rising CO2: 0.17C
Secondary effect from increasing water vapor from rising CO2: 0.05C
Effect from rising Methane: less than 0.01C
Effect from N20 and Ozone: less than 0.01C
Temperature rise from decreasing cloud cover by2%, from 64% to 62%: 0.67C
Secondary effect from increasing water vapor from temperature rise from decreasing clouds: 0.17C
Temperature increase from greening of the earth 0.12C
Temperature decrease from areas of desertification 0.0005C
TOTAL TEMPERATURE RISE: 1.2C which is equal to the measured rise from 12.7C to 13.9C.
The big question is: What will the equilibrium temperature be in 2050 if we do nothing to limit CO2 and other greenhouse gases?
Direct effect from rising CO2 levels from 400 ppm to 490 ppm: 0.10C
Secondary effect from increasing water vapor from increasing CO2: 0.03 C
Temperature rise from decreasing cloud cover another 1/2% 0.16C
Secondary effect from increasing water vapor from temperature rise from decreasing clouds: 0.04C
Temperature increase from greening of the earth another 10%: 0.07C
Temperature decrease from areas of desertification 0.0005C
TOTAL TEMPERATURE RISE: 1.6C, 0.13C of which is when CO2 rises from 400 to 490 ppm, 0.20 C from when cloud coverage decreases by 1/2% and 0.07 C from 10% more leaf area from the greening of the earth.
According to COP27 the carbon reduction pledges by 2050 looks like this:
The sum of all pledges means a 15% reduction in the RISE of C02 between now and 2050, leading to a reduction in temperature rise from rising CO2 of 0.02C. In addition it will reduce the amount of temperature rise from the greening of the world by 0.006 C. the total temperature rise will be 1.574C or thereabout, still over the 1.5C target.
There is a better way.
The temperature rise since per-industrial times is caused by basically 3 factors: Greenhouse gases and water vapor increase: 23%, decreased reflection from decreased cloud cover: 65%, and decreased albedo due to the greening of the earth: 12%.
There are some disturbing trends in rain patterns around the world. This fall the four largest rivers for barge traffic all have severe limitations in their barge traffic volume due to low water, the Mississippi river in North America, the Rhine River in Europe, the Yang Tse Kiang River in Asia and the Parana River in South America. It seems to be world-wide. At the same time snowfall is increasing in the Arctic, leading to warmer winters and a little cooling in the summer since there is more snow to melt. Areas of the world is being desertified, lakes are drying up, aquifers are being depleted, and so some areas are drying up. These are the same areas where people love to live and use its water. The Great Salt Lake in Utah is down to a third of the size it had in the 1970’s, Lake Aral is nearly all gone, The Caspian Sea is again shrinking and Lake Chad in Africa is down to 20% of its size in the 1970’s.
Most of the earth displays an increase of leaf area, but there are areas in red that are becoming less green. The areas are: The American Southwest, The Pampas area of South America, a 100 mile band in Southern Sahara, part of East Africa, Madagascar, South East Africa, Western Australia, Part of the Volga region, Kazakhstan east of Lake Aral and various parts of China, and the Mekong river. These areas have this in common, the aquifers ate being depleted, the rivers are diminishing and some of them no longer reach the ocean, lakes are almost disappearing, but people still move to those areas “for the good climate”.
The areas so affected are about 900,000 sq miles of the American Southwest and about 3 million square miles in total to suffer from becoming more like a desert. The common theme of all these areas is depletion of the aquifers, rivers diminishing, lakes drying up and soil erosion.
The only part of the world US can control directly is The American Southwest. It can expect more frequent and longer droughts, since there is no amplification of clouds from the relatively cool and clean Pacific ocean, and the long term temperature trend is cooling. The Colorado River no longer feeds the Gulf of California with nourishment. The Colorado river used to supply all the water allocation for all the participating states, but around 2000 the water use had caught up with supply, and since then it has become much worse with demand far outstripping supply.
In addition the Great Salt Lake is now less than a third of the size it was in the 1970’s. A second level water shortage has been issued and for example Arizona will get a million Acre-feet lass per year than promised from the Colorado river. The aquifers will be further depleted leading to less rainfall and the few remaining springs will dry out. If nothing is done, the American southwest will become desertified.
Ironically, deserts have a higher albedo than green soil, so letting the American Southwest become a desert would have a cooling effect by the increasing albedo, but the effect from the disappearing clouds would have a far greater heating effect, so letting the American Southwest become a desert is not a solution to the problem.
However, the area subject to desertification is about 0.6% of the world’s land area and rising the albedo by 0.05 leads to a cooling down. The average albedo of the earth is 30%, and before desertification the albedo was 25%, this rises the albedo of the earth by 0.03%. The total reflection of sunlight from the earth is 22.9 W/m2, so 0.03% of that is 0.007 W/m2, which translates to a net temperature decrease of the world by 0.002C.
What congress is doing to solve the problem.
Congress has passed the anti-inflation bill that included over 300 billion to fight climate change, and it included more solar panels and wind turbine motors to be imported from China. The experience from Europe is that electricity from solar panels and windmills is 5.7 times as expensive as conventional power generation.
This analysis was done for 2019, before COVID. The situation is now much worse, with electricity rares up to 40 c/kWh, and that is with subsidies.
Even at the current increased European Gas prices, the estimated excess expenditures on Weather-Dependent “Renewables” in Europe is still very large: $~0.5 trillion in capital expenditures and $~1.2 trillion excess expenditures in the long-term.
These simple calculations show that any claim that Wind and Solar power are now cost competitive with conventional fossil fuel (Gas-fired) generation are patently false. The figures give an outline of the financial achievements of Green activists in stopping fracking for gas in Europe, close on to $1.2 trillion of excess costs.
It would be better not to import any solar panels and wind power generators from China and let them pay for the extra cost rather than building more coal burning plants. After all they were planning to build over a thousand new plants between now and 2030, all legal under the Paris accord. This would benefit the world climate much more, since Chinese coal plants are far more polluting, since China has far less stringent environmental regulations than U.S.
U.S. uses 13.5% of the world’s coal, and eliminating U.S. CO2 emissions would in time reduce the world temperature by 0.026C, providing no other country, such as China and India would increase their use of Coal, which they are; to the total of 1300 new coal plants between now and 2030. This would raise global temperature by more than 0.06 C.
What congress should do instead.
a. What congress should do immediately.
Immediately stop downblending U 233 and pass The Thorium Energy security act SB 4242a. See more here.
2. Remove Thorium from the list of nuclear source material. The half-life of Thorium232 is 14 billion years, so its radioactivity is barely above background noise. More importantly, while Thorium is fertile, it is not fissile and should therefore not be included in the list. This would make it far easier to mine rare earth metals, as long as the ore consists of less than 0.05% Uranium, but any amount of Thorium is allowed without classifying the ore “Source material”.
3. Separate nuclear power into 3 categories. a. conventional nuclear power. b. Thorium breeder reactors that make more U233 than it consumes, and c. Thorium reactors that reduce nuclear waste.
4. Stop buying solar panels from China. Stop buying wind turbine generators from China. Let them install those in China and pay 5 times as much for their electricity.
5. Immediately form a commission led by competent people, not politicians; to decide how to best expand the electric grid and to best harden it against electro-magnetic pulses, whether solar or nuclear and to safeguard it against sabotage.
6. Remove all subsidies on electric cars, solar panels and wind generators, but continue to encourage energy conservation.
7. Encourage research and development of Thorium fueled reactors, especially liquid salt reactors by drastically simplifying and speeding up the approval process. President Trump issued an executive order in the last month of his presidency EO 13972 specifying that the United States must sustain its ability to meet the energy requirements for its national defense and space exploration initiatives. The ability to use small modular reactors will help maintain and advance United States dominance and strategic leadership across the space and terrestrial domains. This EO should be expanded to include civilian small modular reactors, including Liquid salt Thorium reactors less than 200 MW, which are the only valid reactors for space exploration.
b. Longer term developments, but extremely urgent.
Of the long term warming of the globe of 1.2 C since the beginning of industrialization only 0.17 C is attributable to rising CO2, NH4 and NO2 levels, of which United states is currently responsible for 13.5% and decreasing, or 0.023C. The disappearance of clouds is responsible for twice as much globally or 0.33 C of which probably 1/6 is occurring in the American Southwest, causing an increase in temperature of 0.055C. However, the temperature rise in say the Grand Canyon has been in excess of 2 C,, and in the urban areas it has been even more. These are my long term suggestions:
Build a TransContinental Aqueduct. A realistic way to save Lake Mead and reverse the desertification of the American SouthWest.
Lake Mead will be emptied in less than 10 years with the current usage pattern. Then what?
The hydroelectric power from Lake Mead (and Lake Powell) is diminishing as the lakes are emptied. The so called winter pool level is nearing, after which no further power can be generated.
The aquifers in Arizona, especially in the Phoenix and Tucson area, and to some extent New Mexico and the dry part of Texas are being drawn down and are at risk of being exhausted.
The Salton Sea in the Imperial Valley of California is maybe the most polluted lake in all of U.S.A. It is even dangerous to breathe the air around it sometimes. The area contains maybe the largest Lithium deposit in the world.
The Colorado River water is too salty for good irrigation .
The Colorado river no longer reaches the Gulf of California. Fishing and shrimp harvesting around the Colorado River Delta is no more.in less than 10 years with the current usage pattern. Then what?
The hydroelectric power from Lake Mead (and Lake Powell) is diminishing as the lakes are emptied.
40 million people depend on the Colorado River for drinking water. The population is still rising rapidly in the West. Will they have water in the future.
Except for California there is not much pumped Hydro-power storage in the American Southwest.
Texas has plenty of wind power, but no pumped hydro-power storage. This makes it difficult to provide peak power when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow. Nuclear power is of no help, it provides base power only. Peak power has to come from coal and natural gas plants.
New Mexico has some ideal spots for solar panels, but no water is available for pumped storage.
Arizona has a surging population, wind and solar power locations are abundant, but no pumped hydro-power storage.
Arkansas and Oklahoma have a good barge traffic system. This proposal will increase flood control and improve barge traffic by increasing the maximum barge draft from 9 feet to 12 feet and during dry periods reverse the flow of the Arkansas River. The Arkansas river yearly water flow is nearly double that of the Colorado River.
Build a transcontinental aqueduct from the Mississippi River to the Colorado River capable of transporting 12 million acre-ft of water yearly through Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. It will be built similar to the Central Arizona Project aqueduct, supplying water from the Colorado river to the Phoenix and Tucson area, but this aqueduct will be carrying four times more water over four times the distance and raise the water nearly twice as high before returning to near sea level. The original Central Arizona Project cost $4.7 billion in 1980’s money, the Transcontinental Aqueduct will in Phase 1 cost around $200 Billion in 2022 money applying simple scaling up principles.
The Mississippi River has a bad reputation for having polluted water, but since the clean water act the water quality has improved drastically. Fecal coli-form bacteria is down by a factor of more than 100, the water is now used all the way down to New Orleans for drinking water after treatment. The lead levels are down by a factor of 1000 or more since 1979. Plastic pollution and pharmaceutical pollution is still a problem, as is the case with most rivers. The Ph is back to around 8 and salt content is negligible. Mississippi water is good for irrigation, and usable for drinking water after treatment. The Arkansas River is used as a drinking water source.
But the aqueduct will do more than provide sweet Mississippi water to the thirsty South-west, it will make possible to provide peak power to Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. In fact, it is so big it will nearly triple the pumped Hydro-power storage for the nation, from 23 GW for 5 hours a day to up to 66 GW when fully built out.
The extra pumped hydro-power storage will come from a number of dams built as part of the aqueduct or adjacent to it. The water will be pumped from surplus wind and solar power generators when available. This will provide up to 50 GW of power for 5 hours a day. If not enough extra power has been generated during the 19 pumping hours, sometimes power will be purchased from the regular grid. The other source of pumped hydro-power storage is virtual. There will be up to 23 GW of LFTR (Liquid Fluoride salt Thorium Rector) power stations strategically stationed along the waterway providing pumping of water for 19 hours and providing virtual hydro-power output for the remaining 5, when the aqueduct is fully built.
These 43 GW of hydro-power capacity will be as follows: Oklahoma, 0.2 GW; Texas, 18,5 GW (right now, Texas has no hydro-power storage, but plenty of wind power); New Mexico, 10.5 GW; Arizona 13.6 GW. In Addition, when the Transcontinental Aqueduct is fully built out, the Hoover dam can provide a true 2.2 GW hydro-power storage by pumping water back from Lake Mojave; a 3 billion dollar existing proposal is waiting to be realized once Lake Mead is saved.
The amount of installed hydroelectric power storage is:
Most hydroelectric pumped storage was installed in the 70’s. Now natural gas plants provide most of the peak power. This aqueduct will more than double, triple the U.S. pumped peak storage if virtual peak storage is included. By being pumped from surplus wind and solar energy as well as nuclear energy it is true “Green power”. Some people like that.
What follows is a description of each leg of the aqueduct. Each leg except legs 9 and 10 ends in a dam, which holds enough water to make each leg free to operate to best use of available electricity and provide peak power on demand.
The Transcontinental Aqueduct will serve the Lower Colorado River Basin, Southern New Mexico and Western Texas. It will pump up to 12 million acre-ft of water annually from the Arkansas river and Mississippi river all the way to southern Colorado River.
The total electricity needed to accomplish this giant endeavor is about 60 billion kWh annually. or about one and a half percent of the current US electricity demand. In 2020 the US produced 1,586 billion kWh from natural gas, 956 from coal, 337.5 from wind and 90.9 from solar.
For this giant project to have any chance of success there has to be something in it to be gained from every state that will be participating. Here are some of the benefits:
Arizona: Arizona needs more water. The water from Mississippi is less saline and better suited for agriculture and the people growth makes it necessary to provide more water sources. Right now the aquifers are being depleted. Then what? One example: The San Carlos lake is nearly dry half the time and almost never filled to capacity. With the aqueduct supplying water it can be filled to 80 +- 20% of full capacity all the time. In the event of a very large snow melt the lake level can be reduced in advance to accommodate the extra flow. Likewise during Monsoon season the aqueduct flow can be reduced in anticipation of large rain events. Arizona together with New Mexico has the best locations for solar power, but is lacking the water necessary for hydro-power storage. This proposal will give 600 cfs of water to Tucson, 3,100 cfs to the Phoenix area and 3,900 cfs to the lower Colorado River in Phase 1. I phase 2 it will add 3,100 cfs to Lake Havasu and an extra 4,700 cfs to the lower Colorado River. It will also also add 28 GW of hydro-power storage capable of adding 140 GWh of electric peak power daily when it is fully built out in Phase 3.
Arkansas: The main benefit for Arkansas is better flood control and river control of the Arkansas River and allowing it to deepen the draft for canal barges from 9,5 feet to 12 feet, which is standard on the Mississippi river.
California: The water aqueduct serving Los Angeles will be allowed to use maximum capacity at all times. Additional water resources will be given the greater San Diego area. The Imperial valley will be given sweet Mississippi and Arkansas River water, which will improve agriculture yield. The polluted New River will be cut off at the Mexico border. There will be water allocated to the Salton Sea. There is a proposal to mine the world’s largest Lithium ore, mining the deep brine, rich in Lithium. (about a third of the world supply according to one estimate). This requires water, and as a minimum requirement to allow mining in the Salton Sea the water needs to be cleaned. This requires further investigation, but the area around the Salton Sea is maybe the most unhealthy in the United States. It used to be a great vacation spot.
Mexico: During the negotiations about who was going to get the water in Lake Mead Mexico did not get enough water, so they have been using all remaining water for irrigation, and no water is reaching the ocean anymore. In addition the water is too salty for ideal irrigation. This proposal will provide sweet Mississippi and Arkansas River water to Mexico, ensure that some water reaches the Colorado river delta. This will restore the important ecology and restore aquatic life in the delta and the gulf. The town of Mexicali will get some water in exchange for shutting off New River completely.
Nevada: Las Vegas is a catastrophe waiting to happen unless Lake Mead is saved. With this proposal there will be ample opportunity to make the desert bloom.
New Mexico: The state is ideally suited for solar panels. In addition to give much needed water to communities along the length of the aqueduct, it will provide 13.5 GW of pumped storage power to be made available at peak power usage for up to 5 hours a day.
Oklahoma: The main advantage for Oklahoma is a much improved flood control. It will provide the same advantage for river barge traffic as benefits Arkansas.
Texas: The state has a big problem. It has already built up too much wind power and can not give up their coal burning power plants until the electricity is better balanced. They have no hydro-electric power storage at all, and we saw the result of that in a previous year’s cold snap. This proposal will give the Texas electric grid 8.8 GW of hydro-electric power for up to 5 hours a day.
Utah: The state will no longer be bound to provide water to Lake Mead, but can use all of its water rights for Utah, especially the Salt Lake City region, and to reverse the decline of the Great Salt Lake that is now shrunk to less than a third of the size it had in the 1970’s.
Wyoming: The state will be free to use the water in the Green River and all the yearly allocated 1.05 million acre-feet of water can be used by the state of Wyoming.
The cost to do all these aqueducts will be substantial, but it can be done for less than 350 billion dollars in 2022 money, and that includes the cost of providing power generation. Considering it involves 40 million people dependent on the Colorado River now and another 10 million east of the Rocky Mountains, it is well worth doing, much more important to do than other “green” projects, since it will save the American Southwest from becoming an uninhabitable desert.
This proposed solution cannot be made possible without changing our approach to power generation. The mantra now is to solve all our power needs through renewables. Texas has shown us that too much wind power without any hydroelectric power storage can lead to disaster. In addition, windmills kill birds, even threatening some species, such as the Golden Eagle and other large raptors that like to build their aeries on top of the generators. Solar panels work best in arid, sunny climate, such as Arizona and New Mexico, but the panels need cooling and cleaning to work best, and that takes water. They are even more dependent on hydro-power storage than wind. The transcontinental aqueduct will triple the hydro-electric power storage for the nation. Without pumped power storage we still need all the conventional power generation capacity for when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow.
Conventional Nuclear power plants doesn’t work in most places since they depend on water for their cooling, and most of these aqueducts pump water in near deserts, and there would be too much evaporation losses to use water from the aqueducts for cooling.
The only realistic approach would be to use LFTR power plants. (Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors). There are many advantages for using LFTR. Here are 30 reasons why LFTRs is by far the best choice.
For this project to succeed there must be developed a better way to build SMRs (Small Modular Reactors, less than 250 MW) more effectively. The price to build a LFTR plant should be less than $2.50 per watt. While the LFTR science is well understood, the LFTR engineering is not fully developed yet, but will be ready in less than 5 years if we get to it. In the mean time there should be built one or more assembly plants that can mass produce LFTR reactor vessels small enough so they can be shipped on a normal flatbed trailer through the normal highway system. My contention is that a 100 MW reactor vessel can be built this way and the total cost per plant will be less than 250 Million dollars. To save the American Southwest we will need about 350 of them, or 87,5 billion dollars total. This cost is included in the total calculation. There will be many more of these plants produced to produce all the electric power to power all the electric vehicles that are going to be built. This is the way to reduce fossil fuel consumption. Just switching to electric vehicles will not do the trick. The electric energy must come from somewhere. To convert all cars and trucks and with unchanging driving habits will require another 600 GW of generating capacity by 2050, our present “net zero emissions” goal.
To do this project we need cooperation from all states in providing eminent domain access. The Federal government will need to approve LFTR as the preferred Nuclear process and streamline approval process from many years to less than one year.
Some of the power will come from solar panels and wind turbines, which will reduce the need for LFTR’s. One tantalizing idea is to cover the aqueduct with solar panels. This will do many things, it will not take up additional acreage, water needed to keep the panels clean is readily available, and can even be used to cool the solar panels if economically beneficial. The area available is 152 feet times 1100 miles = 1.6 billion square feet, and one square foot of solar panel produces around 1 W, which means covering the aqueduct with solar panels would produce 882 MW of power. It would also reduce evaporation. The second source of energy will be 165,000 5kW vertical wind turbines producing 825 MW when the wind is blowing. The rest of the power will cme from LFTRs. This idea requires further analysis. Here is one possible implementation of the idea:
C. Further developments to save the American Southwest.
When the Transcontinental aqueduct is well under way it is time to start the Trans-Rocky-Mountain Aqueduct. in a few years the population growth will require again to save Lake Powell and Lake Mead, and rejuvenate the American South-west.
Lake Powell and Lake Mead will be emptied in less than 10 years with the current usage pattern. Then what?
The hydroelectric power from Lake Mead (and Lake Powell) is diminishing as the lakes are emptied.
the aquifers are drawn down everywhere in the Southwest, but also the Ogallala Aquifer in Colorado and Kansas, and are at risk of being exhausted.
The Colorado River water is too salty for good irrigation .
The Colorado river no longer reaches the Gulf of California. Fishing and shrimp harvesting around the Colorado River Delta is no more.
40 million people depend on the Colorado River for drinking water. The population is still rising rapidly in the West. Will they have water in the future? Think 20 million future population growth in the next 40 years, people want to move there even with the current water problems.
Build a Trans-Rocky-Mountain aqueduct from the Mississippi River to the San Juan River. In the first 391 miles the aqueduct joins the McClellan–Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System by adding the capability of pumping 7,500 cfs of water through 16 dams that service the locks. This will lead to reversing the flow of water during low flow. This also facilitates the navigation channel to be deepened from 9 feet to 12 feet to service fully loaded barges, a step authorized but not funded by Congress. The Arkansas river will then be capable of transporting 8 million acre-ft of water yearly through Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado and New Mexico, supplying water from the Colorado river to Lake Powell. All that is needed to do in this stage is provide the dams and locks with a number of pumps and pump/generators to accommodate this, at a cost of less than 2 billion dollars. The next phase is pumping up water in the Arkansas river for 185 miles. To accommodate this there will be 17 small control dams built that are closed when normal pumping occurs and open during flood conditions. The cost for this segment, including pumps will be less than 3 billion dollars. The third segment is a 465 mile aqueduct to cross the Rocky Mountains much like the Central Arizona project but this aqueduct will carry three times more water 1.27 times the distance and raise the water four times higher. The original Central Arizona Project cost $4.7 billion in 1980’s money, the aqueduct part of the Trans-Rocky-Mountain aqueduct will cost around $50 Billion in 2021 money applying simple scaling up principles.
Power requirements for the 3 stages are 310 MW for the canal stage, 600MW for the river stage and 6.2 GW for the aqueduct stage. The aqueduct stage can be controlled by the power companies to shut off the pumps and provide 6.4 GW of virtual peak power for up to 5 hours a day on average, and each leg can be controlled individually since they are separated by large dams. There will be 64 one hundred MegaWatt LFTR (Liquid Fluoride salt Thorium Rector) power stations strategically stationed along the waterway providing pumping of water for 19 hours and providing virtual hydro-power output for on average 5 hours. There will also be 910 MW of power needed that is controlled by the river authorities.
The building cost of providing LFTR power should be around $2.50 per Watt of installed energy if a plant is built to manufacture via an assembly line a standardized version of 100 MW LFTR reactor core vessels assemblies capable of being transported on truck to the installation point. The total power cost should then be 16 billion dollars to build, and 5 cents per kWh or about 2.5 billion dollars a year to provide power.
The Mississippi River has a bad reputation for having polluted water, but since the clean water act the water quality has improved drastically. Fecal coli-form bacteria is down by a factor of more than 100, the water is now used all the way down to New Orleans for drinking water after treatment. The lead levels are down by a factor of 1000 or more since 1979. Plastic pollution and pharmaceutical pollution is still a problem, as is the case with most rivers. The Ph is back to around 8 and salt content is negligible. Mississippi water is good for irrigation, and usable for drinking water after treatment. The Arkansas River water quality is pretty good, good enough in Kaw Lake to be used for municipal water supply. Nitrates and phosphates are lower than in most Eastern rivers, Ph is around 8 and coli-bacteria low.
Most hydroelectric pumped storage was installed in the 70’s. Now natural gas plants provide most of the peak power. This aqueduct will add 6.4 GW to the U.S. pumped peak storage if virtual peak storage is included. By being pumped from surplus wind and solar energy as well as nuclear energy it is true “Green power”. Some people like that.
What follows is a description of each leg of the aqueduct. Legs 3, 4, 5 and 6 ends in a dam, which holds enough water to make each leg free to operate to best use of available electricity and provide peak power on demand.
Leg 1 of The Trans-Rocky-Mountain aqueduct. From the Mississippi river to Webbers Falls lock and dam. Total length 15miles of aqueduct and 335 miles of river. Cost of water 333 kWh per acre-ft.
Leg 2 of The Trans-Rocky-Mountain aqueduct. From Webbers Falls to Keystone Dam, a distance of about 75 miles that is river and 25 miles, which is canal. Cost of water 593 kWh per acre-ft.
Leg 3 of the Trans-Rocky-Mountain aqueduct. From Keystone Dam to Kaw Dam.The Keystone Lake is 38 miles long and the river part is about 110 miles. Cost of water 901 kWh per acre-ft.
Leg 4 of the Trans-Rocky-Mountain aqueduct. From Kaw Lake to John Martin Reservoir, a distance of about 200 miles. Cost of water 4,446 kWh per acre-ft.
Leg 5 of the Trans-Rocky-Mountain aqueduct. From John Martin Reservoir to Trinidad Lake, a distance of about 120 miles. Cost of water 7,300 kWh per acre-ft.
Leg 6 of the Trans-Rocky-Mountain aqueduct. From Trinidad Lake to Abiquiu Reservoir, a distance of 90 miles. Cost of water 7,910 kWh per acre-ft.
Leg 7 of the Trans-Rocky-Mountain aqueduct. From the Abiquiu Reservoir to the San Juan River, a distance of 55 miles. Cost of water 7,395 kWh per acre-ft.
Once these two aquifers are completed and running successfully filling the rivers again it is time to refill the aquifers. This requires a change in the water rights laws. The rain water is a property of the land and can be locally retained via small catch basins and ditches. This will restore the aquifers, reduce soil erosion and rejuvenate vegetation as has been successfully done in the dry parts of India. They needed to capture the monsoon rains, and so does Arizona and New Mexico.
One more thing:
Build aSouth Platte River aqueduct. This will solve the water needs for the greater Denver ares and help preserve the northern Ogallala aquifer.
The rise in CO2 is on balance positive, it has already helped to keep 2 billion people from starvation. With food famine coming the very worst thing we can do is declare a climate emergency and unilaterally reduce our electric supply eliminating much of our fossil fuel source to produce electricity and at the same time push electric cars.
This cannot be solved unless there will be a deep commitment to Nuclear power, streamline government permit processes and let private industry find the best solutions without government playing favorites and slowing down the process. Regular U235 power is not sufficient for this, Only Thorium power will do, and there are many reasons for it. Here are 30 of them:
My favorite Thorium power plant would be a 100 MW Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor (LFTR). It is also called a Small Modular Reactor (SMR). It is small enough that all core elements will fit in three standard truck containers and be made on an assembly line. It can be constructed many ways, one is a normal fast breeder reactor, another is adapted to burn nuclear waste. The cost for these reactors, when built on an assembly line will be less than $2 per Watt. They can be placed anywhere, since they are inherently safe, no need for an evacuation zone. Since they are operating at 500C temperature with either gas or liquid lead as heat transfer media there is no need for water as a cooling medium. When mass produced it will be able to produce electricity at 5 c per kWh and the mining to produce the materials is a fraction of what is needed for solar, and wind power, especially when taking into account the intermittent nature of these power sources.The only thing better would be fusion power, but that is at least 20 years away as a power producing source, but it is coming. These are exciting times!