With over 1 Million electric cars California is straining its electric grid. Will there be many more black and brown-outs this summer?

California has been promoting the sales of “carbon free” electric cars wit subsidies that in extreme cases has been as high as $57,000 per vehicle, mostly a subsidy for the rich. There are now over 1 million electric vehicles on the road. there is one problem. They use electricity, and it has to come from somewhere, mostly from the electric grid, but in emergencies a diesel generator will do.

They keep talking of supplying the electricity through renewable power, and on April 3 CAISO reported that the California electric grid was served to 97% by non-hydro renewable non carbon emitting energy sources. This was widely reported, mostly by solar panel providers showing that we are on our way to a wonderful carbon free future. See the chart below.

Another way to look at it is to see the renewable sources individually

With the addition of electric cars as grid users, they have to be recharged. This will occur at dinner time for most people, coming home, connecting the car, take a shower, run the air conditioner, run the washer and dryer, and watch TV, the time when the grid is already most strained and the solar panels have stopped supplying energy.

It has already happened once this March that some electric companies in California has asked their customers to not recharge their cars for fear the grid would collapse, see here.

How big is the problem? The Western Journal reports that at least ten states are at risk of major electric outages this summer, among them California with an expected power shortage of up to 1,700 MW during peak hours, see here. California has an ambitious program to build up its capacity in the next ten years, but with the addition of electric cars needing recharging it ia not enough. Here is their proposed build for the next ten years.

A table from the CPUC’s February decision listing planned clean capacity additions. (CPUC) (Canary Media)

The plan is ambitious. Coal is already eliminated as a source of energy. There will be no new Natural gas plants, even for peak power. The remaining two nuclear plants will be decommissioned in 2024 and 2025. From now on they will rely on solar power and battery storage to make the grid “carbon free”.

But there is one big problem. The American South-west is drying up. Lake Mead can only provide power from seven of their 17 turbines, and water is getting lower and lower reducing power output. Lake Powell is precariously close to lose its power generation capacity altogether, the water is that low. But California has a lot of reservoirs:

Unfortunately, most of their water levels are well below seasonal average and are in danger of being unable to provide any power at all in late Summer, like Lake Oroville did last year. Lake Oroville is one lake that has pumping storage, but they let the water levels fall below even the lowest pumping levels.

Historically California has imported a lot of its electric energy, and has one of the highest transmission losses in the nation. but all the surrounding states suffer a similar drought, so hydropower will be hard to obtain. Luckily, the surrounding states have not abandoned all of their coal burning plants, so they are happy to sell peak power to California for up to a dollar a kWh when the demand is high. Even at that price the supply is limited, so California will have to resort to rotating brown and blackouts this summer.

Here is the

Let’s take a look at each of the compounds that contribute to the electric supply and the future trends

Geothermal energy. Limited by available sources.

Heat recovery. Very limited

Hydroelectric power. Lake Mead and Lake Powell are drying up. In then years they are gone unless we do something. There will still be some water in the Colorado River, but the storage is gone. The desertification of the American Southwest will ensure hydropower is diminishing.

Nuclear power. The 2 last remaining Nuclear power plants will be decommissioned in 2024 and 2025.

Solar energy power. This is rapidly growing and will provide an increasing percentage of the total power, but not during peak demand which is in the evening.

Wind power. The best locations are already taken. Wind is good when it blows, but useless on a calm day. During storms sometimes some windmills will have to be shut off because there are no customers for the extra power.

Oil power is negligible and essentially only used as emergency backup power for hospitals and other vital systems.

Demand Response shutoffs. This will have to be increased to maintain a stable grid. California has very few industries that only operate when the cost of electricity is low, so to increase this it will have to be done through variable pricing, like charging two dollars a kWh or so for recharging your car during peak demand.

Pumped storage. The last major pumped storage facilities were made in the 1970’s. Since then it has always been more economical to provide peak power using natural gas. With natural gas prices tripling and still rising it is again worth looking at increasing the pumped storage. California has many dams. they should be upgraded to not only provide water and hydroelectric power, but also provide pumped storage. The best way to do this is to build lower, much smaller dams and pump up water from the lower to the upper reservoir during excess energy production and reverse the flow during peak demand. The energy losses for peak power are 15 to 20%, much less than the price differential between excess power and peak power. There is only one problem. The reservoirs are running out of water when they are needed the most, like in this period of drought.

Battery storage. California is making big investments in batteries, like a contract to supply more than three GW of battery storage. It is not cheap. The cost for batteries is about $1,250 per kWh, so assume the batteries will last 4 hours the investment by my estimate is about 15 billion dollars. The prices for batteries are set to increase rapidly as the supply of raw material is limited, especially Lithium and Cobalt. Since the weight of stationary batteries is unimportant, there will have to be developed lower cost alternatives for stationary batteries. And the research is intense to develop better batteries that do not require as much mining of rare resources.

Coal, California does not use coal anymore for electricity production, but it imports a lot of electric energy, some of which is generated by coal plants. In addition, this power comes from far, far away, so the transmission losses are substantial.

Biofuel. There will be better uses for biofuel than to burn it to produce electricity. Some of it is far too valuable as raw material for recycling. But it takes a lot of power to recycle properly, yet it is necessary to recycle and clean up the environment.

Natural gas. In the past natural gas supplied all the remaining power needed. With the addition of solar and wind, the amount of gas needed was reduced sufficiently still meet the electricity needs. This was fine until solar and wind could supply more than 100% of the electricity needs. The extra energy must then be stored in batteries or peak storage, or that energy would be wasted. This means that from now on every added solar panel or wind turbine must come with an equivalent amount of battery or pumped storage. So to supply the first 10% of California’s electric power needs with solar and wind was cheap, from now on it will be all about battery and pumped storage.

What to do?

The American Southwest has started its desertification. Lake Mead and Lake Powell are soon but a memory. With extreme conservation measures, and limiting water for all, eliminating nearly all irrigation farming and limiting new building the desertification can be lowed down but not halted. Once it has started it will run its course and render the place that was the fastest growing part of America almost uninhabitable for people that want to take showers every now and then, enjoy gardening and having fresh food to eat.

So here is my proposal:

The first is to build a Transcontinental aqueduct, up the Arkansas River to the Colorado River via Arkansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Arizona, supplying water and peak power on the way.

For a detailed description, see here.

Secondly, build a Trans-Rocky Mountain Aqueduct, up the Arkansas River via Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, and New Mexico, to the San Juan River, a tributary to the Colorado River.

For a detailed description, see here.

The Transcontinental aqueduct will provide over 10 million acre-feet of water to the dry Southwest, triple the nation’s pumped water storage and allow the South-west to grow again. The Trans-Rocky Mountain will do likewise, and together they will allow the south-west to keep growing for at least another 50 years. Together with a smaller project , the South Platte river aqueduct they will save the Ogallala aquifer and allow it to keep producing crops for generations to come.

Answers to the Sierra Club full page ad in the local Gazette.

This local Gazette full page ad caught my attention.

As Christians it is our duty to be at peace with everyone if possible and to leave the world a better place than we found it. I totally agree with the Sierra Club that we need to save our planet (NOW). There are certain things we can do, and other things will happen no matter what we do. One of the latter things is Climate Change. I will answer each of the items and then come up with my suggested solution.

2021 one of the hottest years in human history. This is true, if human history starts with the Little Ice Age 800 years ago, but seen over the last 10,000 years, about 8,500 years were hotter. Long term we are entering into another ice age, which is the normal state of our planet.

As evidence from the Medieval warming is “Gården under sanden,” see here. As evidence from the Roman Warm period, see here

Rising sea level. The sea level rise is very uneven in different parts of the world

Up arrows: sea level rise, down arrows: Land rising

As we can see from the picture, most areas of the world experience sea level rise. In the upper Nordic countries, the Hudson Bay area and Alaska the land rises more than 3 feet per century. The North is still recovering from the last Ice Age. The U,S east coast and the northern Mexican Gulf has the largest sea level rise due to tectonic plate movements, but overall sea level rise is not increasing , and is about one foot per century. Besides the fact that most glaciers are decreasing , we are depleting many vulnerable aquifers, and Lake Aral is no more. All this melting and evaporated water ends up in the ocean.

Desertification. After an Aquifer has been used up and depleted, desertification sets in. The rivers that depend on the same aquifers to form and flow finally dry up. Vegetation wilts and dies, and erosion increases until there are only bedrock and sand left. Like Lake Aral began its demise in the 1970’s so the American Southwest is beginning the process now. One side effect of desertification is that the temperature control from well watered forests and grasslands is gone, and the land starts to experience

Heat stress. The people that dwell in the downtown deserts experience the so called urban heat island effect where the temperature can be up to 7 degrees Fahrenheit higher than the surrounding rural areas. This figure shows the extent of the effect:

This can partly explain why Democrats are more adamant about climate change than Republicans. Most Democrats live in urban areas, while Republicans can look at nature and see the wonderful temperature control in nature, water vapor being a condensing gas generates clouds to keep temperature rise within bounds.

Spread of tropical diseases. America is a land of immigrants. I am an immigrant. When I came to America I had with me a tube containing my chest x-rays, proof of negative Wasserman test and a bunch of other medical records. Upon entry at Kennedy Airport the customs officer opened up the tube, took a good look at the chest x-rays and all the medical and immigration records for about 5 minutes not saying a word, during which time the line behind me grew longer and longer. Then he put everything back in the tube, shook my hand and said: Welcome to America! The people that enter illegally may carry with them all kinds of diseases, such as drug resistant tuberculosis, STDs, and many tropical diseases. People entering legally from the Middle East, South Asia, most of Africa and Middle and South America are given a small dose of ivermectin per protocol.

Drought and flooding. America has a problem. The Eastern U.S.A has frequently too much rain, while the American west for the most part is too dry, made worse by multi year droughts. This is mostly because the mountains go north and south blocking the natural weather flows. Droughts and wildfires are not increasing, despite what we see on TV.

Economic losses. The economic losses from losing much of the water for the dry American South West can barely be calculated. It may eventually be in the trillions of dollars.

Severe Storms. No, storms and tornadoes are not increasing, they are just reported better.

Loss of farmland. Whenever a river dries up or an aquifer is exhausted there will be loss of farmland. Another cause is erosion, depleting the fertile topsoil. This is taking place mostly i the drying American West and South West. In the East there is occasional flood damage. Recuse we have made levees rather than letting the land flood and replenishing the soil with new silt the soil becomes depleted from nourishment.

Mass Extinction. Temperature is not the problem, loss of habitat, invasive species and land use changes are major threats, and must be vigilantly monitored to fight back invasive plants and animals, including bugs, fungi and bacteria. There is a problem with wind power. Wind turbines kill birds, and birds are important for a sustainable environment.

Ocean Acidification. Don’t look at us, look at China.

Refugees. Even if U.S. will successfully close the porous borders, there will still be two to three million legal immigrants per year, some of which have waited up to ten years for their immigration. They need to be resettled, and many prefer the dry South West, putting additional pressure on already strained water resources.

International conflict. It is way above my capability to solve international conflicts, but I can pray to God, that He, through the Holy Spirit will lead us into a worldwide revival and awakening, making us think with a sound mind rather than fall for this global insanity. But, since we are called steward the world and leave the world a better place than we entered it I will propose The TransContinental Aqueduct. A realistic way to save Lake Mead and reverse the desertification of the American South West.

It will, when fully built out provide 12 million Acre-feet of water to the American South West. This will save Lake Mead and also provide up to 50 GW of pumped storage power when fully built up. This power will be provided by an optimal mix of Solar, wind and Liquid Fluoride Thorium power to stabilize the net when the electricity demand increases from switching to electric cars and trucks. California has already had their first warning about charging electric cars.

If we switch all cars to electric power we will have to add 1,100 TWh per year to the electric grid. Electricity generated today is about 4,000 TWh per year. The cars will be recharged partly on peak demand, so the need for peak power will increase dramatically.

The difference between Democrats and Republicans? The biggest difference is their view on Climate Change.

The latest Quinnipac University poll showed a remarkable difference in the answer to their greatest concern, especially between Democrats and Republicans. The Question was: In your opinion, what is the most urgent issue facing the country today: COVID-19, inflation, unemployment, climate change, health care, racial inequality, immigration, foreign policy, election laws, the Supreme Court, or crime?

The Democrats greatest concern was Climate Change, followed by Election Laws and Inflation. At the bottom of the list was the Supreme Court.

The Republicans greatest concern was Inflation, followed by Immigration and Crime. At the bottom of the list was Climate Change.

The Independents greatest concern was Inflation, followed by Immigration and COVID-19. At the bottom of the list was Unemployment.

For Blacks there was a tie between COVID-19 and Inflation as their greatest concern, followed by Racial Inequality. At the bottom of the list was the Supreme Court.

And for Hispanics the greatest concern was Inflation, followed by Climate change and COVID-19. At the bottom of the list was Supreme Court.

The biggest concern was Inflation for everybody but Democrats. Their biggest concern was Climate Change, but for Republicans that was the least of their worries.

Why is that?

Some Democrats believe with religious fervor that we have only limited time to solve the climate crisis before we reach the point of no return. Alexandra Occasio Cortez said in January 2019 that if we didn’t abolish fossil fuel asap the world will end in 12 years. There is now less than 9 years left. President Trump ended our part in the Paris accord, and President Biden rejoined it in 2021. If we fulfill all the Paris accord demands, the world temperature, according to the UN agency IPCC will rise 0.05 C cooler by 2030, and a whopping 0.17C less by 2100. See analysis here. Meanwhile, China is in negotiations to buy another 100 million metric tons of Coal from Russia. They consume half the world’s coal mining.

For other Democrats it is another method of gaining control of all production and consumption, the Venezuelan model.

Then there is the sustainability crowd, and they point out the obvious fact, that unless something is done, we will run out of Coal, Oil and Gas sometimes in the not too distant future. Their suggested solution is to build Wind Turbines with generators made in China and western Europe. Solar panels are mostly built in China. But that is not the worst part. To build these generators and solar panels we need rare earth metals, 80% of which come from China. Details here. The problem is what to do when the sun doesn’t shine, which is most of the time, and the wind doesn’t blow. Energy must then be produced by other means. For now it is generated by coal and natural gas plus some diesel generators. Battery technology is not there yet, and hydro-power storage is way inadequate for today’s need.

And then there is John Kerry, who’s greatest fear is that the war in Ukraine will distract us from our greatest threat, Climate Change. His latest concern on Migration: “Wait until you see 100 million people for whom the entire food production capacity has collapsed.”

Some Republicans thank God for the increased CO2 levels because thanks to that the world can now keep an additional 2 billion people from starving. It seems hard to believe, but as food yield increases in greenhouses when additional CO2 is added, so does the greenhouse called earth benefit from more CO2. Don’t believe me? Look at this map:

This means more roots for plants, less erosion, and more food for animals. The exception is desert areas.

Others have noticed that the dire predictions from IPCC, a UN Climate Change Panel, have always been way off base. The temperature increase, while real has always been way below what is predicted. It is predicted that the largest temperature increases occur at the poles, so this summer the South Pole had its coldest winter on record. A weather station at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station registered record cold winter temperatures this season (April – September), averaging at -61.1 °C (-77.9 °F) and breaking the previous record set in 1976 at -60.6 °C (-77 °F). Weather records date back to 1957. The North Pole on the other hand is experiencing a warmer trend, but only in the winter. The summers are marginally cooler, but that is because there is more now to melt. Yes, the Snow over the Arctic is increasing. See the chart from Rutgers Snow Lab:

These are but a few of the differences in opinion concerning Climate change. Let’s see where democrats and republicans live. If we look at the 2020 voting results the map looks nearly all Republican: (84% of the counties voted Republican)

Yet there were more Democrat votes cast than Republican. This is because the largest counties population wise vote Democrat and they experience Climate Change big time thanks to the so called Urban Heat Island effect:

This is late afternoon, somewhere in Urban USA.

People living in the rural America do not experience the Urban Heat Island effect, so they tend to dismiss the constant drumbeat from PBS, everything bad is because of climate change as just idle talk. What do they know; they are stuck in their asphalt jungle complaining about how bad things are. The rural people remember how their grandparents used to say it was much worse in the thirties, heatwave after heatwave and everything dried up. And dust storms and wildfires were much worse. Not to mention the winters, the Mississippi river froze all the way down to New Orleans. We have never has it so good as it is now. Poor Urban Heat Island dwellers.

The Democrats solution to Climate Change is: Eliminate CO2 emissions from fossil fuels and replace with wind and solar but not nuclear power. All cars trucks, trains and busses should be electric. This is impossible.

Republicans want to gradually lessen our dependency of fossil fuel and make electric production come from Nuclear power, preferably small modular Thorium reactors. They have many advantages explained here. There are immense environmental problems, it is not CO2 or even Methane, but water. The American South-west has too little water for its growing population and the east US has sometimes too much. One possible solution is described here.

When will we be ready for electric cars?

Are we finally ready for the electric car?

Boy are we advancing in leaps and bounds:

Here is the Roberts electric car, built 1896.

It gets 40 miles to the charge.

Let us see, where does our electricity come from? In 2017 the sources were:

Coal, oil and gas 62%, Nuclear 20%, Hydroelectric 7%, Wind 6%, Solar 2% and all other sources, geothermal, wood and other biomass 3%.

Coal, and natural gas are the staples of electricity generation and will remain so for the foreseeable future until a suitable replacement has been developed.

Hydroelectric power is mostly built up and will not provide much more generation capacity. However, many dams can be augmented with peak storage capacity to even out the supply. Many of these improvements are highly profitable since they buy surplus power at low cost and sell back peak power at peak power price.

Wind power is at 7%, but there is a cost associated with that. The annual bird kill associated with wind turbines is about 1.3 million birds, the bald eagle and other large birds may again be threatened or endangered if we increase wind power substantially. Already some rare bats are endangered. The Audubon society has given it its blessing, after all, in their opinion climate change is more of a danger than the extinction of bird species.

Solar power shows some promise. The large solar concentrator power plants kill all birds that come near the hot spot, and have some other problems. Photovoltaic cells on the south facing roofs fulfill an important role. In a case of failure of the grid they can provide a limited emergency power and  they are already important for people living off the grid like the Amish and mountain dwellers. Putting up large solar farms in the desert seems like a good idea, but they need a good supply of water to be cleaned or they will be dirtied up, lowering their efficiency. Fully built up solar power can supply up to 10% of the electricity needs but that is about the practical limit.

Geothermal provides less than 1/2% of our power supply. Unfortunately geothermal energy is most abundant in geologically unstable regions.

Wood and biomass power is no real solution if you are concerned about CO2 emissions. It is better to build houses from wood, trapping the cellulose forever.

There is an old technology we can learn from the North Koreans. They enclose the cow dung and other compost and use the generated Methane for stove fuel. Recovering Methane from landfills can produce 0.1 to 0.4% of our energy.

Why am I down on electric cars? First, the energy to drive the car must have been produced somehow. As long as we use coal to produce electricity there will be more CO2 in the air with electric cars than with diesel powered cars. Second, electric cars are heavier than corresponding gasoline powered cars and have less room. Third, it takes an awful lot of mining to produce all the rare materials that goes into a modern battery. The energy used  to mine and refine all the raw materials that goes into an electec car is more than can be saved during the lifetime of the car. This too takes a lot of energy and leaves scars on the landscape. Finally, batteries last only so long and are expensive, leading to a much more expensive car to purchase and maintain.

The same arguments can be raised against solar and wind power. It takes more energy to mine and refine the materials than the equipment generate since they generate the electricity when they want, not when the need is there.

Are we doomed? Not at all. As oil and gas is becoming depleted, we should build up the nuclear power plants, not with old Uranium based nuclear plants with all their nuclear waste, but with small, distributed Thorium based plants.

Why Thorium?

We are a net importer of Uranium, even before we sold 20% of our Uranium ore to Russia. With Thorium there is a million years supply available, and it requires no extra mining since it is found in rare earth metal ores, which will bear the mining costs. They have 0.01% as much nuclear waste as uranium based plants and are earthquake safe and much less vulnerable to sabotage. They also respond much better to demand fluctuations. As the plants would be more distributed it would lessen the need for an expanded electric grid, which is unbelievably vulnerable to sabotage. The long and short of it: Go Thorium and when that is fully built up, then develop Electric cars!

In the mean time develop trucks with electric backup so they can accelerate faster in stop and go traffic and regenerate energy when braking rather than use jake brakes. In confined spaces they could then use only electric for maneuvering. . Other candidates: Buses, trolleys and delivery vehicles would also benefit from this technique.

Duck, Duck, Go bankrupt, California’s energy policy.

Depend on renewable power

is chancy in sunshine or shower.

California’s surge

is becoming a scourge;

the losses add up every hour.

It started innocently enough. In 2012 the California power demand was nearly constant, with power varying 20% from maximum to minimum hourly demand.

Image result for duck curve california

Then California decided to have 50% of renewable energy by 2030, mostly by solar and wind, and passed it into law, but the hydroelectric capacity could not be increased due to “environmental concerns”.

The push for renewable energy has succeeded beyond their wildest dreams, so the goal may be met in 2020, not 2030. There is one major problem.

What can be done when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine? The electric need must still be met. And therein lies the problem. The sun only shines during daytime, and there is already a surplus of energy in the middle of the day. This affects the prices for peak power, so mush so, that wind and sun generated energy has to pay to feed the grid. They are heavily subsidized, so as long as the amount they have to pay is less than the subsidy the grid will be fed, and the base generation will have to be lowered to stabilize the grid. The prices range from minus five cents/kWh to about 55 c/kWh. (The peak price has been as high as 98 c/kWh during peak demand.

Image result for duck curve california

Burt that is only part of the problem. The non-renewable electricity providers will have to double the electricity production every day between 5 and 8 p.m. every day. Using capacitors to even out the grid variations solves 0.3% of the problem.Some can be done by using the dams for power generation, but the grid is not built to handle the drastically increased demand, and environmental fights makes it impossible to build out the grid. In addition, the dams are far away from the areas that need the electricity, in other words, it is a mess.

And the consumer is left to pay the extra costs, and the taxpayer is left to pay the extra subsidies.

Talking about subsidies: Electric cars are subsidized to the tune of 2500 to 7500 dollars, and they are recharged when? They are driven mostly during daytime, and when people come home they are put in the charger – at 55 c/kWh to the utility.

Clean energy is not cheap, and it is not clean since the non renewable electric production capacity still has to be fully built up for the time when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow.

The electric car. Is it good or bad Karma?

The electric car. Is it good or bad Karma?

Boy are we advancing in leaps and bounds:

Here is the Roberts electric car, built 1896.

It gets 40 miles to the charge.

116 years later, how far have we come in battery development?

Most electricity is produced by burning coal.  Much peak electricity is produced by burning natural gas. We have recently discovered large quantities of shale deposits. One of the chief developer  of the North Dakota deposits is Mr. Hamm, CEO of Continental Resources, who at one time had a brief talk with President Obama. Mr. Hamm told Obama of the revolution in the oil and gas industry and how we have the capacity to produce enough oil to enable America to replace OPEC. He wanted to make sure that the President knew about this.

The President’s reaction? He turned to Mr. Hamm and said: ‘Oil and gas will be important for the next few years. But we need to go on to green and alternative energy. [Energy] Secretary [Steven] Chu has assured me that within five years, we can have a battery developed that will make a car with the equivalent of 130 miles per gallon.’

116 years after the Roberts electric car we have the 2012 Chevrolet Volt. It gets 36 miles to the charge.

But it is not over yet.

The latest entry in the electric car business is the Fisker Karma. It sports 32 miles to the charge.  When running on electricity, the claim is it gets the equivalent of 54 miles per gallon. After that it has a regular sports car engine that gives 20 MPG. What does that last statement mean? Batteries store energy and can never be more than 100% efficient. There is a loss of energy when you charge them and a loss of energy when you discharge them. The energy is typically produced by burning coal. By charging batteries you need to keep old coal burning plants in production longer. The average energy efficiency of an aging coal plant is 31%, the transmission losses are about 8% and battery efficiency is about 75%. When electric car companies calculate MPG equivalency they only take into account the battery efficiency. For the Karma the total energy efficiency equivalence would not be 56 MPG, but 16 MPG.

For now the Karma will be built in Finland, with a half billion dollar loan guarantee from the Federal Government. After one year this energy guzzler is supposed to be built in Delaware. Maybe it will be as popular as the Chevy Volt, which is on track to sell 6000 vehicles this year.

There already exists a car that claim 135 miles per gallon equivalent fuel consumption.

(The picture to the right shows the Tesla in a car crash in of all places Aalbaek, Denmark. The Tesla is at the bottom.)

The car is Tesla, a new car company set up privately in 2003. It got a 465 million dollar Federal loan guarantee in 2009, but has yet to turn a profit. The car is all electric, and gets up to 300 miles to a charge.  It can be yours for a mere $109500 plus taxes, but you will get a 7500 dollar federal tax rebate unless you live in Colorado where you will get an additional 40000 dollars in state and local tax rebate. The car is sold to rich playboys, who use it as the ultimate chick attractor, and the making of the car is financed on borrowed money. If one is to include the losses in producing the 4000 cars sold thus far, the cost per car approaches 200000. But fear not. One of the sources of income for Tesla is the sale of zero emission credits to other car companies so they can meet their emission standards. It is the new round of charlatans selling indulgences so the global governance can be realized.

Why am I down on electric cars? First, the energy to drive the car must have been produced somehow. As long as we use coal to produce electricity there will be more CO2 in the air with electric cars than with diesel powered cars. Second, electric cars are heavier than corresponding gasoline powered cars and have less room. Third, it takes an awful lot of mining to produce all the rare materials that goes into a modern battery. This too takes a lot of energy and leaves scars on the landscape. Fourth, batteries last only so long and are expensive leading to a much more expensive car to purchase and maintain.

The same arguments can be raised against solar and wind power. It takes more energy to mine and refine the materials than the equipment generate since they generate the electricity when they want, not when the need is there.

Are we doomed? Not at all. As oil and gas is becoming more and more expensive, especially if the Middle East cuts off its supply, we should build up the nuclear power plants, not with old Uranium based nuclear plants with all their nuclear waste, but with small, distributed thorium based plants. They have 0.01% as much nuclear waste as uranium based plants and are earthquake safe and much less vulnerable to sabotage. They also respond much better to demand fluctuations. As the plants would be more distributed it would lessen the need for an expanded electric grid, which is unbelievably vulnerable to sabotage. The long and short of it: Go Thorium and then Electric cars!