On Scientific Method: Comment on Hawkins

By Jon Boone -- February 24, 2016 9 Comments

“’Unaccountable statistics’ [are] statistical goulash that sounds tangy and sophisticated but is actually bereft of substance, and used to make predictions that are almost never accounted for. Any number of ‘scientific’ renewable energy reports, from NREL to Stanford to MIT, are of this kind.”

Kent Hawkins’s post yesterday, “Science, Advocacy, and Public Policy,” defends the scientific method against both political correctness and the misuses of the method, often by people who claim to be scientists. This is a major issue in the current energy and climate debate where exaggeration and bias go hand-in-hand. I wish to add support to Hawkins’s theses in light of some of science’s nuanced complexity.

Scientific Inquiry

Here’s how a few mainly twentieth century scientists defined the purpose of scientific inquiry:

“Science is the disinterested search for the objective truth about the material world.”–Richard Dawkins;

“The less one knows about the universe, the easier it is to explain.”–Leon Brunschvicg;

“Theories crumble, but good observations never fade.”—Harlow Shapley.

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AWEA Transmission Study: The Rest of the Story

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- June 22, 2017 5 Comments

The much touted benefits of wind come with a fatal caveat: industrial wind turbines–suffering from intermittency, low average-usage factors, remote siting, relatively high (and all-up-front) costs–are uneconomic. So the fact that the Wind industry creates jobs and can piggyback on consumer-chosen, taxpayer-neutral, baseload power is no consolation.

The starting point of economics is that wants exceed resources. Market prices are therefore needed to allocate resources. Out of a wide range of technical possibilities (including wind-produced electricity), only a small subset is economic desirable as well. Think of a bullet train from Los Angeles to New York City–technically possible but uneconomic when compared to air travel. Only freely acting consumers in a government-neutral marketplace can decide the difference.

The new study cosponsored by the American Wind Energy AssociationElectricity Markets, Reliability, and the Evolving U.S.

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Federal Energy Efficiency Mandates: DOE’s End Run vs. the Public Interest (Part II)

By Mark Krebs and Tom Tanton -- January 31, 2017 11 Comments

“Perhaps most important is the self-fulfilling prophesy: if renewables are made to look more attractive, they’ll increase in actual use. As they increase in use, according to the EERE Guidance document but not reality, they look more favorable. Rinse and repeat.”

“The net effect of the “guidance” is to artificially discriminate against one of America’s most abundant and cleanest energy forms, natural gas.”

“… we believe DOE should rescind this report and any applications of it within Federal policies and regulations.”

Part 2 identifies some of the more egregious technical flaws in EERE’s “Accounting Conventions for Non-Combustible Renewable Energy Use.” Part I yesterday discussed process deficiencies.

Despite the innocuous appearance of an RFI, what EERE ultimately did was to issue a “Technical Report” which, in fact, is more far-reaching than just “guidance” and would impact a multitude of state and federal programs.

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Lake Erie Wind Turbines? Complaints Pour In (Part I: Overview)

By Sherri Lange -- October 18, 2016 12 Comments

“Groups fighting any industrialization of the Lakes … are requesting that federal funding for this expensive boondoggle, estimated to eventually run up to $125 million, or about $25 million for each turbine, be immediately truncated, and that a complete audit of existing monies granted be undertaken with fulsome reporting to taxpayers.”

“There is absolutely NOTHING ecologically friendly about an industrial wind turbine. It is designed for one thing: profits.”

The Icebreaker Windpower project, proposed by the Norway-based Fred. Olsen Renewables, would be the first proposed freshwater wind turbine project in the United States. The proposal, however, is running into serious opposition from ratepayer, taxpayer, and environmental groups.

As an offshore project (six turbines about seven miles off the shore of Cleveland Ohio), it should be compared to the $0.24/kWh cost debacle of Rhode Island’s Deepwater Wind project that is about to begin production.

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Offshore Wind Decommissioning: The Bad End of a Bad Technology

By -- April 21, 2016 5 Comments Continue Reading

MasterResource Turns Five

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- December 26, 2013 5 Comments Continue Reading

Energy Strategy: Begin with Density

By Jerry Graf -- August 21, 2013 6 Comments Continue Reading

4Q-2012: Continued Progress at MasterResource

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- January 18, 2013 1 Comment Continue Reading

Electricity Policy Prime Time: Part II–Analytical, Process & Supply Issues

By Ken Malloy -- August 22, 2012 8 Comments Continue Reading

'Determined Gentleman' vs. Big Wind (E&E News Profiles Droz, Taylor)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- June 27, 2012 5 Comments Continue Reading