Jun. 9, 2022

Ending fossil fuel – that warm-all-over feeling doesn’t last

Blissful ignorance is a threat to society – people virtue signalling without knowing the full impact of what they are promoting.

The big campaign in recent years has been the obsession with eliminating fossil fuel use through conversion to other sources of energy. Billions and billions are being spent to convert to electric vehicles without the infrastructure to service such a shift. One of the worst impacts of that switchover is that governments feel it’s their duty to provide charging stations rather than leaving it to private enterprise. If there’s demand the private sector is sure to step up to the plate.

The current electricity grid cannot carry the needed volume, never mind upgrading multiple-family living facilities at massive investments to accommodate EV charging services. Just another obstacle in the way of affordable housing. It has been stated that we’ll need half a dozen more Site C dams to satisfy the demand.

Sixty per cent of the electricity in Canada is generated from hydro sources. The remainder comes from a variety of sources, including natural gas, nuclear, wind, coal, biomass, solar, and petroleum. Canada has the fourth largest installed capacity of hydropower in the world. So no matter how well-intentioned we may be, 40 per cent of our electricity still comes from fossil fuel sources.

In the United States, Renewable energy sources account for only about 11 per cent of total energy production from a lot of different sources including wind and solar power, as well as geothermal energy, hydropower, and biofuels like ethanol. Sixty-one per cent of U.S. electricity is generated from fossil fuels – 38 per cent of that from natural gas and 22 per cent from coal. There’s a contradiction in using high-carbon-emitting coal to create so-called clean energy.

Nuclear-powered energy accounts for less than 20 per cent of U.S. electric energy production. The United States has 99 active commercial nuclear reactors in about 30 states from coast to coast with a handful of new reactors in the building process. This form of energy production boasts efficient energy production while emitting no carbon dioxide or controlled pollutants.

This is where the blissful ignorance comes in. Creating clean energy from fossil fuels only shifts the source to the 61 per cent generated from fossil fuels. And it takes way more coal to produce electricity than it does to run a car.

That’s nothing to say about the production sources used to build electric vehicle components and batteries which at this point require massive amounts of chemicals and minerals, and worse  still, are non-disposable.

The demand for electricity will skyrocket as large portions of the transportation sector convert. There are not enough non-fossil sources available to fulfil the expected demand over the long haul, thus more coal and natural gas needed to satisfy the demand – and thereby adding to pollution as demand goes up.

The whole philosophy of eliminating fossil fuel sources is like wetting the bed – it feels warm all over at the start but it soon becomes awfully uncomfortable.

What lies in store for future energy needs?