The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) was established in 1992; followed by 1997’s Kyoto Protocol; ultimately leading to 2015’s Paris Agreement, the first paragraph of which states the Parties are Party to the original 1992 UNFCC. So, what progress has the U.S. made since 1992 in alternative energy gains? The answer is not much.
Per U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports from 1993 through 2010 using data compiled by the Office of Management and Budget; and Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports from 2008 through 2014 as cited by Mr. Kenneth Haapala in a 2013 climatedollars.org article entitled U.S. Government Funding of Climate Change (See link below);
The combined reports show total U.S. government expenditures on climate change of $166 billion in 2012 equivalent dollars from FY 1993 through FY 2014. Note that FY 2014 numbers were estimated, since the shambles of shoddy D.C. accounting practices since 2014 render further government estimates unverifiable… and we still call this self-government? This enormous pile of wasted or fraudulent U.S. tax dollars averaging nearly $8 billion annually from FY 1993 through FY 2014 has garnered what in terms of positive Main Street, alternative energy results? Very little!
2019’s most efficient solar panels carry an efficiency rating of just over 22%, with most panels averaging in the 15% to 17% range. Researchers claim lab results showing efficiencies as high as 46% but admit the exorbitant material expense is financially prohibitive for practical applications. Bell Lab’s early 1954 solar panels carried efficiency ratings of about 6% – so in 65 years, nearly ¾ of a century, our tens of billions of U.S. climate change dollars have netted a Main Street gain in solar panel efficiency of 14%; an average increase of 0.20% annually.
How on earth do solar panel designers remain on someone’s payroll in light of this pathetic performance? The distressing answer is unaccountable government subsidies.
How as citizens do we not ask if continued U.S. government subsidization of this catastrophic development failure is waste or fraud? I don’t attend the meetings so don’t know, but in any case, the American people are getting hosed. These billions of tax dollars aren’t even tracked. They’re not audited. As citizens, we have no idea whose pockets these billions of dollars are disappearing into but clearly, they’re not spent on legitimate, usable alternative energy research. Maybe this should change?
I’m not defending fossil fuels here as coal fired power plants using the modified Rankine thermodynamic cycle are only rated in the efficiency range of 32% to 42%, roughly triple the efficiency of solar panels, but still horrible. In today’s world solar energy runs from a low of $0.21/kWh to a high of $0.35/kWh. On-shore wind energy runs about $0.17/kWh but is notoriously unreliable; natural gas about $0.70/kWh and conventional geothermal about $0.08/kWh.
My question for Washington D.C. is: why are green energy advocates not pushing for testing of supercritical geothermal energy via already patented, closed system technology capable of producing electricity for $0.045/kWh with an environmental emission of nothing more than clean water? A 3,000 MW supercritical temperature geothermal TEST PLANT can be constructed for less than $1 billion in many locations. A new nuclear power plant, by the way, runs upward of $10 billion to design and construct. What is wrong with us? Are we deaf, dumb and blind? Do we enjoy being hosed?
$166 billion dollars could have provided more than 160 new supercritical temperature geothermal power plants producing more than 480,000 MW of electricity every hour of every day. Instead we have 65-years of expensive failure since 1954. The sad truth is the rest of the world is doing much worse, with most countries not able or not willing to contribute anything at all toward alternative energy development.
SO, NO, THE PARIS AGREEMENT IS NOT WORKING – BUT IT COULD IF THE SILENT MAJORITY WEREN’T QUITE SO SILENT. The choice is ours.
If you’re tired of getting hosed by your own government and would like to learn more about producing clean, cost-effective energy in terms of Paris Agreement objectives, please visit us at: www.zgroupenergy.com. Thanks so much for following our clean energy blog.