Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Where's Waldo? April 16, 2019

Link here.

I'm somewhat disappointed in the graph below. Note, this graph comes from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, a highly respected laboratory, and the US government. Even the URL is ".gov."

But yet these is something very wrong about the graphic. Do you see what is wrong with this graphic? It is difficult to see on this graphic; you really have to download the image (at the link) to see the error.

Some may consider it a very subtle manipulation. I don't know.

But note: the graphic is not to scale. Look at the source blocks at the left for solar, nuclear, hydro, wind, geothermal, and biomass. The six blocks differ very, very slightly in size but for the most part, the rectangles for those six sources of energy are all the same size. Biomass at slightly more than 5 quads should be five times the size of solar at slightly less than 1 quad.

I mis-read the graphic the first time. It appears that the "solar" rectangle is the same size, or perhaps even larger than the "nuclear" rectangle. It's almost impossible to read unless you download the actual graphic, but it appears to be 8.44 quads.

So, the solar source is 0.949 quads and the nuclear source is 8.44 quads and yet the boxes are nearly the same size, and because of the color or actual size, the solar box appears to be bigger than the nuclear box.

Once that is pointed the rest if obvious. Obvious distortion. The petroleum box should be almost 40x the solar box; in fact, the petroleum box is about 5x the solar box.

The wind box should be 2.5x the size of the solar box, and the two are almost equal in size.

Solar should be 5x the size of the geothermal box, and yet the two are almost equal in size.

I may be misreading something, but I've looked at it several times and that's what I'm seeing.

The narrative is even worse. The ".gov" or Lawrence Livermore is certainly trying -- it appears -- to establish a narrative and an agenda.

If you can't read the numbers for the boxes at the left, here they are:
  • solar: 0.949
  • nuclear: 8.44
  • hydro: 2.69
  • wind: 2.53
  • geothermal: 0.217
  • natural gas: 31
  • coal: 13.3
  • biomass: 5.13
  • petroleum: 36.9
Not perfect rounding but if I had a 30-second elevator speech:
  • petroleum: 40%; almost half
  • natural gas: 30%
  • petroleum and natural gas together: 70%
  • coal: 15%
  • petroleum, natural gas, coal, together: 80%
  • wind: 3% 
  • wind: 2.5x solar
  • solar: inconsequential
Oh, did I forget geothermal?

No, not even enough to make my 30-second elevator speech.

Pocahontas: wants to ban drilling for oil and natural gas on federal land.

Headline: Democratic presidential candidate wants to ban oil drilling.


  1. Friend of mine here in Montana uses a geothermal system to heat his home. Works great for him.
    Have always said that all the alt energy sources can be applied on individual basis and be effective. Even considering putting a solar panel on my garage so I dont have to hard wire it from my house.
    Where alt energy goes sideways is trying to extrapolate single use efficiency into mass use scale. The math simply does not add up, and IMHO never will

    1. Agree completely. Solar has so many incredible niches to fill -- particularly opening / closing gates on ranches, as just one example.

      But "central planning" with "five-year plans" from Washington, DC, just doesn't "cut it" for me.