I have earlier expressed my dissatisfaction with the integrated assessment modeling in the context of climate change. Way too many modelers hide insane and poorly justified assumptions into models and then pretend the outcome is “science”. Recent Nature energy paper by Grubler et al. titled “A low energy demand scenario for meeting the 1.5 °C target and sustainable development goals without negative emission technologies” seems to provide another example of this. I read the paper with interest, but then noticed something in small print on the last page.”Estimates for present-day and mature technology  costs are from the GEA and World Energy Outlook. Assumptions for granular technologies, which include solar PV, small-scale hydrogen production, fuel cells  and heat pumps, and distributed energy storage, such as batteries or fuel cells,  were updated from SSP2 to reflect the more dynamic storyline of the LED scenario.

Hmmm…granular…dynamic storyline…sounds suspicious. Maybe I have to read the supplementary as well. Then from the page 80 of the 122 page supplementary I find the actual cost assumptions. Grubler et al. assume solar PV installed cost of 50$/kW post 2050! This is around 30 times lower than the current costs. (Who cares if its a factor 20 or 40?) Obviously if you wish to make a claim that scenario with lots of solar is economical it helps to invent your own costs so that you get whatever you desire as an outcome. To illustrate how extreme their assumption is, below I compare it with some other projections. (“Breyer” refers to numbers Christian Breyer, a solar advocate from Lappeenranta University of Technology, uses. Greenpeace report was written together with European Photovoltaic Industry Association.)  Grubler et al. assume costs that are an order of magnitude lower than even EPIA+Greenpeace project. Even Breyer’s (finnish equivalent of Mark Jacobson) most optimistic dreams imply around 6 times higher costs.

I am sorry. You assumed what?


To me the cost assumption does not even seem consistent with learning curves (which should be treated with caution in any case).

If one makes such extreme assumptions one would expect extensive discussion and justifications for this. Certainly one should present result with and without such assumptions to see how sensitive results are for those funny assumptions. However, in the Grubler et al. paper this was done quietly and hidden in the supplementary where it is justified with…”The technology portfolio choice in MESSAGE is informed by modifying particular granular and economies‐of‐scope technologies for the LED scenario (Supplementary Table 28) whose stationary cost trends in the original SSP2 scenario was judged non‐compliant with the LED scenario storyline. All other technologies not listed in Supplementary Table 28 have been retained at their original (quite conservative) SSP2 values (e.g. for the year 2050: wind 500 $/kW, nuclear 2600 $/kW, biomass power plants 1200 $/kW, etc.), an assumption in line with keeping LEDs emphasis on efficiency and demand, and granular, decentralized supply options and new organizational IT and digital economy models of combining supply and demand, e.g. in grid‐to‐vehicles but also vehicles‐to‐grids options or other distributed storage options (e.g. hydrogen based).”Cruise.gifSo basically there is no other reason than authors narrative desires. Adding buzzwords “granular”, “organizational IT” etc. does nothing to strengthen the argument. If someone would make a scenario where nuclear power in 2050 would cost 170$/kW (from about 5000$/kW today), he would be laughed at. Probably most outraged would be nuclear engineers with actual understanding of the matters. You do the same with renewables and instead facing ridicule you land your paper in Nature Energy. Hopefully this example does not reflect the intellectual standards of the IAM community.


P.S. I encourage you to have a look at the numbers in their database as well https://db1.ene.iiasa.ac.at/LEDDB. I do not understand those cost assumptions. Sometimes coal prices are negative, sometimes positive, sometimes they are positive in the south, negative in the north…sigh. Also, 4Gt sink seems to magically appear from afforestation. Big if true.


People building integrated assessment models (IAMs) for IPCC (among others) nowadays use set of narratives called “Shared socioeconomic pathways” (SSPs). These narratives are used to justify inputs, assumptions, and constraints of the models. There appears to be 5 set of narratives with a goal of “covering the uncertainty space of challenges to adaptation and mitigation.” or “spanning a relevant range of uncertainty in societal futures”. I do not think they succeed at this sufficiently well. These narratives influence the outcomes of the models, but are naturally mainly windows into modellers minds and I am at difficulty in seeing what their point even is. They do encourage pigeonholing discussions around the narratives, but why would that be a good thing? Well, be that as it may, a brief summary of the narratives the way I see them:


Shared socioeconomic pathways according to O’Neill et al.

  • SSP 1: This is clearly where good moral people are supposed to migrate. Word salad of lovely buzzwords. Assumes efficiency and carbon intensities far outside historical norms and seems to have inexplicably internalized anti-nuclear bias as if this would have something to do with the stated goals of sustainability and inclusive development. Interestingly it is also a narrative of fairly high economic growth. Certainly not dramatically different from SSP 2.
  • SSP 2: “Middle of the road”…well that is not inspiring, but at least there is some attempt to stick to historical norms on issues like carbon intensity and efficiency improvements. Narrative for middle aged men in gray suits.
  • SSP 3: This is the dystopia. Only bad person would like this to happen. I will mostly skip this.
  • SSP 4: Here you have some pro-nuclear assumptions, but strangely it is coupled to a scenario with increasing inequalities. How this happened is unclear.
  • SSP 5: “Fossil-fueled development—Taking the highway”. This one in fact has plenty of socially progressive elements (just like SSP 1), but as a poison pill it is attached to fossil fuels by assumption. This has more globalization than SSP 1 and has an emphasis on competition. High economic growth so that GDP at 2100 can be substantially higher than in SPP 1.
PowerPoint Presentation

How the carbon intensity and energy intensities develop in different narratives? SSP 2 and SSP 4 baselines seem to start from historical norms. SSP 1 way off.

SSP 1 seems to have many nice things I endorse, but sadly I am afraid it is riddled in internal conflicts. The stated aims are not clearly consistent with what is actually fed into the computers. Case in point – bioenergy. Relating to SSP 1 modellers state: “The choice to interpret the SSP1 storyline consistent with the “global sustainability” scenario family is consistent with the storyline described in O’Neill et al. (2017). For instance, the important role for bio-energy, renewables and CCS (in the climate policy case) perfectly fit in this interpretation of the SSP1 storyline…” What? Some of the modelling results can be explored in this database. So lets have a look.

Screen Shot 2018-03-13 at 13.28.45

The 2.6 scenarios of the SSP 1 narrative typically see huge increases in biomass burning over the baseline. Very large fraction of this is supposed to happen with carbon capture which starts within next decade.

So SPP 1 narratives (and most others) typically end up with colossal role for bioenergy and so that very large fraction of that is equipped with carbon capture. Words: “sustainable path”, “respects environmental boundaries”, “lower resource intensity”. Actions: increase human appropriation of primary productivity massively without any serious consideration of social or ecological impacts. I spot a fairly serious problem here and this is a problem that has been around for a while (read my earlier observations on this here). Incentives for huge increases in bioenergy are created, but miraculously this would not affect food production or its yield development in any negative way and nor would it cause ecological damage worth mentioning. Gratefully criticism of this recklessness has been mounting and for a fresh summary I encourage you to read the column by Chelsey Harvey in the Scientific American.


Some typical bioenergy projections. Insanity across the narratives. All within planetary boundaries of course. #sarcasm


Implications of bioenergy expansion. Less natural habitats and more bioenergy plantations than farms for crops. Bioenergy volumes around 4x the crop volumes.

As I explored the narratives I noticed that I have been written out of existence. There is no narrative that represents me! An omission of this magnitude is clearly intolerable and I will try to start fixing it here. Below I provide a draft of my favoured narrative, but in case someone wishes to draft a better one, here is a link to a document and you are free to suggest improvements. Since SSP 1 assumes unjustified limitations on the acceptable toolboxes both technologically as well as socially, my narrative implies lower challenges to both mitigation and adaptation.


Fixed it! Umpihanki refers to a famous poem by Aaro Hellaakoski “Tietä käyden tien on vanki, vapaa on vain umpihanki.” Poor translation could be “Going by the road is to be imprisoned by the road, only free is the unbroken snow.”

SSP X – The missing pathway :

After a period of confusion world shifts towards prioritizing inclusive development and minimization of ecological damage. This transition is driven by increasing awareness of the endemic failure of climate policies as well as dissatisfaction in economic arrangements broadly considered as unfair and counter-productive. Educational and health investments accelerate the demographic transition, leading to a relatively low population. Driven by an increasing commitment to achieving development goals, inequality is reduced both across and within countries. At the same time, the improvements in human well-being, along with strong and flexible global, regional, and national institutions imply low challenges to adaptation. World places increasing faith in innovation and participatory societies to produce rapid technological progress and development of human capital as the path to sustainable development. There are also strong investments in health, education, and institutions to enhance human and social capital. International mobility is increased by gradually opening up labor markets as income disparities decrease.

Focus on results drives people towards pragmatic solutions and away from predetermined acceptable toolboxes and pathways. Grand narratives are seen as a sources of amusement and aids for imagination, but humanity is not constraint by them. All ecologically low impact tools for mitigation and adaptation are accepted, including non-biomass renewable energy, nuclear power, CCS, GMOs, and geoengineering as well as social changes influencing, for example, diets, car ownership, and urban planning. People realize the fundamental value of the broad set of options for themselves as well as for future generations.

How much is invested in which tool is a question approached pragmatically so that benefits are maximized relative to costs. World tries to learn as much as possible from the past experiences which implies planning based on historical trends for, for example, carbon and energy intensities and tools are evaluated according to their success in promoting deep decarbonization and human well-being.

Focus on effective decarbonization and adaptation lowers costs and reduces political obstacles for successful climate policies by reducing the political polarization around climate change. Pragmatism and humbleness towards our ability to predict and control the future, leads to policies providing broad support for R&D on mitigation and adaptation. Increased investments in broad technology portfolios lower the costs of technologies and guide future decisions on which solutions to scale rapidly. Uncertainty in projections makes people wary of allowing dreams of potential future technological solutions to constrain mitigation and adaptation portfolios today.

Increased environmental and social awareness implies desire to reduce biomass use and uncouple human activities from the biosphere. To support this, intensification of food production is strongly encouraged together with dietary changes towards plant based diets. Understanding the near term limitations of negative emissions, this narrative might be inconsistent with 2 degree goal. However, consistent with the narratives priorities, social and ecological goals take precedence over inflexible climate targets. Possible absence of 2 degrees (or 1.5 degrees) scenarios is not considered a failure, but a realistic acknowledgement of the situation.

Faster realization of failure, drives deeper understanding of the need for dramatic policy changes as well as for the long term need for adaptation and mitigation extending likely hundreds of years into the future. This values driven pragmatism implies faster mitigation and adaptation measures on the ground than in alternative narratives with impressive mitigation on spreadsheets. To promote longer term thinking, active policies are pursued to reduce scarcity mentality. This implies removing real scarcity among the most poor as well as reducing inequalities elsewhere. Confidence is built for adequate resources being available for worthy goals. Narrative is agnostic with respect to increased consumption or increased efficiency. If well-being is better promoted by increased consumption, then so be it. If goals are better achieved via efficiency, efficiency is pursued.

I ran into “Roadmaps towards sustainable energy futures”-project. It is a german funded project which has created a set of different scenarios for IAM simulations. They describe themselves:

“The Roadmaps towards Sustainable Energy futures (RoSE) project aims to provide a robust picture on energy sector transformation scenarios for reaching ambitious climate targets. A broad and systematic exploration of decarbonization scenarios for the energy system is indispensable for better understanding the prospects of achieving long-tern climate protection targets. RoSE is assessing the feasibility and costs of climate mitigation goals across different models, different policy regimes, and different reference assumptions relating to future population growth, economic development and fossil fuel availability, in order to provide vital insights into the overarching policy question: What are robust roadmaps for achieving a sustainable global energy future?”

Now I am not really a big fun of these modelling games since one tends to get out whatever one puts in and I have had a feeling that not all modellers model carefully enough. See my earlier post on this… However, ROSE-project has a database for the modelling results and let me just show what the 450ppm medium growth, medium population growth, and medium convergence scenarios ROSE211 give for the primary energy supply. I show bioenergy, non-bio renewables, and nuclear.


Insane amounts of bioenergy in all except IPAC


non-bio RE grows a lot. REMIND model extreme is this.


Wow! Colossal increase in nuclear generation from todays abut 10EJ/year. In REMIND reductions in the 2nd half of the century…for silly reasons.

See how two of the models actually see about 20-fold increase in nuclear generation. In those model scenarios capacity growth in the 2nd half of the century seems to be more than 100 GW/year (probably unrealistic). If I understood correctly REMIND model is a german model and even that sees dramatic increase in nuclear power until about 2060 after which it declines. They got this result by forcing it down by declaring world runs out of uranium at this time. This is an assumption other presumably considered silly, but which does have the benefit of creating a safe-space for german IAM modellers. I find it curious to observe the disconnect between the modelling results and how they are communicated in public.

The Lancet Commission on pollution and health have published their report. Report was wildly publicised. Since it deals with an important issue I wanted to have a look. Oh no! was my first thought as I read all the way down to the first author Philip Landrigan.  He has published anti-GMO fear mongering with the infamous organic industry lobbyist Charles Benbrooke. Since there is a broad scientific consensus that risks from GMO:s are similar or smaller than from other types of breeding, this is somewhat of a red flag for me. But nevermind…let us proceed and hope the report focuses on the important issues and does not stray into western chemophobes pet projects.

The 1st figure summarizes the death toll from pollution. Whether indoor pollution (from bioenergy mostly) or outdoor particulate matter kills the most depends on whom you ask, but both together are estimated to kill about 6.5 million people every year. Dirty water and poor sanitation (not chemicals) also kill around million or two depending on whom you ask. This is terrible.

Screen Shot 2017-10-22 at 12.55.04

Biomass burning, dirty water, and particulate matter in the outdoor air are the biggest pollution killers. Of the outdoor pollution substantial part is again from the biomass burning together with transport, coal power plants etc.

However reading the media about the report might have left me in the dark as to the main culprits. For example, here is how Landrigan choose to represent the results in CNN.

Dr. Philip J. Landrigan, co-leader of the commission, said the problem is chemicals. “There are thousands of chemicals out there and we know that people are exposed to them,” said Landrigan. “We just didn’t know enough about what chemicals are doing to people.”“: CNN
No, sorry. Chemicals might on occasion be a problem, but the heavy hitters are bioenergy,  dirty water, shitty cars, and dirty powerplants in poor and developing countries. It is right there in your report.
Screen Shot 2017-10-22 at 13.05.54

Pollution especially likely to kill you if you live in a poor country. Better get rich…except that is not quite the message the commission wants you to hear.

As I read the report itself I got a very clear impression that authors did not really want to discuss most deaths which occur due to poverty.  These are by-passed with a casual remark about how these deaths “…are slowly declining” after which authors choose to focus on other things. On stuff that for sure titillate the wealthy chemophobes in the west, but have relatively minor impact in the real world. (Only on page 30 is there one paragraph actually acknowledging the connection between poverty and pollution.) They even make their desire to focus on other things explicit:
The aim of this Lancet Commission on pollution and health is to end the neglect of pollution, especially of the modern forms of pollution, in low-income and middle income countries, to focus the world’s attention onto the silent threat of pollution-related disease, and to mobilise the national and international resources and the political will needed to effectively confront pollution.
Authors frame pollution as the nemesis of economic growth. Fine…people might become richer in some superficial and material sense, but they die and suffer…especially innocent ones! Cities are growing uncontrollably, traditional lifestyles abandoned, rich countries build polluting factories to poor countries…so tragic!  This narrative is not altogether surprising since it has infected the minds of large segments of environmental and development communities for decades. I sometimes get the feeling that the only economic development where poor country goes to sleep in the evening and wakes up as Norway in the morning is acceptable. The largely unreported fact is nevertheless that people tend to have higher life-expectancy in regions of high economic growth. The situation is often terrible by our standards, but compared to the alternative of staying stuck in subsistence farming it is an improvement. People flocking to the cities are not mindless idiots who have no clue what is good for them. The positive opportunities created by economic growth, outweigh the drawbacks for them. (This is not to say, that fossil fuel based growth would not create problems later on. Simply that the poorest people are better off being prosperous and screwed by climate change than being poor and screwed by climate change.)

If you wish to live longer, move to the city. Ignore commissions complaint about “the uncontrolled growth of cities”. It is your life and you should have agency over it. (Results are similar in many other developing regions as well. Google it, if you don’t believe me.)


People in cities seem happier. Those bastards! But they are really crying inside!

So how has the body count developed in the past decades? Next figure from the report illustrates this. Number of deaths has remained roughly stable. However, at the same time population has increased by about 50%, so your actual risk of dying from pollution has in fact declined dramatically. This tidbit of information would have been useful to mention, but strangely enough authors decided to skip it. Presumably it didn’t fit the choosen narrative.

Screen Shot 2017-10-22 at 13.04.59

Translation: “Your risk of death from pollution has reduced dramatically since 1990″…except that this is not the message commission wished to tell.

Then there is this weird graph…the real deaths which the report discusses are all in the “Zone 1”. Authors decided to make this as “the tip of the iceberg” with two very large zones below it. These zones are authors speculative deaths for the stuff that they are clearly most interested in… chemicals, pesticides… For these speculative zones they give no body counts, but clearly wish to insinuate that they are huge. This must be nonsense since if they were larger than regular causes of pollution deaths, we would for sure know about it. In fact even  “Pure Earth” NGO which was partly responsible for writing the Lancet report puts the body count of (unintentional) pesticide poisoning at about 20000 on their own web page. This is 20000 too many, but still pales in comparison to millions killed by other causes.

Screen Shot 2017-10-22 at 12.43.38

“The pollutome”: Only Zone 1 is grounded on data. Zones 2 and 3 titillating speculation and fear mongering with no numbers. Behind the scenes, numbers suggest deaths in zones 2 and 3 are way smaller than in zone 1.

Instead of Zone 1 being the tip of the iceberg, is it not way more likely and supported by evidence that it is in fact the bottom of the iceberg? The actual “Pollutome” looks like this…



Fixed it! This way it is easier to focus on the most relevant things.

But of course if you present things like this, it is harder to shift the focus to chemicals, pesticides, endocrine disruptors, nanomaterials…and glyphosate. Oh dear. Authors actually choose to fearmonger also about glyphosate:

On the basis of these findings, the International Agency for Research on Cancer has determined that glyphosate is a “probable human carcinogen”; this finding is contested by glyphosate’s manufacturer

FacepalmThey rely on largely discredited IARC report which was riddled with conflicts of interests and highly dubious scientific practices. As for “contested by glyphosate’s manufacturer“…really…no one else? Are there really no experts on risk assessment and toxicology who think IARC work is nonsense? Why did you choose to omit all discusion on this? Is there only one manufacturer or did you just insert a dog whistle for your intended target audience? I really hoped more from this report.

Update 25.10.2017: Greenpeace kindly provided another example of environmentalist battling imaginary issues while inflating them to insanity. Asbestos actually kills more than 100000 a year and glyphosate almost no one. Heroically Greepeace goes into attack. After all if they  do nothing consequences will undoubtedly be ass dire as from the battle of Blackwater bay. 


Pääkaupunkiseudulla (kuten myös monessa muusa paikassa) bioenergia on kuningasajatus taistella ilmastonmuutosta vastaan. Tämä siitä huolimatta, että on tullut yhä ilmeisemmäksi, että tämä vapauttaa relevantilla aikaskaalalla vähintäänkin fossiiliseen verrattavan hiilimäärän ilmakehään. Hämmentävästi osa ihmisistä ajaa sekä bioenergiaa ilmastosyin, että vaatii siihen nojaavan energiapolitiikan lopettamista. Go figure.

Tarkistin nyt nopeasti kuinka paljon Helsingin ilmastosuunnitelmat nojaavat bioenergian ilmastovaikutusten väärinlaskentaan. Lähteenä käytän Helsingin kaupungin ympäristökeskuksen julkaisua huhtikuulta. Siellä annetaan BAU skenaario, joka on skenaario jossa poliitikkojen tähän astiset puheet tulevaisuudesta otetaan todesta ja sitten siellä on joukko skenaarioita, joissa päästöjä leikataan vielä nopeammin. Keskityn tässä vain tämän skenaariojoukon keskiarvoon.

Raportissa tehdään jotain herkkyystarkasteluja, mutta silmiinpistävästi herkkyystarkastelu bioenergian ja biopolttoaineiden ilmastovaikutuksista sivuutettiin. On siis aika “To boldly go where no man has gone before”.


Tervetuloa takaisin! Seuraavassa kuvassa näytän mikä vaikutus bioenergian putsaamisella oli. “Korjatut” viivat ovat noita paksuja. Oletin bioenergian vastaavan päästöiltään hiilen ja maakaasun keskiarvoa ja en olettanut liikenteen biopolttoaineiden alentavan päästöjä. Arviot on laskettu käyttäen kaupungin nettityökalua (linkit yllä).


Korvasin lämmityksessä bioenergian 50-50 kaasulla ja kivihiilellä. Poistin liikenteen biopolttoaineet sillä järkeilyllä, että 30% polttoaineesta ei kuuna päivänä tule jakeista, joista on olennaista ilmastohyötyä. “Kunnianhimoisempi visiointi” pääsee nyt suunnilleen sinne minne BAU aikaisemmin (jäi paksun viivan alle).

Eli puunpolton putsaaminen tilastoista poisti suuren osan haaveilluista päästövähennyksistä. Kunnianhimoisimmissa skenaarioissa on yhä vähennyksiä, mutta ne eivät enää ole asioita, joista päätettäisiin esimerkiksi HELEN:in kautta. Ne ovat haaveita siitä kuinka ihmiset eivät vain käytä sähköä ja lämpöä niin paljon tai unelmia siitä, että sähköautoja onkin BAU skenaarion 9.2% sijaan melkein neljä kertaa enemmän vuonna 2030. Lisäksi pyörällä ja kävellen hoidettaisiin noin 20% kilometreistä (11.5% BAU skenaariossa.) 20% olisi muuten noin 2/3 raideliikenteen osuudesta. Tällä hetkellä tuo osuus on ilmeisesti noin 8% ja pyöräilyn ja kävelyn todennäköisyys nousee vasta, kun matkan pituus on selvästi alle 5 km. (Keskimääräisen metro- ja junamatkan pituus on selvästi tuota suurempi, kun taas keskimääräisen bussimatkan pituus Helsingissä on noin 5 km.)  Jos nämä(kään) unelmat eivät toteudu, voidaan syyttää vääriä ihmisiä tai valitettavasti vajavaiseksi osoittautunutta sähköautovallankumousta. Kreisi idea! Jospa politiikot keskityttäisivät siihen osaan mitä selvemmin kontrolloivat eli sähkön- ja lämmöntuotantoon? Jos nuo muut haaveet toteutuvat, kiva, mutta oikealla fokuksella ainakin HELEN olisi pitänyt huolta omasta tontistaan. Nyt se tontti on täytetty diibadaaballa.

Puhtaan energian saaminen massiiviseen käyttöön on lähivuosikymmenten välttämättömin, mutta myös vaikein tehtävä. Rinnastamme sen itse vaikeusasteeltaan Manhattan-projektiin, mutta ehkä kymmenen tai sata kertaa suurempana. Lisäksi Manhattan-projektin osallistujilla oli selkeä vihollinen, selkeä motivaatio, ja selkeä konkreettinen päämäärä  jota haettiin. Massiivisten resurssien saaminen oli siis mahdollista, jopa helppoa.

 Ilmastonmuutoksen torjunnasta puuttuvat kaikki ne edut jotka Manhattan-projektilla oli. Vihollista ei ole; selkeää konkreettista käsin nähtävää päämäärää ei ole; ja ihmisten motivointi uhrauksiin on vaikeaa. Juuri kukaan ei halua laskea  elintasoaan, koska juuri kukaan muukaan ei näytä laskevan.

Tilanne voi silti olla edelleen ratkaistavissa, kunhan vain tilannekuva on koko ajan realistinen. Jos sen sijaan alalle alkaa tulla toimijoita, jotka väheksyvät tilanteen vakavuutta, olemme todellisissa vaikeuksissa. Mitä keinoja sitten esitetäänkin, niiden täytyy olla oikeasti toteutettavissa, eivätkä ne saa sisältää täysin järjettömiä oletuksia.


USA:ssa Stanfordin yliopiston professori Mark Jacobson näyttää osoittautuneen toimijaksi, jonka kirjoitukset sisältävät perusteettomia oletuksia. Jacobson et al. väittivät vuonna 2015 osoittaneensa, että 100% vesi-,  tuuli- ja aurinkovoimaan perustuva energiaratkaisu olisi halvin tapa täyttää USA:n energiantarve. Artikkeli on saanut valtavasti julkisuutta, ja esimerkiksi Bernie Sanders on viitannut siihen politiikassaan.

Valitettavasti vertaisarviointi on hidas mutta vääjäämätön prosessi, ja vasta tänä kesänä Clack et al. julkaisivat arvion, jonka mukaan Stanfordin ryhmän työ on lähinnä kuumaa ilmaa. Artikkelin abstrakti kannattaa siteerata kokonaan:

Previous analyses have found that the most feasible route to a low-carbon energy future is one that adopts a diverse portfolio of technologies. In contrast, Jacobson et al. (2015) consider whether the future primary energy sources for the United States could be narrowed to almost exclusively wind, solar, and hydroelectric power and suggest that this can be done at “low-cost” in a way that supplies all power with a probability of loss of load “that exceeds electric-utility-industry standards for reliability”. We find that their analysis involves errors, inappropriate methods, and implausible assumptions. Their study does not provide credible evidence for rejecting the conclusions of previous analyses that point to the benefits of considering a broad portfolio of energy system options. A policy prescription that overpromises on the benefits of relying on a narrower portfolio of technologies options could be counterproductive, seriously impeding the move to a cost effective decarbonized energy system.

Artikkelin supplementary materialissa käydään läpi ongelmia tarkemmin. Myös Jacobsonin vastine julkaistiin samassa lehdessä kuin Clackin kritiikki. Väittely käy edelleen kuumana, mutta Jacobsonin uskottavuus on kärsinyt joka tapauksessa pysyvän kolauksen. Ks. mm. Scientific American, NY Times, Jetson).

Oma näkemyksemme on, että Jacobsonin ryhmä on osittain täysin oikeassa: jos halutaan päästä todella suuriin päästövähennyksiin, on sähköistettävä kaikki mahdollinen. Väärään suuntaan ryhmä menee siinä, että se on luonut itselleen dogmin siitä, että vain tietyt keinot kelpaavat tähän. Katastrofiksi ryhmän toiminta muuttuu sillä, että se ohittaa täysin kaikki todelliset ja merkittävät käytännön ongelmat, jotka sen esittämiin ratkaisuihin liittyvät.

Francois-Xavier Chevallerau on kaikkein parhaiten tiivistänyt, miksi Jacobsonin kaltaiset ylioptimistiset mallinnukset ovat niin vaarallisia.

There is obviously a natural tendency in Western societies, among policy makers and also in civil society, to wish that the transition to renewables can be done, that it can be done quickly, and that it can be done relatively painlessly, i.e. without affecting too much the essence of the social, political and economic setup we are used to, or the balance(s) of power that are ingrained in it. Hence a favorable disposition towards scientists coming up with seemingly robust models showing that a clear and quick pathway towards 100% renewable energy exists, and proposing a roadmap to get there. This is somehow reassuring, and this is actually what a lot of us want to hear and to believe.

Yet, scientific studies that focus solely or mostly on the technical feasibility of a full-scale transition to renewables are probably inherently misleading, as they are based on technical and economic assumptions and models that are likely to be made invalid, obsolete or irrelevant by the set of societal, economic, political and technical changes that the transition process itself will set in motion. These kinds of studies may in fact have the effect of obscuring rather than shedding light on the stakes of the transition, by drowning them into complex models and calculations that few outside very limited scientific circles can really comprehend and appraise.

Mitä hienompi malli, sitä mahdottomampi ulkopuolisen on sitä ymmärtää — ja sitä helpompi siihen on työntää oletuksia, jotka tuottavat täsmälleen niitä tuloksia joita kirjoittaja toivoo saavansa.  Tässä ei siis tarvitse edes olettaa, että tekijät olisivat epärehellisin ajatuksin liikkeellä. Todennäköisesti Jacobson uskoo täysin vilpittömästi omaan asiaansa — mutta tiede ei ole uskon asia.


Nyt tiedeyhteisön olisi selvitettävä pikaisesti, onko meilläkin vastaavia toimijoita. Työ on syytä aloittaa Lappeenrannasta. Siellä (Lappeenrannan ja VTT:n yhteinen) Neo Carbon Energy-ryhmä on ainakin ulkopuolisen silmin esittänyt aivan yhtä villejä tulevaisuusskenaarioita kuin Jacobsonkin, on siteerannut Jacobsonia laajasti, ja sen metodit ovat täysin samanlaisia kuin Jacobsonilla (ks. mm. Heard et al. 2017).  

 Alaa tuntemattoman on vaikea tai mahdoton arvioida, onko myös näiden mallien pohja yhtä hutera kuin Jacobsonilla.  Neocarbon-ryhmälle on tyypillistä esittää villejä lukuja joiden todellisia implikaatioita ei mietitä, esittää sisäisesti ristiriitaisen näköisiä väitteitä, ja kuittata kritiikki asenneongelmana.

Ylipäätään Neocarbon-ryhmän viestintä on äärimmäisen hypettävää. Milloin ryhmä aikoo ratkaista maailman nälänhädän tekemällä ruokaa sähköstä ja ilmasta; milloin ryhmä tekee Internet of Energyn joka näyttää miten koko maailma pyörii pian uusiutuvalla energialla; milloin ryhmä todistaa, että vuonna 2050 täysin uusiutuville perustuva energiajärjestelmä on Suomessa edullisin.

 Suhtautuminen kritiikkiin on ollut varsin agressiivista. Varsinkin ryhmän Twitter-tili kunnostautui pitkään kriitikoiden solvaamisessa, mutta on nyttemmin selkeästi rauhoittunut.

Toistaiseksi kritiikkiä ovat esittäneet yksittäiset bloggaajat (Mearns, Martikainen 1 Martikainen 2, Martikainen 3). Varsinainen tiedeyhteisö on ollut hiljaa. Nyt tarvittaisiin siis tiedeyhteisön aktivoitumista.


 Ryhmän viimeisimmässä julkaisussa (Child et al. 2017) on kenties kummallisin abstrakti, jota olemme itse missään tieteellisessä artikkelissa nähneet.

In terms of public policy, several mechanisms are available to promote various forms of RE. However, many of these are contested in Finland by actors with vested interests in maintaining the status quo rather than by those without confidence in RE conversion or storage technologies. These vested interests must be overcome before a zero fossil carbon future can begin.

Toisin sanoen: “me olemme oikeassa, mutta muilla on asenneongelmia tai piilointressejä”. Tällaiset väitteet ovat aktivismia, eivät tiedettä.

Heitämme nyt suomalaiselle tiedeyhteisölle haasteen. Me maallikot voimme valittaa miten paljon tahdomme, mutta sillä ei ole arvoa. Tarvitaan vertaisarviointia ja analyysi lienee syytä ulottaa myös tutkimusartikkeleista tehtyihin lehdistötiedotteisiin ja tulosten perusteella julkisuudessa esitettyihin politiikkasuosituksiin. Neocarbon-ryhmän tutkimuksille on tehtävä yhtä perusteellinen läpivalaisu kuin Jacobsonin tutkimuksille. Ryhmä on saanut niin paljon palstatilaa julkisuudessa, että sen tekemisiä ei voi ohittaa olankohautuksella. Jos tehty tiede ei ole asiallisessa suhteessa sen markkinointiin, toisilla tutkijoilla on eettinen velvollisuus tuoda se esille.

Child et al. 2017 saattaisi olla hyvä ja konkreettinen artikkeli arvioitavaksi, tai vaihtoehtoisesti hiukan vanhempi mutta enemmän julkisuutta saanut Child and Breyer 2016.  Kuka tiedeyhteisössä haluaa ottaa tämän tehtäväkseen?

Kirjoittajat: Jakke Mäkelä, Rauli Partanen, Kaj Luukko, Antti van Wonterghem, Heidi Niskanen, Jani-Petri Martikainen,Ville Tulkki, Markus Norrgran

Kirjoitus julkaistaan samaan aikaan useiden kirjoittajien omissa blogeissa. Osa kirjoittajista on vuonna 2016 osallistunut Teraloop-yrityksen kriittiseen arviointiin.

Eduskunta on hyväksynyt hallituksen ilmasto- ja energiastrategian. Strategia nojaa vahvasti bioenergiaan ja sen sepittämiseen ilmastoteoksi riippumatta siitä, että väite ei pääsääntöisesti kestä kriittistä tarkastelua. Talousvaliokunnan asiasta tekemään mietintöön voi tutustua täällä. Keskusta, kokoomus ja perussuomalaiset saivat sekoiluunsa taustatukea eduskunnassa demareilta.


Vihreät ovat kansallisella tasolla alkaneet kääntää takkiaan bioenergian suhteen. Näin on hyvä.

Talousvaliokunnassa mietintöön esitti vastalauseen vain yksi kansanedustaja…Vihreiden Antero Vartia. Nostan hänelle hattua siitä, että hän on käyttänyt kansanedusta-aikaansa perehtymällä teemaan tarkemmin ja hänen huomionsa bioenergian ongelmista ovat hyvin harkittuja. Mutta…(tiesit varmasti, että tämä on tulossa) vielä keskeisiä kysymyksiä ovat esimerkiksi:

  • Vartia aivan oikein muistuttaa, että esim. Sitran raportin mukaan hallituksen suunnitelmat ovat riittämättömiä. Toisaalta samainen raportti myös ehdotti järkyttävän korkeita metsänpolttotavoitteita. Voisiko olla mahdollista, että lähde joka keskittyy lähinnä vain uusiutuvien edistämiseen, olisi puutteellinen? (Tästä lisää aikaisemmissa kirjoituksissani osa1 ja osa 2.)
  • Pienimuotoinen ja hajautettu energiantuotanto on nähtävästi jotenkin tärkeää ja keskeistä, mutta missä tämä kanta on perusteltu esimerkiksi osoittamalla, että tämä on erityisen tehokas tapa vähentää päästöjä? Ovatko energiantuotannon ympäristövaikutukset todella pienimmät tässä vaihtoehdossa ja jos ovat — miksi? Tiedän toki, että väite on osa perinteistä liturgiaa, mutta väitteen toistaminen ei tässä asiassa ole yhtään vakuuttavampaa kuin  bioenergian väittäminen ilmastoteoksi ilman substanssia.
  • Missä voimme tutustua biokaasun potentiaalista, kustannuksista ja ympäristövaikutuksesta tehtyihin selvityksiin? Tämä näyttää asialta, jossa on hypätty johtopäätökseen ilman riittävää harkintaa. (Lähes kaikki teemaan liittyvä hypetys perustuu arvioihin, joissa esim. ympäristövaikutuksia ei analysoida, joissa vältetylle CO2 tonnille ei arvioida hintaa ja joissa potentiaali arvioidaan räikeästi yläkanttiin.)
  • Milloin Helsingin Vihreät toteavat, että hanke Helenin pellettikattiloista, ei ollut loppuun asti harkittu ja olisi ehkä syytä avata? Miksi tästä ollaan niin hiljaa? On erikoista kritisoida hallitusta kansallisella tasolla energialinjauksista, joille itse hurrataan kunnallisella tasolla. Entä kotikaupunkini Espoo, jossa Vihreät ovat myös merkittävä puolue? Alla Fortumin käsitys tulevaisuuden Espoon kaukolämmöstä. File_002 Biomassaa, biomassaa ja sitten lisää biomassaa…tosin hurskas toive on, että geotermiselläkin energialla voisi olla joku rooli, mutta tätä ei pidetty todennäköisimpänä vaihtoehtona. Fortum ja Espoon kaupunki ovat tälle pohjalle tekemässä suorastaan “yhteisen kestävän kehityksen yhteiskuntasitoumusta”. Söpöä.kdMyE_s-200x150 Jos meillä vain olisi joku hiilivapaa energianlähde, joka voisi tuottaa suuret määrät lämpöä (sekä kesällä ja talvella) jo olemassa olevaan kaukolämpöverkkoon. Silloin voisimme luopua fossiilisista eikä biomassaa tarvita…win-win. (“Viime vuosina on tapahtunut paljon hyvää kehitystä, ja polku tulevaan on alkanut hahmottua. Kivihiilen korvaamisessa tullaan varmasti onnistumaan, mutta keskustelu edistyksen tahdista ja käytännön ratkaisuista jatkuu sitä mukaa, kun edistysaskeleita otetaan ja uusien ratkaisujen, kuten geotermisen energian kanssa päästään eteenpäin….”: Hiilivapaa Suomi. Anteeksi vain, mutta minusta tämä on merkki korviketoiminnasta, jota tehdään, kun järjellistä dekarbonisaatiovaihtoehtoa ei ole pöydällä. Jos fossiiliset korvataan bioenergialla, miksi tämä olisi “hyvää kehitystä”? Tarvitsemme myös vaihtoehdon, joka ei nojaa sen enempää biomassaan kuin toiveeseen geotermisen energian läpimurrosta.)

Vaatimus “kunnianhimoisista” päästövähennyksistä on sanahelinää niin kauan kun, työkalupakki on puutteellinen. Naturopaatti voi hyvinkin olla syöpää vastaan, mutta mitä se edes tarkoittaa, jos hän samalla kieltää kemoterapian ja säteilyhoidon ja hyväksyy vain puolukkamehun?

Tämä on yksi niistä postauksista mitä en olisi uskonut tarpeelliseksi, mutta aina oppii uutta. Kummallisen moni näyttää elävän siinä käsityksessä, että maanviljelyksen “jätevirrat” voivat olla merkittävä energianlähde. Olen kirjoittanut tästä ennenkin, mutta palataan nyt tähän. Kertaus on opintojen äiti.


Kestävä bioenergian potentiaali

Suomessa mm. Neocarbon projekti ja Vihreät väittävät peltobiomassassa piilevän yli 20 TWh:n aarteen. Lähteenä tälle on Vihreillä Hannu Mikkolan väitöskirja.  Jos oikein sitä luen, mitään ympäristövaikutusten arviointia ei oikeastaan ole siinä tehty tai verrattu esimerkiksi vaihtoehtoisia toimintatapoja toisiinsa. Siellä ei siis ole pohdittu olisiko esimerkiksi metsittäminen parempi vaihtoehto tai sitä voidaanko näitä energiaplantaaseja tarvita tulevaisuudessa ruuantuotantoon.  On laskettu hehtaareja ja hehtaarikohtaisia tuottoja mm. ruokohelppiplantaaseilta ja päädytty tulokseen, että oljessa olisi energiaa ehkä 8 TWh ja että ruokohelvestä voisi saada ehkä 12 TWh. Noita voi verrata esimerkiksi Suomen energian kulutukseen, joka on lähempänä 400 TWh:a, mutta onko todellinen potentiaali likimainkaan edes tuon suuruinen? Rohkenen epäillä, että ei ole.

ECOFYS arvioi sivuvirtojen kuten oljen kestävää potentiaalia EU:ssa. He siis arvioivat myös sitä, että osalle näistä sivuvirroista on muutakin käyttöä ja kaikkea niistä ei voi ekologisin perustein hyödyntää (oljesta osa on jätettävä maaperään). He eivät antaneet arvioita Suomelle, mutta Tanskaa kyllä käsiteltiin. Oljen kestäväksi potentiaaliksi arvioitiin noin 3.2 miljoonaa tonnia “märkää massaa” (wet matter). Tästä määrästä osaa tarvitaan esim. karjan kasvatuksessa, mutta 1.4 miljoonaa tonnia arvioitiin potentiaaliksi energiantuotannossa. Jos energiatiheys on noin 9MJ/kg, tuo tarkoittaa noin 3.5 TWh energiaa. Tuo määrä on Tanskassa käytössä jo nyt eli lisäyspotentiaalia ei ole muuten kuin kestävyysnäkökulmat sivuuttaen (mitä 100%RE visionäärit valitettavasti tekevät).

Miten tuo arvio Tanskalle suhtautuu meihin? Arvio Tanskalle oli siis, että oljista 3.5TWh, kun taas Mikkolan väitöskirjassa oli Suomelle 8TWh. Tanska tuottaa viljoja vuodessa reilut 9 miljoonaa tonnia, kun taas me noin 3.6 miljoonaa tonnia. Kaiken järjen mukaan meidän kestävä potentiaalimme oljelle on alhaisempi kuin Tanskan, koska olkea syntynee vähemmän? Mikkolan väitöskirjan luku lienee vain arvio kaiken pelloilla kasvavan biomassan (jyvät poislukien) energiasisällöstä. Realistinen potentiaali liikkunee TWh suuruusluokassa. Onko sen käytössä mitään järkeä kun kustannukset ja vaadittava työ otetaan huomioon onkin sitten toinen kysymys. Pääpointti on kuitenkin se, että näistä jätepuroista puhuminen on korvikepuuhaa todellista dekarbonisaatiota odotellessa.


Renewables industry lobby group REN21 has published a new report “Renewables Global Futures Report 2017“. The report is written by Sven Teske who used to write similar reports together with the industry lobby groups for Greenpeace (some content has been copied from there). For this new report Teske et al. interviewed a bunch of “renowned energy experts” who were selected by asking for suggestions from…REN21! As a result of this careful selection process, they created a nice safe space of experts whose interests and preferences likely align well with the objectives of REN21. Success guaranteed!

Screen Shot 2017-04-07 at 18.32.49


Strangely they then explain how they ranked each candidate according to their level of faith, but as far as I can see, nowhere do they either explain what their ranking was or how it was used. There is some discussion that seems to indicate that faith was strong mainly among europeans and among these germans and greens seemed to be strangely well represented. Go figure.

Ren21_demand 2017-04-07 at 14.23.40.png

Increased demand. Those thinking demand will be lower in 2050 are outliers.

Now it is not too surprising that those interviewed have a relatively high level of faith in renewables, but it is more interesting to explore how their expectations actually align with serious climate policies. This report ignores actual emissions implication almost entirely and one can only wonder why? It is not, however, difficult to see the implications. First of all, even most of their carefully chosen experts foresee substantially increased energy demand.


“Expert debates within the climate and energy communities take place largely within their own silos…”

Bizarrely the report then seems to criticize its own experts by speculating on why they are wrong. So who were the renowned expert? Teske or the people interviewed?


More renewables, but lots of other stuff as well and how much of this is things like biofuels?

As for the share of renewables of the overall demand there were varying opinions, but it seems that median expected share in 2050 was around 50%. So lets put things together. Around 40% demand increase, maybe 50-60% RES share and we are left with maybe 30% emissions reductions from energy production by 2050. So sad. So their carefully selected experts do not, in fact, believe that renewables can deliver the kind of emissions reductions we need. Why didn’t Teske or REN21 highlight this? It does not promote happy talk for sure, but maybe time for happy talk is over and we should start feeling inspired by policies that would actually be meaningful. Grownups see the need for action on a broad front with all possible tools on the table.

PS. The report has also weirdly misleading spin. See below for an example. For those familiar with Teske’s past behavior this is not too surprising. When IPCC made the mistake of giving him the microphone when their SREN report (on renewables only energy issues) was released. He promptly used this as an opportunity to promote Greenpeace’s and industry’s E[R] scenario as representative of the SREN scenarios while ignoring contributions from most other authors. In reality  E[R] was an extreme outlier even in the context where most authors were probably more kindly disposed towards renewables than the average.

Correction added 8.4: I misintepreted the below figure. (I thank Ikemeister for pointing this out.) The text talked about doubling (from 28%) so the claim is correct (although phrasing/spin could be clearer IMHO). I cannot resist pointing out how the text accompanying figure on RES share of final demand was crafted. Note that more than 60% share was guessed by about 49%. Text quotes higher figures by using subsamples from India and Europe. Desire to spin the right narrative was stronger than desire to use all the data.

REN21_Poll_Notheydidnt 2017-04-07 at 14.22.31.png

No they didn’t. About 41% did. (note correction)

Added 8.4.2017: Note also how skewed the distribution of experts is. About half seem to be from  few west european countries (most are germans), from Japan, or US. That is less than 10% of global population and from rich countries that are unlikely to determine the energy trends for humanity in the next decades.

Addition 13.4.2017: I will add a little news on the issue of “spin” since this happened almost at the same time as this post. Reuters relying on some Greenpeace report announced that China will spent a lot on solar and wind etc. Being a sort of guy who likes to go to actual sources, I tried to find it. I found a press release announcing this, but then had to follow a link to a Greenpeace-China page . Then from the very bottom of this chinese page I eventually found a link to the actual report (in chinese). I almost got a feeling they didn’t want people to actually read it. So of course I had to have a look and ran it through a translator. Below is the reports vision on chinese electricity supply and demand until 2030. The vision implies substantial increases in the use of fossil fuels. Increases in low carbon sources is inadequate to even cover the rising demand let alone decarbonize. One would think this would be relevant piece of information for public to know, but clearly Greenpeace thought otherwise.

Screen Shot 2017-04-12 at 15.37.12

Vision implying climate failure.


In the earlier post I summarized my estimates on the limits to capacity utilization if production is done either with wind or solar power.  Here I will (over)think implication a bit further.  mthOn their own wind and solar power implied strong restrictions on achievable utilization rates. Overbuilding generation capacity (and associated distribution system) could increase utilization rates, but at the expense of ever increasing amount of wasted power and underutilized power lines. Storage could also help, but smoothing out the production profile would require large amount of underutilized storage capacity. There doesn’t seem to be away around this. Low capacity factor of variable power source has cascading effects elsewhere. If not fixed capacity utilization of end users would be strongly constrained and most likely too low to enable profitable business. On the other hand attempts to fix the problem would imply underutilized generators, power lines, and/or storage. Technical developments will not change this since the problem is not due to specific technology or costs.  Are there ways around these problems? Of course…

If you are planning to invest in a new plant producing for example solar panels and you find production to be unprofitable with utilizations rates implied by solar power, your first choice is simply not to invest. If economic preconditions do not exist, production never materializes even if we might find such production desirable or even critically important. Production would either not happen or move to a place where higher utilization rates are possible. Various shades of gray might also exists as they do today especially in the developing world. If production process is such that you could for example store some parts for later use, it might be possible to outsource only those phases which require reliable power elsewhere. Of course, this still opens up possibilities for those not saddled with the same constraints.

Another option is not to rely solely on variable renewables, but to have a fleet of dispatchable generators delivering the power services variable renewables cannot deliver. Today this most likely implies burning fossil fuels, but in principle hydro and nuclear power would work as well. This again implies overbuilding infrastructure and is unlikely to be economically optimal. However this fundamental reliance on existing infrastructure is the order of the day in the developed world.

Visions where variable renewables dominate are aspirational marketing material while on the ground unholy alliance seems to have quietly developed between many renewable and fossil fuel lobbyists. Cozy reliance on fossil fuels enables somewhat more variable renewables to be built before technical limitations become apparent. Supporting this modest buildup (with public money) buys fossil fuel industry social licence as well as removes long term threat of actual decarbonization. Petty about the climate, but the constituency for whom this is actually a priority is weak.  This is welcome also for many politicians who are only too happy to project an appearance of activity (at relatively low cost) while their policies imply changes which have a marginal impact on the actual problem. This relates to deep decarbonization in a same way as “champagne socialism” relates to revolution of the proletariat.

I recently read a very interesting book “Fossil Capital” by Andreas Malm on the history of industrial revolution in the United Kingdom. (Note: book is only worth reading until chapter 12. There the author got tired of thinking.)  Malm focused on the question of why coal and steam engine won over water power in the early decades of the 19th century. Remarkably coal did not win because water resource would have been insufficient. There was still plenty of untapped potential in the UK. Also coal did not win because it was cheaper. In fact, mechanical power from steam engines was more costly and many were of the opinion that it was also of worse quality. So what happened?

There were many overlapping reasons. For example, factories followed labour to the cities. In the early 19th century it was already clear from the demographics that labour was to be found in the cities. Water power was dispersed and getting meek labour to run the machines in the middle of nowhere was harder. In fact, owners of water powered factories were relatively more dependent on the apprenticeship system providing them with, what can apparently with some justification be called,  slave (child) labour. Water power was also more variable than steam, which made it even more important to have well behaved labour that would be willing to work long and irregular hours.

However, it turned out labour did not think their position was optimal (go figure) and started to make noise. This resulted in legal (and actually enforced) restrictions on working hours and gradual improvement on workers position. (It also induced technological change that made large number of especially troublesome workers redundant, but let us not talk about that here.) Owners did not of course like these limitations and lobbied against them, but relatively speaking those using steam found it easier to adapt. They could live with the shorter and more regular working week since reliable power could enable high productivity during working hours. Coal became the backbone of british industrial might and the road was opened for more broadly shared economic growth.

So can we learn something from this? I think we can since economic and social arguments for why coal won have not disappeared. If you listen to todays renewables promotion, you will be constantly bombarded with statements about how huge the potential energy resource is and how cheap it is…or is going to be any day now. Might it be a cause for concern that these two reasons were also promoted by water proponents in the 19th century Britain just when coal was taking over? Might there be a risk, we are discussing beside the point? If excessive reliance on variable renewables end up limiting capacity utilization, is there not a similar risk that water power faced in the 19th century? Who bears the cost of lower utilization? Labour? Lower salaries and/or more irregular working hours anyone? Vacations in the winter since solar power produces mainly in the summer?  If push comes to shove and such questions have to be asked, I am quite sure any techno-fetishes we might have, will evaporate.

To me conclusion seems clear. It is unlikely humanity will ever be primarily powered by variable renewables. If fuel etc. costs for dispatchable generators are high compared to the cost of electricity from variable renewables, wind and solar might be economically justified as a part of a more diverse fleet of generators. However, it is also possible that on economic grounds they will remain niche producers whose existence is dependent on subsidies and political good will. Future will tell.

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