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There's not Enough Space on the Surface of the Earth for Renewables
 

If you look to the right and see a transmission line, and look to the left and see a transmission line, is there enough space between them for several thousand more?

In 2015 the amount of electricity used in the US was 4.14 peta watt hours (PWH). The amount of fossil fuels (oil, gas and coal) used was 24.8 PWH. Dividing shows a ratio of 6.0. This means that replacing fossil fuels with electricity would require an increase in electrical infrastructure by a factor of 6.

But fossil fuels are moved close to consumers, while wind and solar must be out in the wilderness, often a thousand miles away or more. If an average distance for the transmission lines were to increase by a factor of 300, then multiply the electrical lines by 300. Three hundred times 6 is 1,800 times more transmission line length than presently exists.

Another problem is that electricity loses from 50 to 90 percent before getting to consumers. A high voltage transformer loses 10%, usually 2 or 3 required. A household level transformer loses 50%. Short transmission lines lose 20%, long ones, 50%. If it is 90% x 90% x 50%, that's 40% recoverable. Dividing the 1,800 by 0.4 equals 4,500 as the multiplication factor for transmission line length.

Then with the low hanging fruit gone and lines on mountain tops, etc., and with reduced efficiency, the line networks will double in length. That's 9,000 for a multiplication factor. These are rock bottom minimums. Considering that none of it is possible, the factor increases by infinity. Somewhere between 9,000 and infinity is the multiplication factor required for transmission line increase.

This pretty much covers all available space, with farmers working under transmission lines and roads zig zagging between towers, not considering the space needed for the windmills and solar panels. Calculating that space isn't worth the trouble. The environmental damage is already intolerable.

 

         
 
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