This is my 100th post since I started this blog two months ago. How ironic then that this post coincides with some of the coldest weather on record here in the good ole USofA, as one of the reasons for this blog is to dispute the Global Warming “alarmists” everywhere I can.
In what can only be viewed as an utter failing of our educational system, either by ignorance or malfeasance, we have lead people to believe that our country would be just fine if we only added solar photovoltaic panels (PV panels)in mass to our rooftops and we’d no longer need fossil fuels.
The silliness of this argument blows my mind. As it’s truly infantile. Yet, nonetheless, it has spread like a comfrey plant which can’t be beaten back, never mind destroyed. Now, I like comfrey. It serves many natural purposes-skin healing comes to mind, but I don’t want comfrey to take over my backyard where I’m trying to grow food.
Similarly, I like solar. I am a fan. I like solar thermal in particularly. At some point, I will design a solar thermal system to provide our home heated water.
I also like Geothermal. I think this is an amazing, ingenious way to take the Earth’s core natural ambient temperature to use to comfort one’s own home, be it heat or cooling.
Bear in mind though that neither solar thermal or geothermal is taking the sun’s or earth’s natural abundance and turning it into electricity. These methods are literally alternative ways of using the natural resources I would argue God provided to us.
The other way, photovoltaic, is COMPLETELY different. Photovoltaic is to take the sun’s energy and convert it into electricity. This is the method ignorant people believe is at our fingertips to deploy if only Big Oil would stop paying off politicians.
Hate to be the bearer of bad news, folks, but it ain’t! And days like today are just furthering the proof that fossil fuels will always, ALWAYS be in demand…well, unless we want to freeze to death of course.
Allright, so let’s go over how this works. In the picture above, I take you to the place I was born and raised, Peaks Island, Maine. You see it is 1 degree right now at 8am on 31Dec, with the wind chill it feels like -15. So, it’s flippin’ COLD!
Human beings don’t like to be that cold. In fact, if we were unable to find a way to warm ourselves we’d die. Noone is going to debate that.
So, the question that must be answered is HOW do we do warm ourselves?
The old way was by using renewables. Those renewables, of course, was to throw wood on a fire. Believe it or not, trees are a renewable, even though many on the left hate the idea of cutting down trees even while they advocate for renewables. (To be on the left requires no consistency, truth be told.)
So, a family in the old days would use the wood stove to warm the house in order to stay alive.
Then came the finding of coal, which is a fossil fuel and NOT a renewable. But talk about a lot of stored energy for such a small package. Coal then was used for many, many things. One of which was to also provide the heat for that family on Peaks Island in the midst of a cold, cold winter’s day.
Then comes home heating oil(HHO), which is the primary source of space heating in the Northeast, and what most likely warms the home of that family on Peaks Island, along with a wood stove of course.
There is also natural gas, which is what my family uses in Atlanta. Natural gas is burned and then a fan sends that warmed air through the house via vents.
Notice, coal, heating oil and natural gas are NOT renewables, they are the true definition of fossil fuels, so if you want to heat your home, you’ll be either using a renewable, wood, or a fossil fuel.
Now, I can hear you saying, but what about heat pumps??? Uh huh. I like heat pumps, They are a kind of thermal device, transporting naturally occuring heat from the earth to colder areas. But if it’s real cold, like today on Peaks Island, well, if a heat pump is your only heating mechanism you may want to bundle WAY WAY up. (Now, I’m not even going to talk about the electricity required to run a heat pump here, as this is not the point of the article. The point of the article is to show you that you WILL need fossil fuels when it gets cold and heat pumps, as wonderful as they are, simply don’t do the job.)
“Okay, Josh you think you’re so smart, I’m just going plug in my space heater to heat one room then. Haha! Because I’m only heating ONE room, I don’t need your stinkin’ fossil fuels!”
Well, you’d be correct if you were using a wood stove to heat that one room. But because you are going to plug in a space heater, well…try again.
This is a tiny, little space heater I saw at the store the other day, only about 6 inches high and 4 inches wide. This puppy WILL provide decent heat for a small area, say a 5×5 room.
But look at this: it takes 12.5 amps to run. What does that mean? Well, we simply take the number of amps and times that by the volts 120 to get the wattage required to run this guy. 12.5 X 120 = 1500. Meaning it takes 1500 Watts to run this tiny,little space heater. 1500 Watts over the course of a day is 36kWh. My entire family of 6 consumes 55kWh a day. Thus this tiny, little device consumes well more than half of the entire electricity consumption my WHOLE family uses in a day!
I hate to say it, folks, your Solar PV panels are NOT going to get you the kind of electricity you need to run that space heater. And remember that is just ONE space heater, for a tiny, little space. What if you want a bedroom heated too???
I guess one could question if there are some higher efficiency space heaters on the market. Be my guest and do the research. If you find a high efficiency space heater that can heat a reasonable space for a fraction of the wattage needed than the one I’m showing, please share.
Given that heating is the primary use of electrical consumption though, regardless of the end usage, blow dryer, space heater, curling iron, coffee maker, I highly suspect I’ll be waiting a long, long time for you to produce a heating device that will require low wattage.
So, to wrap this all up into one simple to understand sentence, if you want to be warm, you will need fossil fuels. There is simply no other way around it. Or you could move to a warmer clime of course! Which is what more and more people are doing anyway.
But for those of you who are loyal to the colder regions of our great earth, you should be advocating for the cheapest, most reliable heating source there is: home heating oil and Natural Gas.