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Rocketdoc Notes – Week of September 27, 2020 California passes law to outlaw sale of fossil-fuele

I have seen some pretty stupid laws passed in my day but California’s decision to ban sales of new fossil-fueled vehicles starting in 2035 shows how government regulators’ aggressive emission targets are trying to forcibly reshape an industry that is already struggling to keep its customers on board. I predict this effort will be a colossal failure and include my logic in the pages that follow.

First and foremost, California doesn’t generate enough electricity to run all of its home air-conditioners let alone power all of the new electric cars it wants to field. Remember the brownouts during the current fire season. Renewable energy is part-time energy and California’s base power is largely natural gas fueled and insufficient to handle current peak loads. See figure 1 below.

Figure 1 - – California Energy Consumption by Source

As you can see in the figure Motor Gasoline and Diesel energy consumption in California are 3.6 times the renewable energy generation and roughly equivalent to 6,800 billion kWh of new electricity generation. This increase is roughly 1.5 times to total current US total electricity generation. An increase of this magnitude borders on unimaginable and tells me that the electricity for most of their all-electric cars is going to be generated largely by burning natural gas.

Obviously, there will still be a lot of fossil-fueled cars on the roads in 2035 but if they think people are going to rapidly switch to all-electric cars, they have to drastically increase their electricity generation (at this time 32% of California’s electricity comes from out of state providers). It is one thing to dictate the sale of only electric vehicles, but it quite another to fund 6,800 billion kWh of new electrical generation plants at roughly $1000/kW (the going rate). By my math, assuming a 20% use factor (average for renewables), that is only $3.5 T of new investment over the next fifteen years. Piece of cake.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a proponent of advancement of technology, especially new non-polluting power-plants, but the California crowd just hasn’t thought it through. They have deliberately put the cart in front of the horse.

There is increasing good news on the fusion powerplant front. Look up the articles on the SPARC powerplant by Commonwealth Fusion Systems.

Thanks for your attention.

Dana Andrews

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