by Francis Menton
October 17, 2022
Not being a dope, you likely realized a long time ago that it was
going to take a lot of energy to manufacture the components of the
future green energy utopia.
Wind turbines, solar
panels, electric cars, and so forth - there is lots of steel, other
metals, and silica involved that all need to be melted at high
temperatures to get formed into the devices.
How are they going to
achieve that at reasonable cost using just the wind and sun as
Up to now, the main strategy has been to buy most of the devices
from China, where they are made largely using energy from coal. Out
of sight, out of mind.
But both Europe and the U.S. have made an
effort to get at least somewhat into the game of making these
Europe finds itself
leading the acceleration into the green energy wall, with the
intentional suppression of fossil fuel production and now the
substantial cutoff of Russian gas supplies causing sharp spikes in
the prices of both gas and electricity.
Without any low-priced
fossil fuels to use for making the green energy devices,
what is the current situation in Europe...?
A source called
renews.biz has a roundup on October 4.
Research from Rystad Energy reveals that 35GW of solar manufacturing
and more than 2000 gigawatt hours of battery cell manufacturing
capacity in the EU could be mothballed unless power prices return to
The energy intensive nature of these manufacturing processes is
leading some operators to temporarily close or abandon production
facilities as the cost of doing business escalates.
Who might have guessed that making solar panels and big grid-scale
batteries might be "energy intensive"?
There's this specifically as to battery manufacturing:
Battery cell manufacturing - crucial in the EV and battery storage
supply chain - is even more energy intensive than solar
manufacturing, and Europe is a major global player.
The EU currently boasts about 550GWh of capacity, representing 27% of
global operational capacity.
Announced projects under development are set to boost that total
significantly, increasing capacity to 2.7 terawatt-hours,
positioning the EU as a global leader.
However, those are now at risk and the car manufacturing and battery
storage sectors could struggle to source Europe-made batteries as a
result, stated Rystad.
"High power prices not only pose a significant threat to European
decarbonisation efforts but could also result in increased reliance
on overseas manufacturing, something governments are eager to
Looks like it takes lots of carbon to achieve "decarbonization."
Meanwhile, over at The Guardian on September 12, they have begun to
fret that high electricity prices are threatening the whole idea of
The headline is "Soaring energy costs could threaten future of
electric cars, experts warn."
Electric car owners, whether charging their cars at home or through
contracts with charging operators, have seen price rises of 10% or
Further price rises are expected, owing to the fact that the price
of electricity is linked to that of gas, which has become ever
scarcer since Russia turned off its gas supplies to Germany almost
two weeks ago.
Allego, one of Germany's largest charging station operators, raised
its prices at the start of this month from 43 cents a kilowatt hour
to 47 cents.
Express charging, via a continuous current, has risen from 65 to 70
cents a kilowatt hour while the fastest, so-called ultra-fast
charging, has gone up from 68 cents to 75 cents a kilowatt hour.
According to the automobile economist Stefan Bratzel, the
development is an immediate threat to the industry...
"If electric cars become more expensive to use, the surge in
electric mobility is in danger of collapsing..."
And then we have the story of Britishvolt, the UK's first "gigafactory,"
supposedly on the road to making big batteries to backup the
renewable energy future.
They even have substantial backing from the UK government, but
apparently it's not enough.
With European energy prices spiking, investors are heading for the
The Times (London)
reports on October 15 that now they are "running
out of money" and need an infusion of some 200 million pounds by
year end to avoid going bust:
The company building Britain's first battery "gigafactory" is in
emergency talks with investors including a major carmaker amid fears
it could run out of money before the end of the year.
Britishvolt, a government-backed developer of battery cell
technologies, is reportedly holding talks with seven potential
investors after recent market turmoil led to prospective backers
pulling out of its latest funding round.
I'm willing to place a bet right now that it will never be possible
to build all the green energy devices to power the world using only
Does anybody want to take the other side...?