This is an opinion piece by Mickey Koss, a West Point graduate with a degree in economics. He spent four years in the infantry before moving to the Finance Corps.

Imagine if you will, a seller of items that only worked in certain weather conditions. A car that only drives when the weather is nice. A heater that only works when it’s windy. Would you buy them one day? I don’t think you would. Because it’s illogical. Why would you want something that works on probability-based weather conditions?

Sure, they are predictable to some degree, but have you ever noticed how forecasts can change from hour to hour? There’s a whole mathematical concept that was discovered when a meteorologist rounded a number in his weather forecasting model. The result; a completely different prediction. chaos theory was born.

Probability-Based Electricity: A New Framework for Wind and Solar

I think it’s time to rebrand these techniques as intermittent power generation. I’d like to introduce a new name that I think better reflects their shortcomings: probability-based electricity.

Intermittent already implies that they are guaranteed not to work at least part of the time.

The intermittent nature of these sources necessitates excessive reinforcement of probability-based capacity. Indeed, the systems are based on weather conditions, the forecasts of which are based on models – probabilistic models.

With wind generation in particular, there is a small wind speed window where wind turbines generate electricity. If the wind is too slow, the turbines can turn but will not produce electricity. If the wind is too fast, a brake is triggered so as not to damage the wind turbines. It’s like the golden loop of power generation.

Probabilistic time generates the production of probabilistic electricity. Wind and solar are fundamentally probabilistic systems.

I can’t imagine people would buy multiple cars, refrigerators, or anything just to mitigate the risk of inoperability in certain weather conditions. Imagine you are applying for a job and telling the potential employer that you can only work if the wind is blowing strong enough or there is less than a certain percentage of cloud cover. When applied to almost everything else, the logic behind wind and solar makes no sense.

Why would you want to waste money buying excess capacity when it’s guaranteed not to work at least some of the time?

Can anyone talk about bad investment?

Reactive load means paying to lose money, probabilistic energy makes it worse

In a previous article, I discussed the difference between base load and reactive load energy systems. The short story is that power generators maintain a constant load of electricity to cover base load demand. They also maintain responsive systems that ramp up and down to meet changes in demand throughout the day and across the seasons.

To me, this means that your electricity bills must not only cover the cost of the electricity generated, but also the cost of maintaining generating capacity that is not used most of the time.

Solar panels can make things worse. In a study conducted by Duke Energy in North Carolina, excessive amounts of solar power throughout the day forced their gas-fired power plants to reduce their power consumption and then come back on to meet demand after the sun went down. The result was actually more emissions and more gas usage. It’s like driving in the city rather than on the highway. Reliable energy isn’t meant to go up and down, but because probability-based sources depend on the weather, that’s exactly what they have to do.

The wind is a bit simpler of a review for me. There is not always wind; I remain my case, your honor.

Texas recently ran into trouble during a heat wave when the wind decided not to blow. The wind capacity produced at as low as 8% of total potential output. To make matters worse, there were also clouds which threatened solar generation, forcing grid operators to ask people to limit their air conditioner use to temperatures over 100 degrees.

Even climatologist Andrew Dessler admitted “What Bitcoin has done” that wind and solar cannot survive without a reliable base load such as coal or natural gas.

If he can’t be alone, I don’t want him. Probability-based energy isn’t just a waste of money, it’s dangerous if you have to rely on it. There’s a reason hospitals use diesel generators for their backup power. Because it has to work, otherwise people die.

BUT WHAT ABOUT BATTERIES?

If you hate bitcoin mining then man you gonna hate how much real mining goes into the production of your “green” batteries.

Here is an article on the extraction of rare earth metals used to make batteries. Looks like the Congolese kids are using hammers and chisels instead of heavy equipment. So I guess it meets the criteria for green? As long as they don’t use electricity just for you to store electricity.

Even the World Economic Forum think the batteries are bad. Finally something we can agree on. Now go eat your insects.

Sarcasm aside, folks; if you want more things, like batteries, you need more things that do things.

Although exploration leads to the discovery of additional deposits in places like Idaho, you still have to mine for this stuff, which if you remember, isn’t super green. At least in Idaho, businesses won’t be able to rely on child labor. It’s a plus.

bitcoin fixes this

The proof-of-work algorithm is not a waste of energy. Energy is not scarce and should not be. Through the use of bitcoin miners, stakeholders can monetize energy in ways that have never been done before, producing a litany of positive externalities.

In a previous article, I discussed a few sources of energy that miners exploited, essentially turning waste into money and helping to mitigate pollutants. I also introduced a concept that I imagined: the elimination of sources of electricity with variable load or on demand.

Electrical demand is not constant; producers must instantly adjust the amount they produce to ensure supply and demand so as not to cause outages or damage to infrastructure. However, every second that part of the production capacity is not used is essentially a waste of money.

Instead of building excess capacity that is guaranteed not to work or not be used at least some of the time, I would push for more investment in reliable baseload power systems like nuclear and natural gas.

Factories can be built to accommodate population or town center growth, with bitcoin miners serving as a constant demand or energy sponge for the system. Power plants will essentially operate at or near full capacity, increasing and decreasing only the amount of extraction they perform to adjust the amount of electricity discharged back to the grid.

Wind and solar are probability-based energy systems. They’re not a long-term solution, and worse, they probably make our grid less resilient and may even potentially increase the emissions that environmentalists love to hate.

Link to Tweet embedded above.

I am grateful to other authors and Bitcoiners like Level39 who continue to inspire me with their knowledge and creativity. Bitcoin mining can help make energy more abundant and affordable for everyone. This fundamentally changes the math behind new infrastructure investments. Bitcoin is the bridge between development and reality; we just have to cross it.

This is a guest post by Mickey Koss. The opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc. or Bitcoin Magazine.