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The Energy Transition

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How Big Is The World's Biggest Solar Farm?

April 8, 2014 by Robert Wilson
155

Solar Energy Farms and Space Needs

In the last few months we have seen both the world's largest solar bridge and the world's largest solar farm open. The bridge was opened in London, a city so famous for its fog that they named a fashion label after it. The farm was built in the middle of the Californian desert.[read more]

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Flying Without Fossil Fuels: The Need For High Energy Density

March 11, 2014 by Robert Wilson
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Energy Density and Fossil Fuels

There are few more remarkable machines than a Boeing 747. Four hundred people can be hurled half way across the planet with levels of comfort, efficiency and reliability that would have been deemed miraculous by those living a few centuries ago.[read more]

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Building China: The Role Of Cement In China's Rapid Development

March 5, 2014 by Robert Wilson
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China and Cement

China produced more cement in the last three years than was produced in the last one hundred years by the United States of America.[read more]

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Can You Make a Wind Turbine Without Fossil Fuels?

February 25, 2014 by Robert Wilson
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Wind Turbine Energy Cost

Various scenarios have been put forward showing that 100% renewable energy is achievable. Some of them even claim that it is achievable within two decades. The validity of these claim are easily tested by asking a simple question. Can you build a wind turbine without fossil fuels?[read more]

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Do Renewables Lower Energy Consumption?

February 18, 2014 by Robert Wilson
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Renewables and Energy Consumption

If a coal power plant is closed and replaced by a wind farm and that wind farm produces the same amount of electricity, what happens to energy consumption? Depending on the coal power plant, and how you define energy consumption it could do anything from stay the same to falling by a factor of three.[read more]

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Renewables Growth: Ignoring The Whole Equation

February 11, 2014 by Robert Wilson
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Renewables Growth

When discussing the growth of renewable energy there are two rather common mistakes. First, thinking that the capacity of a renewable power plant is directly comparable with that of a fossil fuel or nuclear power plant. Second, thinking that energy consumption and electricity consumption are the same thing.[read more]

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Germany's Energiewende Troubles Prove That Renewable Energy Has Failed. And Other Strange Ideas

February 4, 2014 by Robert Wilson
211

Germany and the Energiewende

What has been obvious to me for a long time now appears to have become obvious to many others: Germany's energy policy is a confused mess. Germany's energy revolution is, in the words of New Scientist, "on the verge of collapse." And it was all rather predictable.[read more]

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The Four Men Who Caused The Majority Of Global Warming

January 28, 2014 by Robert Wilson
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Global Warming and Responsibility

The climate crisis of the 21st century has been caused largely by just four men, who between them invented machines responsible for the majority of the greenhouse gas emissions generated since the dawning of the industrial age.[read more]

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China's Per Capita CO2 Emissions Are Now Greater Than Europe's

January 22, 2014 by Robert Wilson
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China Per Capita Emissions

Last year China's per capita carbon dioxide emissions almost certainly overtook the European Union's, most likely for the first time in history, and, if current trends continue, by the end of the decade they will actually far exceed them.[read more]

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Why Germany's Nuclear Phase Out is Leading to More Coal Burning

January 20, 2014 by Robert Wilson
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Germany Nuclear Phase Out

In 2012 Germany's Environment Minister opened a new lignite power plant, arguing the following: “If one builds a new state-of-the-art lignite power plant to replace several older and much less efficient plants, then I feel this should also be acknowledged as a contribution to our climate protection efforts.”[read more]

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Has shale gas really reduced US carbon emissions? The problem of coal exports

January 13, 2014 by Robert Wilson
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Fracking and Illusions

Fracking has resulted in a decline in America's "on the books" carbon emissions. However a deconstruction of these emissions cuts in light of the globalised nature of carbon emissions shows that these emissions cuts may in large part be illusory.[read more]

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The Explosive Growth of Steel Production in China: Why It Matters

November 27, 2013 by Robert Wilson
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China and Steel

China's steel industry now consumes two times more energy than global production of wind and solar energy. This disparity illustrates how little has been achieved in transitioning to low carbon energy and the profound challenges such a transition will face.[read more]

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The Problem with California's Energy Storage Mandate

October 22, 2013 by Robert Wilson
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California's Energy Mandate

The state of California has recently implemented a mandate for energy storage in 2020. However, taking a closer look at the specific details of the mandate shows that the actual outcomes of this mandate are, in fact, very uncertain.[read more]

Low Capacity Factors: challenges for a low carbon energy transition

October 15, 2013 by Robert Wilson
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Low Capacity Factors

A transition to low carbon energy faces multiple challenges, here I discuss two: that posed by the low capacity factors of renewable energy, and the challenge posed by the requirement for power plants to run with reduced capacity factors.[read more]

Population Growth: Addressing the Real Problem

October 2, 2013 by Robert Wilson
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Population Growth

Getting people to produce fewer babies - they already are - is a far less important challenge than getting them to consume and produce energy more rationally. It is time we worried more about rich people driving luxury cars than poor people having more babies.[read more]