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On Putting the Real Story of Energy and the Economy Together

Gail,

Almost all of mankind's constructions have been built with traditional energy systems, i.e., fossil fuel, nuclesr fuel and hydro. On average, all of these produce energy at wholesale prices of about 5 c/kWh. 

At present RE systems, with increasingly unsustainable subsidies, are being built, repaired, maintained, replaced, upgraded, etc., mostly with such traditional energy, and those systems produce energy at 10 c/kWh for onshore wind and  20 - 25 c/kWh for offshore wind. Solar falls in that range, the cost/kWh depending on irradiance, cloudiness, pollution. If subsidies were decreased those cost would be higher.

If ALL RE systems were to be built with such expensive RE energy, and subsidies were decreased, those RE systems would produce energy at 20 - 40 c/kWh, or even higher.

That would entail a significant paradigm shift in the economic functioning of the world's economy, especially with a still growing population, and traditional energy becoming more expensive, due to the increasing cost of producing it, during the multi-decade transition.

The only rational remedy is to reduce the population to 1 billion, the level of 1800, and reduce energy and other resource consumption per capita by a factor of 4, the level of 1800.

This may give a chance for the OTHER fauna and flora to re-establish itself and to survive and thrive.

 

April 18, 2015    View Comment    

On And the Winner Is: Distributed Generation

Nigel,

This may be of interest.

The below site mentioned record PV solar output, MW, in Germany of 24,200 MW on 6 June 2014, and 25,100 MW on 15 April 2015, from 13:30 to 13:45, i.e., about 45 minutes!

http://www.germanenergyblog.de/?p=18424

PV capacity installed was 38,232.634 MW at end 2014.

System factors:

It is usually claimed individual PV systems have output of about 80% of installed capacity, due to various SYSTEM losses. Hence the maximum output could be about 38,233 x 0.80 = 30,586 MW.

Non-system factors:

Not all systems face solar south, are properly angled, are clean, are new, are unshaded. The sky may be partially clouded, or light is obscured by pollution. All these factors, reduced the solar output, MW, by another (1 - 30,586/38,233) x 100 = 20%!!!

Alternatively, on an energy production basis, MWh/yr, the above non-system factors lead to about 14.5% less production/yr:

In 2014, Germany’s PV solar CF was 34,930 GWh/(38,236 MW x 8,760 hr/yr) = 0.104 out of a theoretical maximum in South Germany of 0.120, about 14.5% less.

In Germany, the annual minimum irradiance is about 951 kWh/m2, average about 1,055 kWh/m2, maximum about 1,257 kWh/m2

Depending on irradiance and performance ratio (PR), specific yields of around 900 - 950 kWh/kWp are typically generated in Germany and in the sunnier regions up to 1000 kWh/kWp.

http://www.ise.fraunhofer.de/en/publications/veroeffentlichungen-pdf-dateien-en/studien-und-konzeptpapiere/recent-facts-about-photovoltaics-in-germany.pdf

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_power_in_Germany

 

April 17, 2015    View Comment    

On Has Renewable Energy Finally Ended the Great Clean Energy Stagnation?

Jesse,

EIA in 2012........21,532 TWh worldwide, similar to BP in 2012

http://www.eia.gov/cfapps/ipdbproject/IEDIndex3.cfm?tid=2&pid=2&aid=12

This IEA report states 22,668 TWh, page 24; 5% all RE, 16.2% hydro.

http://www.iea.org/publications/freepublications/publication/keyworld2014.pdf

 

April 7, 2015    View Comment    

On Has Renewable Energy Finally Ended the Great Clean Energy Stagnation?

Jesse,

"More importantly, the share of renewable electricity (excluding large hydropower) in the global electricity mix ticked upwards from 8.5 percent in 2013 to 9.1 percent in 2014."

According to the BP 2014 energy review, world RE was as follows in 2013, in TWh:

Wind..................................628.2

Geo, Bio, Other..................481.3

Solar...................................124.8

World total........................1234.3 = 5.33% of world total generation.

World total generation....23127.0

April 6, 2015    View Comment    

On Has Renewable Energy Finally Ended the Great Clean Energy Stagnation?

Bob,

You may be interested in this.

http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/russia-leads-forestry-destruction-ranking/518599.html

http://www.wri.org/blog/2015/04/tree-cover-loss-spikes-russia-and-canada-remains-high-globally

http://blog.globalforestwatch.org/2015/04/a-fresh-look-at-forests-2011-2013/

 

During the 13-year period, start 2000 to end 2013:

................................Forest loss...................Forest gain

.............................million hectare..............million hectare

Russia........................37.22............................1.35

US...................................................................1.15

Brasil..........................35.76

Canada......................28.39............................0.76

The world lost about 20 million hectares in tree cover PER YEAR for the past 10 years!!

April 4, 2015    View Comment    

On Has Renewable Energy Finally Ended the Great Clean Energy Stagnation?

Jesse,

"More importantly, the share of renewable electricity (excluding large hydropower) in the global electricity mix ticked upwards from 8.5 percent in 2013 to 9.1 percent in 2014."

I do not know how RE being 8.3% of world energy generation in 2013 was arrived at. The below report indicates RE being 5.5% for 2013.

Here is an excerpt from this article:

http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/2146376/renewable-energy-less-effective-energy-efficiency

Worldwide Energy Generation: As a result of gross world product, GWP, growth, world energy generation increased from 16,174 TWh in 2002 to 23,127 TWh in 2013, an increase of 43.0% in 12 years, about 3.0%/yr over 12 years. Analysis of the data shows:

.....................................................................2002..............2013

- Nuclear energy, near-CO2-free..............16.5%............10.8% 

- Fossil energy...........................................65.0%............67.3%


- Hydro energy, near-CO2-free.................16.7%............16.4%

- RE*...........................................................1.6%..............5.3%

* Wood burning is near-CO2-free on about a 100-year basis, as it takes about 100 years for the forest to restore itself to before-harvesting conditions. Loggers SAY they take only sick, near-dead trees and other "waste" wood, but, in almost all cases, that appears to be not even close to the truth, as pro-RE officials purposely ignore the research of independent foresters, declare wood-burning "CO2-neutral", which creates “feel-good”, perpetuates uninformed thinking, but happens to save logger jobs, etc.

Worldwide RE Investments and RE Generation: The below, recently issued report presents an overview of worldwide renewable energy (RE) investments from 2002 to 2013.

As a result of RE build-out investments of about $1,700 billion from 2002 to 2013 (excluding mostly "socialized" investments for grid adequacy, capacity adequacy, etc., of about $400 billion not mentioned in the report), worldwide RE generation increased from 1.6% to 5.3%, a 3.8% addition, of which:

...............................................2002..............2013

- Wind.....................................0.3%............2.7%

- Biomass................................0.9%............1.8%


- Solar (PV + CSP).................0.0%............0.5%


- Geothermal...........................0.3%............0.3%


- Marine; tidal, wave...............0.0%............0.0%

- Total....................................1.6%............5.3%

It matters rather little what the US does, because it is only 20% of the world energy pie. What the WHOLE world does is MUCH more important regarding GLOBAL warming.

Total WORLD generation (excluding nuclear):

Hydro + RE................... 16.7 + 1.6 = 18.3% in 2002 

Hydro + RE....................16.4 + 5.3 = 21.7% in 2013

The 3.8% addition over 12 years of worldwide RE generation required investments of 1.7 + 0.4 = $2.1 TRILLION from 2002 to 2013. The report data shows, the 12 – year trend of RE investments to reduce fossil energy generation and replace it with renewable energy generation would take many decades.

 

April 2, 2015    View Comment    

On The Role of Energy Intensity in Global Decarbonization: How Fast Can We Cut Energy Use?

Mark,

I live in Vermont, know families that have been in the logging business since about 1850; I buy their firewood.

All say the soil is eroded due to earlier clearcutting which removed about 85-90 percent of Vermont's forest, and eroded much of the soil that took about 10,000 years to build up.

All say the soil gets depleted due to harvesting wood.

All say the new growth is not anywhere near to what grew before, and back it up with family photographs.

All say trees get sicker earlier and die sooner.

What grew back is only a pale copy of what was there before and that is true for the forest fauna and flora as well.

In addition, there are large areas, previously forested, now covered with urbanization and industrial agriculture where there is practically no fauna and flora; vast herds of buffalo roamed the Great Plains,  miles-long clouds of passenger pigeons darkened the skies, fish was abundant NEAR Cape Cod, Massachusetts and in rivers and bays.

Modernity and overpopulation in action.

March 27, 2015    View Comment    

On The Role of Energy Intensity in Global Decarbonization: How Fast Can We Cut Energy Use?

Mark,

The phase out of wood fuel and phase in of ABUNDANT fossil fuel as a the primary fuel, starting about 1800, opened all sorts of doors towards modernity, including enabling a population explosion that had been held in check by higher mortality and shorter longevity.

Around 1800, most of DEVELOPED Europe was largely deforested, the wood economy HAD to come to an end, as horse-drawn wagons had to go further and further to get wood.

In the US, deforestation of the eastern US was in progress; there was so much of it, the supply seemed endless.

Today, the eastern US is largely deforested and what grew back is a pale copy of what was there before (trees get sick quicker, die younger, just as people did before 1800), because of soil erosion and depletion, and chemical degradation from pollution; it took about 10,000 years to create that soil.

Britain had acces to wood from Scandinavia and Russia to build ships, etc; Russia at that time included Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lituania, half of Poland, and parts of Sweden.

Britain used its fleets to blockade Europe. Napoleon, lacking wood and ships, did not like that, and marched into Russia to get them to stop trading with the British. He started out with 600,000 men, ended up with very long supply lines and a lack of horses, stayed in Moscow for a month, came back with 20,000 men, and without wood! He is still a celebrated hero in France!

Instead of horse stuff on dirt roads and on some paved streets in 1800 (much of it used as NATURAL fertilizer), the current population managed to thoroughly trash the environment, including most of the flora and fauna habitats, that led to their de facto disappearance in many places of the world.

The current population contributed to global warming, due to worldwide deforestation, urbanization, industrial agriculture and pollution, all made possible by mostly fossil fuels that were 65% and 67.3% of all energy generation in 2002 and 2013, respectively, i.e., for the past 12 years, despite trillion dollar investments in RE systems.

 

 

March 27, 2015    View Comment    

On The Role of Energy Intensity in Global Decarbonization: How Fast Can We Cut Energy Use?

Mark,

I suggest you consult with some automotive engineers for further information.

March 27, 2015    View Comment    

On The Role of Energy Intensity in Global Decarbonization: How Fast Can We Cut Energy Use?

Nathan,

A 20 year period to replace all fossil-fired IC vehicles with alternative-powered vehicles is more likely about 40 years as old car plants are modified, alternative power supply and distribution systems are built up, production of older vehicles is ramped down, production of alternative vehicles is ramped up.

Whereas this CAN be done, it would take reallocating a good chunk of the world's defense budgets to do just that.

Also, the transition and steady state activities would not be pollution free; there would be some mitigation, not elimination. It would have to happen all over the world to be meaningful.

That would take care of PART of the transportation pollution problem. The REST of the world's transportation pollution problem, and the other parts of the world's pollution problem we have not discussed.

March 26, 2015    View Comment    

On The Role of Energy Intensity in Global Decarbonization: How Fast Can We Cut Energy Use?

Joris,

Presently, I am in Paris, France. Buildings, vehicles, people, pollution, as far as the eye can see and practically no fauna and flora.

The environment is being trashed NOW, more people and more GWP will make it even worse.

100 billion people, in principle? You must be joking!

We have gone way beyond a sustainable way forward in Europe, the US and China, all as part of a mad rush to spread modernity to the far corners of the world, made possible by abundant, low-cost fossil energy since about 1800, when the population was one billion.

March 25, 2015    View Comment    

On The Role of Energy Intensity in Global Decarbonization: How Fast Can We Cut Energy Use?

Jesse, 

Satellite measurements since 1979 show warming is greater in more populated areas and less in less populated areas.

Climate scientists average these readings to conclude there is global warming, and blame it on CO2.

However, manmade factors, such as deforestation, urbanization, industrial agriculture, increased cloudcover due to pollution, etc., and natural factors, such as coming out of the Little Ice Age, also contribute to global warming.

Significant CO2 reductions likely would not reduce the various OTHER manmade factors, unless the CO2 reductions would significantly reduce GWP and population, which would be likely, if no OTHER low-cost energy sources became abundantly available.

Any CO2 reductions certainly will not reduce the natural factors.

Also, part of the CO2/methane increase causing part of the GW was likely due to natural factors.

To achieve a partway reduction of all manmade factors, a minimal energy-consuming, gross product consuming lifestyle, such as yoga-style, navel-gazing, by about 10 billion people would need to be practiced to ensure the OTHER fauna and flora also have a chance to survive and thrive In THEIR unspoiled environments.

In general, people and their modernity spreading all over the environment has led to the OTHER fauna and flora being drastically deduced in numbers (they do not have healthcare systems) and increased rates of species extinctions.

If the future population were 1 billion, then more energy and gross product could be consumed per person than under the yoga-style, navel-gazing scenario.

March 25, 2015    View Comment