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Author Topic: But, but, but Germany ....  (Read 923 times)

rboyd

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But, but, but Germany ....
« on: April 07, 2017, 07:31:13 PM »
Germany is a great example of a country with a mature energy and industrial sector (heavily weighted toward capital goods), together with slow economic growth. It does have an indigenous coal industry, but not any major players in oil or natural gas (unlike the US, for example). Up to now the Energiewende has been focused on the replacement of the nuclear electricity generating stations, which will complete in 2022. The result has been a flatlining in CO2 emissions since 2009, with emission in 2016 actually increasing.

http://ceenews.info/en/germanys-co2-emissions-between-ambition-and-reality/

After 2022 the renewables will start replacing fossil fuels directly, from a position of already having a large percentage share of the electricity generating sector. The country may then be a trailblazer in overcoming a number of challenges to the energy transition, that many of the mature industrial economies will face. These issues are starting to play out within the German political policy making landscape:

1. Overcoming the entrenched economic interests of the fossil fuel providers (i.e. the coal producers and coal-fired generating plant owners). This will involve the scrapping of many coal plants and the related coal producing areas, and attempts to stretch out the timeframes for such closures are already evident.

2. Integrating an increasing share of renewables into the generating network, which gets harder as the percentage penetration increases. The addition of quick-cycle natural gas plants does provide benefits in this area, but also increases fossil-fuel dependence.

3. Driving reduction in GHG's across the energy system, not just within the current electricity generating system. According to the President of the German Environment Agency "If things do not get started in the transport sector soon, we will miss our climate goals".

Germans still have a strong commitment to the energy transition, and its political processes are not infested with oligarch and corporate money in the same way as the U.S. It also has a very substantial indigenous engineering and capital good sector. If any country should be able to overcome such challenges, it should be Germany. So tracking their progress in detail will be instructive.

I see the opposite cases to Germany as the U.S. (massive entrenched fossil fuel interests and a big-money takeover of politics) and China (very rapid growth makes the addition of renewables and efficiency gains much easier, together with an authoritarian-bureaucratic state).

We have topics for China and India (which is at a much earlier and usually energy intensive stage of growth than China), so adding ones for Germany and the U.S. should provide a good sample of countries. As well as a majority of global GHG emissions.


« Last Edit: April 07, 2017, 08:18:00 PM by rboyd »

rboyd

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Re: But, but, but Germany ....
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2017, 08:16:29 PM »
Germany to miss 2020 carbon reduction targets by a mile - closer to a 32% than a 40% reduction versus 1990.

https://energytransition.org/2017/03/germany-to-miss-2020-carbon-reduction-targets-by-a-mile/

The focus needs to move beyond the electricity sector, "The level of emissions from buildings is practically the same as in 1995; from transport, since 1990. Clearly, too little progress is being made in heat and transport; Germany’s energy transition remains an electricity transition  ... Germany has not yet figured out how to ramp up the rate of energy-efficient building renovations. And Berlin spent the past decade defending diesel rather than electric mobility, including public transportation."

rboyd

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Re: But, but, but Germany ....
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2017, 08:25:50 PM »
Hamburg considers innovative heat storage scheme Uses underground heat storage to capture waste heat from industrial and power plants using saltwater aquifers.

If successful this could be utilized across many areas from Southern England, across Northern Germany and Poland for space heating.

oren

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Re: But, but, but Germany ....
« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2017, 09:40:26 PM »
Thank you rboyd for these new inportant threads.
Just a quick comment, if my memory is correct Germany is free of oil and gas interests but is somewhat infested by coal interests, which hampers efforts to clean up the act.

rboyd

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Re: But, but, but Germany ....
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2017, 02:39:22 AM »
No country in the world uses as much lignite (low quality coal) as Germany does. As noted in this article, decisions will wait until after the German general election this year "However, the plans for a complete coal phase-out are highly controversial, and so decisions are being postponed until after the federal elections this year."

http://www.dw.com/en/eu-needs-to-shut-all-coal-plants-by-2030-to-meet-climate-goals/a-37665345

Some other good articles on the challenges of shutting down the German coal mines and power plants:

http://www.dw.com/en/how-far-is-germany-from-a-complete-coal-exit/a-38214847

http://www.570news.com/2017/03/31/owner-nixes-coal-mine-expansion-over-german-climate-plans/

http://www.platts.com/latest-news/coal/london/german-coal-gas-plant-output-at-5-year-high-in-26654502







TerryM

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Re: But, but, but Germany ....
« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2017, 02:54:37 AM »
Good thread covering material that I would have missed.


I understand that the EU has dropped objections to North Stream 2, and that will assure Germany of large volumes of cheap, unfracked gas from Russia. While fracking makes gas arguably as bad as coal, and LPG loses a huge proportion in cooling what remains, piped in gas might help with Germany's goals, at least in the near term.


Terry

DrTskoul

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Re: But, but, but Germany ....
« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2017, 03:03:17 AM »
Good thread covering material that I would have missed.


I understand that the EU has dropped objections to North Stream 2, and that will assure Germany of large volumes of cheap, unfracked gas from Russia. While fracking makes gas arguably as bad as coal, and LPG loses a huge proportion in cooling what remains, piped in gas might help with Germany's goals, at least in the near term.


Terry

Fracked gas/un-fracked gas same thing.. it does not take much fracking to get gas out. Unlike tight oil ( Bakken, Oklahoma, etc.) methane leaks the same (or worse in unmonitored soviet/Eastern Europe pipelines). Russian gas is closer and cheaper and they value hard currency... unless when they turn the he spigots off...
“You can know the name of a bird in all the languages of the world, but when you're finished, you'll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird... So let's look at the bird and see what it's doing -- that's what counts.”
― Richard P. Feynman

DrTskoul

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Re: But, but, but Germany ....
« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2017, 03:08:03 AM »
They could have done it if they had kept nuclear plants... but no ... they are bad too... heavy industry cannot run on sun and wind for now...
“You can know the name of a bird in all the languages of the world, but when you're finished, you'll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird... So let's look at the bird and see what it's doing -- that's what counts.”
― Richard P. Feynman

rboyd

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Re: But, but, but Germany ....
« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2017, 03:18:37 AM »
CH4 just wants to be free, and works hard at it from the wellhead right through to the end user. City distribution networks can be very leaky, and pipelines and storage facilities, not just fracking well-heads:

http://e360.yale.edu/features/with_new_tools_focus_on_urban_methane_leaks

http://www.pnas.org/content/109/17/6435.full

https://www.witpress.com/Secure/elibrary/papers/ESS14/ESS14012FU1.pdf

Taking into account the fugitive emissions, together with the lack of sulphur aerosols (which produce  a cooling effect), CH4 is as best not much better than coal.

DrTskoul

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Re: But, but, but Germany ....
« Reply #9 on: April 08, 2017, 03:21:37 AM »
CH4 just wants to be free, and works hard at it from the wellhead right through to the end user. City distribution networks can be very leaky, and pipelines and storage facilities, not just fracking well-heads:

http://e360.yale.edu/features/with_new_tools_focus_on_urban_methane_leaks

http://www.pnas.org/content/109/17/6435.full

https://www.witpress.com/Secure/elibrary/papers/ESS14/ESS14012FU1.pdf

Taking into account the fugitive emissions, together with the lack of sulphur aerosols (which produce  a cooling effect), CH4 is as best not much better than coal.


Then heavy sulfurous lignite is the best ....
“You can know the name of a bird in all the languages of the world, but when you're finished, you'll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird... So let's look at the bird and see what it's doing -- that's what counts.”
― Richard P. Feynman

rboyd

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Re: But, but, but Germany ....
« Reply #10 on: April 08, 2017, 03:45:38 AM »
Methane is a bridge to nowhere, counting the drop in the contents of the carbon dioxide pocket while ignoring the increasing contents of the methane pocket (as well as the decreasing sulphate particles). Bill McKibben covers this well:

https://www.thenation.com/article/global-warming-terrifying-new-chemistry/

Some progress being made in shutting down German coal (hard coal, not lignite) generating plants, hopefully not being replaced with methane:

"in November, Germany’s fifth-largest power generator, STEAG, cited “changes to the market environment brought about by energy policy” and persistently low power prices as reasons to close five of its hard coal units—a combined capacity of about 2.5 GW—before the end of 2017: West 1 and 2 in Voerde and Herne 3 in North Rhine-Westphalia, and Weiher and Bexbach in the Saarland. The company remarked that the troubling market conditions have led to “a situation in which many large-scale conventional power plants in Germany can no longer operate cost-effectively.”

http://www.powermag.com/market-conditions-force-coal-unit-closures-australia-germany/

DrTskoul

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Re: But, but, but Germany ....
« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2017, 03:55:02 AM »
U need sth to generate steam for industrial use. Don't see many electrical steam generators large enough around...
“You can know the name of a bird in all the languages of the world, but when you're finished, you'll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird... So let's look at the bird and see what it's doing -- that's what counts.”
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TerryM

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Re: But, but, but Germany ....
« Reply #12 on: April 08, 2017, 04:32:06 AM »
Lost a long reply & I'm not about to replicate it.


In general I agree that gas isn't a great replacement for coal, although a modern gas facility vs an aged lignite installation should show a huge improvement.


Terry

sidd

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Re: But, but, but Germany ....
« Reply #13 on: April 08, 2017, 05:15:19 AM »
Re: industrial process steam

I needed live steam for the RBD (refine,bleach,decolor) veg oil process at one time. I found that adding solar preheat to incoming water feed hugely reduces fuel use. I wish more people would do that, cuts CO2 emission by a lot in the right seasons.

sidd

rboyd

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Re: But, but, but Germany ....
« Reply #14 on: April 18, 2017, 06:37:12 PM »
Germany emissions trend, no reduction since 2009. Shows the challenges that they are having with the headwind of shutting down low-carbon nuclear first. With the economy growing at less than 2% a year, they could be rapidly reducing emissions if they could drive down transport and building emissions - but “The efficiency improvements in vehicles have been wiped out by the growth in traffic on the roads”


Bob Wallace

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Re: But, but, but Germany ....
« Reply #15 on: April 18, 2017, 08:00:30 PM »
According to the President of the German Environment Agency "If things do not get started in the transport sector soon, we will miss our climate goals".

It's started.  Just this year we are seeing the first moderately priced long range EVs reaching the market.  Over short years EVs should become less expensive to purchase than same-model ICEVs.  Self-driving robocars will greatly lower private vehicle ownership.  Look for a quick flip away from petroleum based private transportation.

Electric buses are proving out.  Cities will quickly move from diesel to battery powered buses for the reasons of cost savings and cleaner air.  Cities seldom operate buses for more than twelve years so another rapid move from petroleum should be expected.

Electric trucks are starting to appear on roads.  This should be another transportation sector which should flip very rapidly.  Businesses are very sensitive to the bottom line and battery powered trucks will be money savers.  Plus there will be growing pressure from municipalities to reduce diesel use since we've started to understand the health problems caused by diesel pollution.

Ten years from now, probably by 2025, the only transportation issues we may have left will be airplane and cargo vessels.  Before then we could see the Hyperloop proved out and if it operates as suspected the 'loop should start replacing large amounts of air travel. 

Cargo vessels, we don't have a good solution at this time.  It may be that we'll do a lot more manufacturing close to markets, reducing the amount of shipping that we do.  And if we can get the amount low enough we might be able to do most/all with biofuel.

Oil tankers will be going extinct.  Coal freighters will be no more.

Bob Wallace

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Re: But, but, but Germany ....
« Reply #16 on: April 18, 2017, 08:15:29 PM »
Lost a long reply & I'm not about to replicate it.


In general I agree that gas isn't a great replacement for coal, although a modern gas facility vs an aged lignite installation should show a huge improvement.


Terry

That's true if we do a one to one natural gas:coal replacement.

But, unlike coal, gas plants are highly dispatchable.  They, unlike coal, can be turned off and back on very quickly.  That makes them excellent ways to fill in for wind and solar.  Coal can't do that very well.

(For a moment let's ignore the Storage Monster that's now getting its baby teeth.) 

Take the coal we have on our grid and assume we want to lower our CO2 output.  The Sun shines when demand is high so we might expect to get 40% of our electricity from solar.  The wind blows a lot of hours, a lot more than the Sun shines, so another 40% from wind.  That leaves a 20% role for gas plants.

We move from 100% coal to 20% CO2.  That's an 80% reduction in CO2 production.

(The Storage Monster is already starting to eat some of natural gas's lunch.  Over the next several years lunch, breakfast, and dinner will likely be snatched away from natural gas.)
---

Methane.  Methane leaks are largely controllable at natural gas wells and in distribution systems.  Methane does not have to leak.

Coal mining and processing releases large amounts of methane which are largely uncontrollable.  It's not likely we could put collection domes over open pit mines to capture the methane released.  Nor could we easily put containment vessels over coal crushing plants.

Bob Wallace

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Re: But, but, but Germany ....
« Reply #17 on: April 18, 2017, 08:19:02 PM »
it does not take much fracking to get gas out

Depends on the location.  Fracked gas wells in many parts of the US produce a lot of gas for the first year or so and then production falls very low.  The well has to be re-fracked or a new well drilled and fracked.

IIRC only one US field has NG wells that produce over multiple years.

Bob Wallace

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Re: But, but, but Germany ....
« Reply #18 on: April 18, 2017, 08:29:29 PM »
They could have done it if they had kept nuclear plants... but no ... they are bad too... heavy industry cannot run on sun and wind for now...

That's true.  But heavy industry can run on Sun, wind, and storage.  (Or dispatchable generation.)

It's simply a matter of building out the renewable generation and storage we need to fill our grids 24/365.  That will take several years, a few decades.  But there is no practical reason why we can't.
---

Nuclear is nothing more than a generator like wind, solar, geothermal, biofuel, tidal, and hydro.  It has a production charistic that is different from most renewable sources.  It most resembles geothermal in that both can be 'turned down' or turned off but curtailing either further increases their cost.

There's no fuel savings (or at least no significant savings) which means that capital and fixed operating costs have to be spread over fewer MWh, increasing the cost of electricity produced.

Nuclear, like renewables, requires backup.  And nuclear requires storage if the amount produced exceeds the annual minimum demand.  (Or curtailing which is a price driver.)

oren

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Re: But, but, but Germany ....
« Reply #19 on: April 18, 2017, 09:01:21 PM »
Bob, I like your last series of posts (though somewhat OT here) but - it will take more than a few years, and it only applies to the "developed" countries. Globally it might take several decades if it happens at all.

Bob Wallace

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Re: But, but, but Germany ....
« Reply #20 on: April 18, 2017, 09:43:36 PM »
Bob, I like your last series of posts (though somewhat OT here) but - it will take more than a few years, and it only applies to the "developed" countries. Globally it might take several decades if it happens at all.

I don't know if you traveled in 'less developed' countries in the early part of this century.  If you did you may have seen how quickly many adopted cell phones.  Mobiles were very common in Thailand, for example, when few people in the US were using them.  I found myself amazed at how many people had mobiles in India when I knew almost no one who used one in the US.  Places with limited to no land line infrastructure just jumped straight to cells.

Same thing is happening in less developed countries with electricity.  They need more generation and to a large extent they are going straight to wind and solar.  They're not installing coal and nuclear and then having to replace those plants later on.  And they don't need to import fuel.

Wind and solar have huge advantages for developing countries.  They can be installed one turbine/one panel at a time.  No long years of developing a major project, seeking financing, finding the people with the skills to build the plant, waiting for years for power to start flowing.

A wind turbine can be stood and hooked to the grid in a few days.  A solar panel in an hour.  Energy flows and the turbine/panel starts paying for itself.

The investment per installation is miniscule compared to acquiring the money for a multiple year coal plant build.  A village or small town can purchase a turbine.  A single home or business can purchase a solar panel. 

It will take decades to replace fossil fuels in developed countries.  If we ramp up to installing renewable at the rate of 3% total generation per year in the US it will take us about a decade to replace coal and another decade to replace natural gas.  China and India may take a bit longer.  Europe may move quicker.

I suspect that in countries where electricity production is heavily influenced by market forces we're going to see huge increases in annual renewable installations.  Suppose you've got some money to invest.  You look at what the market is paying for electricity from a coal or gas plant and you realize that you can build a wind or solar farm, undercut the fossil fuel plant, and make a sweet profit.  The world has huge amounts of capital looking for decent places to invest.

And with the current practice of power purchase agreements (PPAs) you're guaranteed a market and pre-negotiated price before you acquire the land and pull permits.  Very safe investment and after the expiration of a 20 year PPA you've got a facility that can produce electricity for almost nothing for many more years.  Several decades in the case of solar.

Many more "First Solar" operations where the investors own the plant making the hardware and building the farms. 

We could see a movement from transitioning about 1% per year to 3% - 5% per year.  At 5% per year the US could replace all coal and NG in a decade.  It would take a few years to ramp to 5% but it's doable.

rboyd

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Re: But, but, but Germany ....
« Reply #21 on: April 18, 2017, 10:30:16 PM »
The global percentage growth rate in installed renewables is decreasing, not increasing, according to IRENA. Global wind is already down to 12% growth and solar down to 31% (forecast to drop to 16% by 2022 by GTM Research).

http://www.irena.org/DocumentDownloads/Publications/IRENA_RE_Capacity_Statistics_2017.pdf

https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/global-solar-market-forecast-to-hit-85gw-in-2017-with-surge-in-china

Back to Germany - "Germany to cut renewables growth in half"
https://energytransition.org/2017/02/germany-still-has-to-cut-renewables-growth-in-half/. 2025 share of renewables to be kept to a maximum of 45%.


Bob Wallace

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Re: But, but, but Germany ....
« Reply #22 on: April 18, 2017, 10:59:28 PM »
2016 was the second largest year for global wind installation.  Was 2016 a decrease or was 2015 a one year spike much higher than what would have been predicted from previous years?  2013 was an abnormally low year.  Then installation bounced back up in 2014 and bounced a lot in 2015.

Let's look at the data....

2011  40,635
2012  45,030
2013  36,023
2014  51,675
2015  63,633
2016  54,600

Now let's rank the years by most to least installation...

2015
2016
2014
2012
2011
2013

Year to year installation is not a smooth curve.

You might want to look at US installation rates which have been quite erratic due to federal subsidy programs and Congress.  I suspect uncertainty over subsidies cause a 2013 slump and a 2015 'rush to finish'.

The data I see says 2016 global solar installations increased by 53% over the previous highest year (2015).

2016, IIRC, installed more renewable generation than was installed in any previous year.

Don't be mislead by "growth percentages".  A 100% rate of growth when you have only 1 MW installed the previous year is 1 MW.  If you're starting with 100 MW installed and the rate of installation is only 10% you're adding 10 MW.

Growth rate acceleration is easy to accomplish in a transition.  Once the transition reaches a high enough rate there is no need for increased growth rates.

Bob Wallace

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Re: But, but, but Germany ....
« Reply #23 on: April 18, 2017, 11:07:05 PM »
Here's a chart of global solar panel demand through 2016 with predictions through 2022.  Personally I'd take the predictions with a grain of salt.  Prices continue to fall and it takes less than two years to bring a new silicon processing plant online.  Less time to start up a panel plant.

Falling battery prices are likely light a firecracker under solar installation rates.





I haven't found an annual wind installation chart.  I've got one that I can put online and link later.

Bob Wallace

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Re: But, but, but Germany ....
« Reply #24 on: April 18, 2017, 11:15:56 PM »
Here's wind installed by year.  Was 2016 a big downturn or is it just the case that year to year data is noisy?  Look at the numbers, year to year.  Some years amount of installation takes a big jump.  Other years there are only small increases or even a decrease.




Taking a longer view we installed about 2.7x as much wind in 2016 as we did a decade earlier in 2007.

TerryM

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Re: But, but, but Germany ....
« Reply #25 on: April 18, 2017, 11:42:27 PM »
Might want to check local tariffs on Chinese solar panels. In Canada & the US they were over 280% if memory serves.


Terry

rboyd

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Re: But, but, but Germany ....
« Reply #26 on: April 19, 2017, 01:39:34 AM »
Back to Germany - "Germany to cut renewables growth in half"
https://energytransition.org/2017/02/germany-still-has-to-cut-renewables-growth-in-half/. 2025 share of renewables to be kept to a maximum of 45%.

Currently 29% from renewables, including 11.9% from wind and 5.9% from solar. Rest from hydro, biomass and waste - all which tend to be dispatchable.  As those are somewhat limited for future growth, it will be wind + solar which drive the growth in the future.

So maybe a doubling of wind+solar as a share of electricity generation by 2025, in 9 years. Not a high hurdle, as 8% per annum growth will do that (assuming no growth in electricity demand). 33% wind+solar share will start to test out the theories of running a power network with a large intermittent share.

Bob Wallace

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Re: But, but, but Germany ....
« Reply #27 on: April 19, 2017, 02:09:03 AM »
There's something else going on with Germany.  In 2016 Germany generated 648 TWh of electricity but consumed only 594 TWh.  8.5% of the electricity Germany generated was used in other countries.  Germany is burning coal for other countries.


Bob Wallace

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Re: But, but, but Germany ....
« Reply #28 on: April 19, 2017, 02:15:31 AM »
Here's the breakdown of German electricity sources that I linked on the nuclear thread.




If Germany wasn't exporting 8.5% of their production they wouldn't need to burn hardly any lignite.   
---

I wonder about that 1.2% for solar.  Germany has a lot of rooftop solar, it that getting picked up in the stats?  End user solar was not included in US generation numbers until 2014 (IIRC). 

ghoti

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Re: But, but, but Germany ....
« Reply #29 on: April 19, 2017, 02:38:14 AM »
Yeah end user solar generally isn't included. That's how this spring UK electricity demand during the day was lower than during the night. It wasn't really lower but appeared lower when looking at what the National Grid was supplying. The locally generated solar electricity is offsetting grid demand.

Bob Wallace

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Re: But, but, but Germany ....
« Reply #30 on: April 19, 2017, 05:22:07 AM »
Wiki says -

"Solar power in Germany consists almost exclusively of photovoltaics (PV) and accounted for an estimated 6.2 to 6.9 percent of the country's net-electricity generation in 2014"

Eyeballing the numbers it looks like Germany has really cut back on solar after 2012 but has ramped up wind.  330% increase in offshore wind from 2014 to 2015.

GrauerMausling

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Re: But, but, but Germany ....
« Reply #31 on: April 19, 2017, 07:47:06 AM »
“The efficiency improvements in vehicles have been wiped out by the growth in traffic on the roads”

It's actually a lot worse. As the Germans are buying SUVs like crazy and because of the drop in Diesel car sales (Dieselgate anyone? - some cities might have to ban Diesel cars altogether), the average fuel efficiency of a new car is DECREASING.
Between first quarter of 2016 and 2017 there was increase in the average CO2 emissions by 0.2 % to 127,7 g/km (based on the near to useless European measurement cycle). Those numbers are published by the 'Kraftfahrtbundesamt', a state agency.
As furthermore the difference between the actual fuel consumption and the 'official' one is increasing all the time - the difference is now up to 40% - the traffic sector will remain a huge problem.
I will move from Diesel to BEV, but this is not to common. The BEV numbers are increasing but the overall number is negligible, accounting only for 0.6% of all cars.

rboyd

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Re: But, but, but Germany ....
« Reply #32 on: April 19, 2017, 04:52:05 PM »
Welcome GrauerMausling, looking forward to more insightful posts!

mati

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Re: But, but, but Germany ....
« Reply #33 on: April 19, 2017, 10:58:15 PM »
the only response is better/faster/more convenient rapid transit.
self driving cars pick you up at home
deliver you to a local bus terminal
which takes you to a local train terminal

the only way to get rid of cars

and it has to be fast, and reliable and convenient
and so it goes

Bob Wallace

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Re: But, but, but Germany ....
« Reply #34 on: April 20, 2017, 01:41:31 AM »
Self-driving cars will create the ability to have "spontaneous" carpools.  If you are willing to share your ride with others (ever ride a bus, train, plane?) in exchange for a cost savings the car you ride may pick up and drop off others along the way.

No need to be part of a formal carpool where you've got to figure out who is driving, who's staying home sick, working late, how much to pay the driver, etc.  The system will take your request and schedule you in immediately.  Chose to ride single and just pay more.

If we only doubled the number of occupants in commuting cars (largely single occupancy now, it seems) we could halve the number of cars on our roads.

mati

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Re: But, but, but Germany ....
« Reply #35 on: April 20, 2017, 10:46:52 PM »
all of this sounds really fantastic.

the car manufacturers are in a real panic, and will grab at this to help keep their sales up.

BUT

i don't see any of this becoming viable in less than 10 or 20 years.

the hype is HUGE and will bear watching

and so it goes

Bob Wallace

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Re: But, but, but Germany ....
« Reply #36 on: April 21, 2017, 12:10:17 AM »
all of this sounds really fantastic.

the car manufacturers are in a real panic, and will grab at this to help keep their sales up.

BUT

i don't see any of this becoming viable in less than 10 or 20 years.

the hype is HUGE and will bear watching

Self-driving?  Tesla has self-driving cars on the road now.  At speeds up to 80 mph.  For Tesla it's a matter of mapping all the roads which will take about a year once the Model 3 goes into production this summer. 

Pretty much all car companies are rushing to develop self-driving because they see the upcoming need.  Self-driving shouldn't add much to the cost of the car and most people are going to be willing to pay something.  Even if they use it only in low speed, stop and go commuting or long boring interstate drives.  And insurance rates are really going to favor cars with collision avoidance, which requires a large part of the self-driving hardware and computing power.

I think GM has looked ahead and decided that there will be a massive decrease in cars sold per year once robotaxis become common.  That's why (my guess) they bought Lyft.  Gives them a head start on morphing from a car manufacturer to a robotaxi company that manufacturers its own taxis.

rboyd

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Re: But, but, but Germany ....
« Reply #37 on: April 21, 2017, 04:02:50 AM »
I will answer this on the cars thread where it belongs, this is the Germany thread.