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TerryM

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1600 on: April 18, 2017, 03:38:28 PM »
Nice to be reading Bob's comments again!


In Ontario I believe one of the problems being faced is the very high costs associated with spikes, or very short periods when supply far outpaces demand.
Batteries can't charge rapidly enough to make use of this power, but I've wondered if capacitors might be able to capture this energy, then trickle it off to batteries or back to the grid.


As I understand it the spikes are not something than can be accurately predicted, but a system that automatically reacted to a spike by plugging in large capacitor banks might allow working much closer to the line than operators are now willing to dare.


Terry

rboyd

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1601 on: April 18, 2017, 04:43:17 PM »
I had assumed that over the next few decades the rain will tend to move north, from the US to Canada; knock on effect from the Hadley Cell moving north. So Canadian Hydro will be getting a good supply, but possibly not the Hoover dam etc.

With the Arctic region gaining increasing heat w.r.t. the rest of the Northern Hemisphere, and that trend possibly accelerating after the first Blue Ocean event, I am not so sure though. Could play havoc with any assumptions for rainfall and wind. Also, with more extremes (and more rain instead of snow) the dams may have to let a lot of the water resource flow uselessly down river to stop overtopping - building more storage dams would help with this of course.

There was a lot of resistance to the building of the Site C dam in B.C., some of it from indigenous groups with respect to their treaty rights. There are also a lot of environmental groups that are very anti-dam. Also some resistance to "blighting the Canadian environment to supply those wasteful Americans!" I wonder how easy it would be to build a large number of new dams in the current environment.

http://ecosocialistsvancouver.org/article/resistance-british-columbia%E2%80%99s-site-c-dam-gaining-momentum

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/vancouver-site-c-dam-protest-1.3672224

A great danger in linear thinking when dealing with such complex ecological and social systems and feedbacks.

« Last Edit: April 18, 2017, 04:58:12 PM by rboyd »

Bob Wallace

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1602 on: April 18, 2017, 08:45:54 PM »
Good to see you post again, Bob. You always get my spirits up.  :)

Glad to be of service.

I'm very optimistic about our ability to solve our CO2 problems. 

I'm not as optimistic about our willingness to solve them as quickly as we should.  We should already be most of the way there.  We aren't. 

In terms of avoiding a lot of climate change hurt I'm, at best, hopeful.  I hope we're seeing the last significant rearguard action by the fossil fuel industry.  I see signs of big oil preparing to leave the field of battle and transform into renewable energy companies (mostly offshore wind).  I think coal is in the process of losing everywhere but still has enough power to slow renewables for a few more years.  I think natural gas has a significant role to play over the next decade or so but storage looks like it will wipe out gas well before 2030.

Then I'm prayerful.  As much as a non-believer can be.  We really need some atmospheric greenhouse gas removal technologies.  I don't see anything meaningful yet. 

But overall I'm optimistic.  Given how recently we began to address climate change I'm impressed at how rapidly our renewable energy and storage technologies have evolved.  And at how very rapidly costs have fallen.  I think it possible that we could be largely fossil fuel free in 20 to 25 years.

Do that.  Figure out how to pull back some of our greenhouse gas blanket.  That might take enough energy out of the climate system to lower temperatures, reduce storm intensity, and decrease rain bombs.

Higher sea levels.  Can't see any option but adapting.  At least when we rebuild our coastal buildings a bit inland we can build highly efficient buildings.

Bob Wallace

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1603 on: April 18, 2017, 08:55:11 PM »
From news article: Vertical wind turbines could produce 10x the power per acre as their horizontal counterparts

Unimportant.

First, for the most part there is no shortage of real estate for turbine installation.  There's more than enough room to spread out horizontal axis turbines.  Plus a lot of our wind harvesting is heading offshore where winds blow more hours and there is less public resistance.

Second, VAWTs put a lot of mass on top of their towers.  That would mean a much higher investment in footings and towers in order to get VAWTs up above 100 meters where onshore winds are cleaner.  And up above the height of storm waves for offshore installation.



Bob Wallace

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1604 on: April 18, 2017, 08:59:49 PM »
Nice to be reading Bob's comments again!


In Ontario I believe one of the problems being faced is the very high costs associated with spikes, or very short periods when supply far outpaces demand.
Batteries can't charge rapidly enough to make use of this power, but I've wondered if capacitors might be able to capture this energy, then trickle it off to batteries or back to the grid.


As I understand it the spikes are not something than can be accurately predicted, but a system that automatically reacted to a spike by plugging in large capacitor banks might allow working much closer to the line than operators are now willing to dare.


Terry

Probably what you're seeing is the early days when the number of batteries online is very small.  Once we reach the point at which we are storing a couple days worth of electricity there should be enough batteries to snatch up the spikes.

Supercapacitors could do the job but at this point I think they are too expensive.  Some companies want to use them in EVs to better capture energy from regenerative braking but cost (and size?) hasn't made that practical. 

jai mitchell

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1605 on: April 18, 2017, 09:02:58 PM »
Not sure if I posted this elsewhere but this video on disruptive technologies is a MUST to see.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kxryv2XrnqM

Clean Disruption - Why Energy & Transportation will be Obsolete by 2030 - Oslo, March 2016
Haiku of Past Futures
My "burning embers"
are not tri-color bar graphs
+3C today

sidd

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1606 on: April 18, 2017, 09:04:58 PM »
Speaking of run of the river hydro, couple hundred MW of run of the river plants going in on the Ohio.

http://www.utilitydive.com/news/241-mw-of-new-hydroelectric-capacity-planned-for-ohio-river/423258/

sidd

Bob Wallace

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1607 on: April 18, 2017, 09:14:17 PM »
I had assumed that over the next few decades the rain will tend to move north, from the US to Canada; knock on effect from the Hadley Cell moving north. So Canadian Hydro will be getting a good supply, but possibly not the Hoover dam etc.

The thing that concerns me is the potential of more frequent multiple year droughts.  Texas had a bad one. Florida had some very dry years. Then it was California's turn.  Especially as we lose water storage in snowpacks we could encounter major periods where hydro largely disappears.

Would we be safe in assuming that the Northeast and Eastern Canada is free from drought risk?

At the same time we should see some areas experience periods of unusually high precipitation.  Look at the Upper Midwest a few years back.  The coastal South last (?) year.  California this year. 

While more rain falls we don't always have the ability to capture and store that extra potential energy.

rboyd

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1608 on: April 18, 2017, 09:51:47 PM »
Ontario had what was described as a severe drought last summer, now broken. Winters here are certainly a lot balmier (to a Canadian!) than they used to be. Lots of rain, felt more like London England than Toronto at times last winter. No multi-year droughts though.

Summers can get pretty hot though, 30-35 centigrade.

https://www.thestar.com/life/food_wine/2016/09/01/ontario-farmers-feeling-the-burn-of-a-summer-drought.html

Sigmetnow

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1609 on: April 24, 2017, 03:01:33 PM »
Stunning drops in solar and wind costs turn global power market upside down
The world built more renewables for far less money last year, report UN and Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
For years, opponents of renewable power, like President Donald Trump, have argued they simply aren’t affordable. The reality is quite different.

Unsubsidized renewables have become the cheapest source of new power — by far — in more and more countries, according to a new report from the United Nations and Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). ...
https://thinkprogress.org/renewables-cheapest-new-power-globally-74910c78bbbe
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Sigmetnow

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1610 on: April 24, 2017, 03:47:09 PM »
South Australia heading to 80% wind and solar by 2021/22
...
Consider what that means. Its current capacity of around 1,600MW of large-scale wind energy meets just over 40 per cent of total state demand, and the 720MW of rooftop solar adds another 7 per cent. When Hornsdale 2 is completed later this year, that percentage will go beyond 50 per cent.

AEMO’s forecasts suggest the capacity of wind and solar (now that it is cost competitive with wind) will double to around 3,100MW by 2121/2022. Given that the state’s rooftop solar installation is also expected to soar, this suggests at last 80 per cent of the state’s electricity demand could be met by wind and solar.

That’s not necessarily something to worry about, if properly managed, given that the CSIRO and the Energy Networks Australia canvassed a similar scenario in their Future Grids work, which they said would not affect system reliability, although they were suggesting it would happen more than a decade later.
...
http://reneweconomy.com.au/south-australia-heading-to-80-wind-and-solar-by-202122-202122/

Electrek says:
South Australia also happens to be a place that is currently in a strange type of gas shortage – one where they export before they feed the local markets. These energy issues are driving record solar growth in 2017 and the largest projects the earth has seen involving solar+batteries.
https://electrek.co/2017/04/24/egeb-suniva-may-be-filing-for-serious-damage-south-australia-80-windsolar-japan-drops-25gw-of-solar-more/
People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.

rboyd

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1611 on: April 24, 2017, 08:28:44 PM »
Reply to Sigmetnow "Stunning drops in solar and wind costs turn global power market upside down
The world built more renewables for far less money last year, report UN and Bloomberg New Energy Finance."

I used to really enjoy reading Joe's stuff, and am very much a supporter of the move to renewables. I started to get tired though of the use of misleading comparisons to boost renewables; comparing wholesale prices for renewables (without the added infrastructure costs) to retail prices, the "renewables provided 100% of electricity for an hour/day/week stuff" etc. Very misleading, and tends to spoil already very positive stories.

As one of the commenters put it (a Brannin McBee), please note that I don't share the commenters belief that renewables should not be expanded and the answer is natural gas

"oh come on. This just reeks of misleading numbers. Here’s a great example (and the most highlighted item):

> Note that $29.10 per MWh is 2.91 cents per kilowatt-hour. For context, the average U.S. residential price for electricity is 12 cents per kWh. [a quote from the article]

Yeah, for further context, Coal, Natural gas, Nuclear and Hydro generation all come in below $29.10 per MWh. 12c/KWh, or $120/MWh, is a RETAIL rate. This is multiples of the commercial rate due to the costs incurred with actually delivering electricity to a retail consumer. The comparison above is simply there to make it sound like renewable generation is cheaper than the marginal generation source.

Which it is absolutely not. Have costs come down substantially? Absolutely! Are renewables a helpful component of the electric grid? Yes!"

rboyd

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1612 on: April 24, 2017, 08:30:39 PM »
Reply to Sigmetnow "Stunning drops in solar and wind costs turn global power market upside down. The world built more renewables for far less money last year, report UN and Bloomberg New Energy Finance."

I used to really enjoy reading Joe's stuff, and am very much a supporter of the move to renewables. I started to get tired though of the use of misleading comparisons to boost renewables; comparing wholesale prices for renewables (without the added infrastructure costs) to retail prices, the "renewables provided 100% of electricity for an hour/day/week" stuff etc. Very misleading, and tends to spoil already very positive stories.

Also, misleads on the fact that ongoing government support is needed to drive the rate of adoption that we require, the "free" market alone will not do it.

As one of the commenters put it (a Brannin McBee - please note that I don't share the commenters belief that renewables should not be expanded and the answer is natural gas):

"oh come on. This just reeks of misleading numbers. Here’s a great example (and the most highlighted item):

> Note that $29.10 per MWh is 2.91 cents per kilowatt-hour. For context, the average U.S. residential price for electricity is 12 cents per kWh. [a quote from the article]

Yeah, for further context, Coal, Natural gas, Nuclear and Hydro generation all come in below $29.10 per MWh. 12c/KWh, or $120/MWh, is a RETAIL rate. This is multiples of the commercial rate due to the costs incurred with actually delivering electricity to a retail consumer. The comparison above is simply there to make it sound like renewable generation is cheaper than the marginal generation source.

Which it is absolutely not. Have costs come down substantially? Absolutely! Are renewables a helpful component of the electric grid? Yes!"


https://medium.com/@brannin.mcbee/oh-come-on-905ff4b51034

Bob Wallace

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1613 on: April 25, 2017, 12:02:41 AM »
Coal, Natural gas, Nuclear and Hydro generation all come in below $29.10 per MWh.

Those are prices for paid off NG, nuclear, and hydro plants.  The price for paid off wind and solar farms would be at or below $10/MWh.

Here's a comparison of prices for new builds.  Lazard LCOEs 2016....
 


rboyd

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1614 on: April 25, 2017, 05:08:31 AM »
So, basically the marginal cost, thanks! A much better comparison.

Bob Wallace

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1615 on: April 25, 2017, 05:42:15 AM »
Did a little digging.  According to the EIA operating costs in 2015 ran as follows...

Nuclear   $25.71/MWh

Fossil Steam   $37.26/MWh

Hydro-electric   $13.42/MWh

Gas Turbine and Small Scale    $33.24/MWh

https://www.eia.gov/electricity/annual/html/epa_08_04.html

BUT  "Gas Turbine and Small Scale" includes wind and solar along with gas plants.  That means it's a worthless number.  Averaging in wind and solar creates a much smaller number than gas alone.  Makes gas seem much less expensive if one does not read the footnotes.

I'll try to find some decent wind and solar numbers later.


Bob Wallace

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1616 on: April 25, 2017, 05:50:58 AM »
Wind turbine operating costs 
NREL 2014

Operations $5/MWh
Land Lease $2/MWh
Maintenance $8/MWh
Total OpEx $15/MWh

http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy16osti/64281.pdf

I'll argue that land lease costs should not be included.  That's not an included line item in opex for other technologies as far as I know.  So $13 to $15 per MWh.  Less than half of the "Gas Turbine" category price either way.

Bob Wallace

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1617 on: April 25, 2017, 07:02:34 AM »
Perhaps this is a better set of numbers.  Coal is not included as these are numbers for plants that might be built and the EIA apparently expects no further coal plants constructed in the US.


                       Fixed    Variable     Total
Hydro                3.1         5.2         8.3
Solar PV           10.1         0.0       10.1
Onshore Wind  13.1         0.0       13.1
Geothermal      13.3         0.0       13.3
         
Nuclear            12.6        11.7       24.3
CCNG                 1.4        42.0       43.4
NG Peaker          6.6        54.3       60.9

https://www.eia.gov/outlooks/aeo/pdf/electricity_generation.pdf

I don't understand the high variable cost for hydro.  The only thing that I can thing of happening when a hydro plant comes on is wear on turbine bearings.

From above -

Fossil Steam   $37.26/MWh .  Fossil = coal.

oren

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1618 on: April 25, 2017, 07:11:48 AM »
Bear in mind that fossil fuel plant costs are of course highly dependent on fuel prices, so calculating the total operating cost without providing the assumed or actual fuel cost doesn't provide full information. In 2014 fuel costs were much higher than in 2016, so the numbers are tricky.
In addition, intermittent sources with no storage are not directly comparable to on-demand sources, and to constant-output sources, each having their own advantages and disadvantages.

Bob Wallace

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1619 on: April 25, 2017, 07:12:53 AM »
Getting back to my earlier suspicions....

Gas Turbine and Small Scale    $33.24/MWh

                        Fixed    Variable     Total
Solar PV            10.1         0.0       10.1/MWh
Onshore Wind   13.1         0.0       13.1
CCNG                 1.4        42.0       43.4
NG Peaker          6.6        54.3       60.9
Total                                           127.50
Average                                        31.88

Interesting.  If you average the 2017 OpEx costs for PV, wind, CCNG, and peakers it comes out really close to the 2015 OpEx for "Gas Turbine and Small Scale".  $33.24 and $31.88.


TerryM

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1620 on: April 25, 2017, 07:13:40 AM »
Bob
I too question "variable" hydro expences. Once the dam's built & hardware is installed it seems a very high cost for maintenance.
In your post above I wonder if the "land lease" charge for wind, but not for any of the others might be due to the number of turbines each requiring it's own space, as opposed to much more compact, per KW, land needed by other generation needs?


Terry

Bob Wallace

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1621 on: April 25, 2017, 07:18:45 AM »
Bear in mind that fossil fuel plant costs are of course highly dependent on fuel prices, so calculating the total operating cost without providing the assumed or actual fuel cost doesn't provide full information. In 2014 fuel costs were much higher than in 2016, so the numbers are tricky.

True, that.

In addition, intermittent sources with no storage are not directly comparable to on-demand sources, and to constant-output sources, each having their own advantages and disadvantages.

We don't include storage or backup when we talk about the cost of generation.  Adding in storage, backup and transmission would give us the cost of generation + integration.

Don't forget, coal and nuclear need backup.  They go offline without notice.  And more than a minimal amount of nuclear on a grid needs storage for time-shifting.
--

BTW, ERCOT (Texas grid) reports integration cost for wind and solar to be essentially nothing.  $0.0005/kWh, IIRC.  That's because they're getting about 15% of their total supply from wind and solar which isn't enough to require them to do more than turn off gas (and save fuel money).

Bob Wallace

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1622 on: April 25, 2017, 07:24:25 AM »
Bob
I too question "variable" hydro expences. Once the dam's built & hardware is installed it seems a very high cost for maintenance.
In your post above I wonder if the "land lease" charge for wind, but not for any of the others might be due to the number of turbines each requiring it's own space, as opposed to much more compact, per KW, land needed by other generation needs?


Terry

I'm not questioning the amount listed for wind, just it's inclusion.

That said, wind turbine land is generally leased.  Wind farms use less than 2% of the total wind farm area for turbine bases, access roads, ancillary buildings, and transmission.  Makes no sense to buy all 100%.  Just lease 2% and let the farmer/rancher keep on using the other 98%.

It may well be that land costs are part of the CapEx for reactors and other thermal plants.  The land for those facilities is probably purchased rather than leased which would put it in the CapEx category rather than in OpEx.

I'm swinging back to including Land Lease as part of Fixed OpEx for wind.

TerryM

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1623 on: April 25, 2017, 07:39:09 AM »
Bob
I concur. The placement of wind turbines undoubtedly makes a difference. I've seen vast wind farms in desert regions where the land is virtually useless, or at least it's underutilized. Conversely some of the wind generation here in Ontario is on very productive farm land.


Terry

Bob Wallace

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1624 on: April 25, 2017, 07:54:46 AM »

From the farmer's point of view those little bits of his land that he leases out is the most productive land he owns.  Farms that have wind leases are doing well.

it's not that  we're running short on ag land.  And it's not like we're permanently taking that land out of production.  If we really need to grow crops on those spaces we could remove the turbines, towers and bases and return the land to original condition.

Someone ran the numbers a couple of years back.  There's enough residual value in the steel and copper to pay for complete removal and restoration.  The foundation concrete can even be broken up and sold for road base.

Sigmetnow

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1625 on: April 26, 2017, 12:32:06 AM »
How a Cold Day in Texas Exposed the Value of Grid Flexibility
As the sun rose over Dallas on March 3, 2014, thermometers read 15° Fahrenheit [-9.4°C]. Across the state, Texans turned their heaters on full blast as they prepared to head to work. Meanwhile, at the operations center for Texas’ electricity system, ERCOT, operators saw the price of electricity skyrocket.

Around 8 a.m. prices jumped to nearly $5,000 per megawatt-hour, more than 100 times the average price of electricity.

Though the unusually cold weather caused electricity demand to increase well above historical levels, the power market behaved as intended. Many power plant owners, who know their capacity is typically not needed during this time of year, had their plants offline for maintenance. Thus, when a period of unusually high demand on March 3 combined with relatively low supply, prices skyrocketed, demonstrating the fundamentals of supply and demand. Power plants that were available and able to turn on quickly -- to be flexible -- were rewarded handsomely.

As the renewables transition continues apace, flexibility will become increasingly important. Policymakers and investors will need to watch carefully how flexibility is paid for. In a market design like Texas’ “energy-only” market, price spikes are a normal and important event that, assuming no market manipulation, properly reflect the marginal cost of electricity at that specific time. They provide an indication of how much and what types of resources are needed.

When spikes happen at predictable times of system needs, like during the summer when high temperatures cause increased electricity demand for air conditioning, they provide a good investment signal for peak capacity. When they happen at unusual times like on March 3, 2014, they provide a crucial investment signal to wholesale market buyers and sellers that more flexible resources are needed for times of stress, on either the generation side or on the demand side. Too many of these unusual “bellwether” events indicate that a system lacks much-needed flexibility, while too few signal a system that is oversupplied (or lucky). ...
https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/how-a-cold-day-in-texas-exposed-the-value-of-grid-flexibility
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John Batteen

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1626 on: April 26, 2017, 06:53:13 PM »
They are still growing crops around the turbines. Only a small footprint for the tower is removed from cultivation.

Bob Wallace

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1627 on: April 26, 2017, 08:09:43 PM »
They are still growing crops around the turbines. Only a small footprint for the tower is removed from cultivation.

Correct.  Less than 2% of a wind farm area is used by the wind farm.  Sometimes it takes on 1% or less to cover tower foundations, access roads, ancillary buildings, and transmission.

Use is least when the turbines are sited along farm roads that are already not used as growing areas.

rboyd

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1628 on: April 26, 2017, 10:42:26 PM »
It is interesting to think that the farmer could be pumping water and grinding corn using electricity from a wind turbine. Just like in the old wind-mill days, but much more efficient ...

Sigmetnow

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1629 on: April 29, 2017, 03:22:35 AM »
Electrek says: "100 by ’50 Act – legislation that would phase out the use of fossil fuels in the US by 2050 – Probability of it being seen on the floor of Congress is close to zero %. However, that’s not the purpose of this document – this document is to let the people know what’s coming."

Bernie Sanders takes aim at Trump on climate ahead of march in DC
Bill proposes switch to 100% clean, renewable energy by 2050
...Sanders, Merkley and Markey unveiled legislation which seeks to completely phase out the use of fossil fuels through a transition to 100% clean and renewable energy by the middle of this century. ...
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/apr/27/bernie-sanders-fossil-fuel-plan-2050
People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.

rboyd

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1630 on: April 30, 2017, 09:20:39 PM »
Burden of proof: A comprehensive review of the feasibility of 100%
renewable-electricity systems
B.P. Heard, B.W. Brook, T.M.L. Wigley, C.J.A. Bradshaw


https://www.scribd.com/document/344418151/Review-for-100-Renewables-Systems

ABSTRACT

An effective response to climate change demands rapid replacement of fossil carbon energy sources. This must occur concurrently with an ongoing rise in total global energy consumption. While many modelled scenarios have been published claiming to show that a 100% renewable electricity system is achievable, there is no empirical or historical evidence that demonstrates that such systems are in fact feasible. Of the studies published to date, 24 have forecast regional, national or global energy requirements at sufficient detail to be considered potentially credible. We critically review these studies using four novel feasibility criteria for reliable electricity systems needed to meet electricity demand this century. These criteria are: (1) consistency with mainstream energy-demand forecasts; (2) simulating supply to meet demand reliably at hourly, half-hourly, and five-minute timescales, with resilience to extreme climate events; (3) identifying necessary transmission and distribution requirements; and (4) maintaining the provision of essential ancillary services. Evaluated against these objective criteria, none of the 24 studies provides convincing evidence that these basic feasibility criteria can be met. Of a maximum possible unweighted feasibility score of seven, the highest score for any one study was four. Eight of 24 scenarios (33%) provided no form of system simulation. Twelve (50%) relied on unrealistic forecasts of energy demand. While four studies (17%; all regional) articulated transmission requirements, only two scenarios—drawn from the same study—addressed ancillary-service requirements. In addition to feasibility issues, the heavy reliance on exploitation of hydroelectricity and biomass raises concerns regarding environmental sustainability and social justice. Strong empirical evidence of feasibility must be demonstrated for any study that attempts to construct or model a low-carbon energy future based on any combination of low-carbon technology. On the basis of this review, efforts to date seem to have substantially underestimated the challenge and delayed the identification and implementation of effective and comprehensive decarbonization pathways.

Some interesting points from the paper ...

Lack of simulations / realistic simulations

"The absence of whole-system simulations from nine of the reviewed studies suggests that many authors and organizations have either not grasped or not tackled explicitly the challenge of ensuring reliable supply from variable sources ... Of the 16 scenarios that provided simulations, only two simulated to intervals of < 1 hour and only two tested against historically low renewable-energy conditions. Historical testing is useful in general, but such tests do not address the high variability of output from renewable resources, let alone the attendant uncertainties associated with future climatic changes. Because of these issues, the system-simulation approaches applied so far mostly cannot demonstrate the feasibility and reliability of 100% renewable energy systems"

Integration cost escalation after certain percentage penetration of variable energy sources

"The Mason and colleagues’ studies reinforce the notion that integration of variable renewable energy sources into existing gridscan be cost-effective up to penetrations of around 20%, after which integration costs escalate rapidly [120,121]. An upper threshold to economically rational amounts of wind generation capacity is also found in simulations for the United Kingdom [27]. Any further installed wind-generating capacity makes little difference in meeting electricity demand in times of low wind supply. While the cost-effective threshold for integration of variable renewable electricity will vary among grids, 100%-renewable studies such as these reinforce that penetration thresholds exist and that alternative dispatchable generation supplies are required to meet the balance of supply"

Possibility of sustained coincident low output of solar and wind on a regional basis

"There is ample evidence for conditions with sustained, coincident low output from both wind and solar resources in Australia"

Risky assumptions on future possible scale of energy storage technologies, including hydro

"It is reasonable to assume a greater range of cost-effective options in energy storage will be available in the future. Such solutions will undoubtedly assist in achieving reliability standards in systems with greater penetration of variable renewable generation. However, whether such breakthroughs will enable the (as yet unknown) scale of storage and associated paradigm shift required for 100% renewable remains unknown and is largely unaddressed in the literature (see
additional discussion in Supplementary Material). To bet the future on such breakthroughs is arguably risky and it is pertinent for policy makers to recall that dependence on storage is entirely an artefact of deliberately constraining the options for dispatchable low-carbon generation [127,128]. In optimal systems for reliable, decarbonized electricity systems that have included generic, dispatchable zerocarbon generation as well as variable renewable generation, the supply
provided by storage is just 2–10% ... . The year-to-year variability of inflows that ultimately determine hydro-electric output is wellknown — the minimum annual US output over 1990–2010 was 23% lower than mean output for the same period"

Assumption of low energy, high environmental impact (hydro and biomass) reality

"The demand-reduction assumptions in most of the scenarios considered here, when combined with their dependence on hydroelectricity and biomass, suggest that 100% renewable electricity is likely to be achievable only in a low-energy, high-environmental impact future, where an increasing area of land is recruited into the service of providing energy from diffuse sources."

Undersizing or leaving out transmission grid requirements

"Fürsch et al. [81] suggested that a cost-optimized transmission network to meet a target of 80% renewables in Europe by 2050 would demand an additional 228,000 km of transmission grid extensions, a +76% addition compared to the base network. However, this is an underestimate
because they applied a “typical day” approach to assess the availability of the renewable-energy resources instead of using full year or multiyear hourly or half-hourly data. Rodríguez et al. [83] concluded that to obtain 98% of the potential benefit of grid integration for renewables would require long-distance interconnector capacities that are 5.7 times larger than current capacities. Becker et al. [141] found that an optimal four-fold increase in today's transmission capacity would need to be installed in the thirty years from 2020 to 2050. An expansion of that scale is no mere detail to be ignored, as it has been in Elliston et al. [75], all work led by Jacobson [18,24,25,32,112,113], the global proposals from major environmental NGOs [15,108] and many more of the studies we reviewed. Transmission lines are acknowledged as slow projects, taking 5–10 years on average to construct, projects that are vulnerable to social objection that may force even more delay [82]. In one case, a transnational interconnection took more than 30 years
from planning to completion'

DrTskoul

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1631 on: April 30, 2017, 09:41:58 PM »
Burden of proof: A comprehensive review of the feasibility of 100%
renewable-electricity systems
B.P. Heard, B.W. Brook, T.M.L. Wigley, C.J.A. Bradshaw


https://www.scribd.com/document/344418151/Review-for-100-Renewables-Systems

ABSTRACT

An effective response to climate change demands rapid replacement of fossil carbon energy sources. This must occur concurrently with an ongoing rise in total global energy consumption. While many modelled scenarios have been published claiming to show that a 100% renewable electricity system is achievable, there is no empirical or historical evidence that demonstrates that such systems are in fact feasible. Of the studies published to date, 24 have forecast regional, national or global energy requirements at sufficient detail to be considered potentially credible. We critically review these studies using four novel feasibility criteria for reliable electricity systems needed to meet electricity demand this century. These criteria are: (1) consistency with mainstream energy-demand forecasts; (2) simulating supply to meet demand reliably at hourly, half-hourly, and five-minute timescales, with resilience to extreme climate events; (3) identifying necessary transmission and distribution requirements; and (4) maintaining the provision of essential ancillary services. Evaluated against these objective criteria, none of the 24 studies provides convincing evidence that these basic feasibility criteria can be met. Of a maximum possible unweighted feasibility score of seven, the highest score for any one study was four. Eight of 24 scenarios (33%) provided no form of system simulation. Twelve (50%) relied on unrealistic forecasts of energy demand. While four studies (17%; all regional) articulated transmission requirements, only two scenarios—drawn from the same study—addressed ancillary-service requirements. In addition to feasibility issues, the heavy reliance on exploitation of hydroelectricity and biomass raises concerns regarding environmental sustainability and social justice. Strong empirical evidence of feasibility must be demonstrated for any study that attempts to construct or model a low-carbon energy future based on any combination of low-carbon technology. On the basis of this review, efforts to date seem to have substantially underestimated the challenge and delayed the identification and implementation of effective and comprehensive decarbonization pathways.

Some interesting points from the paper ...

Lack of simulations / realistic simulations

"The absence of whole-system simulations from nine of the reviewed studies suggests that many authors and organizations have either not grasped or not tackled explicitly the challenge of ensuring reliable supply from variable sources ... Of the 16 scenarios that provided simulations, only two simulated to intervals of < 1 hour and only two tested against historically low renewable-energy conditions. Historical testing is useful in general, but such tests do not address the high variability of output from renewable resources, let alone the attendant uncertainties associated with future climatic changes. Because of these issues, the system-simulation approaches applied so far mostly cannot demonstrate the feasibility and reliability of 100% renewable energy systems"

Integration cost escalation after certain percentage penetration of variable energy sources

"The Mason and colleagues’ studies reinforce the notion that integration of variable renewable energy sources into existing gridscan be cost-effective up to penetrations of around 20%, after which integration costs escalate rapidly [120,121]. An upper threshold to economically rational amounts of wind generation capacity is also found in simulations for the United Kingdom [27]. Any further installed wind-generating capacity makes little difference in meeting electricity demand in times of low wind supply. While the cost-effective threshold for integration of variable renewable electricity will vary among grids, 100%-renewable studies such as these reinforce that penetration thresholds exist and that alternative dispatchable generation supplies are required to meet the balance of supply"

Possibility of sustained coincident low output of solar and wind on a regional basis

"There is ample evidence for conditions with sustained, coincident low output from both wind and solar resources in Australia"

Risky assumptions on future possible scale of energy storage technologies, including hydro

"It is reasonable to assume a greater range of cost-effective options in energy storage will be available in the future. Such solutions will undoubtedly assist in achieving reliability standards in systems with greater penetration of variable renewable generation. However, whether such breakthroughs will enable the (as yet unknown) scale of storage and associated paradigm shift required for 100% renewable remains unknown and is largely unaddressed in the literature (see
additional discussion in Supplementary Material). To bet the future on such breakthroughs is arguably risky and it is pertinent for policy makers to recall that dependence on storage is entirely an artefact of deliberately constraining the options for dispatchable low-carbon generation [127,128]. In optimal systems for reliable, decarbonized electricity systems that have included generic, dispatchable zerocarbon generation as well as variable renewable generation, the supply
provided by storage is just 2–10% ... . The year-to-year variability of inflows that ultimately determine hydro-electric output is wellknown — the minimum annual US output over 1990–2010 was 23% lower than mean output for the same period"

Assumption of low energy, high environmental impact (hydro and biomass) reality

"The demand-reduction assumptions in most of the scenarios considered here, when combined with their dependence on hydroelectricity and biomass, suggest that 100% renewable electricity is likely to be achievable only in a low-energy, high-environmental impact future, where an increasing area of land is recruited into the service of providing energy from diffuse sources."

Undersizing or leaving out transmission grid requirements

"Fürsch et al. [81] suggested that a cost-optimized transmission network to meet a target of 80% renewables in Europe by 2050 would demand an additional 228,000 km of transmission grid extensions, a +76% addition compared to the base network. However, this is an underestimate
because they applied a “typical day” approach to assess the availability of the renewable-energy resources instead of using full year or multiyear hourly or half-hourly data. Rodríguez et al. [83] concluded that to obtain 98% of the potential benefit of grid integration for renewables would require long-distance interconnector capacities that are 5.7 times larger than current capacities. Becker et al. [141] found that an optimal four-fold increase in today's transmission capacity would need to be installed in the thirty years from 2020 to 2050. An expansion of that scale is no mere detail to be ignored, as it has been in Elliston et al. [75], all work led by Jacobson [18,24,25,32,112,113], the global proposals from major environmental NGOs [15,108] and many more of the studies we reviewed. Transmission lines are acknowledged as slow projects, taking 5–10 years on average to construct, projects that are vulnerable to social objection that may force even more delay [82]. In one case, a transnational interconnection took more than 30 years
from planning to completion'

I've read it recently... I am always reminded about how long projects take in real life vs. wishful thinking...
“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: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1632 on: April 30, 2017, 09:43:32 PM »
Planning, design, regulatory and local government approvals, not in my back yard fights... All these take much much longer than the actual construction  ( 2-4 yrs depending complexity )
“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

Bruce Steele

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1633 on: April 30, 2017, 10:30:47 PM »
rboyd, This analysis of the easy part , the renewable electric grid, is of course just one piece of the bigger picture that needs to be developed and tested. The grid, transport and food production ( I will just ignor the military and defense ) all need similar development and deployment on crazy short frame time scales.
 I am neither an engineer nor a scientist and maybe I am somewhat foolish to suggest these problems can be solved at very local , off grid scales. Anyone making any such claim better be ready to " prove up " or shut up.  Our problems with renewable energy production & food production all spin out of control when we first assume we need to mirror some form of our current system of energy
delivery , food production and economic expectations. All of those assumptions should be turned on their head with the primary goal being HOW DO WE Do THESE THINGS at any scale ?
 If I am correct and these challenges can be accomplished with very local off grid solutions then it may be possible to scale up to villages or something slightly larger. At any point when we think we can include distance and speed into our expectations I think renewable solutions will fail. In my assumptions I should also say I can't imagine renewable solutions will support current populations . But if you think growing populations, speed and long distance travel all are prerequisite to any plans for a renewable future I think those desires will serve as a poison pill . They are desires , expectation of comfort , and other constructs that will likely crumble as we begin to hit resource limits in the near term future.

Modify our expectations or meet our fate ?

oren

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1634 on: April 30, 2017, 11:25:49 PM »
A. Bruce is right. Planning for a full BAU growth scenario is ignoring everything we know about the upcoming catastrophe. B. Dr. tskoul is right, real life projects take a lot longer and cost much more than they are supposed to.
And yet, this report is way too harsh. Setting the bar so very high, with the bottom line of, what? Shall we continue with coal and NG?
Bar can be reduced by striving towards 90% or 95% renewables rather than 100%, with NG peaker plants taking up the slack. And allowing some slight reduction of reliability with a few hours a year of blackouts or brownouts.
In addition, treating storage as completely unproven is ignoring the enormous advances in battery technology, even while planning for several decades ahead. Surely storage will be way ahead of what it is today?
Bottom line, I am sure great things can be achieved with renewables, although I'm quite the pessimist on whether these things will actually be achieved, mainly due to lack of willpower and not due to lack of engineering.

rboyd

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1635 on: April 30, 2017, 11:41:19 PM »
Oren, I tend to agree with you.

Had a lot of discussions with progressives on the "we need infinite growth to solve poverty and feed the extra billions" while such BAU is non-tenable on so many ecological levels. Also, I feel that the paper is pessimistic on the energy efficiency possibilities.

We do need to reduce our expectations for such things as grid reliability (that will be a huge cultural shift for both consumers and the grid managers!), and building out the infrastructure needs to be defined as a national security issue to get the funding needed and to deal with the NIMBY issues. In the absence of such things may very well not happen.

Tor Bejnar

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1636 on: May 01, 2017, 12:57:55 AM »
A couple of stories come to mind:
(1) In the earliest 1970's, our 20,000 population rural city had frequent short-term blackouts due to 'our' refusal to pay big bucks for peak-use electricity, so we built a NG plant, and voila, fewer blackouts (and generating noise in a poor part of town).  The blackouts may have been bothersome, but we were generally used to them and planned accordingly.

(2) Several years ago I helped a friend put solar panels on his barn roof and back yard, a system integrated with the local utility and with battery backup, so that when the utility power goes out (like with Hurricane Hermine last fall), he had, basically, plenty of power. (His annual production ~= his annual use, but he produces more electricity in the summer.)  About the same time a neighbor had solar panels put on his roof, integrated with the utility; when Hermine knocked out our power for 5 days, he didn't have any electricity (except for his 18 hours per day generator), because 'his' system was really the power company's system.  (I had an off-grid home with solar panels and batteries in the late '80s-mid90s; but now have "too" many shade trees. Hermine dropped a 2' diameter tree across my driveway, but nothing on my roof [4 neighbors not so lucky].)

We need to do things smart, as if people mattered - that is, 'the least of these' people (not my greed, but the downtrodden's need - or something like that).  We should have systems to compensate for desired-use-demand-over-availability times, not just focus on 'always having enough' to cover our instant gratification whims.
Arctic ice is healthy for children and other living things.

Bob Wallace

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1637 on: May 01, 2017, 06:03:30 AM »
climate change demands rapid replacement of fossil carbon energy sources. This must occur concurrently with an ongoing rise in total global energy consumption

Fossil fuel replacement and rising electricity demand are largely happening in different places.  The developed world is lowering electricity demand via efficiency. 

The less developed world has less fossil fuel generation to replace.  They need new generation which can be renewables.


While many modelled scenarios have been published claiming to show that a 100% renewable electricity system is achievable, there is no empirical or historical evidence that demonstrates that such systems are in fact feasible.

That's setting up an unrealistic goal.  We've got far more real world data than we need to demonstrate the feasibility of a 100% renewable grid.  We've got all the components.  We've installed and are using them.  We know the cost.  Now it's simply a matter of finding the best mix for a specific grid.


Transmission lines are acknowledged as slow projects, taking 5–10 years on average to construct, projects

Converting the world's grids to 100% renewables will probably take something like 30 years.  If we speed things up from today's rates of installation.  There will be time to build transmission.  We'll build it as we need it and we're building it now.

I suspect they got the amount of transmission wrong.  By installing "neighborhood" storage transmission needs can be greatly decreased in terms of peak power.

From what I can see in their abstract the authors set out to prove that we can't generate the energy we need from renewable sources.  That is simply foolish.

sidd

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1638 on: May 01, 2017, 06:12:54 AM »
Re: "I suspect they got the amount of transmission wrong.  By installing "neighborhood" storage transmission needs can be greatly decreased in terms of peak power."

Right on. Batteries are on the verge of making it possible to disconnect entirely from the grid, as we see in Australia. Transmission/Distribution  operators are screwed. Distribution will go away, all they'll have left is the high demand customers who have not enough acreage or space to generate and store their own power. I think in the USA, FERC will have to step in to make sure they don't go bankrupt.

sidd

Bob Wallace

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1639 on: May 01, 2017, 06:23:06 AM »
"we need infinite growth to solve poverty and feed the extra billions"

Some growth.  Many people are living a life without adequate housing, food and other necessities.  And everyone should have a little fun (TV, etc.).  But we can do that sustainably if we work at it.

Food, not so much.  Both the US and Africa already produce roughly 2x the amount of food that they need.  We waste half the food we grow. 

Bob Wallace

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1640 on: May 01, 2017, 06:26:31 AM »
Re: "I suspect they got the amount of transmission wrong.  By installing "neighborhood" storage transmission needs can be greatly decreased in terms of peak power."

Right on. Batteries are on the verge of making it possible to disconnect entirely from the grid, as we see in Australia. Transmission/Distribution  operators are screwed. Distribution will go away, all they'll have left is the high demand customers who have not enough acreage or space to generate and store their own power. I think in the USA, FERC will have to step in to make sure they don't go bankrupt.

sidd

In many places it won't make sense to disconnect from the grid.  Solar will not be reliable enough around the year to allow an only solar/storage life.  People will need access to hydro, wind and other renewable sources. 

Bruce Steele

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1641 on: May 01, 2017, 07:08:34 AM »
Bob Wallace,   " food not so much"  I would gladly defer to your expertise on tech, kinda, if I had a bit more faith in your track record. We had a bit of disagreement over EIA figures on emissions a couple years ago. I said I didn't trust their reliability and you seemed confident in their numbers. China has updated their numbers .



"Energy-content-based coal consumption from 2000 to 2013 is up to 14% higher than previously reported, while coal production is up to 7% higher"

https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=22952

So I think rose colored glasses re. Food production should probably factor in the fuel we pour through the food production system , transport and refrigeration. Thirty years to reform the food system would be IMO more wishful thinking but I guess you figure there is plenty of extra supply to buy us more time until we tackle food security issues. We haven't started to look at how we are going to transition to something else. We have no idea how to resolve water overdraft issues or crop production problems as global warming starts to reduce yields. We are already causing lots of problems with fertilizers and eutrofication . Just figuring how to transition fertilizer production to renewables , when somebody decides that is a priority, won't solve the nutrients issues that are contributing to hypoxia and acidification in our watersheds and oceans.

 

« Last Edit: May 01, 2017, 07:20:09 AM by Bruce Steele »

sidd

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1642 on: May 01, 2017, 07:39:40 AM »
Re: food supply transition

Stop eating so much meat. And fish. That does it right there.

sidd

Bob Wallace

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1643 on: May 01, 2017, 07:48:09 AM »
I would gladly defer to your expertise on tech, kinda, if I had a bit more faith in your track record. We had a bit of disagreement over EIA figures on emissions a couple years ago. I said I didn't trust their reliability and you seemed confident in their numbers. China has updated their numbers .


I don't recall  that disagreement.   I question whether I was strongly supporting EIA numbers as I've found multiple places where the EIA has messed up their numbers.  (Found another place two days ago.)

If I was defending China's absolute coal use numbers from the first Greenpeace report then I was incorrect.  However I suspect I was saying that China has hit peak coal use and was pretty close to peak CO2 emissions.



The graphs you link support the statement that China has reached peak coal use.  As I recall when Greenpeace presented the original coal consumption numbers they were unaware of stockpiles of coal in China which were not showing up in either the "extracted" or "imported" numbers.  Including those stocks moved the absolute use level up a notch.

And it looks like China has passed peak CO2 emissions.



Food production should probably factor in the fuel we pour through the food production system , transport and refrigeration.


To a large extent that energy is already being consumed.  In the US we just plain throw away a lot of food.  We do leave some in the fields because we've grown surplus or it "isn't pretty". 

In Africa there's a problem of getting food from farm to consumer.  Part of that problem is poor roads and part a lack of refrigeration.  Roads can be improved.  Goods can be hauled using electricity.  Refrigeration largely runs off electricity. 

The other problem in Africa is storing food in a manner so that large amounts are not consumed by animals (rats, etc.) or ruined by insects.  That's an infrastructure problem that is solvable.


Thirty years to reform the food system would be IMO more wishful thinking


A lot of Africa's food production is inefficient (in addition to waste/spoilage problems).  At the moment China is setting up large agriculture programs.  I would expect 'what works' to spread throughout the continent.  Farming in large parts of Asia is also very inefficient but that is also changing. 

If we are already producing 2x the food we need then we can absorb some climate change shock and if we improve our agricultural practices I suspect we can muddle through.

That is not to say that we won't see occurrences of large scale famine and even significant deaths in the future.  We see that now.  But it's really a problem of food distribution, not production.

Bob Wallace

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1644 on: May 01, 2017, 07:53:03 AM »
Re: food supply transition

Stop eating so much meat. And fish. That does it right there.

sidd

That's our safety valve.  If food supplies get tight we can directly consume the "25 pounds of vegetable protein used to grow 1 pound of animal protein".

And since meat consumption is somewhat controlled by market forces that problem will largely take care of itself.  If food supplies tighten meat will get too expensive and grains will get too expensive to feed to animals.

I suspect we're within ten years of factory produced meat.  Produced with a much lower plant material input.  If so, lots of soy and corn fields will be freed up for direct people food.


Bob Wallace

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1645 on: May 01, 2017, 07:54:37 AM »
I would gladly defer to your expertise on tech, kinda, if I had a bit more faith in your track record.

You run a tight league, Bruce.

One strike and you lose the game....     ;D

Bruce Steele

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1646 on: May 01, 2017, 09:55:58 AM »
Bob, Yes Greenpeace, " The Degrowth Imperitive " sept.21 2014.   I just don't see how we can make assumptions about coal or energy consumption when revisions for China have only been made through 2013.
  Re. A switch to grains from meats would free up some food to be sure but it still doesn't address water, heat impacts or fertilizer. The calories we get from shipping fresh fruits and vegetables is IMO an energy hog, a vegan one.

wili

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1647 on: May 01, 2017, 10:58:41 AM »
Bruce wrote: "switch to grains from meats would free up some food to be sure but it still doesn't address water, heat impacts or fertilizer"

???

The water impact of cattle raising is even higher than its carbon impact.

And most people can get more than adequate nutrition from veggies and fruit grown locally.

We've just gotten used to having fresh strawberries in mid-winter. That has to be seen once again as an enormous luxury.

(It is stunningly common that otherwise bright, logical people kind of go off the rails when it comes to defending their meat-centered diets and disparaging vegetarianism/veganism. You would rightly shout me down as using faulty logic if I said that meat diets are wasteful because importing Kobe beef is so energy intensive. Why don't you see that this argument is equally off base?)

....

Bob Wallace wrote: "But it's really a problem of food distribution, not production."

This is definitely true now. As GW impacts start hitting more broadly...we'll see.

Asia may have to forgo rice for millet or some other more heat-tolerant grain (though they seem to be making some advances in more heat-tolerant rice varieties).
« Last Edit: May 01, 2017, 11:10:26 AM by wili »
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

Bruce Steele

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1648 on: May 01, 2017, 04:57:40 PM »
I went to bed late after giving Bob a hard time and slept with a rock under my pillow. It's sunrise and my inter conflict resumes. I can't write about the ocean I know and love without shouldering a lot of angst. I will just assume Wili you have been reading my posts on the carbon cycle. I wouldn't know the ocean as well as I do if I hadn't poured thousands of gallons of fuel though the boat I owned and captained for many decades. It was a joy to challenge the Pacific and survive it, thrive in it ,but after I got to understand acidification I had a very hard time rationalizing my carbon budget and my purported love of the ocean.
 Farming vegetables seemed like a way to be productive whilst not being such an energy hog but once I got to understand distribution systems farming began to reveal many of the energy consumption problems that fishing has. I know it's difficult for those of you committed to a vegan lifestyle to believe but my forays into raising pigs, foraging and producing pig biodiesel  is   the closest I have gotten to zero ff carbon. Raising anywhere near enough animals to support a farm makes foraging food for the herd too large a task though so although I now know how to achieve the zero carbon goal I aspire to I also know I need to give up the farm to resolve the issues of scale. I can support myself  and a small family but earning a living , earning a wage while doing so seems more and more a pipe dream.
 Living off the grid, raising your own food, giving up on anything but very local transport is what is required but those things don't provide anywhere near enough money to buy a solar power system, buy an electric car, buy a little piece of land and pay taxes. Dental care and medical expenses get put aside .
 So I get agitated by techno fantasy solutions, I sometimes wish I never looked so deeply , that I could just put my wetsuit back on and work until I was so tired it all went away. If it seems like I am hard on anyone here I am sorry, I know many of you share my inter conflicts .
 

Csnavywx

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1649 on: May 01, 2017, 06:37:24 PM »
Bob, Yes Greenpeace, " The Degrowth Imperitive " sept.21 2014.   I just don't see how we can make assumptions about coal or energy consumption when revisions for China have only been made through 2013.
  Re. A switch to grains from meats would free up some food to be sure but it still doesn't address water, heat impacts or fertilizer. The calories we get from shipping fresh fruits and vegetables is IMO an energy hog, a vegan one.

A thousand times this. Lest we fall into the same trap repeatedly. Look, I'm all for cheering on peak/declining coal. However, I'd rather the data be solid. Past (and fairly recent) revisions leave much to be desired. Chinese statistics are like a fine wine, they get better with age.