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Jim Hunt

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Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« on: September 03, 2020, 08:51:23 AM »
Also, if major industrialization, infrastructure development, and so on has to take place for most of the world population to even catch up with Europe, then even more energy will be needed.

At the risk of drifting off topic, here's an extract from a Kevin Anderson seminar that I attended a few years ago:



At around 1:40:

Quote
You have to do something with our demand for energy, and that is very, very unpopular amongst all of us, all of our colleagues, all of the policy makers.

"Us" in this context being a lecture theatre full of climate scientists, plus the odd imposter.
« Last Edit: September 06, 2020, 09:06:16 PM by kassy »
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one - Albert Einstein

Jim Hunt

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2020, 09:49:28 AM »
See this recent press release:

See this recent tweet:

https://twitter.com/V2gUK/status/1301426311630647297

The ignorance of Andrew Neil knows no bounds!
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one - Albert Einstein

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2020, 10:10:38 PM »

The problem is that the global economy that is expected to produce that energy is based on competitive capitalism, i.e., investors will fund renewable energy projects because they expect higher returns, consumers are expected to consume more energy to fuel more funding, etc.

(US)  this change is global but I have US numbers

This is why the shift of renewables being cheaper around 2018/2019 is a big deal. Little comment is made about this which I do not understand. First 6 months of 2020 instalation of renewables exceeded fossil fuels. Last 6 months of this year new fossil fuel plants (0.64 GW) disapear almost entirely  and renewable plans surge. 28.72 GW in the last 6 months of 2020. The evidence of this shift is showing up in the drop of  fossil fuel plants being built. The last 6 months of 2020 only 2% of planned additions are fossil fuels. That is huge. These are not optimistic estimates from an industry promoting itself. Projects only show up on this planned list after permits are filed.  Most were under construction and on schedule as of the end of June. Battery additions at 0.80 GW exceed fossil fuel additions at 0.64 GW. These changes are driven mostly by capitalism not environmentalism. The natural gas replacing coal narrative died in the first half of this year. Any data before 2018 is mostly irreverent to the future. Many have called this transition before so it is understandable that most are reluctant to notice.
ONLY 2% of planned additions in the last 6 months of this year are fossil fuels.
This is in the US and applies only to electricity but the same number that drive the change in electricity will drive changes in all electricity.

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2020, 02:09:40 AM »
(US) only 2% of planned electricity additions in the last 6 months of 2020 are fossil fuels
https://www.eia.gov/electricity/monthly/ then chapter 6 capacity  then 6.1 electric generating summer capacity changes.

ralfy

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2020, 03:35:40 AM »

You miss orens point.
Much of the energy from hydro carbon use is waste heat that you have to dispose of .
ie the most efficient fossil fuel generation from a combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) plant coverts only 63% of the energy into a form that is usable the rest is wasted heat that must be disposed of https://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/431420-most-efficient-combined-cycle-power-plant
When used In transport only about 20% of the energy contained in fossil fuel is converted to useful work.

This is not a thing with renewable energy 100% of the output is usable energy available to do work. Even when used for  transport  around 80% of renewable energy is converted to  useful work driving you forward.

My point doesn't refer to waste heat from using renewable energy but waste heat from manufacturing components needed for renewable energy. That's why the net energy from the latter is low.

ralfy

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2020, 03:41:05 AM »

At the risk of drifting off topic, here's an extract from a Kevin Anderson seminar that I attended a few years ago:



At around 1:40:

Quote
You have to do something with our demand for energy, and that is very, very unpopular amongst all of us, all of our colleagues, all of the policy makers.

"Us" in this context being a lecture theatre full of climate scientists, plus the odd imposter.

Indeed. Development of renewable energy never takes place in a vacuum. In this case, it involves a global economy where investors want to maximize profits and "us" (most human beings) want more than just basic needs.

Given the point that net energy is lower, then a market economy is not suitable. Given the physical reality of peak oil, if not diminishing returns, it may also be irrelevant.

ralfy

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2020, 03:50:18 AM »

The problem is that the global economy that is expected to produce that energy is based on competitive capitalism, i.e., investors will fund renewable energy projects because they expect higher returns, consumers are expected to consume more energy to fuel more funding, etc.

(US)  this change is global but I have US numbers

This is why the shift of renewables being cheaper around 2018/2019 is a big deal. Little comment is made about this which I do not understand. First 6 months of 2020 instalation of renewables exceeded fossil fuels. Last 6 months of this year new fossil fuel plants (0.64 GW) disapear almost entirely  and renewable plans surge. 28.72 GW in the last 6 months of 2020. The evidence of this shift is showing up in the drop of  fossil fuel plants being built. The last 6 months of 2020 only 2% of planned additions are fossil fuels. That is huge. These are not optimistic estimates from an industry promoting itself. Projects only show up on this planned list after permits are filed.  Most were under construction and on schedule as of the end of June. Battery additions at 0.80 GW exceed fossil fuel additions at 0.64 GW. These changes are driven mostly by capitalism not environmentalism. The natural gas replacing coal narrative died in the first half of this year. Any data before 2018 is mostly irreverent to the future. Many have called this transition before so it is understandable that most are reluctant to notice.
ONLY 2% of planned additions in the last 6 months of this year are fossil fuels.
This is in the US and applies only to electricity but the same number that drive the change in electricity will drive changes in all electricity.

My problem is that I'm looking at this from a global perspective. For example, the U.S. has only around 4 pct of the world population but consumes up to 20 pct of world oil production. In general, I'm told that it needs up to a fourth of various global resources to maintain its lifestyle.

Renewable energy has generally low returns:

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/eroi-behind-numbers-energy-return-investment/

and much of humanity, including BRICS and forty emerging markets, want similar lifestyles.

Presumably, with peak oil and problems like global warming, there will be extensive development in renewable energy, but given the type of global economy in place, it will be done to meet the demands of that world population, which includes more than just basic needs.

Thus, we are looking at a situation where renewable energy, which has lower net energy, will be used to deal with a resource crunch, ecological damage, and global warming, but will also be used by a world population that needs increasing amounts of cheap energy.

oren

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2020, 05:56:30 AM »
Ralfy you really need to move on with your analysis of renewable energy. Links from 2013 are not going to cut it, even if they are from scientific American. There has been so much progress, as evidenced by the crash in prices per MW and MWh, that 7 years is like an eternity.

KiwiGriff

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2020, 07:53:19 AM »
Animals can be driven crazy by placing too many in too small a pen. Homo sapiens is the only animal that voluntarily does this to himself.
Notebooks of Lazarus Long.
Robert Heinlein.

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #9 on: September 04, 2020, 08:42:16 AM »
The scientific american article you sight in addition to being too dated to be relevant to today's renewables is just wrong even for the time. It is one of a few articles cited by climate change deniers.


EORI Energy return on investment. Essentially construction energy is the only energy used in renewables but those investments are ignored for fossil fuels and nuclear in the article. In this article operations and transportation energy are completely ignored.


Wind EORI is based on a 2010 assessment of 50 studies using data from 119 turbines. Publication dates of those studies goes from 2007 to 1977.  That assessment is going to be skewed by early wind turbines with short lifetimes and low capacity factors. Turbine lifetimes have increased substantially since 2007 let alone 1977. Capacity factor has also increased with larger turbines.  Further larger turbines have lower invested energy per unit. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S096014810900055X


solar used a 2012 study that used data that "Was several years old" in 2012. "Solar PV's EROI is almost certainly rising" This was from the scientific american article. The main improvement for solar are changes to manufacturing.  Nameplate values have increased reducing hardware and installation. Efficiencies of both the cells and invertors has significantly increased.  80% capacity Warranties have increased from 20 to 25 years indicating a greater than 25% increase in panel life.



[/size][size=78%]For coal and natural gas they ignore plant construction energy and transportation of the fuel energy. For coal transportation energy can be large.  The author uses an approximation based on name plate efficiency which completely ignores operations. Water pumping alone can use up to 10% of power produced. The Navajo generating station coal plant used a conveyor that was several miles long. I talked to someone whose job it was to drive alongside the conveyor and report when their was a problem. It was then loaded on an electric train which transported it the rest of the way. Coal plants use a considerable amounts of diesel on loaders as well. The energy used to construct massive pipelines for natural gas is also ignored. [/size]

Jim Hunt

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #10 on: September 04, 2020, 01:34:45 PM »
The ignorance of Andrew Neil knows no bounds!

Sadly Andrew has still failed to correct his "no doubt inadvertent error" concerning battery storage:

https://twitter.com/jim_hunt/status/1301836735635169280

What's more California ISO is predicting another sweltering weekend, as indeed is GFS:

https://V2G.co.uk/2020/09/california-iso-anticipates-another-weekend-heatwave/
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one - Albert Einstein

ralfy

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #11 on: September 05, 2020, 03:22:31 AM »
Ralfy you really need to move on with your analysis of renewable energy. Links from 2013 are not going to cut it, even if they are from scientific American. There has been so much progress, as evidenced by the crash in prices per MW and MWh, that 7 years is like an eternity.

The article looks at energy return but you're referring to prices. They're not the same.

For the same reason, one cannot argue that the problem of peak oil is gone because prices plummeted.


ralfy

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #12 on: September 05, 2020, 03:41:00 AM »
The scientific american article you sight in addition to being too dated to be relevant to today's renewables is just wrong even for the time. It is one of a few articles cited by climate change deniers.


EORI Energy return on investment. Essentially construction energy is the only energy used in renewables but those investments are ignored for fossil fuels and nuclear in the article. In this article operations and transportation energy are completely ignored.


Wind EORI is based on a 2010 assessment of 50 studies using data from 119 turbines. Publication dates of those studies goes from 2007 to 1977.  That assessment is going to be skewed by early wind turbines with short lifetimes and low capacity factors. Turbine lifetimes have increased substantially since 2007 let alone 1977. Capacity factor has also increased with larger turbines.  Further larger turbines have lower invested energy per unit. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S096014810900055X


solar used a 2012 study that used data that "Was several years old" in 2012. "Solar PV's EROI is almost certainly rising" This was from the scientific american article. The main improvement for solar are changes to manufacturing.  Nameplate values have increased reducing hardware and installation. Efficiencies of both the cells and invertors has significantly increased.  80% capacity Warranties have increased from 20 to 25 years indicating a greater than 25% increase in panel life.



[/size][size=78%]For coal and natural gas they ignore plant construction energy and transportation of the fuel energy. For coal transportation energy can be large.  The author uses an approximation based on name plate efficiency which completely ignores operations. Water pumping alone can use up to 10% of power produced. The Navajo generating station coal plant used a conveyor that was several miles long. I talked to someone whose job it was to drive alongside the conveyor and report when their was a problem. It was then loaded on an electric train which transported it the rest of the way. Coal plants use a considerable amounts of diesel on loaders as well. The energy used to construct massive pipelines for natural gas is also ignored. [/size]

The energy needed to construct materials used for renewable energy involve fossil fuel inputs for up to 70 pct of mining equipment, up to half of manufacturing, and much of shipping. The same applies to the infrastructure, from roads to electric grids, to distribute electricity to end users, and the consumer goods that use that electricity.

In real-world use, actual energy return ends up being much lower than nameplate power. In the same real world, large numbers of people worldwide want more than just basic needs. And the material resources needed to sustain those needs alone are, in terms of ecological footprint per capita, beyond biosphere limits.

Given that, there is little that is "clean" about renewable energy. And I say that not because I'm some climate change denier but because that's what we're seeing.

This brings me back to a point raised in the first response given to me in the thread: there is no debate in this forum that people are consuming too much energy and material resources. But at the same time such a view is implicitly dismissed because prices have gone down (which can be done easily by creating more credit, as seen in energy intensity) and because what is promised (such as breakthroughs in technology) is perceived to provide an abundance of energy in the long term.

That said, I do not find reasons for dismissal convincing, which is why I think the inevitable conclusion to that point raised is that people will be forced to use less energy and material resources because both will be lacking.

sidd

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #13 on: September 05, 2020, 07:59:46 AM »
Re: "people will be forced to use less energy and material resources because both will be lacking."

Is that so bad ? I am amazed how much is wasted all around me. As, i think, are others.

sidd

oren

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #14 on: September 05, 2020, 09:03:05 AM »
I agree with your conclusion but not with your method ralfy. This is a scientific forum and this is the renewables thread, not the consumption thread. You use a 2013 article as your EROI source for renewable energy. People have pointed out this source is seriously out of date, and yet you seem to ignore this information while sticking to the conclusion, which is quite obvious but not necessarily due to EROI.

EROI is just a part of a much larger equation. Energy is partly interchangeable with other industrial and societal resources.
Prices are often a proxy for these resources, which is why I used them in my criticism.
But even EROI in itself will change dramatically when panel or turbine efficiency is much increased, manufacturing methods streamlined and improved, and useful life significantly increased. If you want EROI, find an updated source that uses 2020 numbers, and is not biased trying to prove humanity needs to tone down consumption. Again, don't let the obvious conclusion drive a faulty justification.

Simon

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #15 on: September 05, 2020, 09:06:21 AM »
Solar PV and offshore wind can provide the world’s energy requirements. We need 300 to 400,000km2 of mainly sunny desert for solar PV and between 1/2 and a million turbines. The shortfall can be provided by hydro, nuclear, geothermal etc. If there is a need for limited hydrocarbon fuel then these can be provided by synthesis via atmospheric co2 and water as I pointed out in a previous post.

The Arctic icecap can be saved and so can human civilisation. There technological and economic means are there. It now needs the political will.

SteveMDFP

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #16 on: September 05, 2020, 08:12:16 PM »

The energy needed to construct materials used for renewable energy involve fossil fuel inputs for up to 70 pct of mining equipment, up to half of manufacturing, and much of shipping. The same applies to the infrastructure, from roads to electric grids, to distribute electricity to end users, and the consumer goods that use that electricity.

That's a valid point, of limited long-term significance.  These activities may depend today at 70 percent on fossil fuels, but they are all trending towards electrification, and electricity is trending towards renewable sourcing.

When industrial processes are run on electricity and electricity is generated by renewables, then we'll have an economy fully based on renewable energy.  Some industries present special challenges in this regard, like agriculture, mining, ocean shipping, and air travel.  None of these cases are truly intractable.  Worst-case scenario for these is using biofuels.

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #17 on: September 05, 2020, 11:09:04 PM »
The article looks at energy return but you're referring to prices. They're not the same.


The article claims to look at energy but is seriously flawed. This flaw is in analysis not money. So you should not dismiss it with comments about money.


Quote
This brings me back to a point raised in the first response given to me in the thread: there is no debate in this forum that people are consuming too much energy and material resources.
I doubt many on this forum believe people aren't consuming too much. I agree that people are consuming too much. I don't see anyone making that argument here. If you can find some you can debate them on this forum but not on this thread.

ralfy

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #18 on: September 06, 2020, 03:58:58 AM »
Re: "people will be forced to use less energy and material resources because both will be lacking."

Is that so bad ? I am amazed how much is wasted all around me. As, i think, are others.

sidd

When there is a lack of resources and energy per capita, then global financial markets crash, leading to higher instability and conflict. With a twenty-fold increase in armaments production and deployment worldwide, one expects such conflict to be widespread and lasting.

From there, we see the collapse of industrial civilization, with even basic needs like medicine and materials needed to maintain infrastructure lacking.

Both of these lead to higher death rates plus higher infant mortality rates due to combinations of higher poverty, conflict, and a breakdown of food production, manufacturing, and services.

Meanwhile, ecological damage plus the effects of climate change are expected to continue, if not worsen.


ralfy

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #19 on: September 06, 2020, 03:59:59 AM »
I agree with your conclusion but not with your method ralfy. This is a scientific forum and this is the renewables thread, not the consumption thread. You use a 2013 article as your EROI source for renewable energy. People have pointed out this source is seriously out of date, and yet you seem to ignore this information while sticking to the conclusion, which is quite obvious but not necessarily due to EROI.

EROI is just a part of a much larger equation. Energy is partly interchangeable with other industrial and societal resources.
Prices are often a proxy for these resources, which is why I used them in my criticism.
But even EROI in itself will change dramatically when panel or turbine efficiency is much increased, manufacturing methods streamlined and improved, and useful life significantly increased. If you want EROI, find an updated source that uses 2020 numbers, and is not biased trying to prove humanity needs to tone down consumption. Again, don't let the obvious conclusion drive a faulty justification.

You keep pointing out that it is not up-to-date. What, then, are the updated figures for energy return?

What you refer to are prices. That's not energy return.

ralfy

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #20 on: September 06, 2020, 04:22:13 AM »
Solar PV and offshore wind can provide the world’s energy requirements. We need 300 to 400,000km2 of mainly sunny desert for solar PV and between 1/2 and a million turbines. The shortfall can be provided by hydro, nuclear, geothermal etc. If there is a need for limited hydrocarbon fuel then these can be provided by synthesis via atmospheric co2 and water as I pointed out in a previous post.

The Arctic icecap can be saved and so can human civilisation. There technological and economic means are there. It now needs the political will.

The world's energy requirements are based on a global capitalist system, with 29 pct earning more than $10 daily and 71 pct earning less than that. The income of the 29 pct is based on combinations of financial speculation and sales of goods and services to everyone else, especially to the 71 pct. The more they can produce and sell, the more they earn in terms of salaries and returns on investment.

The goal of most of the 71 pct is to earn $10 daily or more, and they preferably want more because they want what the 29 pct has.

The numbers of people joining those who earn at least $10 daily have been rising steadily since the 1980s, as seen in the rise of new economic powers: Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa (BRICS) and ever forty emerging markets. Not surprisingly, it is also in these markets that economic growth continues and is relentless.

That's because even with lower birth rates overall, global population is still expected to rise to 10-11 billion because rapid industrialization needed to make it peak prematurely to less than 10 billion requires incredible inputs in energy and material resources, and population momentum (i.e., large numbers of young people which negates lower birth rates per childbearing female) ensures incredible demand for all sorts of goods and services.

Now, some say that the overall resource requirement needed to meet just the basic needs of that young, growing population is equivalent to one more earth, and to meet middle class conveniences beyond that even more.

In addition, the global economy just described is also driven by competitive capitalism. The first is the cause of significant levels of waste due to overproduction and minimizing opportunity costs, and the second leads to concentration of wealth among a few, such that something like the 30 richest people on earth now have more wealth than over 3 billion people.

That said, one has to consider how political will will come into play, i.e., given the point that governments are dependent on the same rich for funding and are voted to power by constituents that want middle class conveniences.

Finally, how much energy is needed to meet at least basic needs per capita of the world population given such conditions? Is it 15 gigajoules per annum? Up to 40 terawatts for the world population?

How much will be needed to satisfy the wants of the same population, which is what human civilization now means (i.e., it's been essentially an industrialized civilization needed to support a world population that more than tripled in just a few decades after WW2)? I recall one report stating that at best we should have around 50 terawatts with all energy sources (especially renewables) put online. Will that be enough? If not, how will political will come into play to regulate the same population? Will it involve, say, increasing levels of authoritarianism, and even leveling off the playing field? Will this be acceptable to the 29 pct, or even the 1 pct that controls the same global economy?

How much more energy will be needed to at least minimize the effects of diminishing returns (i.e., increasing amounts of energy needed to get decreasing amounts of new resources needed for renewable energy and generally many goods and services)? And to at least minimize the effects of ecological damage and even climate change?
« Last Edit: September 06, 2020, 04:45:38 AM by ralfy »

ralfy

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #21 on: September 06, 2020, 04:31:05 AM »

That's a valid point, of limited long-term significance.  These activities may depend today at 70 percent on fossil fuels, but they are all trending towards electrification, and electricity is trending towards renewable sourcing.

When industrial processes are run on electricity and electricity is generated by renewables, then we'll have an economy fully based on renewable energy.  Some industries present special challenges in this regard, like agriculture, mining, ocean shipping, and air travel.  None of these cases are truly intractable.  Worst-case scenario for these is using biofuels.

There is one study mentioned here, but I don't have access to it, and I don't know if it is deemed valid because it's from 2010:

https://www.businessinsider.com/131-years-to-replace-oil-2010-11

but it uses market expectations to determine the length of transition time needed to move away from fossil fuels:

https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es100730q

I think the conclusion is that more than just political will is needed in order to decrease the transition time. That is, significant levels of coordination between competing businesses and governments are needed, with heavy regulation of economies such that populations will have to sacrifice middle class conveniences for basic needs (i.e., what leads to optimal health).

Given a world with a history of conflict, destabilization, heavy financial speculation, competition coupled with maximization of profit, and pecuniary emulation, I am not certain if such coordination will ever take place.

ralfy

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #22 on: September 06, 2020, 04:43:40 AM »

The article claims to look at energy but is seriously flawed. This flaw is in analysis not money. So you should not dismiss it with comments about money.


It is pointless to look at money because credit can be created easily. That's also why one cannot argue that there's no peak oil when oil prices drop and it's back when prices rise.

Ultimately, energy return has to be considered, and not nameplate power but actual use. More important, if Bardi is to be followed, is net energy. Then couple that with the needs and wants of the world population, requirements of investors for renewable energy, and the effects of diminishing returns on components needed not only to produce energy from renewables but even to distribute and use it.

Quote
I doubt many on this forum believe people aren't consuming too much. I agree that people are consuming too much. I don't see anyone making that argument here. If you can find some you can debate them on this forum but not on this thread.

That's not my point. It's whether or not such a lifestyle where one believes he isn't consuming much is sustainable on a global scale, and whether that level of consumption may be met by renewable energy.

Think of it in terms of ecological footprint (as renewable energy is never created or used in a vacuum):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_ecological_footprint

If some scientists are to be believed, then the global average of 2.75 global hectares per capita as of 2016 is in excess of biocapacity per capita. That global average is expected to rise as more people earn more than $10 daily, and biocapacity per capita expected to decrease as population continues to rise and ecological damage coupled with climate change take their toll.

What is the amount of renewable energy needed to allow for that footprint to rise (to those interested in knowing how low they consume, they can try any of the footprint calculators found online)? If it is good enough (because it's higher than that of countries like Cuba), then what is needed to level the playing field and ensure that everyone gets a footprint of around 2? What amount of renewable energy is needed to maintain it at such  as population rises? What amount of renewable energy is needed to negate the effects of ecological damage which lowers biocapacity? What type of political will is needed to ensure such, and is it possible to do so on a global scale?

GrauerMausling

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #23 on: September 06, 2020, 01:07:13 PM »


You keep pointing out that it is not up-to-date. What, then, are the updated figures for energy return?

What you refer to are prices. That's not energy return.


It's not so difficult to find!
E.g.:
https://www.ise.fraunhofer.de/content/dam/ise/de/documents/publications/studies/Photovoltaics-Report.pdf

Page 8 give the executive summary for the time it takes to get the energy back. 1.5 years to 2.5 years.
And I consider Fraunhofer to be a reliable institute.


crandles

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #24 on: September 06, 2020, 01:32:21 PM »

What you refer to are prices. That's not energy return.

Why does it matter if energy return is low if the price of energy from renewables is lower than from other sources?

If the energy return from renewables is low but the price of that energy is low then surely this means the other costs like labour cost and time is really low so we have the resources to do more of the renewables.

If the price of renewable energy was high because the energy return was low then there may well be a problem, but it seems to me this pretty much disappears if the cost of energy from renewables is lower than other sources.


gerontocrat

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #25 on: September 06, 2020, 02:29:55 PM »
Comparing EROI of electrical energy from fossil fuels with renewables has long been used by the fossil fuel industry in their campaign against renewables. But the sun shines and the wind blows regardless - it is free energy.

The sun is such an abundant source of free energy that as long as PV and Wind produce more energy than is consumed EROI is irrelevant. And because it is free energy,  energy out only has to cover the energy used in building the installations, and modest energy used in maintenance. All the surplus energy out is thus a freebie. And the freebie starts between 1 and 2.5 years after project completion.

So price is the key.

The more efficient Solar & PV becomes to build and operate, and the greater the energy production per $ of investment, the better the cost advantage over energy from fossil fuels.
& on electricity production we are there already in most places.

"They" say that in a year or three there will be EV's that are cheaper to buy as well as operate than ICE vehicles.
My guess is that before the end of the decade most new vans and trucks could be EVs, but may not be.

The hard nut to crack is use of fossil fuels, mainly gas and oil, in domestic heating and manufacturing and industry. Wedgewood use gas ovens. UK domestic heatling is almost all gas - at least 2 to 3 times cheaper per kwh than electricity.

The biggest obstacle to getting on with it is simply a case of inertia - especially in the estblished "legacy" utilities.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-53951754
Climate change: Power companies 'hindering' move to green energy

Quote
New research suggests that power companies are dragging their feet when it comes to embracing green energy sources such as wind and solar. Only one in 10 energy suppliers globally has prioritised renewables over fossil fuels, the study finds.

Even those that are spending on greener energy are continuing to invest in carbon heavy coal and natural gas.

The lead researcher says the slow uptake undermines global efforts to tackle climate change.

But while green energy has boomed around the world in recent years, many of the new wind and solar power installations have been built by independent producers.

Large scale utility companies, including many state and city owned enterprises, have been much slower to go green, according to this new study.


The research looked at more than 3,000 electricity companies worldwide and used machine learning techniques to analyse their activities over the past two decades.

The study found that only 10% of the companies had expanded their renewable-based power generation more quickly than their gas or coal fired capacity. Of this small proportion that spent more on renewables, many continued to invest in fossil fuels, although at a lower rate. The vast majority of companies, according to the author, have just sat on the fence.

"If you look at all utilities, and what's the dominant behaviour, it is that they're not doing much in fossil fuels and renewables," said Galina Alova, from the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at the University of Oxford.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41560-020-00686-5.epdf
A global analysis of the progress and failure of electric utilities to adapt their portfolios of power-generation assets to the energy transition
Quote
The penetration of low-carbon technologies in power generation has challenged fossil-fuel-focused electric utilities. While the extant, predominantly qualitative, literature highlights diversification into renewables among possible adaptation strategies, comprehensive quantitative understanding of utilities’ portfolio decarbonization has been missing. This study bridges this gap, systematically quantifying the transitions of over 3,000 utilities worldwide from fossil-fuelled capacity to renewables over the past two decades. It applies a machine-learning-based clustering algorithm to a historical global asset-level dataset, distilling four macro-behaviours and sub-patterns within them. Three-quarters of the utilities did not expand their portfolios. Of the remaining companies, a handful grew coal ahead of other assets, while half favoured gas and the rest prioritized renewables growth. Strikingly, 60% of the renewables-prioritizing utilities had not ceased concurrently expanding their fossil-fuel portfolio, compared to 15% reducing it.

These findings point to electricity system inertia and the utility-driven risk of carbon lock-in and asset stranding.
"Para a Causa do Povo a Luta Continua!"
"And that's all I'm going to say about that". Forrest Gump
"Damn, I wanted to see what happened next" (Epitaph)

interstitial

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #26 on: September 06, 2020, 05:53:36 PM »

The article claims to look at energy but is seriously flawed. This flaw is in analysis not money. So you should not dismiss it with comments about money.


It is pointless to look at money because credit can be created easily. That's also why one cannot argue that there's no peak oil when oil prices drop and it's back when prices rise.

Ultimately, energy return has to be considered, and not nameplate power but actual use. More important, if Bardi is to be followed, is net energy. Then couple that with the needs and wants of the world population, requirements of investors for renewable energy, and the effects of diminishing returns on components needed not only to produce energy from renewables but even to distribute and use it.

Quote
I doubt many on this forum believe people aren't consuming too much. I agree that people are consuming too much. I don't see anyone making that argument here. If you can find some you can debate them on this forum but not on this thread.

That's not my point. It's whether or not such a lifestyle where one believes he isn't consuming much is sustainable on a global scale, and whether that level of consumption may be met by renewable energy.

Think of it in terms of ecological footprint (as renewable energy is never created or used in a vacuum):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_ecological_footprint

If some scientists are to be believed, then the global average of 2.75 global hectares per capita as of 2016 is in excess of biocapacity per capita. That global average is expected to rise as more people earn more than $10 daily, and biocapacity per capita expected to decrease as population continues to rise and ecological damage coupled with climate change take their toll.

What is the amount of renewable energy needed to allow for that footprint to rise (to those interested in knowing how low they consume, they can try any of the footprint calculators found online)? If it is good enough (because it's higher than that of countries like Cuba), then what is needed to level the playing field and ensure that everyone gets a footprint of around 2? What amount of renewable energy is needed to maintain it at such  as population rises? What amount of renewable energy is needed to negate the effects of ecological damage which lowers biocapacity? What type of political will is needed to ensure such, and is it possible to do so on a global scale?

Please consider my response instead of assuming.
1)The energy return on investment is seriously flawed and does not work. My claim is not about money a careful reading shows that.
2a)The article is flawed and does not consider many fossil fuel inputs. The flaws I listed are about energy.
2b)Further changes in manufacturing have seriously reduced energy inputs.

3)Please stop derailing this thread with a discussion of consumption. This thread is about renewables. Periodicaly someone derails this thread with consumption. Your argument is we need to work on consumption as well. I agree but that is not the same

Moderator (Kassy) please move this discussion to a different thread. Maybe are renewables enough? or something else IDK.

« Last Edit: September 06, 2020, 06:22:11 PM by interstitial »

interstitial

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #27 on: September 06, 2020, 06:19:54 PM »
While this study sighted by Gerontocrat is new it is based on data from 1998 to 2018
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-53951754


The data ends around the time renewables became cheaper than fossil fuels. More recent data shows a dramatic increase in renewables.

kassy

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #28 on: September 06, 2020, 08:49:55 PM »
Thanks interstitial. I think that´s a good idea. Just thinking about the title a bit.
So this is the new thread to discuss the energy transition and consumption.
« Last Edit: September 06, 2020, 09:17:12 PM by kassy »
Þetta minnismerki er til vitnis um að við vitum hvað er að gerast og hvað þarf að gera. Aðeins þú veist hvort við gerðum eitthvað.

Bruce Steele

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #29 on: September 06, 2020, 09:32:06 PM »
I think some considerations of consumption and money have to be made. So when someone decides where we should talk about those issues I will go there and not bother this thread.
 My two powerwalls and 5kw solar system have been working for a year now. Consumption and production totals.
 6696kWh home use
 8766kWh solar production
 2801kWh powerwall
  630kWh  from grid
 2163kWh to grid

The powerwall app greatly improves real time view into electricity use and can help users modify consumption patterns and hopefully improve efficiency.

I think if you had the same system and a small modern home , efficiency would improve.
So a smaller system would do the same thing
or you could use extra energy to power an electric car.
But of course the car and the new home construction would also have embodied energy costs. And limited lifetimes.
I think the cumulative energy costs of building the solar system , manufacture of batteries, home construction, and a small EV would be large enough that when you subtract the renewable generation
from the total energy costs you would far exceed a two ton CO2 budget.
The only way I can see renewables contributing to <2 tonnes CO2 is to think very small and forgo the EV. Grow your own food and stay at home for work.

ps. It’s 109F outside right now and tomorrow it is suppose to hit 112F.






etienne

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #30 on: September 06, 2020, 09:47:40 PM »
Hello,
I just want to share two interesting links
https://www.faithchangingclimate.com/jevons-paradox
Quote
At first glance, Jevons Paradox creates a discouraging situation. It says that every action we take creates and equal or greater opposite action. So, for example, if a person chooses not to drive to work, then the gasoline that he or she saves will be used by someone else. The only way out of this trap is to ensure that we simultaneously reduce demand for the resource. Demand reduction is crucial.

All attempts to address our predicaments through improved efficiency or consumption are likely not only to fail, they may actually make those predicaments worse unless demand elsewhere, all over the world, is reduced correspondingly.
And
https://www.faithchangingclimate.com/thermodynamics
Quote

Energy neither be created nor destroyed (except through the use of nuclear reactions). Hence any proposal to “save energy” cannot work. Nor can energy be “renewed”. We can transform energy from one form to another. For example, we can burn gasoline in an automobile engine to create forward motion. But the total amount of energy involved remains the same.

Whenever energy is converted from one form to another the overall system entropy — a measure of disorder or randomness — always increases. For example, when we burn gasoline in the engine of an automobile some of the energy generated moves the vehicle forward. But more of the energy is discarded as waste heat from the automobile’s tail pipe. Nothing that we do is “sustainable” — every action leads to an increase in overall entropy. It also means that no machine can have “zero emissions”.

There is really no such thing as “clean energy”. Energy is simply energy. Some ways of transforming energy into useful work create generate less entropy than others. But none of them are “clean”.
 
I like very much what that man writes, but I'm not sure that producing PV electricity doesn't reduce entropy.
« Last Edit: September 06, 2020, 10:22:40 PM by etienne »

oren

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #31 on: September 06, 2020, 11:02:44 PM »
Jevons paradox is very important to our predicament, but the second link with the entropy stuff is irrelevant.

Bruce Steele

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #32 on: September 06, 2020, 11:34:13 PM »
To be pragmatic, costs of home solar are competing with grid supplied costs.
Batteries don’t pencil out yet but in areas where blackouts are common batteries can compete with fixed generators and require far less maintenance.
Costs, reliability, and safety are undoubtably large drivers of consumer demand. Will those individual choices result in less fossil fuels consumed ?  I would think they would but it is kinda important to know what the collective costs for home solar systems and batteries are writ large. Home charging an EV can also save fossil fuel use but your solar array would need more panels. It is hard for me to imagine how the manufacture of all those solar panels and batteries is going to be powered with “renewable energy”
 Maybe someone better informed can site the percentage of solar panel factories operating with solar power ? Battery factories ?

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #33 on: September 07, 2020, 06:11:21 AM »
Sorry guys but I feel that I have to give some support to ralfy's posts and views. Not specifically about renewable energy, but about the global emergency situation through misbehaviour of the affluent people.


Quote from: ralfy
there is no debate in this forum that people are consuming too much energy and material resources

ralfy that is a very good point. Happy you brought it up.
Consume less, use less energy, use less potable water etc. I have posted about it before but it was not 'popular'.

When it comes to the personal consumption levels of the high-users in the affluent part of the world, a barrier in their minds seems to go up. Same happens when expensive electric luxury vehicles and other high-consumer goods are critically discussed in this light.
It all boils down to the unwillingness to do the right thing i.e. to make deep personal sacrifices in comfort/ease for the benefit of poor parts of the world, all other lifeforms and all hypothetical generations after us, the children.


Quote from: ralfy
because what is promised (such as breakthroughs in technology) is perceived to provide an abundance of energy in the long term.

Technological progress and affluency are destructive dreams that most (all?) rich people are completely addicted to. Bound by Gollum's ring. Conscience and empathy are also not 'popular' it seems. Welcome to hell on Earth.

This is my view. No insults intended.


Quote from: ralfy
When there is a lack of resources and energy per capita, then global financial markets crash, leading to higher instability and conflict. With a twenty-fold increase in armaments production and deployment worldwide, one expects such conflict to be widespread and lasting.

From there, we see the collapse of industrial civilization, with even basic needs like medicine and materials needed to maintain infrastructure lacking.

Both of these lead to higher death rates plus higher infant mortality rates due to combinations of higher poverty, conflict, and a breakdown of food production, manufacturing, and services.

Meanwhile, ecological damage plus the effects of climate change are expected to continue, if not worsen.

ASIF readers may not agree with this view but it is a very important one imo.
Thank you ralfy for your refreshing view and interesting posts.


"Demand reduction is crucial." - Indeed. Thanks for posting etienne.
"It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly" - Bertrand Russell
"It is preoccupation with what other people from your groups think of you, that prevents you from living freely and nobly" - Nanning
Why do you keep accumulating stuff?

ralfy

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #34 on: September 07, 2020, 07:25:14 AM »


You keep pointing out that it is not up-to-date. What, then, are the updated figures for energy return?

What you refer to are prices. That's not energy return.


It's not so difficult to find!
E.g.:
https://www.ise.fraunhofer.de/content/dam/ise/de/documents/publications/studies/Photovoltaics-Report.pdf

Page 8 give the executive summary for the time it takes to get the energy back. 1.5 years to 2.5 years.
And I consider Fraunhofer to be a reliable institute.

It looks like nameplate power to me, i.e., with an assumed irradiation level, from which energy payback time is derived.

But what's actual energy return? Might this also help?

http://energyskeptic.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Pedro-Prieto_ISBPE_2017-Spains-solar-revolution-revisited.pdf

as reported here:

http://energyskeptic.com/2017/tilting-at-windmills-spains-disastrous-attempt-to-replace-fossil-fuels-with-solar-pv-part-2/




KiwiGriff

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #35 on: September 07, 2020, 07:40:50 AM »
Right now you might have a point Bruce .
In the future I think we will use renewable energy to mine and farm.
I can not see any unsurmountable technological issues to stop us transitioning to 100% renewable energy.

I have been off grid for just over  the last decade.
The decreasing costs have been startling.
My first panels cost 2000NZD  for 80 watts and a pwm controller in 2008.
My present array built four years ago cost 2000NZD for 2kW using more efficient MPPT controllers
One built now for 2000NZD would be about 2.6kW .
When I started LED's were new, expensive and unreliable. Now reliable cheap and  efficient LED lighting is not an issue . Same with refrigeration modern  inverter fridges are more efficient and do not need high starting currents reducing the loads on inverters.
I presently use valve regulated agm lead acid batteries ex a commercial emergency power supply.
Looking at the options to upgrade I have a choice of technology's that promise much higher cycle life and better round trip  efficiency than lead acid for near the same cost . Electric cars have not reached the point were their batteries  are a viable source for energy storage here...yet. this will soon change. Home Heating / cooling is not really needed here in northern NZ so i do not have that to contend with.
It was cheaper for me to go off gild than run a power cable 350meters up my drive let alone pay the resulting power bills.

This translates into places like Africa and Asia were the grid is nonexistent or unreliable .
They too have the opportunity  to use solar for lighting, water pumping ,refrigeration , and communication because it is cheaper than alternates.

Something else not mentioned  Solar panels are something like 90% recyclable after their 25 year or more useful life which will lower their embedded energy over time as we transition fully towards a renewable circular economy.

PS ralfy just earned a place on my ignore  list.
Reading someones comments  who is continuing to use outdated data to push nonsense on a rapidly changing technology is not worth my time.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2020, 08:18:09 AM by KiwiGriff »
Animals can be driven crazy by placing too many in too small a pen. Homo sapiens is the only animal that voluntarily does this to himself.
Notebooks of Lazarus Long.
Robert Heinlein.

ralfy

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #36 on: September 07, 2020, 07:46:55 AM »

Why does it matter if energy return is low if the price of energy from renewables is lower than from other sources?

If the energy return from renewables is low but the price of that energy is low then surely this means the other costs like labour cost and time is really low so we have the resources to do more of the renewables.

If the price of renewable energy was high because the energy return was low then there may well be a problem, but it seems to me this pretty much disappears if the cost of energy from renewables is lower than other sources.

Because the price does not correctly reflect energy return given the point that it is ultimately driven by increasing credit which is used to fund increasing production.

Given that, what we need to do is to look at the amounts of energy needed to extract oil and various minerals to make components needed to make solar panels, batteries, inverters, electric wire, wind turbines, motors for wave energy, etc., energy needed to manufacture them, energy needed to ship them, and energy needed to develop infrastructure (from roads needed to deliver construction materials to steel and equipment needed to set up electric grids) to distribute electricity to end users. And we have to do this for the global economy and population.

If investors are funding businesses in mining, manufacturing, and shipping for renewable energy, then we have to assume that they do so to maximize profits and returns on investment. That means they do so with the assumption that increasing numbers of panels, turbines, etc., will be made for increasing numbers of people who want to use increasing amounts of electricity to power all sorts of equipment manufactured and sold by businesses that have the same assumptions.

In short, we have to assume that the energy produced not only has to deal with the costs of producing and distributing it but also with the cost of using it. And on top of that, with the cost of increasing energy production to meet increasing demand to generate more revenues to meet what investors who will be investing in all of that want.

Does renewable energy have the meets to scale and meet that, and preferably in the short term? Can it do so given investors who also see, for example, low oil prices, which in turn masks increasing oil production costs? Can it deal with diminishing returns in oil and mineral extraction, both of which are needed for renewable energy components, not to mention everything else that involves manufactured goods?

How long would it take the global economy to transition to a fossil-free situation, and what would it involve?



ralfy

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #37 on: September 07, 2020, 08:01:11 AM »
Comparing EROI of electrical energy from fossil fuels with renewables has long been used by the fossil fuel industry in their campaign against renewables. But the sun shines and the wind blows regardless - it is free energy.

The sun is such an abundant source of free energy that as long as PV and Wind produce more energy than is consumed EROI is irrelevant. And because it is free energy,  energy out only has to cover the energy used in building the installations, and modest energy used in maintenance. All the surplus energy out is thus a freebie. And the freebie starts between 1 and 2.5 years after project completion.

So price is the key.

The more efficient Solar & PV becomes to build and operate, and the greater the energy production per $ of investment, the better the cost advantage over energy from fossil fuels.
& on electricity production we are there already in most places.

"They" say that in a year or three there will be EV's that are cheaper to buy as well as operate than ICE vehicles.
My guess is that before the end of the decade most new vans and trucks could be EVs, but may not be.

The hard nut to crack is use of fossil fuels, mainly gas and oil, in domestic heating and manufacturing and industry. Wedgewood use gas ovens. UK domestic heatling is almost all gas - at least 2 to 3 times cheaper per kwh than electricity.

The biggest obstacle to getting on with it is simply a case of inertia - especially in the estblished "legacy" utilities.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-53951754
Climate change: Power companies 'hindering' move to green energy

Quote
New research suggests that power companies are dragging their feet when it comes to embracing green energy sources such as wind and solar. Only one in 10 energy suppliers globally has prioritised renewables over fossil fuels, the study finds.

Even those that are spending on greener energy are continuing to invest in carbon heavy coal and natural gas.

The lead researcher says the slow uptake undermines global efforts to tackle climate change.

But while green energy has boomed around the world in recent years, many of the new wind and solar power installations have been built by independent producers.

Large scale utility companies, including many state and city owned enterprises, have been much slower to go green, according to this new study.


The research looked at more than 3,000 electricity companies worldwide and used machine learning techniques to analyse their activities over the past two decades.

The study found that only 10% of the companies had expanded their renewable-based power generation more quickly than their gas or coal fired capacity. Of this small proportion that spent more on renewables, many continued to invest in fossil fuels, although at a lower rate. The vast majority of companies, according to the author, have just sat on the fence.

"If you look at all utilities, and what's the dominant behaviour, it is that they're not doing much in fossil fuels and renewables," said Galina Alova, from the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at the University of Oxford.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41560-020-00686-5.epdf
A global analysis of the progress and failure of electric utilities to adapt their portfolios of power-generation assets to the energy transition
Quote
The penetration of low-carbon technologies in power generation has challenged fossil-fuel-focused electric utilities. While the extant, predominantly qualitative, literature highlights diversification into renewables among possible adaptation strategies, comprehensive quantitative understanding of utilities’ portfolio decarbonization has been missing. This study bridges this gap, systematically quantifying the transitions of over 3,000 utilities worldwide from fossil-fuelled capacity to renewables over the past two decades. It applies a machine-learning-based clustering algorithm to a historical global asset-level dataset, distilling four macro-behaviours and sub-patterns within them. Three-quarters of the utilities did not expand their portfolios. Of the remaining companies, a handful grew coal ahead of other assets, while half favoured gas and the rest prioritized renewables growth. Strikingly, 60% of the renewables-prioritizing utilities had not ceased concurrently expanding their fossil-fuel portfolio, compared to 15% reducing it.

These findings point to electricity system inertia and the utility-driven risk of carbon lock-in and asset stranding.

Most people don't know this, but the oil industry itself has been moving to renewable energy for the same reasons: peak oil as seen in lower EROIs for oil. Even Saudi Arabia had been investing in not only solar panels but even nuclear power because of peak oil issues.

Those lower EROIs are driven by diminishing returns, in turn caused by gravity and physical limitations. That is, in time, it becomes more expensive to extract more oil and minerals from the ground. But those are the same oil and minerals used for manufacturing almost everything, including renewable energy components, electric vehicles, electric grids, and even infrastructure needed to promote a so-called "European lifestyle."

Thus, the implication that this is somehow part of some propaganda by the oil industry against renewable energy and even climate activitists is unscientific and preposterous.

About the claim of abundant, free energy from the sun or wind, that is true, but so are the renewable energy components that we to capture, store, and distribute it, and those components are manufactured using mined materials and distributed in container ships across extensive supply chains, and all that plus even the consumer goods that make use of that electricity involve extensive fossil fuel inputs.

Given that, it is inevitable that not only renewable energy will be used but every energy source available to meet both basic needs and wants. Why include needs? Because the global economy in which investments in energy will be made involve competition, profit maximization, and increasing economic growth to foster higher revenues and thus higher profits and returns on investments. And that means increasing consumption of energy and material resources per capita.

That's why to those who remember what happened more than a decade ago, and to go back to my first point, the other reason besides climate change and pollution for investing in not only renewable energy but different energy sources was high oil prices.


ralfy

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #38 on: September 07, 2020, 08:11:11 AM »

Please consider my response instead of assuming.
1)The energy return on investment is seriously flawed and does not work. My claim is not about money a careful reading shows that.
2a)The article is flawed and does not consider many fossil fuel inputs. The flaws I listed are about energy.
2b)Further changes in manufacturing have seriously reduced energy inputs.

3)Please stop derailing this thread with a discussion of consumption. This thread is about renewables. Periodicaly someone derails this thread with consumption. Your argument is we need to work on consumption as well. I agree but that is not the same

Moderator (Kassy) please move this discussion to a different thread. Maybe are renewables enough? or something else IDK.

How is the EROI flawed? What has been shown so far are prices and energy payback in time given ideal conditions. Why not look at real conditions, which is what Prieto and others did?

The article is not flawed precisely because it includes fossil fuel inputs.

What changes took place in manufacturing, and how much were energy inputs reduced? Is it similar to claims made by peak oil deniers, that there's no peak oil because oil is now very cheap thanks to changes in oil extraction?

Finally, I don't undestand the last point: we need to work on consumption as well, but it's off-topic, and "not the same." Can you explain that?

About a new thread, that's a good idea, as we're now dealing with more than just press releases.

ralfy

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #39 on: September 07, 2020, 08:13:20 AM »
The data ends around the time renewables became cheaper than fossil fuels. More recent data shows a dramatic increase in renewables.

The difficulty now is that oil is at $45 a barrel.


ralfy

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #40 on: September 07, 2020, 08:20:44 AM »
Hello,
I just want to share two interesting links
https://www.faithchangingclimate.com/jevons-paradox
Quote
At first glance, Jevons Paradox creates a discouraging situation. It says that every action we take creates and equal or greater opposite action. So, for example, if a person chooses not to drive to work, then the gasoline that he or she saves will be used by someone else. The only way out of this trap is to ensure that we simultaneously reduce demand for the resource. Demand reduction is crucial.

All attempts to address our predicaments through improved efficiency or consumption are likely not only to fail, they may actually make those predicaments worse unless demand elsewhere, all over the world, is reduced correspondingly.
And
https://www.faithchangingclimate.com/thermodynamics
Quote

Energy neither be created nor destroyed (except through the use of nuclear reactions). Hence any proposal to “save energy” cannot work. Nor can energy be “renewed”. We can transform energy from one form to another. For example, we can burn gasoline in an automobile engine to create forward motion. But the total amount of energy involved remains the same.

Whenever energy is converted from one form to another the overall system entropy — a measure of disorder or randomness — always increases. For example, when we burn gasoline in the engine of an automobile some of the energy generated moves the vehicle forward. But more of the energy is discarded as waste heat from the automobile’s tail pipe. Nothing that we do is “sustainable” — every action leads to an increase in overall entropy. It also means that no machine can have “zero emissions”.

There is really no such thing as “clean energy”. Energy is simply energy. Some ways of transforming energy into useful work create generate less entropy than others. But none of them are “clean”.
 
I like very much what that man writes, but I'm not sure that producing PV electricity doesn't reduce entropy.

Finally, someone raised it! Discussions on renewable energy sometimes ignore the fact that investments in such and use do not take place in a vacuum. They are part of a global economy where most people want increasing income and returns on their investment, and then to use them to buy more goods and services. At the same time, sales of more goods and services fuel increasing investments in producing even more goods and services, especially given competition.

That's why the same problems can be seen in responses to climate change: governments funded by large corporations and elected by people who want both basic needs and middle class conveniences end up calling for only small cuts on emission increases and look for more ways to ensure "sustainable development," but amounts to sustaining economic growth.

In response to that, one can only imagine that some sort of "political will" will take place on a global scale, where countries that spent decades not only competing with but even attacking or destabilizing each other will suddenly work with each other.

ralfy

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #41 on: September 07, 2020, 08:25:36 AM »
Right now you might have a point Bruce .
In the future I think we will use renewable energy to mine and farm.
I can not see any unsurmountable technological issues to stop us transitioning to 100% renewable energy.

I have been off grid for just over  the last decade.
The decreasing costs have been startling.
My first panels cost 2000NZD  for 80 watts and a pwm controller in 2008.
My present array built four years ago cost 2000NZD for 2kW using more efficient MPPT controllers
One built now for 2000NZD would be about 2.6kW .
When I started LED's were new, expensive and unreliable. Now reliable cheap and  efficient LED lighting is not an issue . Same with refrigeration modern  inverter fridges are more efficient and do not need high starting currents reducing the loads on inverters.
I presently use valve regulated agm lead acid batteries ex a commercial emergency power supply.
Looking at the options to upgrade I have a choice of technology's that promise much higher cycle life and better round trip  efficiency than lead acid for near the same cost . Electric cars have not reached the point were their batteries  are a viable source for energy storage here...yet. this will soon change. Home Heating / cooling is not really needed here in northern NZ so i do not have that to contend with.
It was cheaper for me to go off gild than run a power cable 350meters up my drive let alone pay the resulting power bills.

This translates into places like Africa and Asia were the grid is nonexistent or unreliable .
They too have the opportunity  to use solar for lighting, water pumping ,refrigeration , and communication because it is cheaper than alternates.

Something else not mentioned  Solar panels are something like 90% recyclable after their 25 year or more useful life which will lower their embedded energy over time as we transition fully towards a renewable circular economy.

PS ralfy just earned a place on my ignore  list.
Reading someones comments  who is continuing to use outdated data to push nonsense on a rapidly changing technology is not worth my time.

People are free to ignore me, and I do the same. In my case, I ignore because of personal attacks. The last thing I want to see is an echo chamber.

"Off the grid" in this case only refers to not being dependent on local sources of distributed electricity. Beyond that, one is still on the grid, and in more ways than one. For example, those solar panels, not to mention everything else, involved extensive fossil fuel inputs in mining, manufacturing, and shipping, involving extensive supply chains linking dozens of businesses in many countries and thousands of km of shipping routes.

That said, "off the grid" will likely mean living in a hut, and with an ecological footprint that's barely above one global hectare per capita. That's notable because "renewable energy" will mean what people used before the nineteenth century.

etienne

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #42 on: September 07, 2020, 09:29:03 AM »
Jevons paradox is very important to our predicament, but the second link with the entropy stuff is irrelevant.
Hi Oren,

I don't agree that entropy is irrelevant. Many people believe that if they use "green" energy, they can waste it. An electrical SUV is still an SUV, and in most contexts more than what people need to move around. And it does change something regarding climate change if you use your PV electricity to heat with a heat pump or with a normal electrical heater. People shouldn't believe that their jacuzzi doesn't matter because it is heated with PV pannels.

nanning

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #43 on: September 07, 2020, 10:09:45 AM »
Thanks for that etienne.
"It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly" - Bertrand Russell
"It is preoccupation with what other people from your groups think of you, that prevents you from living freely and nobly" - Nanning
Why do you keep accumulating stuff?

etienne

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #44 on: September 07, 2020, 11:00:20 AM »
The link between entropy and climate change is not straightforward, that's sure, but the fact is that fossil fuels are always somehow burned, which means an important increase of entropy. When you transform sunlight in electricity, you reduce entropy (we are not in a closed system if you only consider the earth),  but if the result of that entropy reduction is used to heat the jacuzzi, it doesn't help in any way to limit climate change, it's just a neutral game. Burning wood is also a neutral game.

A neutral game is much better than a loosing one, but we have to keep in mind that while some people heat their jacuzzi with solar panels, other are cooking or working with electricity produced burning coal or gas power-plants.

I'm the first one to recognize that I'm not perfect, that I also use a lot of energy just for fun, but I think that it is important to understand that the "just for fun" also has an impact on climate even if it is fully renewable. This will be the case as long as almost all used energy is not renewable.

wili

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #45 on: September 07, 2020, 12:21:23 PM »
Good points, etienne

It strikes me that we need to reduce our requirements from the energy grid (or rooftop solar...) to a bare minimum, be sure an ever-increasing and rapidly increasing portion of that energy is renewable, and as we start to get oversupplies of renewables, use them to do whatever is necessary and feasible to extract CO2 from the atmosphere and sequester it safely and stably somehow.

As far as I know, the first and last of these are not stated goals in any mainstream climate strategy, but I'd be happy to be corrected.

Also note: JinkoSolar will run entirely on renewable energy by 2025

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“As the world’s largest solar module manufacturer, it doesn’t make sense that we produce renewable equipment but not use renewable energy ourselves."

« Last Edit: September 07, 2020, 12:32:50 PM 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."

oren

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #46 on: September 07, 2020, 01:17:36 PM »
The last thing I want to see is an echo chamber.

And yet you have created an echo chamber all on your own. You do not engage in structured discussion that enables dealing with the points one by one, and keep relying on outdated sources that are plain and clear propaganda against renewables.

oren

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #47 on: September 07, 2020, 01:18:03 PM »
On topic:
There is no valid physical reason (such as the oft-cited EROEI, or lack of sufficient land, or intermittency, all solvable and not real problems) why solar PV and wind turbines, with help from hydro and batteries and a few gas backup plants, cannot power the global electricity grid, as well as many other human activities (mining, transportation, manufacturing, agriculture, even heating, aviation, shipping). In the process, a lot of energy now wasted on fossil fuel extraction, transportation and distribution will be saved. And of course, a lot of the damage from uncontrolled AGW will be mitigated.
However, there are many actual reasons why these solutions are not enough. Humanity has overshot the carrying capacity of the planet, with AGW just one of resulting issues. To save much of the damage and prevent a civilizational collapse within a few decades, a convergence into the carrying capacity must occur quickly. Due to inertia in the energy system, lack of political will, the power of fossil fuel interests and entities, and the successful propaganda of climate change denial (and renewables denial as exemplified upthread) that has brainwashed the minds of many common people, renewables are being deployed much too slowly to solve the carrying capacity issue all on their own. The inability of humans to grasp slow-moving enormous and remote problems makes everything worse and reduces the chances of this being turned around.
A quick solution would be identified by complete halt of fossil fuel investments, a massive buildup of renewable generation, closure of fossil fuel generation as soon as enough renewable production goes online, deployment of transmission and grid storage on a proactive and accelerated basis, switchover of transportation and agricultural machines and mining equipment to electricity, conversion of industrial processes to electricity, and many more activities. This is not happening - renewables only solve some of the growth in the electricity sector. Rate of deployment should have been at least 10 times higher, sustained and growing over the next 20 years, in order to offer an acceptably quick solution. In 10 years, the whole electricity production system should be renewable, with all fossil fuel plants closed down except for some quick backup. In 20 years, all transportation and machinery should be electric. This is physically doable, but is not being done and will not be done in time.

Because of the above, consumption must be cut drastically, in order to enable a convergence of production consumption and natural limits before collapse. This includes overconsumption of food (especially meat), long rang commuting, conventions, faraway tourism, over-large houses, non-useful toys and frivolities and gadgets, and numerous other consumption avenues. This is not happening as well, for many of the actual reasons listed above, and because of human nature and the desire by most to have a more convenient and varied life and to imitate the highest lifestyle seen on TV and social media. The problem is exacerbated by continued population growth, and by the (blessed and justified) rise in affluence of poor populations around the globe. In order to converge into the limits in time, the developed world should cut its own excess consumption even more drastically, striving towards an equitable and rather low affluence level that can be applied globally, and the developing world should reduce its above-replacement birth rates now. None of this is happening in a rate commensurate with the timeframes and the problem at hand.

To sum, the Renewable Transition is possible and should be vastly  accelerated and helped in parallel by reductions in consumption. Otherwise (which I expect) human civilization will pay the ultimate price for not acting in time.

BeeKnees

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #48 on: September 07, 2020, 02:11:50 PM »
The data ends around the time renewables became cheaper than fossil fuels. More recent data shows a dramatic increase in renewables.

The difficulty now is that oil is at $45 a barrel.

I don't see that as a problem because it's below what many places can afford to produce it, and even when it isn't the low price means the income available in profit from producers selling it is hugely reduced.  Not forgetting that the price of oil is just the start of the process to it being used in a car or power station and much of the cost is tied up in initial capital expenditiure. 

As demand falls it is inevitable that price falls and the extraction of oil becomes a less attractive investment.

crandles

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #49 on: September 07, 2020, 02:14:22 PM »
I am sure what you are saying makes sense to you, but I find it hard to follow.

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Because the price does not correctly reflect energy return

I have accepted this but you don't seem to be dealing with the implications I pointed out.

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given the point that it is ultimately driven by increasing credit which is used to fund increasing production.

increasing credit? huh? increasing production of renewables is what we want. Diverting credit into this would be good. Are you just trying to explain jevons paradox?

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Given that, what we need to do is to look at the amounts of energy needed to extract oil and various minerals to make components needed to make solar panels, batteries, inverters, electric wire, wind turbines, motors for wave energy, etc., energy needed to manufacture them, energy needed to ship them, and energy needed to develop infrastructure (from roads needed to deliver construction materials to steel and equipment needed to set up electric grids) to distribute electricity to end users. And we have to do this for the global economy and population.

If investors are funding businesses in mining, manufacturing, and shipping for renewable energy, then we have to assume that they do so to maximize profits and returns on investment. That means they do so with the assumption that increasing numbers of panels, turbines, etc., will be made for increasing numbers of people who want to use increasing amounts of electricity to power all sorts of equipment manufactured and sold by businesses that have the same assumptions.

In short, we have to assume that the energy produced not only has to deal with the costs of producing and distributing it but also with the cost of using it. And on top of that, with the cost of increasing energy production to meet increasing demand to generate more revenues to meet what investors who will be investing in all of that want.

Seems like you are writing a lot to make it seem like there is problem upon problem without stopping to think that the same issues applies to investment in fossil fuel energy production and renewables are now cheaper so these further issues are actually smaller not larger.

Then if the extra uses of renewable energy like electric cars are much more efficient than fossil fuel cars the amount of extra energy needed is smaller so the consequential follow through are much smaller than down a ff route.

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Does renewable energy have the meets to scale and meet that, and preferably in the short term? Can it do so given investors who also see, for example, low oil prices, which in turn masks increasing oil production costs? Can it deal with diminishing returns in oil and mineral extraction, both of which are needed for renewable energy components, not to mention everything else that involves manufactured goods?

How long would it take the global economy to transition to a fossil-free situation, and what would it involve?

So it is boiling down to how long the transition is going to be?

Certainly transitioning is going to take time and it is harder to do it in a shorter time. I would like it to be shorter. But what are you trying to say? A 30 year transition is too long so we shouldn't even try to do that and instead wait for something better to come along?