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gerontocrat

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #150 on: September 16, 2020, 03:46:33 PM »
They are aware because of the Internet.

I'm not arguing that.  I'm just saying that most of the internet generation I interact with get their awareness from the internet but also their apathy.  They know but don't want to act.

We may see tens or hundreds of thousands demonstrating. They are aware and they are want to act, as the few always have.

That masks the hundreds of millions, or billions, who are aware but don't want to act.

When I see the internet provide both information and action, I'll agree that it has done it's job.
The Russian October Revolution was just a few people taking advantage of a Russia exhausted by the devastation and loss of life from WW1.

There is a saying from the US - it it ain't broken, don't fix it.
My version is "It can't be fixed until it's broke".

Perhaps the UK, with its incompetent government screwing up Covide-19 response and likely to screw up Brexit, will try its best to go be the first OECD country to go bust.
"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)

NeilT

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #151 on: September 16, 2020, 04:58:07 PM »
I don't know about going bust, but it has certainly reduced consumption, reduced emissions and has a strong programme to remove FF power and replace it with renewables.  Including a planned phase out of coal entirely in 2025.

In 2019 the UK had reduced direct emissions, from 1990 levels, by 38%.  Last year the UK passed an act to ban gas boilers for central heating, from 2025, replacing it with low carbon heating systems, to reduce gas consumption and leverage our growing renewable energy market for more FF reductions.  the UK builds circa 250k new homes per year.

The UK uses a lot of gas, having our own gas fields, so it is important to get it out of the system.

When the UK decided to leave the EU it caused a rather large amount of consternation because places like Poland were relying on more UK reductions to get the EU emissions into the Paris Accord levels.  Given the fact that Poland is one of the few places in the EU where running an EV emits more CO2 than a FF vehicle, the UK leaving caused quite a bit of angst.

In the UK new applications for renewable energy infrastructure reached 269 in 2019, up from
154 4 years before.  In Q3 2019 the UK generated more TWh of energy from renewables than from all other sources.  Yet in Q1 2019, peak consumption, the peak demand was down by 12TWh from 10 years earlier.

Granted the UK has greenlighted 3.6gw of  new CCGT, however, if you look at the current CCGT landscape, there is more than 3.6gw which will be decommissioned in the next 5 years and, also, this plant will also be EOL around the time we hit 2050.

So the  last part aside, we should be looking for more dysfunctional countries like the UK and less progressive and growing countries like Poland who are dismantling the courts, removing safeguards for democracy and running full ahead with Coal power!


Being right too soon is socially unacceptable.

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ralfy

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #152 on: September 17, 2020, 05:22:03 AM »
Hello Ralfy,

I think I found the problem in your logic :


Given all that, what type of planning will be needed? It has to be, as one study pointed out, socialist, and on a global scale, involving at least 143 countries. Some experts in energy add that it will have to start immediately, with large amounts of investments transferred to renewable energy. Some experts in fields connected to climate change argue that all of the oil underground has to stay underground, that 400 ppm is beyond tipping point, and that something like more than half of economic activity in general has to end, with what remains focusing only on basic needs.


Communism was killed by Stalin, and Social Democracy died when the cold war ended in 1989. Once the USSR disappeared, there was no reason anymore for large companies to be afraid of a "socialist" revolution.

Even the US left wings movements are not real socialists and respect private property and the general capitalistic organization. You also do because you talked for example about debt that has be repaid which would be problematic for the oil companies.

In the limit of growth, the concept is not to go up and stay there, but to go back down on a sustainable level, by choice or by fate. Unfortunately choice doesn't seem to work. In fact it is everyday more about consuming everything and having afterwards no more resources to continue a "normal" living.

Massive industrialization will not happen, it is just impossible because growth is limited by resources, and what the US use per capita is just not available, it even seems not to be available anymore for parts of the US population.

Renewable energy transition is for me the concept that we should go back as fast as possible to a sustainable level of energy (and other resources as well) consumption. You say it yourself, we need 131 years for the transition, but our oil consumption is only sustainable for something like 5 to 25 years, so we are in deep **** and I see a reduction of consumption as the only way out.

Reducing consumption means economical crisis, so we are in deep **** again.

Added : renewable energies makes it possible to have a higher sustainable living, so they are very important for me. Reducing consumption makes more money available, and using it to develop renewable energy is the best thing that we can do right now, but the lifespan of the equipment is an issue.

From what I remember, the call for using no more fossil fuels to be used were made by some climate scientists, who argue that the situation is critical. I even remember a few implying that it might even be too late, i.e., if the tipping point for climate change is 350 ppm or even lower.

It's the same thing for energy experts. Because of the lengthy period for transition and the fact that oil has to be used as buffer stock, we should have started the transition back in the mid-1980s. Ironically, that's also only around a decade after emissions breached 300 ppm, which appears to be the maximum given natural cycles across hundreds of thousands of years.

But we still need energy to survive, so whatever happens we will likely use whatever we can to keep things going. Recall, on the other hand, that this thread is still in the same section as the other one, which is "Policy and Solutions." "Policy" implies government mandate, and in this case one that has global implications. That's why one study that was shared recently stated that the transition will require cooperation and coordination between at least 143 countries. This is the "political will" mentioned briefly in an earlier message.

As for "Solutions," the same study pointed out that there has to be changes in "business-as-usual" energy to ensure "business as usual." The latter refers to a global capitalist economy controlled by 500 "superconnected" corporations (mostly financial) with a poverty rate of around 71 pct and a global middle class that is growing and in need of increasing amounts of energy and material resources to support, among others, a large proportion of the world that has not even reached the stage of industrialization.

At the same time, as pointed out in another thread, that same industrialization has to take place in a "rapid" manner (as pointed out in one study submitted to the Lancet) in order to keep world population down to less than 10 billion.

And one or more of those have to be assured given not just renewable energy with low returns (as pointed out in one 2018 study) but even fossil fuels with decreasing energy returns, as discussed in this 2019 study:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/07/190711114846.htm

In short, we have a global economy where such global political will is not likely and where most want not just higher but ever-increasing energy returns for sources that can only provide the opposite.

Given that, what will likely happen is that any transition to renewable energy will take place because of the effects of peak oil (as part of limits to growth). But because of the same limits to growth (which leads to a resource crunch, and worsened because of the effects of environmental damage and climate change), the world population will use whatever it can (including any fossil fuels), which means the effects of environmental damage and climate change will eventually lessen as physics forces more people to consume less.

ralfy

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #153 on: September 17, 2020, 05:29:30 AM »
Etienne, I think you are right, but also wrong.  People are not going to want to accept reductions, they want to know How and When their governments are going to assure that they get to continue consuming as they do today.

The BIG risk is not that we will run out of Oil. The BIG risk is that pressure of resource constraints will drive our technological abilities to mine methane from Clatrates and undersea deposits.

There is a LOT more FF resources than Oil lying around our planet.  It is just Oil which is the low hanging fruit.  The UK has 300 years of coal reserves under the ground and coal to oil is old tech, expensive, but possible.

We need renewables and low/0 co2 energy rapidly.  Not just to offset the CO2 we have already pushed out there but to avoid the rest we haven't yet got to.

One problem that we are realizing is that the high reserves reported refer to what is technically but not economically recoverable. That's why even with around 400 years' worth of oil underneath, we still ended up resorting to U.S. shale more than a decade ago, which may have turn contributed to the 2008 financial crash.

In addition, it appears that in our drive to obtain as much energy as we can to maintain lifestyles, we are creating more problems. For example, some climate scientists believe that trapped methane might even cause more problems for us, not to mention sea ice issues. Thus, as we are happy with more trapped methane available as well as more sea lanes now opened up for commercial traffic as more ice melts, we are also not certain what other problems we are creating.


ralfy

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #154 on: September 17, 2020, 05:42:33 AM »
Ralfy,

“My sources include…” any with evidence of EROI less than 1? Over 1 is OK. There is no comparison with EROI for FFs, as they produce CO2

“I don't think we have the surplus energy to make choices.” We can produce many times our current energy demand from renewables, I don’t see any limitation there, nor any “diminishing returns” Scotland got to near net 100% mostly from new onshore wind, It was done fairly quickly (just over a decade)
https://www.scottishrenewables.com/our-industry/statistics

We are expanding offshore wind and tidal flow turbines are in testing, e.g. contra-rotating turbines need no supporting structure and are easy to install – low embodied and induced energy and emissions., better EROI return.

“with increasing population and ecological damage not yet considered” Agree, a completely different problem, we can’t make more land.

“payback time involving ideal conditions.”
The commercial decision will prevent installation in inappropriate locations e.g. low windspeed. If it won’t pay back it’s energy, it won’t make a profit either (at 5p/kWH)

“we might even see the world in one heavily dependent on renewable energy, but using technology from earlier centuries.” Yes, a transition, plus there is CO2 from smelting Ore to Iron and making cement which can’t be avoided, but stored.

What you want is not an energy return that's positive but a return that's high enough to meet expected demand. In this case, with a low positive energy demand, you will only have enough to extract oil from the ground. If you want to process that to fuel, transport it, use it to manufacture renewable energy components, then go to uni to get a high-paying white collar job which uses renewable energy, then post about your experiences and more in this forum, you will need a lot more.

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/eroi-charles-hall-will-fossil-fuels-maintain-economic-growth/

So, no, the point that anything above 1 is good enough is not OK. And for a global capitalist economy, not even close to OK. We need not just high energy returns but ever-increasing returns.

The rest of your post has similar problems, such as implying that Scotland represents the world population, that there's no diminishing returns, that transition will ensure "business as usual," and so on. Responses to those can be seen in my earlier posts.


ralfy

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #155 on: September 17, 2020, 06:01:54 AM »
We did not leave the Stone age  because we run out of stones.

Coal is a zombie technology.
Coal is already dead as an energy source.
Coal based electricity generation can not compete  with the cost of renewable energy.
It simply costs more to run an existing  coal plant than to build new renewable energy sources.
The same is true with all fossil fuel generation if you add in the indirect costs.
This represents Trillions of dollars of lost value to the Fossil fuel industry's.
Crisis equals opportunity .
There is an  up side if you are aware where this is going to lead us.

https://www.skepticalscience.com/3-clean-energy-myths.html

The energy return of up to 25 for wind power is explained here:

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/222703134_Meta-Analysis_of_Net_Energy_Return_for_Wind_Power_Systems

and as Hall explains, it's even higher for others:

https://deepresource.wordpress.com/2017/03/04/charles-hall-on-eroei/

e.g., 80 for coal, 40 for hydroelectric, and almost 30 for even firewood and 2005 oil. But it was 100 for 1930 oil, and almost 40 by 1970 for the same. Meanwhile, it's less than 20 for natural gas and nuclear, and less than 10 for photovoltaic and tar sands, and much lower for biodiesel.

Meanwhile, the min. needed for civilization is around 15, but what's the min. quantity required for the same?

http://theoildrum.com/node/3786

Notice, too, that the bubble graph shared in the link above was made by one of the co-authors of the paper on wind energy, Cutler Cleveland.

ralfy

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #156 on: September 17, 2020, 06:04:48 AM »
Good graphic. Yes - the technologies which get cheaper quicker win, then get cheaper again on economies of scale.

Interestingly enough, that was one question raised by some: how readily can renewable energy scale up for a rapid transition? One study states that given market factors it will more than a century to do so. A second study refers to two decades, but coordination between over a hundred countries will be needed. Meanwhile, it was implied in the second study that it has to be even faster to mitigate the effects of climate change.

oren

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #157 on: September 17, 2020, 06:07:09 AM »
Quote
Meanwhile, the min. needed for civilization is around 15
What? Why? Are you implying a renewable EROI of let's say 10 cannot sustain civilization?

ralfy

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #158 on: September 17, 2020, 06:08:09 AM »
Yes, but yesterday, when I was looking at gridwatch.co.uk, Renewables were supplying >50% of demand with Wind being by far the largest.

Today, wind is supplying 2%.
 
It doesn't matter how cheap it is, if it is becalmed, then other power will have to fill the gap.  Unless we get some form of ultra large storage array.

Overall, Wind is filling a large % of generated electricity, but it is certainly not baseload power.  Personally I want to see deployment of wind but also strong efforts to have a fully integrated grid with renewables and storage and low/zero CO2 other options.

So far I see a lot of focus on Wind and Solar and not so much focus on a holistic approach which will solve the other problems.

Granted you have to have the infrastructure in order to balance it, but spanning that divide away from FF is going to take more than vertical solutions as a viewpoint.

One article I read around a decade ago pointed to wave energy. In any event, I think all available sources of energy will be put online, as implied in what you just shared.

ralfy

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #159 on: September 17, 2020, 06:10:13 AM »
And there is a lot in the pipeline technology wise (see Wildcatters post above).

Timing wise it is a bit late because there is already so much damage done.

We could really use an international carbon tax everyone uses (so we won´t get that soon).

One problem with a carbon tax is similar to that concerning carbon trading, where one is paid to cut down on fuel use, but the money is eventually used in projects that require fuel use, among others.

And given the state of most of the world population, a lot of fuel will still be needed.

ralfy

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #160 on: September 17, 2020, 06:18:29 AM »
"People are not going to want to accept reductions"

Nail on head.

I think it starts and ends with people, not Governments as such, as they are elected by people happy with their manifesto (their programme for the term)

No point in blaming capitalism either, they make stuff people want to buy and the people can be persuaded by advertising but they have the choice. That's hugely powerful

As above energy use is well on the way to being solved, the next issue is overuse of resources and it's enviromental impact

I think the solution path involves:

Education / awareness - OK in UK (e.g. BBC, ITN regulated balanced reporting) also most of the world, but more difficult in the USA with partisan news services.
If you want Palm Oil in your shampoo, you will have to ask the Orangutans to move out. Up to you.

Labelling on most things for sale – energy and environmental impact score.

Tax more to curb consumption? Not really, the money just gets spent by government so consumption is much the same.

Save more and retire early – the less you spend in your lifetime, the lower your impact.

4 day week – 20% less produced, 20% less bought with 20% less wages, 20% less impact

Any more suggestions – it has to be palatable to the electorate, this is a persuasion game.

Capitalism is not so much an entity that's separate from the world population but the type of economy that emerges given what the same population wants.

The way I see it, most of that population wants basic needs and wants. The former involves more than enough food, basic to advanced health care, shelters that are safe, clothing that can protect against elements, and everything else that ensures that, including roads and bridges, vehicles and transport systems, electric grids, and more that can produce and deliver goods and services. The latter refers to anything else, which is indeed driven by hidden persuaders, but the same population is slowly depending on that for its income needed to pay for basic needs.

It's like a doctor who specializes in treating life-threatening illnesses. That's certainly a basic need, but his patients can only pay for treatment, medicine, etc., in their work as graphic designers, marketing managers in smart phone companies, professional athletes, etc. In short, work that involves selling wants.

And most people cannot even have such jobs. In fact, large numbers of them can barely even finish secondary school.

Given that, how much energy and material resources will be needed to industrialize and meet at least those basic needs? And for a growing population?


ralfy

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #161 on: September 17, 2020, 06:24:26 AM »

What? Why? Are you implying a renewable EROI of let's say 10 cannot sustain civilization?

Certainly that before the Age of Industrialization. For the current one, I think Hall argues that we need 15 or better.

Just as important is energy quantity, which was actually the point in my first posts.

oren

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #162 on: September 17, 2020, 08:04:56 AM »
Really ralfy, this level of discussion is ridiculous.
"Certainly that before the Age of Industrialization" - We are talking about the renewable energy transition, what EROI needed to be before the age of industrialization is highly irrelevant.
"I think Hall argues at least 15" - is not a good argument. Who is Hall? Why does he argue this? Especially since I think Hall doesn't argue that. Check Hall graphic below.
"Just as important is energy quantity" - I disagree, energy quantity is important, EROI is much less so. But in any case this is a deflective argument - I commented on a strong claim you made about EROI, so responding with "but energy quantity" is irrelevant.

It would be really helpful if you tried to whittle down your argument to its basics, and remove from it things that cannot be supported or that have been refuted by the responses in this thread. For example, this ridiculous 15 EROI claim.



This image shows that for 2005 Hall thinks that maybe 5:1 is the minimum for civilization. Not clear why that is the minimum, but certainly it isn't 15:1. In addition, he thinks PV solar is ~7:1, which has surely improved significantly since 2005. In addition in the text he mentions that "EROI for our major fuels (solar may be an exception) are declining over time". So in essence Hall argues solar CAN power industrial civilization.

nanning

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #163 on: September 17, 2020, 11:05:07 AM »
Great to read here from someone with more realism about our current situation and future.
Thanks ralfy for not talking from inside the rich consumers' dream. And thanks for taking all people into account.

To add:
Money may feel like a magical power, but it doesn't mean anything in reality. The physical boundaries are closing in and no amount of money can make them go away.
"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?

Iain

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #164 on: September 17, 2020, 03:27:01 PM »
Ralfy, clearly you have done a lot of thinking, good.

However can you put your argument in a nutshell - Proposition, reasoning, evidence.

There is a lot of text there, struggling to find the direction you are going, plus repeated assertions already challenged. Make a counter case to the challenge or learn and move on.

I have learned loads by being completely wrong in forums. My gain.

Also, beware Euan Mearns et al, a frequent poster on Oil Drum (not always under his own name)

"...I wrote and published over 100 articles on The Oil Drum....."
http://euanmearns.com/oil-drum-posts/
"If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants." Isaac Newton

Ken Feldman

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #165 on: September 17, 2020, 06:17:43 PM »
Any study claiming renewables will need a century to replace fossil fuels isn't worth the electrons it took to digitally publish.  Any study using data before 2018 is basically worthless, because it's from a time when it made more economic sense to build fossil fuels, not renewables.

Renewables are now cheaper to build than it is to operate fossil fuel plants in most of the world.  That means companies and governments can save money by building renewables and shutting down operating fossil fuel power plants.  Some governments may choose to keep fossil fuel power plants operating to keep coal miners and natural gas workers employed, but they do so at the risk of making their manufactured goods more expensive than competing companies.  So that's a short term solution at best.

Just look at how new energy investment decisions are being made.  Money is leaving the fossil fuel industry and is being invested in new renewable power plants and manufacturing facilities for the renewable power industry.  New solar cell and panel manufacturing plants are springing up in the USA, China, India, Turkey, Iran and Europe, which means that new solar installations will continue to increase significantly.

https://www.solarpowerworldonline.com/2020/09/violet-power-to-bring-american-solar-cell-and-panel-manufacturing-to-washington-by-end-of-2021/ 

Quote
Violet Power to bring American solar cell and panel manufacturing to Washington by end of 2021

By Kelly Pickerel | September 9, 2020

Solar technology startup Violet Power has chosen Moses Lake, Washington, as the location of its first manufacturing plant. The company plans to manufacture silicon solar cells and panels in the United States. Production should begin in Q2 2021, with full manufacturing capacity of 500 MW of solar cells and separately 500 MW of solar panels reached by the end of 2021.

https://www.manufacturingglobal.com/digital-factory/turkey-opens-emeas-only-integrated-solar-panel-plant

Quote
Turkey opens EMEA’s only integrated solar panel plant

Turkey has confirmed the opening of Europe and the Middle East’s only integrated solar panel manufacturing facility
Sean Galea-Pace
Aug 21

Established in Ankara’s Başkent Organized Industrial Zone, the major solar ingot-wafer-module-cell production factory of Kalyon Holding was opened in a ceremony attended by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

The facility will be operated through an investment of US$400mn at a 100,000 sq.m closed area and will employ 1,400 people, Erdoğan announced.

The factory is set to manufacture solar panels with a capacity of 500 megawatts (MW) every year. “We are going to prevent millions of dollars’ worth of imports of solar panels and components,” added Erdoğan.

https://www.livemint.com/industry/energy/india-gets-10-gw-proposals-for-setting-up-solar-equipment-manufacturing-capacity-11599569420346.html

Quote
India gets 10 GW proposals for setting up solar equipment manufacturing capacity
08 Sep 2020

NEW DELHI : India has received proposals for setting up 10 gigawatt (GW) of solar equipment manufacturing capacity, said petroleum and natural gas minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Tuesday.

https://financialtribune.com/articles/energy/105104/largest-solar-panel-plant-in-ardabil-nearing-completion

Quote
September 04, 2020 19:42
Largest Solar Panel Plant in Ardabil Nearing Completion

T he largest solar panel manufacturing plant in Iran will be launched in Ardabil Province early next year (starts March 2021), the governor said Thursday.

“Built by a private company, the factory has so far cost $40 million,” IRNA quoted Akbar Behnamjou as saying.

“The generation capacity of the plant’s annual production of solar panels will be 250 megawatts. The facility will meet total domestic demand for panels inside the country while 80% of its products will be exported,” he added.

When inaugurated, 400 engineers will work at the factory, the governor noted. On Thursday, two solar power plants, with a total capacity of 1.7 megawatts and a 230 kV substation were launched in Ardabil.

https://www.jwnenergy.com/article/2020/8/24/a-chinese-coal-miner-is-getting-into-solar-product/

Quote
A Chinese coal miner is getting into solar production
By Bloomberg  
Monday, August 24, 2020

Mid-tier Chinese coal miner Shanxi Coal International Energy Group is planning a significant investment in the competing business of making high-tech solar power cells.

The state-owned firm will lead a joint venture to build a three-gigawatt solar manufacturing plant for 3.19 billion yuan ($461 million), according to a statement on Friday. It’s the first phase of a project that will grow to 10 gigawatts – the equivalent of the generating power of 10 nuclear power plants – producing high-efficiency cells through so-called heterojunction technology.


Observant readers will note that these news stories are from August and September 2020, not years ago.  The energy transition is well underway and accelerating.

« Last Edit: September 17, 2020, 06:39:59 PM by Ken Feldman »

Iain

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #166 on: September 18, 2020, 10:07:27 AM »
^^^ Agreed.^^^
"If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants." Isaac Newton

ralfy

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #167 on: September 18, 2020, 10:22:30 AM »
Really ralfy, this level of discussion is ridiculous.
"Certainly that before the Age of Industrialization" - We are talking about the renewable energy transition, what EROI needed to be before the age of industrialization is highly irrelevant.
"I think Hall argues at least 15" - is not a good argument. Who is Hall? Why does he argue this? Especially since I think Hall doesn't argue that. Check Hall graphic below.
"Just as important is energy quantity" - I disagree, energy quantity is important, EROI is much less so. But in any case this is a deflective argument - I commented on a strong claim you made about EROI, so responding with "but energy quantity" is irrelevant.

It would be really helpful if you tried to whittle down your argument to its basics, and remove from it things that cannot be supported or that have been refuted by the responses in this thread. For example, this ridiculous 15 EROI claim.



This image shows that for 2005 Hall thinks that maybe 5:1 is the minimum for civilization. Not clear why that is the minimum, but certainly it isn't 15:1. In addition, he thinks PV solar is ~7:1, which has surely improved significantly since 2005. In addition in the text he mentions that "EROI for our major fuels (solar may be an exception) are declining over time". So in essence Hall argues solar CAN power industrial civilization.

The age prior to that of industrialization involved the use of muscle and animal power, wood for heating, wind and water mills, drying things under sunlight, etc. It was only when something better than wood was employed did it become possible to use machines and more for these tasks:

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

thanks to additional surplus energy. That's the result of energy return.

It's that additional surplus energy which led to the use of heavy machinery in mining, mass manufacturing, and shipping across extensive supply chains to make, among other things, renewable energy components from solar panels to wind turbines available.

Thus, your claim that the energy return, what took place before and after the Age of Industrialization, etc., have nothing to do with renewable energy, is not right.

Similarly, your claim that energy quantity is irrelevant is illogical: that refers to the amount of energy available. Energy return refers to the amount available given an amount used. Obviously, with a high return, quantity also goes up, and vice versa.

"Hall" refers to Charles Hall:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_A._S._Hall

There are different terms employed, from biophysical economics to energy economics, but the assumptions are the same: it's energy that drives economy, and is not only the product of renewable energy components but that's needed to make the same components. That said, there is no such thing as having a positive energy return as good enough. The more you want, and the more sophisticated your wants, then the higher the energy return needed. That's why there is very little chance that the type of lifestyle you have today, which includes accessing this and other sites, could have been achieved with muscle and animal power alone.

Given that, what is the energy return needed to maintain such? According to Hall, it's better than 15:

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/eroi-charles-hall-will-fossil-fuels-maintain-economic-growth/

If you think it should be higher, then you're probably right. Just think of the difference in energy needed for someone in a Third World country who has an ecological footprint of less than two global hectares and someone in a developed one who has a footprint of four to ten. How much more energy is needed to ensure the latter? How much should the energy return be to ensure that quantity?

About the return for photovoltaic, would you be able to give the updated number? I've been asking for that since the start. The best I found was real-world data from Prieto and Hall, and as of 2017, they put it at 6:

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

Now, maybe there were major upgrades during the last three years, but all I've gotten so far are prices, payback time, and nameplate power. Do you have the updated information plus your study showing that the energy return needed to maintain the current economy is higher (or lower?) than 15?

Finally, your last point doesn't follow. He's not arguing that photovoltaics can replace fossil fuels. Rather, both cannot maintain the present and future capitalist economy.

That's the same conclusion given by Sers and Victor in 2018, which I mentioned earlier.

ralfy

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #168 on: September 18, 2020, 11:09:09 AM »
Ralfy, clearly you have done a lot of thinking, good.

However can you put your argument in a nutshell - Proposition, reasoning, evidence.

There is a lot of text there, struggling to find the direction you are going, plus repeated assertions already challenged. Make a counter case to the challenge or learn and move on.

I have learned loads by being completely wrong in forums. My gain.

Also, beware Euan Mearns et al, a frequent poster on Oil Drum (not always under his own name)

"...I wrote and published over 100 articles on The Oil Drum....."
http://euanmearns.com/oil-drum-posts/

I've been going in only one direction: we have current energy use of around 20 TW, but in order to minimize poverty, it has to reach around 50 TW. To deal with a growing population (10 to 11 billion, or less than 10 billion with rapid industrialization), around 90 TW, and to minimize diminishing returns and the effects of ecological damage plus climate change, around 120 TW. One study which I remember but can't find gives assurances of around 50 TW with renewable energy by 2050, but it appears that we need much more than that.

The implication is that we will have to use all energy sources available, and it might not be enough. If that's the case, poverty and emissions will rise, and the global economy will experiencing chronic crashes. With that, the effects of climate change should worsen, together with increasing vectors for the spread of disease, more ecological damage, and increasing possibilities of conflict.

ralfy

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #169 on: September 18, 2020, 11:15:35 AM »
Any study claiming renewables will need a century to replace fossil fuels isn't worth the electrons it took to digitally publish.  Any study using data before 2018 is basically worthless, because it's from a time when it made more economic sense to build fossil fuels, not renewables.

Renewables are now cheaper to build than it is to operate fossil fuel plants in most of the world.  That means companies and governments can save money by building renewables and shutting down operating fossil fuel power plants.  Some governments may choose to keep fossil fuel power plants operating to keep coal miners and natural gas workers employed, but they do so at the risk of making their manufactured goods more expensive than competing companies.  So that's a short term solution at best.

Just look at how new energy investment decisions are being made.  Money is leaving the fossil fuel industry and is being invested in new renewable power plants and manufacturing facilities for the renewable power industry.  New solar cell and panel manufacturing plants are springing up in the USA, China, India, Turkey, Iran and Europe, which means that new solar installations will continue to increase significantly.

https://www.solarpowerworldonline.com/2020/09/violet-power-to-bring-american-solar-cell-and-panel-manufacturing-to-washington-by-end-of-2021/ 

Quote
Violet Power to bring American solar cell and panel manufacturing to Washington by end of 2021

By Kelly Pickerel | September 9, 2020

Solar technology startup Violet Power has chosen Moses Lake, Washington, as the location of its first manufacturing plant. The company plans to manufacture silicon solar cells and panels in the United States. Production should begin in Q2 2021, with full manufacturing capacity of 500 MW of solar cells and separately 500 MW of solar panels reached by the end of 2021.

https://www.manufacturingglobal.com/digital-factory/turkey-opens-emeas-only-integrated-solar-panel-plant

Quote
Turkey opens EMEA’s only integrated solar panel plant

Turkey has confirmed the opening of Europe and the Middle East’s only integrated solar panel manufacturing facility
Sean Galea-Pace
Aug 21

Established in Ankara’s Başkent Organized Industrial Zone, the major solar ingot-wafer-module-cell production factory of Kalyon Holding was opened in a ceremony attended by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

The facility will be operated through an investment of US$400mn at a 100,000 sq.m closed area and will employ 1,400 people, Erdoğan announced.

The factory is set to manufacture solar panels with a capacity of 500 megawatts (MW) every year. “We are going to prevent millions of dollars’ worth of imports of solar panels and components,” added Erdoğan.

https://www.livemint.com/industry/energy/india-gets-10-gw-proposals-for-setting-up-solar-equipment-manufacturing-capacity-11599569420346.html

Quote
India gets 10 GW proposals for setting up solar equipment manufacturing capacity
08 Sep 2020

NEW DELHI : India has received proposals for setting up 10 gigawatt (GW) of solar equipment manufacturing capacity, said petroleum and natural gas minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Tuesday.

https://financialtribune.com/articles/energy/105104/largest-solar-panel-plant-in-ardabil-nearing-completion

Quote
September 04, 2020 19:42
Largest Solar Panel Plant in Ardabil Nearing Completion

T he largest solar panel manufacturing plant in Iran will be launched in Ardabil Province early next year (starts March 2021), the governor said Thursday.

“Built by a private company, the factory has so far cost $40 million,” IRNA quoted Akbar Behnamjou as saying.

“The generation capacity of the plant’s annual production of solar panels will be 250 megawatts. The facility will meet total domestic demand for panels inside the country while 80% of its products will be exported,” he added.

When inaugurated, 400 engineers will work at the factory, the governor noted. On Thursday, two solar power plants, with a total capacity of 1.7 megawatts and a 230 kV substation were launched in Ardabil.

https://www.jwnenergy.com/article/2020/8/24/a-chinese-coal-miner-is-getting-into-solar-product/

Quote
A Chinese coal miner is getting into solar production
By Bloomberg  
Monday, August 24, 2020

Mid-tier Chinese coal miner Shanxi Coal International Energy Group is planning a significant investment in the competing business of making high-tech solar power cells.

The state-owned firm will lead a joint venture to build a three-gigawatt solar manufacturing plant for 3.19 billion yuan ($461 million), according to a statement on Friday. It’s the first phase of a project that will grow to 10 gigawatts – the equivalent of the generating power of 10 nuclear power plants – producing high-efficiency cells through so-called heterojunction technology.


Observant readers will note that these news stories are from August and September 2020, not years ago.  The energy transition is well underway and accelerating.

If I wanted press releases, I'd go to the other thread. In this case, what I hope you can share is a counter-study that shows that the transition can and will be achieved in only two decades, one if you're a climate scientist, and less than that if you're an energy expert.

Next, how about a study from 2020 (since anything before that appears to be outdated) that shows high energy returns for renewables, and more important, assurances that economies of scale can be achieved easily to translate those high returns to quantity?

In the end, I think studies (and preferably global) rather than news articles are more important.

SteveMDFP

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #170 on: September 18, 2020, 04:21:40 PM »

Next, how about a study from 2020 (since anything before that appears to be outdated) that shows high energy returns for renewables, and more important, assurances that economies of scale can be achieved easily to translate those high returns to quantity?

In the end, I think studies (and preferably global) rather than news articles are more important.

It seems ralfy only wants to look at EROEI, not prices.  I find this peculiar.  I'm no expert in the field, but most of the better work I've ever read on the economics of energy focus on price, rather than EROEI. 

EROEI ignores all resources other than energy expenditures that go into production.  It also ignores the form of energy.  A kilojoule of gasoline is fairly useless when you need a kilojoule delivered to the grid.  So an attractive EROEI for gasoline is deceptive when a lower number for electrical production from other sources is entirely feasible and profitable.

A low-carbon economy appears to require an electricity-dominated use of energy.  With electricity, one can use, for example, heat pumps that deliver more than a kilojoule of heating for each kilojoule of electricity.  This is just one example of how a kilojoule of electricity can do far more than a kilojoule of any fossil fuel.

For economic comparisons of electricity production costs, most look to "levelized cost of energy."  There's a wealth of carefully developed information for comparison purposes.  This is the kind of analysis actually used for those planning and deploying power plants.  It's far more hard-nosed, objective, and verifiable than estimates of EROEI. 

It would seem utility-scale photovoltaic energy is approximately the least expensive way to get a kilojoule of electricity:

Levelized Cost of Energy and Levelized Cost of Storage 2019
https://www.lazard.com/perspective/lcoe2019

NeilT

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #171 on: September 18, 2020, 05:25:19 PM »
I think that a quick review on how a study happens is required.

Most studies require funding.  A need is identified, the study is documented and a request for funding is made.  The funding is finally agreed and the team is assembled.

The study then, over a period of time, gathers information and evidence.  A model for the required analysis is created and tested then the information and evidence is analysed using the model.

Everything is then reviewed, clarified, searched for mistakes and a series of conclusions are drawn.  The whole is then documented in detail, reviewed again, according to the evidence and the summaries are drafted.

Once this is in place, it is sent for peer review.  The reviewers check and validate the information, model, analysis and conclusions.  Then they suggest modifications.  This process continues until the peer reviewers and authors are happy.

Then it's published.

Which is why studies tend to lag behind progress by at least 2 years and the information within them lag even further.  A 2013 study could be based on information from as early as 2009.  2009, in terms of renewable energy, is the stone age.  UK 2009 wind farm stats were showing capacity as low as 11%.

When looking at a fast moving area like renewable energy, you use the study as a baseline and then you take the latest information and layer it on top.

So, ralfy, demanding studies from 2020 is not going to cut it.  You actually have to take the latest studies in circulation, understand what they did and then expand it with current data.

Of you could look at other data which is more current which complements to the study.

Worth reiterating.
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oren

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #172 on: September 18, 2020, 07:02:54 PM »
Quote
"Hall" refers to Charles Hall:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_A._S._Hall

There are different terms employed, from biophysical economics to energy economics, but the assumptions are the same: it's energy that drives economy, and is not only the product of renewable energy components but that's needed to make the same components. That said, there is no such thing as having a positive energy return as good enough. The more you want, and the more sophisticated your wants, then the higher the energy return needed. That's why there is very little chance that the type of lifestyle you have today, which includes accessing this and other sites, could have been achieved with muscle and animal power alone.

Given that, what is the energy return needed to maintain such? According to Hall, it's better than 15:

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/eroi-charles-hall-will-fossil-fuels-maintain-economic-growth/

If you think it should be higher, then you're probably right.

You make an extraordinary claim ralfy - 15 is the minimum EROI to run civilization. I challenge you on it - it seems ridiculous. You heap loads and loads of text but the proof is not in sight, Even your source - a professor who has built his career on EROI, who has invented EROI, who I believe is biased on the issue, does not claim what you claim he claims. And what he does claim refers to fossil fuels in general and to oil in particular.

Please carefully read the source you provided:

Quote
For society's energy sources, is it important to consider EROI?
Is there a lot of oil left in the ground? Absolutely. The question is, how much oil can we get out of the ground, at a significantly high EROI? And the answer to that is, hmmm, not nearly as much. So that's what we're struggling with as we go further and further offshore and have to do this fracking and horizontal drilling and all of this kind of stuff, especially when you get away from the sweet spots of shale formations. It gets tougher and tougher to get the next barrel of oil, so the EROI goes down, down, down.

Is there some minimum EROI we need to have?
Since everything we make depends on energy, you can't simply pay more and more and get enough to run society. At some energy return on investment—I'm guessing 5:1 or 6:1—it doesn't work anymore.

What happens when the EROI gets too low? What’s achievable at different EROIs?
If you've got an EROI of 1.1:1, you can pump the oil out of the ground and look at it. If you've got 1.2:1, you can refine it and look at it. At 1.3:1, you can move it to where you want it and look at it. We looked at the minimum EROI you need to drive a truck, and you need at least 3:1 at the wellhead. Now, if you want to put anything in the truck, like grain, you need to have an EROI of 5:1. And that includes the depreciation for the truck. But if you want to include the depreciation for the truck driver and the oil worker and the farmer, then you've got to support the families. And then you need an EROI of 7:1. And if you want education, you need 8:1 or 9:1. And if you want health care, you need 10:1 or 11:1.

Civilization requires a substantial energy return on investment. You can't do it on some kind of crummy fuel like corn-based ethanol [with an EROI of around 1:1].

A big problem we have facing the alternatives is they're all so low EROI. We'd all like to go toward renewable fuels, but it's not going to be easy at all. And it may be impossible. We may not be able to sustain our civilization on these alternative fuels. I hope we can, but we've got to deal with it realistically.

Please focus on what he says. 1.3:1 can get you the refined oil where you need it, but 3:1 at the wellhead (4:1 at the truck site) lets you drive a truck. Have you wondered why? Sure, only about one third of the oil's primary energy goes towards driving the truck, the rest is waste heat. Well guess what? With renewable electricity you barely have waste heat and transportation of the energy is much more efficient too. With solar you could drive the truck on 1.5:1 at most. So treating renewables with the tools developed for oil is simply stupid, I'm sorry, no other words for it.

But in any case, even Hall does not claim the 15 you claimed. At most he claims 10-11:1, for oil. So where did you pull the 15:1 out of?

In addition, Hall treats EROI as reducing over time. For oil he is right. However solar does not have this problem. Again, something relevant for oil is not relevant for our renewable transition discussion.

I suggest to drop the EROI claim from your very circuitous logic. We need to reduce consumption for other reasons, not because of EROI. We have limits to growth for other reasons, not because of EROI.

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #173 on: September 18, 2020, 07:31:03 PM »
Also of note.
Dig up fossil fuel then burn it .
single use.
Build a solar panel use it for thirty years then recycle the materials
and another thirty years ......
About 85 % of a solar panel is recyclable at a much lower energy input  than sourcing virgin materials. The suns energy is free .
At present wind power is growing in size and efficiency at a rapid pace so you do not simply add a new generator to an existing installation. I can not see much difference with wind once the technology is mature. Much of the infrastructure built the first time will be recyclable .

 The energy costs of renewable energy  goes down the longer we use them for.
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Notebooks of Lazarus Long.
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SteveMDFP

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #174 on: September 18, 2020, 07:35:10 PM »
I feel I have to stand up for fellow members with a different view, especially new ones, that get treated not so respectfull.

Quote from: SteveMDFP
It seems ralfy only wants to look at EROEI, not prices.

Why do you write about him in the third person?

"ralfy, you seem to only look at...." would be more respectfull. Please.



Yes, I know this is off-topic and I should post this in Forum Decorum, but then it is lost. I will remove this post tomorrow morning

No.  This is a public forum.  My words were addressed to the forum, about ralfy's posts.  The third person was the correct tense.  Any disrespect you perceive is imaginary.

Ken Feldman

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #175 on: September 19, 2020, 01:23:20 AM »
For those who prefer academic studies to actual reports of projects being connected to the grid, I offer this study from late 2019 that shows the impacts of electrifying transportation on energy demand. 

https://www.mdpi.com/1996-1073/12/20/3870

Quote
Global Transportation Demand Development with Impacts on the Energy Demand and Greenhouse Gas Emissions in a Climate-Constrained World
by Siavash Khalili, Eetu Rantanen, Dmitrii Bogdanov and Christian Breyer

Energies 2019, 12(20), 3870; https://doi.org/10.3390/en12203870
Published: 12 October 2019

Abstract
The pivotal target of the Paris Agreement is to keep temperature rise well below 2 °C above the pre-industrial level and pursue efforts to limit temperature rise to 1.5 °C. To meet this target, all energy-consuming sectors, including the transport sector, need to be restructured. The transport sector accounted for 19% of the global final energy demand in 2015, of which the vast majority was supplied by fossil fuels (around 31,080 TWh). Fossil-fuel consumption leads to greenhouse gas emissions, which accounted for about 8260 MtCO2eq from the transport sector in 2015. This paper examines the transportation demand that can be expected and how alternative transportation technologies along with new sustainable energy sources can impact the energy demand and emissions trend in the transport sector until 2050. Battery-electric vehicles and fuel-cell electric vehicles are the two most promising technologies for the future on roads. Electric ships and airplanes for shorter distances and hydrogen-based synthetic fuels for longer distances may appear around 2030 onwards to reduce the emissions from the marine and aviation transport modes. The rail mode will remain the least energy-demanding, compared to other transport modes. An ambitious scenario for achieving zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 is applied, also demonstrating the very high relevance of direct and indirect electrification of the transport sector. Fossil-fuel demand can be reduced to zero by 2050; however, the electricity demand is projected to rise from 125 TWhel in 2015 to about 51,610 TWhel in 2050, substantially driven by indirect electricity demand for the production of synthetic fuels. While the transportation demand roughly triples from 2015 to 2050, substantial efficiency gains enable an almost stable final energy demand for the transport sector, as a consequence of broad electrification. The overall well-to-wheel efficiency in the transport sector increases from 26% in 2015 to 39% in 2050, resulting in a respective reduction of overall losses from primary energy to mechanical energy in vehicles. Power-to-fuels needed mainly for marine and aviation transport is not a significant burden for overall transport sector efficiency. The primary energy base of the transport sector switches in the next decades from fossil resources to renewable electricity, driven by higher efficiency and sustainability.


Iain

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #176 on: September 19, 2020, 10:50:53 AM »
Solar return from lifecycle analysis 14 to 17 in 2016, will be better today:
https://www.carboncommentary.com/blog/2016/12/8/musqo7036dslptm1b8efduj6i3e7ms

For wind it was 30, again it will be better today
https://www.newscientist.com/lastword/mg24332461-400-what-is-the-carbon-payback-period-for-a-wind-turbine/

Electricity is a much more useful form of energy than heat from FFs, easier to turn into motion for transport, industry, hear pumps.
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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #177 on: September 20, 2020, 07:42:20 AM »

It seems ralfy only wants to look at EROEI, not prices.  I find this peculiar.  I'm no expert in the field, but most of the better work I've ever read on the economics of energy focus on price, rather than EROEI. 

EROEI ignores all resources other than energy expenditures that go into production.  It also ignores the form of energy.  A kilojoule of gasoline is fairly useless when you need a kilojoule delivered to the grid.  So an attractive EROEI for gasoline is deceptive when a lower number for electrical production from other sources is entirely feasible and profitable.

A low-carbon economy appears to require an electricity-dominated use of energy.  With electricity, one can use, for example, heat pumps that deliver more than a kilojoule of heating for each kilojoule of electricity.  This is just one example of how a kilojoule of electricity can do far more than a kilojoule of any fossil fuel.

For economic comparisons of electricity production costs, most look to "levelized cost of energy."  There's a wealth of carefully developed information for comparison purposes.  This is the kind of analysis actually used for those planning and deploying power plants.  It's far more hard-nosed, objective, and verifiable than estimates of EROEI. 

It would seem utility-scale photovoltaic energy is approximately the least expensive way to get a kilojoule of electricity:

Levelized Cost of Energy and Levelized Cost of Storage 2019
https://www.lazard.com/perspective/lcoe2019

The problem with the use of money is that it doesn't reflect the cost of an energy source. For example, what's the current price of oil? Does it correlate to the dollar cost? Does the dollar cost reflect its energy return, which is a fraction of what it was in 1970?

In relation to that, it was mentioned in another thread on overpopulation that even energy isn't important to the world economy because of energy intensity, which refers to the units of energy per unit of GDP. In this case, we have many more of the latter, which means we should do fine with small amounts of energy because our GDP is large, or that even with small amounts of energy we can create a lot of wealth.

But what is that wealth? Mostly numbers in hard drives? How difficult is it to create them? In terms of credit and notional value, we have over $1.2 quadrillion of them, mostly in unregulated derivatives. Apparently, of all of the things we are able to create, it's money that's the easiest.

That's why ideas like energy economics have emerged, together with ideas involving biocapacity, ecological footprint, and so on, because the ultimate base of that economy measured in terms of credit is energy and material resources, with both obtained through the use of energy.

That's why energy return, net energy, etc., are critical, and with that simple physics involving physical limitations and gravity leading to diminishing returns: increasing amounts of energy needed to extract smaller amounts of materials. It's just that we keep believing that if we throw in increasing amounts of credit, we will receive enough motivation to develop technofixes to reverse diminishing returns.

Is that even possible?


ralfy

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #178 on: September 20, 2020, 08:53:39 AM »
I think that a quick review on how a study happens is required.

Most studies require funding.  A need is identified, the study is documented and a request for funding is made.  The funding is finally agreed and the team is assembled.

The study then, over a period of time, gathers information and evidence.  A model for the required analysis is created and tested then the information and evidence is analysed using the model.

Everything is then reviewed, clarified, searched for mistakes and a series of conclusions are drawn.  The whole is then documented in detail, reviewed again, according to the evidence and the summaries are drafted.

Once this is in place, it is sent for peer review.  The reviewers check and validate the information, model, analysis and conclusions.  Then they suggest modifications.  This process continues until the peer reviewers and authors are happy.

Then it's published.

Which is why studies tend to lag behind progress by at least 2 years and the information within them lag even further.  A 2013 study could be based on information from as early as 2009.  2009, in terms of renewable energy, is the stone age.  UK 2009 wind farm stats were showing capacity as low as 11%.

When looking at a fast moving area like renewable energy, you use the study as a baseline and then you take the latest information and layer it on top.

So, ralfy, demanding studies from 2020 is not going to cut it.  You actually have to take the latest studies in circulation, understand what they did and then expand it with current data.

Of you could look at other data which is more current which complements to the study.

Worth reiterating.

Indeed, but I was not the one requiring updated information on energy returns. Rather, others are. They believe that after 2013, energy returns increased significantly, but they can't provide evidence on that. The best that I've seen involve prices, payback time, and nameplate power. The best that I could provide on my side is a 2017 update showing an energy return of less than 6 for photovoltaics given real-world conditions, and a 2019 report stating that energy returns for renewables are still low, but that those for fossil fuels are also going down, which means we will need to increase funding for renewables significantly even though overall power won't still be enough to maintain "business as usual."

ralfy

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #179 on: September 20, 2020, 09:13:19 AM »
Quote
"Hall" refers to Charles Hall:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_A._S._Hall

There are different terms employed, from biophysical economics to energy economics, but the assumptions are the same: it's energy that drives economy, and is not only the product of renewable energy components but that's needed to make the same components. That said, there is no such thing as having a positive energy return as good enough. The more you want, and the more sophisticated your wants, then the higher the energy return needed. That's why there is very little chance that the type of lifestyle you have today, which includes accessing this and other sites, could have been achieved with muscle and animal power alone.

Given that, what is the energy return needed to maintain such? According to Hall, it's better than 15:

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/eroi-charles-hall-will-fossil-fuels-maintain-economic-growth/

If you think it should be higher, then you're probably right.

You make an extraordinary claim ralfy - 15 is the minimum EROI to run civilization. I challenge you on it - it seems ridiculous. You heap loads and loads of text but the proof is not in sight, Even your source - a professor who has built his career on EROI, who has invented EROI, who I believe is biased on the issue, does not claim what you claim he claims. And what he does claim refers to fossil fuels in general and to oil in particular.

Please carefully read the source you provided:

Quote
For society's energy sources, is it important to consider EROI?
Is there a lot of oil left in the ground? Absolutely. The question is, how much oil can we get out of the ground, at a significantly high EROI? And the answer to that is, hmmm, not nearly as much. So that's what we're struggling with as we go further and further offshore and have to do this fracking and horizontal drilling and all of this kind of stuff, especially when you get away from the sweet spots of shale formations. It gets tougher and tougher to get the next barrel of oil, so the EROI goes down, down, down.

Is there some minimum EROI we need to have?
Since everything we make depends on energy, you can't simply pay more and more and get enough to run society. At some energy return on investment—I'm guessing 5:1 or 6:1—it doesn't work anymore.

What happens when the EROI gets too low? What’s achievable at different EROIs?
If you've got an EROI of 1.1:1, you can pump the oil out of the ground and look at it. If you've got 1.2:1, you can refine it and look at it. At 1.3:1, you can move it to where you want it and look at it. We looked at the minimum EROI you need to drive a truck, and you need at least 3:1 at the wellhead. Now, if you want to put anything in the truck, like grain, you need to have an EROI of 5:1. And that includes the depreciation for the truck. But if you want to include the depreciation for the truck driver and the oil worker and the farmer, then you've got to support the families. And then you need an EROI of 7:1. And if you want education, you need 8:1 or 9:1. And if you want health care, you need 10:1 or 11:1.

Civilization requires a substantial energy return on investment. You can't do it on some kind of crummy fuel like corn-based ethanol [with an EROI of around 1:1].

A big problem we have facing the alternatives is they're all so low EROI. We'd all like to go toward renewable fuels, but it's not going to be easy at all. And it may be impossible. We may not be able to sustain our civilization on these alternative fuels. I hope we can, but we've got to deal with it realistically.

Please focus on what he says. 1.3:1 can get you the refined oil where you need it, but 3:1 at the wellhead (4:1 at the truck site) lets you drive a truck. Have you wondered why? Sure, only about one third of the oil's primary energy goes towards driving the truck, the rest is waste heat. Well guess what? With renewable electricity you barely have waste heat and transportation of the energy is much more efficient too. With solar you could drive the truck on 1.5:1 at most. So treating renewables with the tools developed for oil is simply stupid, I'm sorry, no other words for it.

But in any case, even Hall does not claim the 15 you claimed. At most he claims 10-11:1, for oil. So where did you pull the 15:1 out of?

In addition, Hall treats EROI as reducing over time. For oil he is right. However solar does not have this problem. Again, something relevant for oil is not relevant for our renewable transition discussion.

I suggest to drop the EROI claim from your very circuitous logic. We need to reduce consumption for other reasons, not because of EROI. We have limits to growth for other reasons, not because of EROI.

The claim comes from Hall, and you should find more details if you conduct further research on his studies. If I'm not mistaken, the book is Energy Return on Investment. If you cannot obtain a copy of the work, then the best you can probably do is rely on reviews of the work. For example,

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0036850419825936

The gist is that the more things you want, the higher the energy return needed. Thus, if your only goal is to extract oil from the ground, then all you need is a return of 1.1:1. If you want to distribute fuel, 2:1, all the way to funding the arts and other aspects of late capitalism, around 15:1. The reason for this is that activity outside anything that produces more energy is an energy drain, which means if you want what the Internet calls "nice things," then you will need a high energy return, which translates to a high energy surplus.

Finally, the reason why renewables will go the same way as oil is because the minerals needed to make components for renewable energy are affected in the same way as oil. Here's an interesting example from Simon Michaux. You don't have to watch the whole lecture but just the part about copper:



Do you now understand the idea of diminishing returns? More than a century ago, you could obtain large amounts of high-grade copper without having to do much digging. At the same time, there was much less demand for copper that time.

Decades later, you have to use heavy equipment to move large amounts of earth to get less copper of lower quality. Meanwhile, the market demands even more copper because we've now moved from telegraph machines to the Internet, and beyond.

Diminishing returns: increasing amounts of energy to get less new materials each time. And to make matters worse, demand for the materials increases due to a larger population plus increasing demand for energy and resources per capita as a result of a growing middle class.

Can you now connect all of the dots that I've been raising in this thread, the one on news about renewable energy, and even the one about overpopulation? Do you now see why we need a very high energy return to maintain the type of industrialized civilization we've set up for ourselves? Do you also see why we need increasing amounts of energy to reverse diminishing returns, to meet increasing demand for profits and ROI by investors, and to meet increasing demand for energy and material resources from growing numbers of people worldwide who want more?

In short, we have limits to growth because of physical limitations and gravity. It's those same physical limitations and gravity that leads to diminishing returns for oil and minerals, and lower energy returns for oil and energy resources that involve minerals. It's lower energy returns that lead to lower net energy, which is why both energy quality and quantity are important. The danger for the latter, BTW, is what Bardi calls a "Seneca cliff," which was raised in my earlier posts.

And yet we have a global capitalist economy that needs the opposite. Will renewable energy meet the goals of that same economy?

One more thing: if you like, you may use another metric which sees both energy and material resources, in the form of biocapacity vs ecological footprint via global hectares:

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

I must warn you, though, that the outcome is the same.

oren

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #180 on: September 20, 2020, 09:43:25 AM »
Quote
The claim comes from Hall, and you should find more details if you conduct further research on his studies. If I'm not mistaken, the book is Energy Return on Investment. If you cannot obtain a copy of the work, then the best you can probably do is rely on reviews of the work. For example,

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0036850419825936

The gist is that the more things you want, the higher the energy return needed. Thus, if your only goal is to extract oil from the ground, then all you need is a return of 1.1:1. If you want to distribute fuel, 2:1, all the way to funding the arts and other aspects of late capitalism, around 15:1. The reason for this is that activity outside anything that produces more energy is an energy drain, which means if you want what the Internet calls "nice things," then you will need a high energy return, which translates to a high energy surplus.
Here you go again ralfy. You take numbers for oil and extrapolate them to renewables without justification. As energy from oil is mostly waste heat, while electricity from renewables is not, it would follow that if 15:1 is required for oil, then 5:1 would be required for renewables, all things being equal.
This even if the extraordinary claim of 15:1 as a minimum requirement is even valid. When challenged on it, you gave an interview by Hall, which came to 11:1. When challenged next, you send readers to read Hall's book. Hall, the professor who invented EROI and has all the incentive in the world to make it an important metric. Honestly, I have better uses of my time. The EROI argument is not convincing enough to go on a wild goose chase.
If the field is so important, where are the mainstream scientific articles discussing and developing it? Why is it so difficult for you to find an updated source for solar PV EROI? Prieto (2017) is a highly biased source that deals with data more than a decade old and is embarrassing to read. You expect other readers to go find EROI numbers, that is a wrong debate approach. You make the claim, you need to back it up.

Quote
Do you now understand the idea of diminishing returns? More than a century ago, you could obtain large amounts of high-grade copper without having to do much digging. At the same time, there was much less demand for copper that time.

Decades later, you have to use heavy equipment to move large amounts of earth to get less copper of lower quality. Meanwhile, the market demands even more copper because we've now moved from telegraph machines to the Internet, and beyond.

Diminishing returns: increasing amounts of energy to get less new materials each time.
How much copper goes into solar panels? Is this important? Does Silicon have diminishing returns too? Probably so, but I am guessing so much less than copper.
And what about production efficiency gains? New technologies become more efficient over time. A quick review of solar PV progress over the last two decades will show it takes less materials to create a better, longer lasting and more energy harvesting panel.

Quote
Can you now connect all of the dots that I've been raising in this thread, the one on news about renewable energy, and even the one about overpopulation? Do you now see why we need a very high energy return to maintain the type of industrialized civilization we've set up for ourselves? Do you also see why we need increasing amounts of energy to reverse diminishing returns, to meet increasing demand for profits and ROI by investors, and to meet increasing demand for energy and material resources from growing numbers of people worldwide who want more?
We need more energy quantity to maintain a growing industrial civilization. That is a trivial conclusion unrelated to your EROI claims. We need less consumption and less population growth because of physical limits to growth and because of destruction of pollution sinks. That is another trivial conclusion unrelated to your EROI claims.
We do NOT need a high energy return to maintain industrial civilization. The existing energy return of wind and solar energy is more than sufficient for the job. What we need is political and social decisions relating to the transition. Making irrelevant claims about renewable EROI will certainly not help in reaching these decisions.

ralfy

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #181 on: September 20, 2020, 09:45:39 AM »
Also of note.
Dig up fossil fuel then burn it .
single use.
Build a solar panel use it for thirty years then recycle the materials
and another thirty years ......
About 85 % of a solar panel is recyclable at a much lower energy input  than sourcing virgin materials. The suns energy is free .
At present wind power is growing in size and efficiency at a rapid pace so you do not simply add a new generator to an existing installation. I can not see much difference with wind once the technology is mature. Much of the infrastructure built the first time will be recyclable .

 The energy costs of renewable energy  goes down the longer we use them for.

Don't forget the electric wires, charge controller, batteries, and inverter. Also, solar irradiation, rodents, and dust. If it's a solar farm (which is critical for any economies of scale), electric grids and even road networks. Est. return for one study from 2017 is less than 6 for Spain. It should be lower for areas with less solar irradiation.

Then, to make that energy not just useful but even desirable for investment, an electric grid plus all sorts of consumer products to use that energy. And all that is heavily dependent on extensive supply chains involving dozens of mining companies, manufacturers, assemblers, and transport corporations in many countries, and all financed by investors who expect more production for more sales to achieve more profits to be reinvested for more production and sales.

And behind all that are diminishing returns for oil and minerals needed for renewable energy components and more.

ralfy

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #182 on: September 20, 2020, 10:16:35 AM »
For those who prefer academic studies to actual reports of projects being connected to the grid, I offer this study from late 2019 that shows the impacts of electrifying transportation on energy demand. 

https://www.mdpi.com/1996-1073/12/20/3870

Quote
Global Transportation Demand Development with Impacts on the Energy Demand and Greenhouse Gas Emissions in a Climate-Constrained World
by Siavash Khalili, Eetu Rantanen, Dmitrii Bogdanov and Christian Breyer

Energies 2019, 12(20), 3870; https://doi.org/10.3390/en12203870
Published: 12 October 2019

Abstract
The pivotal target of the Paris Agreement is to keep temperature rise well below 2 °C above the pre-industrial level and pursue efforts to limit temperature rise to 1.5 °C. To meet this target, all energy-consuming sectors, including the transport sector, need to be restructured. The transport sector accounted for 19% of the global final energy demand in 2015, of which the vast majority was supplied by fossil fuels (around 31,080 TWh). Fossil-fuel consumption leads to greenhouse gas emissions, which accounted for about 8260 MtCO2eq from the transport sector in 2015. This paper examines the transportation demand that can be expected and how alternative transportation technologies along with new sustainable energy sources can impact the energy demand and emissions trend in the transport sector until 2050. Battery-electric vehicles and fuel-cell electric vehicles are the two most promising technologies for the future on roads. Electric ships and airplanes for shorter distances and hydrogen-based synthetic fuels for longer distances may appear around 2030 onwards to reduce the emissions from the marine and aviation transport modes. The rail mode will remain the least energy-demanding, compared to other transport modes. An ambitious scenario for achieving zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 is applied, also demonstrating the very high relevance of direct and indirect electrification of the transport sector. Fossil-fuel demand can be reduced to zero by 2050; however, the electricity demand is projected to rise from 125 TWhel in 2015 to about 51,610 TWhel in 2050, substantially driven by indirect electricity demand for the production of synthetic fuels. While the transportation demand roughly triples from 2015 to 2050, substantial efficiency gains enable an almost stable final energy demand for the transport sector, as a consequence of broad electrification. The overall well-to-wheel efficiency in the transport sector increases from 26% in 2015 to 39% in 2050, resulting in a respective reduction of overall losses from primary energy to mechanical energy in vehicles. Power-to-fuels needed mainly for marine and aviation transport is not a significant burden for overall transport sector efficiency. The primary energy base of the transport sector switches in the next decades from fossil resources to renewable electricity, driven by higher efficiency and sustainability.



The study states that although transport demand will increase by 210 to 260 pct across almost four decades final energy demand will remain fairly constant, as shown in the chart. That means efficiency levels will have to go up by an average of 5 pct per annum given more efficient fuels and power trains.

With that, we should have seen something like a 25-pct increase in efficiency in transport from 2015 to 2020.

Next, all that efficiency will be done given investments with the assumption that demand should increase, right? Is a 5-pct increase per annum enough for a world population where, say, 70 pct earn below minimum wage? (Not even the U.S. rate of $8 per hour or around 4-10 euros for the EU, but just $10 daily, or around $1.25 per hour.) Or do we expect demand to increase even more to meet just basic needs of that same majority?

And that's for the current population. If it's expected to rise to 10-11 billion, then demand not just for transport but across the board should be higher. If it's expected to peak to less than 10 billion in two decades, then the efficiency rate per annum has to be more than twice what's anticipated.





ralfy

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #183 on: September 20, 2020, 10:33:36 AM »
Solar return from lifecycle analysis 14 to 17 in 2016, will be better today:
https://www.carboncommentary.com/blog/2016/12/8/musqo7036dslptm1b8efduj6i3e7ms

For wind it was 30, again it will be better today
https://www.newscientist.com/lastword/mg24332461-400-what-is-the-carbon-payback-period-for-a-wind-turbine/

Electricity is a much more useful form of energy than heat from FFs, easier to turn into motion for transport, industry, hear pumps.

A higher return is always expected for nameplate power and payback time, but they go down in real-world conditions:

https://www.resilience.org/stories/2016-05-27/the-real-eroi-of-photovoltaic-systems-professor-hall-weighs-in/

Hence, given an LCA framework, we have a return of 11-12. But how is that energy used to support an industrial civilization? That's when we end up with a return that's much lower:

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

Finally, can one see this in light of energy demand, which I raised in my first post? 20 TW for the current population, 50 TW (some argue lower, at almost 40) to support basic needs of at least 70 pct of the world population, 90 TW to meet the same for a growing population, and around 120 TW to do that plus counter diminishing returns and the effects of ecological damage coupled with climate change.

At best, one study shows that we should get around 50 TW overall, which is similar to the 210-260 pct demand increase anticipated for transport. Another adds that coordination between at least 143 countries will be needed.

Iain

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #184 on: September 20, 2020, 11:30:52 AM »
Ralfy,
Not all studies are the same. The Energy Sceptic, Euan Mearns, the Oil Drum sites are full of negative stories about renewables

With EROI it matters a lot where you set the bounds – did you count that the Oil/PV worker way down the supply chain used his wages to buy high carbon products? – That’s part of the Induced component – if you spend money you create work and knock on consumption.

Euan M – huge difference in output summer to winter from PV
True
But he selected a panel at a very shallow angle which got 60 deg sun at summer midday, 10 deg in winter
That’s Cherrypicking – miss out important facts, most panels are 30 or 45 degree.

Euan M – one tech can’t do it on it’s own, so is useless
Nope, it’s part of a mix. Solar and wind compliment each other summer to winter.

Resilience still refer to debunked Ferroni and Hopkirk, “who (despite, perhaps, some issues)….”

GWPF – Earth is actually cooling.
True
The high upper atmosphere cools when the sun wanes on it’s 7 year cycle. That makes almost no difference to us, the surface is still warming.
"If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants." Isaac Newton

Iain

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #185 on: September 20, 2020, 11:59:50 AM »
"If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants." Isaac Newton

nanning

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #186 on: September 21, 2020, 07:11:22 AM »
Since this is about energy transition and consumption, it fits here as well.  This is very IMPORTANT imo.

World's richest 1% cause double CO2 emissions of poorest 50%, says Oxfam
Charity says world’s fast-shrinking carbon budget should be used to improve lot of poorest

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/sep/21/worlds-richest-1-cause-double-co2-emissions-of-poorest-50-says-oxfam
  by Fiona Harvey

 Excerpts: (bolding by me)

The wealthiest 1% of the world’s population were responsible for the emission of more than twice as much carbon dioxide as the poorer half of the world from 1990 to 2015, according to new research.

Carbon dioxide emissions rose by 60% over the 25-year period, but the increase in emissions from the richest 1% was three times greater than the increase in emissions from the poorest half.

The report, compiled by Oxfam and the Stockholm Environment Institute, warned that rampant overconsumption and the rich world’s addiction to high-carbon transport are exhausting the world’s “carbon budget”.

Such a concentration of carbon emissions in the hands of the rich means that despite taking the world to the brink of climate catastrophe, through burning fossil fuels, we have still failed to improve the lives of billions, said Tim Gore, head of policy, advocacy and research at Oxfam International.

The global carbon budget has been squandered to expand the consumption of the already rich, rather than to improve humanity,” he told the Guardian. “A finite amount of carbon can be added to the atmosphere if we want to avoid the worst impacts of the climate crisis. We need to ensure that carbon is used for the best.”


The richest 10% of the global population, comprising about 630 million people, were responsible for about 52% of global emissions over the 25-year period, the study showed.

Globally, the richest 10% are those with incomes above about $35,000 (£27,000) a year, and the richest 1% are people earning more than about $100,000.

..a finite carbon budget of how much carbon dioxide it is safe to produce, which scientists warn will be exhausted within a decade at current rates.

Oxfam argues that continuing to allow the rich world to emit vastly more than those in poverty is unfair. While the world moves towards renewable energy and phases out fossil fuels, any emissions that continue to be necessary during the transition would be better used in trying to improve poor people’s access to basic amenities.

The best possible, morally defensible purpose is for all humanity to live a decent life, but [the carbon budget] has been used up by the already rich, in getting richer,
"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?

wili

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #187 on: September 21, 2020, 07:25:28 AM »
Thanks for that, nanning. Many won't believe it.

From an earth perspective (which really should be the main perspective we all view things from), the central function of modern industrial society/economy is to transform the riches and beauties of the earth into toxic waste and trash.

And the global wealthy (which probably includes most posters on this forum) are the juggernauts of that economy.

"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."

Ken Feldman

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #188 on: September 21, 2020, 08:38:04 PM »
The UK Government just published a new study on the Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE).  The new report shows stunning decreases in the LCOE for renewables compared to similar reports published in 2013 and 2016.  Wind and solar are now the cheapest forms of electricity in the UK, cheaper than operating gas plants.  The financial return on investment, which governs how corporations and government agencies spend money, now favors renewables over fossil fuels.

And capacity factors continue to increase due to technological improvements.

https://www.skepticalscience.com/wind-solar-30-50-percent-cheaper.html

Quote
   
Wind and solar are 30-50% cheaper than thought, admits UK government
Posted on 21 September 2020 by Guest Author

This is a re-post from Carbon Brief by Simon Evans

    
Wind and solar are 30-50% cheaper than thought, admits UK government
Posted on 21 September 2020 by Guest Author

This is a re-post from Carbon Brief by Simon Evans

Electricity generated from wind and solar is 30-50% cheaper than previously thought, according to newly published UK government figures.

The new estimates of the “levelised cost” of electricity, published this week by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), show that renewables are much cheaper than expected in the previous iteration of the report, published in 2016.

The previously published version had, in turn, already trimmed the cost of wind and solar by up to 30%. As a result, electricity from onshore wind or solar could be supplied in 2025 at half the cost of gas-fired power, the new estimates suggest.

Quote
In 2013, the UK government estimated that an offshore windfarm opening in 2025 would generate electricity for £140/MWh. By 2016, this was revised down by 24%, to £107/MWh. The latest estimate puts the cost at just £57/MWh, another 47% reduction (leftmost red column, below).

The new estimates include similarly dramatic reductions for onshore wind and solar, with levelised costs in 2025 now thought to be some 50% lower than expected by the 2013 government report.

Quote
The reductions have already been reflected in auctions for UK government contracts. Most recently, contracts were awarded for offshore windfarms due to start operating in the mid-2020s, at prices below the costs of existing gas-fired power stations – making them effectively “subsidy free”.

Quote
The new BEIS estimates make another small reduction in the levelised cost of electricity from gas, attributable to the department assuming turbines are now slightly more efficient.

Despite this small reduction, the much larger cuts for renewables mean onshore wind and solar are now expected to be half as costly as gas in 2025, as shown in the chart below.

Quote
Larger turbines placed further out to sea give access to stronger and much more consistent winds, meaning offshore windfarms are expected to have “load factors” reaching as high as 63% in 2040.

Load factors represent the proportion of theoretical maximum electricity output achieved across an entire year, after accounting for variations due to maintenance and weather conditions. For reference, the average load factor for the world’s coal-fired power stations is now around 50%.


Ken Feldman

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #189 on: September 21, 2020, 09:30:54 PM »
Here's a link to a September 2020 report by the Energy Transitions Commission, "a coalition of global leaders from across the energy landscape: energy producers, energy-intensive industries, equipment providers, finance players and environmental NGOs".

https://www.energy-transitions.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Making-Mission-Possible-Full-Report.pdf

Quote
The overall conclusion from these reports is clear. It is undoubtedly technically possible to achieve net-zero GHG emissions by around mid-century, with the developed world reaching this target by 2050 and the developing world by 2060 at the latest, without relying on the permanent and significant use of offsets from afforestation, other forms of land-use change or negative emissions technologies. Technologies and business solutions to do so are either already available or close to being brought to market.

The costs of achieving this are very small, especially compared to the large adverse consequences that unmitigated climate change would trigger by 2050 and in subsequent years. The incremental capital investments needed over the next 30 to 40 years to achieve a zero-emissions economy, while huge in absolute dollar terms, are only about 1% to 2% of global GDP per annum. They are affordable, particularly within a macroeconomic context of low or even negative real interest rates in developed economies – although financial support for developing economies facing higher risk premiums on capital markets will be required. By 2050, the reduction in conventionally measured living standards in 2050 will be at most 0.5%.

There's a section on energy efficiency.  The report is graphics intensive and it's difficult to copy and paste from a pdf, so I'm just showing a few of the key bullets.

Quote
BEVs consume one-quarter of the energy of gasoline cars Litres of gasoline equivalent per 100 km  (Gas 5.1; Diesel 3.9; Battery EV 1.5)

Quote
Electric heat pumps are ~90% more efficient than gas boilers kWh final energy per kWh heat delivered (Gas boiler - standard 2.6; Gas boiler - high efficiency 1.4; Heat pump - air source 0.3)

Quote
Thus:

• While the IEA’s Current Policies Scenario shows total final energy demand potentially growing from 417 exajoules (EJ) in 2017 to 567 EJ in 2040, its Sustainable Development Scenario describes a feasible world in which final energy demand could fall by 6% to reach 398 EJ over the next 20 years11 [Exhibit 1.8].

• Our ETC zero-emissions scenarios, which assume that electricity could grow to ~65% to 70% of final energy demand, show that global final energy demand could fall by about 15% between now and 2050 if all opportunities for energy productivity were seized, while still supporting robust economic growth. Even if progress in energy productivity were disappointing, with decarbonisation achieved almost entirely via electrification and other supply-side measures, energy demand would grow only 19%, while global GDP more than doubled [Exhibit 1.9]. This in turn would have a very tangible impact on the scale of investment required in clean energy provision, reducing in particular investments required in clean power generation by 25% compared with a case with limited energy productivity improvement.

This overall global picture would still entail significant growth in energy demand in some emerging economies, offset set by absolute declines in advanced economies.


ralfy

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #190 on: September 22, 2020, 08:16:29 AM »
Ralfy,
Not all studies are the same. The Energy Sceptic, Euan Mearns, the Oil Drum sites are full of negative stories about renewables

With EROI it matters a lot where you set the bounds – did you count that the Oil/PV worker way down the supply chain used his wages to buy high carbon products? – That’s part of the Induced component – if you spend money you create work and knock on consumption.

Euan M – huge difference in output summer to winter from PV
True
But he selected a panel at a very shallow angle which got 60 deg sun at summer midday, 10 deg in winter
That’s Cherrypicking – miss out important facts, most panels are 30 or 45 degree.

Euan M – one tech can’t do it on it’s own, so is useless
Nope, it’s part of a mix. Solar and wind compliment each other summer to winter.

Resilience still refer to debunked Ferroni and Hopkirk, “who (despite, perhaps, some issues)….”

GWPF – Earth is actually cooling.
True
The high upper atmosphere cools when the sun wanes on it’s 7 year cycle. That makes almost no difference to us, the surface is still warming.

You need to look at the references from Hall and even Prieto which don't use Ferroni and Hopkirk, especially the study that looks at real-world conditions concerning photovoltaics in Spain, not to mention the two other studies from 2018 and 2019 shared earlier.

Overall, what has been presented is an energy return of 11 or 12. If you use what Baldi mentions earlier, following what Hall and Prieto discovered about real-world use, then the return goes down to around 5.9.

It gets worse when you consider every other point I raised in my previous posts. That is, even if we assume that the return is higher (the majority of studies I see show a return of around 6-7), there's also the demand needed by the global economy and more. I explained that in greater detail more than one in my previous posts. Please go over them again.

nanning

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #191 on: September 22, 2020, 08:21:34 AM »
Thanks wili, I share that view.

A pity that no discussion followed from my post about the Guardian article. I'd say that it gives an extremely important view for discussions in this thread.

Wili wrote:
"And the global wealthy (which probably includes most posters on this forum) are the juggernauts of that economy. "

Well, what to expect. The pigs weren't open to critique in "Animal Farm".
This   is   the   main   problem
"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 #192 on: September 22, 2020, 08:22:04 AM »
Ralfy, can you spot the holes in

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

I see 3 main howlers, what are they?

Iain

For me, the howlers are the ff:

1. they don't factor in diminishing returns for minerals needed to make photovoltaics and which also affect fossil fuels needed for mining, manufacturing, and shipping;

2. they underestimate the energy and material resources demand of the global economy, where 71 pct of the population earn less than $10 a day and intend to earn more; and

3. they don't consider the effect of volatile oil prices on investments in renewables.


KiwiGriff

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #193 on: September 22, 2020, 08:29:56 AM »
Energy Return on Energy Invested (ERoEI) for photovoltaic solar systems in regions of moderate insolation: A comprehensive response
Abstract
Quote
A recent paper by Ferroni and Hopkirk (2016) asserts that the ERoEI (also referred to as EROI) of photovoltaic (PV) systems is so low that they actually act as net energy sinks, rather than delivering energy to society. Such claim, if accurate, would call into question many energy investment decisions. In the same paper, a comparison is also drawn between PV and nuclear electricity. We have carefully analysed this paper, and found methodological inconsistencies and calculation errors that, in combination, render its conclusions not scientifically sound. Ferroni and Hopkirk adopt ‘extended’ boundaries for their analysis of PV without acknowledging that such choice of boundaries makes their results incompatible with those for all other technologies that have been analysed using more conventional boundaries, including nuclear energy with which the authors engage in multiple inconsistent comparisons. In addition, they use out-dated information, make invalid assumptions on PV specifications and other key parameters, and conduct calculation errors, including double counting. We herein provide revised EROI calculations for PV electricity in Switzerland, adopting both conventional and ‘extended’ system boundaries, to contrast with their results, which points to an order-of-magnitude underestimate of the EROI of PV in Switzerland by Ferroni and Hopkirk.
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301421516307066

Solar Energy Return On Investment — Energy Payback Period
Quote
solar pvSome critics and skeptics incorrectly say too much energy is consumed in the production of solar panels and that the panels don’t generate enough electricity during their lifetimes to make up for it.

This criticism has been proven to be false, and may be nothing more than a deliberate form of misinformation intended to persuade people who are interested in solar power to lose that interest. Too often, the critics turn out to be people who are directly or indirectly connected to fossil fuel industries like oil and gas, nuclear, or coal. They also may be politically conservative — certain highly politicized members of that group have historically opposed renewable energy to some degree.

Let’s look at what a neutral scientifically focused source, the US National Renewable Energy Lab, says about solar power and the energy payback situation: “Energy payback estimates for rooftop PV systems are 4, 3, 2, and 1 years: 4 years for systems using current multicrystalline-silicon PV modules, 3 years for current thin-film modules, 2 years for anticipated multicrystalline modules, and 1 year for anticipated thin-film modules (see Figure 1). With energy paybacks of 1 to 4 years and assumed life expectancies of 30 years, 87% to 97% of the energy that PV systems generate won’t be plagued by pollution, greenhouse gases, and depletion of resources.”

https://cleantechnica.com/2018/02/03/solar-power-can-pay-easily/


One study syndrome......


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 #194 on: September 22, 2020, 08:35:37 AM »
Since this is about energy transition and consumption, it fits here as well.  This is very IMPORTANT imo.

World's richest 1% cause double CO2 emissions of poorest 50%, says Oxfam
Charity says world’s fast-shrinking carbon budget should be used to improve lot of poorest

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/sep/21/worlds-richest-1-cause-double-co2-emissions-of-poorest-50-says-oxfam
  by Fiona Harvey

 Excerpts: (bolding by me)

The wealthiest 1% of the world’s population were responsible for the emission of more than twice as much carbon dioxide as the poorer half of the world from 1990 to 2015, according to new research.

Carbon dioxide emissions rose by 60% over the 25-year period, but the increase in emissions from the richest 1% was three times greater than the increase in emissions from the poorest half.

The report, compiled by Oxfam and the Stockholm Environment Institute, warned that rampant overconsumption and the rich world’s addiction to high-carbon transport are exhausting the world’s “carbon budget”.

Such a concentration of carbon emissions in the hands of the rich means that despite taking the world to the brink of climate catastrophe, through burning fossil fuels, we have still failed to improve the lives of billions, said Tim Gore, head of policy, advocacy and research at Oxfam International.

The global carbon budget has been squandered to expand the consumption of the already rich, rather than to improve humanity,” he told the Guardian. “A finite amount of carbon can be added to the atmosphere if we want to avoid the worst impacts of the climate crisis. We need to ensure that carbon is used for the best.”


The richest 10% of the global population, comprising about 630 million people, were responsible for about 52% of global emissions over the 25-year period, the study showed.

Globally, the richest 10% are those with incomes above about $35,000 (£27,000) a year, and the richest 1% are people earning more than about $100,000.

..a finite carbon budget of how much carbon dioxide it is safe to produce, which scientists warn will be exhausted within a decade at current rates.

Oxfam argues that continuing to allow the rich world to emit vastly more than those in poverty is unfair. While the world moves towards renewable energy and phases out fossil fuels, any emissions that continue to be necessary during the transition would be better used in trying to improve poor people’s access to basic amenities.

The best possible, morally defensible purpose is for all humanity to live a decent life, but [the carbon budget] has been used up by the already rich, in getting richer,

Indeed, and in addition to that, something like 20 pct of the world's population is responsible for over 60 pct of personal consumption.

The same global economy on which that world population is dependent is controlled by only a few hundred super-connected corporations:

https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21228354-500-revealed-the-capitalist-network-that-runs-the-world/

And it won't surprise me if several of them, not to mention even oil companies, are main investors in renewable energy projects.

Here's where it gets difficult: According to the WB, around 71 pct of people worldwide earn less than $10 daily (that's daily and not hourly, which is much lower than the min. wage in the U.S. or even in the EU, which one may assume promotes an ideal "European style of living" which is sustainable), but is is highly likely that the majority of them want to earn much more, and they want to do so not only to avail of basic needs (which will require an ecological footprint that may breach biocapacity given the current population) but even to avail of middle class wants, which includes accessing this forum and discussing these matters.

And we've been seeing that trend the last two decades:

https://www.bbc.com/news/business-22956470

In short, the majority of human beings want not necessarily what the 1 pct do but what the top 20 pct do, and that looks like the equivalent of tripling what they consume in terms of energy and resources per capita.

Meanwhile, not just the top 1 pct but even the top 20 pct are counting on the same majority to do so because their income, returns on investment, and even funding for various endeavors are ultimately dependent on increasing economic activity brought about by increasing sales of goods and services to the world population.

That's why you are absolutely right in arguing that this issue is important. The catch is that many forum members will disagree with you because they believe that, somehow, some sort of political will may take over and force not just the 1 pct or the top 20 pct but even the majority of the world's population to either cut down heavily on energy and resource use per capita or ensure that such does not go up.

ralfy

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #195 on: September 22, 2020, 08:40:57 AM »
Thanks for that, nanning. Many won't believe it.

From an earth perspective (which really should be the main perspective we all view things from), the central function of modern industrial society/economy is to transform the riches and beauties of the earth into toxic waste and trash.

And the global wealthy (which probably includes most posters on this forum) are the juggernauts of that economy.

That's quite right. One thing that we keep forgetting is that many of us who access this forum are able to do so because of a high energy-return world. That is, with so much surplus energy, we don't have to farm or even work in factories but in white collar jobs, that we can receive specialist education and discuss complex matters even using technology like the 'net, and that we can even live in off-grid communities with all sorts of goods and services sent to us through the opposite, i.e., raw materials, manufactured and assembled components, and shipping involve extensive supply chains spanning dozens of countries and companies, and funded by some of the richest people in the world.

And yet we keep imagining that we don't spend so much energy and material resources per capita, that we don't have to do so, that much of the world population has conditions similar to those of Scotland and Luxembourg, and that not just cooperation and coordination but even sacrifice will come easy to us, such that any transition to renewable energy will be a piece of cake.


ralfy

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #196 on: September 22, 2020, 08:46:45 AM »
The UK Government just published a new study on the Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE).  The new report shows stunning decreases in the LCOE for renewables compared to similar reports published in 2013 and 2016.  Wind and solar are now the cheapest forms of electricity in the UK, cheaper than operating gas plants.  The financial return on investment, which governs how corporations and government agencies spend money, now favors renewables over fossil fuels.

And capacity factors continue to increase due to technological improvements.

https://www.skepticalscience.com/wind-solar-30-50-percent-cheaper.html

Quote
   
Wind and solar are 30-50% cheaper than thought, admits UK government
Posted on 21 September 2020 by Guest Author

This is a re-post from Carbon Brief by Simon Evans

    
Wind and solar are 30-50% cheaper than thought, admits UK government
Posted on 21 September 2020 by Guest Author

This is a re-post from Carbon Brief by Simon Evans

Electricity generated from wind and solar is 30-50% cheaper than previously thought, according to newly published UK government figures.

The new estimates of the “levelised cost” of electricity, published this week by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), show that renewables are much cheaper than expected in the previous iteration of the report, published in 2016.

The previously published version had, in turn, already trimmed the cost of wind and solar by up to 30%. As a result, electricity from onshore wind or solar could be supplied in 2025 at half the cost of gas-fired power, the new estimates suggest.

Quote
In 2013, the UK government estimated that an offshore windfarm opening in 2025 would generate electricity for £140/MWh. By 2016, this was revised down by 24%, to £107/MWh. The latest estimate puts the cost at just £57/MWh, another 47% reduction (leftmost red column, below).

The new estimates include similarly dramatic reductions for onshore wind and solar, with levelised costs in 2025 now thought to be some 50% lower than expected by the 2013 government report.

Quote
The reductions have already been reflected in auctions for UK government contracts. Most recently, contracts were awarded for offshore windfarms due to start operating in the mid-2020s, at prices below the costs of existing gas-fired power stations – making them effectively “subsidy free”.

Quote
The new BEIS estimates make another small reduction in the levelised cost of electricity from gas, attributable to the department assuming turbines are now slightly more efficient.

Despite this small reduction, the much larger cuts for renewables mean onshore wind and solar are now expected to be half as costly as gas in 2025, as shown in the chart below.

Quote
Larger turbines placed further out to sea give access to stronger and much more consistent winds, meaning offshore windfarms are expected to have “load factors” reaching as high as 63% in 2040.

Load factors represent the proportion of theoretical maximum electricity output achieved across an entire year, after accounting for variations due to maintenance and weather conditions. For reference, the average load factor for the world’s coal-fired power stations is now around 50%.



But how do we see this on a global scale, especially given the assumption that most countries aren't like the UK? That is, only a fraction of their roads are paved and there is a lack of those plus bridges, a substantial chuck of their population do not have ready access to power due to lack of electric grids, that they don't even have enough infrastructure for basic needs such as hospitals, public schools, and clinics, that up to 40 pct of their children face under- or malnutrition, and many more points raised in my previous posts?

In short, how much more in terms of energy and material resources will we need to at least lift up the majority of the world population to levels close to that of the UK, or at least to that of some European style of living? Double the current global level? More?

How much more when that population continues to rise? Or as ecological damage continues coupled with the effects of climate change, both impeding access to material resources? Or when diminishing returns set in for extraction of the same resources?

That is not to say that a transition should not take place, but if the amount of energy isn't sufficient, then we may have to put as many sources of energy online as we can.

ralfy

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #197 on: September 22, 2020, 08:51:48 AM »
Energy Return on Energy Invested (ERoEI) for photovoltaic solar systems in regions of moderate insolation: A comprehensive response
Abstract
Quote
A recent paper by Ferroni and Hopkirk (2016) asserts that the ERoEI (also referred to as EROI) of photovoltaic (PV) systems is so low that they actually act as net energy sinks, rather than delivering energy to society. Such claim, if accurate, would call into question many energy investment decisions. In the same paper, a comparison is also drawn between PV and nuclear electricity. We have carefully analysed this paper, and found methodological inconsistencies and calculation errors that, in combination, render its conclusions not scientifically sound. Ferroni and Hopkirk adopt ‘extended’ boundaries for their analysis of PV without acknowledging that such choice of boundaries makes their results incompatible with those for all other technologies that have been analysed using more conventional boundaries, including nuclear energy with which the authors engage in multiple inconsistent comparisons. In addition, they use out-dated information, make invalid assumptions on PV specifications and other key parameters, and conduct calculation errors, including double counting. We herein provide revised EROI calculations for PV electricity in Switzerland, adopting both conventional and ‘extended’ system boundaries, to contrast with their results, which points to an order-of-magnitude underestimate of the EROI of PV in Switzerland by Ferroni and Hopkirk.
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301421516307066

Solar Energy Return On Investment — Energy Payback Period
Quote
solar pvSome critics and skeptics incorrectly say too much energy is consumed in the production of solar panels and that the panels don’t generate enough electricity during their lifetimes to make up for it.

This criticism has been proven to be false, and may be nothing more than a deliberate form of misinformation intended to persuade people who are interested in solar power to lose that interest. Too often, the critics turn out to be people who are directly or indirectly connected to fossil fuel industries like oil and gas, nuclear, or coal. They also may be politically conservative — certain highly politicized members of that group have historically opposed renewable energy to some degree.

Let’s look at what a neutral scientifically focused source, the US National Renewable Energy Lab, says about solar power and the energy payback situation: “Energy payback estimates for rooftop PV systems are 4, 3, 2, and 1 years: 4 years for systems using current multicrystalline-silicon PV modules, 3 years for current thin-film modules, 2 years for anticipated multicrystalline modules, and 1 year for anticipated thin-film modules (see Figure 1). With energy paybacks of 1 to 4 years and assumed life expectancies of 30 years, 87% to 97% of the energy that PV systems generate won’t be plagued by pollution, greenhouse gases, and depletion of resources.”

https://cleantechnica.com/2018/02/03/solar-power-can-pay-easily/


One study syndrome......

My understanding is that payback time will always be higher. With an extended EROI which looks at real-world conditions, though, the return goes down. This might also explain why two other studies point out that returns for renewables are generally low.

In addition, there's also an issue of quantity, as Hall and others explain.

The rest of the factors I keep talking about are barely discussed but are hinted at by growing numbers of forum members, e.g., the fact that most of the world needs a lot more in terms of energy and material resources just to meet basic needs, that diminishing returns affects all energy sources, and that energy and resource demand by the world population rises faster because the type of economy that is supposed to even invest in renewable energy is characterized by a combination of competition and maximization of profit, all also readily discussed at least once by one or more forum members besides myself.


oren

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #198 on: September 22, 2020, 09:07:50 AM »
If you were to drop the irrelevant EROI argument ralfy, stopped claiming solar has diminishing returns, and stopped ignoring the waste heat that comes with FF but is not part of renewable energy, it is quite plausible that most members would agree with your assertions about the need for more energy quantity in the future, the difficulty in making a fast enough transition, and the need to reduce developed countries consumption and overall population growth.
What bothers me is that you make important claims (though rather trivial), but using wrong methods and arguments. In science I think it's not just the conclusion that matters, but the method.

blu_ice

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #199 on: September 22, 2020, 09:11:41 AM »
The Peak Oil movement of early noughties was based on an over-simplistic theory of technical supply side limitations. Disregarding demand (and supply!) elasticity is the main reason Peak Oil  never materialized as they predicted.

Therefore I disagree with Ralfy that prices aren't important. Focusing only on EROI doesn't show the full picture. A barrel of oil is not going to make a transformation into useful work by itself, regardless of the EROI. To do this we need other means of productions such as technology, infrastructure and most importantly human resources/innovation, just to name a few.

Unlike EROI, prices take all these into equation while also relaying information to stakeholders. This information drives further innovation and efficiency.