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blu_ice

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #200 on: September 22, 2020, 09:23:09 AM »
the waste heat that comes with FF but is not part of renewable energy
Oren, the issue of heat is more complex than simply waste. The largest part of my energy bill, and by a very large margin, goes into heating. Living at 60N is somewhat extreme, but the situation is similar in significant areas of the world such as Europe north of the Alps, large parts of North America and Asia and many mountainous regions. This is even more pronounced when taking into account also the energy used for heating hot water.

It's very easy to make heat by burning something. Lot more difficult by fully electric renewable energy.  It's not deal breaker for RE but a cost and capacity issue nevertheless.

nanning

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #201 on: September 22, 2020, 12:34:03 PM »
oren, are you of the opinion that the energy transition problem has to be solved for all humans and not just for the rich parts?
I presume you do :).

I find it very morally refreshing and most welcome that ralfy takes all humans into account and shines a light on the 'forgotten' majority of the world population. And in that process finds many drawbacks of the kind of energy transition that is advertised in this and the renewable energy threads.
A bit like popping a rich consumers 'dream'. A very low morality dream of people who already have everything and don't want to share, they just want more nice and shiny 'stuff'.
I would leave this forum if it remains a rich consumers' dominated/biased discussion. It stinks.

The law of diminishing returns does very much apply to this discussion imo. Thanks ralfy for not dreaming.

Re: science
Not everything has to be solved using academic science. We need to open our hearts and include the people that have been colonised & exploited for centuries. It's about time. Beds are burning.


Low hanging fruit in the energy transition and mitigation is: Stop giving trillions of euro's of money from tax payers to FF industry.
We haven't even set the very first step for a global solution. We let the profit maximising commerce handle our future. They have no hearts to open. Please do not listen to them and please ignore their marketing talk.
"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?

nanning

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #202 on: September 22, 2020, 12:40:29 PM »
This video is largely about energy and consumption and explains many problems. I think it adds to the discussion.
(please ignore the small SLR part. sources are listed on the youtube page)

(14m35)
"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?

oren

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #203 on: September 22, 2020, 02:14:51 PM »
oren, are you of the opinion that the energy transition problem has to be solved for all humans and not just for the rich parts?
I presume you do :).
Of course, and I have written along those lines.
Why would you think otherwise?

It still doesn't make ralfy's EROI arguments any truer.

SteveMDFP

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #204 on: September 22, 2020, 02:59:42 PM »
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.

+1

Oren is arguing against a gish gallop of weakly-related arguments and bad reasoning.

Let's make it simple.  We need lots more energy to lift the poor out of poverty?  The quickest, cleanest, fastest way to create a gigawatt-hour of energy is with utility-scale solar.  Let's go with that. 

kassy

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #205 on: September 22, 2020, 03:24:18 PM »
But on the other side we need a sort of cap on the consumption of the top 10%...which is complex.
Þetta minnismerki er til vitnis um að við vitum hvað er að gerast og hvað þarf að gera. Aðeins þú veist hvort við gerðum eitthvað.

Bruce Steele

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #206 on: September 22, 2020, 06:27:00 PM »
 I used EROEI in trying to calculate how much energy was used to create electric gardening tools and the solar / battery necessary to power them verses how many food calories could be produced with those tools before they wear out and need replacing. And since I am lazy all I learned is it takes a lot of food calories to equal even the small amount of power needed to manufacture batteries, metal, and solar cells for one small electric tiller.  Several seasons of food calories worth so you need your equipment to last several seasons more to come out ahead. I think doing the same calculations for calorie payback of large items like tractors would result in manufacturing energy that never gets repaid in food calories. That is the 10 calories of fossil fuel energy used to manufacture and operate equipment never yields 10 calories of food.
 Maybe I am wrong but if we are going to live without fossil fuels we have to figure out how to feed ourselves with equipment that was manufactured with solar, wind, hydro energy. So we aren’t worried about this problem enough to even calculate the numbers let alone design a way out of it.
 But we are star struck by Tesla making cars with fossil fuel energy just because they use less energy than a car that runs and is manufactured with fossil fuel. Because we are addicted to driving around in big metal boxes we rationalize using less energy as good enough and we believe that the manufacturing can someday also be converted to solar/ wind sources. Maybe so maybe not but I would like someone with some solid numbers, or something like the science Oren expects out of Ralfy to spell it out for me.
 Maybe I am a simpleton but if the energy it takes to smelt shovel and hoe blades never repays itself with food calories then nothing else is going to ever pay back. Again maybe I am a simpleton but if we can’t prove a very simple food system ever repays it’s energy debt then how do we think we can rationalize Tesla sized fossil fuel manufacturing that never produces any calorie returns at all. 
 We got here because some farmer figured out how to grow more calories than he needed and civilizations were developed on the excess. Now run that calculation back to where those first farmers succeeded. Slaves and beasts of burden were our power sources. The smelting of metal allowed plows to improve but the energy in extra food calories produced still was net positive I suppose. Somewhere when we went steam and coal the numbers went upside down and building bigger and bigger machines with more and more fossil fuel energy has resulted in more and more food but a very upside down EROEI. 
 To deconstruct we would start over but instead we are trying to repower the monster. If the top ten percent had to grow their own food without using any fossil fuel , slaves or beasts of burden our problem would be much smaller and it would only last a decade or two till they all died of starvation.
But we prefer the war machine that civilization created with more borrowed energy. And we will die together.
 
 
 

SteveMDFP

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #207 on: September 22, 2020, 07:14:57 PM »
  Several seasons of food calories worth so you need your equipment to last several seasons more to come out ahead. I think doing the same calculations for calorie payback of large items like tractors would result in manufacturing energy that never gets repaid in food calories. That is the 10 calories of fossil fuel energy used to manufacture and operate equipment never yields 10 calories of food.

There's nothing wrong or unsustainable about using 1000 calories of energy to produce 10 calories of food -- unless your energy form is human muscle power.  Then you've got an immediately unsustainable system.

For using solar/wind/hydro energy of 1000 calories per 10 calories of food, the question is simply that of the cost of the renewable energy calories versus the value of the food calories.

Then the sustainability question comes down the level of environmental damage per 10 calories of food.  If the environmental damage is negligible and the price economics work, then it's a go.

The amount of environmental damage can be brought into the price calculations with an appropriate level of carbon tax.  A more generic environmental impact tax could be applied to the renewables as well.

This is why looking at EROEI is a poor way to analyze these questions.  Price calculations give far easier and more actionable answers.

KiwiGriff

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #208 on: September 22, 2020, 07:51:21 PM »
Year zero.

Wanting to rewire the worlds economic paradigm  may seem the only way .
You are not going to take bubbas massive truck with out force.
Billions must die in conflict for that to happen.
 https://ourworldindata.org/per-capita-co2
USA Canada Australia Russia  and Saudia Arabia all over consume.
Hence why some of us look towards what is possible within our present system without the inevitable consequence of death and destruction of any other way.
If that fails we will see the death and destruction as the old way reacts to the loss of privilege.
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.

Bruce Steele

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #209 on: September 22, 2020, 08:20:53 PM »
Steve, I was only counting the fossil fuel energy it took to manufacture one small tool. If that manufacturing energy can be replaced with solar,wind, hydro then I will agree that energy doesn’t matter. For now we haven’t replaced fossil fuel energy for manufacture, smelting, or long distance transport. I know there are prospects and hydro made smelting aluminum possible but I wonder how much aluminum smelting is really hydro powered today ? What is possible and what is actually used has far more to do with profit and loss . Renewable energy must not be economically competitive .
 And that’s where we end up when we use $ instead of EROEI

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-aluminium-sales-environment/hydro-powered-smelters-charge-premium-prices-for-green-aluminum-idUSKBN1AI1CF

“In 2005, the amounts of hydro and coal power used to make aluminum were roughly the same at around 200,000 gigawatt hours each, according to the International Aluminum Institute (IAI). A decade later the hydro figure had changed little, whereas coal had leapt to around 450,000 GWh.”

So where do you suppose Tesla sources their aluminum,China, Russia, or Norway ?
« Last Edit: September 22, 2020, 08:52:09 PM by Bruce Steele »

oren

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #210 on: September 23, 2020, 07:18:01 AM »
Bruce, calculating the EROI of a single tool and of the resulting food calories from its use is a problematic process, fraught with errors. I doubt your result is correct.
However, take a top down approach and it will be easier to figure out. Humanity is currently using an X amount of energy, and the system seems to be functioning, tools get produced, food gets produced, and lots of frivolities are produced too. There is enough energy for all current activities, it is just sourced badly. If you replace all the energy sources with sufficient renewable sources, you would still have enough energy for all current activities. Current energy can be redirected to produce renewable energy sources in large amounts rather easily, as evidenced by the ultra-low price of solar and wind systems. If less Barbie dolls and McMansions get made as a result, I'm fine with that. In the meantime, energy currently being spent on digging up and transporting fossil fuels and on building and maintaining FF power plants will be saved as well.
Is there a limit to solar installations? I think not. It takes time and effort but does not have an intrinsic physical limit, as long as the sun is there. Silicone and glass and non-arable land are abundant materials. Wind will suffer from diminishing returns at some point, but that is still far into the future thanks to ongoing efficiency gains. Storage is also feasible, combining both battery forms and gravity-based solutions, especially when keeping some amount of natural gas backup for the rare days with no wind and no sun over large regions.
I think your personal experience shows solar and batteries can provide enough energy for lots of activities. Now put that solar and that storage in more efficient industrial installations, add wind and hydro, and scale it up as fast as humanly possible. This should be fast enough to replace all FF sources as well as provide energy to those who currently lack it.

The real problem is the rate of the transition - humanity should be making these renewable sources as fast as possible, while cutting down on both FF expenditures and the production of frivolities. And one of the things slowing down this transition is people like ralfy innocently repeating anti-renewable propaganda, as has been peddled on peak oil and nuclear-related publications for years, and exacerbated by the denier crowd.

etienne

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #211 on: September 23, 2020, 07:50:16 AM »
I haven't followed the tread regularly lately, so maybe I will repeat some thing that has already been said.

When working with EROEI, there is a major difference between the consumed energies (FF, wood...) and wind or solar.

If you have an EROEI of 900 % on a consumed energy, it means that you loose 10% of the collected energy during the production process.

If you have an EROEI of 500% on wind or solar, you get 4 times more energy than what you use during the production process.

This is for me a major difference that also makes wood a second choice, only better than fossil fuels if it is local. We need to save the forests, and wood can be a CO2 storage if it is used for example to build houses. We are in a climate emergency, even if the house will only be there for 100 or 200 years, it's already a good deal.

blu_ice

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #212 on: September 23, 2020, 09:00:03 AM »
Something to bear in mind regarding renewable energy transformation: First, all electricity generation must be decarbonized. We have the technology to do this and it is already an ongoing process but nevertheless the challenge is huge. At some point the law of diminishing returns is likely to increase marginal cost the higher up we get on the renewable ladder. Higher share of intermittent generation requires more storage/backup capacity, for example. Anyway, lot of things have changed in a couple of years and the energy revolution is already happening.

But power generation is only part of the problem. In order to truly decarbonize economy every piece of equipment currently using fossil fuels needs to be replaced with a substitute not using FF. In practice this means electrifying transportation, heating, industrial processes etc.  This is a massive undertaking. Non-fossil power-to-x fuels may play a niche role in niche applications, but electrification will be the norm.

At the end of the day we need mind-boggling amounts of renewable power generation + electrification. Even when political will is lacking, market fundamentals will take the driver's seat. We are already there for wind and PV, nearly there for electric vehicles.

Eventually it will be down to available industrial capacity. Are we able to produce enough zero-carbon machinery to avoid civilization-collapsing climate crisis, and what will be the environmental cost of all that production.

nanning

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #213 on: September 23, 2020, 11:48:11 AM »
Dear oren,

I disagree with you that ralfy is posting anti-renewable propaganda. But perhaps I missed something. Anyhow, he brings up interesting and important downsides of green BAU and the rich consumers' dream.
Also Bruce's post is not anti-renewable and I think his example cannot be (s)wiped aside. Very interesting arguments from Bruce imo.

The picture is bit more complicated than just 'get it on'. And it's a pity that I don't read anything from you about all the non-rich countries in your example. ralfy touched on that by highlighting the to be expected enormous increase in energy demand and consumption of the global poor majority. Why not give them all a bit of our energy and consumption in stead of the rich getting richer and getting all the new technologies that the rest cannot buy. Give them e.g. a fridge since most global poor live in warm/hot countries.

'The economy' doesn't include the global poor. They are always in the back of the mind, even though they are the majority of humans on this planet.
"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?

Tom_Mazanec

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #214 on: September 23, 2020, 12:25:22 PM »
It seems to me solar is a more fundamental energy source than wind. Wind is just using a part of solar light to heat up a pack of air and moving it around. So wind can deliver only some fraction of what solar can.
SHARKS (CROSSED OUT) MONGEESE (SIC) WITH FRICKIN LASER BEAMS ATTACHED TO THEIR HEADS

Iain

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #215 on: September 23, 2020, 12:27:41 PM »
I’m not nearly as pessimistic as some on this thread, also the EROI is a distaction.

Remember how consumption works:

I work in my speciality and get paid paper tokens.
I user the paper tokens to buy other people’s work in their speciality – mining minerals, growing food, making toasters, cars, whatever, providing services.

I pay for the work, not the physical item, as all manufactured items are products of work.

If I have to pay for two hours digging to get the mineral out instead of one hour then I can afford only half, so I’ll just have to get by on less.

Note the amount of work in the economy stays the same, but less mineral gets produced. In other words it’s more expensive.

No problem, no collapse, no end of the world. We can all get by on less.

The floodgates are open on renewable energy, because it is CHEAPER than FF. So I need to work less to buy the same amount of energy, so it is my source of choice.
"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 #216 on: September 23, 2020, 12:46:21 PM »
But on the other side we need a sort of cap on the consumption of the top 10%...which is complex.


Well there is a tax system where higher incomes pay a greater %, but parties planning to increase taxes on higher earners don't get elected.

As upthread, it starts and ends with the people, who in the 1st world are unwilling to take urgent action:
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-54208995

So need to know the consequences of their actions, hence:

Labelling on most things for sale <and advertised> with energy required and an environmental impact score, so they can choose.

More Sir David A explainers - it had an affect on attitudes to single use plastic, his "Extinction - The Facts" recently explained the connection between consumption and habitat loss.

"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 #217 on: September 23, 2020, 12:48:57 PM »
@Kassy

Not a big deal, but my post count keeps getting stuck.

I'm sure it's not a conspiracy or anything.....

Iain
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Bruce Steele

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #218 on: September 23, 2020, 01:23:05 PM »
I am willing to spend what money ,time and effort I have to try and prove battery / electrics can produce more food calories than the fossil fuel calories it took to manufacture these tools. When more manufacturing and heavy transport are converted to solar / electrics my job will get easier ! 
Whatever I do is pretty useless unless others begin to try similar efforts. Maybe there is value in me quantifying my results, not because I expect anyone to follow in my footsteps but just to spark someone else’s imagination. Farming with solar electrics is very much infant in development.
 I remain skeptical not for want of trying. I have managed to maintain self employment at fishing and farming my entire life. The odds have never been in my favor. Converting marginally viable food production methods of small farming or fishing into ones powered by renewables is incredibly difficult partly due to the truly impossible task of buying new tools with primary production that simply doesn’t pay. Most everyone alive reading this is dependent on a food system that is in deep trouble. Partly that is because food and commodity prices are so low. So part of making this work will be people willing to spend more of their disposable income on food. Tools and machinery that is already paid for and should last several decades will need to be replaced by people and businesses only marginally profitable.
 I got complimented today by somebody who only knows me from watching my farming efforts as he went about his business over the last twenty years. He said “ thanks for trying to farm “ . My neighbors also compliment my labors because they can see me working seven days a week for decades. I have never been able to explain why I have solar, batteries, and do so much labor with so few tools to assist me.
Nobody ever says they would like to do something similar. No they like the idea of freedom, the space,and less craziness of city life, they like the animals. But nobody ever says I too would like to be self sufficient and feed myself. Nobody seems to understand why I am pursuing electrics.
 My brain just can’t get around the idea that we can have the life we have been living and we can do it all with some other power source. So I try to construct from the bottom up a new way to farm to prove something to myself. I really believe you gotta walk before you can run .
 I have to admit the public’s attitude about local food has really changed over the last 9 months. I imagine feeding yourself will gain adherents if times get harder still.
 My apologies to Oren , Etienne, and  Steve if I just sound hardheaded. I should be able to get my head around why EROEI doesn’t work but my brain fails me. Sometimes though hardheadedness and a solitary pursuit of something as simple as a renewable food system is all one man can juggle and not go nuts.
 


 

SteveMDFP

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #219 on: September 23, 2020, 05:55:38 PM »
My apologies to Oren , Etienne, and  Steve if I just sound hardheaded. I should be able to get my head around why EROEI doesn’t work but my brain fails me. Sometimes though hardheadedness and a solitary pursuit of something as simple as a renewable food system is all one man can juggle and not go nuts.

No need to apologize.  It seems to me that you're struggling with one special case of a general problem.  That is, while living in a fossil-fuel dominated society, how can one bring one's carbon footprint to zero or negative?

Generally speaking, doing so is either flatly impossible or requiring of herculean efforts.  The challenge before us is a  *collective* challenge, of the sort that cannot truly be met by us as individuals.  Individual efforts help a bit at the margins.

With the right public policies, you'd be able to use diesel equipment, fueled by bio diesel, available at the filling station.  It would likely be more expensive to produce, but society could subsidize its use for agriculture and other industries where alternatives are not practical.  Price for uses where electrification is feasible would remain cost-prohibitive.  Industrial-scale production should be sufficiently economical that the subsidies would not break any national banks.

Judicious application of specific taxes and subsidies could vastly accelerate the transition to renewable energy.  We just need the collective political will.  Political will around the world is increasing, but so is the undermining of that will by corporate interests.  The struggle is on! 

nanning

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #220 on: September 24, 2020, 07:07:12 AM »
<snap>
With the right public policies, you'd be able to use diesel equipment, fueled by bio diesel, available at the filling station.

But that would mean that those FF machines (& infrastructure & industry) will still be in use and in demand. To be able to continue working the way you know, with government support, will be very attractive and a brake on the transition.

"bio diesel" doesn't come from a factory, it comes from farming. As a replacement for diesel in agri machines, you'll need a whole lot of farm land to create this "bio diesel", many transport Km (by electrical trucks? or bio-diesel trucks?) and factories for conversion etc. Do the machines that work the 'bio diesel' fields also run on bio diesel?

That humongous extra acreage of fertile land, set aside for bio diesel, could've grown food for us. All the transport etc. will most likely include much FF use.
AGW will considerably decrease the amount and quality of harvests around the world.

Burning dio biesel emits GHG. We can do without that.
"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?

KiwiGriff

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #221 on: September 24, 2020, 07:55:59 AM »
 
Quote
Nobody seems to understand why I am pursuing...

Bruce Steele
I understand what you are doing and respect you immensely  for the effort.
Your efforts do not translate directly into my world here in NZ. We  already have a  85% renewable  power grid here. I grow 100%  grass feed beef to offset my local government costs and am aware of the fossil fuel inputs in the fertilizer I use. I am also aware  of what carbon emissions my life style produces and make an effort to offset that with the woodlands I have protected and spent considerable time and effort to encourage.
Do not think you are alone . Many here are making an effort towards a carbon neutral lifestyle and  lead by their example to the local community.
You offer an example many here follow with interest and admiration. 
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.

nanning

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #222 on: September 24, 2020, 12:32:13 PM »
Electric cars won't solve our pollution problems
– Britain needs a total transport rethink
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/sep/23/electric-cars-transport-train-companies
  by George Monbiot


All vehicles create carbon emissions and cause congestion. The coronavirus crisis should help us break our dependence on them

 article text without HS2:
If the government has a vision for transport, it appears to be plug and play. We’ll keep our existing transport system, but change the kinds of vehicles and train companies that use it. But when you have a system in which structural failure is embedded, nothing short of structural change will significantly improve it.

A switch to electric cars will reduce pollution. It won’t eliminate it, as a high proportion of the microscopic particles thrown into the air by cars, which are highly damaging to our health, arise from tyres grating on the surface of the road. Tyre wear is also by far the biggest source of microplastics pouring into our rivers and the sea. And when tyres, regardless of the engine that moves them, come to the end of their lives, we still have no means of properly recycling them.

Cars are an environmental hazard long before they leave the showroom. One estimate suggests that the carbon emissions produced in building each one equate to driving it for 150,000km. The rise in electric vehicle sales has created a rush for minerals such as lithium and copper, with devastating impacts on beautiful places. If the aim is greatly to reduce the number of vehicles on the road, and replace those that remain with battery-operated models, then they will be part of the solution. But if, as a forecast by the National Grid proposes, the current fleet is replaced by 35m electric cars, we’ll simply create another environmental disaster.

Switching power sources does nothing to address the vast amount of space the car demands, which could otherwise be used for greens, parks, playgrounds and homes. It doesn’t stop cars from carving up community and turning streets into thoroughfares and outdoor life into a mortal hazard. Electric vehicles don’t solve congestion, or the extreme lack of physical activity that contributes to our poor health.

So far, the government seems to have no interest in systemic change. It still plans to spend £27bn on building even more roads, presumably to accommodate all those new electric cars. An analysis by Transport for Quality of Life suggests that this road-building will cancel out 80% of the carbon savings from a switch to electric over the next 12 years. But everywhere, even in the government’s feted garden villages and garden towns, new developments are being built around the car.

If one thing changes permanently as a result of the pandemic, it is likely to be travel. Many people will never return to the office. The great potential of remote technologies, so long untapped, is at last being realised. Having experienced quieter cities with cleaner air, few people wish to return to the filthy past.

Like several of the world’s major cities, our capital is being remodelled in response. The London mayor – recognising that, while fewer passengers can use public transport, a switch to cars would cause gridlock and lethal pollution – has set aside road space for cycling and walking. Greater Manchester hopes to build 1,800 miles of protected pedestrian and bicycle routes.

Cycling to work is described by some doctors as “the miracle pill”, massively reducing the chances of early death: if you want to save the NHS, get on your bike. But support from central government is weak and contradictory, and involves a fraction of the money it is spending on new roads. The major impediment to a cycling revolution is the danger of being hit by a car.

Even a switch to bicycles (including electric bikes and scooters) is only part of the answer. Fundamentally, this is not a vehicle problem but an urban design problem. Or rather, it is an urban design problem created by our favoured vehicle. Cars have made everything bigger and further away. Paris, under its mayor Anne Hidalgo, is seeking to reverse this trend, by creating a “15-minute city”, in which districts that have been treated by transport planners as mere portals to somewhere else become self-sufficient communities – each with their own shops, parks, schools and workplaces, within a 15-minute walk of everyone’s home.

This, I believe, is the radical shift that all towns and cities need. It would transform our sense of belonging, our community life, our health and our prospects of local employment, while greatly reducing pollution, noise and danger. Transport has always been about much more than transport. The way we travel helps to determine the way we live. And at the moment, locked in our metal boxes, we do not live well.
"It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly" - Bertrand Russell
"It is preoccupation with what other people from your groups think of you, that prevents you from living freely and nobly" - Nanning
Why do you keep accumulating stuff?

etienne

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #223 on: September 24, 2020, 06:49:08 PM »
To come back to the EROEI of tool production, two important points have to be considered. The first one is that tools and machines used to require much less metal than they do now. A train built in 1900 was mainly made of wood, a car or a pickup truck built before WWII was not only much lighter, but also contained much less embedded energy. So the energy used to build a modern tool might have nothing to do with the energy required to produce such a tool.

The second point I want to say is that when steel was produced for a scythe in 1700, the energy came mainly from wood, and it was so until humanity learned to produce coke in order to feed the steel production system. So the question was not if the scythe could produce enough food kWh to cover its production kWh, but if it was a useful way to use steel which was in very limited supply. EROEI only makes sense when we talk about energy production in the context of an industrialized world were food is not energy, but a commodity, and were energy is in oversupply. We talk about it now because we feel that we should limit our energy consumption, not because we have to. If we think back at a traditional farming context, energy was limited and the question was not yet if some uses made sense, but if they were possible. Maybe the scythe didn't produce as much energy as it was required to produce it, but the ax did it and it kept in balance the energy system.

added :
So, I find Bruce's question very good, but wouldn't use the EROEI to try to find an answer, but rather check how much energy is required to produce food and check if, in a renewable world, we can get as much energy for our food production. The question could also be how much energy we need to save in order to be fully renewable and able to produce the food we need.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2020, 07:03:34 PM by etienne »

etienne

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #224 on: September 24, 2020, 07:32:55 PM »
When I think about it, EROEI should only be used to evaluate how a process changes over time. Did the EROEI of solar panels, oil production... increased or decreased ? What does it means for us?

If for example even if the EROEI of coal mining is 4500% (guess) and the one of producing electricity with coal is 30%, it still is the second that makes coal mining interesting. When comparing different systems, only the EROI can really be used.

The EROEI of the global process can also be considered, but coal mining with electricity production would be around 45*0.3 or 1500%, which is getting closer to renewable, but renewable require way less financial investments and way less maintenance, so it is the increased EROI of the renewable that makes the energy transition possible.

ralfy

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #225 on: September 25, 2020, 03:11:52 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.

The claim that EROI is irrelevant and that solar does not involve diminishing returns is preposterous unless you can claim that industrial civilization can operate without surplus energy and that the latter does not at all involve minerals or even oil throughout. As for waste heat, I explained that twice in earlier messages: you need to look at whole energy for the global economy.

The only thing I've asked from you is to show that energy returns shared so far are outdated, but the only evidence you have shown are that prices are lower and that ideal conditions or payback time show higher returns, both of which I have questioned readily.

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #226 on: September 25, 2020, 03:23:35 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.

The "movement" was based on a late 1950s paper by Hubbert which predicted using a logistics curve that U.S. conventional oil production would peak in 1970, and that's exactly what happened. In 1976, Hubbert argued that the 1995 peak for world oil production was moved by around a decade, and that it would peak after 2005. In 2010, the IEA confirmed after a global survey of oil fields that world oil production did start peaking in 2006.

That same "movement" now includes the EIA, which argues that shale production which has made up for problems with conventional production will peak soon, and organizations ranging from the U.S. and German military forces to Lloyds of London and multinational banks like HSBC and even oil companies releasing reports advising personnel and clients to prepare for peak oil, if not a resource crunch in general. Not surprisingly, several of them have also been issuing reports concerning climate change.

Your next paragraph is a contradiction: the point that a barrel of oil isn't going to turn itself into something useful IS the whole point behind energy return and net energy.

As for your last point, when oil prices shot up, demand went up as well, and they went down as demand went down. One more thing to consider: when they went down a decade ago, so did many other commodities in minerals and food products, and then went up slowly.

Finally, one of the reasons why investors funded not just unconventional oil production but also renewable energy was high oil prices.

ralfy

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #227 on: September 25, 2020, 03:34:55 AM »

Oren, the issue of heat is more complex than simply waste. The largest part of my energy bill, and by a very large margin, goes into heating. Living at 60N is somewhat extreme, but the situation is similar in significant areas of the world such as Europe north of the Alps, large parts of North America and Asia and many mountainous regions. This is even more pronounced when taking into account also the energy used for heating hot water.

It's very easy to make heat by burning something. Lot more difficult by fully electric renewable energy.  It's not deal breaker for RE but a cost and capacity issue nevertheless.

Renewable energy involves components made available through mining, manufacturing, and shipping in supply chains that cut across many countries, dozens of companies, and tens of thousands of km. The same goes for the components needed for road networks, electric grids, ports, and many other necessities for the supply chains themselves plus the infrastructure needed to distribute energy plus the goods and services that will use that energy, from houses to appliances to electric vehicles to smart devices to high-paying white-collar jobs to even the means to access this forum and participate in it.

Most of the world population earn less than $10 daily, and they will with a lack of one or more basic needs, never mind the middle class conveniences that I just mentioned in the previous paragraph. But their earnings have been going up (from a fraction of that three decades earlier), and they want the conveniencesthat the 25 pct of the world population has. That 25 pct also want them to have such because their own income and returns on investment are dependent on increasing sales of goods and services to expanding consumer markets.

How much energy will be needed to meet the basic needs of that world population, and how much more to meet middle class conveniences that the present middle class has and wants to sell with the rest because that's the only way they can pay for the same?

Contrary to completely unscientific claims that renewable energy does not involve diminishing returns, they and many other things that involve manufactured goods and components do because all those goods and services involve oil and minerals that are limited by gravity and the physical nature of the biosphere. How much more energy will be needed to halt that, if not reverse it?


ralfy

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #228 on: September 25, 2020, 03:53:03 AM »
oren, are you of the opinion that the energy transition problem has to be solved for all humans and not just for the rich parts?
I presume you do :).

I find it very morally refreshing and most welcome that ralfy takes all humans into account and shines a light on the 'forgotten' majority of the world population. And in that process finds many drawbacks of the kind of energy transition that is advertised in this and the renewable energy threads.
A bit like popping a rich consumers 'dream'. A very low morality dream of people who already have everything and don't want to share, they just want more nice and shiny 'stuff'.
I would leave this forum if it remains a rich consumers' dominated/biased discussion. It stinks.

The law of diminishing returns does very much apply to this discussion imo. Thanks ralfy for not dreaming.

Re: science
Not everything has to be solved using academic science. We need to open our hearts and include the people that have been colonised & exploited for centuries. It's about time. Beds are burning.


Low hanging fruit in the energy transition and mitigation is: Stop giving trillions of euro's of money from tax payers to FF industry.
We haven't even set the very first step for a global solution. We let the profit maximising commerce handle our future. They have no hearts to open. Please do not listen to them and please ignore their marketing talk.

Thank you for your concern. I would like to add that, if any, not thinking about the poor actually works against capitalism itself. It works this way:

The 25 pct who are part of the global middle class pay for conveniences (including Internet access, leisurely travel, smart gadgets, and more) using income generally based on high-paying white-collar jobs based on specialized knowledge and training achieved through higher education plus returns on investments in stocks, mutual funds, and other financial instruments, and more. Ultimately, that income and ROIs are gained by companies (from which they directly and indirectly earn, which they directly or indirectly invest in, etc.) selling increasing levels of goods and services given competition. And when markets are saturated, they sell to expanding consumer markets, which explains why many products that were once sold in OECD countries now have larger sales in developing countries. That also explains why even businesses in the latter have been competing and selling their own.

The reason why this is taking place is because in capitalism workers are also consumers. If you pay your workers poorly and make them work harder, you may get higher production and potentially a larger profit margin (which makes you very rich) but you can't get the latter unless what's produced is sold. And the buyers are ultimately the same workers, which means if you don't want to share, then you don't get more yourself.

I recall a similar issue in one uni class, where a student argued that she did not have to bother about the poor not having such conveniences or even sales of goods ranging from smart phones to passenger vehicles because she intends to become a doctor for paying patients, and become financially well-off from such.

I explained that likely many of these patients are in the business of selling smart phones and passenger vehicles, and if they don't sell enough, then they don't earn enough, and if they don't earn enough, then they won't have enough to pay her. One more irony is that one reason for being financially well-off is to be able to buy smart phones and passenger vehicles.

But there's one more ironic twist about all this: the capitalist has to provide enough compensation to workers but not too much such that his profit margins drop. In order to do that, then has to find ways to make production more efficient, so that with the same labor cost he can produce and sell more. That's where ideas mentioned earlier about overproduction and overconsumption come in: in such an economy, more has to be produced than what is necessary because of competition, and consumers have to be encouraged to consume more per capita to extend business cycles.

This was hinted at earlier with the jevons paradox, which implies that in competitive capitalism increasing efficiency leads to increasing consumption. Otherwise, there's little point in investing in efficiency, as investors want higher returns.

And the same renewable energy transition and consumption will take place in such a global economy.

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #229 on: September 25, 2020, 03:59:56 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.

+1

Oren is arguing against a gish gallop of weakly-related arguments and bad reasoning.

Let's make it simple.  We need lots more energy to lift the poor out of poverty?  The quickest, cleanest, fastest way to create a gigawatt-hour of energy is with utility-scale solar.  Let's go with that.

"Lots more energy" IS the point of higher energy return and net energy.

Photovoltaics require mining, manufacturing, and shipping, all of which are dependent on minerals and fossil fuels that require high energy returns because of diminishing returns, i.e., gravity and physical limitations lead to more energy needed to extract less oil and minerals from the ground each time. That has a direct effect on energy returns because what's extracted is needed to create, store, or distribute energy.

In fact, most manufactured goods and even processed food plus many services require the same.

Next, the goal is not simply to lift people out of poverty but even to make them richer. That's because the global economy on which the transition is to be made is capitalist, which means it is driven by increasing production which requires increasing cheap energy from which increasing profits are made thanks to increasing consumption of what is produced, after which the same profits are churned back into the system to increase production further.

And then there's ecological damage brought about by all that. More energy will be needed as well to minimize if not reverse that.


ralfy

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #230 on: September 25, 2020, 04:08:52 AM »
I used EROEI in trying to calculate how much energy was used to create electric gardening tools and the solar / battery necessary to power them verses how many food calories could be produced with those tools before they wear out and need replacing. And since I am lazy all I learned is it takes a lot of food calories to equal even the small amount of power needed to manufacture batteries, metal, and solar cells for one small electric tiller.  Several seasons of food calories worth so you need your equipment to last several seasons more to come out ahead. I think doing the same calculations for calorie payback of large items like tractors would result in manufacturing energy that never gets repaid in food calories. That is the 10 calories of fossil fuel energy used to manufacture and operate equipment never yields 10 calories of food.
 Maybe I am wrong but if we are going to live without fossil fuels we have to figure out how to feed ourselves with equipment that was manufactured with solar, wind, hydro energy. So we aren’t worried about this problem enough to even calculate the numbers let alone design a way out of it.
 But we are star struck by Tesla making cars with fossil fuel energy just because they use less energy than a car that runs and is manufactured with fossil fuel. Because we are addicted to driving around in big metal boxes we rationalize using less energy as good enough and we believe that the manufacturing can someday also be converted to solar/ wind sources. Maybe so maybe not but I would like someone with some solid numbers, or something like the science Oren expects out of Ralfy to spell it out for me.
 Maybe I am a simpleton but if the energy it takes to smelt shovel and hoe blades never repays itself with food calories then nothing else is going to ever pay back. Again maybe I am a simpleton but if we can’t prove a very simple food system ever repays it’s energy debt then how do we think we can rationalize Tesla sized fossil fuel manufacturing that never produces any calorie returns at all. 
 We got here because some farmer figured out how to grow more calories than he needed and civilizations were developed on the excess. Now run that calculation back to where those first farmers succeeded. Slaves and beasts of burden were our power sources. The smelting of metal allowed plows to improve but the energy in extra food calories produced still was net positive I suppose. Somewhere when we went steam and coal the numbers went upside down and building bigger and bigger machines with more and more fossil fuel energy has resulted in more and more food but a very upside down EROEI. 
 To deconstruct we would start over but instead we are trying to repower the monster. If the top ten percent had to grow their own food without using any fossil fuel , slaves or beasts of burden our problem would be much smaller and it would only last a decade or two till they all died of starvation.
But we prefer the war machine that civilization created with more borrowed energy. And we will die together.

Simon Michaux (and others) have given talks about what to expect. An example is found here:



The gist is that current ave. ecological footprint is already in excess of biocapacity for the current population:

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

but per capita people need that ave. footprint to maintain basic needs.

The economy in which they depend requires ever-increasing footprint.

The population will continue rising, which means biocapacity per capita will decrease further. According to one paper shared in another thread, the only way to make that population peak prematurely is rapid industrialization, which means increasing ave. ecological footprint even more.

Environmental damage and climate change will continue, with some scientists arguing that we passed the tipping point decades ago, which means resource availability will be curtailed, and is similar to lower biocapacity. That means biocapacity per capita will drop even more.

In short, it's like diminishing returns but on a larger scale: increasing energy and resource demand per capita vs. declining biocapacity per capita. What will a global renewable energy transition and consumption look like given such? What will likely happen is that various groups will use every available means of generating energy just to meet footprint while the effects of a resource crunch and ecological disaster will take their toll.

ralfy

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #231 on: September 25, 2020, 04:17:56 AM »
  Several seasons of food calories worth so you need your equipment to last several seasons more to come out ahead. I think doing the same calculations for calorie payback of large items like tractors would result in manufacturing energy that never gets repaid in food calories. That is the 10 calories of fossil fuel energy used to manufacture and operate equipment never yields 10 calories of food.

There's nothing wrong or unsustainable about using 1000 calories of energy to produce 10 calories of food -- unless your energy form is human muscle power.  Then you've got an immediately unsustainable system.

For using solar/wind/hydro energy of 1000 calories per 10 calories of food, the question is simply that of the cost of the renewable energy calories versus the value of the food calories.

Then the sustainability question comes down the level of environmental damage per 10 calories of food.  If the environmental damage is negligible and the price economics work, then it's a go.

The amount of environmental damage can be brought into the price calculations with an appropriate level of carbon tax.  A more generic environmental impact tax could be applied to the renewables as well.

This is why looking at EROEI is a poor way to analyze these questions.  Price calculations give far easier and more actionable answers.

What you just explained IS the reason why EROI is important, especially given the point that price economics is based on what allows for maximization of profit and not what's less harmful to the environment, and that the revenues from taxes are reinvested like all forms of credit into the same global economy.

If any, what you are implicitly calling for isn't price economics but ecological economics, which ironically is the field of Charles Hall, Cutler Cleveland, and others who I have been mentioning in my posts!

ralfy

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #232 on: September 25, 2020, 04:27:54 AM »
Year zero.

Wanting to rewire the worlds economic paradigm  may seem the only way .
You are not going to take bubbas massive truck with out force.
Billions must die in conflict for that to happen.
 https://ourworldindata.org/per-capita-co2
USA Canada Australia Russia  and Saudia Arabia all over consume.
Hence why some of us look towards what is possible within our present system without the inevitable consequence of death and destruction of any other way.
If that fails we will see the death and destruction as the old way reacts to the loss of privilege.

That's right, and it's not just Bubba's massive truck but also promises made to Bubba that he will soon have a pretty, massive electric-driven truck powered by clean and green energy produced using components from minerals and fossil fuels, until scaling is so terrific that fossil fuels will no longer be needed and that surplus energy will even allow for extraction of minerals outside earth.

At some point, more will have to realize that the very systems (i.e., maximization of profit for business owners, increasing income for employees, and increasing EROIs for investors) needed for renewable energy transition and consumption will require more energy that renewables can provide.


ralfy

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #233 on: September 25, 2020, 04:32:27 AM »
I’m not nearly as pessimistic as some on this thread, also the EROI is a distaction.

Remember how consumption works:

I work in my speciality and get paid paper tokens.
I user the paper tokens to buy other people’s work in their speciality – mining minerals, growing food, making toasters, cars, whatever, providing services.

I pay for the work, not the physical item, as all manufactured items are products of work.

If I have to pay for two hours digging to get the mineral out instead of one hour then I can afford only half, so I’ll just have to get by on less.

Note the amount of work in the economy stays the same, but less mineral gets produced. In other words it’s more expensive.

No problem, no collapse, no end of the world. We can all get by on less.

The floodgates are open on renewable energy, because it is CHEAPER than FF. So I need to work less to buy the same amount of energy, so it is my source of choice.

If any, energy return (and net energy) is not a distraction but the linch pin on which everything depends for such a transition and consumption.

That's because most people don't want to get by on less because they already have less: 71 pct of the world's population live on less than $10 a day. What most want is more.

ralfy

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #234 on: September 25, 2020, 04:37:27 AM »

No need to apologize.  It seems to me that you're struggling with one special case of a general problem.  That is, while living in a fossil-fuel dominated society, how can one bring one's carbon footprint to zero or negative?

Generally speaking, doing so is either flatly impossible or requiring of herculean efforts.  The challenge before us is a  *collective* challenge, of the sort that cannot truly be met by us as individuals.  Individual efforts help a bit at the margins.

With the right public policies, you'd be able to use diesel equipment, fueled by bio diesel, available at the filling station.  It would likely be more expensive to produce, but society could subsidize its use for agriculture and other industries where alternatives are not practical.  Price for uses where electrification is feasible would remain cost-prohibitive.  Industrial-scale production should be sufficiently economical that the subsidies would not break any national banks.

Judicious application of specific taxes and subsidies could vastly accelerate the transition to renewable energy.  We just need the collective political will.  Political will around the world is increasing, but so is the undermining of that will by corporate interests.  The struggle is on!

The claim that EROI "doesn't work" is completely illogical, and can be seen in the reference, for example, to bio diesel, which has among the lowest energy returns.

Perhaps one can see that and every point I've raised so far in light of this video I shared a long time ago in another thread:



ralfy

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #235 on: September 25, 2020, 04:42:20 AM »
To come back to the EROEI of tool production, two important points have to be considered. The first one is that tools and machines used to require much less metal than they do now. A train built in 1900 was mainly made of wood, a car or a pickup truck built before WWII was not only much lighter, but also contained much less embedded energy. So the energy used to build a modern tool might have nothing to do with the energy required to produce such a tool.

The second point I want to say is that when steel was produced for a scythe in 1700, the energy came mainly from wood, and it was so until humanity learned to produce coke in order to feed the steel production system. So the question was not if the scythe could produce enough food kWh to cover its production kWh, but if it was a useful way to use steel which was in very limited supply. EROEI only makes sense when we talk about energy production in the context of an industrialized world were food is not energy, but a commodity, and were energy is in oversupply. We talk about it now because we feel that we should limit our energy consumption, not because we have to. If we think back at a traditional farming context, energy was limited and the question was not yet if some uses made sense, but if they were possible. Maybe the scythe didn't produce as much energy as it was required to produce it, but the ax did it and it kept in balance the energy system.

added :
So, I find Bruce's question very good, but wouldn't use the EROEI to try to find an answer, but rather check how much energy is required to produce food and check if, in a renewable world, we can get as much energy for our food production. The question could also be how much energy we need to save in order to be fully renewable and able to produce the food we need.

The catch is that there are a lot more people now, and more want cars, etc. In short, the embedded energy may be lower per unit, but more units are needed.

Another is that most don't have cars because they can't afford it: 71 pct of people worldwide earn less than $10 daily. If any, that's the reason why we have surplus energy. To meet just basic needs of the world population, we will need up to twice the amount of current energy level used today, if not more.

Finally, lots of surplus energy means a high energy return, which means high net energy. That makes the claim that the idea of energy return is a distraction or irrelevant preposterous.

ralfy

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #236 on: September 25, 2020, 04:50:22 AM »
When I think about it, EROEI should only be used to evaluate how a process changes over time. Did the EROEI of solar panels, oil production... increased or decreased ? What does it means for us?

If for example even if the EROEI of coal mining is 4500% (guess) and the one of producing electricity with coal is 30%, it still is the second that makes coal mining interesting. When comparing different systems, only the EROI can really be used.

The EROEI of the global process can also be considered, but coal mining with electricity production would be around 45*0.3 or 1500%, which is getting closer to renewable, but renewable require way less financial investments and way less maintenance, so it is the increased EROI of the renewable that makes the energy transition possible.

The way I see it, if energy return increases, it's because of technology that allows for more efficient ways to produce more using the same energy. But efficiency in capitalist systems does not lead to conservation but the opposite. That's why investors fund technology that leads to more efficiency: it leads to more production, and thus more consumption, which means more profits and thus higher returns for the same investors.

But in the long term, diminishing returns set in: more energy is required to extract fewer minerals and even of lower quality, or to extract oil that is deeper or that requires more refining because of lower quality. That has a direct impact on energy return.

Meanwhile, investors are depending on the opposite, because they want ever-better returns on their investments. The same goes for businesses that can guarantee that by increasing profits, by workers who have to be more productive in return for higher income, and by governments elected to power because they can guarantee continuous economic growth through policies which encourage more economic activity while trying to show the same constituents that they can do it in a sustainable manner.


oren

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #237 on: September 25, 2020, 05:02:46 AM »
Sorry, I give up.

Iain

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #238 on: September 25, 2020, 12:09:51 PM »
Last try

The EROI “problem” is non-existent for renewables, there is ample surplus energy available from Solar, Wind and other renewables.

There are no diminishing returns, there is expansion in RE. It’s self-replicating, as a new source of energy, one RE device pays back and then produces enough to build another in 1 year, so energy production capacity can double every year without the need for FFs.
7 years 1 to 100 times original.

Scotland got to net 100% electricity mostly with wind in just over a decade without trying too hard. Still more planned to cover transport, heating etc.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2020, 01:36:41 PM by Iain »
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SteveMDFP

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #239 on: September 25, 2020, 12:46:53 PM »
Last try

The EROI “problem” is non-existent for renewables, there is ample surplus energy available from Solar, Wind and other renewables.

There are no diminishing returns, there is expansion in RE. It’s self-replicating, as a new source of energy, one RE device pays back and then produces enough to build another in 1 year, so energy production capacity can double every year without the need for FFs.
7 years 0 to 100%

Scotland got to net 100% electricity mostly with wind in just over a decade without trying too hard. Still more planned to cover transport, heating etc.

+1
Nice summation.

Bruce Steele

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #240 on: September 25, 2020, 04:55:14 PM »
Iain, So a solar panel repays all energy used in production in 6 months ?
Source please.
I assume inverters , mounting , and wiring are extra .
Also if the energy it produces is not used to produce another panel but manufacture is still dependent upon the grid then this argument seems specious.
It would be nice to see renewables created with renewable energy in the real world rather than claims to what is possible. Even small choices like whether the aluminum used was sourced  from a producer who used hydro power to smelt aluminum would make a difference.
I know some producers are claiming they will be using 100% renewable power for manufacture in the future. Which producers are planning to go 100% and what percent of world production do they represent ?

etienne

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #241 on: September 25, 2020, 06:29:53 PM »
There is a very efficient green washing of electricity going on, at least in Europe. You can have a 100% renewable contract, be delivered with Nuclear or Coal power, and your supplier just has to buy certificate to fulfill the requirements. It is even possible to get a contract 100% solar, the certificates used being based on summer production, even if your contract is for the whole year.

There is another issue, but I'm not sure of the details. I believe that certificates regarding renewable energy are based on theoretical production, not the real one, so if your PV production breaks down because an inverter has a problem, you still can sale the certificate. I think that you can even use the electricity yourself (self consumption) and still sale the certificates.

Ken Feldman

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #242 on: September 26, 2020, 01:09:51 AM »
The linked reference published in 2020 indicates that the Energy Return on Investment for wind and solar is higher than often claimed by skeptics, currently greater than 10 and increasing as the technology improves.

https://greenreview.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/M_Diesendorf-T_Wiedmann-UNSW-Ecolec_PublishedOnline.pdf

Quote
Implications of Trends in Energy Return on Energy Invested (EROI) forTransitioning to Renewable Electricity
M. Diesendorf, T. Wiedmann

ABSTRACT
Recent papers argue that the energy return on energy invested (EROI) for renewable electricity technologies and systems may be so low that the transition from fossil fuelled to renewable electricity may displace investment in other important economic sectors. For the case of large-scale electricity supply, we draw upon insights from Net Energy Analysis and renewable energy engineering to examine critically some assumptions, data and arguments in these papers, focussing on regions in which wind and solar can provide the majority of electricity. We show that the above claim is based on outdated data on EROIs, on failing to consider the energy efficiency advantages of transitioning away from fuel combustion and on overestimates of storage requirements. EROIs of wind and solar photovoltaics, which can provide the vast majority of electricity and indeed of all energy in the future, are generally high (≥10) and increasing. The impact of storage on EROI depends on the quantities and types of storage adopted and their operational strategies. In the regions considered in this paper, the quantity of storage required to maintain generation reliability is relatively small

Ken Feldman

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #243 on: September 26, 2020, 01:17:09 AM »
The linked study shows that California could achieve a 10% increase in EORI by phasing out nuclear and gas turbine generation by 2030.  This would allow the state to achieve 80% renewable electricity with battery storage, 52% of which would be solar pv.

https://www.mdpi.com/1996-1073/13/15/3934

Quote
Life-Cycle Carbon Emissions and Energy Return on Investment for 80% Domestic Renewable Electricity with Battery Storage in California (U.S.A.)
by Marco Raugei, Alessio Peluso, Enrica Leccisi and Vasilis Fthenakis

Energies 2020, 13(15), 3934; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13153934
Received: 29 June 2020 / Revised: 17 July 2020 / Accepted: 19 July 2020 / Published: 1 August 2020

Abstract
This paper presents a detailed life-cycle assessment of the greenhouse gas emissions, cumulative demand for total and non-renewable primary energy, and energy return on investment (EROI) for the domestic electricity grid mix in the U.S. state of California, using hourly historical data for 2018, and future projections of increased solar photovoltaic (PV) installed capacity with lithium-ion battery energy storage, so as to achieve 80% net renewable electricity generation in 2030, while ensuring the hourly matching of the supply and demand profiles at all times. Specifically—in line with California’s plans that aim to increase the renewable energy share into the electric grid—in this study, PV installed capacity is assumed to reach 43.7 GW in 2030, resulting of 52% of the 2030 domestic electricity generation. In the modelled 2030 scenario, single-cycle gas turbines and nuclear plants are completely phased out, while combined-cycle gas turbine output is reduced by 30% compared to 2018. Results indicate that 25% of renewable electricity ends up being routed into storage, while 2.8% is curtailed. Results also show that such energy transition strategy would be effective at curbing California’s domestic electricity grid mix carbon emissions by 50%, and reducing demand for non-renewable primary energy by 66%, while also achieving a 10% increase in overall EROI (in terms of electricity output per unit of investment).

Iain

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #244 on: September 26, 2020, 11:14:34 AM »
Bruce

Sources quoted upthread in #176
https://www.carboncommentary.com/blog/2016/12/8/musqo7036dslptm1b8efduj6i3e7ms
https://www.newscientist.com/lastword/mg24332461-400-what-is-the-carbon-payback-period-for-a-wind-turbine/

Wind 6 to 9 months, Solar 17 months including modules and inverters, installation and mounting structures. Both are improving as we go.

If not used to make another panel the energy displaces that produced from FFs, known as a reduction of the intensity in kg CO2 / kWh

Can't speak for RoW but Scotland was at net 90% for electricity at the end of 2019, and we're not stopping there. Source again:
https://www.scottishrenewables.com/our-industry/statistics

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Iain

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #245 on: September 26, 2020, 11:30:50 AM »
There is a very efficient green washing of electricity going on, at least in Europe.

Are you thinking of ROCs - renewable obligation certs? - a kind of carbon trading. Part of the transition  but diminishing as intensity reduces.

In the UK there were generous Feed In Tarriffs in the beginning when Solar and wind were new, expensive and risky. Now that the technologies have matured you only get paid (c. 5p/kWH) for exporting to the grid, though you save the 15p / kWh retail price using your own home produced energy.
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etienne

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #246 on: September 26, 2020, 12:37:15 PM »
I think yes, but never had time to look for the details. I have seen weird documents for final customers with solar self consumption.

SteveMDFP

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #247 on: September 26, 2020, 03:58:26 PM »


If not used to make another panel the energy displaces that produced from FFs, known as a reduction of the intensity in kg CO2 / kWh
 /quote]

Indeed.  Seeking to use only  renewable-sourced energy to produce renewables isn't rational.  We face a global problem of using fossil fuels to produce energy.  Transitioning to renewable sourcing for *everything* is the ultimate goal, which requires a transition period.   What source gets used for which demand during the transition period makes no difference at all. 

What does make a difference is how fast we go through the transition.  Using fossil fuels to produce the renewables during the transition period is perfectly fine.  Renewable sources then displace carbon-intensive sources, regardless of the end use of that energy,

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #248 on: September 27, 2020, 04:07:22 AM »
Last try

The EROI “problem” is non-existent for renewables, there is ample surplus energy available from Solar, Wind and other renewables.

There are no diminishing returns, there is expansion in RE. It’s self-replicating, as a new source of energy, one RE device pays back and then produces enough to build another in 1 year, so energy production capacity can double every year without the need for FFs.
7 years 1 to 100 times original.

Scotland got to net 100% electricity mostly with wind in just over a decade without trying too hard. Still more planned to cover transport, heating etc.

It is existent for renewables because the solar panels, charge controllers, batteries, and many other components needed for them use minerals and even petrochemicals from oil. The minerals come from mines where around 70 pct of heavy machinery used require diesel. A substantial chunk of manufacturing (where these minerals are used to make those components) and shipping (esp. container ships to move minerals, work-in-progress, finished components, and finished goods across multiple ports and stored in multiple warehouses involving multiple companies in multiple countries) involve fossil fuels.

Those same minerals are affected by diminishing returns, where in time more energy is needed to get less extracted materials because of gravity and physical limitations. The same thing happens for oil, not to mention water needed to process components.

There is nothing scientifically or even commonsensically sound about the claim that renewables are not affected by diminishing returns or do not require fossil fuels. Even the electric grids, the concrete base needed for solar farms, the road networks and bridges needed to deliver all sorts of materials and goods, and the consumer goods that will use the energy from renewables involve and require the same.

One more point: Scotland in no way represents the characteristics of countries worldwide. What you want to do is select a Third World economy with a large population, where around 70 pct earn less than $10 daily, and where there is a significant lack of basic needs (e.g., up to 40 pct of children from the ages of 0-6 face under- or malnourishment, where up to half of people are unable to finish basic education, where three-quarters work in the informal sector from which there are no long-term benefits, where more than two-thirds have no bank accounts, where up to two-thirds have no access to basic sanitation systems, including toilets, and so on), and from there figure out how much energy is needed to industrialize to (a) meet basic needs, and (b) become like Scotland or even achieve a European style of living.



ralfy

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Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« Reply #249 on: September 27, 2020, 04:19:04 AM »
Last try

The EROI “problem” is non-existent for renewables, there is ample surplus energy available from Solar, Wind and other renewables.

There are no diminishing returns, there is expansion in RE. It’s self-replicating, as a new source of energy, one RE device pays back and then produces enough to build another in 1 year, so energy production capacity can double every year without the need for FFs.
7 years 0 to 100%

Scotland got to net 100% electricity mostly with wind in just over a decade without trying too hard. Still more planned to cover transport, heating etc.

+1
Nice summation.

The surplus energy is from the sun, wind, tides, etc. But to capture, store, convert, use, distribute, and consume that energy minerals and various materials (like petrochemicals) are needed. Those like the rest of the planet (including its biomass) are limited by the physical features of that sphere and further limited by phenomena such as gravity.

That's why U.S. oil production peaked in 1970, why world production per capita peaked in 1979, why conventional production reached an undulating plateau after 2005, and why unconventional production will peak soon: because of gravity and physical limitations, one initially gets high-quality oil with very little energy involved because it's near the surface and there are lots of oil fields to exploit. Decades later, one has to go deeper to get lower-quality oil, and fewer oil fields are discovered.

That's diminishing returns: increasing amounts of energy needed to extract decreasing amounts of material each time. And what applies to oil also applies to minerals. And when that extraction, processing, manufacture, and use take place, there's also more pollution and environmental damage in general, which in turn worsens the effects of diminishing returns. And as benefits are derived from goods made from these materials, then populations start rising and leading to more demand for goods, and eventually leads to prosperity which lowers birth rates but also increases demand for goods per capita.

And when you have a world that does not resemble Scotland but countries that are a lot poorer, then even more energy is needed to get more materials to meet just basic needs, not to mention becoming like Scotland.

Given that, I do not understand how the points that diminishing returns and even fossil fuels have nothing to do with renewable energy, and that a lot of energy is not needed for the human population, make sense.