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Author Topic: Alignment/Conflict between Geopolitics, Energy Security and Climate Mitigation  (Read 7598 times)

rboyd

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1. Renewables are cheaper than 75% of US coal plants which are pretty much all subcritical highly inefficient ones and it wont be until 2025 until renewables are cheaper than all US coal plants (from the reference below):


Subcritical does not equate to highly inefficient.  The gains from much higher pressures are small and the efficiencies overlap. e.g. the most efficient subcritical plant in the US is more efficient than the most efficient ultrasupercritical in the US despite being over 40 years older.

The extent to which pollution is controlled and whether that control is counted as a loss of output (and hence lower efficiency) or not is rather more important to reported efficiencies than the operating pressure is.

I am comparing Chinese plants to US ones. The latest Chinese regulations for coal-fired electricity generation efficiency (i.e. the minimum efficiency level), in full force by 2020, could not be met by the top US plants. So renewables may be cost effective with the bottom 75% of plants in the US, but not with the average plant in China. I accept that not all super critical plants may be more efficient than subcritical ones, there are other variables, but the relative position of US and Chinese fleets is real. China has also been consolidating and automating its coal fields, reducing the marginal cost of coal.

They are fully committed to coal for at least the medium term, and building new coal-fired plants with assumed 40 year economic lives. They may be wrong, but thats the way they are going.

rboyd

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rboyd, have you read Rachel Maddow's latest book already? Seems very relevant to your research.

Rachel used to be quite a good progressive journalist, but in the past few years she has fully swallowed the "Putin Derangement" and "Trump Derangement" syndromes, like much of the, if not all of the, MSM (it seems the gig pays $very$ well). I am no fan of either Putin or Trump, but the level of "making shit up" and outright innuendo driven propaganda is just off the charts. Not even at the height of the Cold War with the USSR did we vilify major foreign leaders like this and label major heads of state meeting together as collusion.

I find Stephen Cohen, a man who has studied Russia for decades to be a reasonable voice that has had the courage to stick to his position in the face of much vilification. We need less hotheads and chicken hawk warrior neocons, and more pragmatist realists (Mearsheimer is good in this respect). A bit of history also comes in very useful.

For light relief I use Jimmy Dore, you have to laugh otherwise your should be crying with the ridiculous level of what passes for intelligent comments on the MSM.

I will read the book, I just hope that it is not full of the kind of made up crap and unsupported innuendo that she fills her show with.

Got to page 43 and couldn't stomach it any more "Khordokovsky (biggest Oligarch) Wonderfully Good" / "Putin Bad", the usual black/white BS. You have a head of state reigning in the robber barons (who stole/embezzled/cheated for much of what they had, including Khordokovsky) who Yeltsin basically worked for, to reassert the state's authority. That's why Khordokovsky was taken down, to rebalance power between the state and these oligarchs who were using the state for their own benefit right through the 1990s. Putin also reasserted the authority of the central state against many regional politicians who were creaming off money for themselves. A modern nation cannot run effectively without a strong state apparatus. Yukos (Khodokovsky's company) was also in talks to sell 40% of itself to Exxon, handed strategic asset to US corporations. This is something that no nation (including the US) would willingly accept.

The writing style is just like her shows unfortunately....constant pissy insults, innuendo and blatantly factually incorrect and slanted. Reminds me of a child rather than someone supposed to be an accomplished journalist.

Putin is not a "good guy" but her characterization of him is a simplistic caricature.


« Last Edit: November 23, 2019, 02:00:02 AM by rboyd »

Richard Rathbone

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1. Renewables are cheaper than 75% of US coal plants which are pretty much all subcritical highly inefficient ones and it wont be until 2025 until renewables are cheaper than all US coal plants (from the reference below):


Subcritical does not equate to highly inefficient.  The gains from much higher pressures are small and the efficiencies overlap. e.g. the most efficient subcritical plant in the US is more efficient than the most efficient ultrasupercritical in the US despite being over 40 years older.

The extent to which pollution is controlled and whether that control is counted as a loss of output (and hence lower efficiency) or not is rather more important to reported efficiencies than the operating pressure is.

I am comparing Chinese plants to US ones. The latest Chinese regulations for coal-fired electricity generation efficiency (i.e. the minimum efficiency level), in full force by 2020, could not be met by the top US plants. So renewables may be cost effective with the bottom 75% of plants in the US, but not with the average plant in China. I accept that not all super critical plants may be more efficient than subcritical ones, there are other variables, but the relative position of US and Chinese fleets is real. China has also been consolidating and automating its coal fields, reducing the marginal cost of coal.

They are fully committed to coal for at least the medium term, and building new coal-fired plants with assumed 40 year economic lives. They may be wrong, but thats the way they are going.

The difference between US and China being down to the technology isn't convincing, because the gap between modern US and modern Chinese is just as big as the gap between ancient US and modern Chinese.

The US and China report different things to different standards, and my reading of the research notes provided on them does not convince me that the estimates based on the US figures are for the same thing as the official Chinese figures they are being compared to.

Modern US ought to be a lot closer to the modern Chinese if its a technology effect. I do not find the size of that gap to be credible for an apples/apples comparison, but it is credible for the US figures being plant efficiencies and the Chinese ones being cycle efficiencies. However I can't read the Chinese standards and I'm not familiar with how the Chinese industry interprets them so its not something I've been able to check.

TerryM

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FWIW
A local who I was acquainted with ~ a decade ago had been the chief engineer responsible for building a very large coal plant in Indonesia. Babcock & Wilcox was his employer, and while awaiting his next assignment he regaled us with tales of past successes and failures.


The Indonesian project was presented as a mixture of success and failure. It apparently ran as designed and burned coal extremely efficiently, lots of kW/tonne. The plant could also run very cleanly, with emissions that were competitive with CH4 fired plants.
The downside was finding storage for the captured CO2, and the inefficiencies that their "clean coal" design required.


According to Matt the plant was run for <1 month in "clean" mode as it was found to lose ~ 1/3 of its efficiency, & the owners were looking for a profitable solution.
If China has developed coal plants that can retain their efficiency while reducing emissions to ~ the level of modern gas fired plants then they're far ahead of where large western engineered plants were as recently as 10 years ago.
 
The giant B&W facility in Indonesia was representative of the most advanced designs available in the west at that time, and it would have to be seen as a very expensive failure.
Apparently the plants China has designed for domestic use, and those that they are building abroad have overcome these deficiencies.
Terry

rboyd

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I am no expert on coal plant efficiency. The average US plant is 39 years old, while the 15 years old which may speak to the relative efficiency. Understood that US and Chinese measures may be using different metrics, it would be good to find some clean, direct comparisons.

Florifulgurator

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For light relief I use Jimmy Dore, you have to laugh otherwise your should be crying with the ridiculous level of what passes for intelligent comments on the MSM.
You find Jimmy's comments intelligent? Serious intelligence requires substance. Dore is bad on the evidentiary side of epistemology. He has long jumped the shark, https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Jimmy_Dore ...now even officially working for Russia Today. Leftist GOP propagandist. (It is now official that the GOP is channeling Putin disinformation.)

Quote
Khordokovsky
Yes. Back then.
Quote
Putin also reasserted the authority of the central state.
Yes. He is the central state now. Good job. Some call it a mafia state.

Anyhow I appreciate your criticism of Maddow's book. I guess you won't get around reading the whole darn thing. :)
« Last Edit: November 27, 2019, 09:31:51 PM by Florifulgurator »
Google image search on my avatar image gives "wood". In fact it is the lower part of David Hilbert's tombstone.

Florifulgurator

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Yukos (Khodokovsky's company) was also in talks to sell 40% of itself to Exxon, handed strategic asset to US corporations.
(My emph.) Meanhile it is stranded assets. That's what the whole world-wide conundrum is about. And meanwhile Exxon almost got a different big deal in Russian assets. My impression is, Putin's whole strategy (economical and geopolitical, e.g. Ukraine) is based on such assets.

--------------
I'd like to think of Exxon as a corporation in itself, not a specifically U.S. corporation. We have to stop thinking of THE U.S. as a heterogeneous predictable entity - as the Kurds had to learn again these days... Just like Putin's Russia isn't Russia herself.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2019, 09:56:27 PM by Florifulgurator »
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vox_mundi

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The U.S. Army Versus a Warming Planet: The Strange Case of the Disappearing Report
https://www.redanalysis.org/2019/11/12/us-army-versus-warming-planet/

In August 2019, the Centre for Climate and Security published an article about a recent publication by the U.S Army War College. The document, entitled “Implications of Climate change for the U.S Army”, however, cannot be found anymore on the “publications” page of the U.S Army War College.

The version posted by the Centre for Climate and Security has neither foreword, nor commissioning letter, nor date of publication. However, according to the CCS, it would have been “commissioned by then-Army Chief of Staff General Mark Milley (who is now the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff)”.

Despite the atypical character of its appearance, this report is quite interesting, in as much as it is written by military staff and researchers, based on a dense corpus of research papers published by civil as well as by national security organizations since 2003, and for the Chief of Staff. A such, it opens a window on a way the U.S military thinks about climate change.

In the very words of its authors,

Quote
“ … , if climate change is occurring and we choose to do nothing, we invite catastrophe, though we cannot know just how bad this payoff would be … Prudent risk management therefore suggests that we should work to avoid the catastrophic outcome and prepare for and mitigate climate change. Based on this argument, this report accepts as a core assumption the reality of climate change and climate-change related global warming, and therefore focuses on what the Army should do to prepare itself”.

Report: https://climateandsecurity.files.wordpress.com/2019/07/implications-of-climate-change-for-us-army_army-war-college_2019.pdf
“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

Insensible before the wave so soon released by callous fate. Affected most, they understand the least, and understanding, when it comes, invariably arrives too late

rboyd

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Yukos (Khodokovsky's company) was also in talks to sell 40% of itself to Exxon, handed strategic asset to US corporations.
I'd like to think of Exxon as a corporation in itself, not a specifically U.S. corporation. We have to stop thinking of THE U.S. as a heterogeneous predictable entity - as the Kurds had to learn again these days... Just like Putin's Russia isn't Russia herself.

The large transnational US corporations are connected at the hip with the US state. There is an excellent book that looks at the social networks of the US state foreign policy community and finds an incredibly tight overlap between US TNCs, think-tanks funded by those TNCs and the US mega-rich, and the policy community. In addition, the major fossil fuel TNCs have coordinated with the US state again and again in foreign policy decsions that affect their profitability.

American Grand Strategy and Corporate Elite Networks: The Open Door since the End of the Cold War

https://www.amazon.com/American-Grand-Strategy-Corporate-Networks-ebook/dp/B0171ZQSTS/ref=sr_1_3?keywords=apeldoorn&qid=1575316191&s=books&sr=1-3

Also, a good paper by the same authors on the Chinese corporate elite and state networks, its in an academic journal so you may not have access:

US--China relations and the liberal world order: contending elites, colliding visions?

And a book they wrote on the EU elite/business linkages

Transnational Capitalism and the Struggle over European Integration

https://www.amazon.com/Transnational-Capitalism-Struggle-Integration-Political-ebook-dp-B000PLXBUA/dp/B000PLXBUA/ref=mt_kindle?_encoding=UTF8&me=&qid=1575316523

The books are expensive, but you can get second hand copies quite cheap (like $9 for the last one). I am an academic, so I can get them from the library (or another university's library). Having no limit on the amount of books I can take out, and access to all the publications for free, is a wonderful gift!




vox_mundi

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Choose Your Own Climate and Energy Policies
https://www.axios.com/choose-your-own-climate-and-energy-adventure-9020127b-727c-451d-bbc9-f340655f599f.html

A new simulator out today empowers readers to choose their own path when it comes to tackling climate change.

https://www.climateinteractive.org/tools/en-roads/

Why it matters: The tool, created by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and think tank Climate Interactive, underscores the grand challenge of employing technologies and policies to tackle climate change.

What’s new: This simulator is the first of its kind designed for politicians and others who care about climate change and energy, but aren’t researchers accustomed to arcane models.

  • From this simulator, which is still quite detailed, we curated an even more simplified interactive (see below) presenting nine questions on everything from carbon dioxide prices to land management.
  • At the end, it shows how your choices affect annual greenhouse gas emissions, global temperature rise and energy costs over the next 80 years.

... The bottom line: The biggest upshot of the simulator shows that cutting emissions needs to be first about reducing the world’s use of fossil fuels, instead of merely ramping up cleaner forms of energy. Global energy demand keeps increasing, so wind and solar are being added on top of fossil fuels in most places around the world.
Quote
... “It takes a long time for clean energy to displace the coal, oil and gas that is being planned. We need policies that more directly keep those fuels in the ground."

— Andrew Jones, co-founder, Climate Interactive
“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

Insensible before the wave so soon released by callous fate. Affected most, they understand the least, and understanding, when it comes, invariably arrives too late

rboyd

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Yukos (Khodokovsky's company) was also in talks to sell 40% of itself to Exxon, handed strategic asset to US corporations.
(My emph.) Meanhile it is stranded assets. That's what the whole world-wide conundrum is about. And meanwhile Exxon almost got a different big deal in Russian assets. My impression is, Putin's whole strategy (economical and geopolitical, e.g. Ukraine) is based on such assets.

During the 1988 to 2000 depression that hit the USSR, and then Russia, the economy lost most of its heavy industry and did not develop the light industry that was so lacking under Soviet rule. Putin took back some state control of the major resource assets upon which the Russian economy is now based (oil, gas, coal, iron ore, nickel) and form the overwhelming majority of the country's exports.

This is the hand that was provided at the turn of this century, and the nation has been unable to move away from it. Add some positives in arms production and nuclear power and thats about it. Russia is trapped in a fossil fuel orientation, and that is why it allies with states such as Saudi Arabia at the UN climate change meetings. Cutting emissions = economic contraction for Russia, which will delegitimize the state, so its not an option. It would also mean reducing the wealth of a lot of powerful people in Russia.

Assets aren't stranded until the world gets real about cutting emissions, in the meantime the fossil fuel elites will try to keep the fossil fuel game that enriches them going for as long as possible, thinking that they can get off before the others do.