Arctic Sea Ice : Forum

AGW in general => Policy and solutions => Topic started by: Jim Hunt on September 03, 2020, 08:51:23 AM

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

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

https://youtu.be/LEm42vKl4Ro

At around 1:40:

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

"Us" in this context being a lecture theatre full of climate scientists, plus the odd imposter.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: Jim Hunt on September 03, 2020, 09:49:28 AM
See this recent press release:

See this recent tweet:

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

The ignorance of Andrew Neil knows no bounds!
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: interstitial on September 03, 2020, 10:10:38 PM

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

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

This is why the shift of renewables being cheaper around 2018/2019 is a big deal. Little comment is made about this which I do not understand. First 6 months of 2020 instalation of renewables exceeded fossil fuels. Last 6 months of this year new fossil fuel plants (0.64 GW) disapear almost entirely  and renewable plans surge. 28.72 GW in the last 6 months of 2020. The evidence of this shift is showing up in the drop of  fossil fuel plants being built. The last 6 months of 2020 only 2% of planned additions are fossil fuels. That is huge. These are not optimistic estimates from an industry promoting itself. Projects only show up on this planned list after permits are filed.  Most were under construction and on schedule as of the end of June. Battery additions at 0.80 GW exceed fossil fuel additions at 0.64 GW. These changes are driven mostly by capitalism not environmentalism. The natural gas replacing coal narrative died in the first half of this year. Any data before 2018 is mostly irreverent to the future. Many have called this transition before so it is understandable that most are reluctant to notice.
ONLY 2% of planned additions in the last 6 months of this year are fossil fuels.
This is in the US and applies only to electricity but the same number that drive the change in electricity will drive changes in all electricity.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: interstitial on September 04, 2020, 02:09:40 AM
(US) only 2% of planned electricity additions in the last 6 months of 2020 are fossil fuels
https://www.eia.gov/electricity/monthly/ (https://www.eia.gov/electricity/monthly/) then chapter 6 capacity  then 6.1 electric generating summer capacity changes.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on September 04, 2020, 03:35:40 AM

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

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

My point doesn't refer to waste heat from using renewable energy but waste heat from manufacturing components needed for renewable energy. That's why the net energy from the latter is low.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on September 04, 2020, 03:41:05 AM

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

https://youtu.be/LEm42vKl4Ro

At around 1:40:

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

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

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

Given the point that net energy is lower, then a market economy is not suitable. Given the physical reality of peak oil, if not diminishing returns, it may also be irrelevant.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on September 04, 2020, 03:50:18 AM

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

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

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

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

Renewable energy has generally low returns:

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

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

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

Thus, we are looking at a situation where renewable energy, which has lower net energy, will be used to deal with a resource crunch, ecological damage, and global warming, but will also be used by a world population that needs increasing amounts of cheap energy.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: oren on September 04, 2020, 05:56:30 AM
Ralfy you really need to move on with your analysis of renewable energy. Links from 2013 are not going to cut it, even if they are from scientific American. There has been so much progress, as evidenced by the crash in prices per MW and MWh, that 7 years is like an eternity.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: KiwiGriff on September 04, 2020, 07:53:19 AM
(https://www.lazard.com/media/451081/lcoe-2.png)
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: interstitial on September 04, 2020, 08:42:16 AM
The scientific american article you sight in addition to being too dated to be relevant to today's renewables is just wrong even for the time. It is one of a few articles cited by climate change deniers.


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


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


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



[/size][size=78%]For coal and natural gas they ignore plant construction energy and transportation of the fuel energy. For coal transportation energy can be large.  The author uses an approximation based on name plate efficiency which completely ignores operations. Water pumping alone can use up to 10% of power produced. The Navajo generating station coal plant used a conveyor that was several miles long. I talked to someone whose job it was to drive alongside the conveyor and report when their was a problem. It was then loaded on an electric train which transported it the rest of the way. Coal plants use a considerable amounts of diesel on loaders as well. The energy used to construct massive pipelines for natural gas is also ignored. [/size]
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: Jim Hunt on September 04, 2020, 01:34:45 PM
The ignorance of Andrew Neil knows no bounds!

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

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

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

https://V2G.co.uk/2020/09/california-iso-anticipates-another-weekend-heatwave/
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on September 05, 2020, 03:22:31 AM
Ralfy you really need to move on with your analysis of renewable energy. Links from 2013 are not going to cut it, even if they are from scientific American. There has been so much progress, as evidenced by the crash in prices per MW and MWh, that 7 years is like an eternity.

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

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

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


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


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


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



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

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

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

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

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

That said, I do not find reasons for dismissal convincing, which is why I think the inevitable conclusion to that point raised is that people will be forced to use less energy and material resources because both will be lacking.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: sidd on September 05, 2020, 07:59:46 AM
Re: "people will be forced to use less energy and material resources because both will be lacking."

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

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

EROI is just a part of a much larger equation. Energy is partly interchangeable with other industrial and societal resources.
Prices are often a proxy for these resources, which is why I used them in my criticism.
But even EROI in itself will change dramatically when panel or turbine efficiency is much increased, manufacturing methods streamlined and improved, and useful life significantly increased. If you want EROI, find an updated source that uses 2020 numbers, and is not biased trying to prove humanity needs to tone down consumption. Again, don't let the obvious conclusion drive a faulty justification.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: Simon on September 05, 2020, 09:06:21 AM
Solar PV and offshore wind can provide the world’s energy requirements. We need 300 to 400,000km2 of mainly sunny desert for solar PV and between 1/2 and a million turbines. The shortfall can be provided by hydro, nuclear, geothermal etc. If there is a need for limited hydrocarbon fuel then these can be provided by synthesis via atmospheric co2 and water as I pointed out in a previous post.

The Arctic icecap can be saved and so can human civilisation. There technological and economic means are there. It now needs the political will.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: SteveMDFP on September 05, 2020, 08:12:16 PM

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

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

When industrial processes are run on electricity and electricity is generated by renewables, then we'll have an economy fully based on renewable energy.  Some industries present special challenges in this regard, like agriculture, mining, ocean shipping, and air travel.  None of these cases are truly intractable.  Worst-case scenario for these is using biofuels.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: interstitial on September 05, 2020, 11:09:04 PM
The article looks at energy return but you're referring to prices. They're not the same.


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


Quote
This brings me back to a point raised in the first response given to me in the thread: there is no debate in this forum that people are consuming too much energy and material resources.
I doubt many on this forum believe people aren't consuming too much. I agree that people are consuming too much. I don't see anyone making that argument here. If you can find some you can debate them on this forum but not on this thread.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on September 06, 2020, 03:58:58 AM
Re: "people will be forced to use less energy and material resources because both will be lacking."

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

sidd

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What you refer to are prices. That's not energy return.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on September 06, 2020, 04:22:13 AM
Solar PV and offshore wind can provide the world’s energy requirements. We need 300 to 400,000km2 of mainly sunny desert for solar PV and between 1/2 and a million turbines. The shortfall can be provided by hydro, nuclear, geothermal etc. If there is a need for limited hydrocarbon fuel then these can be provided by synthesis via atmospheric co2 and water as I pointed out in a previous post.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How much more energy will be needed to at least minimize the effects of diminishing returns (i.e., increasing amounts of energy needed to get decreasing amounts of new resources needed for renewable energy and generally many goods and services)? And to at least minimize the effects of ecological damage and even climate change?
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on September 06, 2020, 04:31:05 AM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Given a world with a history of conflict, destabilization, heavy financial speculation, competition coupled with maximization of profit, and pecuniary emulation, I am not certain if such coordination will ever take place.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on September 06, 2020, 04:43:40 AM

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is the amount of renewable energy needed to allow for that footprint to rise (to those interested in knowing how low they consume, they can try any of the footprint calculators found online)? If it is good enough (because it's higher than that of countries like Cuba), then what is needed to level the playing field and ensure that everyone gets a footprint of around 2? What amount of renewable energy is needed to maintain it at such  as population rises? What amount of renewable energy is needed to negate the effects of ecological damage which lowers biocapacity? What type of political will is needed to ensure such, and is it possible to do so on a global scale?
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: GrauerMausling on September 06, 2020, 01:07:13 PM


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

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


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

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

Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: crandles on September 06, 2020, 01:32:21 PM

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

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

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

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

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

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

So price is the key.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

These findings point to electricity system inertia and the utility-driven risk of carbon lock-in and asset stranding.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: interstitial on September 06, 2020, 05:53:36 PM

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


The data ends around the time renewables became cheaper than fossil fuels. More recent data shows a dramatic increase in renewables.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: kassy on September 06, 2020, 08:49:55 PM
Thanks interstitial. I think that´s a good idea. Just thinking about the title a bit.
So this is the new thread to discuss the energy transition and consumption.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: Bruce Steele on September 06, 2020, 09:32:06 PM
I think some considerations of consumption and money have to be made. So when someone decides where we should talk about those issues I will go there and not bother this thread.
 My two powerwalls and 5kw solar system have been working for a year now. Consumption and production totals.
 6696kWh home use
 8766kWh solar production
 2801kWh powerwall
  630kWh  from grid
 2163kWh to grid

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

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

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





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

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

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

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

There is really no such thing as “clean energy”. Energy is simply energy. Some ways of transforming energy into useful work create generate less entropy than others. But none of them are “clean”.
 
I like very much what that man writes, but I'm not sure that producing PV electricity doesn't reduce entropy.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: oren on September 06, 2020, 11:02:44 PM
Jevons paradox is very important to our predicament, but the second link with the entropy stuff is irrelevant.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: Bruce Steele on September 06, 2020, 11:34:13 PM
To be pragmatic, costs of home solar are competing with grid supplied costs.
Batteries don’t pencil out yet but in areas where blackouts are common batteries can compete with fixed generators and require far less maintenance.
Costs, reliability, and safety are undoubtably large drivers of consumer demand. Will those individual choices result in less fossil fuels consumed ?  I would think they would but it is kinda important to know what the collective costs for home solar systems and batteries are writ large. Home charging an EV can also save fossil fuel use but your solar array would need more panels. It is hard for me to imagine how the manufacture of all those solar panels and batteries is going to be powered with “renewable energy”
 Maybe someone better informed can site the percentage of solar panel factories operating with solar power ? Battery factories ?
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: nanning on September 07, 2020, 06:11:21 AM
Sorry guys but I feel that I have to give some support to ralfy's posts and views. Not specifically about renewable energy, but about the global emergency situation through misbehaviour of the affluent people.


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

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

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


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

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

This is my view. No insults intended.


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

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

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

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

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


"Demand reduction is crucial." - Indeed. Thanks for posting etienne.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on September 07, 2020, 07:25:14 AM


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

as reported here:

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



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

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

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

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

PS ralfy just earned a place on my ignore  list.
Reading someones comments  who is continuing to use outdated data to push nonsense on a rapidly changing technology is not worth my time.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on September 07, 2020, 07:46:55 AM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

So price is the key.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on September 07, 2020, 08:11:11 AM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About a new thread, that's a good idea, as we're now dealing with more than just press releases.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on September 07, 2020, 08:13:20 AM
The data ends around the time renewables became cheaper than fossil fuels. More recent data shows a dramatic increase in renewables.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In response to that, one can only imagine that some sort of "political will" will take place on a global scale, where countries that spent decades not only competing with but even attacking or destabilizing each other will suddenly work with each other.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on September 07, 2020, 08:25:36 AM
Right now you might have a point Bruce .
In the future I think we will use renewable energy to mine and farm.
I can not see any unsurmountable technological issues to stop us transitioning to 100% renewable energy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

That said, "off the grid" will likely mean living in a hut, and with an ecological footprint that's barely above one global hectare per capita. That's notable because "renewable energy" will mean what people used before the nineteenth century.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: etienne on September 07, 2020, 09:29:03 AM
Jevons paradox is very important to our predicament, but the second link with the entropy stuff is irrelevant.
Hi Oren,

I don't agree that entropy is irrelevant. Many people believe that if they use "green" energy, they can waste it. An electrical SUV is still an SUV, and in most contexts more than what people need to move around. And it does change something regarding climate change if you use your PV electricity to heat with a heat pump or with a normal electrical heater. People shouldn't believe that their jacuzzi doesn't matter because it is heated with PV pannels.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: nanning on September 07, 2020, 10:09:45 AM
Thanks for that etienne.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: etienne on September 07, 2020, 11:00:20 AM
The link between entropy and climate change is not straightforward, that's sure, but the fact is that fossil fuels are always somehow burned, which means an important increase of entropy. When you transform sunlight in electricity, you reduce entropy (we are not in a closed system if you only consider the earth),  but if the result of that entropy reduction is used to heat the jacuzzi, it doesn't help in any way to limit climate change, it's just a neutral game. Burning wood is also a neutral game.

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

I'm the first one to recognize that I'm not perfect, that I also use a lot of energy just for fun, but I think that it is important to understand that the "just for fun" also has an impact on climate even if it is fully renewable. This will be the case as long as almost all used energy is not renewable.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: wili on September 07, 2020, 12:21:23 PM
Good points, etienne

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

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

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

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

Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: oren on September 07, 2020, 01:17:36 PM
The last thing I want to see is an echo chamber.

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

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

To sum, the Renewable Transition is possible and should be vastly  accelerated and helped in parallel by reductions in consumption. Otherwise (which I expect) human civilization will pay the ultimate price for not acting in time.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: BeeKnees on September 07, 2020, 02:11:50 PM
The data ends around the time renewables became cheaper than fossil fuels. More recent data shows a dramatic increase in renewables.

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

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

As demand falls it is inevitable that price falls and the extraction of oil becomes a less attractive investment.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: crandles on September 07, 2020, 02:14:22 PM
I am sure what you are saying makes sense to you, but I find it hard to follow.

Quote
Because the price does not correctly reflect energy return

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: Jim Hunt on September 07, 2020, 02:33:36 PM
I seem to have inadvertently started a completely new thread?!

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

How about extracting methane from the atmosphere as well? I stumbled across a paper on that very topic recently, but I can't seem to find it now. Anybody know the one I mean?

Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: kassy on September 07, 2020, 04:08:09 PM
I had to snip it somewhere and your post seemed a nice one to start from.

Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: nanning on September 07, 2020, 04:41:44 PM
Dear Oren, demand reduction also accelerates the transition.

In my view, that is a much better way to go. Especially for the rich affluent countries/people i.e. the ones doing the most GHG damage with their consumption. And I don't mean the just the very rich but the largest parts of those populations. Likely the majority on this forum belong to that group.

'Low hanging fruit' with the overdue taste of equality and justice.

-------

In my opinion, ralfy also writes a lot of good stuff.

The replies to him seem to me a bit hostile and I don't understand that.. well, perhaps because believing in the 'God' of progress and affluent energy-for-everyone (and beautiful appliances) is a soothing dream to be defended?

Please listen to criticism, this is about our future, an important transition. Do we really want to go on in the same system? Green BAU?
e.g. I cannot put solar panels on my rented appartment. I can't pay for an electric bicycle or an electric car. I can't install a heat pump etc. What's in it for me? Another widening of the canyon between 'the haves' and 'the have-nots'?
Did you think this through for all people everywhere?
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: SteveMDFP on September 07, 2020, 05:12:07 PM

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

It's true that embedded energy in a product is only one component of cost of production.  But you seem to be suggesting that availability of credit can cause production to proceed at a price below cost of production.  That's nonsense.  Nobody continues to produce at a price below cost of production, at least not for very long.

If solar equipment is cheap, it's because the embedded costs of energy+material+labor+capital are cheap.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: oren on September 07, 2020, 05:22:01 PM
Quote
e.g. I cannot put solar panels on my rented appartment. I can't pay for an electric bicycle or an electric car. I can't install a heat pump etc. What's in it for me? Another widening of the canyon between 'the haves' and 'the have-nots'?
Thanks or your response nanning. I agree consumption reduction is a low hanging fruit, but it's not happening on a wide scale (except maybe vegan trend). The same applies to solar and wind, 20 years ago they were an expensive dream which few could afford to subsidize, now they are affordable to every government, but it's not hapenning on a wide enough scale.
Rooftop solar is much more expensive than solar PV farms. Your apartment should be getting renewable energy via the grid, it shouldn't be just those who can afford to put it on their roof. Roofs should come second or third in the transition, and then it should be on every roof not just rich or poor or whatever.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: etienne on September 07, 2020, 07:18:44 PM
Roof solar on industrial buildings remains the best concept. The problem is that if it has not been planned from the beginning, the structure of the building could be too weak.

Solar farms are ok if you have areas that are just good for extensive agriculture, where sheep can eat the grass. I am not so convinced of removing land of agricultural use to produce energy.

There are many places where roof solar would be possible, like highways, railroads... The original investment might be higher, but the structure will be there for more than one generation of solar panels. Maybe we will see soon solar panels integrated in nets that could just be hanged over public infrastructure, it could even increase safety by providing solar/wind/rain protection.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: oren on September 07, 2020, 11:15:40 PM
I did not mean to remove agricultural land for solar, rather that solar is cheaper and more efficient to maintain in large installations rather than in residential rooftops.
In Israel there are desert locations just begging for large solar "farms". The only thing slowing down the process is the slowness of beaurocracy. I think that in most countries there are open locations that are not very useful economically and can accommodate solar installations quite easily.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: nanning on September 08, 2020, 06:58:53 AM
On the ethics of the privileged affluent people, the so-called 'haves'.

The 'haves' can independently cook their food, warm themselves, keep food cooled, have lighting, charge and drive their electric car etc.

With the grid failing for longer periods, the 'have-nots' won't be able to cook food and will go hungry. They will get cold in perhaps freezing temperatures. They'll have neither lights nor a refrigerator. No lift. Not even hot or warm water.


Will the 'haves' with their privately owned house and private energy production system, open their arms to the energy-starved, hungry and cold 'have-nots'?


Can you please answer this oren (and others)?
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: KiwiGriff on September 08, 2020, 07:20:24 AM
Shite nanning
100 bucks will by you a small solar  panel,  controller, a second hand car battery and a 12 v led light.
That is a months power bill to guarantee some light for the next decade at lest.
Want hot water? go find a  black twenty liter plastic container if you look around you can get them for free.
Full with water and stick it in a sunny spot it will give you  20 liters of warm water a day as long as the sun shines for more than five hours a day.
Want a electric bike? You can get a bike for free in your society ex laptop batteries and an electric bike  kit will cost  at most a few hundred bucks. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXVmXj0uO5g
You are not stupid you can  find out how to do this stuff for SFA  on the web .
Get of your fuckin arse and find solutions! mate, instead of asking for them to be handed to you .   
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: nanning on September 08, 2020, 08:08:29 AM
Shite nanning
<snip>
Get of your fuckin arse and find solutions! mate, instead of asking for them to be handed to you .   

Kiwigriff, please tone it down.
What kind of solutions do you think you give? Do you really think it's that easy. Have you read all of my above post?
And I did not ask for solutions. I asked an ethical question.

And yes, I am not stupid but I am a bit stupefied by the hostile and condescending language.
Did my post and question 'hurt' you?
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: etienne on September 08, 2020, 08:31:02 AM
I don't think that Nanning needs an e-bike, I think he needs space. If you  don't have space, you just can't start anything. I lived 15 years in a small townhouse with a garden of 7,5x8 meters. It was just enough to put a tree, some grass and a few chairs. My wife reads a lot about people trying to produce all the food they eat, and one of these moved from Germany to Sweden because in Germany, nature would just be the most expensive thing. If the ground is cheap, it is covered with windmills, and if it is expensive you just can't afford it.
My townhouse was very efficient regarding energy consumption (built in 1998, and I only used 1000 liters equivalent heating oil per year for heating and warm water, 2 adults, 2 kids), but there was not enough place  for gardening, for food processing, for renewable excepted PV on the roof (5x7.5 meters with 2 Velux window for the sunny side), no space to start a business if it would be required... It was just what we needed at that time, but now that the kids are teens, we are so happy that we have more space. The house had about 180 sq meters all inclusive (garage, heating room, bathrooms, entrance hall, sleeping rooms...). What I would call "technical rooms" (garage, heating, washing, storage...) took about 40 sq meters, bathrooms took about 20 sq meters, entrance + stairs was about 25 sq meters, sleeping rooms took about 45 sq meters, and the kitchen with the living room (one big room) was about 55 sq meters. It is a great house, many people have much worse living places here in Luxembourg, but it is just too small if you want to start producing things yourself and need some space for the others to live normally. We had only 2 tables, one for the kitchen and one for the computer.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: oren on September 08, 2020, 09:15:16 AM
On the ethics of the privileged affluent people, the so-called 'haves'.

The 'haves' can independently cook their food, warm themselves, keep food cooled, have lighting, charge and drive their electric car etc.

With the grid failing for longer periods, the 'have-nots' won't be able to cook food and will go hungry. They will get cold in perhaps freezing temperatures. They'll have neither lights nor a refrigerator. No lift. Not even hot or warm water.


Will the 'haves' with their privately owned house and private energy production system, open their arms to the energy-starved, hungry and cold 'have-nots'?


Can you please answer this oren (and others)?
I fail to see the background of this question. Why would the grid be failing for longer periods? With the rise of renewables and grid batteries, grids will become more reliable, not less. In any case, most richer people, even those living in private houses, use exactly the same grid connection as poorer people. The grid (and water supply) is actually one of the more equal public services. It is far more likely the poor will suffer from lack of food or homelessness than that they will suffer from lack of electricity when richer people have it.

In any case the ethics are clear, haves should strive to help have nots. Some will do so, some won't, as usual. But the best solution is to make sure everyone has, rather than leave it to random kindness.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: nanning on September 08, 2020, 01:37:47 PM
Thanks etienne but I don't need more space because I don't want to own land and I am very glad with my 1st floor appartment of 80m² in a village.

I am not affluent in this society. The things Kiwigriff mentioned are outside of my budget. And I don't even want an electrical car, I had just put myself in as an example poor person in the rich world.


Thanks oren.
This is the background but I'll make further clear:
Quote from: nanning
"Another widening of the canyon between 'the haves' and 'the have-nots'?
Did you think this through for all people everywhere?"

The background is the hypothetical situation further into the future where the grid is offline for weeks. This could be caused by e.g. cyberwar, 'normal' war, weather and lack of maintenance. Already in our province there are several failing transformators and other equipment per month. This is a trend I observe and with the non-oversight of integration of renewable energy in the grid, I expect more problems. Several solar parks have already got the message that not all their power can be connected. Even for solar parks in the building phase. Privatisation of basic services and further neoliberal minimalisation of the state has certainly played a big role in this.

I live in a village where almost everyone has their own house on owned land.
The whole energy transition will make most house owners, private electricity producers.
The same with food production. The ones with gardens can have their private food supply.
The house owners are in general richer than renters, and these richer people now also get money from the taxpayer to buy and install solar panels, and to insulate their houses. More wealth and independency. And more consumption. All those products need to be made and transported: Higher carbon footprint.
The rich getting richer. Here you see it happen. It is hidden in so many small things e.g. traffic fines. But those points are apparently nigh-on impossible to discuss in a serious respectful humane manner.

If equality and justice are important then there's a need to look at the situation from the other side. From the point of the 'have-nots'.
I am poor by decision and observe from this position the privileged thinking of the richer people. The way the poor are told what's best for them and not really taking them into account. Most governments do this because they are neoliberalist and focus on the richer consumers. Perhaps those consumers have been trapped in the bubble of privileged thinking if the governments and commerce all give that information? Poor=bad=loser rich=good=winner.

When (parts of) civilisation collapses or infrastructure fails, I see a situation with (many poor) food/energy refugees in their own country. A country that is scattered with private food/energy production systems, partly paid for by all of us.
I have observed what has happened to many of the climate/violence refugees from around Syria: Wall go up. Torture prisons. Camps. Drownings. Ships full of refugees, saved from drowning, denied entry.

This hypothetical situation is the background of my question.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: nanning on September 08, 2020, 05:22:11 PM
I think it will further clarify what I mean if you listen a couple of minutes to this interview with Kevin Anderson from 29m16s onwards?
(only audio+photo 38m52s total)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aTaqd6rn2RA&t=1756
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: etienne on September 08, 2020, 07:36:29 PM
The house owners are in general richer than renters, and these richer people now also get money from the taxpayer to buy and install solar panels, and to insulate their houses. More wealth and independency. And more consumption. All those products need to be made and transported: Higher carbon footprint.
Well, here it is the same, but I thought it was a money saving trick. To provide great subsidies that require so much administrative work that it only make sense if you do 3 or 4 things (windows, insulation, heating, ventilation...), so most people don't ask them. I never got any subsidies for my house because I was too early or too late with the products I used.
40 years ago, my grand-mother got subsidies on new windows, some guy came and check and since the old ones were very old, it was ok. Nowadays you need an engineering team to fill the required forms.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on September 09, 2020, 01:37:35 PM
Good points, etienne

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

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

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

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

The problem is that the global economy on which these assumptions rest operate in the opposite: increasing amounts of energy and material resources used to increase revenues for businesses that provide goods and services using this energy and resources to increase income of the same people who buy goods and services and the ROIs of people who own these businesses, and the credit churned back into the same global economy to ensure economic growth.

Meanwhile, solar panels still involve multiple businesses in several countries linked by extensive supply chains involving mining with around 70 pct of heavy equipment using diesel, fossil fuels backing manufacturing, and combinations of natural gas and bunker oil needed to power everything from container ships to trucks which need to move raw materials, goods-in-progress, and finished goods 24/7 to maintain economic order quantities and savings passed on to businesses and consumers.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on September 09, 2020, 01:41:59 PM
And yet you have created an echo chamber all on your own. You do not engage in structured discussion that enables dealing with the points one by one, and keep relying on outdated sources that are plain and clear propaganda against renewables.

Actually, I participated in an echo chamber which consisted essentially of press releases about renewable energy, after which the posts were moved to this thread.

As for propaganda, the only thing I've seen about that besides press releases are your preposterous claims that I shared outdated information, when the only thing you've shown to prove that are references to lower prices. That makes absolutely no sense at all, especially given the point that even oil prices now are low! Does that mean that energy returns for oil have now increased dramatically?
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on September 09, 2020, 02:02:41 PM
On topic:
There is no valid physical reason (such as the oft-cited EROEI, or lack of sufficient land, or intermittency, all solvable and not real problems) why solar PV and wind turbines, with help from hydro and batteries and a few gas backup plants, cannot power the global electricity grid, as well as many other human activities (mining, transportation, manufacturing, agriculture, even heating, aviation, shipping). In the process, a lot of energy now wasted on fossil fuel extraction, transportation and distribution will be saved. And of course, a lot of the damage from uncontrolled AGW will be mitigated.
However, there are many actual reasons why these solutions are not enough. Humanity has overshot the carrying capacity of the planet, with AGW just one of resulting issues. To save much of the damage and prevent a civilizational collapse within a few decades, a convergence into the carrying capacity must occur quickly. Due to inertia in the energy system, lack of political will, the power of fossil fuel interests and entities, and the successful propaganda of climate change denial (and renewables denial as exemplified upthread) that has brainwashed the minds of many common people, renewables are being deployed much too slowly to solve the carrying capacity issue all on their own. The inability of humans to grasp slow-moving enormous and remote problems makes everything worse and reduces the chances of this being turned around.
A quick solution would be identified by complete halt of fossil fuel investments, a massive buildup of renewable generation, closure of fossil fuel generation as soon as enough renewable production goes online, deployment of transmission and grid storage on a proactive and accelerated basis, switchover of transportation and agricultural machines and mining equipment to electricity, conversion of industrial processes to electricity, and many more activities. This is not happening - renewables only solve some of the growth in the electricity sector. Rate of deployment should have been at least 10 times higher, sustained and growing over the next 20 years, in order to offer an acceptably quick solution. In 10 years, the whole electricity production system should be renewable, with all fossil fuel plants closed down except for some quick backup. In 20 years, all transportation and machinery should be electric. This is physically doable, but is not being done and will not be done in time.

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

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

The problem isn't the use of renewable energy for the global economy or the process of a transition but whether or not net energy from that is sufficient to meet the needs of a global capitalist economy. I've explained the characteristics of the latter in greater detail to you and to others across multiple messages, and you still don't get it. Here's a recap:

Current energy level use is 20 TW for the current population. In order to meet basic needs of the same population where around 70 pct earn less than $10 daily, we will need around 40 TW. But the same world population wants more than just basic needs, which means it will need around 50 TW. Meanwhile, that same population will continue to grow due to momentum, which means it will need around 90 TW for basic needs. But the energy and material resources needed not just for renewable energy but everything else face diminishing returns and increasing pollution, which means in order to minimize that plus meet basic needs plus meet wants of a much larger population, we will need up to 120 TW.

In response to that, what I've seen so far from you and others is that we "should" we be working hard in rapid development of renewable energy and ensure "political will," presumably do that plus plus allow businesses and even countries to coordinate and cooperate with each other.

But how do you stop overconsumption in a global economy that is essentially characterized by that, a world population that wants more than basic needs, and businesses (including those that will manufacture components for renewable energy) counting on the same, especially when they start competing with each other?
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on September 09, 2020, 02:08:39 PM

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

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

It's definitely a problem because one reason why investors were switching to renewable energy was because oil was too expensive. Second, in order to get that oil--and which was also used to manufacture renewable energy components--the oil industry had to take on, as the BIS estimates, a total of $2 trillion in debt. In order to cover just part of that debt oil prices will have to rise to around $100. But when that happens the global economy falls apart, and that imperils renewable energy manufacturing as well.

Do you see the problem? The global economy which produces and uses that renewable energy needs a lot of cheap oil for the transition, but by that they mean oil extracted at very low energy costs, not prices.

That's why back in 2006, several oil industry experts and heads interviewed for the Four Corners docu feature on peak oil pointed out that the world should have started transitioning to other energy sources (not just renewable energy but also nuclear) at least two decades earlier. That way, they'd have avoided the effects of peak oil.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: NeilT on September 09, 2020, 02:25:32 PM

But how do you stop overconsumption in a global economy that is essentially characterized by that, a world population that wants more than basic needs, and businesses (including those that will manufacture components for renewable energy) counting on the same, especially when they start competing with each other?

The general consensus seems to be calculate the carbon cost, put a price on carbon and tax their asses off until they desist.

Works if you have a dictatorship.  Tends to fall foul of democracy.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on September 09, 2020, 02:40:06 PM

I am sure what you are saying makes sense to you, but I find it hard to follow.


You need to see the dynamics involved in renewable energy and the economy as I kept explaining in two threads. Instead, I was seen as some sort of climate change denier, propagandist, and other ridiculous accusations.

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

It should be the other way round: if you understood my argument, then you'd realize the implications that I kept explaining to you and that you kept ignoring.

Quote

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


You can lower prices by funding technology that makes manufacturing more efficient, and products can be made cheaper by increasing credit, which in turn raises income. But that does not change the energy return significantly.

The jevons paradox is another issue, but it makes matters worse: increasing efficiency is achieved given the assumption that it leads to greater production, which is paid for with greater consumption, from which greater revenues covers increasing returns on investment, which is the main reason for funding greater efficiency!

Do you get that? People invest in renewable energy because they expect more people to use more energy, from which greater profits are made and re-invested to produce even more energy, and so on. In contrast, we're supposed to transition to renewable energy because we want people to use less energy and fewer material resources. But that's the opposite of what investors want!

Quote

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


On the contrary, the reason why I am writing this about renewable energy is because similar problems took place for oil! Decades ago, the energy return for oil was something like 1:100, and that led to a rise of global manufacturing coupled with the Green Revolution, in turn leading to a tripling of the world population in only six decades plus the rise of a global middle class. Now, energy returns are much lower, with oil production per capita flatlining since 1979, which together with ecological damage and climate change are the reasons why we have to transition to renewable energy. But even that requires fossil fuel inputs, and now for a much large world population with greater wants per capita.

That's why I remain surprised when some argued that I am some sort of climate change denialist or shilling for the oil industry. What I am doing is explaining that what affects oil also affects renewable energy, not only physically but economically.

Quote

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


Currently, a country like the U.S. has 4 pct of the world's population but around 250 million passenger vehicles, or around a quarter of the global total. Probably most of the 750 million others are spread out across 26 pct of the same global population.

Given that, would you like to guess what most of the 70 pct want? Now, convert those ICE vehicles to EVs, and then work on the energy cost to construct smooth roads, electric grids, and more in a world that mostly lacks even basic infrastructure for ICE vehicles. Will renewable energy be able to cover that? Will total energy use be able to do so?

Finally, one can argue that we need to avoid overconsumption, the jevons paradox, and even non-necessities (are EVs necessities?) in order to meet the reason for using renewable energy in the first place, which is to keep CO2 emissions as low as possible and thus minimize the effects of climate change and ecological damage. But will EV manufacturers, among others, agree? How do for-profit corporations argue that they need to produce and sell less, and that they owners and even employees should also receive less?

Do you see what happens when people see the use of technology idealized, as if some global gov't will appear and regulate everything to keep energy and resource consumption low?

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

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

Not just the transition lag but even the amount of energy that's needed!

If it is true that it is a global capitalist economy, then there is no point in wondering what we should do. Investors will put their money in renewable energy because they expect high returns for that, which means greater sales driven by greater production leading to greater profits which will be used to increase production even more. Increasing sales means it's expected that not only more people will use solar panels but that more people will buy more panels to consume more energy. More consumption of energy will take place as they buy more stuff and go to various places on vacation and buy more toys, and so on. And as businesses compete with each other, then overproduction is also inevitable.

What about employees? They will want higher salaries, promotions, etc., each time, and for that they have to sell more solar panels and everything else that will use energy from panels, from toys to EVs and more. And who's going to buy and consume more energy and use more material resources if not the same employees, made possible through higher salaries, promotions, etc.

And then there are the financial speculators: they'll invest in or even speculate on anything they can, from oil to solar panels to EVs to toys, expecting higher returns and making sure that people become more productive (what else should they do to cover the cost of greater efficiency?), and then using newly created credit to re-invest.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: crandles on September 09, 2020, 02:43:18 PM
The general consensus seems to be calculate the carbon cost, put a price on carbon and tax their asses off until they desist.

Works if you have a dictatorship.  Tends to fall foul of democracy.

Whether it falls foul of democracy might depend on what you do with the taxes raised. If people don't trust the govt then you may have a problem before you begin.

If one or a few countries do it, it works in those countries but perhaps appears to put those countries at a disadvantage compared to other countries that don't do it. That can be a problem for a weak dictatorship or a democracy. Even a strong dictatorship might be weakened by doing it.

All countries agreeing to do it together has possibility of working better but the problem is the need for international agreements when every country wants to minimize its share of the responsibility and burden it should take. Tends to mean it doesn't happen.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on September 09, 2020, 02:50:42 PM
The general consensus seems to be calculate the carbon cost, put a price on carbon and tax their asses off until they desist.

Works if you have a dictatorship.  Tends to fall foul of democracy.

That's why some ended up by turning even that into business, e.g., carbon trading. Meanwhile, the taxes, like credit in general, are reinvested in projects that lead to more economic activity, which generally translate to more energy and resource use. And when governments meet, they sometimes end up making only small cuts in emission increases and then make it seem that the other guy should sacrifice first.

The hard part is the idea of a dictatorship, which "political will" might end up being. In which case, the main reason for investing in renewable energy is to become less dependent on oil, and the reason for doing so would probably not be to lower carbon emissions but to expect peak oil.

But the economies on which such views rest remain capitalist and most democratic, which means they flourish by increasing consumption of energy and material resources each time. Most of the populations which exist in such economies want the same, as they have not achieved a middle class lifestyle that's constantly marketed to them and which they equate with prosperity and a bright future. Anything by way of efficiency means more opportunities to profit, and they will likely support only government that promote the same.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on September 09, 2020, 02:54:52 PM

Whether it falls foul of democracy might depend on what you do with the taxes raised. If people don't trust the govt then you may have a problem before you begin.

If one or a few countries do it, it works in those countries but perhaps appears to put those countries at a disadvantage compared to other countries that don't do it. That can be a problem for a weak dictatorship or a democracy. Even a strong dictatorship might be weakened by doing it.

All countries agreeing to do it together has possibility of working better but the problem is the need for international agreements when every country wants to minimize its share of the responsibility and burden it should take. Tends to mean it doesn't happen.

Your last point is the implication of all of my arguments: how do you have this political will and cooperation between countries that have been competing with each other from the start? How do you encourage people to see climate change and even peak oil as major threats so that they can support a faster transition to renewable energy, and at the same time tell them that the issue isn't just using what should be cleaner energy but even using less energy overall per capita?
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: SteveMDFP on September 09, 2020, 03:42:24 PM


As for propaganda, the only thing I've seen about that besides press releases are your preposterous claims that I shared outdated information, when the only thing you've shown to prove that are references to lower prices. That makes absolutely no sense at all, especially given the point that even oil prices now are low! Does that mean that energy returns for oil have now increased dramatically?

Bad analogy.  Renewables are like power stations, not like petroleum.  If fossil fuel power plants were becoming dramatically cheaper to build, yes, that would fairly directly indicate a better EROI.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: SteveMDFP on September 09, 2020, 04:03:25 PM

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

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

It's definitely a problem because one reason why investors were switching to renewable energy was because oil was too expensive. Second, in order to get that oil--and which was also used to manufacture renewable energy components--the oil industry had to take on, as the BIS estimates, a total of $2 trillion in debt. In order to cover just part of that debt oil prices will have to rise to around $100. But when that happens the global economy falls apart, and that imperils renewable energy manufacturing as well.

Do you see the problem? The global economy which produces and uses that renewable energy needs a lot of cheap oil for the transition, but by that they mean oil extracted at very low energy costs, not prices.

Not at all  true.  Your arguments keep focusing on debt related to fossil fuel use.  The debt is largely irrelevant to the discussion.  It's not central at all.  We're currently in a setting where oil is around $40/barrell, down from near $100.  High oil cost producers (frackers, deep sea drillers, coal) are indeed going bankrupt.  This is a consequence of the economic downturn, not a cause.

In bankruptcy, debts are wiped out, and productive assets sold at pennies on the dollar, and those that can be operated profitably remain in production.  Investors lose money.  The consumer side of the picture hardly changes at all.

In the macroeconomic picture, even $2 trillion in bad debt is not a catastrophe if it's all liquidated in bankruptcy.  Note that the Federal Reserve recently created $2 trillion in a matter of weeks.  There will be no collapse from fossil fuel debt.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: crandles on September 09, 2020, 04:03:48 PM
You need to see the dynamics involved in renewable energy and the economy as I kept explaining in two threads.

I conclude I am not going to persuade you of anything while you are convinced that it is me that needs educating.


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Do you get that? People invest in renewable energy because they expect more people to use more energy, from which greater profits are made and re-invested to produce even more energy, and so on. In contrast, we're supposed to transition to renewable energy because we want people to use less energy and fewer material resources. But that's the opposite of what investors want!

People decide whether to invest in energy production or something else. If too much is invested the amount that can be charged falls reducing potential returns and people switch to investing in other things. Each thing to invest in finds its own level. What happens isn't just happening because investors want it or just because consumers want it but as a result of a supply and demand balance. Consumers and suppliers wanting opposites is entirely normal.

Investors also decide whether to invest in energy production via fossil fuel or via renewables. This battle has been all but won because renewables are cheaper. 90%+ is going into renewables rather than ff because renewables are now cheaper so better return from them. Prices continue to change towards renewables being cheaper. With many asset lives of 30+ years, it takes some time for the production percentage to change but it surely will over the next 20+ years.

This battle is already won.

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Given that, would you like to guess what most of the 70 pct want? Now, convert those ICE vehicles to EVs, and then work on the energy cost to construct smooth roads, electric grids, and more in a world that mostly lacks even basic infrastructure for ICE vehicles. Will renewable energy be able to cover that? Will total energy use be able to do so?

In the next 5 years, of course transition to renewable energy won't cover it, it will take a lot longer.

In the longer term, why not? Do you expect the market to fail? If it isn't possible then the market should price it as impossibly expensive. If it is possible it will be priced affordably.

It is possible that it will take too long and climate change will get a lot worse as a result so I am sure we would all like to see the transition happen faster. How much faster is needed and how to achieve that is debatable.

But I seem to be answering basic economics questions which don't seem to have much relation to EROEI. Then suddenly

Quote
Not just the transition lag but even the amount of energy that's needed!

If you want to reduce the transition period from 30 years to 1 year then probably the energy to do it isn't available but there is no way that is happening. The energy might be available in 5 years but that really isn't happening either. Where the debate should be at is how do we reduce the transition period from 30 years to 25 or maybe 20 years, perhaps even 15 years.

There is more to do to solve climate change than just transitioning to renewables but that makes the other issues more tractable.

I am just not seeing any huge relevance of EROEI, perhaps I just don't want to see it despite trying to engage with you, or maybe you are not doing a good job of explaining it, or maybe you just believe in its importance and can't see what I am trying to get across.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: crandles on September 09, 2020, 04:06:38 PM

Whether it falls foul of democracy might depend on what you do with the taxes raised. If people don't trust the govt then you may have a problem before you begin.

If one or a few countries do it, it works in those countries but perhaps appears to put those countries at a disadvantage compared to other countries that don't do it. That can be a problem for a weak dictatorship or a democracy. Even a strong dictatorship might be weakened by doing it.

All countries agreeing to do it together has possibility of working better but the problem is the need for international agreements when every country wants to minimize its share of the responsibility and burden it should take. Tends to mean it doesn't happen.

Your last point is the implication of all of my arguments: how do you have this political will and cooperation between countries that have been competing with each other from the start? How do you encourage people to see climate change and even peak oil as major threats so that they can support a faster transition to renewable energy, and at the same time tell them that the issue isn't just using what should be cleaner energy but even using less energy overall per capita?

The relevance of EROEI to this seems vanishingly small if there is any relevance at all.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: oren on September 09, 2020, 04:28:53 PM
Quote
Current energy level use is 20 TW for the current population. In order to meet basic needs of the same population where around 70 pct earn less than $10 daily, we will need around 40 TW. But the same world population wants more than just basic needs, which means it will need around 50 TW. Meanwhile, that same population will continue to grow due to momentum, which means it will need around 90 TW for basic needs. But the energy and material resources needed not just for renewable energy but everything else face diminishing returns and increasing pollution, which means in order to minimize that plus meet basic needs plus meet wants of a much larger population, we will need up to 120 TW.
I thought we already covered this ralfy. Waste heat is part of the current energy use and also part of your projection for future use. Eliminate waste heat by avoiding the burning of fossil fuels and switching to renewable electricity and electric motors, and you can cut the energy needed by 60%-70%. At some point you agreed with this, so why revert back to the previous argument?

Obviously one cannot power the global demand of the future population by fossil fuels, not because of peak oil but because of pollution and AGW.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: oren on September 09, 2020, 04:45:29 PM
Quote
Investors will put their money in renewable energy because they expect high returns for that, which means greater sales driven by greater production leading to greater profits which will be used to increase production even more. Increasing sales means it's expected that not only more people will use solar panels but that more people will buy more panels to consume more energy.
It's as if you do not see that fossil fuels and renewables are interchangeable from an energy standpoint. The peak oil crowd, dealing with diminishing returns and EROEI and hoped-for physical limitations for years and decades, often has trouble grasping that oil can be eliminated with not much harm done, and a lot of good. I wish that oil would have run out a long time ago, but it didn't, and we are stuck with the consequences and with the need to stop consuming it long before it runs out, not because of peak oil and EROEI, but because of pollution and AGW.

To your point, higher returns for renewable energy could easily mean (and should mean) replacement of fossil fuel energy infrastructure, cleaning up the global energy use, and not necessarily increasing energy consumption.
In parallel, global energy demand is growing, due to rising affluence and population growth. Renewable energy growth should be high enough to cover both the energy demand growth and the need for replacing fossil fuel infrastructure. As renewable growth is currently not high enough, reduction in consumption is indeed very much needed in parallel, to enable a shorter transition period until fossil fuel use is eliminated.
However, calls for consumption reduction should not be instead of renewable energy rollout, which needs to happen fast in any case so that fossil fuel plants and engines can be shut down. And denying the physical ability of renewable energy to power energy demand will eventually lead to a slower rollout, thus advancing AGW.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: morganism on September 09, 2020, 08:46:22 PM
Now, if New Zealand startup Emrod has its way, Tesla and Marconi’s dreams may merge. The company is building a system to wirelessly beam power over long distances. Earlier this month, Emrod received funding from Powerco, New Zealand’s second biggest utility, to conduct a test of its system at a grid-connected commercial power station.

The company uses metamaterials to more efficiently convert the microwave beam back into electricity. The relays, which are like “lenses” extending the beam beyond line-of-sight by refocusing it, are nearly lossless. According to Kushnir, most of losses happen at the other end, where electricity is converted into microwave energy. Overall, he said the system’s efficiency is around 70%, which is short of copper wires but economically viable in some areas.


https://singularityhub.com/2020/08/30/new-zealand-is-about-to-test-long-range-wireless-power-transmission/

PS: jP Morgan stopped funding Tesla because wireless transmission ddnt "make" electricity.

Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: nanning on September 10, 2020, 07:00:06 AM
^^
That's a nice weapon?

---
ralfy, I agree that the system is set up for ever more consumption and ever more energy use.
Using less energy is difficult to discuss here because most are inside that consumer-bubble imo.
Money is not real. Everything financial floats without anchors in reality.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: Wildcatter on September 11, 2020, 04:29:27 AM
In electricity, wind is already multiples of natural gas in EROI. Nowadays, I would be shocked if solar wasn't ahead of every FF. The fun part is, we're not even close to their potential.

I understand it's difficult to really grasp what's going on in energy, but you have to realize public resources are terrible. You can spend much less time, and get a much better understanding, by just figuring out *what's actually going on* yourself. What's involved in a wind project, how it generally works, how we're iterating, industry expectations, etc. In solar, how are we manufacturing, how that's changed, general understanding of equipment, industry expectations, industry trends, iterative improvements, etc. Understand the processes, and how we're actually doing it. You'll be ahead of every resource you'll find on the internet if you just do that. Even studies are extremely myopic because they use precedent data by definition in a quickly changing industry. I first realized this a few years ago at an energy conference, with MIT talking about future of US grid and renewables, not once mentioning offshore wind when UK and Europe auctions were public knowledge, precisely because the only precedent in the US was some astronomical cost project. You can't really take anything from any study, unless it's general overviews of industry R&D, or just aggregated historical price trends as a reference. I don't even read them anymore. Definitely do not take financebros / bloggers' word, unless it's just a spreadsheet of data of precedent price trends or something, vast majority of them couldn't find their asses with both hands and a map.

An "EROI" estimate from 2012-2013 is definitely outdated, a lot has changed in regards to energy inputs relative to energy outputs. In energy projects, where most of the concentration is on the first 15-years of production, LCOE is really a direct piece of the reflection of the energy input:output ratio. Especially when it's a fixed asset with no variable fuel costs. I mean, that's it, the structures themselves and their output relative to cost is the LCOE, direct energy input definitely figures into that. A lot can change in manufacturing and production. Economies of scale, optimizing production processes, industry shifts, iteration, better output. With almost all PERC modules nowadays, the dominant form of solar PV today, they'll still be 85-88% efficient in 30 years, with energy investment payback in 1-4 years (depending on location). The industry shift in solar over the next 3-5 years, those modules will still be 90% efficient after 35 years, and energy investment payback will reduce even further. New wind projects can last 25-30 years, and their energy investment payback is 3-6 months, and their capabilities have improved a lot, with much, much more to come.

Let's take a look at industry roadmaps and general industry expectations which further boost EROI. I have never seen another human being on the internet mention these in aggregate.
1) Wind - do you know we actually don't really know anything about wind interactions in a wind farm or amidst the environment across a windfarm? Wind analytics on turbines is still in the Stone Age, and there's no farm-level optimization?
- DoE Exawind project - Atmosphere to Electron Initiative = porting physics and fluid dynamics of wind to run on exascale class machines. Will be influential in maximizing siting, wind interactions, optimization, controls, things like wake steering and windfarm/turbine designs. Europe will be doing similar things when they can and/or the modeling is simplified a bit. This is going to be a gift that keeps on giving for a long time, and probably at least a couple fascinating insights. All these capabilities + data from LiDAR, etc, are great resources for our general environmental understanding, as well.
- Imaging/Sensing like LiDAR - big auto is driving this, it'll be pretty standard with nacelles in 4-5 years, probably see some sooner. Dynamic wind analytics, adjustments/corrections, also can significantly lower load/fatigue on structure and components, ie less degradation, and more generation
- Better sensors and integration for components - "preventative maintenance", use less energy in O&M (operations and maintenance), less "big" breaking changes that usually arise from a smaller problem unnoticed that exacerbated, less degradation, more energy return over life with less energy invested, also cost reduction
- Further out - 3-D printed concrete foundations = GE + LaFargeHolcim + Cobold project, but everyone interested in this for obvious reasons. Wind resource at taller heights is better, more generation, biggest obstacle to taller towers is logistics (transportation). Also saves energy on both the concrete foundation construction, but also the energy used to transport foundations, foundations are huge. Cheaper 140m-160m towers (really the game changing height with rotor iteration across the world, especially with data + optimization adoption above), but also future 180m-200m towers. We'll see this get going before 2030, likely industry standard by then, and many forward thinkers believe in 15 years, we're going to be 3-D printing both the foundation and the blades (rotors) on-site. Likely the future of floating wind structures, as well. Maybe even fixed-bottom monopiles for offshore in shallower depths, could potentially do it on-ship, saving trips to shore. "Additive manufacturing" (3D printing) also opens up the doors to use... additives in the future for less material/energy input and/or access to more output.

This is without mentioning rotor re-designs, companies keep those pretty close to the vest, but are inevitable even by 2030. There's even more efficient methods in producing things like generator components, and implementation/construction like "self lift" reducing use of heavy cranes. It's a complete transformation in capabilities, sounds like something out of a science fiction novel, big reason you can't extrapolate wind capacity to the future, or even "storage" needs for that matter. EROI over 25 years is going to be enormous, but I have little doubt that better controls, data, sensors, less degradation, projects in the near future could hit 35 years. Probably replace them before then, just out of sheer marginal utility, just enforcing the point.

2) Solar - solar has changed quite a bit over the last 10 years, energy output, longevity, economies of scale lowering energy inputs per capita, in furnaces, processing and handling equipment throughput, transportation energy + costs per capita from higher power. It'll get another leg up on EROI over the next 5 years, and industry expectations + what we know and things on the roadmap could see another big leg up over the next 7-8 years. with the widely regarded future of solar low-temp, solution processed, massive efficiency increases, which would send EROI into the stratosphere.
- Current = most manufacturing is PERC, "p-type" silicon, type just refers to doping and some electron mechanics, whole industry shifted about 2 years ago to this because of high efficiencies and input efficient scaling + equipment
- 2023 industry roadmap - n-type HJT = more focus and transition on "n-type" as "p-type" PERC is running out of headroom, n-type is just generally considered "better quality for solar" than p-type, and is the base cell for HJT (heterojunction). Higher efficiencies, less degradation, generates more over 15 years given same power ratings. Also naturally bifacial properties, and this is around the time we expect bifacial modules to become more standard (more output). This actually uses less steps than PERC, and some processes can even be lower temperature. Less input, more output. Additionally, we know we can use about 30% less silicon, and even up to about 60% less, it's all in the handling equipment, which will start iterating more quickly as production starts to ramp up.
- Midterm potential = Tandems, silicon/perovskite. Theoretical efficiency 35-44%, i've seen a couple numbers here, I just generally say about 40%, point is a lot higher. The perovskite layer is also processed in solution at low temperatures, very little additional energy input. Oxford PV is aiming for a 100MW line up at end of this year or by mid next year or so with ~27% efficiency, most expectations are that we'll have about a GW of tandem manufacturing in 3-4 years, no one knows how quickly this will develop, but we do know one thing, the solar industry can transition very quickly. Especially when you realize the base silicon for tandems? HJT, the roadmap anyway.
- Future = i doubt there's anyone who doesn't think the future is low-temperature, solution processed perovskite. Perovskites are an extraordinary class of materials, they're actually considered one of the most promising classes of materials across a large swathe of industries, lasers, lighting, optoelectronics/optocommnication/optics in general, photonics, x-ray detectors (like low power, low radiation, high resolution), spectrometers, promising in photocatalysts for feedstocks, solar, etc. Potential lies in not only cheap production, but very lightweight and even flexible modules, very thin wraps, and layering (multi-junction) for very high efficiencies. Also, indoor ambient lighting generation for low-energy things. Energy input can be very low, like an order of magnitude lower, and sky is the limit really on future efficiency. Lighterweight and higher power also saves on transport, and material input+transport in things like trackers + rooftop racking. Much lower weight and high efficiencies, at lower production costs, will drop rooftop costs by multiples. It also allows you to make dual-axis trackers with cheaper/more efficient inputs, no one really uses dual-axis now it's all single-axis mostly, but dual-axis (as we get better data and more people actually using it) is thought to be a 10-15% boost in generation over trackers now. Perovskite modules can also be much easier to recycle, as well.

Organic solar is also a darkhorse, I wouldn't be surprised if that ended up being a viable candidate in some things. Anywho, perovskites, and/or quantum dots (another booming material class), are also going to be the basis for commercial solar glass, which we'll see pick up traction in 8-10 years (ROI $$). And if you kinda have a grasp on how economies handle energy industries, you see how relatively easy and cheap perovskite production can be, everyone is going to start building and sourcing domestically. Marginal utility of domestic economic benefits will far outweigh a fractional cost reduction. So, good chance total transportation energy usage in shipping declines in the long-term.

3) EVs = I'm on a roll so I might as well continue. We all know by now EVs are much more efficient than combustion engine vehicles. But, EVs still have a ton of headroom on efficiency. Not only in motor, drivetrain, inverter/converter, but also software. And here's one I don't see mentioned enough... weight. If you double the energy density of a Tesla Model 3 battery, you cut about 500-600lbs (225-270kg) off the weight of the vehicle. Also, point applicable to buses. That's more range per kWh. Not only that, but "lighterweight" materials is pretty well understood to see a sonic boom in the next 10 years, and in perpetuity. Aluminum, steel alloys, carbon fiber reinforced plastic, even magnesium is getting attention (cool research which would be transformational = carbon fiber from lignin). Who knows how this develops, point is it's expected to get a significant amount of attention and a lot of expenditures/research. In 15 years, an average of 300kg weight reduction, in a more efficient system overall (for instance I highly doubt we're still using silicon carbide inverters/converters), wouldn't be surprising at all.

You can also see this inflection point down the road, especially with better charging and energy densities, losing weight, better efficiency, especially all the charging at homes and various places, how much capacity will they actually need? Batteries will keep getting denser while capacity needs lower, leading to additional weight savings, but also battery material costs/inputs. And what exactly is going to stop us from putting 1-2kW of solar on an EV, 10kW+ on buses, in say 15 years with all the other very likely developments enhancing efficiency? It's only going to take one manufacturer getting great feedback on a model, before others start doing it. That's inevitable, imo. I think we could see that on some models even in 10 years. Would be a great way to couple domestic upstart next-generation solar to domestic EV and ride the benefits across the entire economy, the headroom for coupled iterating solar efficiency and iterating EV efficiency is astronomical. Can you imagine what that is going to do in some place like India? I would take a bet for any sum of money they are doing precisely that in 15 years. Name an amount, and loser donates that money to hooking up Nanning.

4) Anywho, there's also other things like just better energy management + controls for commercial buildings using more capable sensors we expect to iterate over the next 10 years, actuators, data analytics, rough figure is we can likely cut 10-15% off total commercial building energy consumption, some even up to 40-50% with expected replacement practices, just with those levers. Rooftop and commercial solar glass also will cut down transmission & distribution losses, which are not insignificant. Ditto for more efficient EVs, especially when (not if) solar is placed on a lot of them. More proximal siting for generation, in general, and grid batteries, should also help overall electricity system efficiency, that's really one of the most promising things energy people are excited about, batteries are incredible grid assets and will be used as transmission assets too.

5) Recycling and bio-feedstocks are absolutely 100% essential pillars of any sustainable world. Here's my pillars: renewable generation, EVs, green hydrogen, bio-feedstocks, recycling. And real planning like non-idiots, like real large-scale insulation and energy efficiency measures with teeth. I might be forgetting one off the top of my head, but everything kinda branches off those. Hydrogen or derivative for maritime + aviation, bio-feedstocks including chemistry, materials, and also things like meat replacement, etc. My personal opinion, we're going to find out electricity is actually the relatively easy part, can bridge with green hydrogen fired turbines if necessary, it'll be cheap enough. I like to summarize the hard part like this:

Imagine a world of carbon based lifeforms, in an oxygen and nitrogen rich atmosphere, that is about 3/4 water. Now imagine they have seemingly plentiful materials called "hydrocarbons", and think how that could be influential in their growing civilization and development.

This is basically where catalyst innovation, processes, material science, recycling, and even genetic engineering agriculture bio-feedstocks comes into play. Catalysts might be the most important, yet unmentioned and probably least understood, part of the transition equation. Much like batteries, our actual capabilities in observing/engineering weren't good/fast enough, that's starting to change though. If you're interested in science & research, material science (and chemistry) is critical and advancing, will undoubtedly see numerous breakthroughs over the next 10-15 years, batteries, industry catalysts, electrolyzers, photocatalysts, 2-D materials, power electronics, and things like recycling catalysts/processes, hopefully lignin, cellulose etc. The revolution starting to take shape in research computation, not just AI/ML, but expected deviation from decades of established computing architecture, new memories/hierarchies, interconnects, stacking, integrated silicon photonics, and synergy with AI/ML, will be a big boon if we focus.

6) Last one. The advantage we do have, is that developing economies, if given a choice, would much rather keep their industry value chains domestic, piggybacking off cheap domestic renewable generation, even if it's more expensive at the beginning. FFs require enormous value chains, most developing countries enter JVs (joint ventures), and they have to deal with multinational vulture energy companies who leverage not only $$, but political influence and capture. For example, think of a developing country who wanted to domestically produce fertilizer, those jobs in the value chain, also boosting agriculture industry, as we get on with it the domestic benefits from renewable electricity -> green ammonia -> fertilizer are enormous and much less a pain in the ass than having to go through all the trouble of either producing natural gas or spending a load of $$ on terminals, processing, and seeing all the supply money leave the country.

In future bio-feedstocks for chemicals and materials, they can grow and process it themselves or easily trade with neighboring countries who could be doing similar things. Recycling as well, theoretically they could import things, recycle or upcycle them, and just reproduce goods domestically.

Oh, one more thing. People really overrate where we were, which is about 5 hops out of the Stone Age. Our entire civilization has been built on laughably inefficient processes. We're seeing this shift finally. It wouldn't be hyperbole to say the human race is on the verge of a new era of human civilization, with 2020-2029 serving as the precipitous decline and trough, and ~2030 as the ramp to a new cycle. We see this all over the place in every major industry, and society through networking, communication, technological accessibility. As we're on ASIF, I'm sure the irony is not lost on ya'll. Do we actually reach a sustainable world without burning everything down? Don't ask me, that's above my pay grade.

Keep banging the table for hemp research, processing, catalysts, materials, computation/genetics work. It's a damn wunder material for things we can use between the crop and seeds, agriculture genetic engineering has done some pretty amazing things in the last year and that's just getting started. It's also relatively rugged, and sequesters something like 15 tons of CO2 per hectare (we can probably increase that), future butt-wipe, plastics, textiles, bunch of things, even has a high insulation rating while being easy to handle. Supposedly a good crop for regenerative agriculture. And given all the offshore wind farms/structures, algae-seaweed-kelp-etc farms and artificial reefs, I think a European group is doing a study/trial with this, I thought about that a few years ago, seems like a no-brainer to me and there's still likely a whole lot we can learn on actually using it.

(Yes, the US will cut significantly more than 50% off total energy consumption, if that timeline is 30 years anyway. That number will have a different meaning with so much proximal located generation like rooftop, as well. US energy consumption also likely peaked in 2018. PS. - Texas in 2020 is 36% 0-carbon electricity thus far with electricity demand higher than the UK, no real rooftop market, and solar just ramping up this year. - California's old turbines were running at about 40% capacity factors during one of those blackout times, they just don't build any, barely any since 2012, their grid management is mind boggling. - Yes, vehicle2grid will be huge, second life batteries have potential too.)

- Hope ya'll learned something
- Fin
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: oren on September 11, 2020, 05:50:02 AM
Great post Wildcatter.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: KiwiGriff on September 11, 2020, 08:01:56 AM
Awesome post Wildcatter.
Good to see some positive input about the future.
Please post more I for one will take note of any detail or research you can add.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: nanning on September 11, 2020, 11:44:06 AM
"Good to see some positive input about the future future technology."  :)
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: Ken Feldman on September 11, 2020, 07:19:36 PM
Moving to all renewable energy sources reduces energy needs by 57%.  The linked study, from 2019, demonstrates that 80% renewables by 2030 is doable, with 100% by 2050.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2590332219302258?via%3Dihub (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2590332219302258?via%3Dihub)

Quote
Impacts of Green New Deal Energy Plans on Grid Stability, Costs, Jobs, Health, and Climate in 143 Countries
Mark Z.Jacobson, Mark A.Delucchi, Mary A.Cameron, Stephen J.Coughlin, Catherine A.Hay, Indu Priya Manogaran, Yanbo Shu, Anna-Katharinavon Krauland

Summary

Global warming, air pollution, and energy insecurity are three of the greatest problems facing humanity. To address these problems, we develop Green New Deal energy roadmaps for 143 countries. The roadmaps call for a 100% transition of all-purpose business-as-usual (BAU) energy to wind-water-solar (WWS) energy, efficiency, and storage by 2050 with at least 80% by 2030. Our studies on grid stability find that the countries, grouped into 24 regions, can match demand exactly from 2050 to 2052 with 100% WWS supply and storage. We also derive new cost metrics. Worldwide, WWS energy reduces end-use energy by 57.1%, aggregate private energy costs from $17.7 to $6.8 trillion/year (61%), and aggregate social (private plus health plus climate) costs from $76.1 to $6.8 trillion/year (91%) at a present value capital cost of ∼$73 trillion. WWS energy creates 28.6 million more long-term, full-time jobs than BAU energy and needs only ∼0.17% and ∼0.48% of land for new footprint and spacing, respectively. Thus, WWS requires less energy, costs less, and creates more jobs than does BAU.

(https://ars.els-cdn.com/content/image/1-s2.0-S2590332219302258-fx1.jpg)
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: Ken Feldman on September 11, 2020, 07:37:57 PM
This article on the energy transition still misses the point about natural gas, but the statistics on the growth of renewables are quite revealing.  Keep in mind that renewables only became less expensive than fossil fuels in some areas in 2018 and around 75% of the world in 2019.  It also doesn't address the efficiency edge that renewables have over fossil fuels.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-global-energy-kemp/global-energy-transition-already-well-underway-kemp-idUSKBN2621XD (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-global-energy-kemp/global-energy-transition-already-well-underway-kemp-idUSKBN2621XD)

Quote
September 11, 2020
Global energy transition already well underway: Kemp

By John Kemp

LONDON (Reuters) - Policymakers still tend to talk about the global energy transition in the future tense, as something that might or will happen in the next few decades, but the transition is already well underway and shows signs of accelerating.

Quote
Global energy consumption from natural gas and renewables (mostly wind, solar and biofuels) grew much faster than energy consumption as a whole over the five years between 2014 and 2019.

Renewables increased at a compound annual rate of more than 12.5% while gas increased at a rate of 2.9%, both much faster than total energy consumption growth of 1.6%.

Quote
Gas accounted for 43% of all the extra energy consumed in 2019 compared with 2014, while renewables and oil each accounted for an extra 29%.

In recent years, the shift has accelerated, with renewables accounting for 41% of extra energy consumed in 2019, gas accounting for 36%, while oil accounted for just 21%.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on September 12, 2020, 03:24:26 AM
Bad analogy.  Renewables are like power stations, not like petroleum.  If fossil fuel power plants were becoming dramatically cheaper to build, yes, that would fairly directly indicate a better EROI.

You need fossil fuels to manufacture components needed for renewable energy, from mining to manufacturing to shipping.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on September 12, 2020, 03:32:15 AM

Not at all  true.  Your arguments keep focusing on debt related to fossil fuel use.  The debt is largely irrelevant to the discussion.  It's not central at all.  We're currently in a setting where oil is around $40/barrell, down from near $100.  High oil cost producers (frackers, deep sea drillers, coal) are indeed going bankrupt.  This is a consequence of the economic downturn, not a cause.

In bankruptcy, debts are wiped out, and productive assets sold at pennies on the dollar, and those that can be operated profitably remain in production.  Investors lose money.  The consumer side of the picture hardly changes at all.

In the macroeconomic picture, even $2 trillion in bad debt is not a catastrophe if it's all liquidated in bankruptcy.  Note that the Federal Reserve recently created $2 trillion in a matter of weeks.  There will be no collapse from fossil fuel debt.

The price of oil is driven by speculation, but the cost of oil is driven by physical limitations and gravity. That's why some argue that the energy return of oil has dropped from 100:1 in the 1930s to around 3:1 today.

Meanwhile, the cost of oil is measured in dollars and not in energy returns, which means we have oil producers that need oil at around $100 to cover over $2 trillion in debt, and a price that's much lower.

Finally, the same oil and fossil fuels in general are used for around 70 pct of mining operations, a substantial chuck of manufacturing, and a lot more for shipping, especially for container ships. These are the operations needed to manufacture and distribute not only renewable energy components but most manufactured goods, from the materials needed to develop infrastructure to distribute energy from renewables to consumer goods that will use them.

One more thing: all that will be paid for by a global population that mostly earns less than $10 a day but used to earn much less decades earlier. And they want more than basic needs. So do the businesses that sell to them and even the investors in renewable energy, which include not only oil companies but even climate deniers. (One personality interviewed in a recent documentary pointed out that one of the main investors in glass works needed for things like solar panels are the Kochs.)

Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on September 12, 2020, 03:50:19 AM

I conclude I am not going to persuade you of anything while you are convinced that it is me that needs educating.


I was thinking the same thing. But based on our conservation, it appears to me that you either know little about the context in which renewable energy is used or that you know but don't want to talk about it.

Quote
People decide whether to invest in energy production or something else. If too much is invested the amount that can be charged falls reducing potential returns and people switch to investing in other things. Each thing to invest in finds its own level. What happens isn't just happening because investors want it or just because consumers want it but as a result of a supply and demand balance. Consumers and suppliers wanting opposites is entirely normal.

They invest less in energy production not because they are investing too much in it but because costs have gone down for one reason for another. For example, the reason why oil prices went down across several years was because of a weak global economy, in turn the result of the 2008 crash. That's why similar happened across several commodity indices. And recently, because of the pandemic.

Where did they turn to except overvalued stock markets and precious metals?

What's the problem, then? Oil producers borrowed around $2 trillion to continue increasing oil production, and anticipated that higher prices due to increasing demand would allow them to cover debts. That's the same oil (fuel plus petrochemicals) needed for mining, manufacturing, and shipping of not only renewable energy but even most of manufactured goods, not to mention materials for infrastructure needed to distribute these plus energy.

And that debt was part of more that led to the 2008 crash!

Quote

Investors also decide whether to invest in energy production via fossil fuel or via renewables. This battle has been all but won because renewables are cheaper. 90%+ is going into renewables rather than ff because renewables are now cheaper so better return from them. Prices continue to change towards renewables being cheaper. With many asset lives of 30+ years, it takes some time for the production percentage to change but it surely will over the next 20+ years.


Yes, but following that argument, people will invest less because prices have gone down for renewables and even oil.

And yet the energy returns remain low. I keep being told that what I presented is outdated and yet no one has been able to give the updated data, just prices! As I said earlier, it's like peak oil deniers claiming that there's no peak oil because prices have gone down.

Quote
This battle is already won.

Far from it. The best estimate I get from solar power, for example, is a return of less than 6, according to Prieto and others from 2017, and that's using real-world conditions rather than nameplate power. That's the same "outdated" info given by Inman years earlier.

And energy returns for oil, which is needed to manufacture renewable energy components, have been going down as well. The same phenomenon of diminishing returns has been taking place even for the minerals needed for the same components.

Meanwhile, barring financial crashes, pandemics, and even more effects from climate change and peak oil, demand for energy and consumer goods remains high worldwide, and that's because most people are poor and want to avoid that and more. And the amount of energy and material resources needed to meet their needs and wants is certainly much higher than the biosphere can afford to give.

And that's just for the current world population, which is expected to continue rising due to momentum.

Quote

In the next 5 years, of course transition to renewable energy won't cover it, it will take a lot longer.

In the longer term, why not? Do you expect the market to fail? If it isn't possible then the market should price it as impossibly expensive. If it is possible it will be priced affordably.

It is possible that it will take too long and climate change will get a lot worse as a result so I am sure we would all like to see the transition happen faster. How much faster is needed and how to achieve that is debatable.

That's part of my point.

Quote

But I seem to be answering basic economics questions which don't seem to have much relation to EROEI. Then suddenly

Quote
Not just the transition lag but even the amount of energy that's needed!

If you want to reduce the transition period from 30 years to 1 year then probably the energy to do it isn't available but there is no way that is happening. The energy might be available in 5 years but that really isn't happening either. Where the debate should be at is how do we reduce the transition period from 30 years to 25 or maybe 20 years, perhaps even 15 years.

There is more to do to solve climate change than just transitioning to renewables but that makes the other issues more tractable.

I am just not seeing any huge relevance of EROEI, perhaps I just don't want to see it despite trying to engage with you, or maybe you are not doing a good job of explaining it, or maybe you just believe in its importance and can't see what I am trying to get across.

Not 30 to 1 years but up to 131 years to 20. And given climate change and peak oil, at least 20 years ago.

https://www.businessinsider.com/131-years-to-replace-oil-2010-11
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on September 12, 2020, 03:55:31 AM

Not at all  true.  Your arguments keep focusing on debt related to fossil fuel use.  The debt is largely irrelevant to the discussion.  It's not central at all.  We're currently in a setting where oil is around $40/barrell, down from near $100.  High oil cost producers (frackers, deep sea drillers, coal) are indeed going bankrupt.  This is a consequence of the economic downturn, not a cause.

In bankruptcy, debts are wiped out, and productive assets sold at pennies on the dollar, and those that can be operated profitably remain in production.  Investors lose money.  The consumer side of the picture hardly changes at all.

In the macroeconomic picture, even $2 trillion in bad debt is not a catastrophe if it's all liquidated in bankruptcy.  Note that the Federal Reserve recently created $2 trillion in a matter of weeks.  There will be no collapse from fossil fuel debt.

That makes absolutely no sense at all! According to the IEA and BP, conventional production peaked after 2005, which means we've been relying more on unconventional production to meet increasing demand.

The claim about bankruptcy is ridiculous. Oil production that goes offline doesn't return easily, and try to find new investors for that!

The last point is absurd, as it was increasing debt covered by increasing debt that caused the 2008 crash, and is now part of global credit that has an estimated notional value of around $1 quadrillion!

Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on September 12, 2020, 03:57:39 AM

The relevance of EROEI to this seems vanishingly small if there is any relevance at all.

It's the other way round! More are realizing that the underlying base of the global economy is energy, and it's that same energy that's supposed to not only maintain that base but counter ecological damage and climate change.

To do that, we need very high energy returns.

And to meet the needs and wants of a global population? Even higher.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on September 12, 2020, 04:03:26 AM
I thought we already covered this ralfy. Waste heat is part of the current energy use and also part of your projection for future use. Eliminate waste heat by avoiding the burning of fossil fuels and switching to renewable electricity and electric motors, and you can cut the energy needed by 60%-70%. At some point you agreed with this, so why revert back to the previous argument?

Obviously one cannot power the global demand of the future population by fossil fuels, not because of peak oil but because of pollution and AGW.

As I explained to you, energy return for renewables involves the whole process, from mining to manufacturing to shipping. What you want to dismiss concerning renewables can't be done, as fossil fuels are used to mine materials needed for renewable energy components, manufacturing, and shipping them.

In addition, those components will be paid for by growing numbers of people who will have the same distributed to them, if not the energy as well, using infrastructure constructed given the same circumstances. Even the consumer goods that will use electricity involve the same.

Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on September 12, 2020, 04:06:57 AM

It's as if you do not see that fossil fuels and renewables are interchangeable from an energy standpoint. The peak oil crowd, dealing with diminishing returns and EROEI and hoped-for physical limitations for years and decades, often has trouble grasping that oil can be eliminated with not much harm done, and a lot of good. I wish that oil would have run out a long time ago, but it didn't, and we are stuck with the consequences and with the need to stop consuming it long before it runs out, not because of peak oil and EROEI, but because of pollution and AGW.

To your point, higher returns for renewable energy could easily mean (and should mean) replacement of fossil fuel energy infrastructure, cleaning up the global energy use, and not necessarily increasing energy consumption.
In parallel, global energy demand is growing, due to rising affluence and population growth. Renewable energy growth should be high enough to cover both the energy demand growth and the need for replacing fossil fuel infrastructure. As renewable growth is currently not high enough, reduction in consumption is indeed very much needed in parallel, to enable a shorter transition period until fossil fuel use is eliminated.
However, calls for consumption reduction should not be instead of renewable energy rollout, which needs to happen fast in any case so that fossil fuel plants and engines can be shut down. And denying the physical ability of renewable energy to power energy demand will eventually lead to a slower rollout, thus advancing AGW.

Only if renewable energy components don't need mining, manufacturing, and shipping across extensive supply chains stretching tens of thousands of km, which in turn require extensive fossil fuel inputs, and for a global market that doesn't have a lot of infrastructure in place, and which in turn will require even more fossil fuel inputs, not to mention the same for consumer goods that will use that energy.

Even the computer that you're now using involves such! Claims that one wishes that we had run out of oil a long time are are absurd.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on September 12, 2020, 04:18:27 AM
Now, if New Zealand startup Emrod has its way, Tesla and Marconi’s dreams may merge. The company is building a system to wirelessly beam power over long distances. Earlier this month, Emrod received funding from Powerco, New Zealand’s second biggest utility, to conduct a test of its system at a grid-connected commercial power station.

The company uses metamaterials to more efficiently convert the microwave beam back into electricity. The relays, which are like “lenses” extending the beam beyond line-of-sight by refocusing it, are nearly lossless. According to Kushnir, most of losses happen at the other end, where electricity is converted into microwave energy. Overall, he said the system’s efficiency is around 70%, which is short of copper wires but economically viable in some areas.


https://singularityhub.com/2020/08/30/new-zealand-is-about-to-test-long-range-wireless-power-transmission/

PS: jP Morgan stopped funding Tesla because wireless transmission ddnt "make" electricity.

Indeed. It's all in a testing phase, together with innovations in nuclear reactors and more. Even oil producers pointed to "game changers" which allowed for more unconventional production. There were even articles about superconductors and others years earlier, and recently preferences for wave energy as the best option.

But what are the needs of the global population and even a capitalist economy in light of such? One source points out that our ecological footprint per capita is much higher than biocapacity, and even countries like NZ which have a high biocapacity per capita due to a small population have a per capita ecological footprint that's double that the world average.

In order to meet the current ave. footprint of the world population, we will need the equivalent of one more biosphere to deter ecological damage and avoid diminishing returns. That implies energy sources (including renewables) and technologies for distributing energy will have to be so efficient in order to ensure that need, plus more because the same population will continue to grow. Plus more because all those consumers want to consume more per capita, just like NZ. And investors in new technologies are counting on the same.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on September 12, 2020, 04:31:02 AM
^^
That's a nice weapon?

---
ralfy, I agree that the system is set up for ever more consumption and ever more energy use.
Using less energy is difficult to discuss here because most are inside that consumer-bubble imo.
Money is not real. Everything financial floats without anchors in reality.

Yes, it is ingrained in competitive capitalism: overproduction, maximization of profit, overconsumption, etc. As Marx correctly pointed out, governments will work with the same systems because they are essentially executive committees of the rich, and consumers want the same because they were raised in a world where those who talk about peak oil and even climate change in a disconcerting way are scaremongers and alarmists. For them, the magic of science and technology will make things well. After all, isn't that what oil did after '45, leading to global mass manufacturing and the Green Revolution, which in turn led to higher food production output, the widespread use of vaccines and vitamins, the construction of sanitation systems and safe housing, and many other (now) necessities? So why not think about nuclear energy (which Hubbert, the proponent of peak oil, argued would save humanity) and renewable energy (skewered recently in one documentary) in the same way?

But all that, as you correctly pointed out, is talking place in a global economy which essentially involves money, which in turn amounts to mostly numbers in hard drives, and yet is what makes or breaks not just oil production but even the manufacture of renewable energy components. It's also the same money that led to a 2008 crash and slow global growth across a decade.

In an ideal world, one can imagine that none of those matter, that we should have run out of oil a long time ago so that we can use renewable energy that magically appears and that in no way involves oil, and that by some miracle the people of the world will rise up and, thanks to political will, create some sort of static global economy where no one uses too much energy and material resources but no one is in need.

In a real world, though, where real-world conditions show a solar power energy return dropping to less than 6, where businesses involved in such and more consist of very rich capitalists, not to mention personalities like the Kochs, and where investments are made based on maximization of profits and not on beliefs that investments should be distributed evenly across different sectors (as if it were all part of some computer game where resource levels are conveniently tweaked), then issues of not only transitioning to renewable energy but even its use and characteristics (e.g., that it's "clean") come to light.



Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on September 12, 2020, 04:39:14 AM
In electricity, wind is already multiples of natural gas in EROI. Nowadays, I would be shocked if solar wasn't ahead of every FF. The fun part is, we're not even close to their potential.
...

But what are the energy returns? Some sources I've consulted include Charles Hall, but I'm told that what I shared is outdated. What are the updated figures?

About inefficient processes, most don't know that even renewable energy components involve them, especially for mining, manufacturing, and shipping. In fact, even the capitalist systems on which such technological development are dependent are themselves inefficient: driven by overproduction as a result of competition and maximization of profit.

And what about demand? Most parts of the world aren't like the U.S. That means they have not reached the stage of having to cut down energy consumption by 50 pct. If any, they want to increase energy production, and by much more than that.

Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on September 12, 2020, 05:06:38 AM
Moving to all renewable energy sources reduces energy needs by 57%.  The linked study, from 2019, demonstrates that 80% renewables by 2030 is doable, with 100% by 2050.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2590332219302258?via%3Dihub (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2590332219302258?via%3Dihub)

Quote
Impacts of Green New Deal Energy Plans on Grid Stability, Costs, Jobs, Health, and Climate in 143 Countries
Mark Z.Jacobson, Mark A.Delucchi, Mary A.Cameron, Stephen J.Coughlin, Catherine A.Hay, Indu Priya Manogaran, Yanbo Shu, Anna-Katharinavon Krauland

Summary

Global warming, air pollution, and energy insecurity are three of the greatest problems facing humanity. To address these problems, we develop Green New Deal energy roadmaps for 143 countries. The roadmaps call for a 100% transition of all-purpose business-as-usual (BAU) energy to wind-water-solar (WWS) energy, efficiency, and storage by 2050 with at least 80% by 2030. Our studies on grid stability find that the countries, grouped into 24 regions, can match demand exactly from 2050 to 2052 with 100% WWS supply and storage. We also derive new cost metrics. Worldwide, WWS energy reduces end-use energy by 57.1%, aggregate private energy costs from $17.7 to $6.8 trillion/year (61%), and aggregate social (private plus health plus climate) costs from $76.1 to $6.8 trillion/year (91%) at a present value capital cost of ∼$73 trillion. WWS energy creates 28.6 million more long-term, full-time jobs than BAU energy and needs only ∼0.17% and ∼0.48% of land for new footprint and spacing, respectively. Thus, WWS requires less energy, costs less, and creates more jobs than does BAU.

(https://ars.els-cdn.com/content/image/1-s2.0-S2590332219302258-fx1.jpg)

I recall another report discussing the same, and assuring at least 50 TW from 100-pct renewable energy.

I completely agree with the points raised in the paper. Unfortunately, there are these major catches:

It involves a Green New Deal spanning more than 100 countries, with everyone coordinating with each other. If any, that's the meaning of replacing "business-as-usual" energy with WWS (wind, water, solar) energy. (What happened to wave energy?)

Countries ranging from NZ to the US will have to cut down not only on energy use but ecological footprint per capita by at least 50 pct. That definitely means no more toys, etc., or even the ability to surf online.

In addition, to avoid global warming, no more fossil fuels may be used ten years from now. That means what would take many decades and involving countries with large armed forces, contending trade or bi- or multi-lateral trade agreements, and climate change agreements that involve slight cuts in carbon emission increases, now has to be done by force (who will enforce such?) and in less than a decade. (However, the study did show that this is not possible, which is why it adjusted the transition period to 2050.)

Then there's diminishing returns. We've been seeing that for oil and mining, and those are linked to renewable energy for reasons given earlier. That means the amount of energy needed will involve more than just grid stability. It has to minimize the effects of diminishing returns, were increasing amounts of energy are needed to extract decreasing amounts of new resources.

Then there's the global capitalist economy on which such assumptions rest, from which we have overconsumption and overproduction as a result of competition. It can no longer be "business as usual" for energy production, but what about consumption? Will the 29 pct of the world population assume that, as pointed out by one forum member, that things like toys and trips abroad can no longer take place? Will the remaining 71 pct assume that they can't have these conveniences? Or is it safe to assume that grid stability will be accompanied by a multifold increase in grid capacity which can provide the equivalent of at least a doubling in ave. global ecological footprint per capita while decreasing carbon emissions by at least 80 pct?

In short, in order to avoid "business as usual" energy while maintaining "business as usual," grid capacity globally has to increase significantly twice: to counter diminishing returns and to minimize the effects of climate change.

By how much, and how to make sure that 143 countries worldwide will engage in major coordination and cooperation with each other across the board in only a few years, we will have to figure out.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: KiwiGriff on September 12, 2020, 05:49:05 AM
ralfy
I can not see your posts because I have you on ignore but do see you make them .
Here is a hint.
You can add more to a post after publishing one if you simply edit it by clicking on modify at the top right .
This means there is no need to post ten times in succession  making my poor scroll finger work unpaid overtime and wearing out my mouse.
 
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: kassy on September 12, 2020, 09:12:29 AM
That and/or just focus on some points.

You need fossil fuels to manufacture components needed for renewable energy, from mining to manufacturing to shipping.

There is no need for this in the long term.

Also theoretically gains from the US in renewable energy/reduction in consumption could free up a lot of space for the rest of the world population.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: oren on September 12, 2020, 10:37:03 AM

It's as if you do not see that fossil fuels and renewables are interchangeable from an energy standpoint. The peak oil crowd, dealing with diminishing returns and EROEI and hoped-for physical limitations for years and decades, often has trouble grasping that oil can be eliminated with not much harm done, and a lot of good. I wish that oil would have run out a long time ago, but it didn't, and we are stuck with the consequences and with the need to stop consuming it long before it runs out, not because of peak oil and EROEI, but because of pollution and AGW.

To your point, higher returns for renewable energy could easily mean (and should mean) replacement of fossil fuel energy infrastructure, cleaning up the global energy use, and not necessarily increasing energy consumption.
In parallel, global energy demand is growing, due to rising affluence and population growth. Renewable energy growth should be high enough to cover both the energy demand growth and the need for replacing fossil fuel infrastructure. As renewable growth is currently not high enough, reduction in consumption is indeed very much needed in parallel, to enable a shorter transition period until fossil fuel use is eliminated.
However, calls for consumption reduction should not be instead of renewable energy rollout, which needs to happen fast in any case so that fossil fuel plants and engines can be shut down. And denying the physical ability of renewable energy to power energy demand will eventually lead to a slower rollout, thus advancing AGW.

Only if renewable energy components don't need mining, manufacturing, and shipping across extensive supply chains stretching tens of thousands of km, which in turn require extensive fossil fuel inputs, and for a global market that doesn't have a lot of infrastructure in place, and which in turn will require even more fossil fuel inputs, not to mention the same for consumer goods that will use that energy.

Even the computer that you're now using involves such! Claims that one wishes that we had run out of oil a long time are are absurd.
Again it's as if you do not realize fossil fuels and renewables are interchangeable.
Mining equipment can be replaced with electric motor and battery operated equipment. This will enable much better working conditions especially underground, and will be cheaper.
Most manufacturing can be made with electricity.
Trucking can be made electric easily.
Shipping energy is the hardest to replace, but still possible. But then again, solar panels are much lighter than oil and coal and take up much smaller volume so the problem is not gigantic.

All that is needed is first and foremost to deploy renewable electricity production in much larger numbers that cover not just electricity demand growth but also existing electricity production to enable stoppage of new fossil fuel plants and faster closure of existing such plants. Hint: This will happen faster if people from the peak oil crowd and from other agendas stop spreading anti-renewables stuff.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: nanning on September 12, 2020, 10:49:39 AM
Kiwigriff, his posts are all replies to other forum members. You were wrong with your hint. And if he's on ignore (shame on you) why do you have to scroll so much since you don't see his posts?

Please be nice to forum members and not just to your 'friends'.
He is new, give him some slack. Tom and Freegrass were also very active when they were new members if I recall correctly.

edit: I see now that KiwiGriff has removed his post. Tail between legs? Hmm. Next time I'll put the quote in.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: etienne on September 12, 2020, 10:49:55 AM
Every energy is interchangeable, but the problem is hat fossil fuels are at such a high percentage, for sure in Luxembourg. So reducing consumption is a need.

The data come from here https://statistiques.public.lu/stat/TableViewer/chartView.aspx?ReportId=12771&sCS_ChosenLang=en
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: Jim Hunt on September 12, 2020, 11:24:04 AM
Roof solar on industrial buildings remains the best concept. The problem is that if it has not been planned from the beginning, the structure of the building could be too weak.

Sadly here in the UK that is often the case. Lightweight "flexible" solar PV might help?

Quote
I am not so convinced of removing land of agricultural use to produce energy.

Neither am I. I have even campaigned against the construction of solar "farms" on land suitable for growing food for humans:

http://econnexus.org.uk/the-fulford-solar-kettle-gets-lost-in-translation/
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: Jim Hunt on September 12, 2020, 11:41:07 AM
The best estimate I get from solar power, for example, is a return of less than 6, according to Prieto and others from 2017, and that's using real-world conditions rather than nameplate power.

An EROEI intro from a certain Euan Mearns:

http://euanmearns.com/eroei-for-beginners/

Quote
If we lived in a society with a single global currency (the EJ) and without taxes or subsidies, then money may represent a fair proxy for ERoEI although distortions would remain from the different efficiencies with which that money (EJ) was spent. However, in the real world, different currencies, interest rates, debts, taxes and subsidies exist that allow the thermodynamic rules of the energy world to be bent, albeit temporarily. We are at risk of exchanging gold for dirt.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on September 13, 2020, 05:36:46 AM
That and/or just focus on some points.

You need fossil fuels to manufacture components needed for renewable energy, from mining to manufacturing to shipping.

There is no need for this in the long term.

Also theoretically gains from the US in renewable energy/reduction in consumption could free up a lot of space for the rest of the world population.

There is obviously reason for that in the long term if the transition time is lengthy:

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

There will definitely be gains for the rest of the world since the U.S. has only around 4 pct of the world's population but uses around 20 pct of world oil production to power almost a quarter of the world's passenger vehicles and generally uses a lot of resources worldwide. The catch is that most want middle class conveniences as well.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on September 13, 2020, 05:44:00 AM
Again it's as if you do not realize fossil fuels and renewables are interchangeable.
Mining equipment can be replaced with electric motor and battery operated equipment. This will enable much better working conditions especially underground, and will be cheaper.
Most manufacturing can be made with electricity.
Trucking can be made electric easily.
Shipping energy is the hardest to replace, but still possible. But then again, solar panels are much lighter than oil and coal and take up much smaller volume so the problem is not gigantic.

All that is needed is first and foremost to deploy renewable electricity production in much larger numbers that cover not just electricity demand growth but also existing electricity production to enable stoppage of new fossil fuel plants and faster closure of existing such plants. Hint: This will happen faster if people from the peak oil crowd and from other agendas stop spreading anti-renewables stuff.

They are definitely not interchangeable unless components like electric motors have been developed that can replace diesel-powered ones for heavy equipment used in mining, for engines in container ships, and more.

As pointed out several times, one study mentioned here states that a full transition is possible, but the lag time is lengthy:

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

And because energy returns are lower, buffer stocks are needed, which is why several interviewed in a 2006 Four Corners documentary about peak oil argued that the transition should have started in the 1990s.

That doesn't mean, of course, that the move to renewable energy should not continue, but it is very likely that it will not maintain a global capitalist economy that needs a lot more energy and resources, which is the point of this thread.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on September 13, 2020, 06:02:34 AM
Kiwigriff, his posts are all replies to other forum members. You were wrong with your hint. And if he's on ignore (shame on you) why do you have to scroll so much since you don't see his posts?

Please be nice to forum members and not just to your 'friends'.
He is new, give him some slack. Tom and Freegrass were also very active when they were new members if I recall correctly.

AFAIK, this site is mainly about Arctic Sea Ice and climate change, and those are two things that I know much less about. But I am not new to discussions on peak oil, renewable energy, energy in general, and how they relate to economies, which is why I don't understand why I am readily dismissed in this forum or even seen by some as sort of climate change denier. I'm still waiting, BTW, for those updated numbers for energy return and even net energy, not to mention how they reverse diminishing returns for mining and oil production.

That said, I have the following points to summarize the issue:

- The global economy is capitalist and competitive. Much of it is controlled by only around 500 corporations, and mostly financial. Businesses are characterized essentially by maximization of profits and returns on investment, and that means, among others, overconsumption and overproduction.

- The majority of human beings are poor, which means we are far away from global industrialization or its benefits. We can achieve that by producing the equivalent of one more biosphere to meet basic needs (given biocapacity per capita) and much more than that to maintain economic growth.

- Population continues to grow due to momentum, and unless rapid industrialization takes place (as implied in the study submitted to Lancet and others), then it cannot peak. But that means significant scaling up of energy very quickly.

- Energy returns for renewables have been growing but they are still small to meet all of the points given above.

- Peak oil is a given, with production per capita peaking back in 1979, conventional peaking after 2005, and unconventional said to peak soon. Oil in the form of fuel and petrochemicals are the main buffer stuck for global industrialization and is what we are essentially counting on to manufacture renewable energy components and more, and to move away from it.

- Some climate scientists and even environmental scientists argue that we have reached or have gone past tipping point (which some argue is something past 350 ppm). Some energy experts add that we should have started the transition to other energy sources in order to avoid peak oil at least two decades before 2005.

- Everywhere we are seeing the effects of diminishing returns and the threat of a resource crunch coupled with the effects of climate change, as seen in increasing costs for extracting minerals and oil needed for renewable energy to soil damage to seafood harvest declines.

That means any renewable energy transition will be done not to maintain business as usual but for survival. In addition, all energy resources will have to be used as the global population faces a combination of a resource crunch and pollution coupled with the effects of climate change (which include arctic sea ice issues) and ecological damage on a significant scale. "Black swans" like conflict (with risks increased due to, among others, a multifold increase in armaments production and deployment worldwide, as reported by the FAS) and pandemics (with increased vectors due to the spread of disease as economic activity grows) can only make matters worse.

This is the context in which renewable energy transition and consumption is and will be taking place.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on September 13, 2020, 06:09:17 AM
Every energy is interchangeable, but the problem is hat fossil fuels are at such a high percentage, for sure in Luxembourg. So reducing consumption is a need.

The data come from here https://statistiques.public.lu/stat/TableViewer/chartView.aspx?ReportId=12771&sCS_ChosenLang=en

Keep in mind that the majority of the world is not like Luxembourg or even the UK. We are looking at many countries where only a fraction of roads are paved, where 25-40 pct of children 0-5 years of age face under- or malnutrition, where there is a significant lack of hospitals, clinics, nurses, doctors, lab technicians, and more, where only around 60 pct of various areas have enough electricity, where only a fraction of people complete education, where education is still lacking due to a lack of teachers, school rooms, books, desks, doors, electricity, and potable water, where many still lack access to things like toilets, sanitation systems, and more.

Given current biosphere limitations, among others, if the 25 pct of the world population that makes up the middle class were to even sacrifice not just energy but even resource consumption by 50 pct or more (that is, if by some miracle, they will even do that), the amount will barely be enough to provide basic needs for the current population.

Which will continue growing.

In a world where increasing ecological damage is taking its toll on resource availability.

And where the same resource availability is affected by diminishing returns, in turn driven by a combination of physical limitations and gravity.

Large oil inputs will be needed to enable increasing industrialization for most of that world, among others, which can, in turn, allow for infrastructure needed for renewable energy.

Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on September 13, 2020, 07:02:08 AM

An EROEI intro from a certain Euan Mearns:

http://euanmearns.com/eroei-for-beginners/

Quote
If we lived in a society with a single global currency (the EJ) and without taxes or subsidies, then money may represent a fair proxy for ERoEI although distortions would remain from the different efficiencies with which that money (EJ) was spent. However, in the real world, different currencies, interest rates, debts, taxes and subsidies exist that allow the thermodynamic rules of the energy world to be bent, albeit temporarily. We are at risk of exchanging gold for dirt.

That's right, and many of the points raised in the guide support what I've been saying across two threads. Other sources include Charles Hall, Ugo Baldi (whose Seneca Cliff is similar to the Net Energy Cliff shared by Mearns), and more. For another interesting video intro, try Martenson, who refers to the three "E"s that essentially make up the context of this issue: the economy, the environment, and energy:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6w6gf3tSGTg

The gist is that the global economy is primarily dependent on energy: to get more energy, to make goods and services that will use that energy, and energy to be used for both basic needs and wants.

It is those basic needs and wants and meeting them that make up the economy, and to make transactions smoother, we use credit to trade energy, goods, and services. In addition, we use credit to speculate on all sorts of things to create even more credit.

The type of economy in which these take place is generally free-wheeling. That is, people lend, borrow, produce, sell, buy, and work and invest to earn as they please, and given competition, they make decisions based on what is most profitable. There are regulations that limit what they do, but because regulators are also dependent on funds from the same people, then they tend not to impose too many regulations.

Given the desire to maximize earnings coupled with competition, more credit is eventually concentrated among fewer people, who eventually control that economy and want to gain even more credit. Everyone else wants to earn more as well so that they can buy and use more.

Meanwhile, population increases due to lower infant mortality rates and more prosperity, while more prosperity leads to lower birth rates. But because there are large numbers of poor people worldwide, then population continues to increase, together with more energy and resources needed for that population and more energy and resources per capita as more people want basic needs and more.

That "more" was achieved through cheap energy, which is what the world had for some time, e.g., only a barrel of oil needed to get a hundred from the ground. But because the same planet from which resources are extracted is limited, then in time more energy is needed to get more resources, then the same amount of resources, then fewer resources.

More credit can be created to get more resources, which is what happened with shale, but in the long run, that only leads to increasing debt (which is what credit essentially is) and doesn't reverse the amount of energy needed to get more resources. Hence, diminishing returns, which affects not only resources extracted but even the energy needed to extract resources.

Meanwhile, as more resources are used, then more pollution takes place, with more carbon emissions. Couple that with chemical and air pollution, soil damage, etc., then the environment is damaged and resource availability is hampered. With that, the economy is also affected.

Thus, in order to maintain that capitalist economy, a lot of cheap energy (i.e., high energy return) will be needed to meet basic needs and wants of a growing population and growing resource demand per capita. In order to counter diminishing returns which affect energy return and extraction of resources, then additional energy is needed. To deal with environmental damage (including the effects of climate change), then energy on top of that.

Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: etienne on September 13, 2020, 08:08:27 AM
Hello Ralfy,

I don't know how to say it, but I feel that you are locked in ideas of the "old normal". You refer to Ugo Bardi, which means that you have a good understanding of the situation, but here is a quote out of his blog :
https://cassandralegacy.blogspot.com/2020/08/the-triumph-of-catastrophism-how-greta.html
Quote
Then, of course, all what I said up to now will turn out to be wrong if we see the famed "recovery." Most people seem to think that once we have a vaccine for the dreaded little monster, everything will return to normal in the best of worlds. But that's questionable, to say the least. Someone who understands that there won't be a "normal" anymore is Charles Hugh Smith of the "Of two minds" blog. Below, let me report an excerpt from one of his recent posts where, among other things, you can find an excellent illustration of how the Seneca Effect works.
The situation has changed so much with the Covid19 that I feel that we have to "wait and see", that the rules that have been good since the industrial revolution might not work anymore.

Here is another quote of the same person about predicting the future : https://cassandralegacy.blogspot.com/2020/01/how-to-predict-future-confessions-of.html
Quote
1. Always trust thermodynamics
2. Always mistrust claims of marvelous new technologies
3. Always remember that the system has unpredictable tipping points


I think that right now, the 3rd point is the most important. Have any tipping points been reached with Covid 19 ? I'm sure, but I don't know which ones, I guess nobody knows.

"Wait and see" doesn't mean sitting in a chair watching television, it means that when acting, you should keep in mind that planning right now is impossible, and that could be one of the reason why recovery might be so difficult this time. 

It means that short term has become much more important for companies, but long term also became much more important, because if you chose the wrong business, there will be no way to keep it running.

I have no answers, only questions, and I am very worried.

Regards,

Etienne
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: oren on September 13, 2020, 09:53:41 AM
Again it's as if you do not realize fossil fuels and renewables are interchangeable.
Mining equipment can be replaced with electric motor and battery operated equipment. This will enable much better working conditions especially underground, and will be cheaper.
Most manufacturing can be made with electricity.
Trucking can be made electric easily.
Shipping energy is the hardest to replace, but still possible. But then again, solar panels are much lighter than oil and coal and take up much smaller volume so the problem is not gigantic.

All that is needed is first and foremost to deploy renewable electricity production in much larger numbers that cover not just electricity demand growth but also existing electricity production to enable stoppage of new fossil fuel plants and faster closure of existing such plants. Hint: This will happen faster if people from the peak oil crowd and from other agendas stop spreading anti-renewables stuff.

They are definitely not interchangeable unless components like electric motors have been developed that can replace diesel-powered ones for heavy equipment used in mining, for engines in container ships, and more.

As pointed out several times, one study mentioned here states that a full transition is possible, but the lag time is lengthy:

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

And because energy returns are lower, buffer stocks are needed, which is why several interviewed in a 2006 Four Corners documentary about peak oil argued that the transition should have started in the 1990s.

That doesn't mean, of course, that the move to renewable energy should not continue, but it is very likely that it will not maintain a global capitalist economy that needs a lot more energy and resources, which is the point of this thread.
It is very difficult to discuss, when you continue to rely on sources from 10 and 15 years ago, in a field that is changing so fast.

But let's at least summarize the things we seem to agree on:
* A full renewable transition is possible, but the lag time is lengthy.
* The move to renewable energy should continue, but it is very likely that it will not maintain a global capitalist economy that needs a lot more energy and resources.
* The transition should have started a long time ago.

It seems to me that for you these points stem from physical limitations on renewables. I believe that the main limitation is people's and governments' decision making, and there are no serious physical limitations. It is possible and doable to make a full renewable electricity transition in a decade and a full renewable energy transition in two decades, if humanity decided this was World War III. Then the lag time would not be lengthy, negating the first point. And if that were to be done, the higher needs of the future population could be met from an energy standpoint, negating the second point. Obviously, it would have been easier if we started a long time ago, so the third point needs no discussion.

In the real world this crash renewable program will not be happening due to politics, short-term thinking and human nature, thus the three points stand.

But even if this program was put in place, humanity would still be facing many other obstacles stemming from climate change and carrying capacity limitations, though certainly abundant clean energy could help in facing these obstacles. Human population is simply too high for this planet, but that is the point of a different thread.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: Iain on September 13, 2020, 10:42:38 AM
Ralfy,

The EROI argument was put to bed some years ago. The energy input constructing and installing Wind and PV is paid back in a few months of operation.

On the money side “Induced energy”- (If you spend money, you create work and knock on consumption) – the cheaper the energy the lower the induced component is.

The transition is do-able. Scotland is at nearly net 100% renewables for electricity, though there is still a way to go on heating, cooking, transport.

Over consumption of non energy resources is a different and harder to solve problem - how to persuade 7.5 bn people to consume less stuff.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: KiwiGriff on September 13, 2020, 11:03:21 AM
They are definitely not interchangeable unless components like electric motors have been developed that can replace diesel-powered ones for heavy equipment used in mining, for engines in container ships, and more.

Ummm
see this?
 (https://www.mining-technology.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/8/2018/11/Cat-798-AC.jpg)
Its diesel electric .
As is all the big mining hardware and trains etc.
Battery tech is improving  fast as billions is being spent by the automobile industry.
Land based mining is not going to be difficult simply swap out the diesels for battery's .
Off shore shipping is another kettle of fish .
The future  is to use some form of manufactured fuel from renewable energy.
 
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: Iain on September 13, 2020, 11:08:27 AM
Ralfy,

I'd be very wary of quoting Euan Mearns, he is strongly anti-renewables and pro Nuclear.

His articles are lengthy and sound convincing , but usually have an obvious fatal flaw which I pointed out in the comments.

He gave up up posting in summer 19. Some of my point-outs are there,  most have been deleted.

Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: Iain on September 13, 2020, 11:35:09 AM
Ralfy,

Ah, I see it. His numbers are from a paper by  Ferroni and Hopkirk which has been debunked.

If it looks and smells like BS it probably is.

Looks like he has removed all comments. He's just another BSitter who has given up BSitting because it's increasingly obvious BS.

Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: NeilT on September 13, 2020, 02:16:35 PM
Ralfy,
The EROI argument was put to bed some years ago. The energy input constructing and installing Wind and PV is paid back in a few months of operation.

The energy input, certainly, there is no question that wind pays itself back in terms of energy uset to manufacture very quickly.  Even better is the more renewables we get, the less FF energy we use to manufacture and transport.

The value prospect is another matter. I did a bit of digging and found a recent article which priced out the cost of survey, construction, decommissioning and annual maintenance for a 1GW offshore wind farm.

At max UK energy prices for 2019, using UK government %capacity figures from 2019, the 25 year (yes their life is designed for 25 years), average annual profit was £43 million.  But the setup costs were over £600m and decommissioning was £300m.

At the moment energy strike prices are over the max wholesale prices, but they are falling.  The difference dropping to £10 per Mwh.

When government subsidies have gone and it is time to renew, 25 years from now, I'm not sure where we will be going.  Solar has a life closer to 40 years now and it is getting longer.  But Solar doesn't have moving parts.

I'd love to think we have it all sorted out, but stepping back to view the whole picture says that we are only at the beginning of our climb out of fossil fuel dependency and what seems like a slam dunk today may look like folly in 50 years.

I'm not saying we should not ramp up wind as fast as we can, I'm just saying don't expect it to solve all our problems.  Any more than solar can in winter with our current infrastructure.

There are some excellent thesis papers out there and they are not anti renewables, the are pro knowledge.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: Bruce Steele on September 13, 2020, 03:17:36 PM
Very few people in Western societies are employed by primary production. Farming, fishing, mining, and forestry are dominated by corporate businesses. None of the primary production businesses large or small are powered by renewable energy and until the  transportation sector is transformed into electrics the transport of primary production goods is also fossil fuel dependent.
 There is a slow transition of home electricity and personal transport into “renewable” options but those options are still expensive so the transition to renewables is largely from the one percent. There is not a transition into renewables from primary producers and transport because those options don’t exist.
Yes Tesla has a semi on the drawing boards and NEXT year there may be one or two companies selling battery electric farm ~ 30 horsepower farm tractors but any transition imagined will be very expensive for decades into the future. Here is a nice 30 horse battery electric tractor for ~ $40,000. It is no more than a toy to corporate farming scales of production.
https://www.solectrac.com/efarmer
 Even with subsidies available converting a small farm to renewable options is expensive. There just aren’t examples where you can look at the costs of the ” renewable “ infrastructure and the yield in calories for what is produced. There has to be more food calories produced than the calories it took to manufacture the renewables or we are just talking BAU. The ten fossil fuel calories to produce one calorie of food is simply unsustainable and you’d think someone would be working on at least reducing that ten to one number but I have never seen one example or even one proposed study to test currently available “ renewable “ options.
 For example my 5kWh home solar cost $22,000 installed, $12,000 after rebates
                   my 27kWh powerwalls cost $22,000 installed $12,000 after rebates
Small electric tractor $40,000
Electric truck to get produce to market $40,000plus
Land costs, fertilizer, well pumps, and a solar home are more costs.

 So you are looking at three or four years of wages for low end earners even in the 1% class to just purchase enough “ renewables “ to get started with a very small farm that likely couldn’t ever pay back the investment before all those batteries needed replacing.  That doesn’t consider land costs or taxes.
 So even though I am making good headway in testing what is currently available and I am very happy with a solar/battery home it is still more or less a hobby farm. How many other people would purchase a $40,000 tractor before they get their nice model 3 ?  Very few I assume and as long as we are content to remain dependent upon the corporate food system to feed us this situation will not change until the profit margin of that decision favors “ renewable “ farming infrastructure.
 In Calif. you really need to be a millionaire to buy a farm with good dirt and water . Then you need to fork over a couple hundred thousand more to get solar/ battery equipment to run a farm that will never pay back your investment.
 So ralfy’s opinion reflects current reality and until somebody figures out how to feed us all it will be BAU to the wall. Trying to do all of the above after the climate throws  more 122F days at me , and drought years expand , and food production and price competition remains dominated by fossil fuel
produced food is ( pick your adjective ) .
 Everyone’s decision matrix is still dominated by comfort. Food can be ignored, the climate is someone’s else’s problem and the extinction we are precipitating is just bad news , or fake news. We will still buy shining new cars and oversized homes and hope someone else feeds us. I am not sure it’s better than nothing because it is just so damn frivolous.
 
 
 
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: oren on September 13, 2020, 03:48:34 PM
Bruce while your take on the food production issuer is spot on, I have some questions on farm costs.
I am trying to understand the difference in costs between FF and renewables options. Whether small-scale farming is possible or not is a much bigger question. But corporate farming should also hopefully be transitioning to renewable electricity at some point, or we are doomed. (I know we are doomed, but still).

In order for a transition to renewables to be economical, the farmer should not be deeply out of pocket compared to the FF alternative. Otherwise it will simply not happen.
Electricity - should be renewable supplied by the grid. One shouldn't have to install one's own panels to get clean energy.
Batteries - same. Grid should iron out intermittencies.
Tractor - EV tractor needs to be priced similarly to the FF variety, taking into account some of the savings related to lower fuel costs and lower maintenance costs of electric engines. What would be the current cost of a 30hp farm tractor? Trying to compare to the $40k figure which I am sure will come down in the future. And what is the annual fuel and maintenance cost?
Truck - same consideration price with operations cost should be similar or better than FF variety. What is the current cost of a FF farm truck? And annually?

In general, a renewable electricity powered farm might be competitive in a decade. I doubt it can be made to work now. This is part of the transition - there should be a crash program in making these things cheaper and better. Waiting for BAU to disappear on its own will not end well.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: Bruce Steele on September 13, 2020, 05:45:03 PM
Oren, Equipments costs and scale are related. So many chores require different equipment , cultivating requires less horsepower than deep tilling. But tilling , even small scale farming, requires horsepower. Diesel is so powerful and a diesel engine can last decades. A diesel pickup can still haul a ton of vegetables to market thirty or forty years after it was made. A new diesel pickup might cost $60,000 or $70,000 new but that same truck will lose value long before it loses utility. That is why I bought a twenty year old truck that I am still driving ten years later, but yes maintaining it adds costs. But a decent truck that still has a couple decades of use in it would cost maybe $25,000. Farm equipment loses value slower I think but engine hours tells a bigger story than age. A nice old 50 horse tractor with a couple decades of use in it ~ $10,000. Should cost very little to maintain. Sid could probably ballpark equipment costs better than I can because I am so small and cheap I don’t buy much and never have. But no matter how low you can get your costs down scale becomes an issue.
 Very small and frugal equipments costs for 10-20 acres, one small and one larger tractor $16,000 used
$25,000 used truck. But equipment for farming a thousand acres wouldn’t cost 16,000 + 25,000 x 100.
Even new equipment would be cheaper I think. Again Sid could do a better job with the numbers.
 I cannot imagine how battery electrics will power thousand acre farm machinery. There are options of pulling around electric cables that make much better sense to me. Batteries only needed to get back and forth from the barn to the field and the cable connection. Small farms seem practical for battery electrics at least in concept but affordability is something else.
 One of the biggest issues is farm produce prices. Although equipment costs, land costs , labor, and fuel have gone up two or three fold over the last couple decades the price we are paid for produce has remained constant. I tell people to think about $1 a pound vegetables. How many 40lb boxes does it take to make $40,000 gross ? Now think about how much work goes into growing, picking, packing and transporting those thousand boxes of vegetables. Now take out your overhead. Off topic I suppose.
 
I always sound so pessimistic but I am willing to buy those tools I need to prove , at least prove to myself, that battery/electrics are relevant to farming. It works for my home, I am comfortable, it works for very microscale production. I am just finishing up hand harvesting my Indian corn crop. By hand and with my little electric cultivator I have about ~ 400-500lbs. in the drying shed. Wheat is not finished enough to get a good weight estimate but maybe 75lbs.  So as an adjunct to lots of hand labor solar water pumping and a small electric tiller can feed a family.  400-500lbs. of cornmeal and a 50lb sack of flour isn’t worth much in $ but for me it has been a lifetime of effort to get here. I grew other vegetables with my electrics also but corn and wheat can easily be converted into food calories for counting purposes. Will it scale up , yes I think so but profitability and self sufficiency are different subjects. What is self sufficiency worth ? Nothing until you are hungry.
 If I can get an electric tractor it will happen long before I can purchase an old used model three although I have wondered how well an old Tesla might pull a one bottom plow... won’t scale.

A new 30 horse John Deere ~ $20,000
https://www.deere.com/en/tractors/compact-tractors/3-series-compact-tractors/3032e/
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: Iain on September 13, 2020, 05:52:19 PM
Neil,

Strike price (minimum paid, they will sell for more if the market will pay) is now around 4p/kWH and they are willing to go ahead, they believe they will make a profit.

There are NO subsidies, only the minimum strike price.

Turbines are bigger - more production for capital

The "wholesale price" varies, it can even be negative at times

No one tech will do it on it's own we need a mix, e.g. more wind, less sun in winter.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: Iain on September 13, 2020, 05:57:45 PM
Strike price refs from the trade press:

https://www.offshorewind.biz/2019/09/20/uk-offshore-wind-strike-prices-slide-down-to-gbp-39-65-mwh/

https://www.carbonbrief.org/analysis-record-low-uk-offshore-wind-cheaper-than-existing-gas-plants-by-2023
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: oren on September 13, 2020, 06:20:54 PM
Thank you Bruce for all the detailed info. It appears cost-effective farm transition is farther off into the future, and needs more improvements in technology. Time is what we don't have though, a big bummer.
Hopefully the Tesla Cybertruck will create a market for used electric pickup trucks in about 5 years. Not sure if this will help farmers.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: KiwiGriff on September 13, 2020, 08:43:01 PM
Electric tractors.
https://www.producer.com/2019/12/are-we-ready-for-electric-tractors/

The "ford" sourced  from India without engines and converted to electric  is actually a Massy Ferguson design based on the trusty te20  like Hillary took to the south pole. They are incredibly robust  and can still be seen working today on many hobby farms around NZ . Almost all parts can be brought new other than the major castings.

Converting a small around 30hp tractor  to electric would not be impossible  there are already commercial conversion kits for lawn tractors.

Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: NeilT on September 14, 2020, 11:38:40 AM

There are NO subsidies, only the minimum strike price.

I guess that depends on how you view it.

In a regulated energy market, being able to charge above market price and bill it out to the customer base, to me, is a subsidy.  In the end, whether taxes pay direct subsidy or users pay direct energy bill rises, it is a subsidy.

I hadn't seen under £50 strike price, I only update myself when checking and I see the latest prices were after I looked in 2019.

For instance, Hornsea one:

Quote
In 2011 Smart Wind signed lease agreements with the Crown Estate for "Heron Wind" and "Njord" areas making up the zone.[19] The zone was given provisional contract for difference renewable subsidies by the UK government in April 2014.[20] Hornsea Project 1 was given planning consent in December 2014.[21] The 'contract for difference' strike price was £140 per MWh

Hornsea Wind farm Project 1 completed construction August 2019 and will operate under that strike price.  Which is more than the projected £95 per MWh of Hinckley Point C.

Project 2 Phase 1 was granted a strike price of 57.50£/MWh.  However that was updated to 66.98£/MWh on what appears to be 29th July 2020.

https://www.lowcarboncontracts.uk/cfds/hornsea-project-2-phase-1


Whilst £41 is below 2018 market prices, it is not below 2020.  It seems to me that the implementation of more renewables will drive down the wholesale price of electricity.  Which will make investments in offshore wind less profitable without a robust strike price.

As the costs of initiating and decommissioning a wind farm are not falling appreciably, this squeeze on strike price is likely to, eventually, impact uptake of offshore wind.

Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: Iain on September 14, 2020, 02:03:08 PM
Neil,

No problem, I thought you were referring to a subsidy in addition to the SP. To me a subsidy is a no strings gift (e.g Single Farm Payment, not coupled to production) while they have to deliver MWHs to earn the SP.

The SP bidding is a reverse auction - how low can you go, Mr businessman, and still make a profit? The turbines are genuinely getting bigger, so lower capital cost per MWH generated
https://gwec.net/wind-turbine-sizes-keep-growing-as-industry-consolidation-continues/


Average wholesale for baseload, around 4p / kWH pre covid:
https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/data-portal/all-charts/policy-area/electricity-wholesale-markets

But the spot price varies, the Octopus Smart Export Guarantee (FIT replacement) pays around 5-6p/kWh, or 4p most times with a 10p/ kWh premium price at peak times (in normal times, not fixed but based on wholesale price)

That's well short of the retail price of 15-16p/kWH, I understand Grid / LNO charges are only 2-3p. Sure, some Big Six FF plant is underused, available to cope with the winter peak, but the cost is mostly for fuel, so I can't help thinking there is too big a mark up there.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on September 15, 2020, 03:58:48 AM
Hello Ralfy,

I don't know how to say it, but I feel that you are locked in ideas of the "old normal". You refer to Ugo Bardi, which means that you have a good understanding of the situation, but here is a quote out of his blog :
https://cassandralegacy.blogspot.com/2020/08/the-triumph-of-catastrophism-how-greta.html
Quote
Then, of course, all what I said up to now will turn out to be wrong if we see the famed "recovery." Most people seem to think that once we have a vaccine for the dreaded little monster, everything will return to normal in the best of worlds. But that's questionable, to say the least. Someone who understands that there won't be a "normal" anymore is Charles Hugh Smith of the "Of two minds" blog. Below, let me report an excerpt from one of his recent posts where, among other things, you can find an excellent illustration of how the Seneca Effect works.
The situation has changed so much with the Covid19 that I feel that we have to "wait and see", that the rules that have been good since the industrial revolution might not work anymore.

Here is another quote of the same person about predicting the future : https://cassandralegacy.blogspot.com/2020/01/how-to-predict-future-confessions-of.html
Quote
1. Always trust thermodynamics
2. Always mistrust claims of marvelous new technologies
3. Always remember that the system has unpredictable tipping points


I think that right now, the 3rd point is the most important. Have any tipping points been reached with Covid 19 ? I'm sure, but I don't know which ones, I guess nobody knows.

"Wait and see" doesn't mean sitting in a chair watching television, it means that when acting, you should keep in mind that planning right now is impossible, and that could be one of the reason why recovery might be so difficult this time. 

It means that short term has become much more important for companies, but long term also became much more important, because if you chose the wrong business, there will be no way to keep it running.

I have no answers, only questions, and I am very worried.

Regards,

Etienne

If various experts are right, then tipping points have been reached, e.g., the transition to renewable energy should have started twenty years before 2006, when conventional production started peaking (according to the IEA, but only after they conducted a survey of fields worldwide in 2008 and reached that conclusion in 2010) and when emissions exceeded 300 ppm (which was after 1975).

OTOH, we probably adjusted to them without realizing it. For example, oil production per capita peaked back in 1979, which means we've been relying more on other sources of energy since, but emissions still went up as much of the world is barely industrialized, i.e., to this day, 71 pct of people earn less than $10 daily, only 7 pct of people worldwide each college degrees, etc.

In which case, I think I'm not the only one locked in the "old" normal. Rather, we all are, and have been since the end of WW2. The irony, as your post implies, is that it took not climate change or peak oil but a pandemic to change all that, and that wasn't even a tipping point but a "black swan."

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

And then there are those who argue that even the renewables that will be used have low energy returns. For example, here's a study about that from 2018, which I suspect will still be considered "outdated" in this forum:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0921800917317044?via%3Dihub

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1blrA8YbRZyZA-PB1mgchEChuEOsdlqHp/view

That is, the EROI for renewables, which means the amount to be invested has to be far greater that even current levels. Add to this issues concerning market penetration and real-world factors which affect EROI (Sc. 4), and it is apparent that every point that I have raised has to be considered. That is, the world has to invest more to cover lower EROIs in renewables, to invest more to do it faster to reduce emissions, and invest even more to increase market penetration, and to invest even more to meet growing energy demand.

But investments are made based on higher returns, remember? That means investors except prices for oil to go up (which makes renewables more attractive) and expect markets to consume more energy and resources, which is the main reason for investing in greater productivity in capitalist systems.

Do you now see why high EROIs were needed in the first place? It's a global capitalist system with investors, businesses, and employees who want higher returns on investment and higher income levels. But that means higher energy and resource consumption and ever-increasing energy and resource consumption, which brings us back to that idea of planning: "planning" for these groups means looking for what is most profitable, but for climate scientists and energy experts it means what will allow for lower carbon emissions plus replace oil. But if the study is right, what can replace is is essentially sources with lower energy returns, and that has to be done in a global economy that needs and is counting on the opposite.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on September 15, 2020, 04:16:53 AM
It is very difficult to discuss, when you continue to rely on sources from 10 and 15 years ago, in a field that is changing so fast.

There is nothing in what you have shared that proves that. Even one source that I provided from 2018 still maintains that renewables (both intermittent and geophysically based) still have low EROIs.

Quote

But let's at least summarize the things we seem to agree on:
* A full renewable transition is possible, but the lag time is lengthy.
* The move to renewable energy should continue, but it is very likely that it will not maintain a global capitalist economy that needs a lot more energy and resources.
* The transition should have started a long time ago.


EROIs are also lower, according to a 2018 paper by Sers and Victor.

Don't forget diminishing returns and lag time.

Quote

It seems to me that for you these points stem from physical limitations on renewables. I believe that the main limitation is people's and governments' decision making, and there are no serious physical limitations. It is possible and doable to make a full renewable electricity transition in a decade and a full renewable energy transition in two decades, if humanity decided this was World War III. Then the lag time would not be lengthy, negating the first point. And if that were to be done, the higher needs of the future population could be met from an energy standpoint, negating the second point. Obviously, it would have been easier if we started a long time ago, so the third point needs no discussion.


There are two additional limitations: lower EROIs for renewables, and lower EROIs overall given diminishing returns.

Quote

In the real world this crash renewable program will not be happening due to politics, short-term thinking and human nature, thus the three points stand.

Quote

Also, the type of global economy in which the program will be funded, which is market capitalist.

Quote

But even if this program was put in place, humanity would still be facing many other obstacles stemming from climate change and carrying capacity limitations, though certainly abundant clean energy could help in facing these obstacles. Human population is simply too high for this planet, but that is the point of a different thread.

Yes. Also, because EROIs for renewables are low, then the same global market capitalist economy will not last.

The implication is that the same economy is far from robust: it is vulnerable to shocks like a resource crunch, the effects of ecological damage and climate change, diminishing returns, and even "black swans" like wars, pandemics, and financial crashes.

That's why cheap oil, i.e., high EROIs, was needed in the first place to ensure mass manufacturing and mechanized agriculture on a global scale after WW2. The surplus energy was critical to ensure, among other things, a JIT system with optimal economic order quantities, so that products like solar panels could be manufactured across extensive supply chains involving many countries and businesses, and arrive at the lowest possible costs to places like New Zealand, or to provide the semblance of "green" living in Luxembourg or the UK.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on September 15, 2020, 04:19:56 AM
Ralfy,

The EROI argument was put to bed some years ago. The energy input constructing and installing Wind and PV is paid back in a few months of operation.

On the money side “Induced energy”- (If you spend money, you create work and knock on consumption) – the cheaper the energy the lower the induced component is.

The transition is do-able. Scotland is at nearly net 100% renewables for electricity, though there is still a way to go on heating, cooking, transport.

Over consumption of non energy resources is a different and harder to solve problem - how to persuade 7.5 bn people to consume less stuff.

That's payback time involving ideal conditions. In real world conditions, energy returns turn out to be much lower.

No one is saying that the transition is doable. The point, as one 2018 paper (linked in an earlier message) and others raise, is that the energy returns are still low. That means demand will also adjust.

And if those renewable components involve a global capitalist economy with extensive supply chains and is heavily dependent on oil, then there is also a possibility that in the long term, we might even see the world in one heavily dependent on renewable energy, but using technology from earlier centuries.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on September 15, 2020, 04:41:33 AM
Ummm
see this?
 (https://www.mining-technology.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/8/2018/11/Cat-798-AC.jpg)
Its diesel electric .
As is all the big mining hardware and trains etc.
Battery tech is improving  fast as billions is being spent by the automobile industry.
Land based mining is not going to be difficult simply swap out the diesels for battery's .
Off shore shipping is another kettle of fish .
The future  is to use some form of manufactured fuel from renewable energy.

Definitely not interchangeable as diesel is still used to supplement machinery (same in manufacturing). Even the batteries and motors that are being improved upon involve the same supply chains dependent on fossil fuels for mining, manufacturing, and shipping.

In previous posts, I shared an article that refers to a study which argues that a full transition is possible but may take up to 131 years.

But I don't think the effects of diminishing returns (which means higher capital expenditures in exchange for lower increases in production) coupled with increasing demand from a much larger chunk of the world population (e.g., 71 pct earning less than $10 daily and who want to earn much more so that they can spend more, and the 29 pct who are counting on them to do so so that they can get higher income and ROIs).

What kind of technology, coordination, and cooperation will be needed to increase renewable EROI to that of oil, will reverse the effects of diminishing returns, will either curtail population to less than 10 billion through rapid industrialization (i.e., provide the equivalent of a "European style of living" to most of the world population in only a decade) or meet the needs and wants of a population that might reach 10-11 billion after two decades or so, and will cut down the lengthy lag time to only a decade (to meet what climate scientists want in order to minimize the effects of global warming and to meet what energy experts want in order to avoid a resource crunch)?
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on September 15, 2020, 04:49:11 AM
Ralfy,

I'd be very wary of quoting Euan Mearns, he is strongly anti-renewables and pro Nuclear.

His articles are lengthy and sound convincing , but usually have an obvious fatal flaw which I pointed out in the comments.

He gave up up posting in summer 19. Some of my point-outs are there,  most have been deleted.

My sources include Charles Hall.

FWIW, I'm not anti-anything. I have this feeling that we will need every source of energy available to deal with the issues I raised in previous posts, and even that won't be enough.

In short, following one premise of the 2018 study shared recently, I don't think we have the surplus energy to make choices. Our high EROI oil is becoming the opposite because of peak oil, and our low EROI renewables are not ramping up considerably.

One problem, by the way, with nuclear, is a lack of uranium and even the rare minerals needed for reactors. I think, at best, following what experts like Albert pointed out, we can only get 4 TW of power for nuclear given all mined resources, recycled fuel, and whatever can be extracted economically from seawater. And that assumes that we even have enough safe places to construct reactors.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on September 15, 2020, 05:02:11 AM
Ralfy,

Ah, I see it. His numbers are from a paper by  Ferroni and Hopkirk which has been debunked.

If it looks and smells like BS it probably is.

Looks like he has removed all comments. He's just another BSitter who has given up BSitting because it's increasingly obvious BS.

My source is Hall, but I can add Victor et al, as seen in their recent 2018 paper, and Cleveland and others who deal with energy economics.

But I think they all mostly limit themselves to expected demand and don't consider issues like diminishing returns, which is part of Limits to Growth (Bardi and others), although Hall and Prieto did look at real world conditions in which renewables are used.

Similarly, what you and others post are also limited, usually focusing on monetary costs, nameplate power, and payback time based on ideal conditions.

What I've been doing is connect the dots: real-world conditions in which RE is used with limits to growth (e.g., diminishing returns, increasing capex for lower increases in production), market issues (e.g., penetration, investments vs expected outcomes), lag time for a transition, urgency raised by climate scientists (e.g., the tipping point will take place sooner than we thing) and energy experts (e.g., transitions should start two decades before the expected peak oil an energy source that will be replaced), and expected and desired demand (e.g., 71 pct of people are poor but want to be richer, 29 pct want them to be richer, which means more energy and resources have to be consumed) coupled with ecological footprint and biocapacity (e.g., ave. ecological footprint for the current population is higher than biocapacity, with increasing population and ecological damage not yet considered) in light of an RE transition and consumption.

The closest I've seen to groups doing that include those that deal with limits to growth. But I don't think you'd interested in that.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on September 15, 2020, 05:24:58 AM
Very few people in Western societies are employed by primary production. Farming, fishing, mining, and forestry are dominated by corporate businesses. None of the primary production businesses large or small are powered by renewable energy and until the  transportation sector is transformed into electrics the transport of primary production goods is also fossil fuel dependent.
 There is a slow transition of home electricity and personal transport into “renewable” options but those options are still expensive so the transition to renewables is largely from the one percent. There is not a transition into renewables from primary producers and transport because those options don’t exist.
Yes Tesla has a semi on the drawing boards and NEXT year there may be one or two companies selling battery electric farm ~ 30 horsepower farm tractors but any transition imagined will be very expensive for decades into the future. Here is a nice 30 horse battery electric tractor for ~ $40,000. It is no more than a toy to corporate farming scales of production.
https://www.solectrac.com/efarmer
 Even with subsidies available converting a small farm to renewable options is expensive. There just aren’t examples where you can look at the costs of the ” renewable “ infrastructure and the yield in calories for what is produced. There has to be more food calories produced than the calories it took to manufacture the renewables or we are just talking BAU. The ten fossil fuel calories to produce one calorie of food is simply unsustainable and you’d think someone would be working on at least reducing that ten to one number but I have never seen one example or even one proposed study to test currently available “ renewable “ options.
 For example my 5kWh home solar cost $22,000 installed, $12,000 after rebates
                   my 27kWh powerwalls cost $22,000 installed $12,000 after rebates
Small electric tractor $40,000
Electric truck to get produce to market $40,000plus
Land costs, fertilizer, well pumps, and a solar home are more costs.

 So you are looking at three or four years of wages for low end earners even in the 1% class to just purchase enough “ renewables “ to get started with a very small farm that likely couldn’t ever pay back the investment before all those batteries needed replacing.  That doesn’t consider land costs or taxes.
 So even though I am making good headway in testing what is currently available and I am very happy with a solar/battery home it is still more or less a hobby farm. How many other people would purchase a $40,000 tractor before they get their nice model 3 ?  Very few I assume and as long as we are content to remain dependent upon the corporate food system to feed us this situation will not change until the profit margin of that decision favors “ renewable “ farming infrastructure.
 In Calif. you really need to be a millionaire to buy a farm with good dirt and water . Then you need to fork over a couple hundred thousand more to get solar/ battery equipment to run a farm that will never pay back your investment.
 So ralfy’s opinion reflects current reality and until somebody figures out how to feed us all it will be BAU to the wall. Trying to do all of the above after the climate throws  more 122F days at me , and drought years expand , and food production and price competition remains dominated by fossil fuel
produced food is ( pick your adjective ) .
 Everyone’s decision matrix is still dominated by comfort. Food can be ignored, the climate is someone’s else’s problem and the extinction we are precipitating is just bad news , or fake news. We will still buy shining new cars and oversized homes and hope someone else feeds us. I am not sure it’s better than nothing because it is just so damn frivolous.

I recall one short point in a DoE primer which pointed out that oil use for developed economies heavily involve those for personal use, such as passenger vehicles and home use. But in developing economies, it's used heavily for manufacturing and mining, infrastructure development, to supplement energy needed by these, and at best public transport.

The implication is that most of the world is not industrialized, at least on a scale that allows for the development of late capitalist economies, and to achieve that significant inputs in energy and material resources will be needed.

For example, as I pointed out earlier, around 71 pct of people worldwide earn less than $10 daily, and in some places similar percentages are in the informal sector (which means they receive little to no benefits) and do not have things like bank accounts because they lack identification or savings or both. Many die without having been visited by a doctor, there is a major lack of doctors, nurses, and lab technicians, together with clinics and hospitals, for every 10,000 people. In several countries, up to 40 pct of children from the ages of 0-5 experience under- or malnutrition. Similar can be seen for schools, libraries, and so on, such that only 7 pct of the world's population are able to get the equivalent of a college degree, many are unable to finish basic education, and probably at least half receive it poorly due to large class sizes, lack of school books, desks, blackboards, etc. Large sections of the population do not receive stable electricity, and various areas lack necessities ranging from electric grids to paved roads.

The global economy in which the same population lives is essentially controlled by several hundred corporations, and most of the top ones are in the financial industry:

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

That means investments in various endeavors will be based on the following assumptions: maximization of profit and ROIs by lifting more people out of poverty and giving them access to middle class conveniences. Likely, businesses and the 29 pct of the world's population that earn more than $10 daily are counting on the same, as their own ROIs and income can only rise given such.

It's possible that governments essentially work for them as public funds ultimately come from the private sector via investments in government financial instruments and taxes, if not from public corporations that operate in the same way as their counterparts in the private sector. In which case, the idea of a globally coordinated "New Green Deal" or renewable energy (and more) program will be daunting.

It's also likely that these governments follow policies based on what their constituents want, and that their constituents want basic needs and middle class wants.

Given that, I think that in order to meet the needs of much of that world population, energy and resource use have to increase dramatically. If we follow points raised concerning ecological footprint and biocapacity, we will need the equivalent of one more earth for the current population. In order to meet middle class conveniences as well, more than that. And all that will have to take place given market capitalism, which is what businesses, workers, and consumers want, and which governments will support.

Finally, following the sense of urgency raised by climate, environmental, and energy experts, that transition will have to be done quickly and globally.

These are the conditions in which a global renewable energy transition will take place, and which will also affect consumption.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: etienne on September 15, 2020, 07:03:59 AM
Hello Ralfy,

I think I found the problem in your logic :


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Added : renewable energies makes it possible to have a higher sustainable living, so they are very important for me. Reducing consumption makes more money available, and using it to develop renewable energy is the best thing that we can do right now, but the lifespan of the equipment is an issue.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: NeilT on September 15, 2020, 09:08:31 AM
Etienne, I think you are right, but also wrong.  People are not going to want to accept reductions, they want to know How and When their governments are going to assure that they get to continue consuming as they do today.

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

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

We need renewables and low/0 co2 energy rapidly.  Not just to offset the CO2 we have already pushed out there but to avoid the rest we haven't yet got to.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: Iain on September 15, 2020, 09:30:00 AM
Ralfy,

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

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

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

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

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

“we might even see the world in one heavily dependent on renewable energy, but using technology from earlier centuries.” Yes, a transition, plus there is CO2 from smelting Ore to Iron and making cement which can’t be avoided, but stored.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: KiwiGriff on September 15, 2020, 09:36:09 AM
We did not leave the Stone age  because we run out of stones.

Coal is a zombie technology.
Coal is already dead as an energy source.
Coal based electricity generation can not compete  with the cost of renewable energy.
It simply costs more to run an existing  coal plant than to build new renewable energy sources.
The same is true with all fossil fuel generation if you add in the indirect costs.
This represents Trillions of dollars of lost value to the Fossil fuel industry's.
Crisis equals opportunity .
There is an  up side if you are aware where this is going to lead us.
(https://yaleclimateconnections.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/0219_KK_LCOE_graph.jpg)
https://www.skepticalscience.com/3-clean-energy-myths.html

Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: Iain on September 15, 2020, 01:10:19 PM
Good graphic. Yes - the technologies which get cheaper quicker win, then get cheaper again on economies of scale.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: NeilT on September 15, 2020, 01:30:44 PM
Yes, but yesterday, when I was looking at gridwatch.co.uk, Renewables were supplying >50% of demand with Wind being by far the largest.

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

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

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

Granted you have to have the infrastructure in order to balance it, but spanning that divide away from FF is going to take more than vertical solutions as a viewpoint.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: kassy on September 15, 2020, 01:34:25 PM
And there is a lot in the pipeline technology wise (see Wildcatters post above).

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

We could really use an international carbon tax everyone uses (so we won´t get that soon).
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: Iain on September 15, 2020, 01:52:27 PM
"People are not going to want to accept reductions"

Nail on head.

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

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

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

I think the solution path involves:

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

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

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

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

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

Any more suggestions – it has to be palatable to the electorate, this is a persuasion game.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: Iain on September 15, 2020, 02:16:28 PM
"It doesn't matter how cheap it is, if it is becalmed, then other power will have to fill the gap. "

Try

Interconnectors / Supergrid – it’s windy / sunny next door or next door plus one, who are now off peak. A DC link to the Russian grid – 12 time zones wide
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_grid

Charge your car with 3kW in the sun or wind every few days

Connect to Norway (99% renewable hydro, no pumped storage – yet) OC GTs for rare peaks

Marine turbines, very predictable and peaks in Wick, then Boddam, Grangemouth ... Humberside hours later

Smart grid – price varies on demand / availability so your smart <whatever> switches on/off

Storage and/or overcapacity in production, whichever is cheaper. OC GTs.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: nanning on September 15, 2020, 06:06:56 PM
This interview with Prof. Kevin Anderson (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kevin_Anderson_(scientist)) provides a great view. It encompasses several subjects but renewable energy transition and consumption are major items.
Please watch.

(27m11)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97e-6-tlZy8
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: KiwiGriff on September 15, 2020, 07:46:33 PM
OK boomer.  ;)
We  collectively are old.
Most of us on this blog are nearing or reached retirement .
The youth are much more aware about the threats of over consumption and AGW than our generation.
They will shift the Overton window towards solutions.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: NeilT on September 15, 2020, 08:40:56 PM
Only if they can get their heads out of the internet.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: oren on September 15, 2020, 08:46:12 PM
They are aware because of the Internet.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: sidd on September 15, 2020, 11:00:17 PM
Re:  it starts and ends with people, not Governments as such, as they are elected by people

A cynic might say that governments may be elected by the people but they are bought and sold by the plutocrats. But thast is probably best discussed on another thread.

sidd
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: NeilT on September 16, 2020, 11:16:57 AM
They are aware because of the Internet.

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

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

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

When I see the internet provide both information and action, I'll agree that it has done it's job.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: oren on September 16, 2020, 11:22:09 AM
I disagree but will not clutter the thread further.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: gerontocrat on September 16, 2020, 03:46:33 PM
They are aware because of the Internet.

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

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

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

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

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

Perhaps the UK, with its incompetent government screwing up Covide-19 response and likely to screw up Brexit, will try its best to go be the first OECD country to go bust.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: NeilT on September 16, 2020, 04:58:07 PM
I don't know about going bust, but it has certainly reduced consumption, reduced emissions and has a strong programme to remove FF power and replace it with renewables.  Including a planned phase out of coal entirely in 2025.

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

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

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

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

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

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


Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on September 17, 2020, 05:22:03 AM
Hello Ralfy,

I think I found the problem in your logic :


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Given that, what will likely happen is that any transition to renewable energy will take place because of the effects of peak oil (as part of limits to growth). But because of the same limits to growth (which leads to a resource crunch, and worsened because of the effects of environmental damage and climate change), the world population will use whatever it can (including any fossil fuels), which means the effects of environmental damage and climate change will eventually lessen as physics forces more people to consume less.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on September 17, 2020, 05:29:30 AM
Etienne, I think you are right, but also wrong.  People are not going to want to accept reductions, they want to know How and When their governments are going to assure that they get to continue consuming as they do today.

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

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

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

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

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

Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on September 17, 2020, 05:42:33 AM
Ralfy,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on September 17, 2020, 06:01:54 AM
We did not leave the Stone age  because we run out of stones.

Coal is a zombie technology.
Coal is already dead as an energy source.
Coal based electricity generation can not compete  with the cost of renewable energy.
It simply costs more to run an existing  coal plant than to build new renewable energy sources.
The same is true with all fossil fuel generation if you add in the indirect costs.
This represents Trillions of dollars of lost value to the Fossil fuel industry's.
Crisis equals opportunity .
There is an  up side if you are aware where this is going to lead us.
(https://yaleclimateconnections.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/0219_KK_LCOE_graph.jpg)
https://www.skepticalscience.com/3-clean-energy-myths.html

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

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

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

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

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

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

http://theoildrum.com/node/3786

Notice, too, that the bubble graph shared in the link above was made by one of the co-authors of the paper on wind energy, Cutler Cleveland.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on September 17, 2020, 06:04:48 AM
Good graphic. Yes - the technologies which get cheaper quicker win, then get cheaper again on economies of scale.

Interestingly enough, that was one question raised by some: how readily can renewable energy scale up for a rapid transition? One study states that given market factors it will more than a century to do so. A second study refers to two decades, but coordination between over a hundred countries will be needed. Meanwhile, it was implied in the second study that it has to be even faster to mitigate the effects of climate change.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: oren on September 17, 2020, 06:07:09 AM
Quote
Meanwhile, the min. needed for civilization is around 15
What? Why? Are you implying a renewable EROI of let's say 10 cannot sustain civilization?
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on September 17, 2020, 06:08:09 AM
Yes, but yesterday, when I was looking at gridwatch.co.uk, Renewables were supplying >50% of demand with Wind being by far the largest.

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

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

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

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

One article I read around a decade ago pointed to wave energy. In any event, I think all available sources of energy will be put online, as implied in what you just shared.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on September 17, 2020, 06:10:13 AM
And there is a lot in the pipeline technology wise (see Wildcatters post above).

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

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

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

And given the state of most of the world population, a lot of fuel will still be needed.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on September 17, 2020, 06:18:29 AM
"People are not going to want to accept reductions"

Nail on head.

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

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

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

I think the solution path involves:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on September 17, 2020, 06:24:26 AM

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

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

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

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

(https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Ftheoildrum.com%2Ffiles%2Fch_balloon_tod.png&hash=630cdd29e599b94cedf8d48f4648aed0)

This image shows that for 2005 Hall thinks that maybe 5:1 is the minimum for civilization. Not clear why that is the minimum, but certainly it isn't 15:1. In addition, he thinks PV solar is ~7:1, which has surely improved significantly since 2005. In addition in the text he mentions that "EROI for our major fuels (solar may be an exception) are declining over time". So in essence Hall argues solar CAN power industrial civilization.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: nanning on September 17, 2020, 11:05:07 AM
Great to read here from someone with more realism about our current situation and future.
Thanks ralfy for not talking from inside the rich consumers' dream. And thanks for taking all people into account.

To add:
Money may feel like a magical power, but it doesn't mean anything in reality. The physical boundaries are closing in and no amount of money can make them go away.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: Iain on September 17, 2020, 03:27:01 PM
Ralfy, clearly you have done a lot of thinking, good.

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

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

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

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

"...I wrote and published over 100 articles on The Oil Drum....."
http://euanmearns.com/oil-drum-posts/
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: Ken Feldman on September 17, 2020, 06:17:43 PM
Any study claiming renewables will need a century to replace fossil fuels isn't worth the electrons it took to digitally publish.  Any study using data before 2018 is basically worthless, because it's from a time when it made more economic sense to build fossil fuels, not renewables.

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

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

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

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

By Kelly Pickerel | September 9, 2020

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

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

Quote
Turkey opens EMEA’s only integrated solar panel plant

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: Iain on September 18, 2020, 10:07:27 AM
^^^ Agreed.^^^
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on September 18, 2020, 10:22:30 AM
Really ralfy, this level of discussion is ridiculous.
"Certainly that before the Age of Industrialization" - We are talking about the renewable energy transition, what EROI needed to be before the age of industrialization is highly irrelevant.
"I think Hall argues at least 15" - is not a good argument. Who is Hall? Why does he argue this? Especially since I think Hall doesn't argue that. Check Hall graphic below.
"Just as important is energy quantity" - I disagree, energy quantity is important, EROI is much less so. But in any case this is a deflective argument - I commented on a strong claim you made about EROI, so responding with "but energy quantity" is irrelevant.

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

(https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Ftheoildrum.com%2Ffiles%2Fch_balloon_tod.png&hash=630cdd29e599b94cedf8d48f4648aed0)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Hall" refers to Charles Hall:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That's the same conclusion given by Sers and Victor in 2018, which I mentioned earlier.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on September 18, 2020, 11:09:09 AM
Ralfy, clearly you have done a lot of thinking, good.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The implication is that we will have to use all energy sources available, and it might not be enough. If that's the case, poverty and emissions will rise, and the global economy will experiencing chronic crashes. With that, the effects of climate change should worsen, together with increasing vectors for the spread of disease, more ecological damage, and increasing possibilities of conflict.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on September 18, 2020, 11:15:35 AM
Any study claiming renewables will need a century to replace fossil fuels isn't worth the electrons it took to digitally publish.  Any study using data before 2018 is basically worthless, because it's from a time when it made more economic sense to build fossil fuels, not renewables.

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

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

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

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

By Kelly Pickerel | September 9, 2020

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

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

Quote
Turkey opens EMEA’s only integrated solar panel plant

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

In the end, I think studies (and preferably global) rather than news articles are more important.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: SteveMDFP on September 18, 2020, 04:21:40 PM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Levelized Cost of Energy and Levelized Cost of Storage 2019
https://www.lazard.com/perspective/lcoe2019 (https://www.lazard.com/perspective/lcoe2019)
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: NeilT on September 18, 2020, 05:25:19 PM
I think that a quick review on how a study happens is required.

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

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

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

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

Then it's published.

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

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

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

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

Worth reiterating.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: oren on September 18, 2020, 07:02:54 PM
Quote
"Hall" refers to Charles Hall:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please carefully read the source you provided:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I suggest to drop the EROI claim from your very circuitous logic. We need to reduce consumption for other reasons, not because of EROI. We have limits to growth for other reasons, not because of EROI.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: KiwiGriff on September 18, 2020, 07:31:03 PM
Also of note.
Dig up fossil fuel then burn it .
single use.
Build a solar panel use it for thirty years then recycle the materials
and another thirty years ......
About 85 % of a solar panel is recyclable at a much lower energy input  than sourcing virgin materials. The suns energy is free .
At present wind power is growing in size and efficiency at a rapid pace so you do not simply add a new generator to an existing installation. I can not see much difference with wind once the technology is mature. Much of the infrastructure built the first time will be recyclable .

 The energy costs of renewable energy  goes down the longer we use them for.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: SteveMDFP on September 18, 2020, 07:35:10 PM
I feel I have to stand up for fellow members with a different view, especially new ones, that get treated not so respectfull.

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

Why do you write about him in the third person?

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



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

No.  This is a public forum.  My words were addressed to the forum, about ralfy's posts.  The third person was the correct tense.  Any disrespect you perceive is imaginary.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: Ken Feldman on September 19, 2020, 01:23:20 AM
For those who prefer academic studies to actual reports of projects being connected to the grid, I offer this study from late 2019 that shows the impacts of electrifying transportation on energy demand. 

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

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

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

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

(https://www.mdpi.com/energies/energies-12-03870/article_deploy/html/images/energies-12-03870-ag-550.jpg)
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: Iain on September 19, 2020, 10:50:53 AM
Solar return from lifecycle analysis 14 to 17 in 2016, will be better today:
https://www.carboncommentary.com/blog/2016/12/8/musqo7036dslptm1b8efduj6i3e7ms

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is that even possible?

Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on September 20, 2020, 08:53:39 AM
I think that a quick review on how a study happens is required.

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

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

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

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

Then it's published.

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

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

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

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

Worth reiterating.

Indeed, but I was not the one requiring updated information on energy returns. Rather, others are. They believe that after 2013, energy returns increased significantly, but they can't provide evidence on that. The best that I've seen involve prices, payback time, and nameplate power. The best that I could provide on my side is a 2017 update showing an energy return of less than 6 for photovoltaics given real-world conditions, and a 2019 report stating that energy returns for renewables are still low, but that those for fossil fuels are also going down, which means we will need to increase funding for renewables significantly even though overall power won't still be enough to maintain "business as usual."
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on September 20, 2020, 09:13:19 AM
Quote
"Hall" refers to Charles Hall:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please carefully read the source you provided:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quote
Can you now connect all of the dots that I've been raising in this thread, the one on news about renewable energy, and even the one about overpopulation? Do you now see why we need a very high energy return to maintain the type of industrialized civilization we've set up for ourselves? Do you also see why we need increasing amounts of energy to reverse diminishing returns, to meet increasing demand for profits and ROI by investors, and to meet increasing demand for energy and material resources from growing numbers of people worldwide who want more?
We need more energy quantity to maintain a growing industrial civilization. That is a trivial conclusion unrelated to your EROI claims. We need less consumption and less population growth because of physical limits to growth and because of destruction of pollution sinks. That is another trivial conclusion unrelated to your EROI claims.
We do NOT need a high energy return to maintain industrial civilization. The existing energy return of wind and solar energy is more than sufficient for the job. What we need is political and social decisions relating to the transition. Making irrelevant claims about renewable EROI will certainly not help in reaching these decisions.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on September 20, 2020, 09:45:39 AM
Also of note.
Dig up fossil fuel then burn it .
single use.
Build a solar panel use it for thirty years then recycle the materials
and another thirty years ......
About 85 % of a solar panel is recyclable at a much lower energy input  than sourcing virgin materials. The suns energy is free .
At present wind power is growing in size and efficiency at a rapid pace so you do not simply add a new generator to an existing installation. I can not see much difference with wind once the technology is mature. Much of the infrastructure built the first time will be recyclable .

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

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

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

And behind all that are diminishing returns for oil and minerals needed for renewable energy components and more.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on September 20, 2020, 10:16:35 AM
For those who prefer academic studies to actual reports of projects being connected to the grid, I offer this study from late 2019 that shows the impacts of electrifying transportation on energy demand. 

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

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

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

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

(https://www.mdpi.com/energies/energies-12-03870/article_deploy/html/images/energies-12-03870-ag-550.jpg)

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

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

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

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

At best, one study shows that we should get around 50 TW overall, which is similar to the 210-260 pct demand increase anticipated for transport. Another adds that coordination between at least 143 countries will be needed.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: Iain on September 20, 2020, 11:30:52 AM
Ralfy,
Not all studies are the same. The Energy Sceptic, Euan Mearns, the Oil Drum sites are full of negative stories about renewables

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

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

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

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

GWPF – Earth is actually cooling.
True
The high upper atmosphere cools when the sun wanes on it’s 7 year cycle. That makes almost no difference to us, the surface is still warming.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: Iain on September 20, 2020, 11:59:50 AM
Ralfy, can you spot the holes in

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

I see 3 main howlers, what are they?

Iain
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: nanning on September 21, 2020, 07:11:22 AM
Since this is about energy transition and consumption, it fits here as well.  This is very IMPORTANT imo.

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

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

 Excerpts: (bolding by me)

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

The best possible, morally defensible purpose is for all humanity to live a decent life, but [the carbon budget] has been used up by the already rich, in getting richer,
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: wili on September 21, 2020, 07:25:28 AM
Thanks for that, nanning. Many won't believe it.

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

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

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

And capacity factors continue to increase due to technological improvements.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(https://www.carbonbrief.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/Enhanced-levelised-cost-estimates-for-electricity-generation-in-2025-2035.jpg)
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: Ken Feldman on September 21, 2020, 09:30:54 PM
Here's a link to a September 2020 report by the Energy Transitions Commission, "a coalition of global leaders from across the energy landscape: energy producers, energy-intensive industries, equipment providers, finance players and environmental NGOs".

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quote
Thus:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It gets worse when you consider every other point I raised in my previous posts. That is, even if we assume that the return is higher (the majority of studies I see show a return of around 6-7), there's also the demand needed by the global economy and more. I explained that in greater detail more than one in my previous posts. Please go over them again.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: nanning on September 22, 2020, 08:21:34 AM
Thanks wili, I share that view.

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

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

Well, what to expect. The pigs weren't open to critique in "Animal Farm".
This   is   the   main   problem
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on September 22, 2020, 08:22:04 AM
Ralfy, can you spot the holes in

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

I see 3 main howlers, what are they?

Iain

For me, the howlers are the ff:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s look at what a neutral scientifically focused source, the US National Renewable Energy Lab, says about solar power and the energy payback situation: “Energy payback estimates for rooftop PV systems are 4, 3, 2, and 1 years: 4 years for systems using current multicrystalline-silicon PV modules, 3 years for current thin-film modules, 2 years for anticipated multicrystalline modules, and 1 year for anticipated thin-film modules (see Figure 1). With energy paybacks of 1 to 4 years and assumed life expectancies of 30 years, 87% to 97% of the energy that PV systems generate won’t be plagued by pollution, greenhouse gases, and depletion of resources.”
(https://cleantechnica.com/files/2018/01/Rooftop-Solar-PV-Energy-Payback-Time.png)
https://cleantechnica.com/2018/02/03/solar-power-can-pay-easily/


One study syndrome......


Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on September 22, 2020, 08:35:37 AM
Since this is about energy transition and consumption, it fits here as well.  This is very IMPORTANT imo.

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

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

 Excerpts: (bolding by me)

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That's why you are absolutely right in arguing that this issue is important. The catch is that many forum members will disagree with you because they believe that, somehow, some sort of political will may take over and force not just the 1 pct or the top 20 pct but even the majority of the world's population to either cut down heavily on energy and resource use per capita or ensure that such does not go up.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on September 22, 2020, 08:40:57 AM
Thanks for that, nanning. Many won't believe it.

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

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

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

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

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

And capacity factors continue to increase due to technological improvements.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(https://www.carbonbrief.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/Enhanced-levelised-cost-estimates-for-electricity-generation-in-2025-2035.jpg)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s look at what a neutral scientifically focused source, the US National Renewable Energy Lab, says about solar power and the energy payback situation: “Energy payback estimates for rooftop PV systems are 4, 3, 2, and 1 years: 4 years for systems using current multicrystalline-silicon PV modules, 3 years for current thin-film modules, 2 years for anticipated multicrystalline modules, and 1 year for anticipated thin-film modules (see Figure 1). With energy paybacks of 1 to 4 years and assumed life expectancies of 30 years, 87% to 97% of the energy that PV systems generate won’t be plagued by pollution, greenhouse gases, and depletion of resources.”
(https://cleantechnica.com/files/2018/01/Rooftop-Solar-PV-Energy-Payback-Time.png)
https://cleantechnica.com/2018/02/03/solar-power-can-pay-easily/


One study syndrome......

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

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

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

Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: oren on September 22, 2020, 09:07:50 AM
If you were to drop the irrelevant EROI argument ralfy, stopped claiming solar has diminishing returns, and stopped ignoring the waste heat that comes with FF but is not part of renewable energy, it is quite plausible that most members would agree with your assertions about the need for more energy quantity in the future, the difficulty in making a fast enough transition, and the need to reduce developed countries consumption and overall population growth.
What bothers me is that you make important claims (though rather trivial), but using wrong methods and arguments. In science I think it's not just the conclusion that matters, but the method.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: blu_ice on September 22, 2020, 09:11:41 AM
The Peak Oil movement of early noughties was based on an over-simplistic theory of technical supply side limitations. Disregarding demand (and supply!) elasticity is the main reason Peak Oil  never materialized as they predicted.

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

Unlike EROI, prices take all these into equation while also relaying information to stakeholders. This information drives further innovation and efficiency.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: blu_ice 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.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: nanning 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.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: nanning 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)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YsA3PK8bQd8
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: oren 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.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: SteveMDFP 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. 
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: kassy 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.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: Bruce Steele 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.
 
 
 
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: SteveMDFP 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.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: KiwiGriff 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.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: Bruce Steele 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 ?
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: oren 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.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: etienne 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.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: blu_ice 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.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: nanning 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.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: Tom_Mazanec 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.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: Iain 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.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: Iain 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.

Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: Iain 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
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: Bruce Steele 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.
 


 
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: SteveMDFP 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! 
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: nanning 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.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: KiwiGriff 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. 
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: nanning 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.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: etienne 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.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: etienne 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.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy 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.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy 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.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy 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?

Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy 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.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy 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.

Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy 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:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xM_aBS1HlUk

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.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy 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!
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy 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.

Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy 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.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy 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:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHNa2j2HDvo
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy 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.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy 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.

Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: oren on September 25, 2020, 05:02:46 AM
Sorry, I give up.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: Iain 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.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: SteveMDFP 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.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: Bruce Steele 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 ?
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: etienne 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.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: Ken Feldman 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 (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
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: Ken Feldman 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 (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).
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: Iain 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

Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: Iain 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.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: etienne 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.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: SteveMDFP 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,
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy 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.


Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy 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.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on September 27, 2020, 04:42:58 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 (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

My understanding is that the report uses information from Raugei, who acknowledges Hall but gives a higher energy return given average grid efficiency:

https://www.bnl.gov/pv/files/pdf/241_Raugei_EROI_EP_revised_II_2012-03_VMF.pdf

Thus, for photovoltaics, an energy return of

30 given nameplate power and ideal conditions

11-12 given LCA based on constant solar irradiation

6-7 given extended EROI

5.9 given measured conditions

18-20 given ave. grid efficiency and development of infrastructure to resolve intermittency.

Meanwhile, the same model might give a max. return of 30 for oil and 80 for coal.

Thus, the expected energy return goes up or down given what assumptions are made, but observed energy return still remains low. But it can only achieve a minor increase given improvements in production, etc. The catch lies in the speed by which the transition can be made, which requires the ff:

All fossil fuels will have to be preserved, i.e., not used for non-necessities (i.e., anything that will not be needed for optimal health), and used as a buffer stock for high levels of investment not only in renewable energy components but even for the infrastructure needed to use electricity from them, and this has to take place on a global scale.

It has to be done very quickly, that is, in a decade or so. Climate scientists and energy experts will also agree to this because some claim that if we not way past tipping point concerning emissions, we are very close to it, and energy experts argue that there is a two-decade lag time to prepare for peak oil, and that's assuming (as one report points it) over 140 countries will work in tandem.

Priority will have to be given to around 70 pct of the world population because they have major lack in terms of basic needs and infrastructure. The 30 pct will have to sacrifice significantly, e.g., at least a 50-pct reduction in their income, spending, and resource and energy use per capita.

Finally, all of the points above will have to be adjusted given the ff:

- if the world population continues to rise;

- diminishing returns (i.e., increasing energy to get fossil fuels and minerals needed as buffer stock and as materials for renewable energy components, infrastructure, and consumer goods);

- adjusting between full cooperation and coordination between countries (possible?) and something like it (which lengthens lag time); and

- energy quantity across the board.

I discussed each point in previous posts.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on September 27, 2020, 04:50:25 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 (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).

It's probably more realistic to consider extended EROI tested against measured observation (Hall and Prieto) and then figure out how to work on that given levels of investment (Raugei) and coordination (the 2018 paper shared earlier). What's missing are expected demand (the paper on transport looks like a low-end estimate) given conditions in most parts of the world that aren't like California.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on September 27, 2020, 04:53:29 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

Life-cycle assessments are always helpful for projections, but when one also looks at measured real-world conditions that show return lower than nameplate power, then better models should be employed.

Given that, what Baldi and others refer to as "extended EROI" looks more helpful, but it doesn't consider other factors that are needed for a transition. Rather, what returns would look like given ideal economic conditions.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: oren on September 27, 2020, 09:04:08 AM
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.
This is one part of a circular argument we have been reading here endlessly ralfy. Of course everything involves fossil fuels. Duh! It's because the renewable transition hasn't occurred. Will it ever occur? Not if it's up to biased propagndists like Prieto that you not only insist on quoting but insist on dismissing any other competing source.

Focus on the problems with the transition itself, rather than the blather of peak oil and EROI. There is too much oil available for humanity to kill itself with, via AGW. There is enough EROI in renewables. Both these arguments are things from the past, laid to rest. Your insistent focus on them is what makes your posts almost unreadable.
Problems with the transition abound - lack of political will, too-slow rate of transition, the need to support a growing population, the need to uplift the world's poor from energy poverty and general poverty, the need to reduce consumption by the rich and greedy richer part of humanity, the need to replace fossil fuel plants and not just meet the growth in energy demand, the need to replace the energy sources in sectors where electricity is harder to use due to various physical limitations, and so forth. A logical and well-structured discussion focused on these issues would be welcome. Unfortunately, you are unable or unwilling to engage in such discussion, so this is the last from me.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: gerontocrat on September 27, 2020, 02:21:10 PM
EROI was used to compare the energy return on extracting crude from different environments.
Then it was used to compare returns from different fossil fuels. If you want to include it in comparisons with renewable energy I believe you have to widen the discussion to look at what the energy is used for.

Generation of electricity -
Generation from fossil fuels is inefficient. This reduces the effective EROI of fossil fuels.
Wind, and especially solar, is extremely efficient.

Transportation - vehicles
The energy is there to turn the wheels (+ a bit for AC & lights).
A fossil fuel engine is very inefficient. The effective EROI of the fuel is reduced accordingly.
Energy loss from the electricity grid (or rooftop solar) to battery to wheels is low.

Heating.
How efficient is the oil furnace or gas boiler in an average dwelling?
Industrial use - e.g. gas ovens for ceramics, can be very efficient.
This may be the hardest final nut to crack in full transition to renewable energy.

EROI is only one component of the Asset Life Cycle analysis methodology when applied to energy measurement instead of simply cost. This requires widening the scope. An obvious example is to include the energy wasted from gas flaring during crude extraction. Then you have to add energy from methane leakage from the tens of thousands of abandoned wells, coal mines and coal tips.You can start looking at the energy costs of CO2 emissions - increasing use of AC as AGW takes hold.

Vehicles and power plants are machines. They wear out and will need replacing. It is surely better to replace them with renewable energy based machines than fossil fuel based machines. It is probably only an interim solution as humanity has to come to terms with the other human activities (e.g. the 6th mass extinction) that are also current and / or future existential threats to humanity.
______________________________________________________________
ps: It is far cheaper, quicker and far more efficient to get electricity to the many millions without it by wind and especially solar.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: SteveMDFP on September 27, 2020, 05:24:35 PM
   
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.

It's a nice theory, but for renewables, reality has been showing the opposite.  Prices for solar energy have been dropping dramatically.  If you want a megawatt-hour of electricity, utility-scale solar is the quickest, cheapest, and cleanest way to generate it.  That's not showing diminishing returns, its showing economies of scale.  We've barely scratched the surface of what's feasible.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: Bruce Steele on September 27, 2020, 05:34:58 PM
Iain, Thanks for posting those links I missed. 15 to 20 EROEI for solar is pretty impressive. Wind and solar can improve efficiencies and oil and gas are headed to less efficiency due to increased extraction costs.
 Scotland has offshore wind. California is still in planning stages still but as our last Nuclear plants are slated for decommissioning 2025 things are getting pretty desperate for nighttime electric generation.
We have lots of solar and to balance out nighttime uses we need replacement for existing nuclear and gas plants scheduled for the dust bin. We have good offshore wind resources but the politics is , as usual, a mess.
 BOEM has been working for several years on siting options but the NAVY abruptly said all areas South of San Francisco were incompatible. Our local congressman held up their appropriations bill until they agreed to compromise. The new areas the Navy agreed to move to ~ 15 miles from shore and run into another federal agency called the Monterey National Marine sanctuary that doesn’t currently allow wind or wind leasing options afforded BOEM.
 The new siting options put the floating turbine windfarm into existing fishing grounds so fishermen get to comment, although we will be thrown under the bus. Onshore wind in Calif. always has to fight agains’t environmental opposition so crushing a few fishermen is relatively easy in comparison.
 The NRDC is leading the charge to install GW of offshore wind but just the first few MW projects are having plenty of problems with competing mandates of preservation politics of the Sanctuaries, Calif. renewable goals and the intransigence of the US military. Fisheries opposition is a minor inconvenience
  Maybe batteries are a better option but offshore wind is how we are going to meet immediate energy demands. I happen to be a fisherman who has been involved with fisheries politics for long enough to know when we are about to be steamrolled. Negotiating a weak hand is an art in itself so I plan on making myself an irritation and maybe our local fishermen will still be able to fish around the wind farms when the talking is over.
 The huge migrations of seabirds will have to dodge hundreds of miles of 900ft. wind towers . Our coast is still very pristine , it will be sad to watch . We have a way to rationalize almost anything to keep the growth paradigm rolling along.  We are talking about a wind farm in water thousands of feet deep with the nearest harbor with large tugs and infrastructure over two hundred miles away. Any employment will not flow down to the areas negatively impacted.   
 
https://www.eenews.net/stories/1063571481

Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: oren on September 27, 2020, 07:19:42 PM
Thanks for sharing Bruce, sad. Aren't there any deserts in the vicinity where wind turbines can be sited without much interference?
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: blu_ice on September 28, 2020, 12:50:26 PM

Focus on the problems with the transition itself, rather than the blather of peak oil and EROI. There is too much oil available for humanity to kill itself with, via AGW.

Not only that, but there's too much oil available for the oil producers to be happy about it.

Quote
EIA forecasts that consumption of petroleum and liquid fuels globally will average 93.1 million b/d for all of 2020, down 8.3 million b/d from 2019, before increasing by 6.5 million b/d in 2021. EIA’s forecast for growth in 2021 is 0.5 million b/d less than in the August STEO. The downward revision is largely a result of lower expected consumption growth in China, which EIA now forecasts to grow by 1.0 million b/d in 2021.
https://www.eia.gov/outlooks/steo/report/global_oil.php

Now even Big Oil expects oil consumption to have peaked. Not because of EROI, not because we cannot pump more, but because more competitive forms of energy are coming online.

Quote
Global oil demand may have passed peak, says BP energy report
Oil will be replaced by clean electricity, BP predicts, as demand may never recover from Covid-19 pandemic

BP has called time on the world’s rising demand for fossil fuels after finding that demand for oil may have already reached its peak and faces an unprecedented decades-long decline.

Demand for oil may never fully recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the oil firm, and may begin falling in absolute terms for the first time in modern history.

BP’s influential annual report on the future of energy, published on Monday, says oil will be replaced by clean electricity from windfarms, solar panels and hydropower plants as renewable energy emerges as the fastest-growing energy source on record.

Spencer Dale, BP’s chief economist, said the company’s vision of the world’s energy future had become greener due to a combination of the Covid-19 pandemic and the quickening pace of climate action, which has hastened “peak oil”.

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/sep/14/global-oil-demand-may-have-passed-peak-says-bp-energy-report

There are posts about Tesla's Battery Day in the battery and Tesla threads. The petrol car will become obsolete during this decade. Before 2030 oil will go where coal has already gone.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on September 29, 2020, 06:49:27 AM
This is one part of a circular argument we have been reading here endlessly ralfy. Of course everything involves fossil fuels. Duh! It's because the renewable transition hasn't occurred. Will it ever occur? Not if it's up to biased propagndists like Prieto that you not only insist on quoting but insist on dismissing any other competing source.

Focus on the problems with the transition itself, rather than the blather of peak oil and EROI. There is too much oil available for humanity to kill itself with, via AGW. There is enough EROI in renewables. Both these arguments are things from the past, laid to rest. Your insistent focus on them is what makes your posts almost unreadable.
Problems with the transition abound - lack of political will, too-slow rate of transition, the need to support a growing population, the need to uplift the world's poor from energy poverty and general poverty, the need to reduce consumption by the rich and greedy richer part of humanity, the need to replace fossil fuel plants and not just meet the growth in energy demand, the need to replace the energy sources in sectors where electricity is harder to use due to various physical limitations, and so forth. A logical and well-structured discussion focused on these issues would be welcome. Unfortunately, you are unable or unwilling to engage in such discussion, so this is the last from me.

You must be kidding! Prieto is a propagandist? FYI, Prieto and Hall did observed measurements of actual operations of solar farms. The corresponding energy returns reported come from those measurements.

Every problem you just acknowledged about a transition came from my posts. Apparently, you are unable to see the connections between these problems and energy returns. I explained those connections very carefully in previous posts.

That said, the problem isn't some non-existent circular argument (which you effectively derailed by acknowledging problems that I raised) or the absence of a logical, well-structured one (which you also derailed because it's clear that you understood most of my points) but failure on your part to connect the dots, which is why it all looks confusing to you.

You need to work on that.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on September 29, 2020, 06:57:40 AM

It's a nice theory, but for renewables, reality has been showing the opposite.  Prices for solar energy have been dropping dramatically.  If you want a megawatt-hour of electricity, utility-scale solar is the quickest, cheapest, and cleanest way to generate it.  That's not showing diminishing returns, its showing economies of scale.  We've barely scratched the surface of what's feasible.

Again, don't focus too much on prices. I explained that several times in previous posts. What you want to look at are amounts of energy needed to extract minerals, process them, manufacture and assemble components for renewable energy, and then do the same thing for the infrastructure that will delivery energy and consumer goods that will use them. Then assume that those who will be investing in such are in competition with each other and want ever-increasing returns on their investment, which means production and consumption of not just those minerals, the fossil fuels needed to extract, manufacture, and deliver components, the materials needed for infrastructure across the board, but even the consumer goods that will use electricity from that renewable energy have to keep rising continuously.

Finally, as an aside, realizing that should give new meaning to your last point. "Barely scratching the surface of what's feasible" for an environmentalist or climate scientist is good because that means with renewable energy we should be able to conserve and even end up consuming less energy and material resources. But for capitalists who will be investing in renewable energy based on the same premise, it means more opportunities to consume more energy and material resources in exchange for greater profits, which in turn are churned back into the process to increase production and consumption further. In fact, that's what's meant by "feasible."


Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on September 29, 2020, 06:59:18 AM
Iain, Thanks for posting those links I missed. 15 to 20 EROEI for solar is pretty impressive. Wind and solar can improve efficiencies and oil and gas are headed to less efficiency due to increased extraction costs.
 Scotland has offshore wind. California is still in planning stages still but as our last Nuclear plants are slated for decommissioning 2025 things are getting pretty desperate for nighttime electric generation.
We have lots of solar and to balance out nighttime uses we need replacement for existing nuclear and gas plants scheduled for the dust bin. We have good offshore wind resources but the politics is , as usual, a mess.
 BOEM has been working for several years on siting options but the NAVY abruptly said all areas South of San Francisco were incompatible. Our local congressman held up their appropriations bill until they agreed to compromise. The new areas the Navy agreed to move to ~ 15 miles from shore and run into another federal agency called the Monterey National Marine sanctuary that doesn’t currently allow wind or wind leasing options afforded BOEM.
 The new siting options put the floating turbine windfarm into existing fishing grounds so fishermen get to comment, although we will be thrown under the bus. Onshore wind in Calif. always has to fight agains’t environmental opposition so crushing a few fishermen is relatively easy in comparison.
 The NRDC is leading the charge to install GW of offshore wind but just the first few MW projects are having plenty of problems with competing mandates of preservation politics of the Sanctuaries, Calif. renewable goals and the intransigence of the US military. Fisheries opposition is a minor inconvenience
  Maybe batteries are a better option but offshore wind is how we are going to meet immediate energy demands. I happen to be a fisherman who has been involved with fisheries politics for long enough to know when we are about to be steamrolled. Negotiating a weak hand is an art in itself so I plan on making myself an irritation and maybe our local fishermen will still be able to fish around the wind farms when the talking is over.
 The huge migrations of seabirds will have to dodge hundreds of miles of 900ft. wind towers . Our coast is still very pristine , it will be sad to watch . We have a way to rationalize almost anything to keep the growth paradigm rolling along.  We are talking about a wind farm in water thousands of feet deep with the nearest harbor with large tugs and infrastructure over two hundred miles away. Any employment will not flow down to the areas negatively impacted.   
 
https://www.eenews.net/stories/1063571481

To recap, it's 15-20 given the assumption of ave. grid efficiency. Without that assurance, it goes down to 11-12 given LCA and ave. solar irradiation. With extended EROI, 6-7, which not surprisingly matches observed measurements of less than 6.

Meanwhile, to meet just basic needs of the current population, at least 15. To meet that plus wants, which is what investors expect, higher. To meet that plus deal with ecological damage (incl. being carbon neutral) plus diminishing returns for fossil fuels and minerals needed for the same renewable energy components, even higher.

Finally, the reason why additional energy and material resources are needed is because most of the world's isn't like California.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on September 29, 2020, 07:08:52 AM
Quote

Focus on the problems with the transition itself, rather than the blather of peak oil and EROI. There is too much oil available for humanity to kill itself with, via AGW.

Not only that, but there's too much oil available for the oil producers to be happy about it.

Quote
EIA forecasts that consumption of petroleum and liquid fuels globally will average 93.1 million b/d for all of 2020, down 8.3 million b/d from 2019, before increasing by 6.5 million b/d in 2021. EIA’s forecast for growth in 2021 is 0.5 million b/d less than in the August STEO. The downward revision is largely a result of lower expected consumption growth in China, which EIA now forecasts to grow by 1.0 million b/d in 2021.
https://www.eia.gov/outlooks/steo/report/global_oil.php

Now even Big Oil expects oil consumption to have peaked. Not because of EROI, not because we cannot pump more, but because more competitive forms of energy are coming online.

Quote
Global oil demand may have passed peak, says BP energy report
Oil will be replaced by clean electricity, BP predicts, as demand may never recover from Covid-19 pandemic

BP has called time on the world’s rising demand for fossil fuels after finding that demand for oil may have already reached its peak and faces an unprecedented decades-long decline.

Demand for oil may never fully recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the oil firm, and may begin falling in absolute terms for the first time in modern history.

BP’s influential annual report on the future of energy, published on Monday, says oil will be replaced by clean electricity from windfarms, solar panels and hydropower plants as renewable energy emerges as the fastest-growing energy source on record.

Spencer Dale, BP’s chief economist, said the company’s vision of the world’s energy future had become greener due to a combination of the Covid-19 pandemic and the quickening pace of climate action, which has hastened “peak oil”.

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/sep/14/global-oil-demand-may-have-passed-peak-says-bp-energy-report

There are posts about Tesla's Battery Day in the battery and Tesla threads. The petrol car will become obsolete during this decade. Before 2030 oil will go where coal has already gone.

In short, we don't need higher oil production because oil consumption has weakened, and oil consumption has weakened because of poor economic prospects driven by rising debt from 2008 to the present plus additional problems like pandemics. But that's the same economy that's expected to invest in renewable energy and profit from it in the same manner!
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: KiwiGriff on September 29, 2020, 07:29:54 AM
Just opened ralfys comments
Should not have bothered
Still single study syndrom still has not understood renewable energy is both cheaper and more efficient than way back in 2015
And can not get it is getting cheaper every year as we climb the learning curve and reach economy of scale.
Wasted space...
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: blu_ice on September 29, 2020, 09:55:35 AM
In short, we don't need higher oil production because oil consumption has weakened, and oil consumption has weakened because of poor economic prospects driven by rising debt from 2008 to the present plus additional problems like pandemics. But that's the same economy that's expected to invest in renewable energy and profit from it in the same manner!
Well, no. Oil demand went down in early 2020 because people stopped flying and driving due to the pandemic.

Although the pandemic will eventually end, oil demand is not expected to reach 2019 levels because the underlying trend is moving the world away from oil.

Forget peak oil (production). It was a failed theory from 20 years ago that never materialized. Moving goalposts as not to include "unconventional" oil or to disregard prices doesn't make peak oil true.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: kassy on September 29, 2020, 02:06:17 PM
There are some interesting points in there but rehashing the same argument does not really help.

So ralfy would it be fair to classify your position as ´it is not possible?´
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: Ken Feldman on September 29, 2020, 10:35:43 PM
I think what Ralfy fails to understand is that as long as the Energy Return on Investment is greater than 1 (which it is even if you try to put your thumb on the scales with arguments about mining, transmission, grid efficiency, etc...), then what really drives investment decisions is financial return on investment. 

And now that renewables are cheaper than fossil fuels, the final investment decisions on energy projects are increasingly dominated by new renewable projects.  That's why there are so many press releases available about new renewable power plants.

https://canada.constructconnect.com/dcn/news/economic/2020/09/report-predicts-major-spike-in-renewable-energy-projects-by-2030 (https://canada.constructconnect.com/dcn/news/economic/2020/09/report-predicts-major-spike-in-renewable-energy-projects-by-2030)

Quote
Report predicts major spike in renewable energy projects by 2030
DCN-JOC News Services September 3, 2020

SANTA CLARA, CALIF. — A new report from Frost & Sullivan predicts that US$3.4 trillion will be invested globally on renewable energy by 2030.

The study, Opportunities from Decarbonization in the Global Power Market, 2019-2030, forecasts that coal will take a downturn in most developed markets.

By 2030, 54.1 per cent of installed capacity will be renewable (including hydropower) and 37.9 per cent will be a combination of solar and wind, the report predicts.

Falling costs and renewable-friendly energy policies adopted by several countries in the six major geographies — North America, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, China and India — are prominent reasons why solar photovoltaic and wind capacity projects are expected to climb this decade.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on October 02, 2020, 03:29:59 AM
Just opened ralfys comments
Should not have bothered
Still single study syndrom still has not understood renewable energy is both cheaper and more efficient than way back in 2015
And can not get it is getting cheaper every year as we climb the learning curve and reach economy of scale.
Wasted space...

It's cheaper because of the price, but the price doesn't change the energy return. Look at what happened to oil: low prices but energy returns are still low.

The energy return is highest when ideal conditions are considered. That's nameplate power, and for photovoltaics that's 30.

It goes down when you look at payback time. That's lifecycle analysis, and for photovoltaics that's 11-12.

It goes down even more when you at the cost of making components available to you and how you use them. That's extended EROI, and for photovoltaics that's 6-7, or so-called "outdated" data.

Finally, there's real-world conditions, where observed measurements are made to see what might be actual EROI. One study shows a return of less than 6.

Now, given that, there are many ways to increase EROI, and by that I don't mean lower prices. That involves technology to make extraction of resources and manufacture of components more efficient. But that doesn't stop the trend of diminishing returns: at some point minerals and oil used for manufacture and delivery of RE components and finished goods, not to mention the infrastructure needed for that plus delivering the energy that they produced, go up because of two simple facts that for some reason some forum members in, of all places, a science forum, cannot fathom: physical limitations and gravity. Put simply, the trend for oil, copper, and many material resources needed is always downward: resources that are deeper or that are now accessed because the materials that are of better quality (lower levels of sulfur, higher grade or with fewer impurities) have already been extracted and used require more energy for extraction and/or processing (e.g., lower quantities of lower-grade copper, from light oil to heavy oil). That has an obvious impact on energy returns.

Finally, there are more points to consider in light of these and any transition in a global capitalist system. First, what investors want are higher prices, not low. Prices may be low thanks to better efficiency, for example, but they want them higher eventually because that allows for greater returns on investment. Meanwhile, consumers want lower prices for obvious reasons, but as more of them want and buy more RE components (i.e., demand) then prices should go up.

That's why the main reason why investors, including oil companies, went into renewable energy because oil prices were high. The problem is that they went down because of weak demand, and that's mistakenly seen as a good sign because it means people want less oil and more RE. What's more likely is that the global economy has been weak since the 2008 crash because of high levels of spending and debt, and that might explain why prices for oil are low. It's not because more began to care for climate change issues.

Next, demand in the form of what people want given the opportunity to consume more, is high. That's because most people are poor and want to become rich: they want basic needs plus wants. At the same time, what they need and want involve material resources that face diminishing returns (which is the main factor behind limits to growth). Based on what I've explained in multiple messages, that will require much higher energy returns (from which we get higher energy quantity), which is why instead of a transition I think the world will use every available energy source to meet what they need and want.

Unless the global economy crashes again due to another crisis. That is, in 2008, it was due to rising debt and increasing financial risks leading to fallout, and part of the debt was needed to finance unconventional production, which in turn was needed to make up for a peak in conventional production which the IEA acknowledged in 2010. In 2020, it's a pandemic leading to disruption of supply chains, low demand overall due to high unemployment and business closure, and may lead to, among other things, at least 30 million people worldwide facing lack of food, among others.

In a sense, one might say that we are looking at this argument based on the difference between what we hope will happen (nameplate power) and what's actually happening (extended EROI). What I've been trying explain is the latter, but it appears that it is now considered a waste of space to do so. In which case, I don't see the point in discussing this issue further, as every point I've raised above comes from my previous posts.

With that, I cannot help you anymore. At some point, you will have to connect the dots.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: SteveMDFP on October 02, 2020, 03:58:03 AM
Just opened ralfys comments
Should not have bothered
Still single study syndrom still has not understood renewable energy is both cheaper and more efficient than way back in 2015
And can not get it is getting cheaper every year as we climb the learning curve and reach economy of scale.
Wasted space...

It's cheaper because of the price, but the price doesn't change the energy return. Look at what happened to oil: low prices but energy returns are still low.
Utter nonsense.  Oil fluctuates in price because there are cycles of oil glut and oil shortage.  This is utterly unlike what happens with renewables.  There are diurnal variations in the supply of renewable energy (abundant when sun and wind are available, in shortage at night and in calm).  The devices that permit harnessing sun and wind do not go through cycles of shortage and glut.  Items are manufactured to meet orders.

The price of these items reflects resources needed to manufacture them, including energy.  There's no such thing as manufacturing to a loss for any extended period of time.  Price of these manufactured items essentially always reflects costs of inputs, including energy.  When prices fall year after year, this means input costs are decreasing.

Thus there is no issue of diminishing returns with renewable energy.  Exactly the opposite is true, we're seeing falling prices for these manufactured items due to economies of scale and advances in technology.

Trying to assign EROEI to renewables is absurd.  Verifying some author's calculation is a hurculean task, and the true number changes as prices go down.  All such published calculations for renewables are obsolete by the time they're published.

Trying to evaluate the situation for renewables by looking at EROEI is just stupid.  Price is a reliable, verifiable, and straightforward measure.

Using this appropriate metric, renewable sourcing of energy will plainly become the norm, in countries both rich and poor. 

What you keep posting repeatedly is some weird version of concern trolling.  Please stop with the relentless repetition.
 
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: Bruce Steele on October 02, 2020, 04:55:19 AM
SteveMD, Even though Ralfy does seem to be concern trolling I can not agree EROEI is irrelevant to the discussion of renewables.
 For Ralfy I would like to hear what options he feels will extradite us from our conundrum.

 We have spent enormous amounts of money since 2008 trying to float oil prices and production. We have succeeded in maintaining BAU with fracked oil but the investment made hasn’t resulted in making fracking economically viable. The Saudi oil fields seem to need more and more rigs to maintain production. Without cheap money ( borrowed from future generations ) oil would be in decline.EROEI
is catching up with us but if oil prices rise so too will the costs of mining, transport, and manufacture of materials needed for any energy transition. I can’t figure out how so many of my friends here don’t see the problem with borrowing more and more money to power our society. I know the stock market is doing well and those of you with stocks, bonds, and paper investments are doing better than ever but for those of us still stuck with manual labor as our means of support have to deal with returns on our labors. How much I can earn is  often dependent upon  EROEI decisions. That is why I try to think about energy costs of tools and what returns I can expect.  If your income is dependent upon anything as irrational as the stock market then by all means ignore my problems , they don’t affect you. Yet
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: oren on October 02, 2020, 08:01:51 AM
EROEI is relevant to fossil fuels and food production but not very much to renewables.
There is enough EROEI for solar and wind to not care about it. The challenges are with other issues. What humanity should be doing is to use its current FF-powered industrial base to make a massive buildup of renewables as fast as possible, which will then be able to produce (most of) the energy needs of said industrial base, and retire the FF part before it kills us all.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: etienne on October 02, 2020, 02:34:17 PM
Regarding food production, EROEI is half relevant. It is relevant if you want to compare different production methods, for example organic and traditional, but it is not relevant regarding tools. Who cares of the scythe produced enough energy to compensate the embedded energy, the ax is there to produce the needed wood.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: etienne on October 02, 2020, 02:38:07 PM
Same thing for renewable, when investments are required, it's always good to know what the EROEIs are. Mainly if you have a few processes one after the other (PV=>hydrogen=>car or PV=>battery=>car).
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: Bruce Steele on October 02, 2020, 03:20:48 PM
Northvolt Etta is planning a lithium ion battery plant that uses 100% renewable energy as well as siting close to cobalt mines. Competition mister Musk.

  https://northvolt.com/production
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: nanning on October 03, 2020, 10:46:02 AM
Dear ettienne, I think that cars are a very small portion of the global energy transition. If you forget about cars and personal transport for a moment, could you make a list of the specific areas of society, production and consumption that are key to the transition? Take e.g. Mozambique, Madagascar or Bangladesh.

--

2 points about the transition for production and consumption.

Almost all plastics are made from FF.
The transition is thus also about phasing out plastic.

Q- Have you thought about that? Is that doable? How?

We've become extremely dependent on plastics.


I am a layman in chemistry science but I think that many chemicals in use today are ultimately derived from FF. They'll have to go as well.

Q- How can they be replaced?
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: oren on October 03, 2020, 10:52:40 AM
Plastics can be made from plants or basically from any carbon and hydrogen. The main ingredient would be energy, so the transitions is doable but makes another demand on future renewable energy supply.
Of course, reducing the total consumption of plastics (as of most other things) would make solving the problem much easier.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: kassy on October 03, 2020, 10:56:40 AM
Almost anything we make should be circular. So design al products in a way that optimizes recycling.
Non bio degradable plastics should not be used for bags, straws etc.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: nanning on October 03, 2020, 12:12:18 PM
Thanks.
So you say it is doable and it means that the whole plastics industry has to transition to plant-based basic materials and make non-FF-based polymers? Like the organic polymer lignin? Is that correct?
Will they be able to make plastics with the same properties as FF-plastics?

I am also thinking about the dashboard of your car and the plastic in tools and machines.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: KiwiGriff on October 03, 2020, 12:32:24 PM
Responsibly using earths fossil  resources is not the problem .
The big issue is burning it as fuel and the resulting dumping of CO2 into the atmosphere.
It would help the environment if more plastic used was recycled and less one use tat was made and sold.
You can help.
Don't buy cheap poorly made plastic consumer crap ...
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on October 04, 2020, 07:00:50 PM

Utter nonsense.  Oil fluctuates in price because there are cycles of oil glut and oil shortage.  This is utterly unlike what happens with renewables.  There are diurnal variations in the supply of renewable energy (abundant when sun and wind are available, in shortage at night and in calm).  The devices that permit harnessing sun and wind do not go through cycles of shortage and glut.  Items are manufactured to meet orders.

The price of these items reflects resources needed to manufacture them, including energy.  There's no such thing as manufacturing to a loss for any extended period of time.  Price of these manufactured items essentially always reflects costs of inputs, including energy.  When prices fall year after year, this means input costs are decreasing.

Thus there is no issue of diminishing returns with renewable energy.  Exactly the opposite is true, we're seeing falling prices for these manufactured items due to economies of scale and advances in technology.

Trying to assign EROEI to renewables is absurd.  Verifying some author's calculation is a hurculean task, and the true number changes as prices go down.  All such published calculations for renewables are obsolete by the time they're published.

Trying to evaluate the situation for renewables by looking at EROEI is just stupid.  Price is a reliable, verifiable, and straightforward measure.

Using this appropriate metric, renewable sourcing of energy will plainly become the norm, in countries both rich and poor. 

What you keep posting repeatedly is some weird version of concern trolling.  Please stop with the relentless repetition.

You did not understand my point: the price goes up and down but the energy return does not!

The claim that EROI cannot be assigned to renewables is utter nonsense. You need energy to extract minerals, process them, manufacture components, and ship them.

There is no way you are right in this. And the fact that you actually think you're right and that you think that I'm trolling only makes matters worse for you.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on October 04, 2020, 07:09:13 PM

Well, no. Oil demand went down in early 2020 because people stopped flying and driving due to the pandemic.

Although the pandemic will eventually end, oil demand is not expected to reach 2019 levels because the underlying trend is moving the world away from oil.

Forget peak oil (production). It was a failed theory from 20 years ago that never materialized. Moving goalposts as not to include "unconventional" oil or to disregard prices doesn't make peak oil true.

You mean "yes."

And oil demand continues to rise because, as this article points out, around 85 pct of the world population live in developing countries, with, as I pointed out earlier, 71 pct earning below $10 daily:

https://www.rigzone.com/news/shell_is_wrong_global_oil_demand_can_only_increase-21-nov-2018-157509-article/

That means there is a significant lack of infrastructure worldwide needed just for basic needs, which is why, as I explained in my first post, we will need up to double the amount of current energy use just to meet basic needs of three-quarters of the world population.

That's why for the past decade, oil consumption drop in the EU, Japan, and the U.S. has been offset by the rest of the world. And the only thing that stopped us from reaching a demand rate of 115 Mbd, as predicted by the IEA and others in 2006, is soaring debt which led to low global GDP growth throughout.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on October 04, 2020, 07:16:33 PM
There are some interesting points in there but rehashing the same argument does not really help.

So ralfy would it be fair to classify your position as ´it is not possible?´

If helps if those who counter what I said rehash the same wrong points. That is,

Energy returns are going up because prices are going down. But it turns out what's presented as high returns is payback time. Extended EROI shows much lower returns and similar to observed measurements.

Claims that energy return has nothing to do with renewables is utter nonsense, and for obvious reasons.

As for your question, I answered that in great detail in previous posts.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on October 04, 2020, 07:32:02 PM
I think what Ralfy fails to understand is that as long as the Energy Return on Investment is greater than 1 (which it is even if you try to put your thumb on the scales with arguments about mining, transmission, grid efficiency, etc...), then what really drives investment decisions is financial return on investment. 

And now that renewables are cheaper than fossil fuels, the final investment decisions on energy projects are increasingly dominated by new renewable projects.  That's why there are so many press releases available about new renewable power plants.

https://canada.constructconnect.com/dcn/news/economic/2020/09/report-predicts-major-spike-in-renewable-energy-projects-by-2030 (https://canada.constructconnect.com/dcn/news/economic/2020/09/report-predicts-major-spike-in-renewable-energy-projects-by-2030)

Quote
Report predicts major spike in renewable energy projects by 2030
DCN-JOC News Services September 3, 2020

SANTA CLARA, CALIF. — A new report from Frost & Sullivan predicts that US$3.4 trillion will be invested globally on renewable energy by 2030.

The study, Opportunities from Decarbonization in the Global Power Market, 2019-2030, forecasts that coal will take a downturn in most developed markets.

By 2030, 54.1 per cent of installed capacity will be renewable (including hydropower) and 37.9 per cent will be a combination of solar and wind, the report predicts.

Falling costs and renewable-friendly energy policies adopted by several countries in the six major geographies — North America, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, China and India — are prominent reasons why solar photovoltaic and wind capacity projects are expected to climb this decade.

You must be kidding. An energy return that's at least better than 1 will do very little:

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

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

The gist is that the more one wants, the more energy is needed. If one lives in a hovel in a forest and lives based on subsistence, then the net energy needed for that is small. Change that to a high-rise condo with processed food, and the net energy needed increases dramatically.

The same applies to oil and minerals themselves as they become more difficult to extract because they are deeper or require more processing. And that's the same oil that's used for 70 pct of heavy machinery in mining, part of manufacturing, and a large portion of shipping of minerals and components needed for renewable energy.

Meanwhile, what do you think those investors are expecting given their $3.4 trillion investment? How about those who will be consuming energy produced? Go back to my previous messages and find out.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: SteveMDFP on October 04, 2020, 07:34:37 PM

Utter nonsense.  Oil fluctuates in price because there are cycles of oil glut and oil shortage.  This is utterly unlike what happens with renewables.  There are diurnal variations in the supply of renewable energy (abundant when sun and wind are available, in shortage at night and in calm).  The devices that permit harnessing sun and wind do not go through cycles of shortage and glut.  Items are manufactured to meet orders.

The price of these items reflects resources needed to manufacture them, including energy.  There's no such thing as manufacturing to a loss for any extended period of time.  Price of these manufactured items essentially always reflects costs of inputs, including energy.  When prices fall year after year, this means input costs are decreasing.

Thus there is no issue of diminishing returns with renewable energy.  Exactly the opposite is true, we're seeing falling prices for these manufactured items due to economies of scale and advances in technology.

Trying to assign EROEI to renewables is absurd.  Verifying some author's calculation is a hurculean task, and the true number changes as prices go down.  All such published calculations for renewables are obsolete by the time they're published.

Trying to evaluate the situation for renewables by looking at EROEI is just stupid.  Price is a reliable, verifiable, and straightforward measure.

Using this appropriate metric, renewable sourcing of energy will plainly become the norm, in countries both rich and poor. 

What you keep posting repeatedly is some weird version of concern trolling.  Please stop with the relentless repetition.

You did not understand my point: the price goes up and down but the energy return does not!

The claim that EROI cannot be assigned to renewables is utter nonsense. You need energy to extract minerals, process them, manufacture components, and ship them.

There is no way you are right in this. And the fact that you actually think you're right and that you think that I'm trolling only makes matters worse for you.

Yes, I did understand your point, but you've ignored mine, and just repeated nonsense.  When it comes to economics, harnessing renewable energy is a matter of producing manufactured goods.

When in human history has any major manufactured good ever shown a pattern of diminishing returns for any extended period of time?    We essentially always see the opposite, economies of scale and efficiencies of production.

You're casting vague dire predictions about a phenomenon that hasn't been observed and is not being observed now.

Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence.  You've provided none.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on October 04, 2020, 08:04:45 PM
SteveMD, Even though Ralfy does seem to be concern trolling I can not agree EROEI is irrelevant to the discussion of renewables.
 For Ralfy I would like to hear what options he feels will extradite us from our conundrum.

 We have spent enormous amounts of money since 2008 trying to float oil prices and production. We have succeeded in maintaining BAU with fracked oil but the investment made hasn’t resulted in making fracking economically viable. The Saudi oil fields seem to need more and more rigs to maintain production. Without cheap money ( borrowed from future generations ) oil would be in decline.EROEI
is catching up with us but if oil prices rise so too will the costs of mining, transport, and manufacture of materials needed for any energy transition. I can’t figure out how so many of my friends here don’t see the problem with borrowing more and more money to power our society. I know the stock market is doing well and those of you with stocks, bonds, and paper investments are doing better than ever but for those of us still stuck with manual labor as our means of support have to deal with returns on our labors. How much I can earn is  often dependent upon  EROEI decisions. That is why I try to think about energy costs of tools and what returns I can expect.  If your income is dependent upon anything as irrational as the stock market then by all means ignore my problems , they don’t affect you. Yet

Believe it or not, Saudi Arabia has been engaged in deals to set up nuclear plants for the past decade, and had been planning that the decade prior to that, when concerns over peak oil were raised starting in 2005, and when speculation rose on what was happening to the water cut in Ghawar.

In short, the Saudis themselves have been banking on nuclear plants and solar energy not because of climate change concerns but because their oil supplies, which have barely been audited by outsiders, may be facing problems. In short, peak oil, which the IEA acknowledged a decade ago started five years earlier, and for which large amounts of debt were created to maintain production via unconventional production, which requires high prices and which the EIA argues won't last.

And that's the same oil needed to develop infrastructure for most of the world which still lacks basic needs.

Given that, the only way out for a world that faces both climate change and a resource crunch is to cut down on resource and energy use per capita. To find out what type of lifestyle will be involved, try footprint calculators. For example,

https://www.footprintcalculator.org/

The gist, as explained in one of my previous posts, is that we have ave. ecological footprint vs. biocapacity:

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

In this case, an ave. footprint per capita that's rising (around 2.75 global hectares) vs. biocapacity that's not only much lower (only 1.63 global hectares per capita) but is also shrinking per capita as population goes up, and may be shrinking more as ecological damage plus climate change threaten resource availability.

That means we'll need a footprint per capita of less than 2. I'll let forum members figure out what that entails.

Meanwhile, the catch is that our global economy is capitalist, and it's the same economic process that's investing in renewable energy. In short, that economy needs ever-increasing footprint per capita, as it needs to get more minerals and use more fossil fuels to make more solar panels and consumer goods and more people to buy more goods, consume more energy and resources, and earn, borrow, and spend more. How else will those investors get high returns from trillions of dollars used to develop renewable energy and more, especially when the process involves stock markets and other aspects of the finance industry?

In short, we have humanity that needs more to meet basic needs but needs less to avert the effects of ecological damage and climate change, and will be using less because the biosphere, environmental damage, and the effects of climate change won't allow more.

Money vs. physics: who will win?

Finally, in an earlier message, it was implied that I was an oil industry shill. In another, a climate denier. Now, a concern troll. Given such, I have chosen not to participate further in the forum, as I do not want to derail any genuine discussion in it.







Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: etienne on October 04, 2020, 08:28:22 PM

Well, no. Oil demand went down in early 2020 because people stopped flying and driving due to the pandemic.

Although the pandemic will eventually end, oil demand is not expected to reach 2019 levels because the underlying trend is moving the world away from oil.

Forget peak oil (production). It was a failed theory from 20 years ago that never materialized. Moving goalposts as not to include "unconventional" oil or to disregard prices doesn't make peak oil true.

You mean "yes."

And oil demand continues to rise because, as this article points out, around 85 pct of the world population live in developing countries, with, as I pointed out earlier, 71 pct earning below $10 daily:

https://www.rigzone.com/news/shell_is_wrong_global_oil_demand_can_only_increase-21-nov-2018-157509-article/

[...]
Lets wait until Covid19 is under control to see who is right. I really wonder what will happen, if people will fly again as much as in 2019, or if the economy will be so much down that it can't restart as fast as many people hope.

EV could be much cheaper if people would be reasonable and wouldn't want more autonomy that required. I'm pretty sure that we will see sometimes in the future cars with minimal autonomy with the possibility to extend the range for a limited period (holidays?).

Petrol is and might be forever the easiest product with a high energy density available, but combustion implies a lost of 2/3 of the energy, which makes it possible for other energies to be competitive.

I see as only way to have a peak demand that people really reduce their flying, and climate change that will reduce the need for heating. Cooling should be possible with renewable. If politicians had the courage to limit the size of motors, this would also help.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: Bruce Steele on October 04, 2020, 08:46:39 PM
Ralfy, I only said concern troll because you seemed to paint a picture that is dire without suggesting alternatives. You of course may be correct and I often feel we are facing something close to impossible myself. I look to primitivism as an answer but I have to acknowledge it is only a solution for a greatly reduced population. Sorry if I helped chase you away because I tend to agree with you on many points you make. The internet is rather callous sometimes.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on October 04, 2020, 08:50:08 PM

Yes, I did understand your point, but you've ignored mine, and just repeated nonsense.  When it comes to economics, harnessing renewable energy is a matter of producing manufactured goods.

When in human history has any major manufactured good ever shown a pattern of diminishing returns for any extended period of time?    We essentially always see the opposite, economies of scale and efficiencies of production.

You're casting vague dire predictions about a phenomenon that hasn't been observed and is not being observed now.

Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence.  You've provided none.

To answer your question, many times! Why do you think we were able to increase manufacturing and even mechanized agriculture dramatically after WW2? It wasn't just achieving economies of scale but being able to do so thanks to technology made possible through significant oil inputs which have high energy returns.

The catch is that oil itself faces diminishing returns, together with the minerals extracted using it and used in turn to manufacture goods, among others. And the same oil is also used for manufacturing (not just for energy but even for petrochemicals) and a large chunk of shipping.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: etienne on October 04, 2020, 08:52:37 PM

Yes, I did understand your point, but you've ignored mine, and just repeated nonsense.  When it comes to economics, harnessing renewable energy is a matter of producing manufactured goods.

When in human history has any major manufactured good ever shown a pattern of diminishing returns for any extended period of time?    We essentially always see the opposite, economies of scale and efficiencies of production.

You're casting vague dire predictions about a phenomenon that hasn't been observed and is not being observed now.

Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence.  You've provided none.
Do you remember Kodak, diminishing returns usually can't last too long because many costs are not related to the produced volume.
AT&T is also a similar story.
Each time that a technology fades away, you have such a story.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on October 04, 2020, 08:54:37 PM
Lets wait until Covid19 is under control to see who is right. I really wonder what will happen, if people will fly again as much as in 2019, or if the economy will be so much down that it can't restart as fast as many people hope.

EV could be much cheaper if people would be reasonable and wouldn't want more autonomy that required. I'm pretty sure that we will see sometimes in the future cars with minimal autonomy with the possibility to extend the range for a limited period (holidays?).

Petrol is and might be forever the easiest product with a high energy density available, but combustion implies a lost of 2/3 of the energy, which makes it possible for other energies to be competitive.

I see as only way to have a peak demand that people really reduce their flying, and climate change that will reduce the need for heating. Cooling should be possible with renewable. If politicians had the courage to limit the size of motors, this would also help.

Let's put it this way: Many people who will lose their jobs because fewer want to avail of various goods and services are the same ones who will be expected to buy other goods and services, like EVs.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: etienne on October 04, 2020, 09:04:37 PM

Money vs. physics: who will win?


Physics wins at the end. But it could take a long time.

I really think that peak oil is real, that conventional oil peaked before 2010, and that non conventional oil needs high prices to be an alternative. So I wonder what will happen after Covid ? Will we have bankrupted oil companies and a restarting economy that would make a huge increase in oil prices ? Unfortunately, increasing production takes time so economy could only crash again.

Energy transition is also a way to get out of that game.

I guess we all know a little bit more about  exponential growth now that Covid has come to explain it to  us. Economical growth is also an exponential growth, around 2% per year, and here also physics will win.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: ralfy on October 04, 2020, 09:17:19 PM
Ralfy, I only said concern troll because you seemed to paint a picture that is dire without suggesting alternatives. You of course may be correct and I often feel we are facing something close to impossible myself. I look to primitivism as an answer but I have to acknowledge it is only a solution for a greatly reduced population. Sorry if I helped chase you away because I tend to agree with you on many points you make. The internet is rather callous sometimes.

No worries. I was referring to others. Thank you for the kind words.

I admit my views are dire, but I get this feeling I am no different from some climate scientists who argue that we are past the tipping point, if not close to it, or energy experts who argue that we should have started the transition decades ago.

I believe that we face not one but two problems: a resource crunch (as seen not only in energy returns but in ecological footprint vs. biocapacity, i.e., a lack of energy and material resources, and one problem reinforcing the other) and the effects of climate change coupled with ecological damage. The basis of my views is limits to growth:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/02/limits-to-growth-was-right-new-research-shows-were-nearing-collapse

with four decades' worth of real data tracking projections made in 1972. That time, climate change was barely understood, but knowledge about it since makes the LtG points even more distressing.

In short, we are facing resource shortages due to a combination of diminishing returns, ecological damage (water pollution, soil erosion, etc.), and climate change (leading to multiple positive feedbacks which damage ecosystems and species which we depend on for various things), coupled with more natural disasters and "black swans" like the current pandemic (which I recall the WHO warned about in the 1990s, given increased vectors for the spread of disease due to increasing economic activity), increasing risks of conflict (e.g., a multifold increase in armaments production and deployment across more than two decades, according to the FAS), and each of these predicaments amplifying each other.

Given that, I think the only way out is not just a global Green Deal, i.e., a transition to renewable energy, but also a major decrease in resource use per capita (i.e., a footprint of less than 2 per capita for everyone, which is equivalent to living conditions in several Third World countries). But I don't think most will agree to the latter.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: oren on October 04, 2020, 11:51:41 PM
I think what Ralfy fails to understand is that as long as the Energy Return on Investment is greater than 1 (which it is even if you try to put your thumb on the scales with arguments about mining, transmission, grid efficiency, etc...), then what really drives investment decisions is financial return on investment. 

And now that renewables are cheaper than fossil fuels, the final investment decisions on energy projects are increasingly dominated by new renewable projects.  That's why there are so many press releases available about new renewable power plants.

You must be kidding. An energy return that's at least better than 1 will do very little:

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

Quote
If you've got an EROI of 1.1:1, you can pump the oil out of the ground and look at it. If you've got 1.2:1, you can refine it and look at it. At 1.3:1, you can move it to where you want it and look at it. We looked at the minimum EROI you need to drive a truck, and you need at least 3:1 at the wellhead. Now, if you want to put anything in the truck, like grain, you need to have an EROI of 5:1. And that includes the depreciation for the truck. But if you want to include the depreciation for the truck driver and the oil worker and the farmer, then you've got to support the families. And then you need an EROI of 7:1. And if you want education, you need 8:1 or 9:1. And if you want health care, you need 10:1 or 11:1.
Ken comments about renewables EROI that even a figure somewhat higher than 1 (after mining, transmission, grid efficiency) should be sufficient, and you respond yet again with an argument built around oil, where over two thirds of primary energy goes into useless waste heat, and which also needs pumping, moving and refining. This exact same argument was already pointed out upthread as irrelevant to renewables where this waste heat is not an issue, refining is not an issue, and where moving the energy is much easier.
With your insistence on ignoring any argument whatsoever and repeating your own arguments over and over regardless of their relevance, no wonder you are considered a troll by many.
If one wishes a monologue rather than a dialogue, I guess a forum is not the most appropriate vehicle.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: kassy on October 05, 2020, 01:44:51 AM
The claim that EROI cannot be assigned to renewables is utter nonsense. You need energy to extract minerals, process them, manufacture components, and ship them.

I think it is wrong to think in these economic terms because they are actually wrong.
They look at costs in a way we like to look at them but they also emit some relevant details.

It was the oil boom that did fuel the historical growth and associated problems.

Now the economical term mainly looks at costs now.
It does not include the cost of cleaning up abandoned oil wells and other sources of pollution which get payed by the public in real dollars and also in invisible dollars in health damages.
It does not include damage from spills.
It does not include the damages incurred when whole swaths of coastal property becomes unsellable etc.
And all the damage in general by carbon-dioxide and methane is not included

On the other part of the equation we do need a combination of minerals to put together some solar power but then the energy in is delivered by the sun.

Since building cost is fixed the energy invested for materials is too so there is some point at which they earn back the energy invested which the continual cycle of extraction does not.

There is no reason why we can´t extract minerals with all renewable energy. When that is and how that timing works vs the responses of the earth systems is a different question.

Another advantage of solar is that you can build it in places which do not have access to oil because they are to poor. These can immediately serve important aspects like lighting and other (small) uses.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: kassy on October 05, 2020, 01:51:30 AM
There are some interesting points in there but rehashing the same argument does not really help.

So ralfy would it be fair to classify your position as ´it is not possible?´

If helps if those who counter what I said rehash the same wrong points. That is,

...

As for your question, I answered that in great detail in previous posts.

Well looking at the great detail in said posts it seems you say it is not possible because you look at it from a peak oil way (because people hate to lose time invested they love to cling to old stuff, works much better with music btw).

We know were you stand so you do not have to repeat the same stuff.



Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: KiwiGriff on October 05, 2020, 02:01:06 AM
In about twenty years solar will start getting recycled in quantity
Hence the Eroi. goes down considerably with time.
Old panels in one end new out the other no extraction involved.
Other than the small amount of plastic it is all recyclabel cheaply and efficiently.
Peak oil thinking misses the circular economy's of solar power
Batterys used for energy storage and transport will be the same.
Title: Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
Post by: blu_ice on October 05, 2020, 10:03:40 AM

Yes, I did understand your point, but you've ignored mine, and just repeated nonsense.  When it comes to economics, harnessing renewable energy is a matter of producing manufactured goods.

When in human history has any major manufactured good ever shown a pattern of diminishing returns for any extended period of time?    We essentially always see the opposite, economies of scale and efficiencies of production.

You're casting vague dire predictions about a phenomenon that hasn't been observed and is not being observed now.

Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence.  You've provided none.
Do you remember Kodak, diminishing returns usually can't last too long because many costs are not related to the produced volume.
AT&T is also a similar story.
Each time that a technology fades away, you have such a story.
You are talking about technology replacement which is a different issue altogether.

Kodak didn't fail because it's production process started to produce diminishing returns. It failed because there was no longer demand for it's obsolete products. Same has happened to coal, and may very well started to happen to oil as well.