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Messages - Ken Feldman

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Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: October 24, 2020, 12:34:51 AM »
Lazard has published the 2020 updates of their Levelized Cost of Electricity report.  Solar is the cheapest and new solar farms are cheaper than operating coal.  The cost of solar is now comparable to the operating costs of fully depreciated gas fired power plants.

It’s cheaper to build new solar than it is to operate coal plants

New analysis released by Lazard compares the levelized cost of energy for various generation technologies on a $/MWh basis and shows that renewables, specifically utility-scale solar and wind, are the economic frontrunners.
October 23, 2020 Tim Sylvia

Solar and wind are the most affordable sources of electricity, period, according to the most recent Levelized Cost of Energy comparison, released by Lazard.

The report is comprised of comparative levelized cost of energy (LCOE) analysis for various generation technologies on a $/MWh basis, including sensitivities for U.S. federal tax subsidies, fuel prices, carbon pricing and costs of capital. The cost isn’t represented by one concrete price, but rather a range of estimated prices given the circumstance applied.

The really telling figures come from the comparisons between the cost of construction of new renewable energy facilities vs. operating existing fossil and nuclear resources. The only type of new renewable generation asset to have a higher per-MWh LCOE than operating existing coal is unsubsidized onshore wind, which isn’t even telling the whole story. The range of LCOE for unsubsidized onshore wind is higher at its peak than the maximum LCOE for operating existing coal, but the lowest end of the ranges favor wind, which comes in at a lowest-possible LCOE of $26/MWh, as compared to $34/MWh for coal.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: October 24, 2020, 12:21:38 AM »
The linked article indicates that after a few decades of slow development, geothermal energy is poised for rapid growth.  This is in part due to the technological advances made by the oil and gas companies in fracking during the past two decades.

Geothermal energy is poised for a big breakout

“An engineering problem that, when solved, solves energy.”
By David Oct 21, 2020

Geothermal power is the perpetual also-ran of renewable energy, chugging along in the background for decades, never quite breaking out of its little niche, forever causing energy experts to say, “Oh, yeah, geothermal ... what’s up with that?”

Well, after approximately 15 years of reporting on energy, I finally took the time to do a deep dive into geothermal and I am here to report: This is a great time to start paying attention!

After many years of failure to launch, new companies and technologies have brought geothermal out of its doldrums, to the point that it may finally be ready to scale up and become a major player in clean energy. In fact, if its more enthusiastic backers are correct, geothermal may hold the key to making 100 percent clean electricity available to everyone in the world. And as a bonus, it’s an opportunity for the struggling oil and gas industry to put its capital and skills to work on something that won’t degrade the planet.

Vik Rao, former chief technology officer at Halliburton, the oil field service giant, recently told the geothermal blog Heat Beat, “geothermal is no longer a niche play. It’s scalable, potentially in a highly material way. Scalability gets the attention of the [oil services] industry.”

Four basic types of geothermal energy technology

Once it reaches the surface, geothermal energy is used for a wide variety of purposes, mainly because there are many different ways to use heat. Depending on how hot the resource is, it can be exploited by numerous industries. Virtually any level of heat can be used directly, to run fisheries or greenhouses, to dry cement, or (the really hot stuff) to make hydrogen.

To make electricity, higher minimum heats are required. The older generation of geothermal power plants used steam directly from the ground, or “flashed” fluids from the ground into steam, to run a turbine. (The water and air pollution that has been associated with first-generation geothermal projects was all from flash plants, which boil water from underground and end up off-gassing everything in it, including some nasty pollutants.)

1) Conventional hydrothermal resources

In a few select areas (think parts of Iceland, or California), water or steam heated by Earth’s core rises through relatively permeable rock, full of fissures and fractures, only to become trapped under an impermeable caprock. These giant reservoirs of pressurized hot water often reveal themselves on the surface through fumaroles or hot springs.

2) Enhanced geothermal systems (EGS)

Conventional geothermal systems are limited to specialized areas where heat, water, and porosity come together just so. But those areas are limited.

There’s plenty of heat stored down in all that normal, solid, nonporous rock, though. What if geothermal developers could make their own reservoirs? What if they could drill down into solid rock, inject water at high pressure through one well, fracture the rock to let the water pass through, and then collect the heated water through another well?

That, in a nutshell, is EGS: geothermal that makes its own reservoir.

The basic idea has always been that EGS would start off within existing hydrothermal reservoirs, where fields are relatively well-characterized. Then, as it learned, honed its technology, and brought down costs, it would branch out from “in field” into “near field” resources — solid rock adjacent to reservoirs, at similar depth. Eventually it would be able to venture farther out into new fields and deeper into hotter rock. In theory, EGS could eventually be located almost anywhere in the world.

That’s been the game plan for a decade now, and it’s still the game plan, as laid out in the magisterial 2019 GeoVision study on geothermal from the Department of Energy. The EGS industry has had trouble, though, getting all the ducks in a row. There was a burst of activity around 2010, based on Obama stimulus money and binary power plants. But by the time the drilling technology from the shale gas revolution had begun making its way over to geothermal, around 2015, capital had dried up and attention had turned away.

It’s only been in 2020, Latimer says, that everything has finally lined up: strong public and investor interest, real market demand (thanks to ambitious state renewable energy goals), and a flood of new technologies borrowed from the oil and gas industry. EGS startups like Fervo are growing quickly and bigger, established companies are running profitable EGS projects today.

Still, if the engineering and marketing challenges can be overcome, the prize is almost unthinkably large. Assuming an average well depth of 4.3 miles and a minimum rock temperature of 150°C, the GeoVision study estimates a total US geothermal resource of at least 5,157 gigawatts of electric capacity — around five times the nation’s current installed capacity.

The article goes on to detail a third type of geothermal energy, super-hot-rock geothermal, that requires technology not currently commercially available to deal with supercritical water.  It then discusses another more promising type, advanced geothermal systems (AGS).

AGS refers to a new generation of “closed loop” systems, in which no fluids are introduced to or extracted from the Earth; there’s no fracking. Instead, fluids circulate underground in sealed pipes and boreholes, picking up heat by conduction and carrying it to the surface, where it can be used for a tunable mix of heat and electricity.

Closed-loop geothermal systems have been around for decades, but a few startups have recently amped them up with technologies from the oil and gas industry. One such company, started by investors with experience in oil and gas, is the Alberta-based Eavor.

In Eavor’s planned system, called an “Eavor-Loop,” two vertical wells around 1.5 miles apart will be connected by a horizontally arrayed series of lateral wells, in a kind of radiator design, to maximize surface area and soak up as much heat as possible. (Precise lateral drilling is borrowed from the shale revolution, and from the oil sands.)

Because the loop is closed, cool water on one side sinks while hot water on the other side rises, creating a “thermosiphon” effect that circulates the water naturally, with no need for a pump. Without the parasitic load of a pump, Eavor can make profitable use of relatively low heat, around 150°C, available almost anywhere about a mile and a half down.

An Eavor-Loop can act as baseload (always-on) power, but it can also act as flexible, dispatchable power — it can ramp up and down almost instantaneously to complement variable wind and solar energy. It does this by restricting or cutting off the flow of fluid. As the fluid remains trapped underground longer, it absorbs more and more heat.

So, unlike with solar, ramping the plant down does not waste (curtail) the energy. The fluid simply charges up, like a battery, so that when it’s turned back on it produces at above nameplate capacity. This allows the plant to “shape” its output to match almost any demand curve.

One thing that might get more people talking about geothermal is the somewhat serendipitous opportunity it offers to the oil and gas industry, which is reeling from oversupply, persistently low prices, and cratering demand caused by the pandemic. Consequently, it is hemorrhaging jobs.

Geothermal is buzzing with startups that specifically need innovation and expertise in drilling technology, the very skills many oil and gas workers already have. They could put those skills to work making the planet safer for future generations. That skills match is what animates Beard’s geothermal entrepreneurship organization and the $4.65 million contest that DOE launched this year to pair geothermal innovations with partners in the manufacturing industry.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: October 23, 2020, 11:43:40 PM »
Alberta (Canada) is planning to diversify its fossil-fuel dependent economy by developing geothermal energy.  The same technology used for drilling gas and oil wells works for drilling geothermal wells.  This has the obvious benefit of keeping workers employed while transitioning to a carbon free economy.

Could Oil Drillers Make Geothermal Energy Go Mainstream?
By Irina Slav - Oct 22, 2020

With so much talk about offshore wind and utility-scale solar, it is easy to forget about one other abundant, emission-free energy source. Geothermal has garnered a lot less attention than the more established forms of renewable energy generation, but this is slowly changing as parts of the world increasingly focus on replacing fossil fuels with cleaner alternatives. Alberta, for example, will be promoting the development of geothermal energy as a means of diversifying its heavily oil-dependent economy. This week the province’s legislators introduced a bill seeking to promote the nascent industry by setting rules and guidelines and establishing the authority that will control land use for geothermal.

Geothermal resources are in fact abundant everywhere: the Earth’s core radiates heat outwards into the mantle and the crust. Oil and gas drillers are familiar with this heat and know that the deeper you drill, the hotter it gets. For oil and gas drilling, this could be a problem, so the industry has developed ways to solve it. For geothermal drilling, heat is the goal. The oil and gas industry is therefore in a really unique position to make the most of geothermal resources, not just in Canada.

The European Union is also interested in the heat that the insides of our planet generate. A project sponsored by Brussels, MEET, set out to tests the viability of geothermal extraction from oil wells. This is a lower-cost alternative to drilling new wells specifically for geothermal energy extraction, and costs are an issue with geothermal. The project has managed to generate electricity using the heat from oil well brine extracted from a well in France along with the crude. The result is potentially significant because the temperature of the brine was not all too high at 92 degrees Celsius. Yet it has yet to be replicated on a wider scale.

Policy and solutions / Re: Energy Efficiency: The “First Fuel”
« on: October 23, 2020, 11:00:33 PM »
Here's a story about a town in Kansas (USA) that rebuilt using sustainable methods after being destroyed by a tornado in 2007.

The town that built back green
After a tornado demolished Greensburg, Kan., it rebuilt without carbon emissions. Can its lessons help communities and economies rebound from fires, hurricanes and covid-19?

 By Annie Gowen
October 23, 2020

GREENSBURG, Kan. — After powerful tornadoes swept through Nashville earlier this year, killing 25 and leaving a trail of destruction for miles, one of the first calls officials made was to tiny Greensburg, population 900.

A wind-swept farming community in southwestern Kansas, Greensburg rebuilt “green” after an EF5 tornado — the most violent — barreled through at more than 200 miles per hour and nearly wiped it off the map in 2007.

A decade later, Greensburg draws 100 percent of its electricity from a wind farm, making it one of a handful of cities in the United States to be powered solely by renewable energy. It now has an energy-efficient school, a medical center, city hall, library and commons, museum and other buildings that save more than $200,000 a year in fuel and electricity costs, according to one federal estimate. The city saves thousands of gallons of water with low-flow toilets and drought-resistance landscaping and, in the evening, its streets glow from LED lighting.

Greensburg is no liberal bastion. It sits in Kiowa County, where Trump handily beat Hillary Clinton in 2016, carrying 83 percent of the vote.

But leaders there now are routinely consulted by communities around the world grappling with devastating weather events from wildfires, tsunami, earthquakes and floods — in Australia, China, Japan and Joplin, Mo. In March, the city council member in Nashville wanted to ask what kind of building codes or regulations could make its buildings more tornado-resistant going forward.

Greensburg’s efforts have gained new currency in recent months as climate catastrophes have continued to worsen and Americans struggle with a deadly pandemic that has shut down much of the economy — and begin to rethink what life might look like after a vaccine.

They held meetings in a temporary red-striped tent set up downtown, where townspeople commented on the rebuilding plan. And they stressed the practical savings of installing energy-efficient windows and insulation in new homes. According to a recent NREL estimate, energy costs for a 2,000-square-foot home with standard construction in Greensburg are about $1,820 annually. Adding more insulation, an energy-efficient furnace, LED lighting and a small solar panel system would save 70 percent of the energy use and reduce energy costs to $1,260 in the first year, which includes the additional mortgage costs for the upgrades.

More than a decade later, the town has about 400 modest, newly rebuilt homes — many of them with white-pillared front porches — centered in a small downtown where the key buildings are clustered among a few walkable blocks. There’s the city hall, hospital, courthouse, a commons building with a media center and library and school, all built with green construction features like angled windows that make the most of winter sun, cisterns to collect rainwater for irrigation and geothermal heating and cooling systems.

The green areas on the map above show where wind energy is commercially viable.

The city was able to halve its carbon footprint by shifting to 100 percent wind energy from a 10-turbine wind farm south of town that is owned and operated by Exelon Corp. The turbines, which began operating in 2010, are capable of producing 12.5 megawatts of electricity, enough to power about 4,000 homes, according to Exelon.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: October 23, 2020, 10:46:08 PM »
A company in Austalia has selected the site for a 10 GW solar farm with a 30 GWh battery near Darwin.  The electricity will be sent to Singapore by subsea cables.  More large scale solar farms are planned for exporting electricity to Indonesia.

Sun Cable earmarks site for 10GW solar farm at cattle station south of Darwin
Sophie Vorrath 22 October 2020

Sun Cable’s $22 billion plans to build the world’s largest dispatchable solar and battery power station, as well as the world’s largest subsea transmission link, have taken a step forward after selecting a preferred site about 750km south of Darwin.

Sun Cable proposes to build a 10GW solar plant in central Australia combined with a battery storage system 150-times the size of the Tesla Big Battery in South Australia, and then connect this to Singapore via an undersea cable. Each part of the project would be built at an unprecedented scale.

As well as the 10GW solar plant, the project promises to build battery storage facilities of up to 30GWh, and a high voltage direct current sub-sea cable of 3,750kms – to pipe the solar power across to potential customers in Singapore.

And it’s quite possible Sun Cable won’t stop there.

In an interview with RenewEconomy’s Energy Insiders podcast in May, Griffin said the ultimate plan was for the Northern Territory project to be the first of many.

“Ultimately, we envisage a network that expands, that takes advantage of where the best renewable energy resources are, be it solar and wind in Australia, wind in New Zealand, or solar and wind in India, and we are seeing that  … the potential for load growth in the areas in between is enormous,” he said.

“Indonesia will be the fourth largest economy in the world in the 2020s. We seem to miss that in Australia – the enormity of our northern neighbours. We are absolutely developing long term plans to serve those ever-growing loads north of Australia and doing that by exploiting the renewable energy resources wherever they located, and the HVDC technology.”

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: October 23, 2020, 09:28:28 PM »
While the oil rig count has slowly increased from it's minimum earlier this year (up another 6 this week), it's not nearly enough to counter the steep decline in production rates from fracked oil wells.  Overall, US oil production is down again this week, to 9.9 million barrels per day.

U.S. And Canadian Oil Rig Counts Continue To Rebound
By Julianne Geiger - Oct 23, 2020

Baker Hughes reported on Friday that the number of oil rigs in the United States rose by 6 to 211.

Total oil and gas rigs in the United States are now down by 564 compared to this time last year.

The EIA’s estimate for oil production in the United States fell sharply for the second week in a row for the week ending October 16—the last week for which there is data, to 9.9 million barrels of oil per day. U.S. oil production is down 3.2 million bpd from its all-time high reached earlier this year.

Consequences / Re: Places becoming more livable
« on: October 22, 2020, 12:26:18 AM »
Farmers across Africa have been regreening the Sahel and reversing desertification for decades.  Crop yields are much higher now than they were in the '80s.

The Age of Humans
The “Great Green Wall” Didn’t Stop Desertification, but it Evolved Into Something That Might
The multibillion-dollar effort to plant a 4,000-mile-long wall of trees hit some snags along the way, but there’s still hope

By Jim Morrison
August 23, 2016

It was a simple plan to combat a complex problem. The plan: plant a Great Green Wall of trees 10 miles wide and 4,350 miles long, bisecting a dozen countries from Senegal in the west to Djibouti in the east. The problem: the creeping desertification across Africa.

Planting trees across the Sahel, the arid savanna on the south border of the Sahara Desert, had no chance to succeed. There was little funding. There was no science suggesting it would work. Moreover, the desert was not actually moving south; instead, overuse was denuding the land. Large chunks of the proposed "wall" were uninhabited, meaning no one would be there to care for the saplings.

Reij, Garrity and other scientists working on the ground knew what Wade and other political leaders did not: that farmers in Niger and Burkina Faso, in particular, had discovered a cheap, effective way to regreen the Sahel. They did so by using simple water harvesting techniques and protecting trees that emerged naturally on their farms.

Slowly, the idea of a Great Green Wall has changed into a program centered around indigenous land use techniques, not planting a forest on the edge of a desert. The African Union and the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization now refer to it as "Africa’s flagship initiative to combat land degradation, desertification and drought." Incredibly, the Great Green Wall—or some form of it—appears to be working.

"We moved the vision of the Great Green Wall from one that was impractical to one that was practical," says Mohamed Bakarr, the lead environmental specialist for Global Environment Facility, the organization that examines the environmental benefit of World Bank projects. "It is not necessarily a physical wall, but rather a mosaic of land use practices that ultimately will meet the expectations of a wall. It has been transformed into a metaphorical thing."

Reij, now based in Amsterdam, began working in the Sahel when the soil literally was blowing away during dust storms. After years away, Reij returned to Niger and Burkina Faso in the summer of 2004. He was stunned by what he saw, green where there had been nothing but tan, denuded land. He quickly secured funding for the first of several studies looking at farming in villages throughout Burkina Faso and Niger.

Over two years traveling through Burkina Faso and Niger, they uncovered a remarkable metamorphosis. Hundreds of thousands of farmers had embraced ingenious modifications of traditional agriculture practices, transforming large swaths into productive land, improving food and fuel production for about 3 million people.

Garrity recalls walking through farms in Niger, fields of grains like millet and sorghum stretching to the sun planted around trees, anywhere from a handful to 80 per acre. “In most cases, the trees are in random locations because they sprouted and the farmer protected them and let them grow,” he says. The trees can be cut for fuel, freeing women who once spent two and a half hours a day collecting wood to do other tasks. They can be pruned for livestock fodder. Their leaves and fruit are nutritious.

From 2004 on, they published a series of research papers and reports sounding the call about the transformation. Reij says that by 2011, there were more than 12 million acres restored in Niger alone. More than 1.2 million were restored in Mali, but no one knew until 2010 because no one looked.

The key, Reij says, is scaling up the effort in the drylands countries by building up grassroots efforts, addressing the legal issues (like tree ownership), and creating markets for the products of agroforestry. "We've never seen anything near this size and impact on the environment anywhere in west Africa," Tappan adds. "In our mind Niger already has its great green wall. It's only a matter of scaling it up."

Reij says the World Bank—which has committed $1.2 billion to the effort—the Global Environment Facility and others are convinced natural regeneration is an important way forward, but the approaches are up to each country. At the African Union, Elvis Paul Tangem, coordinator of the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and Sahel Initiative, says that 21 countries now have projects within the framework of the initiative.

SRM does nothing to address ocean acidification, which is going to cause huge problems with the food chain.

We need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to below the level of natural sinks as we can as soon as possible.  And we need to implement land use changes to take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.  We have the technologies to replant forests, use biochar and sustainable agriculture practices to store more carbon in soils (while increasing crop yields) and even farm kelp to protect fisheries from acidification.  You can then feed the kelp to ruminants to reduce their methane emissions.

There's no need for speculative geoengineering experiments that use a lot of energy and could have unintended consequences.

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: October 21, 2020, 06:27:42 PM »
The attached article discusses short and long term trends for the fossil fuel industries.  It gives a historical perspective of the link between GDP and energy use and shows that the link has been reduced in the past decade (GDP growth requires much less energy growth now).  It then discusses prospects for a short term rebound from the Covid recession and the long term decline of fossil fuels.  It concludes that much of the money invested in fossil fuels today will result in stranded assets, and thus the money shouldn't be spent.

Oil Poised To Rebound, But What About The Long Term?
By Leonard Hyman & William Tilles - Oct 20, 2020

Oil bulls predict demand for oil will snap back quickly as global economic conditions improve. The International Energy Agency (IEA), on the other hand, expects a more muted recovery. Not surprisingly you can find any demand forecast needed for either the bull or bear case. And that’s just for short term price and demand forecasts. Longer term demand forecasts have to reckon with negative factors like the rise of electric vehicles including cars, trucks and buses as well as and the nudges of environmental-social-governance (ESG) investing. In addition, the industry faces risks from changes in government policies and competition from even newer technologies. But if we’re looking for positive demand surprises, economic growth in emerging economies in Africa or Asia could accelerate and suddenly require large increments of fossil fuels in the process (Remember China?).

After World War II energy consumption and economic activity grew in like fashion. Then in the 1970s, thanks to the Energy Crisis and geopolitical tensions in which oil prices rose dramatically, consumers became more conscious of energy usage and thereafter energy consumption lagged economic activity. At the same time the economy moved away from production of goods requiring large energy inputs to production of goods and services that depend on knowledge. (Large accounting and law firms for example use considerably less electricity than a steelmaker with comparable revenues.) The key takeaway here is that around the time of the Great Recession, energy consumption patterns declined once again and consumers use even less energy per unit of GDP (See Figure 1 for a simple approximation.)

Looking ahead vehicle electrification (transportation consumes more than half of oil production) will no doubt reduce future oil demand. Coal demand will likely hold on for a while as developing countries finish coal fired power stations that they will likely attempt to operate for a decade or two prior to abandonment. But that market could sag as lending institutions bow to increasing public pressure about lending to finance those projects and because renewable resources and relatively inexpensive LNG are making the projects less competitive. Growth in coal consumption started to decelerate around 2013. For that matter, the increase in electric generation has slowed throughout the world (electric generation makes up close to half the market for coal).

As we see it, asset ambiguity will not pay off. Investors do not like companies with two competing products and strategies—especially when they are diametrically opposed businesses like renewables and fossil fuels. We suspect this tendency may apply to customers and employees as well.

Industry managements may have to decide about the future of fossil fuels sooner than many investors realize. So we would suggest investors look beyond a likely and pleasant near term energy recovery and focus on the long term. The bull case for oil probably hinges on a gradual, multi decade energy transition where demand gradually tapers off but with occasional bursts in demand belying the secular shift.

The bear case is simply that new energy investments made today will be uneconomic long before the end of their economic lives. This makes those new investments possible stranded assets from an accounting perspective that have be written off. This is akin to throwing away money.

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: October 19, 2020, 07:59:57 PM »
Opponents to transitioning our energy systems to carbon-free sources frequently state that it will cost trillions of dollars to do so.  They often fail to consider that replacing fossil fuel infrastructure at the end of its useful life will also cost trillions of dollars.  Daniel Yergin, an expert who has written several informative books about the oil and gas industry, is now forecasting peak oil demand in 2030 and notes that just to maintain current oil production levels, $4.5 trillion will need to be invested in oil and gas infrastructure in the next five years.

See world oil demand peaking in 2030, says IHS Markit's Daniel Yergin
Updated : October 16, 2020

Daniel Yergin, vice chairman at IHS Markit on Friday said it sees world oil demand peaking in the first half of 2030. He said the change in consumption will not happen overnight, but as incomes rise, people's energy consumption will rise.

According to Yergin, the world needs $4.5 trillion investment in oil and gas in the next five years, "If it is not there, I think we will see different oil prices than we are seeing today."

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: October 19, 2020, 07:45:24 PM »
China's economy is recovering from the Covid-19 shut downs, although at a slower pace than originally projected.  Oil demand hasn't recovered as quickly, mainly because international air travel is still heavily impacted by the Covid travel restrictions.

    19 Oct 2020 | 07:11 UTC Singapore

China Q3 GDP up 4.9% but ailing aviation, manufacturing sectors to cap fuel demand


Q3 growth falls short of 5.2%-5.5% expansion forecast

Q4 oil demand still expected to fall 250,000 b/d on year

Cyclical winter demand to support gas consumption

Singapore — China has reported an economic growth of 4.9% in the third quarter, paving the way for a recovery in fuel and commodities demand for Asia's biggest energy consumer, but high oil stockpiles and bleak goods and services exports outlook will likely keep industrial fuel consumption and refinery run rates limited.

The 4.9% growth in Q3, despite slower than the expected 5.2%-5.5%, put China's GDP back to the growth path of 0.7% year on year expansion for the January-September period from the 1.6% contraction in the first half, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics, or NBS, on Oct. 19.

Platts Analytics expects China's oil demand to trend lower year on year by 250,000 b/d in Q4, after two quarters of growth, due partly to a high base last year and as state-back industrial activity growth fades without further stimulus measures.

In addition, China's jet fuel consumption outlook also remains bleak despite the recent sharp recovery in domestic flight operations as international travel remains largely restricted.

Platts Analytics expects China's kerosene/jet fuel demand to remain weak and average 710,000 b/d in Q4, down year on year by 280,000 b/d.

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: October 15, 2020, 11:18:28 PM »
The IEA report also says...

As things stand, the world is not set for a decisive downward turn in emissions…

click the image to make it readable

It looks like the report was prepared before China announced (in late September) their commitment to peak emissions by 2030 on their way to being carbon neutral by 2060.  And in early November we'll find out if the USA will be issuing a new stated policy in January 2021 that would result in emissions having already peaked on their way to being carbon neutral by 2050, with a 50% cut in emissions by 2030.

So the "Stated Policies" line in that graph should be much lower due to China's announcement and could be fairly close to the Sustainable Development line in January 2021.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: October 15, 2020, 09:40:19 PM »
Plain old grid interconnects with "smart" controllers will solve the intermittency problem.  See what the UK does on its many windless days that NeilT constantly brings up.

Policy and solutions / Re: Nuclear Power
« on: October 10, 2020, 01:35:23 AM »
NeilT's capacity factors for fossil fuel plants are laughable.  Coal might get to 60% and natural gas combined cycle 55%.  In the US, nuclear gets 90+% but that's because many of the powerplants received retrofits to improve their capacity.  Globally, nuclear averages 80% capacity factors.

Capacity factors for renewables are highly dependent on where they're installed.  In the US, the national average for solar is around 25% and for wind 35%.  New offshore wind turbines can reach 60% due to being placed in areas that have consistent wind and the ability to build very large structures.

Additionally, supply and demand of electricity can lead to curtailment of some sources when supply exceeds demand.  Since the sun and wind are free, it's the fossil fuel plants that get curtailed.

Here's a webpage that explains it.

Table 2 presents the annual capacity factors for various sources of U.S. power generation. Capacity factor is the ratio of the electrical energy produced by a generating unit over a period of time considered to the electrical energy that could have been produced at continuous full-power operation during the same period. With the price of natural gas for power generation at historically low levels for several years, coal plants have experienced a decrease in capacity factors, resulting in increased cycling, while combined cycle and simple cycle natural gas generation has increased. The nuclear power fleet has maintained a fairly constant capacity factor of about 91% during this period. Table 2 also presents the national average annual price of natural gas used in power generation. There is a direct correlation between the decrease in installed capacity and capacity factors for coal-fired units, and the price of natural gas.

Policy and solutions / Re: Nuclear Power
« on: October 09, 2020, 08:06:51 PM »
I'm not sure where NeilT's chart comes from or what it's trying to show.  Electricity generation for the UK is measured in the terawatt hours (TWh), his chart shows gigawatts (GW).

Here is an article about the UK's changing electrical generation mix.

Britain’s electricity since 2010: wind surges to second place, coal collapses and fossil fuel use nearly halves
January 6, 2020

In 2010, Great Britain generated 75% of its electricity from coal and natural gas. But by the end of the decade*, these fossil fuels accounted for just 40%, with coal generation collapsing from the decade’s peak of 41% in 2012 to under 2% in 2019.

The near disappearance of coal power – the second most prevalent source in 2010 – underpinned a remarkable transformation of Britain’s electricity generation over the last decade, meaning Britain now has the cleanest electrical supply it has ever had. Second place now belongs to wind power, which supplied almost 21% of the country’s electrical demand in 2019, up from 3% in 2010. As at the start of the decade, natural gas provided the largest share of Britain’s electricity in 2019 at 38%, compared with 47% in 2010.

Besides the reduction in carbon emissions, there was another remarkable shift in Britain’s electrical system during the 2010s. The amount of electricity consumed fell by nearly 15% between 2010 and 2019, with the economy using 50 terawatt hours (TWh) less electricity in 2019 than it did in 2010. That’s enough electricity to power half of Britain’s cars and taxis, if they were all electric vehicles.

Since August 2018, renewables have produced more electricity than nuclear power for 17 months straight. Nuclear fell to less than a fifth of electricity generation in 2019, its lowest level since 2008 due to extended maintenance periods at six nuclear power stations. This helped the annual output of wind energy to surpass nuclear for the first time in 2019.

Science / Re: Where are we now in CO2e , which pathway are we on?
« on: October 09, 2020, 07:18:23 PM »

I was responding in the context of this thread, which uses the weekly or monthly observations of greenhouse gas concentrations and then tries to determine which of the RCPs we are closest too.

The thread got a bit confusing because they refer to CO2e in the title.  As Oren pointed out, CO2e is a way to compare the global warming potential of different greenhouse gases as they are emitted.  It doesn't really work for concentrations, because of the different lifetimes of the greenhouse gases.

As you note, methane has a short lifetime compared to CO2 (11 to 12 years versus 100+).  So the calculation for it's CO2e can range from 25 (which I think is implied by the calculations used in NOAA's greenhouse gas index) if you're looking at climate change over a century, to 80 for it's warming over 20 years.  The long term global warming for methane has been revised up to 34 in the past few years because of the feedbacks methane causes in atmospheric chemistry as it decays.

One of the shortcomings of converting a short term greenhouse gas to a CO2e is that it doesn't accurately portray the warming effects of the short term gas over time.  So a new method to calculate global warming potential, GWP*, has been proposed.  This article explains it better.

7 June 2018
Guest post: A new way to assess ‘global warming potential’ of short-lived pollutants
Dr Michelle Cain

At the moment, it is not obvious how this will be done. In a new paper published in npj Climate and Atmospheric Science, my co-authors and I address one of the stocktake’s key stumbling blocks – the treatment of all greenhouse gases as “CO2-equivalent”, using a metric known as “global warming potential” (GWP). This misrepresents the impact of short-lived climate pollutants, such as methane, on future warming.

We show that modifying the use of GWP, so that it accounts for the differences between short- and long-lived gases, can better link emissions to warming. This means that the true impact of an emission pathway on global temperature can be easily assessed. For countries with high methane emissions – due to, say, agriculture – this can make a huge difference to how their progress in emission reductions is judged.

Greenhouse gas emissions are commonly presented in units of billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (Gt CO2e). The de facto way of converting non-CO2 emissions to CO2e is to multiply the gas by its GWP100 (global warming potential over 100 years). The value of GWP100 for methane (CH4) from the last IPCC assessment report is 28. This means that methane has 28 times as much “global warming potential” as CO2, so 1Gt CH4 equates to 28 GtCO2e.

This masks the fact that 1 GtCH4 has a strong warming influence when it is first emitted, which then diminishes rapidly over a few decades. This is because chemical reactions cause it to be removed from the atmosphere, with a half life of about a decade. So, at the end of that 100 years, that methane is no longer causing strong warming, because it has almost all been destroyed.

By comparison, a 28Gt “equivalent” emission of CO2 would effectively persist in the atmosphere for centuries or longer, continuing to cause warming at almost the same rate as when it was first released. This shows how the two emissions are not really equivalent, which has important consequences if GWP100 is applied to future emissions scenarios inappropriately.

For example, the figure below shows some simplified emissions scenarios for CO2 and methane, with the resulting temperature responses. If methane is held constant (middle panel), temperature will remain constant. This is because the short lifetime of methane means atmospheric concentrations will remain constant with constant sources, assuming constant sinks. (Note that this is a simplification to demonstrate the direct warming from methane. Secondary effects from carbon cycle feedbacks following a methane emission can also cause smaller amounts of additional warming.)

However, a stable CO2 emission pathway leads to year-on-year increases in warming, because the CO2 accumulates in the atmosphere. If methane emissions are simply multiplied by GWP100 to generate CO2e, this would look like a warming pathway, when it should lead to stable temperatures.

Even more pronounced is the impact when emissions are falling (right panel). For methane, falling emissions leads to cooling. Converting to CO2e would imply warming until the emissions hit zero. Ambitious mitigation scenarios could, therefore, give the impression of giving rise to warming instead of cooling from methane, if expressed using GWP100.

By using GWP*, emissions of methane expressed as CO2e relate much more closely to temperature response. This can be seen in the figure below. The top panels use GWP100, while the lower panels use GWP*. The left panels show annual emissions of CO2e (upper left) and CO2e* (lower left). In the right panels, temperature is shown in the dashed lines alongside the cumulative CO2e/CO2e* emissions in the solid lines.

Consider a power station and a herd of cows. A power station emits CO2 by burning fossil fuels. This CO2 is taxed. When it shuts down permanently, it emits no more CO2, so is no longer taxed. However, the CO2 already emitted continues to affect the climate for hundreds, or potentially, thousands of years. So even after closing down, that power station still contributes to holding up global temperatures because of the CO2 that remains in the atmosphere.

Now to the cows. A herd of cows emits methane, so the farmer is taxed for those emissions. If the herd remains the same size with the same methane emissions every year, it will maintain the same amount of additional methane in the atmosphere year on year. In terms of its contribution to warming, this is equivalent to the closed power station.

The power station pushed up global temperatures when it was running in the past, just as the farmer’s great-grandparent pushed up global temperatures when they were building up the herd of cattle. But neither a steady herd of cattle nor a defunct power station is pushing up global temperatures any more.

Science / Re: Where are we now in CO2e , which pathway are we on?
« on: October 09, 2020, 12:30:08 AM »
Thanks wolfpack513.
Do you know what methane CO₂e factor is used? It can differ hugely (ca. 20-100) and is therefore a bit arbitrary. It would be good to post that number also for clarity.
Aerosols are not included because they are spatially heterogeneous and short-lived. But it's constantly being replenished with new aerosols. I understand that a global figure is impossible, but it sure is part of integrated radiative forcing. Can a global map be made?
At what height in the atmosphere is the radiative forcing valid? Top of troposphere or at sea level?
Perhaps I've misunderstood.

Since the RCPs show the concentrations of greenhouse gases that were used to define the forcings, we can directly compare measured concentrations to the concentrations used to build the RCPs.  We can ignore the global warming potentials and assumed timeframes.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: October 01, 2020, 01:31:46 AM »
The linked article explains why efficiency and capacity factors are not very useful in comparing renewable energy sources to their more expensive fossil fuel competitors.

Nov 8, 2017,02:56pm EST
Is Solar Energy Less Efficient Than Non-Renewables?

Answer by Michael Barnard, low-carbon innovation analyst, on Quora:

Efficiency is an interesting concept when you talk about renewable energy. Mostly, it’s meaningless except as input to a more useful economic discussion.

Efficiency is a much greater factor for non-renewable energy sources because they have to pay for their fuel. Renewable sources don’t. The wind blows and the sun shines regardless of whether anyone puts up a solar or wind farm to capture it. The wind and sun are free resources.

Solar and wind have another factor which is important for economics. While the wind and sun are free, they don’t blow all the time and aren’t always blowing or shining hard enough to make the wind farms and solar panels generate electricity at maximum potential. Over the course of a year, the ratio of actually generated electricity to potential maximum electricity is called the capacity factor.

For solar, the capacity factor ranges from 15% to 25% depending on where you are located and whether the panels follow the sun on (more expensive) trackers or not. For modern wind farms, capacity factors range from 40% onshore to 77% one year for the best offshore site. And now the very flexible wind and solar farms are sometimes curtailed because the much less flexible nuclear and other baseload forms of generation can’t be turned down quickly even though they often have much worse economics in many cases.

But even there, lots of legacy forms of generation have lower capacity factors. Nuclear is high at 90% because it can’t actually run at less than that capacity factor and pay for itself. Coal in the USA was at 60% or so a decade ago, but now it’s at 50% for the country because wind, solar and gas are cheaper so it can’t compete. Many gas plants are at 10% simply because they only turn them on to provide peak power at highest profit.

So wind and solar don’t have to be efficient, they just have to run enough over the course of time to pay for their capital costs. Their marginal operating costs are dirt cheap, much cheaper than coal and gas plants.

Efficiency being a problem is overrated.

The politics / Re: Elections 2020 USA
« on: October 01, 2020, 01:12:50 AM »
Trump’s efforts to discredit voting by mail is leading to a big advantage for Democrats in early voting.

Early surge of Democratic mail voting sparks worry inside GOP

By Amy Gardner and Josh Dawsey
September 29, 2020

Democratic voters who have requested mail ballots — and returned them — greatly outnumber Republicans so far in key battleground states, causing alarm among GOP party leaders and strategists that President Trump’s attacks on mail voting could be hurting the party’s prospects to retain the White House and the Senate this year.

Of the more than 9 million voters who requested mail ballots through Monday in Florida, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Maine and Iowa, the five battleground states where such data is publicly available, 52 percent were Democrats. Twenty-eight percent were Republicans, and 20 percent were unaffiliated.

Additional internal Democratic and Republican Party data obtained by The Washington Post shows a similar trend in Ohio, Minnesota, New Hampshire and Wisconsin.

The margins are “stunning” — and bad news for Republicans up and down the ballot, said longtime GOP pollster Whit Ayres. While the Republican Party is focused on getting voters out on Election Day, he noted that older voters who have traditionally supported Republicans are most concerned about being infected with the novel coronavirus and could choose to stay home if the outbreak intensifies as the election nears.

The trend has emerged after Trump spent months assailing voting by mail, making unsubstantiated claims that it is prone to corruption and fraud — attacks that have resonated with Republican voters, polls show. State and local Republicans, fearful of losing what has long been a key turnout advantage for the GOP, spent the past few months racing to reassure voters that voting by mail was safe, despite the president’s rhetoric.

Michael McDonald, a political scientist at the University of Florida who is tracking mail voting trends on his website, the United States Elections Project, noted that in some states, the number of ballots cast is already approaching 10 percent of the vote total in 2016. He added that turnout this fall could surpass that of four years ago before Election Day even arrives.

In North Carolina and Georgia, for instance, 1 in 5 voters who have cast ballots didn’t even vote in 2016, McDonald said. Requests for mail ballot are up astronomically in dozens of states; the figure is 350 percent in Michigan, for instance, when compared with 2016.

In North Carolina, 17 times more people have requested ballots than four years ago; in Wisconsin, requests were up by a factor of 12, according to internal RNC data.

Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: September 30, 2020, 07:56:14 PM »
Yet another US utility, this time one based in Texas and operating in Illinois, announces plans to retire coal plants early.

Texas company to close all of its Illinois coal-fired power plants, another sign the global transition to clean energy is accelerating
By Michael Hawthorne
Chicago Tribune |
Sep 30, 2020 at 5:00 AM

In a move that promises cleaner air in Chicago and other cities as far away as New York and Boston, a Texas-based company announced Tuesday it will close its Illinois fleet of coal-fired power plants within a decade.

Vistra Energy absorbed nine of the state’s coal plants during a corporate merger just two years ago. Like its predecessors, the company found it increasingly difficult to profit from burning coal amid competition from cheaper, cleaner natural gas and renewable energy.

Scuttling the Illinois plants — and three others in Ohio — is part of Vistra’s plan to gradually shift its investments to solar installations and industrial-size batteries that store power for when the sun doesn’t shine or the wind doesn’t blow.


Only 15% of the electricity generated in Illinois last year came from Vistra coal plants. But the company’s fleet was responsible for nearly half the heat-trapping carbon dioxide and lung-damaging sulfur dioxide emitted by the state’s power plants during 2019, according to federal records.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: September 29, 2020, 10:06:52 PM »
All forms of energy are subsidized to some extent.  In the USA, this is usually done in the tax code (I'm not counting nuclear here, which is so heavily subsidized by taxpayers picking up the tab for insurance, that it wouldn't exist without that subsidy). 

The EIA updated their calculations for Levelized Cost of Electricity in February 2020 and included the subsidies for solar (wind subsidies phase out) entering service in 2025.  They didn't count any other subsidies, which are substantial, for depreciation, failure to pay for pollution costs or adequate bonding for capping leaky abandoned wells when the oil and gas companies go bankrupt.

If you removed the tax credit for solar, estimated at $2.41 per megawatthour, solar would still have the lowest LCOE.

There are tables on page 6 (weighted averages by regions with proposed builds) and page 7 (unweighted averages).  It doesn't format properly when copied, so I'll just list the final results from the first table (the second is similiar and includes a few more higher cost types such as ultra-supercritical coal and advanced nuclear that are unlikely to be built due to thier high costs).

Numbers are $/MWHr

Plant Type        Levelized Tax Credit   LCOE including tax credit
Combined Cycle     N/A                                      $36.61
Geothermal            -$2.04                                   $35.44
Wind, onshore          N/A                                    $34.10
Wind, offshore          N/A                                    $115.04
Solar PV                 -$2.41                                  $30.39

So if you take away the tax credit for solar, the LCOE is still cheapest at $32.80.  And onshore wind is next cheapest with geothermal taking third.  Most types of fossil fuels aren't represented on this chart, because there are no proposed builds for those types of plants.

The State mandates were nice to have when renewables cost more than fossil fuels, but now they're irrelevant.  However, they do make it look like the politicians are doing something when they enact the mandates.  It would be far more effective to change the tax code to remove the subsidies or to require all industries, including renewable energy, to pay for their pollution.  Since renewables pollute far less than fossil fuels, the fossil fuels would complain that this would be a subsidy for renewables!

Science / Re: Where are we now in CO2e , which pathway are we on?
« on: September 29, 2020, 06:37:46 PM »

Hi sorry new to the forum. Long time lurker but had a question. The data presented in the 2.6 column it is as if we continued on the path of the current amount emissions of CO2 and Methane and then each sequential line to the right is if we were to increase in amounts being thrown into the atmosphere or is there some type of mitigation process in there i'm not seeing in 2.6 and 4.5? Clearly 8.5 is the most ambitious of them.



The RCPs are "representative concentration pathways" and each present a series of inputs for running climate simulations in models.  They're meant to represent a pattern of climate forcings, not really a forecast of future emissions.  So we'll never be entirely on one path or another.

The number at the end of the RCP is the radiative forcing in the year 2100.  So RCP 2.6 would see 2.6 watts per meter of forcing while RCP would have 8.5 watts per meter in 2100.

The pattern of forcings over the years is broadly described in each of the scenario descriptions.  RCP 8.5 assumes continued growth in fossil fuel emissions, including burning coal at an increasing rate, for the rest of the century.  RCP 2.6 assumes we began reducing non-CO2 greenhouse gas emissions, especially methane, in 2011 (which we haven't), we reach a peak in CO2 emissions around 2040 and then decline and use Negative Emissions Technologies to reduce CO2 concentrations from 2050 through 2100.  RCPs 4.5 and 6.0 assume a peak of CO2 emissions in the second half of the century and then stabilization of concentrations toward the end of the century.

A good summary in easy to read format is available at at this link:

That website has some very useful graphics that show the assumed emission trajectories in each of the scenarios:

The assumed atmospheric concentrations:

One of the interesting features of all of the RCPs, which were developed about 15 years ago, is that they assumed that renewable energy would be too expensive to deploy extensively.  This is shown in another image at the skeptical science article:

Of course, wind and solar are now cheaper than coal and competitive with natural gas, so these assumptions are way too pessimistic.  By 2030, almost all new energy investment will be wind and solar (about 67% is now, with coal seeing almost no new investment the past two years), so by 2050, almost no fossil fuel power plants will be operating. 

Science / Re: Where are we now in CO2e , which pathway are we on?
« on: September 28, 2020, 08:47:29 PM »
I found the data for the RCP scenario assumptions on the IPCC website.

At that webpage, click on the top link, "Climate System Scenario Tables (Annex II of IPCC 5th Assessment Report, WG1 -- as Excel workbook"

This will open a large Excel spreadsheet with many tabs.  The tabs showing greenhouse gas concentrations by year are 4-1 (CO2), 4-2 (CH4), etc...

Here is the table for CO2:
Table AII.4.1 | CO2 abundance (ppm)                                 
Year   Observed   RCP2.6   RCP4.5   RCP6.0   RCP8.5   A2   B1   IS92a   Min   RCP8.5&   Max
PI   278 ± 2   278   278   278   278   278   278   278         
2011 obs   390.5 ± 0.3                              
2000      368.9   368.9   368.9   368.9   368   368   368         
2005      378.8   378.8   378.8   378.8               378.8   
2010      389.3   389.1   389.1   389.3   388   387   388   366   394   413
2020      412.1   411.1   409.4   415.8   416   411   414   386   425   449
2030      430.8   435.0   428.9   448.8   448   434   442   412   461   496
2040      440.2   460.8   450.7   489.4   486   460   472   443   504   555
2050      442.7   486.5   477.7   540.5   527   485   504   482   559   627
2060      441.7   508.9   510.6   603.5   574   506   538   530   625   713
2070      437.5   524.3   549.8   677.1   628   522   575   588   703   810
2080      431.6   531.1   594.3   758.2   690   534   615   651   790   914
2090      426.0   533.7   635.6   844.8   762   542   662   722   885   1026
2100      420.9   538.4   669.7   935.9   846   544   713   794   985 ± 97   1142

Here is the table for CH4:

Table AII.4.2 | CH4 abundance (ppb)                                                         
Year   RCP2.6   RCP4.5   RCP6.0   RCP8.5   A2   B1   IS92a      RCP2.6&         RCP4.5&         RCP6.0&         RCP8.5&   
PI   720   720   720   720            722   ±   25   722   ±   25   722   ±   25   722   ±   25
2011 obs                        1803   ±   4   1803   ±   4   1803   ±   4   1803   ±   4
2000   1751   1751   1751   1751   1760   1760   1760                                    
2010   1773   1767   1769   1779   1861   1827   1855   1795   ±   18   1795   ±   18   1795   ±   18   1795   ±   18
2020   1731   1801   1786   1924   1997   1891   1979   1716   ±   23   1847   ±   21   1811   ±   22   1915   ±   25
2030   1600   1830   1796   2132   2163   1927   2129   1562   ±   38   1886   ±   28   1827   ±   28   2121   ±   44
2040   1527   1842   1841   2399   2357   1919   2306   1463   ±   50   1903   ±   37   1880   ±   36   2412   ±   74
2050   1452   1833   1895   2740   2562   1881   2497   1353   ±   60   1899   ±   47   1941   ±   48   2784   ±   116
2060   1365   1801   1939   3076   2779   1836   2663   1230   ±   71   1872   ±   59   1994   ±   61   3152   ±   163
2070   1311   1745   1962   3322   3011   1797   2791   1153   ±   78   1824   ±   72   2035   ±   77   3428   ±   208
2080   1285   1672   1940   3490   3252   1741   2905   1137   ±   88   1756   ±   87   2033   ±   94   3624   ±   250
2090   1268   1614   1819   3639   3493   1663   3019   1135   ±   98   1690   ±   100   1908   ±   111   3805   ±   293
2100   1254   1576   1649   3751   3731   1574   3136   1127   ±   106   1633   ±   110   1734   ±   124   3938   ±   334

Policy and solutions / Re: Electric cars
« on: September 22, 2020, 07:54:59 PM »
EVs are getting closer to the price parity with ICEs.  One of the major milestones is getting battery pack prices below $100/kWh.  Several companies are expected to do so by 2024.

The Tipping Point For Mass EV Adoption
By Tsvetana Paraskova - Sep 22, 2020

Analysts have estimated that battery pack prices should drop to US$100/kWh so that electric vehicles have a chance to compete with cost with the internal combustion engine. Automakers and industry experts believe that the US$100/kWh milestone could be reached as early as in 2024, or even sooner—and that milestone will unleash the electric vehicle revolution.

Lithium-ion battery pack prices have declined by 87 percent from 2010 to 2019, with the volume-weighted average hitting US$156/kWh last year, according to estimates from BloombergNEF.

Many automakers are working to achieve the US$100/kWh milestone.

In March this year, GM said that its joint venture with LG Chem would drive battery cell costs below $100/kWh.

Executives at Volkswagen told the New York Times last year that the company was paying less than $100 per kWh for batteries.

The tipping point for the EV revolution is just a few years away, Boston Consulting Group said at the start of this year. 

Wood Mackenzie sees battery pack prices dropping below the US$100 kWh milestone by 2024, thanks to economies of scale and technological improvements, and despite the coronavirus-driven crisis.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« 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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: September 15, 2020, 01:04:47 AM »
100% of new electric capacity installed in the USA in June 2020 was renewable!

Solar Power = 60% of New US Power Capacity in June

September 11th, 2020 by Zachary Shahan
100% of New Power Capacity in USA Came from Renewables in June

Solar power keeps growing in the United States. In the month of June, 60.1% of new power capacity added in the country was from solar power plants. Another 37.5% was from wind power plants. And 2.4% was from hydropower. If you’ve done the quick math on that, that means that 100% of new power capacity came from renewable energy sources in June. (Toggle the dropdown button in the interactive chart below to also see charts for January–June 2020, January–June 2019, and total installed capacity in the United States.)

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« 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.

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


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.

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: September 03, 2020, 12:53:34 AM »
Bankruptcies continue in the US shale patch.  And unlike previous economic downturns, other companies aren't buying the bankrupt companies assets.

Why No One Is Buying Up Shale Assets
By Irina Slav - Sep 02, 2020

Since the start of the year, 57 oil production and oilfield services companies have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Many more bankruptcies are on the way, all in the shale patch. And there does not seem to be even a shred of light at the end of this tunnel. The U.S. shale patch was the pride and joy of the nation’s energy industry. Rightly called a shale revolution, the boom in oil and gas production fueled by hydraulic fracturing turned the United States into the world’s largest oil and gas producer. But this had a cost—a cost that is now being paid with a flurry of bankruptcies.

Rystad Energy said last month it expected another 150 U.S. shale oil companies would file for Chapter 11 protection by the end of the year unless prices rise above $50 a barrel. Others have suggested we might see consolidation, the way the industry consolidates during every crisis, but this time around, that seems unlikely.

The last oil price crisis, the one that did spark a consolidation wave after 2014, was a typical one. Prices dropped, some companies failed, others were bought up by bigger ones, prices rebounded, and production growth was back on track. Investors, however, began to insist on returns instead of growth. Producers were trying to get there when this year’s crisis hit. It is no surprise that potential buyers are wary.

Debt is a major turn-off. Shale drillers took on debt the way squirrels store nuts for winter. Shale oil production is a capital-intensive business, but this aspect of it was for a long time overshadowed by the fact that oil starts flowing a lot more quickly from a fracked shale well than a conventional one. So drillers took on debt and boosted production to repay this debt. It became a vicious circle that the last crisis may have well put a stop to.

Banks became reluctant to extend shale oil drillers’ credit lines even before the Saudis turned the taps on and Covid-19 spread across the world. New wells were not yielding as much as borrowers had said they would, and debt piles were growing. Then the pandemic came, and drillers started falling under the twin weight of billions in debt and $20 oil.

Again, these falls mean there is cheap acreage for sale, and some of it may well be excellent acreage. But there is one more reason in addition to general wariness why there are few buyers: the industry does not seem to believe that there will be a third shale revolution.

Policy and solutions / Re: Batteries: Today's Energy Solution
« on: September 02, 2020, 07:37:23 PM »
Lithium prices are still low due to oversupply despite the huge increases in battery production in the past few years.

50% Of Hard-Rock Miners Are Losing Money As Lithium Prices Slump
By - Sep 02, 2020

Investment in battery manufacturing plants and electric vehicle factories continues to boom around the world, but for now the market for lithium shows no signs of emerging from its multi-year slump.

Hard rock miners have been hardest hit, with the price of spodumene concentrate (feedstock for lithium hydroxide manufacture) continuing to fall on the back of break-neck expansion in Australia, which quickly became the number one producer of lithium over South American brine producers.

The original story was an exaggeration, as explained below:

Article by CNN exaggerates study’s implications for future Greenland ice loss with “point of no return” claim

As described by the reviewers below, the CNN article also overlooks the role of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions in altering the future rate of ice loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet as well the consequences for global sea level rise. For example, one study found that under a low-emissions scenario (RCP 2.6) the Greenland Ice Sheet will lose 8-25% of its present-day mass over the long-term, compared to a loss of 72-100% under a high-emissions scenario(RCP 8.5)[2].


However, the CNN article’s suggestion that Greenland has passed a tipping point is not well established. For example, a paper published in Nature Climate Change in 2018 by Pattyn and coauthors found that the tipping point (that is, the point where potentially irreversible change is set in motion) would be in the neighborhood of 1.5 to 2°C warming above pre-industrial[3]. We’re close, but not quite there yet.

OK, last point first. We will easily hit that because we are much too slow in our actions to curb CO2.

Then the scenarios. They range from 8% loss to 100% loss.
So we are going to lose at least a big chunk.
If we rule out both 2.6 and 8.5 then we will lose between 25-70%. So lets say 40%. That is already a calamity.

If we want to stop it melting we have to go zero carbon and then negative.

So in a very practical way it is unstoppable for the near future.

If you look closely at the graph, we're on the SSP1-2.6 track now and the stated policies are under the SSP2-4.5 path.  And the stated policies haven't really caught up with the economics of the energy transition, in part because the fossil fuel industry had a lot of cash with which to influence politicians in the democracies.

A lot has changed since that graph was published. The energy transition is well underway.  We've already seen peak coal and peak oil is probable in the 2020s.  Renewable electricity generation, which was thought to be too expensive to provide a significant amount of capacity when the RCPs were developed, is now cheaper than fossil fuels and last year renewables were 2/3s of all new electric generation built globally.  Fossil fuel companies are going bankrupt at a record rate as the Covid shut-ins have destroyed demand, particularly for aviation fuel and gasoline.

Regenerative agriculture (both in ranching and in staple crops) which will sequester billions of tons of CO2 is becoming more widely used.  Reforestation and afforestation is already being done (and has helped reverse desertification in Africa) which will also sequester a significant amount of carbon.  And there is research being done on accelerated weathering (olivine on beaches and other minerals elsewhere), to help decrease CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere.

Don't give up.  That's what a certain group of deniers (often those closely tied to the fossil fuel industry) want you to do.

One line in the quoted material caught my attention:
When the ice sheet shrinks, it will withdraw further and further from the coast and ice discharge into the ocean will become less important.
This phenomenon would apply to East Antarctica, but not to Greenland or West Antarctica.  The later two regions are largely iced over archipelagos, so the ice sheet won't 'withdraw from the coast', in fact, the coast will become more and more icy (less rocky) as the ice sheet retreats (until only a handful of mountain glaciers remain and there is no ice sheet).

There's a huge difference between West Antarctica, which has a great deal of exposure to the ocean and retrograde slopes beneath the ice sheet, to Greenland, which has fewer outlet glaciers to the central portion of its ice sheet.

Greenland appears to be less at risk than east Antarctica, based on the topographic maps with the ice sheets removed.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: September 01, 2020, 07:51:31 PM »
The Netherlands will have the world's largest offshore windfarm operational in 2023.

Netherlands plans to have the world’s largest offshore wind farm.
By Cukia M
Aug 31, 2020

The Netherlands has announced plans to construct the world’s largest offshore wind farm that will be located in the country’s Dutch North Sea. The wind farm named the Hollandse Kust Zuid 1-4 offshore wind energy project will be constructed by Vattenfall without any subsidy and will have a capacity of 1.5 GW, making it the largest offshore wind farm both in the Netherlands and on the globe. It is expected to begin operations by 2023  with 140 11 MW wind turbines from manufacturer Siemens Gamesa, which will be the first to be installed offshore.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: August 31, 2020, 07:30:49 PM »
When looking at the nicely colored graphs that are frequently posted here, keep in mind that the power being produced today is based on financial decisions that were made many years ago.  Given the low cost of renewables, most of the fossil fuel (and nuclear) assets in operation today will be phased out of operation well before the end of their useful lives.

In the US, new renewables are now less expensive than new fossil fuel plants without subsidies.  And the costs of renewables is continuing to decrease.  That's going to result in a massive shift in investment to renewables and away from other forms of electrical production.

Where Will Renewable Energy Be in 5 Years?
If the recent past is any indication, renewable energy has a very bright future.
Matthew DiLallo
Aug 30, 2020

The renewable energy industry has evolved over the years. It wasn't all that long ago that it was so expensive to install new capacity that it required a massive amount of government subsidies to make it worth the investment. However, those costs have come down so dramatically in recent years that most renewable energy projects don't need incentives to survive.

That trend will probably become even more pronounced over the next five years. Here's a look at where the sector appears to be headed by 2025.

Renewable energy companies fully expect those costs to continue coming down over the next five years. According to industry forecasts, by 2025, onshore wind will be the cheapest form of electricity even with the phase-outs of production tax credits. Meanwhile, solar will fall from its current level of slightly more expensive than natural gas to the bottom of the cost curve by 2025, making it the second cheapest power source even after the expiration of investment tax credits.

The industry also expects the cost of battery storage to keep declining. Ten years ago, it cost $71 to $81 per megawatt-hour (MWh) for a four-hour battery storage adder. That cost has plunged over the years and is currently between $8 and $14 per MWh. By 2022, it should be down to $4 to $9, according to an industry forecast.

Given that outlook, leading renewable energy producer NextEra Energy (NYSE:NEE) expects that near-firm wind and solar (i.e., with a four-hour battery storage adder) will be cheaper to build than all but the most efficient natural gas power plants within the next five years. In its view, near-firm wind will cost between $20 to $30 per MWh, while near-firm solar will be between $30-$40 per MWh, which puts them at or below the cost of natural gas at $30 to $40 per MWh.

This dramatic improvement in costs compared to fossil fuels should power a significant investment surge in the coming years. After spending $2 trillion over the past five years on new renewable energy capacity, the industry could invest $5 trillion to $10 trillion over the next 10 years. Though with costs coming down, these dollars will stretch much further, enabling companies and governments to build significantly more capacity over prior years, meaning the pace of new wind and solar additions should accelerate. According to one estimate, the industry will go from building an average of 10 gigawatts (GW) apiece of wind and solar per year in the 2019 to 2022 time frame to 12-15 GW per year of wind and 18-20 GW per year of solar between 2023 and 2030.

Permafrost / Re: Arctic Methane Release
« on: August 21, 2020, 11:34:28 PM »
Here's the title:
Massive Ice Control on Permafrost Coast Erosion and Sensitivity.

It will be in GRL. A lot of it is from my PhD research,though I'm further down the author list as more senior people take the main authorship positions:(. This one is primarily based on our use of passive seismics to detect and map out variations in subsurface layers of ice. This was used with DEMs and historical shoreline analysis to describe how these ice layers alter the variations in shoreline retreat rates and vertical mass loss at our field site. Being able to detect where and how thick these ice layers are is important for determining how much carbon is in the soil too. Lots of ice = less carbon. Little ice = more carbon.

Congratulations on being published!  I'm looking forward to reading it.

Permafrost / Re: Arctic Methane Release
« on: August 20, 2020, 06:38:23 PM »
Thank you Ken. I bookmarked it.
I think India really need to cut down on their cows. Holy Cow! But I guess some of that must also come from oil and gas exploitation in the middle east?

The arctic looks surprisingly void of Methane. That's interesting. I didn't expect that...

A lot is from oil and gas production in the Middle East.  I think the Himalayan Mountains probably block some of the airflow and increase the concentrations.  And don't forget, most of the population in south Asia rely on rice as their main staple crop, and rice paddies produce methane.  There are also a lot of wetlands in the coastal areas, which also produce a lot of methane.

The methane seeps and bubbles get a lot of hype in the media, but when you compare the amount of methane produced, the Arctic Ocean doesn't really contribute a lot of methane to the atmosphere.  Most of the methane from the subsea permafrost is eaten by microbes before it gets to the ocean floor and then a lot of it is absorbed by the ocean as it bubbles toward the surface.

Estimates for methane emissions for all of the oceans are around 5 to 10 million tons annually.  Total global emissions are around 576 million tons of which  359 million tons are from anthropogenic sources.

The Global Methane Budget 2000–2017
Saunois et. al 2020

Back to top

Understanding and quantifying the global methane (CH4) budget is important for assessing realistic pathways to mitigate climate change. Atmospheric emissions and concentrations of CH4 continue to increase, making CH4 the second most important human-influenced greenhouse gas in terms of climate forcing, after carbon dioxide (CO2). The relative importance of CH4 compared to CO2 depends on its shorter atmospheric lifetime, stronger warming potential, and variations in atmospheric growth rate over the past decade, the causes of which are still debated. Two major challenges in reducing uncertainties in the atmospheric growth rate arise from the variety of geographically overlapping CH4 sources and from the destruction of CH4 by short-lived hydroxyl radicals (OH). To address these challenges, we have established a consortium of multidisciplinary scientists under the umbrella of the Global Carbon Project to synthesize and stimulate new research aimed at improving and regularly updating the global methane budget. Following Saunois et al. (2016), we present here the second version of the living review paper dedicated to the decadal methane budget, integrating results of top-down studies (atmospheric observations within an atmospheric inverse-modelling framework) and bottom-up estimates (including process-based models for estimating land surface emissions and atmospheric chemistry, inventories of anthropogenic emissions, and data-driven extrapolations).

For the 2008–2017 decade, global methane emissions are estimated by atmospheric inversions (a top-down approach) to be 576 Tg CH4 yr−1 (range 550–594, corresponding to the minimum and maximum estimates of the model ensemble). Of this total, 359 Tg CH4 yr−1 or ∼ 60 % is attributed to anthropogenic sources, that is emissions caused by direct human activity (i.e. anthropogenic emissions; range 336–376 Tg CH4 yr−1 or 50 %–65 %). The mean annual total emission for the new decade (2008–2017) is 29 Tg CH4 yr−1 larger than our estimate for the previous decade (2000–2009), and 24 Tg CH4 yr−1 larger than the one reported in the previous budget for 2003–2012 (Saunois et al., 2016). Since 2012, global CH4 emissions have been tracking the warmest scenarios assessed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Bottom-up methods suggest almost 30 % larger global emissions (737 Tg CH4 yr−1, range 594–881) than top-down inversion methods. Indeed, bottom-up estimates for natural sources such as natural wetlands, other inland water systems, and geological sources are higher than top-down estimates. The atmospheric constraints on the top-down budget suggest that at least some of these bottom-up emissions are overestimated. The latitudinal distribution of atmospheric observation-based emissions indicates a predominance of tropical emissions (∼ 65 % of the global budget, < 30∘ N) compared to mid-latitudes (∼ 30 %, 30–60∘ N) and high northern latitudes (∼ 4 %, 60–90∘ N). The most important source of uncertainty in the methane budget is attributable to natural emissions, especially those from wetlands and other inland waters.

Some of our global source estimates are smaller than those in previously published budgets (Saunois et al., 2016; Kirschke et al., 2013). In particular wetland emissions are about 35 Tg CH4 yr−1 lower due to improved partition wetlands and other inland waters. Emissions from geological sources and wild animals are also found to be smaller by 7 Tg CH4 yr−1 by 8 Tg CH4 yr−1, respectively. However, the overall discrepancy between bottom-up and top-down estimates has been reduced by only 5 % compared to Saunois et al. (2016), due to a higher estimate of emissions from inland waters, highlighting the need for more detailed research on emissions factors. Priorities for improving the methane budget include (i) a global, high-resolution map of water-saturated soils and inundated areas emitting methane based on a robust classification of different types of emitting habitats; (ii) further development of process-based models for inland-water emissions; (iii) intensification of methane observations at local scales (e.g., FLUXNET-CH4 measurements) and urban-scale monitoring to constrain bottom-up land surface models, and at regional scales (surface networks and satellites) to constrain atmospheric inversions; (iv) improvements of transport models and the representation of photochemical sinks in top-down inversions; and (v) development of a 3D variational inversion system using isotopic and/or co-emitted species such as ethane to improve source partitioning.

The production of methane at the seabed is known to be significant. For instance, marine seepages emit up to 65 Tg CH4 yr−1 globally at seabed level (USEPA, 2010b). What is uncertain is the flux of oceanic methane reaching the atmosphere. For example, bubble plumes of CH4 from the seabed have been observed in the water column, but not detected in the Arctic atmosphere (Fisher et al., 2011; Westbrook et al., 2009). There are several barriers preventing methane from being expelled to the atmosphere (James et al., 2016). From below the seafloor to the sea surface, gas hydrates and permafrost serve as a barrier to fluid and gas migration towards the seafloor; microbial activity around the seafloor can strongly oxidize methane releases or production; further oxidation occurs in the water column; the oceanic pycnocline acts as a physical barrier towards the surface waters, including efficient dissolution of bubbles; and finally, surface oceans are aerobic and contribute to the oxidation of dissolved methane. However, surface waters can be more supersaturated than the underlying deeper waters, leading to a methane paradox (Sasakawa et al., 2008). Possible explanations involve (i) upwelling in areas with surface mixed layers covered by sea ice (Damm et al., 2015), (ii) the release of methane by the degradation of dissolved organic matter phosphonates in aerobic conditions (Repeta et al., 2016), (iii)  methane production by marine algae (Lenhart et al., 2016), or (iv) methane production within the anoxic centre of sinking particles (Sasakawa et al., 2008), but more work is still needed to be conclusive about this apparent paradox.

For geological emissions, the most used value has long been 20 Tg CH4 yr−1, relying on expert knowledge and literature synthesis proposed in a workshop reported in Kvenvolden et al. (2001); the authors of this study recognize that this was a first estimation and needs revision. Since then, oceanographic campaigns have been organized, especially to sample bubbling areas of active seafloor gas seep bubbling. For instance, Shakhova et al. (2010, 2014) infer 8–17 Tg CH4 yr−1 in emissions just for the Eastern Siberian Arctic Shelf (ESAS), based on the extrapolation of numerous but local measurements, and possibly related to thawing sub-seabed permafrost (Shakhova et al., 2015). Because of the highly heterogeneous distribution of dissolved CH4 in coastal regions, where bubbles can most easily reach the atmosphere, extrapolation of in situ local measurements to the global scale can be hazardous and lead to biased global estimates. Indeed, using very precise and accurate continuous land shore-based atmospheric methane observations in the Arctic region, Berchet et al. (2016) found a range of emissions for ESAS of ∼ 2.5 Tg CH4 yr−1 (range [0–5]), 4–8 times lower than Shakhova's estimates. Such a reduction in ESAS emission estimate has also been inferred from oceanic observations by Thornton et al. (2016b) with a maximum sea–air CH4 flux of 2.9 Tg CH4 yr−1 for this region. Etiope et al. (2019) suggested a minimum global total submarine seepage emission of 3.9 Tg CH4 yr−1 simply summing published regional emission estimates for 15 areas for identified emission areas (above 7 Tg CH4 yr−1 when extrapolated to include non-measured areas). These recent results, based on different approaches, suggest that the current estimate of 20 Tg CH4 yr−1 is too large and needs revision.

Therefore, as discussed in Sect. 3.2.2, we report here a reduced range of 5–10 Tg CH4 yr−1 for marine geological emissions compared to the previous budget, with a mean value of 7 Tg CH4 yr−1.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: August 19, 2020, 05:58:27 PM »
Turkey has opened it's first solar panel manufacturing plant.  It has a capacity to manufacture 500 MW of panels annually.

Turkey opens 1st integrated solar panel manufacturing facility
Aug 19, 2020

Turkey on Wednesday witnessed the opening of the country's first and Europe and the Middle East’s only integrated solar panel manufacturing facility, which promises to further develop the country's renewable energy resources.

The facility will be operated through an investment of $400 million (TL 2.9 billion) at a 100,000-square-meter (nearly 25-acre) closed area and will employ 1,400 people, Erdoğan said in his speech.

Turkey has managed to become ninth in the world and third in Europe among countries that have increased their installed solar power capacity since it started bringing solar plants into action in 2014, Dönmez said.

With the commissioning of the plant, the share of solar energy in electricity production in Turkey will increase by 25% and the annual emission of 2 million tons of carbon dioxide will be prevented, the minister added.

Kalyon's facility will produce components for Turkey’s biggest solar power plant, which will be established in the Karapınar district of the central Anatolian province of Konya as part of the first solar Renewable Energy Resource Zone (YEKA) tender with a capacity of 1,000 megawatts.

Permafrost / Re: Arctic Methane Release
« on: August 19, 2020, 05:31:56 PM »
Is there any information available yet on the release of methane in the ESS this year? All those storms in the ESS these last few weeks must be mixing up all that hot water there and causing a massive amount of methane to be released, no?

You can see it daily from the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service.  Here's today's forecast (North Pole view):,3,2020081803&projection=classical_north_pole&layer_name=composition_ch4_totalcolumn

And then compare that view to the NOAA globally averaged measurement.

ESAS methane emissions are less than the global average.  Areas with large concentrations of people and lots of agricultural and industrial activity are more than global average.

Science / Re: The Father Of Global Warming?
« on: August 10, 2020, 07:39:13 PM »
I think that the idea behind a title like, "the father of global warming" is that a paper has to include the anthropogenic effects of adding carbon dioxide to atmosphere.  A lot of the papers sited above from the 1850s are dealing with the temperature effects of increasing pressure and determining which gases in the atmosphere are greenhouse gases, but don't look into the impact of burning coal (too early for oil and natural gas at that time). Arrhenius  is usually credited with that idea in the 1890s.  (Thanks for the info on Högbom Kassy, I didn't realize that Arrhenius had help with his paper).

After Arrhenius and Högbom in the 1890s, there was back and forth as to whether carbon dioxide would be saturated after a low initial amount and not lead to additional warming, and whether the oceans would absorb the extra carbon dioxide so it would accumulate in the atmosphere.  Revelle and Keeling answered the question about the oceans and the accumulation in the atmosphere in the late 1950s.  Gilbert Plass addressed the saturation of absorption bands in 1955.

The Carbon Dioxide Theory of Climatic  Change
 By GlLBERT N. PLASS The Johns Hopkins  University, Baltimore,  Md.
(Manuscript received  August g 1955)
The most  recent  calculations of the infra-red flux in the  region of the 15 micron CO2 band show that the average surface temperature of the earth increases 3.6” C if  the C02 concentration in the atmosphere is  doubled  and decreases 3.8’ C if  the CO2 amount is halved,  provided  that no other factors  change  which  influence the radiation  balance. Variations in CO2 amount of this magnitude must have occurred during geological history; the resulting temperature changes were sufficiently large to influence the climate. The CO2 balance is discussed. The CO equilibrium between   atmosphere   and  oceans is calculated with and without CaCO3  equilibrium, assuming  that  the  average temperature changes with the CO2 concentration by  the amount predicted by the CO2 theory. When the total CO2 is  reduced below a critical value, it is found that the climate continuously oscillates between a glacial and an inter-glacial stage with a period of tens of thousands of years; there is  no possible stable state for the climate. Simple explanations are provided by the CO2 theory for the increased precipitation at the  onset of a glacial period, the time lag of millions of years between  periods of mountain building  and  the ensuing glaciation, and the severe glaciation at the end of the Carboniferous. The extra CO2 released into the atmosphere by  industrial processes and other  human activities may have caused the temperature rise during  the present  century. In contrast with other  theories of climate,  the CO2 theory predicts that  this warming trend  will continue, at least for several centuries.

I would argue that the title should go to Plass.

Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: August 05, 2020, 10:52:14 PM »
Global coal-fire power plant capacity dropped by 2.9 GW in the first half of 2020, for the first time on record!  It would've been even more, but for China.

China's new coal projects account for 90% of global total in first half - study
David Stanway

SHANGHAI, August 3 (Reuters) - China built more than half of the world’s new coal-fired power plants this year and accounted for 90% of new planned capacity, a study showed on Monday, with Beijing still commissioning new projects even as capacity worldwide declines.

Global coal-fired generation capacity saw a net decline of 2.9 gigawatts (GW) from January to June, the first drop on record for a six-month period, thanks to plant retirements in Europe and elsewhere, the U.S.-based think tank Global Energy Monitor (GEM) said in the study.

But China added 53.2 GW of capacity to its project pipeline in the first half of this year - 90% of the global total - even as the world’s second-largest economy seeks to boost its use of renewable energy as part of a broader anti-pollution drive.

China said that most of its new generation capacity would come from renewables this year but also set targets allowing another 60 GW of coal-fired projects to go into operation. It has more than 250 GW of new capacity either proposed or under construction.

But it remains unclear how much will be completed, with existing plants already facing losses as a result of overcapacity and low utilisation rates. China has issued investment warnings to 10 regions, saying returns from coal-fired power would fall below government bond yields.

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: August 05, 2020, 06:12:56 PM »
For the first time since 1914, there are no drilling rigs active in Venezuela.

Venezuela’s Rig Count Officially Falls To Zero
By Tsvetana Paraskova - Aug 05, 2020

Venezuela no longer has any operational oil rigs after the last oilfield services firm that was still drilling for oil in the country holding the world’s largest crude oil reserves pulled its only rig out of service.

With Nabors shutting down its rig activity, Venezuela is now left with zero oil drilling rigs, Russ Dallen, founder of investment bank Caracas Capital, told Houston Chronicle.

That sends the Latin American nation back more than a century in terms of rig count, to before 1914 when Venezuela’s first oil well was drilled, according to Dallen.

Venezuela’s oil production has been in freefall for several years, but the U.S. sanctions on its industry and exports, the crash in demand, and the pandemic further accelerated the decline.

Science / Re: Where are we now in CO2e , which pathway are we on?
« on: August 05, 2020, 12:24:09 AM »
'Worst-Case' CO2 Emissions Scenario Is Best for Assessing Climate Risk and Impacts to 2050

The RCP 8.5 CO2 emissions pathway, long considered a "worst case scenario" by the international science community, is the most appropriate for conducting assessments of climate change impacts by 2050, according to a new article published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Long dismissed as alarmist or misleading, the paper argues that is actually the closest approximation of both historical emissions and anticipated outcomes of current global climate policies, tracking within 1% of actual emissions.

"Not only are the emissions consistent with RCP 8.5 in close agreement with historical total cumulative CO2 emissions (within 1%), but RCP8.5 is also the best match out to mid-century under current and stated policies with still highly plausible levels of CO2 emissions in 2100," the authors wrote. "... Not using RCP8.5 to describe the previous 15 years assumes a level of mitigation that did not occur, thereby skewing subsequent assessments by lessening the severity of warming and associated physical climate risk."

The commentary also emphasizes that while there are signs of progress on bending the global emissions curve and that our emissions picture may change significantly by 2100, focusing on the unknowable, distant future may distort the current debate on these issues. "For purposes of informing societal decisions, shorter time horizons are highly relevant, and it is important to have scenarios which are useful on those horizons. Looking at mid-century and sooner, RCP8.5 is clearly the most useful choice," they wrote.

The article also notes that RCP 8.5 would not be significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that "we note that the usefulness of RCP 8.5 is not changed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Assuming pandemic restrictions remain in place until the end of 2020 would entail a reduction in emissions of -4.7 Gt CO2. This represents less than 1% of total cumulative CO2 emissions since 2005 for all RCPs and observations."

Christopher R. Schwalm el al., "RCP8.5 tracks cumulative CO2 emissions," PNAS (2020)


A close read of the study shows that it didn't take into account economic considerations, such as the fact that renewables are now cheaper than fossil fuels.  And it's also missing the point that emissions up through the 2020s are very close in all scenarios.  Here's a figure from the paper that shows that fact:

For future projections, they rely on the IEA assessment of Government policy decisions, ignoring the impacts of the energy transition underway.  And let's not forget how badly the IEA has been at forecasting the pace of the energy transition.

Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: July 31, 2020, 07:31:47 PM »
While we're mainly concerned about carbon emissions on this site, let's not forget what else coal brings to the surface.

Judge Rules Justice-Controlled Coal Company Liable For Pollution Violations At W.Va. Mine
By Brittany Patterson • Jul 27, 2020

A federal judge has ruled a coal company owned by the family of West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice is liable for more than 3,000 violations of federal clean water standards stemming from pollution discharged from a coal mine in southern West Virginia.

In a motion issued Monday, U.S. District Judge David Faber ruled Bluestone Coal Corporation discharged selenium at the Red Fox Surface Mine in McDowell County many times at levels above its permitted allowances from July 2018 to March 2020. Selenium is a chemical element found in coal that accumulates in the body and has been linked to growth deformities and reproductive failure in fish.

Faber also ruled that the company violated its permit under the federal Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act 183 times.

Policy and solutions / Re: Nuclear Power
« on: July 31, 2020, 07:28:05 PM »
It looks like Ohio may repeal the law that was passed because of the corruption.  That's bad news for the nuclear reactors that are benefiting from the subsidies, but could be good news for renewables as they're the cheapest form of unsubsidized electrical generation now.

July 23, 2020
Ohio governor calls for repeal of state nuclear bailout bill under probe
Timothy Gardner

(Reuters) - Ohio Governor Mike DeWine on Thursday reversed course and called on the state’s legislature to repeal and replace a nuclear energy bailout bill at the center of a federal investigation into bribery.

DeVillers said the company, without identifying it, gave $60 million to Generation Now, a political nonprofit operated by the five men, funds used for lobbying that secured passage of a controversial $1.5 billion bill.

The bill, which passed mostly on a party-line vote with Republicans in the majority, also rolled back renewable energy standards, requiring utilities to get 8.5% of their power from renewable energy, down from 12.5%. DeWine said the legislature should debate whether to reinstate the measure.

Eventually the heat stored in the deep ocean comes back to the surface.  If we can lower the greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere before it comes back to the surface, the stored heat can radiate out to space when the warmer water upwells to the surface.

Only a small portion of the warm water comes into contact with the ice sheets.  Most of it circulates around the globe for centuries.

Here are a couple of studies that discuss the Southern Ocean (where most of the excess heat gets stored) and how it interacts with the Antarctic Ice Sheet.

The Southern Ocean and its interaction with the Antarctic Ice Sheet
David M. Holland, Keith W. Nicholls and Aurora Basinski
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaz5491 (6484), 1326-133

The Southern Ocean exerts a major influence on the mass balance of the Antarctic Ice Sheet, eitherindirectly, by its influence on air temperatures and winds, or directly, mostly through its effects on iceshelves. How much melting the ocean causes depends on the temperature of the water, which in turn is controlled by the combination of the thermal structure of the surrounding ocean and local ocean circulation, which in turn is determined largely by winds and bathymetry. As climate warms and atmospheric circulation changes, there will be follow-on changes in the ocean circulation and temperature. These consequences will affect the pace of mass loss of the Antarctic Ice Sheet.

Sallée, J.-B. 2018. Southern Ocean warming.
Oceanography 31(2):52–62,

Article Abstract

The Southern Ocean plays a fundamental role in global climate. With no continental barriers, it distributes climate signals among the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans through its fast-flowing, energetic, and deep-reaching dominant current, the Antarctic Circumpolar Current. The unusual dynamics of this current, in conjunction with energetic atmospheric and ice conditions, make the Southern Ocean a key region for connecting the surface ocean with the world ocean’s deep seas. Recent examinations of global ocean temperature show that the Southern Ocean plays a major role in global ocean heat uptake and storage. Since 2006, an estimated 60%–90% of global ocean heat content change associated with global warming is based in the Southern Ocean. But the warming of its water masses is inhomogeneous. While the upper 1,000 m of the Southern Ocean within and north of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current are warming rapidly, at a rate of 0.1°–0.2°C per decade, the surface sub­polar seas south of this region are not warming or are slightly cooling. However, subpolar abyssal waters are warming at a substantial rate of ~0.05°C per decade due to the formation of bottom waters on the Antarctic continental shelves. Although the processes at play in this warming and their regional distribution are beginning to become clear, the specific mechanisms associated with wind change, eddy activity, and ocean-ice interaction remain areas of active research, and substantial challenges persist to representing them accurately in climate models.

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: July 27, 2020, 08:19:50 PM »
Gas flaring remains a problem in Texas and it's growing globally.

1 In 10 Gas Flares In Permian Malfunction
By Irina Slav - Jul 23, 2020

More a tenth of gas flares in the Permian play tend to malfunction and release unlit methane into the atmosphere, the Environmental Defense Fund has reported, based on a new aerial survey.

According to the Fund, the survey revealed that one in ten flares either didn’t burn the methane completely, with some of it escapimg into the atmosphere, or they didn’t burn it at all, releasing it as it is.

Flaring is a serious problem and it is getting increasingly serious, it appears. The World Bank reported earlier this week that global gas flaring last year jumped to 150 billion cu m, from 145 billion cu m in 2018.

It is also a growing problem in the Permian, specifically: after a decline in flaring accompanying the decline in oil production during the worst of the crisis, flaring in the Permian is once again on the rise, the Environmental Defense Fund reported, with flaring in June 50 percent higher than the previous month.

The linked article about the differences between the short-term and long-term global warming potentials of methane indicates that focusing exclusively on methane reductions at the expense of reducing carbon dioxide emissions results in higher long term temperature increases.

Demonstrating GWP*: a means of reporting warming-equivalent emissions that captures the contrasting impacts of short- and long-lived climate pollutants
John Lynch et al 2020 Environ. Res. Lett.15 044023

The atmospheric lifetime and radiative impacts of different climate pollutants can both differ markedly, so metrics that equate emissions using a single scaling factor, such as the 100-year Global Warming Potential (GWP100), can be misleading. An alternative approach is to report emissions as ‘warming-equivalents’ that result in similar warming impacts without requiring a like-for-like weighting per emission. GWP*, an alternative application of GWPs where the CO2-equivalence of short-lived climate pollutant emissions is predominantly determined by changes in their emission rate, provides a straightforward means of generating warming-equivalent emissions. In this letter we illustrate the contrasting climate impacts resulting from emissions of methane, a short-lived greenhouse gas, and CO2, and compare GWP100 and GWP* CO2-equivalents for a number of simple emissions scenarios. We demonstrate that GWP* provides a useful indication of warming, while conventional application of GWP100 falls short in many scenarios and particularly when methane emissions are stable or declining, with important implications for how we consider ‘zero emission’ or ‘climate neutral’ targets for sectors emitting different compositions of gases. We then illustrate how GWP* can provide an improved means of assessing alternative mitigation strategies. GWP*allows warming-equivalent emissions to be calculated directly from CO2-equivalent emissions reported using GWP100, consistent with the Paris Rulebook agreed by the UNFCCC, on condition that short-lived and cumulative climate pollutants are aggregated separately, which is essential for transparency. It provides a direct link between emissions and anticipated warming impacts, supporting stocktakes of progress towards a long-term temperature goal and compatible with cumulative emissions budgets

We can demonstrate the utility of multi-gas cumulative CO2-w.e. totals in a decision making context by considering how they would describe alternative mitigation pathways, as infigure8. In this scenario, the emissions of one gas cease in year 50, and then the emissions of the remaining gas in year 100. Stopping methane first results in a large initial reversal of recent warming, but temperatures then start to rise again due to the ongoing CO2 emissions. Temperature then stabilises at the temperature reached in year 100 when CO2 emissions are also stopped. Stopping CO2 first,we see that the rate of warming declines, and then when methane emissions stop in year 100 we have a significant reversal of warming, stabilising at a lower long-term temperature than in the methane-first scenario. Cumulative CO2-w.e. provides a clear indication of these dynamics, while cumulative CO2e suggests either strategy would lead to the same response, but which represents neither scenario.

Antarctica / Re: Methane in Antarctica
« on: July 22, 2020, 08:07:45 PM »
Not a video, but a pretty clear narrative explanation.

Because CO2 has a very long residence time in the atmosphere, its emissions cause increases in atmospheric concentrations of CO2 that will last thousands of years [8]. Methane’s average atmospheric residence time is about a decade. However, its capacity to absorb substantially more energy than CO2 gives it a GWP ranging from 28 to 36. The GWP also accounts for some indirect effects; for example, CH4 is a precursor to another greenhouse gas, ozone.

What happens to the methane GWP if a 20-year averaging time is used?

A 20-year GWP is sometimes used as an alternative to the 100-year GWP. The 20-year GWP is based on the energy absorbed over 20 years, which prioritizes gases with shorter lifetimes, since it ignores any impacts that occur after 20 years from the emission. The GWPs are calculated relative to CO2, so the GWPs are based on an 80% shorter time frame that will be larger for gases with atmospheric residence times shorter than that of CO2 and smaller for gases with residence times greater than CO2.

Since CH4 has a shorter atmospheric residence time than CO2, the 100-year GWP is much less than the 20-year GWP. The CH4 20-year GWP has been estimated [8] to be 84–87, compared with the 100-year GWP of 28–36.

A new metric, GWP*, has been developed to address the confusion between the short term and long term GWPs of short lived greenhouse gases like methane.  Here's a link to a study about GWP*.

Demonstrating GWP*: a means of reporting warming-equivalentemissions that captures the contrasting impacts of short- and long-lived climate pollutants
John Lynch, Michelle Cain, Raymond Pierrehumbert and Myles Allen

The atmospheric lifetime and radiative impacts of different climate pollutants can both differ markedly, so metrics that equate emissions using a single scaling factor, such as the 100-year Global Warming Potential (GWP100), can be misleading. An alternative approach is to report emissions as ‘warming-equivalents’ that result in similar warming impacts without requiring a like-for-like weighting per emission. GWP*, an alternative application of GWPs where the CO2-equivalence of short-lived climate pollutant emissions is predominantly determined by changes in their emission rate, provides a straightforward means of generating warming-equivalent emissions. In this letter we illustrate the contrasting climate impacts resulting from emissions of methane, a short-lived greenhouse gas, and CO2, and compare GWP100 and GWP* CO2-equivalents for a number of simple emissions scenarios. We demonstrate that GWP* provides a useful indication of warming, while conventional application of GWP100 falls short in many scenarios and particularly when methane emissions are stable or declining, with important implications for how we consider ‘zero emission’ or ‘climate neutral’ targets for sectors emitting different compositions of gases. We then illustrate how GWP* can provide an improved means of assessing alternative mitigation strategies. GWP* allows warming-equivalent emissions to be calculated directly from CO2-equivalent emissions reported using GWP100, consistent with the Paris Rulebook agreed by the UNFCCC, on condition that short-lived and cumulative climate pollutants are aggregated separately, which is essential for transparency. It provides a direct link between emissions and anticipated warming impacts, supporting stock takes of progress towards a long-term temperature goal and compatible with cumulative emissions budgets.

Policy and solutions / Re: Nuclear Power
« on: July 22, 2020, 12:05:02 AM »
Remember when Ohio passed a law to subsidize those two nuclear reactors that can't compete against cheap renewables?

Ohio House Speaker Arrested In Connection With $60 Million Bribery Scheme

July 21, 2020

FBI agents arrested Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder on Tuesday morning at his rural farm. Householder was taken into custody in connection with a $60 million bribery scheme allegedly involving state officials and associates.

Four others were also arrested: former Ohio Republican Party Chairman Matt Borges, Householder adviser Jeffrey Longstreth and lobbyists Neil Clark and Juan Cespedes.

The charges are linked to a controversial law passed last year that bailed out two nuclear power plants in the state while gutting subsidies for renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Federal prosecutors say that between March 2017 and March 2020, entities related to an unnamed company — but that would appear to be nuclear power company FirstEnergy Solutions — paid approximately $60 million to Householder's Generation Now.

"Make no mistake, this is Larry Householder's 501 (c)(4)," U.S. Attorney David DeVillers told reporters on Tuesday. The money from the scheme was spent to the detriment of other political candidates and the people of Ohio, DeVillers said.

Members of Householder's enterprise used those payments for their own personal benefit and to gain support for Householder's bid to become speaker, prosecutors say.

In exchange for payments, prosecutors say, Householder and his associates helped pass House Bill 6, then worked to ensure it went into effect by defeating a ballot initiative.

The plan worked. The complaint says Householder-backed candidates that benefited from money from Generation Now helped to elect Householder as the Speaker. House Bill 6 was introduced three months into his term – legislation worth $1.3 billion to Company A.

Regular payments to Householder's secret company from Company A began in March 2017, a couple months after he took a trip on Company A's private jet, according to the federal complaint. But the payments got much bigger after the legislation was introduced: In May 2019, while the bill was pending before lawmakers, Company A allegedly wired $8 million to Generation Now.

In total, Company A allegedly paid the Householder enterprise $60 million over a three-year period, in exchange for the billion-dollar-bailout.

Prosecutors say the payments were "akin to bags of cash – unlike campaign or PAC contributions, they were not regulated, not reported, not subject to public scrutiny—and the Enterprise freely spent the bribe payments to further the Enterprise's political interests and to enrich themselves."

Last year's nuclear bailout law tacked on a charge to residents' power bills, sending $150 million a year to the nuclear power plants. They are owned by the company Energy Harbor, which was previously known as FirstEnergy Solutions.

The law also included a subsidy for two coal plants.

NPR member station WOSU reported that FirstEnergy contributed more than $150,000 to Ohio House Republicans in the run-up to the 2018 election — including over $25,000 in donations to Householder's campaign.

Science / Re: Where are we now in CO2e , which pathway are we on?
« on: July 17, 2020, 08:27:20 PM »
Renewables only became cheaper than fossil fuels in some areas starting in 2018.  With costs of renewables continuing to decline, they are becoming cheaper than fossil fuels in more areas.  And given that it can take two years for a new wind or solar farm to come online, and five to ten years for a fossil fuel plant, it will take some time for the full impact of the cost reductions in renewables to be seen.

We're already seeing it in new investments.  Investments in renewables are now outpacing investment in fossil fuel infrastructure.

Goldman Sachs says renewable-energy spending will surpass oil and gas for the first time ever in 2021 — and sees total investment spiking to $16 trillion over the next decade
Ben Winck
Jun. 17, 2020

Green-energy investing will account for 25% of all energy spending in 2021 and, for the first time ever, surpass spending on traditional fuel sources like oil and gas, Goldman Sachs said in a Tuesday note.
Should the US aim to hold global warming within 2 degrees Celsius, the pivot to renewable energy sources will create between $1 trillion and $2 trillion in yearly infrastructure spending, the team of analysts added, or an investment opportunity as big as $16 trillion through 2030.
While past economic downturns halted efforts to lift clean energy initiatives, the coronavirus recession "will be different," the firm said.
Green technologies "are now mature enough to be deployed at scale," and the transition can benefit massively from cheap capital and "an attractive regulatory framework," according to Goldman.

In the US, electric utilities are retiring coal plants early and replacing them with renewables.  Becuase they can save lots and lots of money.  It's cheaper to build new renewable power plants than to operate existing coal fired power plants.  And that trend is spreading around the world.  It's estimated that $141 billion can be saved by replacing coal with clean energy by 2025.

Replacing coal with clean energy can save up to $141 billion by 2025

Out of 2,500 coal plants, the share of uncompetitive coal plants worldwide will increase rapidly to 60 per cent in 2022 and to 73 per cent in 2025

ETEnergyWorld July 10, 2020

New Delhi: Replacing coal with clean energy can potentially save electricity customers around the world $141 billion by 2025, according to a report by US-based Rocky Mountain Institute launched in collaboration with Carbon Tracker Initiative and the US-based environmental organisation Sierra Club.

Utilities are increasingly skip the "bridge" of replacing coal with natural gas and just jumping strait to solar or wind.

More utilities bypassing natural gas bridge and going straight to renewables

Utilities that are transitioning away from coal are starting to view the creation of a natural gas “bridge” to renewable energy as an unnecessary step.
July 2, 2020 Jean Haggerty

Utilities that are transitioning away from coal are starting to view the creation of a natural gas “bridge” to renewable energy as an unnecessary step. Last week utilities in Arizona, Colorado and Florida announced plans to close one or more of their coal plants and build renewables without adding any new gas-fired generation.

There are many more examples I could post of renewables replacing operating fossil fuel plants.  And the trend will accelerate in the future as the costs of renewables continue to decrease.

Found the paper.  It was published in PNAS in 2004.

Greenhouse gas growth rates
James Hansen* and Makiko Sato

We posit that feasible reversal of the growth of atmospheric CH4 and other trace gases would provide a vital contribution toward averting  dangerous  anthropogenic  interference  with  global  cli-mate. Such trace gas reductions may allow stabilization of atmospheric CO2 at an achievable level of anthropogenic CO2 emissions, even if the added global warming constituting dangerous anthropogenic  interference  is  as  small  as  1°C.  A  1°C  limit  on  global warming, with canonical climate sensitivity, requires peak CO2 ~440 ppm if further non-CO2 forcing is ~0.5 W/m2, but peak CO2 ~520 ppm if further non-CO2 forcing is ~0.5 W/m2. The practical result is that a decline of non-CO2 forcings allows climate forcing to be stabilized with a significantly higher transient level of CO2 emissions. Increased ‘‘natural’’ emissions of CO2, N2O, and CH4 are expected  in  response  to  global  warming.  These  emissions,  an indirect  effect  of  all  climate  forcings,  are  small  compared  with human-made climate forcing and occur on a time scale of a few centuries,  but  they  tend  to  aggravate  the  task  of  stabilizing atmospheric composition.

We have suggested (13) that a concerted effort to reduce CH4 emissions could yield a negative forcing, which would be amplified ~40% by the indirect effects of CH4 on stratospheric H2O and tropospheric O3. CH4by itself could yield a forcing change of ~0.25 W/m2 if it were reduced from today’s 1,755 ppb to 1,215 ppb, which would require reducing anthropogenic CH4 emissions by 40–50% (ref. 14 and Drew Shindell, personal communication). Conversely, CH4 could provide large positive forcing if emissions grow, e.g.,CH4 increases to 3,140 ppb in 2100 in the IPCC (3) IS92a scenario,yielding ~0.5 W/m2 forcing.

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