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Messages - rboyd

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1
Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: November 12, 2019, 11:34:20 PM »
Coal use in India has dropped as renewables increase market share.

https://www.reuters.com/article/column-russell-india-energy/column-indias-economic-woes-hit-coal-imports-but-crude-oil-soldiers-on-for-now-russell-idUSL4N27S13C

The weasel words in the article you reference are highly misleading:

Quote
In the meantime, generation from all non-coal sources, which include solar, hydro, wind and natural gas, rose by 24,000 GWh, or 8.4%, over the same period, the report said.

Those non-coal sources include nuclear as well as hydro, as in the drop in coal consumption (from the qz article referenced below)

Quote
can be attributed to the unexpected rise in generation from hydro and nuclear power projects this year, said Ashish Nainan, an analyst at Care Ratings.

This season’s monsoon rains in India have been the heaviest in 25 years. As a result, hydro projects generated about 96 terawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity in the first half of this financial year, 9.8% more than what the central electricity authority (CEA), the government’s planning arm on electricity systems, had estimated earlier.

In the same period, nuclear power stations generated 24 TWh of electricity, 11.45% more than the CEA’s estimates. India’s nuclear plants are running at 80.69% of their overall capacity, an improvement of nearly 20% over “last year when two nuclear plants had been under maintenance for around four months,” Nainan said.

The article provides a nice chart that shows hydro, nuclear increasing significantly while wind generation fell and solar rose significantly (I had to look up the source info as they used yellow for both solar and natural gas in the chart).

The quality of journalism from some so called reputable sites (e.g. Reuters) is quite appalling, I have been taught, and keep getting taught, to always double check what they say unfortunately.

So - big jumps in hydro (weather related), a significant increase in solar (weather or capacity increase?) and a jump in nuclear together with an economic slowdown cut fossil fuel consumption (coal and nat. gas). With the government looking at boosting the economy plus all that coal plant spare capacity, this could turn around very fast.

https://qz.com/india/1742462/coal-consumption-by-indias-power-plants-may-fall-in-2019/


2
Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: November 12, 2019, 11:11:22 PM »
Coal use in India has dropped as renewables increase market share.

https://www.reuters.com/article/column-russell-india-energy/column-indias-economic-woes-hit-coal-imports-but-crude-oil-soldiers-on-for-now-russell-idUSL4N27S13C

The weasel words in the article you reference are highly misleading:

Quote
In the meantime, generation from all non-coal sources, which include solar, hydro, wind and natural gas, rose by 24,000 GWh, or 8.4%, over the same period, the report said.

Those non-coal sources include nuclear as well as hydro, as in the drop in coal consumption (from the qz article referenced below)

Quote
can be attributed to the unexpected rise in generation from hydro and nuclear power projects this year, said Ashish Nainan, an analyst at Care Ratings.

This season’s monsoon rains in India have been the heaviest in 25 years. As a result, hydro projects generated about 96 terawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity in the first half of this financial year, 9.8% more than what the central electricity authority (CEA), the government’s planning arm on electricity systems, had estimated earlier.

In the same period, nuclear power stations generated 24 TWh of electricity, 11.45% more than the CEA’s estimates. India’s nuclear plants are running at 80.69% of their overall capacity, an improvement of nearly 20% over “last year when two nuclear plants had been under maintenance for around four months,” Nainan said.

The article provides a nice chart that shows hydro, nuclear increasing significantly while wind generation fell and solar rose significantly (I had to look up the source info as they used yellow for both solar and natural gas in the chart).

The quality of journalism from some so called reputable sites (e.g. Reuters) is quite appalling, I have been taught, and keep getting taught, to always double check what they say unfortunately.

So - big jumps in hydro (weather related), a significant increase in solar (weather or capacity increase?) and a jump in nuclear together with an economic slowdown cut fossil fuel consumption (coal and nat. gas). With the government looking at boosting the economy plus all that coal plant spare capacity, this could turn around very fast.

https://qz.com/india/1742462/coal-consumption-by-indias-power-plants-may-fall-in-2019/


3
Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: November 12, 2019, 10:49:31 PM »
China hasn't cut coal bed methane emissions as they stated they would.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/29/climate/china-coal-climate-change.html

This article is about emissions from traditional coal mining. Coal bed methane (CBM) is a completely different process that extracts natural gas that is embedded within coal seams - its one of the unconventional sources of natural gas production.

P.S. The data from the study is already 4 years old (data was from 2010-2015), shame these studies take so long to get the data and then get published.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coalbed_methane#Extraction

4
Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: November 09, 2019, 11:40:34 PM »
Cross-posted from the China thread:

China's coal based electricity fleet way more efficient that the US

Interesting report on the Chinese coal-fired electricity generation fleet. 50% is already made up of super-critical and ultra super-critical units (higher temperatures and steam pressure produce more electricity per unit of coal) and by 2020 all units will have to meet an efficiency level that the top 100 units in the US cant meet. With the very low utilization rate of the fleet, less efficient ones can be shut down without the need for replacement. All new plants are at the least super-efficient, so will increase the efficiency of the whole fleet.

Quote
Since China’s fleet uses more advanced technology, it also consumes less coal: an average of 286.42 grams of coal equivalent, or gce, consumed per kilowatt-hour of power produced in China versus 374.96 gce consumed per kilowatt-hour produced at lower heating value in the United States.

In 2016:
- Subcritical coal power plants in SE Asia were on average 32% thermally efficient
- SuperCritical coal power plants in SE Asia were on average 36% thermally efficient (that's 12.5% more efficient than subcritical)
- Ultra SuperCritical coal power plants in SE Asia were on average 39% thermally efficient (that's 22% more efficient than subcritical)

China already has Ultra Supercritical plants that are 10 years old running at 45% efficiency (thats 41% more efficient than subcritical). The goal is to get to over 50% efficient.

This means that China may very well be able to cut coal usage in electricity production while actually increasing the amount of electricity generated from coal.

At these levels of efficiency coal plants are pretty close to natural gas plants for CO2 emissions and have much less fugitive methane emissions during production and transport of the coal/NG.

There is also significantly less flue gas to deal with for the sulphur and nox scrubbers to deal with.

https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/green/reports/2017/05/15/432141/everything-think-know-coal-china-wrong/

https://www.worldcoal.org/file_validate.php?file=The%20Power%20of%20high%20efficiency%20coal%20-%20WCA%20-%200316.pdf

https://www.power-technology.com/projects/yuhuancoal/

5
Policy and solutions / Re: But, but, but, China....
« on: November 09, 2019, 11:36:13 PM »
China's coal based electricity fleet way more efficient that the US

Interesting report on the Chinese coal-fired electricity generation fleet. 50% is already made up of super-critical and ultra super-critical units (higher temperatures and steam pressure produce more electricity per unit of coal) and by 2020 all units will have to meet an efficiency level that the top 100 units in the US cant meet. With the very low utilization rate of the fleet, less efficient ones can be shut down without the need for replacement. All new plants are at the least super-efficient, so will increase the efficiency of the whole fleet.

Quote
Since China’s fleet uses more advanced technology, it also consumes less coal: an average of 286.42 grams of coal equivalent, or gce, consumed per kilowatt-hour of power produced in China versus 374.96 gce consumed per kilowatt-hour produced at lower heating value in the United States.

In 2016:
- Subcritical coal power plants in SE Asia were on average 32% thermally efficient
- SuperCritical coal power plants in SE Asia were on average 36% thermally efficient (that's 12.5% more efficient than subcritical)
- Ultra SuperCritical coal power plants in SE Asia were on average 39% thermally efficient (that's 22% more efficient than subcritical)

China already has Ultra Supercritical plants that are 10 years old running at 45% efficiency (thats 41% more efficient than subcritical). The goal is to get to over 50% efficient.

This means that China may very well be able to cut coal usage in electricity production while actually increasing the amount of electricity generated from coal.

At these levels of efficiency coal plants are pretty close to natural gas plants for CO2 emissions and have much less fugitive methane emissions during production and transport of the coal/NG.

There is also significantly less flue gas to deal with for the sulphur and nox scrubbers to deal with.

https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/green/reports/2017/05/15/432141/everything-think-know-coal-china-wrong/

https://www.worldcoal.org/file_validate.php?file=The%20Power%20of%20high%20efficiency%20coal%20-%20WCA%20-%200316.pdf

https://www.power-technology.com/projects/yuhuancoal/

6
Geopolitical Strategic Sourcing of Oil During The Energy Transition

These dynamics look really interesting, so I am looking to write a paper on them:

If/When an actual transition from fossil fuels (especially oil) starts in earnest there could be a number of considerations that concentrate the negative impacts upon a limited set of exporters:

1. In the face of a known long-term transition, net importers that have their own production will tend to want to take advantage of their own reserves "whilst they can", this means that the reduction in consumption will be taken by imports. This is very much the case with China, where domestic production provides for about 30% of consumption.

2. Many of the exporters are heavily dependent upon fossil fuel rents for the elite's survival, and therefore may become unstable as those rents fall, an issue which will be exacerbated by the relative inelasticity of oil supply to demand - i.e. a relatively small drop in demand creates a big drop in price as supply does not drop significantly.

- This means that importers may look to more stable providers, especially if/when one or more suppliers start to have domestic issues. This should benefit suppliers such as Norway, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Bolivia and Russia (the latter also has/will have extensive natural gas exports through in place pipelines to Europe and China that the importers rely upon for space heating as well as electricity peaker plants and fertilizers etc.). I am assuming that Europe generally will resist pressures from the US with respect to Russian fossil fuels as Germany has with Nordstream 2 (especially with the Dutch Groningen gas field being closed in 2022)

- With an increasingly negative international environment, China will look to make sure that it helps out its allies, Russia and possibly Iran, by sourcing oil and gas from them. The US will want to continue to punish exporters that it sees as "enemies" - Russia and Iran (offset by China) and Venezuela.

So the domestic suppliers and "safe" and allied exporters may maintain/increase their export volumes but at a lower price. The rest get the lower price plus much lower volumes. Who could this unlucky bunch be?
- The African suppliers with offshore deposits may be ok, as its relatively easy to protect far offshore platforms. That does not include Libya.
- The Middle East: Saudi Arabia (which needs $80+/barrel to balance its budget at current export levels), Iraq, Kuwait etc. Perhaps the world will then simply end up not caring about such countries. Given the massive population growth in these nations, plus the highly volatile domestic politics (e.g. the Shia crescent where most of the oil and gas is located) things could get bad relatively quickly - especially if China focuses its souring on Iran.

An unrelated dynamic will be on the demand for US$ in the case where the cut in oil usage is focused on exporters and a significant portion of those exports are paid for in local currencies (e.g. between China, Russia and Iran or between Europe and Russia). This would remove a big reason for  countries having to hold US$ reserves and reduce the power of the US/IMF as "lender of last resort".

We live in interesting times ....

7
Currently China is producing about 75% of new clean energy patents per year, plus as Ken points out they are implementing that knowledge in many other nations (and yes also a whole lot of coal fired power stations!).

With their lead in the production and patenting of clean energy technologies (wind, solar, nuclear, hydro, EV's, batteries etc.) China can present a much more "climate friendly" face to the world than the US. This could be leveraged heavily with respect to its "soft" power, and added to its positive image in many of the Belt and Road countries that it is building infrastructure in.

The US could easily be seen as a bullying pariah (the attempt to bully Germany into not doing the Nordstream 2 gas pipeline from Russia is an example of really stupid bullying of allies) while China brings infrastructure development and trade deals with relatively little bullying. Outside of the US/European mainstream media bubble China could well gain the upper hand.

8
Consequences / Re: Global Surface Air Temperatures
« on: November 06, 2019, 02:47:02 AM »
We seem to be blowing away that post-Nino global temperature drop in a hurry, while at the same time year over year global CO2 atmospheric concentration growth is staying above 2.5ppm (and over 9.5ppb for methane).

And another 3 years before we get the next IPCC report in 2022 and people possibly wake up to this new reality.

9
Policy and solutions / Re: Greta Thunberg's Atlantic crossing
« on: November 06, 2019, 02:32:29 AM »
I was working on a paper on climate change with the senior climate lawyer for a given country and they saw no issue with flying themselves and up to 20 others to climate meetings in places like Fiji etc. Stunning intentional ignorance. I bet they fly business class given the distance to be travelled.

Greta should just stay where she is and use Skype, during which she should lambast all the physical COP25 attendees as complete hypocrites (she could borrow a few points from Kevin Anderson). Of course she could have done that rather than take that billionaire's racing yacht across the Atlantic.

Or grab a ride on Air Force One if Trump is going to Europe and act pissed all the way across while sharing via twitter and instagram.

10
Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: November 06, 2019, 02:18:53 AM »
I know of a few banks that will be willing to invest in natural gas projects, we can start with the state-owned banks of Russia (and probably the state banks/treasuries of Saudi Arabia, Iran etc.) which desperately needs the export revenue, and China that desperately needs the NG to replace/stop the need for imports from "not so friendly" countries such as Australia, Canada and the US and to produce more electricity to help replace ICEs and feed their economic growth.

Then there is the small issue of space heating, i.e. not freezing to death in the middle of winter in places like Russia, Canada, and the Northern/Mid-Western US - especially if we get a fracking bust.

Then of course there is the small issue that renewables are not growing fast enough (actually the growth rate is decelerating as I have detailed elsewhere in the renewables area) to offset the increase in overall energy demand at a global trend rate of GDP growth of 3.5%.

Then there is the battery issue - i.e. nowhere near enough growth in global battery capacity during the next two plus decades to obviate the need for gas plants and therefore they will get subsidized as the "least worst" type of fossil fuel standby systems.

This is just reality.

11
Policy and solutions / Re: Electric cars
« on: November 06, 2019, 02:01:57 AM »
China’s design for the electric-vehicle battery supply chain is anything but complicated

Quote
China’s design for the electric-vehicle battery supply chain is anything but complicated. Beijing has been pressuring foreign auto makers to use locally-made batteries in the country, and that business is increasingly funneled through a single manufacturer, Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd., or CATL. The WSJ’s Trefor Moss reports the aggressive effort is aimed at dominating global supply chains for the burgeoning market to supply the power to the world’s growing fleet of electric cars, buses and commercial vehicles. That’s a concern for U.S. and European policy makers, who are increasingly wary of the Communist Party’s influence over new technologies and products. China has also been seeking to lock up much of the world’s supply chain for cobalt, a vital battery component. The drive has given CATL a commanding role as new technology triggers an upheaval in automotive supply chains, and suppliers elsewhere now are struggling to keep up.

https://logistics.cmail19.com/t/ViewEmail/d/6AE3CAC4D88601AA2540EF23F30FEDED/74809B9BE512E20BCE63909E3969C05F


12
Policy and solutions / Re: Electric cars
« on: November 06, 2019, 01:58:25 AM »
My problem is when I see NeilT openly shitting on 'radicalism', Greta Thunberg and Extinction Rebellion. On a Forum that is supposed to be serious about AGW.

I shit on Greta and XR because I see them as a highly co-opted and controlled opposition which will end up facilitating "climate capitalism" within ongoing economic growth - a mixture of feel-good virtue signalling climate offsets (e.g. the "all we need is more trees" bullshit) and massively profitable geo-engineering (solar radiation management, BECCS, DACS, crushing massive amounts of igneous rock and spreading across the remaining rainforest etc.) - without really stopping climate change/ecological collapse.

Then again, I am just some cranky old bastard who has been watching this shit intensify for the past three decades, but I really do hate the hypocritical jerks like DiCaprio who waffle on about the need for action while having a carbon footprint the size of a small town (he had some very nice pics taken with Greta!).

I do sometimes suffer cognitive dissonance moving from the Sea Ice, Antarctica, and Consequences areas to the Policy area - a disconnect from the urgency of the former three and the relative lack of urgency of the latter.

Now back to EV's.....

13
Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: November 05, 2019, 06:57:20 AM »
Audits of Alberta Energy Regulator Expose a Broken Agency: Real News Network

Fully captured by the industry and corrupt to the core, explicitly ignoring Alberta legislation to make things easier for the industry. The story of Canada's own petro-state, Alberta.

Quote
The three reports boil down to a number of findings. Specifically regarding to the Ellis Affair, but I think they’re quite emblematic of the regulator as a whole. What these investigations found is, first of all, that the regulator fails to follow legislation, that it fails to follow its own policy, that there’s insufficient supervision by the board. The Auditor General also found that the AER operates under a culture of fear, where whistle blowers’ protection run clear, and you have to be legislated. Underlings at the regulator are quite hesitant to speak up when the culture at the top, from Ellis on down, is reflected in the sort of shenanigans we saw with ICORE.

Quote
The regulator, when it’s captured by industry, it’s serving the industry’s interests to the detriment of the public’s interests. That’s more than true of the regulator, who makes 40 to 60 thousand approvals for the industry, licenses and et cetera, every year. Every time a landowner or another stakeholder has an objection to any one of those approvals, there’s supposed to be a review. There’s supposed to be a hearing by the quasi-judicial hearing commissioners at the regulator.

Quote
Those hearing commissioners at the AER only operate three to five hearings a year. 99.9% of the regulators decisions have no review. Stakeholders and landowners don’t have a chance to object, and that’s the sort of culture and system that the regulator has established, and it was personified by Ellis. He’s not the root of the problem, it’s not a cancer that can be cut out. Some of his closest associates were fired, were removed from the regulator last week, but that doesn’t resolve the fundamental problems.

Quote
Industry would rather put money in its pocket, then spending money cleaning up. They’re going to do that, unless the regulator forces them to do otherwise. The Ellis Affair demonstrates the problematic culture and operations of the regulator, that’s in need of deep, deep reforms in order for what remains of Alberta’s carbon to be produced responsibly. If it’s going to be done so, we need a quality regulator. That’s something Alberta just simply does not have today.

https://therealnews.com/stories/audit-alberta-energy-regulator-expose-broken-agency

14
Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: November 05, 2019, 06:16:54 AM »
This is also the story of renewables, still falling behind the growth in overall energy use and therefore not stopping the growth in greenhouse gases. Also, the reason why Germany pushed so hard to get the Nordstream 2 natural gas line from Russia to Germany completed is so that they can burn more NG to help replace nuclear and coal.

California is on track to miss its climate targets—by a century MIT Technology Review

Quote
But for all its regulatory achievements, California also offers a case study in just how hard it is to make progress on the only thing that really matters: reducing emissions.

The state’s climate pollution declined by just 1.15% in 2017, according to the latest California Green Innovation Index. At that rate, California won’t reach its 2030 decarbonization goals (cutting emissions to 40% below 1990 levels) until 2061—and wouldn’t hit its 2050 targets (80% below 1990 levels) until 2157.

Why India may not achieve its 2022 clean energy target Economic Times

Quote
Rating agency CRISIL in a recent report said India would not have 100 GW of solar capacity and 60 GW of wind capacity even by 2024, leave alone 2022. CRISIL said it expected India to only have 59 GW of solar plants and 45 GW of windmills by March 2022. The government, not surprisingly, rubbished the report and said India would not only meet the target but exceed it.

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/614663/california-is-on-track-to-miss-its-climate-targets-by-a-century/

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/energy/power/why-india-may-not-achieve-its-2022-clean-energy-target/articleshow/71869684.cms?from=mdr


15
Policy and solutions / Re: Electric cars
« on: November 05, 2019, 06:04:10 AM »
Also, none of them are big in China (unlike VW, BMW and Mercedes) - Fiat's JV in China is not doing that well. PSA is also in a much better place with EV products than FCA.

Dongfeng, a Chinese car company, is one of the 3 main shareholders of PSA.

Dongfeng had a market share in China of 1.9% in 2018, so pretty small. Its the one with the JV with  PSA.

http://carsalesbase.com/china-car-sales-data/dongfeng/

16
Policy and solutions / Re: Electric cars
« on: October 31, 2019, 03:43:13 AM »
PSA Group: EVs threaten the car industry

Quote
“EVs are far simpler [than internal combustion engined vehicles]," she explained. "They need less parts, less time in the workshop. Ultimately, it means less time in aftersales. That’s why we’ve chosen to diversify into areas such as shared mobility.”

PSA, which owns the Peugeot, Citroën, DS, Opel and Vauxhall brands, already offers its Free2Move car sharing service in Paris, France, where 550 of its vehicles are available via a smartphone app.

Lees, talking at today's Auto Futures event, said: “We haven’t commercialised a lot of [mobility services] in the UK, but we will do, such as Free2Move, which encompasses anything complementary to car ownership or substitutes such as leasing or rental, but also our use of telematics and technology to enable peer-to-peer car-sharing. On our new vehicles, you can get a digital key so you can assign the car to others remotely.”

Lees added that despite the inevitable decline in aftersales revenue in the short-term, the increasing sales of EVs does bring opportunity.

https://www.autocar.co.uk/car-news/industry/psa-group-evs-threaten-car-industry

17
Policy and solutions / Re: Electric cars
« on: October 30, 2019, 11:33:48 PM »
PSA (Peugout, Citreon, Opal, Vauxhall) + FCA (Fiat, Chrysler, Jeep) = Too big to fail and eligible for bailouts and subsidies from five different countries (France, Germany, UK, Italy and US).

Making your corporate structure even more complex and massive at this stage when you need to reinvent the company in a move from ICE to EV doesn't make much sense to me. Also, none of them are big in China (unlike VW, BMW and Mercedes) - Fiat's JV in China is not doing that well. PSA is also in a much better place with EV products than FCA.

Looks more like a big multi-country subsidy/bailout grab to me. Being spread across three of the big EU economies (assuming Brexit for the UK) also gives them a lot of clout at the EU level.

They will have a lot of ICE engine plants to close down, in four different languages ...

18
Policy and solutions / Re: Extinction Rebellion
« on: October 28, 2019, 08:37:47 PM »
The whole of modernity is the problem. There is unfortunately no solution other than mass culllling of population, which is not going to happen.

The brutal truth, you just have to look at the treatment of the environment by the Communist regimes of Russia and China to see it. I feel that we will drive down the techno-utopian road until the very end, with geo-engineering (first Solar Radiation Management probably, then more expensive options but very profitable for some). Of course, they will not deal with the many cascading crises inherent in exponential growth within a limited biosphere. Maybe we will even make real the Black Mirror episode of little robot bees to replace all the dead ones? Humanity (at least its elites) will fight to the very end with the kind of weapons we are used to using, an acceptance of limits is not an option.

19
Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: October 28, 2019, 08:24:17 PM »
If there is free-market capitalism and you give a fuck about things, you jumpstart the dynamics described above by Gerontocrat.

An accurate description of the neoliberal world that we live in unfortunately, together with the corrupted/ideologically blinded bureaucrats that facilitate it.

20
Policy and solutions / Re: Extinction Rebellion
« on: October 27, 2019, 07:32:29 PM »
rboyd
I fully understand why XR Police is nonsense, but what on earth is wrong with XR Landlords? Lots of people can't afford to purchase a residence & plenty more just don't want to be tied to a property.

I've been renting since 2004, but I've been a landlord since I was 17.
Terry

They are making the point that XR's "non-political" stance is hypocritical, if you can have XR Landlords why not XR renters and XR workers? So called non-political movements simply end up supporting the economic and social status quo - the one that got us here.

PS: I personally have nothing against landlords!

21
Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: October 27, 2019, 07:28:15 PM »
The Great Biomass Boondoggle

Quote
The urgency of the climate crisis is inspiring some extreme and unproven ideas for how to hide carbon and cool the planet, such as ocean fertilization, turning CO2 into rocks, and seeding the atmosphere to dim the sun. Arguably one of the most reckless ideas, though, is already well underway: burning “forest biomass”—that is, trees—in power plants as a replacement for coal. The problem with this so-called green energy source is that instead of decreasing greenhouse gas emissions, it increases the amount of CO2 coming out of the smokestack compared to fossil fuels, and the climate “benefit” is claimed by simply not counting the emissions. 

Quote
While policymakers in developed countries (the European Union, the United States, Canada, Japan, and Korea, among others) seem perfectly happy with this solution, scientists and activists are reacting with bewilderment and fury as entire forests are vaporized into the atmosphere in the name of renewable energy. Meanwhile, the burgeoning biomass and wood-pellet industries are dancing away with billions in renewable energy subsidies. To counter this atrocious trend, I founded an organization in 2010, the Partnership for Policy Integrity, to provide reliable science and policymaking clarity on the forest and climate impacts of burning forests for fuel. Since then, many environmental groups have joined the fight, but we still haven’t ended this parade of stupidity, because the forces are powerful and the pool of money is deep.

Quote
Since all the usual tactics of the nonprofit community had failed, including documentary photos, briefings, and scientific evidence, we felt we had no choice but to sue the EU (with the European Parliament and Council as defendants) over the new rules. My organization thus coordinated a March 2019 lawsuit that challenges inclusion of forest biomass in the new renewable energy directive. We worked with plaintiffs from the EU and the US who demonstrated in their testimony how the biomass industry is causing direct harm to their health and livelihoods, and we are now waiting to hear whether the EU court will accept the case. 

Quote
Climate science shows that to avoid the most catastrophic warming impacts, the world must cut its carbon emissions in half in the next few years, and be carbon-neutral, balancing emissions with carbon uptake, by 2050. There is no way to achieve this without a vast restoration and expansion of the world’s forests. Provided these forests are natural and not monoculture plantations, this initiative could also help to address another great environmental crisis we face, the extirpation of so many of the world’s species. Many member states have signed on to the EU goal of carbon neutrality by 2050, but a great deal must change: right now, EU member states allocate billions in renewable energy subsidies to promote wood-burning, but little to forest restoration.

https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2019/10/14/the-great-biomass-boondoggle/

22
Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: October 27, 2019, 06:32:03 PM »
I would not take IEA as having any actual  expertise in anything to do renewable energy.
Their past performance in predicting renewable growth has been abysmal .

I am very aware of the issues with the IEA (and the EIA) forecasts, they tend to miss the exponential part of the curve and are very "fossil fuel friendly" - the article I linked to actually has a graph covering this. The detailed BNEF data tends to require the purchase of reports, so I don't have their 5 year forecast, the public forecasts to 2050 are pretty much meaningless without the detailed data. I source from international bodies and industry associations such as IRENA, REN21, Global Wind Energy Council and SolarPower Europe.

Their IEA current forecast is not just for solar though, but all renewables, with a growth in overall renewables capacity of 60% in 5 years (accelerated case), which is an approximate 10% yearly growth rate in installed global renewables capacity, compounded.

This is higher than the growth rate in any year since 2008 (which includes the exponential curves of wind and solar). From the IRENA (the international body that tracks renewables) the growth rate of hydro+wind+solar+biomass capacity has been:

2008   6.95%
2009   7.64%
2010   7.64%
2011   8.46%
2012   8.61%
2013   8.36%
2014   8.14%
2015   9.26%
2016   8.61%
2017   8.54%
2018   7.86%

The growth rate in global renewables capacity is decelerating (and the growth in renewables output even more), due to the following:

- Growth in hydro capacity has pretty much halved in the past few years, from about 3.4% to about 1.7%. Hydro capacity is still nearly three times that of solar and it has a much higher utilization rate, so this produces a even bigger drag on renewables output growth numbers (capacity * utilization).

- Growth in wind capacity has significantly decelerated from 18.5% to under 9%. The industry association (Global Wind Energy Council) sees a flatlining of additional capacity in the next few years. Wind and solar are now at about the same capacity, but wind has a higher utilization rate.

- Bioenergy growth has decelerated from 8.5% to under 6%, it only has about 1/5 the capacity of solar, but its utilization rate is at least three times higher.

- The growth rate in solar is also decelerating - from a high of 31.5% to a probable 23% this year (I used a Sept. 2019 forecast from the IEA for 2019, hard to underestimate a lot this late in the year). The actual solar pv installations have been/will be:
 
2016: ~71000 MW
2017: ~94000 MW
2018: ~95000 MW
2019: ~115000 MW

On an increasing installed base, relatively stable incremental capacity additions can turn into a decelerating rate of growth. The solar industry association SolarPower Europe forecasts a continued deceleration in the growth rate of solar capacity.

So unlike previous attempts, the IEA 5 year accelerated forecast does not look like it is significantly underestimating growth rates. Given that, power sector emissions (including fugitive methane) may very well be above those of today in 5 years.

P.S. I did find a presentation by the BNEF folks, with the slides stating that natural gas would grow by 0.6% a year until 2050 and coal will peak in 2026. Still 31% fossil fuels in 2050. They have global power emissions hardly changing between now and 2030 (I am assuming that they make the standard error of underestimating fugitive methane emissions). Their base 2019 emissions forecast to 2050 is nowhere near a 2 degrees pathway and the presenter describes the "smoke and mirrors" to get the forecast curve below 2 degrees. If BNEF are the optimists, who needs pessimists!

A quote from the BNEF blog from Michael Liebreich founder and senior contributor to BloombergNEF:

Quote
But let that sink in: 20 years of extraordinary growth and getting on for $3 trillion of investment, and wind and solar still produce only 7% of the world’s power and meet only 3% of its final energy needs. When it comes to those 2030 targets for decarbonizing the global energy system, that is hardly a particularly convincing springboard.

If your plan to deliver a 20% or 45% emission reduction in the electrical sector – targeting 2 degrees Celsius or 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming respectively – is via wind and solar alone, assuming some moderate level of economic growth, you would have to add two to four times as much capacity in the next decade as has been added in total in the last two decades. BNEF’s recently-released New Energy Outlook 2019 shows that, while we could hit the lower end of that range, it is highly unlikely we will hit the higher end of the range on the current trajectory ... If you translate the 20-45% decarbonization target for the total energy system into a target for the power sector, you will find that it has to deliver a 30% or 90% emission reduction by 2030 to stay on track for a 2 degrees or 1.5 degrees trajectory respectively. That would mean building an additional 10 to 15 times current installed capacity of wind and solar ... The beauty of nuclear power

The BNEF numbers also assume the mythical UN IPCC carbon budget that is reliant on the sucking of massive amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere and its safe storage, together with ridiculously low risk confidence intervals (33% chance of failure vs. the usual 1-5%) and what is looking like too low estimates for climate sensitivity. So IPCC bullshit+BNEF smoke and mirrors = an under 2 degree scenario.

https://www.irena.org/statistics

https://gwec.net/global-wind-report-2018/ you have to give your email, but its an excellent report

https://www.solarpowereurope.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/SolarPower-Europe-Global-Market-Outlook-2019-2023.pdf go to page 88 for the forecast.

REN21 is also a good source https://www.ren21.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/gsr_2019_full_report_en.pdf

The BENF presentation
https://www.csis.org/events/new-energy-outlook-2019

The BNEF Blog post
https://about.bnef.com/blog/liebreich-need-talk-nuclear-power/



23
Consequences / Re: Forests: An Endangered Resource
« on: October 27, 2019, 01:43:52 AM »
Amazon rainforest 'close to irreversible tipping point' Forecast suggests rainforest could stop producing enough rain to sustain itself by 2021

Bolsonaro is helping rapidly accelerate our journey to the Amazon tipping point it seems, anytime between the early 2020's (worst case) and last 2030's (best case). This is in my life time (I am 56), that reality needs to get through to the masses, its not the grandchildren's problem it will be their life experience.

Quote
Soaring deforestation coupled with the destructive policies of Brazil’s far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, could push the Amazon rainforest dangerously to an irreversible “tipping point” within two years, a prominent economist has said.

After this point the rainforest would stop producing enough rain to sustain itself and start slowly degrading into a drier savannah, releasing billions of tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere, which would exacerbate global heating and disrupt weather across South America.

The warning came in a policy brief published this week by Monica de Bolle, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington DC.

The report sparked controversy among climate scientists. Some believe the tipping point is still 15 to 20 years away, while others say the warning accurately reflects the danger that Bolsonaro and global heating pose to the Amazon’s survival.

Quote
“It’s a stock, so like any stock you run it down, run it down – then suddenly you don’t have any more of it,” said de Bolle, whose brief also recommended solutions to the current crisis.

Bolsonaro has vowed to develop the Amazon, and his government plans to allow mining on protected indigenous reserves. Amazon farmers support his attacks on environmental protection agencies. His business-friendly environment minister, Ricardo Salles, has met loggers and wildcat miners, while deforestation and Amazon fires have soared since he assumed office in January.

The policy brief noted that Brazil’s space research institute, INPE, reported that deforestation in August was 222% higher than in August 2018. Maintaining the current rate of increase INPE reported between January and August this year would bring the Amazon “dangerously close to the estimated tipping point as soon as 2021 … beyond which the rainforest can no longer generate enough rain to sustain itself”, de Bolle wrote.

Quote
“If Bolsonaro is serious about developing the Amazon without paying any attention to sustainability or maintaining the forest’s standing, these rates would happen within his mandate,” she said.

Carlos Nobre, one of Brazil’s leading climate scientists and a senior researcher at the University of São Paulo’s Institute for Advanced Studies, questioned her calculation that estimated deforestation would quadruple from an estimate of nearly 18,000 km2 this year to nearly 70,000 km2 by 2021.

“It seems very improbable to me – the projected deforestation increase is more an economic calculation than ecological,” he said. However, he added: “We are seeing an increase in deforestation, I am not questioning this.”

Quote
Last year, Nobre argued in an article written with celebrated American conservation biologist Thomas Lovejoy that the Amazon tipping point could happen in eastern, southern and central Amazonia when 20% to 25% of the rainforest has been felled – not expected for 20 to 25 years. He has since brought forward his prediction by about five years.

“The Amazon is already 17% deforested, so when you calculate at the current rate of deforestation, this 20% to 25% is reached in 15 to 20 years,” he said. “I hope she is wrong. If she is right, it is the end of the world.”

But Lovejoy, a professor at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, said that de Bolle’s projection could come true because global heating, soaring deforestation and an increase in Amazon fires have created a “negative synergy” that is accelerating its destruction – citing droughts in recent years as a warning sign.

“We are seeing the first flickering of that tipping,” he said. “It’s sort of like a seal trying to balance a rubber ball on its nose … the only sensible thing to do is to do some reforestation and build back that margin of safety.”

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/oct/23/amazon-rainforest-close-to-irreversible-tipping-point

24
Policy and solutions / Re: Extinction Rebellion
« on: October 27, 2019, 01:30:37 AM »
EXTINCTION REBELLION HAS A POLITICS PROBLEM On why it isn’t possible to find an apolitical solution to a political problem…: Current Affairs

Quote
“Beyond Politics” is a slogan at the center of Extinction Rebellion organizing: You can see it on posters, on flyers, on candy-colored flags. In this vein, one of the goals XR is agitating for is for the creation of an autonomous citizen’s assembly to shape climate policy. But there is another, broader aspect to this “beyond politics” stance as well. Seeking to distance itself from the failures of the “traditional environmental movement”—with its marches and its hippie vibes and its decades-long record of sounding the climate change alarm to no avail—XR presents itself as a movement not of professional protesters but of the people, of everyone. Parents can bring their children; workers can plug in their laptops at one of their solar-powered mobile office spaces and carry on spreadsheeting. As part of this bid to garner support from as varied a section of the population as possible, Extinction Rebellion avoids taking a stance on political issues beyond the environment. Although it’s the fastest-growing climate movement in the world—and one that has attracted endorsements from high-profile figures like Emma Thompson, Philip Pullman, Noam Chomsky, and Greta Thunberg—Extinction Rebellion makes no specific policy demands. Its goal of carbon neutrality by 2025 comes without prescriptions for how to get there, or proscriptions for how not to. Its plan to use citizens’ assemblies to cut through partisan deadlock and lead decision-making around ecological justice does not include a blueprint for what changes these assemblies need to make, or by what means.

Quote
Harrington’s message indicates XR’s belief that political discourse is not a means of shifting opinions (a way, for instance, of changing the percentage of people who might feel alienated by a certain topic) but fundamentally a problem to be sidestepped. Yet on Waterloo Bridge last spring, as I and other trainees sat on a ring of hay bales and listened to a rundown of what XR stood for, this refusal to engage with politics struck me as the possible downfall of the movement. After all, here we all were, listening to a discussion about environmental destruction without any inquiry into the economic engines that drive it. If I turned my neck just a little to the left, I could see the Gherkin, the Cheesegrater, and the Walkie Talkie—some of the iconic towers marking out the skyline of the City’s financial hub—winking in the last rays of the sunset. Against this backdrop, it seemed profoundly absurd not to bring up the doomed venture of infinite growth on a planet of ever-diminishing resources, or the way that the need to cut costs and remain competitive will always incentivize corporations to flout environmental concerns in their product designs, or the many other ways in which capitalism leads to environmental destruction. And yet we were instructed to think of XR as being “beyond politics.”

Quote
I do not think it is possible to find an apolitical solution to a political problem. More to the point, I do not believe that our current economic system is compatible with continued life on this planet. It is unrealistic and irresponsible to pretend that a proposed climate solution which keeps capitalism intact is any kind of solution at all. Put another way: There is no true green politics that is not a left politics.

Rather than allowing the group to remain gracefully above the fray of contemporary political clashes, XR’s unwillingness to openly take an anti-capitalist stance erodes the credibility of its position because such silence lends tacit support to the carbon-belching powers that be. At a certain point, the apolitical becomes indistinguishable from the reactionary. Such a failure on the part of XR to articulate a systemic critique of capitalism when their environmental commitments seemed to beg for it was at the root of my discomfort with the group’s adoption of the moniker “rebels” (just as some Hillary Clinton voters’ self-serious assertion that they are part of “the Resistance” just because they’ve made a few Cheeto jokes on Facebook has always struck me as ridiculous)

Quote
A further, less openly advertised aspect of XR’s embrace of the “beyond politics” principle is that it bans the creation of community groups organized explicitly around political identity. Community groups—small gatherings of “rebels” who meet regularly—are a key part of XR organizing, especially in the protest off-season. Many are based on geography, but others are based on affinities: There’s a group for Quakers, a group for Baroque musicians, and a group for people who want to make skeletons out of newspaper. Not long ago, a friend of mine affiliated with the London-based group Left Culture Club attempted to start an XR socialist subgroup and quickly incurred the ire of the central XR media team. In a phone call, he was told that such a move would contravene XR’s stated “beyond politics” stance but also make it more difficult to accomplish their strategic goals, which, the spokesperson argued, require the cooperation of big business. Yet in an official email encouraging people to join affinity groups, XR’s list of approved spin-offs included XR Police and XR Landlords. The fact that the group fails to see that these two positions are themselves inherently and inextricably political bespeaks the degree to which theoretical attempts at apolitical stances will invariably, in practice, favor those already in power

Quote
There simply is no such thing as “beyond politics.” XR itself does not currently behave in a manner congruent with its stated “beyond politics,” and a climate movement that does not advocate radical economic and political change cannot possibly hope to grapple with the magnitude of the crisis that is now bearing down upon us. I don’t doubt that there are many—even a majority—of XR affiliates who align themselves with the left and who profess more radical beliefs than the organization itself. But the fact that such a major force in climate discourse today can stay mum about the relationship between capitalism and climate destruction smacks of denialism of another kind. XR has an unprecedented platform—and with that comes the responsibility to use it.

https://www.currentaffairs.org/2019/10/extinction-rebellion-has-a-politics-problem


25
Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: October 27, 2019, 01:19:47 AM »
The Happy Headline from CarbonBrief:

Analysis: Renewables could match coal power with 5 years, IEA reveals ("based on their accelerated case")

Quote
The analysis is based on the IEA’s “accelerated case”, in which the combined capacity of hydro, wind, solar and biomass increases by more than 60% over the next five years

Pretty good huh? Then the reality check that is hidden way down in the article:

Quote
The IEA’s report does not include equivalent figures for its “accelerated case”, where renewables grow more quickly than expected. However, Carbon Brief analysis of the IEA’s capacity forecasts suggests it could mean renewables matching coal as the world’s joint-largest sources of electricity.

This is shown in the chart, above right, where the renewable share of global electricity supplies would reach 32% by 2024 and coal would fall to a similar level. But even in this accelerated case, renewables would meet only 80% of the increase in demand, with gas making up the remainder.

The headline should be "even in the IEA accelerated case GHG emissions still go up and that is why governments need to get off their arse and do something about it!" Less "happy, happy" and more "you are with us or against us" (copyright GW Bush).

https://www.carbonbrief.org/analysis-renewables-could-match-coal-power-within-5-years-iea-reveals




26
Saudi Arabia Is in a Double Bind on Oil Prices: Chatham House

Quote
According to the IMF, Saudi Arabia needs an oil price greater than $80 a barrel (and in the range $85–$87 for the current year) in order to balance its budget. As such, the economy has suffered as a result of lower oil prices since the latter part of 2014.

This is a huge issue for any movement away from fossil fuels, as a huge percentage of fossil fuel production (e.g. Middle East, Nigeria, Angola) could go offline well before it is no longer required, due to state collapse (or one state trying to take out another's production) as their revenues (needed to bribe and discipline their populations) collapse.

I can see the UN/NATO etc. being involved in dispatching large-scale military contingents to allow for the controlled run down in oil and gas production. Another way would be to "sanction" the usual list of US-defined "bad actors" (i.e. anyone that doesn't toe their line - Iran, Venezuela and Russia) to try to take competing supply off the market. Another would be for long-term contracts for some countries, it would make some sense for China to support the opponents of the US/West this way (i.e. the "bad actors" plus probably Iraq) and force the security issue onto the western nations.

The Saudi budget is bleeding cash, leading to a run down in their national wealth funds. This is why they are so desperate to sell a chunk of the national oil company: they need cash.

https://www.chathamhouse.org/expert/comment/saudi-arabia-double-bind-oil-prices#

27
Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: October 20, 2019, 10:50:41 PM »
Renewables emit the gas the highest warming potential - SF6!

23,000 greater warming impact than CO2 and lasts for a 1000 years in the atmosphere. Looks like its not that great an offset to the saved GHG emissions, but still annoying.

Quote
Sulphur hexafluoride, or SF6, is widely used in the electrical industry to prevent short circuits and accidents.

Quote
Levels are rising as an unintended consequence of the green energy boom ... Cheap and non-flammable, SF6 is a colourless, odourless, synthetic gas. It makes a hugely effective insulating material for medium and high-voltage electrical installations. It is widely used across the industry, from large power stations to wind turbines to electrical sub-stations in towns and cities. It prevents electrical accidents and fires.

Quote
However, the significant downside to using the gas is that it has the highest global warming potential of any known substance. It is 23,500 times more warming than carbon dioxide (CO2). Just one kilogram of SF6 warms the Earth to the same extent as 24 people flying London to New York return. It also persists in the atmosphere for a long time, warming the Earth for at least 1,000 years.

Quote
Where once large coal-fired power stations brought energy to millions, the drive to combat climate change means they are now being replaced by mixed sources of power including wind, solar and gas. This has resulted in many more connections to the electricity grid, and a rise in the number of electrical switches and circuit breakers that are needed to prevent serious accidents. Collectively, these safety devices are called switchgear. The vast majority use SF6 gas to quench arcs and stop short circuits.

Quote
"As renewable projects are getting bigger and bigger, we have had to use it within wind turbines specifically," said Costa Pirgousis, an engineer with Scottish Power Renewables on its new East Anglia wind farm, which doesn't use SF6 in turbines. "As we are putting in more and more turbines, we need more and more switchgear and, as a result, more SF6 is being introduced into big turbines off shore. "It's been proven for years and we know how it works, and as a result it is very reliable and very low maintenance for us offshore."

Quote
Concentrations in the atmosphere are very small right now, just a fraction of the amount of CO2 in the air. However, the global installed base of SF6 is expected to grow by 75% by 2030.
Another concern is that SF6 is a synthetic gas and isn't absorbed or destroyed naturally. It will all have to be replaced and destroyed to limit the impact on the climate.

https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-49567197

28
Policy and solutions / Re: Electric cars
« on: October 20, 2019, 10:41:11 PM »
A tax on the weight of a car would be a very good thing right now.

Yes, we could tax all the 9000 consumer products that are especially CO2 consuming. Or we can just have a carbon tax. Same effect, but 8999 fewer fights. ;)

Agreed, based on the GHG emission effects. I hate the term "tax", seems the deniers have won with their effort to brand it a tax. I believe in "fee and equal dividend" which makes the rich (as the highest GHG emitters) pay the most and receive the same amount back in dividend as everyone else - a winning electoral formula given its progressive income redistribution effect. Funny how the so-called "progressive" and "eco-friendly" parties seem to work so hard not to provide this as a choice (a bit like "Obama-care" vs. Medicare for all). My own country's Liberals seem to be experts at this.

An outright ban on certain "unconscionable" luxuries such as corporate jets and yachts would also be a good move to properly share the pain of a transition and gain mass support.

29
Policy and solutions / Re: Electric cars
« on: October 19, 2019, 11:42:57 PM »
Not specifically an EV topic, but the move back to SUVs both increases GHG emissions AND makes it harder for the move to BEVs given the greater weight (and therefore battery requirement for acceptable range) os SUVs. A tax on the weight of a car would be a very good thing right now. All the ICE efficiency improvements of the past years has gone into more weight and energy sucking add-ons.

A combination of more BEVs and more ICE SUVs may lead to continued increases in ICE oil consumption, as detailed in the article:

Quote
With major automakers announcing new electric car models at a regular pace, there has been growing interest in recent years about the impact of electric vehicles on the overall car market, as well as global oil demand, carbon emissions, and air pollution.

Carmakers plan more than 350 electric models by 2025, mostly small-to-medium variants. Plans from the top 20 car manufacturers suggest a tenfold increase in annual electric car sales, to 20 million vehicles a year by 2030, from 2 million in 2018. Starting from a low base, less than 0.5% of the total car stock, this growth in electric vehicles means that nearly 7% of the car fleet will be electric by 2030.

Meanwhile, the conventional car market has been showing signs of fatigue, with sales declining in 2018 and 2019, due to slowing economies. Global sales of internal combustion engine (ICE) cars fell by around 2% to under 87 million in 2018, the first drop since the 2008 recession. Data for 2019 points to a continuation of this trend, led by China, where sales in the first half of the year fell nearly 14%, and India where they declined by 10%.

These trends have created a narrative of an imminent peak in passenger car oil demand, and related CO2 emissions, and the beginning of the end for the “ICE age.” As passenger cars consume nearly one-quarter of global oil demand today, does this signal the approaching erosion of a pillar of global oil consumption?

A more silent structural change may put this conclusion into question: consumers are buying ever larger and less fuel-efficient cars, known as Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs).

This dramatic shift towards bigger and heavier cars has led to a doubling of the share of SUVs over the last decade. As a result, there are now over 200 million SUVs around the world, up from about 35 million in 2010, accounting for 60% of the increase in the global car fleet since 2010. Around 40% of annual car sales today are SUVs, compared with less than 20% a decade ago.

https://www.iea.org/newsroom/news/2019/october/growing-preference-for-suvs-challenges-emissions-reductions-in-passenger-car-mark.html

30
Policy and solutions / Re: Electric cars
« on: October 19, 2019, 11:38:06 PM »
NeilT, the numbers you use for BEV sales are for the first half of 2019, before the cut to Chinese subsidies AND taking in the huge June surge to beat the subsidy cuts. The second half comparisons will be very, very different.

I hope that China recovers quickly, given its huge weight within global BEV sales, but I think that realism is required.

31
Policy and solutions / Re: Electric cars
« on: October 19, 2019, 12:51:06 AM »
China EV sales fall 34.2% year over year in September

The large reduction in subsidies has hit the Chinese EV market like a brick wall. Will be interesting to see how long it takes to recover:

Quote
What rocked supporters of the EV industry earlier this week was a report from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers that sales of new-energy vehicles, a description that include full electric and hybrids, fell 34.2% in September compared with the same month last year.

Quote
A similar shock has rocked mining companies producing the raw materials that go into an EV’s batteries, such as lithium, cobalt, graphite and nickel.

Boom-like conditions which prevailed last year have turned into a bust with a number of lithium mining projects in Australia slowing output, delaying expansion plans, or being shelved until prices recover.

Quote
On a global basis, Macquarie said the slowdown in China was being offset by increased EV sales in Europe and the U.S. but the overall picture was of “sales growth screeching almost to a halt at 8% growth in 2019” versus 52.6% year-on-year growth between 2015 and 2018. “Quite the deceleration,” the bank said.

Perhaps more important than the EV sales slowdown, according to Macquarie, was the demonstration that demand for EVs is “no longer bullet-proof”.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/timtreadgold/2019/10/17/demand-crash-on-the-ev-highway-hits-battery-metals/#580dac973321

32
Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: October 11, 2019, 07:12:15 PM »
India’s solar and wind boom is fizzling - MIT Tech Review

Strong arm government actions (such as stopping paying suppliers to get lower prices) and too aggressive cuts in tariffs endanger India's plans for 175GW of renewable capacity by 2022 - could end up as low as 104GW. The problem when the state is highly corrupt and unpredictable.

Quote
The background: India had aimed to install 175 gigawatts of renewable generation by 2022, a central policy plank for the recently reelected Prime Minister Narendra Modi. But the Mumbai rating agency CRISIL now predicts the country is going to miss those goals. The S&P-owned firm expects India will only reach 104 gigawatts by 2022, coming up more than 40% short, it said in a recent report.

What’s happening? The report notes that the state of Andhra Pradesh simply stopped paying developers, despite long-term power purchase contracts, in a strong-arm effort to force developers to slash rates. Meanwhile, the state-owned distribution companies have pushed down prices for proposed projects to the point where they’re often not financially viable.

These and related actions have chilled investment, stalled projects, and discouraged developers from bidding for new ones. In the last fiscal year, more than a quarter of state or federal auctions for new projects “received no or lukewarm bids.”

https://www.technologyreview.com/f/614539/indias-solar-and-wind-boom-is-fizzling/

The underlying report:

https://www.crisil.com/en/home/our-analysis/reports/2019/10/return-to-uncertainty.html

33
Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: October 10, 2019, 01:21:42 AM »
‘Coal is still king’ in Southeast Asia even as countries work toward cleaner energy

Quote
KEY POINTS
Not only will coal continue to be the dominant fuel source in power generation in Southeast Asia, its use will grow and peak in 2027 before slowing, according to a Wood Mackenzie study.
The Indonesian government has targeted generating 23% of electricity from renewable sources by 2025 — almost double the 12% now, but it will be “difficult to achieve because capacity expansion plans are still dominated by coal,” Moody’s analysts say.
Global coal demand grew for a second straight year to reach 0.7% in 2018, International Energy Agency data shows.

Quote
“The narrative surrounding coal has been pessimistic across the world. This will result in the gradual slowdown of new coal-fired capacity in Southeast Asia,” said Jacqueline Tao, research associate at Wood Mackenzie, a commodity consultancy.

“However, the reality of rising power demand and affordability issues in the region mean that we will only start to see coal’s declining power post-2030,” Tao said on Sept. 25 when the consultancy released a new report.

“Coal is still king in Southeast Asia’s power market,” according to Wood Mackenzie.

Quote
The demand surge is primarily driven by Indonesia and Vietnam, accounting for almost 60% of Southeast Asian power demand by 2040, said Tao.

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/10/01/coal-is-still-king-in-southeast-asia-despite-clean-energy-efforts.html

34
Policy and solutions / Re: But, but, but, China....
« on: October 10, 2019, 01:14:44 AM »
China is on track to meet its [so2 and no and particulate] emissions goals for 2020

The good news - the local air pollution from coal plants in China has been cleaned up a lot.
The bad news - the climate cooling levels of SO2 from Chinese coal plants have been reduced a lot

Quote
The team found that between 2014 and 2017, China's annual power plant emissions of sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and particulate matter dropped by 65%, 60% and 72% each year respectively from 2.21, 3.11 and 0.52 million tonnes in 2014 to 0.77, 1.26 and 0.14 million tonnes in 2017, which is in compliance with ULE standards.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/10/191007113327.htm.

35
Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: October 07, 2019, 07:04:54 PM »
China is also having a lot of problems with shale, both geology and geography (far away from major water sources). Results have continued be below forecasts.

36
Consequences / Re: Global Surface Air Temperatures
« on: October 06, 2019, 09:53:55 PM »
The World Just Had Another Month of Record Heat
https://earther.gizmodo.com/the-world-just-had-another-month-of-record-heat-1838771974

The data released on Friday reveals that this past September was 1.2 degrees Celsius (2.2 degrees Fahrenheit) above the pre-industrial average. It was also 0.57 degrees Celsius (1 degree Fahrenheit) above the average September measured from 1981 to 2010, putting it “virtually on par” with September 2016

That means that we recovered from the post El Nino drop in just 3 years with a not very high Nino 3.4 anomaly. At the same time we have the growth in atmospheric CO2 concentrations in the high 2.5+ppm/yr range. Certainly not very comforting statistics.

37
Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: October 06, 2019, 09:33:38 PM »
Fracking approved in California, just in time to keep the volumes up as other fracking regions hit their technical an financial limits?

Will the Fracking Revolution Peak Before Ever Making Money?

Quote
This week, the Wall Street Journal highlighted that the U.S. oil and gas shale industry, already struggling financially, is now facing “core operational issues.” That should be a truly frightening prospect for investors in American fracking operations, but one which DeSmog has long been warning of.

This one line from the Journal sums up the problems: “Unlike several years ago, when shale production fell due to a global price collapse, the slowdown this year is driven partly by core operational issues, including wells producing less than expected after being drilled too close to one another, and sweet spots running out sooner than anticipated.”

As we have reported at DeSmog over the last year and a half, the shale oil and gas industry, which has driven the recent boom in American oil and gas production, has been on a more than decade-long money-losing streak, with estimated losses of approximately a quarter trillion dollars. Those losses have continued in 2019.

Quote
Over the last 10 years, the fracking industry has made impressive gains with technological improvements that have resulted in lower costs and higher performing wells. But despite these improvements, shale companies have failed to be profitable, and two years ago, industry analysts at Wood MacKenzie were warning about the limits of technology in overcoming geology.

More recently, the industry’s attempts to extract more oil and gas out of the shale — dubbed Fracking 2.0 by the Wall Street Journal — have flopped. Even the longest drilled wells have not made money, indicating a limit to optimal well length. Likewise, attempts to drill many wells in the same area — so-called cube development — haven't been the financial savior the industry needs either.

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Perhaps the most important fact in the Wall Street Journal's recent story was only mentioned once: “sweet spots [are] running out sooner than anticipated.”

Sweet spots are the areas of shale basins that have the best-performing wells. David Hughes, earth scientist and author of the 2019 report, “How Long Will The Shale Revolution Last: Technology versus Geology and the Lifecycle of Shale Plays,” has estimated that these sweet spots (also known as “Tier 1 acreage”) make up 15 to 20 percent of a shale basin (also known as a “play”).

Quote
There is plenty of evidence — including warnings from industry leaders like Scott Sheffield — that the fracking industry has depleted most of the sweet spots in the major shale plays over the past decade or so. With fewer of those plum acres left, firms are forced to drill in areas with less favorable geology for production, which means spending the same amount of money to drill wells but produce less oil.

And that means shale companies have no way to pay back the huge amount of debt, which they incurred to drill the sweet spots in the first place.

Even though it began as Enron Oil and Gas, a spinoff of Enron, EOG is considered the gold standard of fracking companies and has earned the nickname “the Apple of Oil.”

The Wall Street Journal reported the declining performance of new EOG wells in the Eagle Ford Shale, noting that EOG “declined to comment” on this issue, which is rarely an indication of good news.

Many signs are pointing to the fact that geology — how much oil and gas is present in the shale — will be the defining factor going forward for the U.S. fracking industry.

In June DeSmog reported that Steve Schlotterbeck, former CEO of shale company EQT, told a petrochemical industry conference, “The shale gas revolution has frankly been an unmitigated disaster for any buy-and-hold investor…”

https://www.desmogblog.com/2019/10/03/fracking-revolution-peak-without-profits


38
Policy and solutions / Re: Batteries: Today's Energy Solution
« on: October 06, 2019, 09:25:43 PM »
Getting to 100% renewables requires cheap energy storage. But how cheap?

$20/kWh it seems for 100%, at 95% renewables its $150/kWh. Seems the Trancik Lab at MIT has many of the answers.

Battery prices are not the total cost of battery provided storage (installation, operating costs etc.), so I would conservatively think that $150/kWh all in cost is doable in the 2030 timeframe using BNEFs forecasts for battery prices. To bring the cross-over point forward would need a meaningful carbon tax.

Quote
But how cheap is cheap enough?

That question is the subject of a fascinating recent bit of research out of an MIT lab run by researcher Jessika Trancik (I’ve written about Trancik’s work before), just released in the journal Joule.

To spoil the ending: The answer is $20 per kilowatt hour in energy capacity costs. That’s how cheap storage would have to get for renewables to get to 100 percent. That’s around a 90 percent drop from today’s costs. While that is entirely within the realm of the possible, there is wide disagreement over when it might happen; few expect it by 2030.

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It’s important to test renewable energy over longer time spans. In addition to daily and weekly fluctuations in solar and wind, there can be yearly or even multi-year fluctuations. And indeed, by looking back over 20 years, the team found several rare events in which wind and solar were both unusually low for an unusually long time. These rare events represent a spike in the amount of storage needed. Planning for them substantially increases the cost of a pure-renewables system.

For each of the four states, Trancik’s team [at MIT] modeled a renewables+storage system that has an “equivalent availability factor” (EAF) of 100 percent. That means the system would precisely match supply to demand, providing baseload, intermediate, and peaking power, given real-world resource-availability conditions, in every hour of every day, over 20 years.

(Actually, they did multiple scenarios per state: solar-only, wind-only, an optimized solar-wind mix, and all of those with two different tiers of storage technologies. I’m trying to keep it simple.)

That is a high bar: enough storage to accommodate any possible fluctuation of wind and solar over two decades.

The basic result is that storage energy-capacity costs have to fall to about $20 per kilowatt hour for a renewables+storage system to be cost competitive at the task of providing 100 percent of US energy.

Quote
First and most notably, loosen the amount of time that the system must meet demand and things get much easier for storage. And a 100 percent EAF is a little crazy anyway; the existing power system is not up and available 100 percent of the time. There are brownouts and blackouts, after all. No power system is 100 percent reliable.

Trancik’s team found that if the EAF target is lowered from 100 to 95 percent, the cost target that storage must hit rises to $150/kWh. (More specifically, lowering the EAF reduced the total cost of energy storage by 25 percent for the first tier of storage technologies and 48 percent for the second tier.) That’s a much more tractable number, within reach of existing technologies.

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Why does lowering the EAF so little ease the pressure on storage so much? The explanation is in those rare meteorological events of extended low wind and sun. They don’t happen often over a 20-year span, but building enough storage to deal with them when they do happen makes the last few percent of EAF exponentially more expensive. To lower the EAF to 95 percent is to say, “something else can handle those rare events.” (As to what that something might be, we’ll discuss that later.)

Second, remember, the team is modeling a system in which storage is doing almost all the flexibility work. In fact, there are other sources of grid flexibility. My favorite candidate for flexibility dark horse is “load flexibility,” demand-side programs that can shift energy consumption around in time. Another source of flexibility is enhanced long-distance transmission, to carry renewable energy from regions that produce it to regions that need it. Another is dispatchable renewables like run-of-the-river hydro and advanced geothermal.

Quote
Third, a renewables+storage system also gets easier if renewables get cheaper. The numbers that Trancik’s team use for renewables are quite conservative. (For instance, $1/Watt solar costs are already being beat routinely in the US.) If renewable energy continues to defy expectations and plunge in cost, it would become cheaper and easier to oversize renewables and curtail the excess energy. That in turn would ease pressure on storage.

In short, the headline $20/kWh cost target for energy storage is almost certainly more stringent than what will be required in the real world. Even the $150/kWh target required for an EAF of 95 percent is likely too stringent. In the real world, storage will be assisted by other forms of grid flexibility like long-distance transmission, load flexibility, and microgrids, along with regulatory and legislative reforms. And renewables will probably continue to get cheaper faster than anyone predicts.




39
Policy and solutions / Re: Ships and boats
« on: October 06, 2019, 09:09:30 PM »
Shipping companies have a history of being pretty nasty capitalists, doing pretty much anything to save money, so them "cheating" on low sulphur fuel requirements does not surprise me.

The reduction in airborne sulphur emissions from ships will actually increase the rate of climate change by reducing the albedo. Those sulphur particles turn into SO2 in the atmosphere, which reflect sunlight away from Earth. In the relative pristine air of the oceans even small amounts of SO2 can make a big difference to albedo. It has even been proposed that ships should burn dirtier fossil fuel mixes to increase the albedo effect.

Maritime shipping and emissions: A three-layered, damage-based approach (In Ocean Engineering

Abstract

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Policy emphasis in ship design must be shifted away from global and idealized towards regional based and realistic vessel operating conditions. The present approach to reducing shipping emissions through technical standards tends to neglect how damages and abatement opportunities vary according to location and operational conditions. Since environmental policy originates in damages relating to ecosystems and jurisdictions, a three-layered approach to vessel emissions is intuitive and practical. Here, we suggest associating damages and policies with ports, coastal areas possibly defined as Emission Control Areas (ECA) as in the North Sea and the Baltic, and open seas globally. This approach offers important practical opportunities: in ports, clean fuels or even electrification is possible; in ECAs, cleaner fuels and penalties for damaging fuels are important, but so is vessel handling, such as speeds and utilization. Globally we argue that it may be desirable to allow burning very dirty fuels at high seas, due to the cost advantages, the climate cooling benefits, and the limited ecosystem impacts. We quantify the benefits and cost savings from reforming current IMO and other approaches towards environmental management with a three-layered approach, and argue it is feasible and worth considering.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0029801815005016

40
Policy and solutions / Re: Electric cars
« on: October 06, 2019, 08:58:45 PM »
China’s Electric Buses Save More Diesel Than All Electric Cars Combined

Very interesting take on the relative amounts of oil saved by buses versus cars. The biggest relative issues are size and miles drives. I would assume much the same goes for trucks (size and mileage) and high mileage taxis (e.g. taxi/uber drivers).

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Buses play a pivotal role in public transport around the world. Their size and constant use mean that 1,000 electric buses, according to BNEF calculations, displace 500 barrels of diesel demand each day. For comparison, 1,000 electric cars displace 15 barrels of oil demand a day.

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Shenzhen, a fast-growing megacity with 12 million inhabitants, is the vanguard of electric buses, with a fleet of 16,000 of them. More than 30 Chinese cities have plans to reach 100 percent electrified public transit by 2020.

BUT

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However, these figures don’t represent the full story. The electricity to power the buses has to come from somewhere. In the case of China, that often involves one of the worst CO2 culprits of all: coal. The production costs, both economic and in terms of energy, of electric vehicles also tend to be higher, in part because of their battery systems.

Research shows that anything below an 80% coal mix is still CO2 positive for EV's, due to the relative efficiency of electric engines vs. ICEs. So all those Chinese buses are still reducing CO2 emissions at the margin (China's grid is about 58% coal) while also reducing China's oil imports and city air pollution (and reducing the albedo, but thats another story...).

AND

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However, while electric buses work well in Shenzhen, a city where moles could be likely suspects for some of the biggest hills when compared to neighboring Hong Kong, they’re not necessarily suited for more undulating urban environments—at least not yet.

https://singularityhub.com/2019/04/22/chinas-electric-buses-save-more-diesel-than-all-electric-cars-combined/

41
Policy and solutions / Re: Electric cars
« on: October 06, 2019, 08:48:46 PM »
99% of those electric buses are in China!

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There were about 425,000 electric buses in service in the world’s cities last year. Almost all—99 percent of them—were in China. The booming industrial city of Shenzhen, in particular, is one of only a few cities to have fully electrified its fleet. The rest of the globe, meanwhile, is racing to catch up, and falling further behind.

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That’s why he says one of the most overlooked stories from Shenzhen’s experience is the city’s long process in setting up the charging infrastructure to support more than 16,000 electric buses. Each bus has a range of about 124 miles on a single charge of 252 kilowatt hours (KWh). In total, the fleet can eat more than 4,000 megawatt-hours (MWh). For comparison’s sake, 1 MWh is enough to power about 300 homes for an hour. “That’s an insane amount of power required, not to mention real estate,” he says. “And the process to identify what land is available, then to work with the utilities—even just figuring out the optimal location—is a hugely important task, and incredibly challenging.”

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That’s what Philadelphia discovered when it decided to expand its existing fleet of e-buses with newer models—ones that featured bigger batteries. The city failed to recognize in the early planning process that it would be prohibitively expensive to acquire land in its busy downtown area for charging stations along the bus routes. So they decided to install all the charging infrastructure in the bus depots.

“They made that decision without realizing that [it would cost] $1.5 million to upgrade the electrical system in that one location to install a substation that can power 20 vehicles,” Gorguinpour says. “These things can get out of control real fast.”

Quote
the importance of bring all potential stakeholders together before making any decisions—something that WRI’s second report, which offers a roadmap to adopting electric buses, strongly emphasizes. That includes not only transit officials, but also utility companies, bus operators, and organizations that can help the city finance such a costly endeavor. That includes multinational and national development banks, which Gorguinpour call the “obvious places to start.” In some cases—as in Chile’s capital city of Santiago, which has the largest e-bus fleet outside of China—it’s utility companies, not transit agencies, that have stepped up to finance the projects.

https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2019/06/electric-bus-china-grid-ev-charging-infrastructure-battery/591655/

42
Policy and solutions / Re: Batteries: Today's Energy Solution
« on: October 06, 2019, 08:42:08 PM »
A Behind the Scenes Take on Lithium-ion Battery Prices - Bloomberg New Energy Futures

Very well written article, in detail answering the relative pessimists and optimists with respect to BNEFs forecast for battery prices. BNEF see prices dropping from $176/kWh to $94/kWh by 2024 and $62/kWh by 2030. Thats a 2/3 reduction in price by 2030. Based on the learning curve with respect to doublings in volume.

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In December 2018, BloombergNEF published the results of its ninth Battery Price Survey, a series that begin in 2012 looking back at data from as early as 2010. The annual price survey has become an important benchmark in the industry and the fall in prices has been nothing short of remarkable: the volume weighted average battery pack fell 85% from 2010-18, reaching an average of $176/kWh.

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“Batteries will fall much faster than you are forecasting.” The key determinant of our forecast is the relationship between price and volume. From the observed historical values, we calculate a learning rate of around 18%. This means that for every doubling of cumulative volume, we observe an 18% reduction in price. Based on this observation, and our battery demand forecast, we expect the price of an average battery pack to be around $94/kWh by 2024 and $62/kWh by 2030.

https://about.bnef.com/blog/behind-scenes-take-lithium-ion-battery-prices/

43
Policy and solutions / Re: Batteries: Today's Energy Solution
« on: October 06, 2019, 08:27:39 PM »
I have still not seen any factual debunking of this paper detailed, or a link to one provided.

https://www.ise.fraunhofer.de/content/dam/ise/en/documents/publications/studies/What-will-the-energy-transformation-cost.pdf

Thankyou Blumenkraft, looks like very interesting reading.

From a first glance the 80/20 rule still seems to be in play, and they assume an inflation-adjusted 100 Euro CO2 per ton price (this balances the increase in costs relative to continuing with the current mix), and they target an 85% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050.

They do assume a huge drop in energy demand (due to electrification efficiencies, more energy efficient appliances, and extensive building renovations etc.) from 3579 TWh to 2000 TWh - I don't see any concern about the Jevon's paradox. The lowered amount is then supplied by 66% renewables and 33% fossil fuels, with the assumption that natural gas has much lower CO2 emissions than coal. That assumption is correct, but ignores the the fugitive methane emissions.

What I see from the well thought out study (with some concerns about assumptions in some places) is the scale of the problem to transform society's (in this case Germany's) usage of energy to reduce CO2 emissions by 85%. The resultant mix (with reduced energy usage) is 66%/33% renewables/fossil fuels. So quite different from the 100% renewables scenario.


44
Policy and solutions / Re: Batteries: Today's Energy Solution
« on: October 05, 2019, 11:51:22 PM »
The real purpose of the study is revealed in the last 4 words of the last sentence

"In general, while energy storage appears essential to enable decarbonization strategies dependent on very high shares of wind and solar energy, storage is not a requisite if a diverse mix of flexible, low-carbon power sources is employed, including flexible nuclear power."

Yep, a pile of shit indeed.

I have still not seen any factual debunking of this paper detailed, or a link to one provided. This would be very useful for my actual understanding. Statements backed up without facts are simply unfounded assertions. The academics involved may have a position, but this does by itself not invalidate the arguments made in a peer reviewed publication (I checked the authors' other papers which cover a lot of work on the economics of battery technology usage etc.).

I am reading through other papers which I have to take time to get my head around. The general agreement seems to be that up to 80% with storage and HVDC lines is quite reasonable. The cost then starts increasing rapidly as we approach 100% renewables+storage and 100% availability (the classic 80/20 rule hits again!). The costs may seem high, but spread over a decade or so it becomes much less of an issue.

When looking at weather patterns over decades there can be significant low-no wind/low-no solar periods (multiple days) which would require many multiples of the 80% storage amounts - the question becomes how to deal with those. There is the mix of demand destruction (agreed reductions to industry and business, networked appliances such as washing machines that are blocked, blocking of non-essential EV charging, brown outs etc.) and use of EV batteries etc. There is a lot of cultural change involved in the last 10% for a society used to continuous electricity supplies.


45
Policy and solutions / Re: Batteries: Today's Energy Solution
« on: October 04, 2019, 06:48:54 PM »
This stinking pile of shit article is debunked so often by now, why is it still shared??

The original study is from 2016 and not at all that negative.

Quote
In a case study of a system with load and renewable resource characteristics from the U.S. state of Texas, we find that energy storage delivers value by increasing the cost-effective penetration of renewable energy, reducing total investments in nuclear power and gas-fired peaking units, and improving the utilization of all installed capacity.

Below is the abstract of the underlying study, which I have read. I have italicized the part that you quoted AND highlighted the very next sentence. I have also bolded the piece that notes that the marginal benefit of storage diminishes with scale.

i.e. In small scale, storage does offer a lot of benefits BUT as you scale up to allow for greater amounts of variable renewables there are significant cost issues. These researchers call for "flexible nuclear" as an answer (one I do not agree with).

$2.5 trillion is not actually that much spread out over a 10-year period, lets remember that Trump gave away $1 trillion in his last tax cut and the "flying pig" F35 already cost $1 trillion. The US economy is $20 trillion in size. A good-sized "weapons to ploughshares" program could easily provide such funding. The yearly real US defence budget (when all hidden costs are taken into account) is about $1 trillion per year, a quarter of that would fund the required grid/battery investments. The "market" will not fix this problem by itself, large-scale government action can. Thats how the US highway system was built.

Quote
Electrical energy storage could play an important role in decarbonizing the electricity sector by offering anew, carbon-free source of operational flexibility, improving the utilization of generation assets, and facilitating the integration of variable renewable energy sources. Yet, the future cost of energy storage technologies is uncertain, and the value that they can bring to the system depends on multiple factors. Moreover, the marginal value of storage diminishes as more energy storage capacity is deployed. To explore the potential value of energy storage in deep decarbonization of the electricity sector, we assess the impact of increasing levels of energy storage capacity on both power system operations and investments in generation capacity using a generation capacity expansion model with detailed unit commitment constraints. In a case study of a system with load and renewable resource characteristics from the U.S. state of Texas, we find that energy storage delivers value by increasing the cost-effective penetration of renewable energy, reducing total investments in nuclear power and gas-fired peaking units, and improving the utilization of all installed capacity. However, we find that the value delivered by energy storage with a 2-hour storage capacity only exceeds current technology costs under strict emissions limits, implying that substantial cost reductions in battery storage are needed to justify large-scale deployment. In contrast, storage resources with a 10-hour storage capacity deliver value consistent with the current cost of pumped hydroelectric storage. In general, while energy storage appears essential to enable decarbonization strategies dependent on very high shares of wind and solar energy, storage is not a requisite if a diverse mix of flexible, low-carbon power sources is employed, including flexible nuclear power.

46
Policy and solutions / Re: Tesla glory/failure
« on: October 04, 2019, 06:31:31 PM »
Tesla has basically had the US/European markets to itself for many years now and has been unable to show that it can make a GAAP profit. Within the next 18-24 months that will change completely with the major manufacturers releasing many competitive EV models.

In China there may be a one-off pent up demand jump in sales, but there will then be the reality of dealing with the incredibly competitive Chinese market and a much lower average vehicle cost that makes the Tesla very expensive relative to the general market.

Financially, they have to keep taking in new money to pay off old maturing debts and provide working and investment capital (the last one being $860 million stock [at $243 per share] and $1.84 billion in debt). They can probably last until late next year before needing another fund raising - or sooner if the competition/possible recession start accelerating those losses. All this, and they have a market cap of over $40 billion (Toyota's is half that).

From now on each extra quarter of losses destroys the halo of the company and forces investors to use rational valuation models. At some point we will hit the event-horizon (just like WeWork) and the market cap will collapse - removing any ability to fund through equity or convertible debentures. After that there is restructuring funding (high interest are and with direct claims on assets) and distressed sale to another manufacturer.

A decade from now we will look back at Uber/Lyft/Tesla the same way we look back at Nortel (perhaps WeWork was the equivalent of Pets.com?). The earlier period gave us massive telecommunications infrastructure upon which the internet was built out, this one helped accelerate EV's. It was not (and will not) be such good news for the investors in the companies (different for the CEO's who managed to extract huge amounts before the inevitable, just look at the WeWork founder).

47
Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: October 03, 2019, 07:05:37 PM »
I know it has nothing to do with reality, but if, before I was born, God had told me that Industrial Civilization would collapse, I would ask to be born such that I would die in the collapse in my great old age. I was born March 5, 1958.

I was born September 5, 1963, so we may both experience social collapse in our old age (hopefully not before our great old age).

48
Policy and solutions / Re: Batteries: Today's Energy Solution
« on: October 03, 2019, 07:02:07 PM »
The $2.5 trillion reason we can’t rely on batteries to clean up the grid

Quote
Lithium-ion batteries could compete economically with these natural-gas peakers within the next five years, says Marco Ferrara, a cofounder of Form Energy, an MIT spinout developing grid storage batteries. “The gas peaker business is pretty close to ending, and lithium-ion is a great replacement,” he says.

Quote
But much beyond this role, batteries run into real problems. The authors of the 2016 study found steeply diminishing returns when a lot of battery storage is added to the grid. They concluded that coupling battery storage with renewable plants is a “weak substitute” for large, flexible coal or natural-gas combined-cycle plants, the type that can be tapped at any time, run continuously, and vary output levels to meet shifting demand throughout the day.

Not only is lithium-ion technology too expensive for this role, but limited battery life means it’s not well suited to filling gaps during the days, weeks, and even months when wind and solar generation flags. This problem is particularly acute in California, where both wind and solar fall off precipitously during the fall and winter months.

This leads to a critical problem: when renewables reach high levels on the grid, you need far, far more wind and solar plants to crank out enough excess power during peak times to keep the grid operating through those long seasonal dips, says Jesse Jenkins, a coauthor of the study and an energy systems researcher. That, in turn, requires banks upon banks of batteries that can store it all away until it’s needed. And that ends up being astronomically expensive.

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There are issues California can’t afford to ignore for long. The state is already on track to get 50 percent of its electricity from clean sources by 2020, and the legislature is once again considering a bill that would require it to reach 100 percent by 2045. To complicate things, regulators voted in January to close the state’s last nuclear plant, a carbon-free source that provides 24 percent of PG&E’s energy. That will leave California heavily reliant on renewable sources to meet its goals.

Quote
The Clean Air Task Force, a Boston-based energy policy think tank, recently found that reaching the 80 percent mark for renewables in California would mean massive amounts of surplus generation during the summer months, requiring 9.6 million megawatt-hours of energy storage. Achieving 100 percent would require 36.3 million. The state currently has 150,000 megawatt-hours of energy storage in total. (That’s mainly pumped hydroelectric storage, with a small share of batteries.)

Quote
Similarly, a study earlier this year in Energy & Environmental Science found that meeting 80 percent of US electricity demand with wind and solar would require either a nationwide high-speed transmission system, which can balance renewable generation over hundreds of miles, or 12 hours of electricity storage for the whole system (see “Relying on renewables alone significantly inflates the cost of overhauling energy”). At current prices, a battery storage system of that size would cost more than $2.5 trillion.

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/611683/the-25-trillion-reason-we-cant-rely-on-batteries-to-clean-up-the-grid/

49
Policy and solutions / Re: Tesla glory/failure
« on: October 03, 2019, 06:27:33 PM »
Watch Tesla Autopilot go through a snowstorm

Quote
Electrek’s Take
This is an interesting video because by using and overlaying the TeslaCam feature, you can also see what Autopilot’s forward-facing cameras can see in those more difficult driving conditions.

During some parts of the video, you can see that the vision was impaired by the snow.

In other parts, Autopilot did surprisingly well even though the road markings were covered by the snow.

That said, the video clearly shows that the system is not ready to handle those kinds of conditions.

To be fair, those driving conditions are also difficult for humans, but there’s always the question of how sensors fair when there’s snow potentially blocking their field of view.

Here we are talking about the cameras, but Tesla even recently addressed the issue of ice buildup on the front to the car messing with the Autopilot’s radar sensor.

They recommend using a Rust-Oleum NeverWet spray coat on the front fascia to help prevent ice buildup. Tesla recommends only using the top coat and not the base one. They give more winter tips here.

As for the cameras, the front-facing ones are behind the windshield and therefore, they rely on the wipers in those conditions – just like human sensors (eyes).

Some of the other cameras are more difficult to keep clean and I expect that we are going to see some other improvements on that front in the future in order to handle more difficult conditions.

The video that Electrek is referring to:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=272&v=N3XyodEpxKw

https://electrek.co/2019/01/28/tesla-autopilot-snow-storm/

50
Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: October 02, 2019, 01:12:29 AM »
Thanks for the ray of light gerontocrat! Oh, its an oncoming train.....

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