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Messages - Ken Feldman

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51
Policy and solutions / Re: Electric cars
« on: July 22, 2019, 07:47:20 PM »
EVs reaching the tipping point in Europe.

https://oilprice.com/Alternative-Energy/Renewable-Energy/Electric-Vehicle-Sales-Are-Exploding-In-Europe.html

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Electric Vehicle Sales Are Exploding In Europe

By Tsvetana Paraskova - Jul 21, 2019, 10:00 AM CDT

The next two years are likely to be the tipping point for electric vehicles (EVs) going mainstream in Europe, as the number of electric car models on the European market is set to more than triple in the next three years, Transport & Environment (T&E), Europe’s leading clean transport campaign group, says in a new analysis.

According to T&E, which analyzed the upcoming offerings using data from authoritative industry source IHS Markit, the number of EV models made across the European Union (EU) will jump from around 60 models available at end-2018 to a total of 214 battery electric (BEV), plug-in hybrid (PHEV), and fuel cell (FCEV) models in 2021, and further up to 333 models in 2025.

“Until recently, the EV market was limited to a niche of early adopters but tomorrow’s landscape will be very different as EVs enter a new phase and near the mass market,” the report from T&E says.

Based on IHS Markit’s light vehicle production forecast data and in-house T&E analysis, the production of EVs in Europe is set to surge six-fold between 2019 and 2025, reaching more than 4 million cars and vans. This production volume would account more than a fifth of the EU car production volumes.

52
Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: July 22, 2019, 07:34:51 PM »
NextEra Energy is predicting that the US will get 50% of its electricity from renewables in 2030.

https://cleantechnica.com/2019/07/22/nextera-energy-predicts-50-renewable-energy-in-us-by-2030/

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In May, the company presented a slide based on data supplied by IHS Markit for calendar year 2017. It showed the United States would get 25% of its electricity from renewable energy resources by 2030. That slide was deleted from the June presentation and replaced with one based on data supplied by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory for calendar year 2018. The new slide projects the country will reach 50% renewables by 2030. The difference is startling and proof of how quickly things are changing in the utility industry.

NextEra Energy is no featherweight. It has the largest market capitalization of any utility holding company. It is the parent company of Florida Power & Light, Gulf Power, and NextEra Energy Resouces, among other entities. It employs 14,000 people, generates 45,900 megawatts of electricity annually, and has yearly revenue of $17 billion. If it says renewables will account for half of all electricity a decade from now, other companies should sit up and take notice. Government leaders, too.

NextEra Energy produces more electricity from the wind and sun than any other company on the planet, according to NASDAQ.com. Its NextEra Energy Resources subsidiary operates 17 gigawatts of wind and solar power assets across the country today. It owns more installed wind power capacity than all but seven countries and is the fifth-largest capital investor in the United States. It plans to build an additional 29 gigawatts of wind and solar power assets in the coming years. This is not a company that makes predictions lightly.

How can it make such bold predictions, ones that are significantly more aggressive than those being made by other industry sources? Simple. It feels those other sources are wildly pessimistic in their estimates. See chart below.



That’s a huge disparity between what NextEra Energy thinks will happen and what other supposedly informed sources think will happen. A lot of CleanTechnica readers have commented over the years that forecasts from the Energy Information Administration are notoriously inaccurate. The next chart proves it.




53
Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: July 20, 2019, 12:09:40 AM »
Here's an example of how new State mandates and the changing market forces, combined with pressure from consumers, has convinced a power company to employee renewables and close down a coal power plant earlier.

https://coloradosun.com/2019/07/19/tri-state-yields-customer-pressure/

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Tri-State, under pressure from its member co-ops to change or fall behind, is shifting to renewable energy

Giant power provider on the verge of deal with departing utility says it will shutter coal-fired plant in Nucla two years early as it retools carbon-emissions goals.

Published on Jul 19, 2019

n a sign of how quickly the electricity industry is changing, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association is taking a quick paced series of steps to deal with market pressure and complaints from some of its member cooperatives.

Westminster-based Tri-State — power provider to 43 rural electric cooperatives in four states, including 18 in Colorado — has been criticized for its heavy reliance on coal-fired generation, its high rates and its long-term contracts that limit co-ops on local renewable energy projects.

Faced with renewable energy generation that undercuts the cost of power from coal-fired plants and new laws in Colorado and New Mexico setting high clean energy goals, Tri-State is being pushed by political and market forces to change or fall behind.

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The Tri-State contracts limit co-ops from generating more than 5% of their own electricity and that has put a damper on local renewable energy projects, leading some cooperatives, such as United Power, in Brighton, to push for ways to accommodate more local initiatives.

Meanwhile, studies by environmental groups contended there are big savings in Tri-State shutting its coal plants. A study by the Rocky Mountain Institute, an energy consulting group, calculated Tri-State could save consumers $600 million or more by 2030 if it shut down its coal-fired units and replaced them with low cost wind and solar generation.

Tri-State disputed the study saying it is based on incomplete numbers. The association gets nearly 50% of its electricity from coal-fired power plants.

In the spring, Colorado and New Mexico passed laws giving their utility commissions more oversight of Tri-State and set targets for curbing carbon emissions. New Mexico passed a 100% clean energy law and Colorado adopted a clean energy plan aimed reaching net zero-carbon emissions by 2050.

54
Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: July 19, 2019, 11:44:51 PM »
In reading the abstract that was published in the Journal of Materials Chemistry, the scientists describe it as a battery.

https://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2019/TA/C9TA04060A#!divAbstract

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A sensitized thermal cell recovered using heat

S. Matsushita,*a   T. Araki,a   B. Mei,b   S. Sugawara,a   Y. Inagawa,a   J. Nishiyama,b   T. Isobea  and   A. Nakajimaa   

Abstract

You can find thermal energy everywhere in the world, including geothermal energy. Here we report an amazing battery that could supply power semi-permanently by simply burying the cell in a heat source and turning the switch on and off. We examined the discharge termination process of a sensitized thermal cell (STC), a new thermal energy conversion system for generating electrical power from heat previously reported by the authors. To observe this termination process, we constructed a new STC system using a narrow-bandgap semiconductor, germanium (Ge), and surprisingly found that the battery characteristics were restored after discharging by placing or burying the battery in a heat source. This discovery should bring us closer to solving global energy problems.


55
Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: July 19, 2019, 08:05:10 PM »
This is an interesting new research study about a battery that recharges using low-temperature geothermal energy.  It will be interesting to see if this can be made widely available.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/07/190717230347.htm

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Generating electricity from geothermal energy requires devices that can somehow make use of the heat within the Earth's crust. Recently, a team of scientists at Tokyo Tech, led by Dr. Sachiko Matsushita, have made great progress in the understanding and development of sensitized thermal cells (STCs), a kind of battery that can generate electric power at 100 °C or less.

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Dr. Matsushita's team have previously reported the use of STCs as a new method for converting heat directly into electric power using dye-sensitized solar cells. They also replaced the dye with a semiconductor to allow the system to operate using heat instead of light. The STC, a battery consists of three layers sandwiched between electrodes: an electron transport layer (ETM), a semiconductor layer (germanium), and a solid electrolyte layer (copper ions). In short, electrons go from a low-energy state to a high-energy state in the semiconductor by becoming thermally excited and then get transferred naturally to the ETM. Afterwards, they leave through the electrode, go through an external circuit, pass through the counter electrode, and then reach the electrolyte. Oxidation and reduction reactions involving copper ions take place at both interfaces of the electrolyte, resulting in low-energy electrons being transferred to the semiconductor layer so that the process can begin anew, thus completing an electric circuit.

However, it was not clear at that time whether such a battery could be used as a perpetual engine or if the current would stop at some point. After testing, the team observed that electricity indeed stopped flowing after a certain time and proposed a mechanism explaining this phenomenon. Basically, current stops because the redox reactions at the electrolyte layer stop owing to the relocation of the different types of copper ions. Most importantly, and also surprisingly, they found out that the battery can revert this situation itself in the presence of heat by simply opening the external circuit for some time; in other words, by using a simple switch. "With such a design, heat, usually regarded as low-quality energy, would become a great renewable energy source," states Matsushita.

The team is very excited about their discovery because of its applicability, eco-friendliness, and potential for helping solve the global energy crisis. "There is no fear of radiation, no fear of expensive oil, no instability of power generation like when relying on the sun or the wind," remarks Matsushita. Further refinements to this type of battery will be the aim of future research, with the hope of one day solving humanity's energy needs without harming our planet.

56
Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: July 19, 2019, 07:41:42 PM »
Yet another fossil fuel disaster.

https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Another-Massive-Gas-Explosion-Rocks-China-Casualties-Unknown.html

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A massive explosion has been reported at China’s Yima gas plant in Henan province, damaging buildings in a 3-kilometer radius.

The casualties are still unknown as of the time of reporting, with some media citing Chinese television as saying that 18 people had so far been reported as injured, a dozen missing and possibly two confirmed fatalities.

Stills taken from Chinese television show giant plumes of smoke in the aftermath of the explosion.

This will get less news coverage in the US then a Tesla on fire or all the birds killed by windmills.

57
Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: July 18, 2019, 11:23:12 PM »
The UK is on track to generate more electricity from renewables than fossil fuels this year.

https://www.edie.net/news/6/UK-to-use-more-electricity-from-renewables-than-coal-for-first-time-in-2019/

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Published today (21 June), the data reveals that clean energy sources - wind, solar, nuclear and hydropower – generated 47.9% of Britain’s electricity between January and May, compared to 46.7% for coal and gas-fired sources.

National Grid predicts that this trend will continue until the end of 2019 and that the latter half of the year is likely to see renewables take an even bigger share of the electricity mix, partly due to new North Sea Link’s upcoming connection to Norway’s hydropower network. Moreover, next year will see one of the UK’s six remaining coal power stations, SSE’s Fiddler’s Ferry in Cheshire, decommissioned.

58
Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: July 18, 2019, 11:22:13 PM »
In Germany, renewables produced more electricity than fossil fuels during the first half of 2019.

https://www.dw.com/en/german-renewables-deliver-more-electricity-than-coal-and-nuclear-power-for-the-first-time/a-49606644-0

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In Lippendorf, Saxony, the energy supplier EnBW is temporarily taking part of a coal-fired power plant offline. Not because someone ordered it — it simply wasn't paying off. Gas prices are low, CO2 prices are high, and with many hours of sunshine and wind, renewable methods are producing a great deal of electricity. And in the first half of the year there was plenty of sun and wind.

The result was a six-month period in which renewable energy sources produced more electricity than coal and nuclear power plants together. For the first time 47.3% of the electricity consumers used came from renewable sources, while 43.4% came from coal-fired and nuclear power plants.

In addition to solar and wind power, renewable sources also include hydropower and biomass. Gas supplied 9.3% while the remaining 0.4% came from other sources, such as oil, according to figures published by the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems in July.

I'm not sure why they combined the coal and nuclear numbers.  If you look at it as carbon free vs fossil fuels, it was 60.1% for renewables plus nuclear vs. 39.2% for coal plus gas.

59
Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: July 18, 2019, 07:22:34 PM »
Gas pipeline owners are starting to push back on oil companies that flare natural gas rather than pay pipeline owners to ship it to where it can be used.

https://oilprice.com/Energy/Crude-Oil/Will-The-US-Gas-Glut-Cap-Oil-Production.html

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A pipeline company is fighting the practice of flaring gas in Texas, threatening to slow the pace of oil production.

Flaring gas has become an epidemic in Texas. Permian drillers have ramped up oil production to astounding levels, which has led to a wave of associated natural gas output. But while there have been serious constraints for moving oil on pipelines, the bottlenecks for gas pipelines are even worse. With no place to put the gas, shale companies are simply lighting the gas on fire and flaring it off into the air.

In the Permian and the Eagle Ford, shale drillers flared an average of 740 million cubic feet of natural gas per day in the first quarter, according to the Wall Street Journal. The amount of gas burned off into the air in the first three months of the year was worth $1.8 million per day and emitted the equivalent greenhouse gas emissions of 5 million cars, the WSJ said.

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As WSJ notes, Williams Co. is trying to contest a flaring permit request by Eagle Ford shale driller Exco Resources. Exco apparently wants to flare all of the gas from a series of wells in South Texas despite the fact that the wells can be connected to existing pipelines. Exco wants to flare the gas because its more profitable than buying space on the pipeline. Williams fears that unchecked flaring would be a setback for pipeline companies who look for contracts before building new pipelines.

Texas shale drillers have not run into significant resistance to flaring to date, but opposition from a powerful midstream company may pose a more formidable obstacle. If the Texas Railroad Commission denies the permit, it could slow the pace of oil production in the state.

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Evidence of this dynamic is already visible in North Dakota, where flaring is also running well above state limits. But the constraints on flaring in the Bakken, such as they are, are nonetheless having more of an impact than they are in Texas. North Dakota’s Lieutenant Governor Brent Sanford told an industry conference that Bakken oil production would be vastly higher if not for bottlenecks on capturing natural gas.

“The only thing keeping us from setting a new oil production record is our gas production. It is outpacing our oil production and makes it difficult to meet our gas capture goals,” Sanford said at the Bakken Oil and Gas Conference Expo in Bismarck, according to S&P Global Platts. Sanford argued that North Dakota would be producing 2 million barrels per day (mb/d) if not for gas constraints, up from roughly 1.4 mb/d currently. He said that the “gas capture challenge is limiting further growth.”

60
Policy and solutions / Re: Electric cars
« on: July 18, 2019, 07:17:12 PM »

I was looking at Gridwatch today and for the 21.4GW of installed wind capacity in the UK, we were getting 2.4GW of wind generated.  CCGT was at 33GW.


The UK is on track to generate more electricity from renewables than fossil fuels this year.

https://www.edie.net/news/6/UK-to-use-more-electricity-from-renewables-than-coal-for-first-time-in-2019/

Quote
Published today (21 June), the data reveals that clean energy sources - wind, solar, nuclear and hydropower – generated 47.9% of Britain’s electricity between January and May, compared to 46.7% for coal and gas-fired sources.

National Grid predicts that this trend will continue until the end of 2019 and that the latter half of the year is likely to see renewables take an even bigger share of the electricity mix, partly due to new North Sea Link’s upcoming connection to Norway’s hydropower network. Moreover, next year will see one of the UK’s six remaining coal power stations, SSE’s Fiddler’s Ferry in Cheshire, decommissioned.

61
Policy and solutions / Re: Low GHG Meat
« on: July 17, 2019, 09:38:44 PM »
More on the low-methane emitting cows.

http://texasclimatenews.org/?p=16529

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It’s a hard truth that livestock, mostly cattle, produce over a third of the U.S.’s emissions of methane (CH4), a greenhouse gas with an estimated 34 times greater warming effect than CO2. Despite the planetary impact, however, some people are not willing to give up their hamburgers.

Switching to a vegan or vegetarian diet has been shown to significantly reduce an individual’s carbon footprint, but it is not a feasible solution to the problem. Beyond the diehard burger-lover, people all over the globe rely on cattle for income and sustenance, and in some poorer regions there are often no viable alternatives. Farming livestock, mostly cattle, provides a living for about 59 percent of the poor people living in rural and marginal communities and offers poor farmers increased economic stability and opportunity.

The bottom line is that people are not ready to transition to sustaining themselves without carbon-intensive animal products. Luckily, scientists around the globe are aggressively working on ways to make cattle and other ruminants, such as sheep and goats, more sustainable in the near future.

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Making a high-efficiency cow

Reducing cattle populations is just part of the solution. Reducing ruminant livestock emissions is a complex global issue, requiring solutions with the dexterity to transcend geographic locations and socioeconomic systems. Mitigation depends on decreasing the number of animals while also increasing the efficiency and productivity of the individual animal.

Between 2 percent and 12 percent of a ruminant’s energy is lost through the process of enteric fermentation. In addition to cutting the animal’s GHG emissions, making a cow’s digestive process more efficient would reduce the amount of food required per animal, saving resources and offering producers a better bottom line.

Texas microbiologist Elizabeth Latham, co-founder of Bryan-based Bezoar Laboratories, is one of the scientists tackling the challenge of making a high-efficiency cow.

“I see climate change as a symptom to a bigger problem, which is either a misuse of resources or a lack of optimization/efficiency, and in terms of enteric methane, that represents a metabolic inefficiency,” Latham said.

It is this metabolic inefficiency that Latham set out to address as a Ph.D. candidate at Texas A&M University, where she began the development of a methane-reducing probiotic for cattle. In 2017, Latham co-founded Bezoar Laboratories with the goal of increasing the health and sustainability of the meat and dairy industries.

The probiotic, called Paenibacillus fortis, can be easily eaten by cattle, so it works in their rumen to block the processes that produce methane.

“You can think of it like carbon trapping,” Latham said, “because the [greenhouse gas] that would have been lost to the atmosphere can now be used metabolically by the animal, so that translates to more meat or more milk, or feeding them less.”

The cost-efficient probiotic has been shown to reduce enteric methane by up to 50 percent per animal, while also reducing common food-borne pathogens, such as e. coli, campylobacter and salmonella, by 300 percent. Paenibacillus fortis is now patent-pending and being tested for a pilot program that could begin at select dairy farms as early as next year.

62
Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: July 17, 2019, 09:18:06 PM »
Indonesia's President announced plans to transition the country from coal to renewables.

https://news.mongabay.com/2019/07/indonesias-president-signals-a-transition-away-from-coal-power/

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With President Widodo recently winning an election that keeps him in office through 2024, an easing of Indonesia’s reliance on coal will help with the country’s carbon dioxide emissions reduction goals, said Siti, the environment minister.

“I welcome that statement with joy because this truly empowers our work,” she said.

Indonesia is currently one of the world’s biggest CO2 emitters, most of it from deforestation and land-use change. However, emissions from the energy sector are poised to dominate in the near future as Indonesia’s demand for electricity continues to rise.

The country’s energy consumption growth is among the fastest in the world, with coal accounting for nearly 60 percent of the energy mix in 2018. Its energy policy therefore has important implications not just for the country’s climate future, but also for global efforts to achieve cuts under the Paris Agreement.

Under current plans, the committed emissions from coal-fired power plants would peak only around 2035, with an eventual phase-out only by 2069; to have a shot at meeting the Paris goals, meanwhile, the Southeast Asian region will need to phase out coal by 2040, analysts agree.

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That a transition away from coal is even being discussed at the highest levels of government marks a major change in tone from longstanding energy policies that have relied on an abundance of cheap and available coal. In fact, Indonesia’s coal reserves have made it one of the world’s biggest exporters of the commodity over the course of the last 15 years.

Policies by successive governments have helped; coal-fired power plants receive hefty subsidies, and there are no carbon disincentives to encourage investment in renewable energy. The reliance on coal hasn’t shown any sign of easing in recent years. Thirty-nine coal-fired power plants are under construction, and 68 have been announced, which will maintain coal’s dominance of the energy mix at nearly 55 percent by 2025. Three of the six new plants expected to go online this year will be fired by coal; the other three are small-capacity facilities powered by gas, hydro and solar, respectively.

63
Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: July 17, 2019, 07:25:40 PM »
Even though the amount of money invested in solar energy isn't increasing, the number of solar panels being manufactured is still increasing.  This is because the cost of solar panels continues to decrease while the demand for solar power continues to increase.

https://www.pv-magazine.com/2019/07/17/solar-panel-demand-expected-to-reach-125-5-gw-in-2019-trendforce-says/

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EnergyTrend, a division of Taiwanese market reseach company TrendForce, forecasts solar module demand to reach approximately 125.5 GW this year. If realised this would represent 16% year-on-year (YoY) global market expansion. The analysts believe that this level of growth is likely to continue through 2020.

With the number of gigawatt-scale markets set to increase YoY from last year’s 16 countries to 21 in 2019, module demand is expected to become more geographically diversified, the Taiwanese analysts added. This diversification is a prime reason that the global market expanded in 2019. “Markets are popping up all over the world,” EnergyTrend said.

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European PV module demand is expected to almost from 11.9 GW in 2018 to a whopping 21.8 GW in this year. “The removal of European Minimum Import Price (MIP)trade barriers opened up a new export channel for Chinese suppliers impacted by China’s 531 New Policy,” TrendForce noted. The analysts also attribute this year’s projected European increasing demand to the Paris Agreement. As a result of these two factors combined, PV demand is expected to grow by a further 10% to 24 GW in 2020.

South America, the Middle East, and Africa, along with other unspecified emerging regions, are looking to have at least 2-3 countries with GW-scale markets this year.

In early report, released in January, Trendforce said that the effects of the 5/31 policy shift in China were less severe than expected, and that global installed PV capacity for 2019 would reach around 111 GW. In these figures, the EU was highlighted as one of the fast growing markets for 2019, projecting a year-over-year growth rate of more than 50%. China and the United States will remain the first and second largest markets this year, followed by India and Japan.


64
Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: July 17, 2019, 07:20:25 PM »
Yet another US state, Georgia, plans to shutdown coal plants and replace them with renewables plus battery storage.

https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/georgia-power-ups-plan-for-renewables-and-storage

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Georgia's utility regulators approved a long-term plan that will see Georgia Power drastically expand renewable generation and develop, own and operate up to 80 megawatts of energy storage.

The final 2019 integrated resource plan calls for 2,260 megawatts of new capacity from wind, solar and biomass, which will bring those resources up to 22 percent of the utility's overall fleet capacity. Separately, the Southern Company-owned utility will invest in five hydropower projects while shutting five coal-powered units and all 29 coal ash ponds.

"We are positioning Georgia as a leader in the Southeast in battery energy storage, which is critical to growing and maximizing the value of renewable energy for customers as we increase our renewable generation by 72 percent by 2024," said Allen Reaves, Georgia Power's senior vice president and senior production officer, in a statement.

65
Science / Re: 2019 CO2 emissions
« on: July 17, 2019, 06:29:44 PM »
The US EPA has good information about methane emissions from coal mines at their website.

https://www.epa.gov/cmop/frequent-questions#q2

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6. How much methane is emitted from coal mines?

U.S. coal mines emitted nearly four billion cubic meters or 61 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MMTC02E) in 2015. Between 1990 and 2015, U.S. emissions decreased by 40 percent, in large part due to the coal mining industry's increased recovery and utilization of drained gas and decrease in ventilation air methane emissions.

By 2020, global methane emissions from coal mines are estimated to reach nearly 800 MMTCO2E, accounting for 9 percent of total global methane emissions. China leads the world in estimated coal mine methane (CMM) emissions with more than 420 MMTCO2E in 2020 (more than 27 billion cubic meters annually). Other leading global emitters are the United States, Russia, Australia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and India.

66
Science / Re: 2019 Mauna Loa CO2 levels
« on: July 17, 2019, 01:55:23 AM »
There's a tab on the Mauna Loa page that lets you see the global charts as well.

https://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/global.html

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April 2019:      411.50 ppm 
April 2018:      408.85 ppm 
Last updated: July 8, 2019 

67
Permafrost / Re: Toward Improved Discussions of Methane & Climate
« on: July 17, 2019, 01:49:38 AM »
This linked study from April 2019 finds that shale gas (from fracking), is lighter in 13C than traditional natural gas and that fracked natural gas may be the cause of the increasing methane levels in the past decade.

https://www.biogeosciences-discuss.net/bg-2019-131/bg-2019-131.pdf

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Is Shale Gas a Major Driver of Recent Increase in Global Atmospheric Methane?

Robert W. Howarth

Abstract. Methane has been rising rapidly in the atmosphere over the past decade, contributing to global climate change. Unlike the late 20th  Century when the rise in atmospheric methane was accompanied by an enrichment in the heavier carbon stable isotope (13C) of methane, methane in recent years has become more depleted in 13C.  This depletion has been widely interpreted to indicate a primarily biogenic source for the increased methane.  Here we show that the change may instead be associated with emissions from shale gas and shale oil development.  While methane in conventional natural gas is enriched in 13C relative to the atmospheric mean, shale gas is depleted in 13C relative to this atmospheric level.   Correcting for this difference, we conclude that emissions from shale gas production in North America over the past decade may well be the leading cause of the increased flux of methane to the atmosphere.   Increased fluxes from biogenic sources such as animal agriculture and wetlands are far less important than indicated by some other recent papers using 13C data.

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3. What is shale gas?

Shale gas is a form of unconventional natural gas (mostly methane) held tightly in shale rock formations.  Conventional natural gas, the dominant form of natural gas produced during the 20th Century, is composed largely of methane that migrated upward from the underlying sources such as shale rock over geological time, becoming trapped under a 10 geological seal (Fig. 2-A). Until this century, shale gas was not commercially developable. The use of a new combination of technologies in the 21st century – high precision directional drilling, high-volume hydraulic fracturing, and clustered multiwall drilling pads -- has changed this. In recent years, global shale gas production has exploded 14-fold, from 31 billion m3 per year in 2005 to 435 billion m3 per year in 2015 (Fig. 2-B), with 89% of this production in the United States and 10% in Canada (EIA 2016). Shale gas accounted for 63% of the total increase in natural gas production globally over the past decade 15 (EIA 2016, IEA 2017). The US Department of Energy predicts rapid further growth in shale gas production globally, reaching 1,500 billion m3 per year by 2040 (EIA 2016; Fig. 2-B).

Several studies have shown that theδ13C signal of methane from shale gas is often lighter (more depleted in 13C) than that from conventional natural gas (Golding et al. 2013; Botner et al. 2018). Here, we use the data from Figure 1 in the review 20 by Golding et al. (2013) that were explicitly identified as shale gas. The samples are from the New Albany shale (Martini et al. 1998), the Antrim shale (McIntosh et al. 2002), and an organic-rich shale in the northern Appalachian basin (Osborn and McIntosh 2010). Note that these studies appear to be the only ones included in theδ13C methane data repository published by Sherwood et al. (2017), which is the data set underlying the analysis by Schwietzke et al.(2016). Out of 61 data points for shale gas in the Golding et al. (2013) figure, only 5 had δ13C values similar to those for conventional natural gas, while many 25 samples more closely resembled the signal for biogenic gas. From the 61 values, we calculate a mean value δ13C for shale gas of -51.4 o/oo , with a 95% confidence limit of ± 1.2 o/oo. Thus, emissions of methane from shale gas are on average depleted in 13C relative to atmospheric methane, while methane from conventional natural gas is more 13C-enriched than atmospheric methane.

It should perhaps not be surprising that the δ 13C of methane from shale gas tends to be lighter than for conventional natural gas. In the case of conventional gas, the methane has migrated over geological time frames from the shale and other source rocks through permeable rocks until trapped below a seal (Fig. 2-A). During this migration, some of the methane is likely oxidized by bacteria, perhaps using iron (III) or sulfate as the source of the oxidizing power (Whelan et al. 1986; Rooze et al. 2016). Partial consumption of methane by bacteria would fractionate the methane by preferentially consuming the lighter 12C isotope and so, gradually enriching the remaining methane in 13C (Baldassare et al. 2014), resulting in a δ13C signal that is
less negative. The methane in shales, on the other hand, is tightly held in the rock formation and therefore less likely to have been subject to bacterial oxidation and the resulting fractionation. The expectation, therefore, is that methane in conventional natural gas should be heavier and less depleted in 13C than is the methane in shale gas.

68
Science / Re: 2019 CO2 emissions
« on: July 17, 2019, 12:34:55 AM »
This study published in Science in 2018 found that methane emissions from the US natural gas industry were about 13Tg per year.  That's lower than the annual emissions from China's coal mines.

https://science.sciencemag.org/content/361/6398/186

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Assessment of methane emissions from the U.S. oil and gas supply chain

Ramón A. Alvarez, et. al

Science  13 Jul 2018

Abstract

Methane emissions from the U.S. oil and natural gas supply chain were estimated by using ground-based, facility-scale measurements and validated with aircraft observations in areas accounting for ~30% of U.S. gas production. When scaled up nationally, our facility-based estimate of 2015 supply chain emissions is 13 ± 2 teragrams per year, equivalent to 2.3% of gross U.S. gas production. This value is ~60% higher than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency inventory estimate, likely because existing inventory methods miss emissions released during abnormal operating conditions. Methane emissions of this magnitude, per unit of natural gas consumed, produce radiative forcing over a 20-year time horizon comparable to the CO2 from natural gas combustion. Substantial emission reductions are feasible through rapid detection of the root causes of high emissions and deployment of less failure-prone systems.

69
Science / Re: 2019 CO2 emissions
« on: July 17, 2019, 12:27:00 AM »
The following study contains a recent estimate of the amount of methane emitted from coal mines in China.

https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/11/7/2054/htm

Quote
Sustainability 2019, 11(7), 2054; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11072054

Exploring Gaps between Bottom-Up and Top-Down Emission Estimates Based on Uncertainties in Multiple Emission Inventories: A Case Study on CH4 Emissions in China

Penwadee Cheewaphongphan *, Satoru Chatani and Nobuko Saigusa

Received: 14 March 2019 / Accepted: 28 March 2019 / Published: 6 April 2019

Abstract: Bottom-up CH4 emission inventories, which have been developed from statistical analyses of activity data and country specific emission factors (EFs), have high uncertainty in terms of the estimations, according to results from top-down inverse model studies. This study aimed to determine the causes of overestimation in CH4 bottom-up emission inventories across China by applying parameter variability uncertainty analysis to three sets of CH4 emission inventories titled PENG, GAINS, and EDGAR. The top three major sources of CH4 emissions in China during the years 1990–2010, namely, coal mining, livestock, and rice cultivation, were selected for the investigation. The results of this study confirm the concerns raised by inverse modeling results in which we found significantly higher bottom-up emissions for the rice cultivation and coal mining sectors. The largest uncertainties were detected in the rice cultivation estimates and were caused by variations in the proportions of rice cultivation ecosystems and EFs; specifically, higher rates for both parameters were used in EDGAR. The coal mining sector was associated with the second highest level of uncertainty, and this was caused by variations in mining types and EFs, for which rather consistent parameters were used in EDGAR and GAINS, but values were slightly higher than those used in PENG. Insignificant differences were detected among the three sets of inventories for the livestock sector.

Quote
3.2. Assessment of CH4 Emissions from the Coal Mining Sector

China is one of the world’s major coal producers [32]. According to records of the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), about 12,000 coal mines are in operation in China (as of 2014), and these are mainly bituminous coal operations, with only some involving anthracite and lignite. These mines are located in 28 provinces, particularly in the North region, except for the anthracite mines, which are mostly found in the Central region [32]. About 17% of the mines belong to state-owned coal mine groups (which accounts for a total of 61% of coal production), and 83% of mines are owned by villages and towns (which account for about 39% of coal production) [33]. Most of the mines in China are underground mines, and there are only a few open pit mines [33]. Both types of active coal mines have emissions from four sources, including mining (ventilation and degasification), post mining (handling, transport, and storage), oxidation, and uncontrolled combustion (the fires that occur from the heat), which are significantly higher in underground mines [34]. Mining and post mining activities are the major sources of CH4 emissions, for which the quantity mainly depends on the ranking of coal and the mining depth [35,36]. The 2006 IPCC GLs [34] provide the principles for estimating fugitive emissions from coal mining for Tier 1 and Tier 2 levels, as presented in Equation (4), and these emissions are based on the amount of raw coal production by mine types, the EF for each process and each mine, and the CH4 recovery.

Quote
With the variation of all parameters, there is an uncertainty of emission estimations of about 10%–33%, which accounts for CH4 emissions in the range of 16.4–23.0 Tg.

For comparison, estimates of the amount of methane leaking from the East Siberian Arctic Shelf, which have people stressed out in another thread, range from 2 to 17 Tg per year.

So eliminating coal mining would more than offset the methane emissions from the ESAS, and significantly reduce our CO2 emissions as well.

70
Science / Re: 2019 CO2 emissions
« on: July 17, 2019, 12:11:33 AM »
There's no disputing that natural gas is a lot less carbon intense than coal, so burning it instead of coal emits less CO2.  The problem is that natural gas is mostly methane and that being careless about leaks in the system can result in higher CO2 emissions.  If the amount of methane that leaks during drilling, distribution and burning the natural gas is more than 3%, the benefit of switching from coal is lost.  If the leakage is more than 4%, than the higher heat warming potential of methane means that in the short term, the climate impacts are worse than burning coal.  The following article explains it.

https://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2016/08/is-natural-gas-a-bridge-fuel/

Quote
Overall, carbon dioxide emissions from new gas power plants are as much as 66 percent lower than those of existing coal power plants. About half of this reduction is due to differing carbon intensities of the fuels (natural gas emits 40 percent less carbon than coal per unit of heat). The other half is due to the higher generation efficiency of natural gas (new natural gas plants convert heat to power at upwards of 50 percent efficiency, while typical coal plants only operate at about 33 percent efficiency).

Quote
But not all natural gas produced is burned. Some of it is leaked at gas wells, in compressor stations, from pipelines, or in storage. Methane is a powerful but short-lived greenhouse gas. While it is in the atmosphere, it is around 120 times more powerful than carbon dioxide per ton, but it quickly decomposes through chemical reactions and only about 20 percent of the methane emitted today will remain after 20 years.

Carbon dioxide, on the other hand, has a much longer atmospheric lifetime. About half of the carbon dioxide emitted today will be around in 100 years (and virtually none of the methane will be), and about 15 percent of today’s carbon dioxide will still be in the atmosphere in 10,000 years.

This difference in longevity makes a comparison between the two tricky. Essentially, how much methane emissions today matter for the climate depends largely on the timeframe you are considering. If you care about avoiding warming later in the century (as the United Nations does with its 2°C warming by 2100 target), there is relatively little problem with short-term methane emissions, as long as they are phased out in the next few decades. If you care about short-term changes, however, methane is a much bigger deal.

Also, there is a lot methane trap in coal deposits and released during coal mining.  That isn't taken into account in the above discussion.

71
Science / Re: 2019 CO2 emissions
« on: July 17, 2019, 12:06:00 AM »
US CO2 emissions projected to decrease in 2019.

https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php?action=post;topic=2637.0;last_msg=205211

Quote
U.S. Sees Rare Fall In Energy-Related CO2 Emissions In 2019

By Julianne Geiger - Jul 15, 2019, 10:00 PM CDT

The decrease in coal-derived energy in favor of natural gas-derived energy has the Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecasting that the CO2 emissions in the United States will fall in 2019, according to a new report by the agency on Monday.

In the year prior, energy-related CO2 emissions in the United States had increased by 2.7%.

Quote
The EIA is basing this optimism for lower CO2 emissions on the mild temperature forecasts for the remainder of the year, which it expects will keep energy demand below that of 2018.

“EIA forecasts that CO2 emissions from coal will decrease by 169 MMmt in 2019, the largest decrease in CO2 emissions from coal since 2015,” the EIA said.

Picking up some of that slack is an expected increase in natural gas C02 emissions of 53 MMmt as the mix of coal shrinks and natural gas grows in the overall energy mix. C02 emissions from petroleum is expected to be flat in 2019.

“Because the electric power sector consumes nearly 92% of the coal used in the United States, expectations for both overall lower electricity demand and a lower share of coal-fired electricity this summer lead EIA to forecast lower coal CO2 emissions.”

If we ignore/downplay the level of CH4 fugitive emissions, as the US EIA etc do, then everything is fine. Using a reality lens we can see the bullshit disinformation for what it is. The CO2e of the GHG emissions as a whole will go up, and thats all that counts. CH4 is actually worse than CO2 for short-term warming, and the possibility of triggering/exacerbating feedbacks.

Natural Gas = a bridge to disaster

I agree with you on that.  The existing coal plants need to be shut down and replaced with renewables.  That's being planned right now, with the shutdowns due to occur in the early to mid-2020s.

There's a lot of natural gas infrastructure out there already though, and if it replaces coal, the immediate impacts are big reductions in CO2 which stays in the atmosphere for centuries.  The methane gets scrubbed out of the atmosphere within 10 to 20 years.  So if we replace the existing natural gas infrastructure when it reaches the end of it's useful life, we're better off than having continued to burn coal.

Better yet would be to have a Federal Government run by someone serious about climate change.  They could put strict restrictions on natural gas leakage and ensure that we get the full benefit of the switch from coal to natural gas as my next post will explain.

72
Policy and solutions / Re: Nuclear Power
« on: July 16, 2019, 10:11:48 PM »
New setbacks for the EPRs under construction.

https://www.powermag.com/long-delayed-epr-nuclear-plants-face-further-holdups/

More than 10 years of delay for the Finnish reactor.

Quote
Setbacks have plagued the two under-construction units. Olkiluoto 3 was ordered as a turnkey delivery from a consortium formed by AREVA GmbH, AREVA NP SAS, and Siemens AG. The plant was originally expected to commence commercial operation at the end of April 2009. However, according to the latest schedule update by the plant supplier, regular production was planned to begin in January 2020. Now, it appears that timeline won’t be met.

Welding issues (that's not very reassuring) have delayed the delivery of France's EPR.  No estimated date or cost impacts have been announced.

Quote
At the Flamanville site—where work began in December 2007 and the unit was originally expected to start commercial operation in 2013—weld quality deviations have been the most-recent problem. On Dec. 3, 2018, EDF submitted to ASN a technical file presenting the procedures for repairing and upgrading the main secondary circuit welds, which had showed deficiencies with respect to break preclusion requirements. The company also submitted the specific justification method for the eight welds located in the reactor containment building structure.

Earlier this month, EDF reportedly asked ASN about the possibility of repairing the welds in 2024, after the unit was commissioned. While ASN said that would be technically feasible, it would pose a number of problems, notably with regard to demonstrating the safety of the reactor during the interim period.

In a statement, EDF said it “is currently analysing the impact of this decision on the Flamanville EPR schedule and cost, and, in the upcoming weeks, it will give a detailed update on the next steps in the project.”

73
Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: July 16, 2019, 08:40:39 PM »
More details on China's solar installations in 2019.

https://cleantechnica.com/2019/07/15/china-approves-22-8-gigawatts-of-solar-pv-for-2019-subsidies/

Quote
As has already been covered extensively, China’s solar industry had a slow start to 2019, installing only 5.2 gigawatts due to a lack of certainty about the future of the government’s solar policy. However, with its Feed-in Tariff policy for 2019 finally announced in late-April, and 21 GW of grid-parity wind and solar projects announced in late May, the second half of 2019 is expected to outshine its sluggish start. In July, China’s National Renewable Energy Centre (CNREC) announced that a total of 7.61 GW of new solar capacity was installed between January and May 2019, a decrease of 44% year-over-year.

Unsurprisingly, this meant that Chinese renewable energy investment plummetted 39% over the first half of the year, dragging global renewable energy investment down 14%.

However, the second half of the year looks like it will see an explosion of solar PV activity, with China’s National Energy Administration announcing last week approval for 3,921 projects worth 22.78 GW to receive Feed-in Tariffs (FiT). According to the Asia Europe Clean Energy (Solar) Advisory (AECEA) group, a total of 4,338 projects worth 24.55 GW were submitted for approval, but 417 projects worth 1.77 GW were not approved.

More specifically, out of the approved 22.78 GW, 366 ground-mounted utility-scale projects worth 18.12 GW made up the lion’s share, accounting for 79.5% of the whole. 473 distributed projects worth 0.56 GW and 3,082 self-generation/self-consumption/excess capacity projects amounting 4.10 GW were also approved accounting for 2.5% and 18% respectively.

Quote
All awarded projects must be completed and grid-connected by December 31, 2019. Projects which fail to complete by this date will see their approved tariffs reduced by RMB 0.01 each quarter for the first two quarters of 2020, and if not connected by June 30, 2020, the approved FiT will be revoked and projects eventually cancelled altogether.

With all of this in mind, the AECEA has increased its full-year installation guidance for 2019 from between 32 to 34 GW, up to a relatively impressive 38 GW to 42 GW — though this will still represent a decline of between 5% to 14%, year-over-year.

74
Science / Re: 2019 CO2 emissions
« on: July 16, 2019, 08:02:05 PM »
US CO2 emissions projected to decrease in 2019.

https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php?action=post;topic=2637.0;last_msg=205211

Quote
U.S. Sees Rare Fall In Energy-Related CO2 Emissions In 2019

By Julianne Geiger - Jul 15, 2019, 10:00 PM CDT

The decrease in coal-derived energy in favor of natural gas-derived energy has the Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecasting that the CO2 emissions in the United States will fall in 2019, according to a new report by the agency on Monday.

In the year prior, energy-related CO2 emissions in the United States had increased by 2.7%.

Quote
The EIA is basing this optimism for lower CO2 emissions on the mild temperature forecasts for the remainder of the year, which it expects will keep energy demand below that of 2018.

“EIA forecasts that CO2 emissions from coal will decrease by 169 MMmt in 2019, the largest decrease in CO2 emissions from coal since 2015,” the EIA said.

Picking up some of that slack is an expected increase in natural gas C02 emissions of 53 MMmt as the mix of coal shrinks and natural gas grows in the overall energy mix. C02 emissions from petroleum is expected to be flat in 2019.

“Because the electric power sector consumes nearly 92% of the coal used in the United States, expectations for both overall lower electricity demand and a lower share of coal-fired electricity this summer lead EIA to forecast lower coal CO2 emissions.”

75
Science / Re: The Science of Aerosols
« on: July 16, 2019, 07:31:46 PM »
China has reduced sulfur dioxide significantly over the past ten years as the following two papers demonstrate.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-14639-8

Quote
Li, Can & Mclinden, Chris & Fioletov, Vitali & Krotkov, Nickolay & Carn, Simon & Joanna, Joiner & Streets, David & He, Hao & Ren, Xinrong & Li, Zhanqing & Dickerson, Russell. (2017).

India Is Overtaking China as the World’s Largest Emitter of Anthropogenic Sulfur Dioxide.

Scientific Reports. 7. 10.1038/s41598-017-14639-8.

Severe haze is a major public health concern in China and India. Both countries rely heavily on coal for energy, and sulfur dioxide (SO2) emitted from coal-fired power plants and industry is a major pollutant contributing to their air quality problems. Timely, accurate information on SO2 sources is a required input to air quality models for pollution prediction and mitigation. However, such information has been difficult to obtain for these two countries, as fast-paced changes in economy and environmental regulations have often led to unforeseen emission changes. Here we use satellite observations to show that China and India are on opposite trajectories for sulfurous pollution. Since 2007, emissions in China have declined by 75% while those in India have increased by 50%. With these changes, India is now surpassing China as the world’s largest emitter of anthropogenic SO2. This finding, not predicted by emission scenarios, suggests effective SO2 control in China and lack thereof in India. Despite this, haze remains severe in China, indicating the importance of reducing emissions of other pollutants. In India, ~33 million people now live in areas with substantial SO2 pollution. Continued growth in emissions will adversely affect more people and further exacerbate morbidity and mortality.



https://www.atmos-chem-phys-discuss.net/acp-2019-407/acp-2019-407.pdf

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Significant reduction of PM2.5 in eastern China due to regional-scale emission control: Evidences
from the SORPES station, 2011-2018

Aijun Ding1,2, Xin Huang1,2, Wei Nie1,2, Xuguang Chi1,2, Zheng Xu1,2, Longfei Zheng1,2,5       Zhengning Xu1,2, Yuning Xie1,2,†, Ximeng Qi1,2, Yicheng Shen1,2, Peng Sun1,2, Jiaping
Wang1,2, Lei Wang1,2, Jiannin Sun1,2, Xiu-Qun Yang1,2, Wei Qin3, Xiangzhi Zhang3,4, Wei Cheng3,Weijing Liu5, Liangbao Pan4, and Congbin Fu1,2

Abstract. Haze pollution caused by PM2.5  is the largest air quality concern in China in
recent years. Long-term measurements of PM2.5  and the precursors and chemical speciation is
crucially important for evaluating the efficiency of emission control, understanding formation and
transport of PM2.5  associated with the change of meteorology and for accessing the impact of human activities to regional climate change. Here we reported long-term continuous     measurements of PM2.5, chemical components, and their precursors at a regional background
station, the Station for Observing Regional Processes of the Earth System (SORPES), in Nanjing
eastern China since 2011. We found that PM2.5  at the station has experienced a substantial
decrease (-9.1%/yr), accompanied with even much significant reduction of SO2 (-16.7%/yr), since the national “Ten measures” for air took action in 2013. Control of open biomass burning and fossil-fuel combustion are the two dominant factors that influence the PM2.5 
reduction in early summer and winter, respectively. In cold season (November-January), increased nitrate fraction was observed with more NH3  available from a substantial reduction of sulfate, and the change of year-to-year meteorology contributed to 24% of the PM2.5  decrease since 2013. This study highlights several important implications on air pollution control policy in China.

Quote
3 Results and Discussion

Based on continuous measurement at the SORPES station, Fig. 2 shows the trends of PM2.5  mass concentration and the two key precursors (SO2  and NO2) since 2011, and the main PM2.5
chemical components (BC, SO 2- and NO -) since 2013. Considering the difference in the observation duration and the specific emission control in east China associated with the national
“Ten Measures” for air since 2013 (Sheehan et al., 2014; Wang et al., 2017; Liu et al., 2018), we
conducted linear regression for the two periods: August 2011-July 2018 and August 2013- July 2018, respectively. It can be found that PM2.5  concentration and the mixing ratio of two  precursors show an overall decreasing trend during the past seven years (-6.4%/yr, -12.1%/yr, and -4.6%/yr for PM2.5, SO2  and NO2, respectively), but more remarkable decreasing
trends (- 9.1%/yr, -16.7%/yr, and -5.2%/yr for PM2.5, SO2 and NO2, respectively) since 2013. Among the two precursors, SO2  showed an even more significant reduction with an annual decrease about 17%/yr, which means almost 80% of SO2  was reduced in the past five years. It demonstrates  that the YRD region, as one of the main industry bases with a huge consumption of coal, achieved a very big success of air pollution prevention from desulfurization in power plants and factories in recent years. In fact, a national wide significant reduction of SO2  in the past few years has been also reported by ground and satellite measurements and emission estimations (C. Li et al., 2017; Liu et al., 2018; Zheng et al., 2018).

76
Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: July 16, 2019, 12:10:15 AM »
After pausing in 2018 and early 2019, China is rapidly building solar power plants again.

https://www.nasdaq.com/article/3-solar-stocks-set-to-benefit-from-chinas-247m-subsidies-cm1176454

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The government of China recently announced its decision to offer subsidies worth $247.4 million to the nation's centralized solar power projects in 2019, per the National Energy Administration (NEA). This marks a dramatic reversal from China's stance in 2018 when it had dramatically cut down subsidies offered to solar projects.

Quote
Per the latest announcement, 3,921 large-scale Chinese solar projects with a total installed capacity of 22.79 gigawatts (GW) will be eligible for these subsidies. The new subsidy is part of a fixed subsidy amount that the government has allocated this year for solar projects.

China also expects to bring online 40-45 GW of solar PV in 2019. The government plans to allocate approximately $109 million worth of subsidies for rooftop power projects.

77
Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: July 16, 2019, 12:04:01 AM »
Coal retirements are happening so fast that the agencies in charge with predicting US energy consumption can't keep up.

https://electrek.co/2019/07/09/egeb-us-coal-retirements/

Quote
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Energy Infrastructure Update for April 2019, released last month, revealed that renewable capacity in the US surpassed coal for the first time. And the newest update reveals a large increase in expected coal plant retirements, just a month later.

Whereas the previous report revealed that 13,992 megawatts of coal capacity were set to be retired by May 2022, the newest FERC update now expects 17,054 MW of coal to be retired by June 2022. That’s a 3,000+ MW expected decrease in coal capacity, in an extra month’s time.

78
Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: July 15, 2019, 10:38:00 PM »
Scotland generates enough energy from wind turbines to power all of it's homes and export some to northern England.

https://www.engadget.com/2019/07/15/scotland-wind-power-twice-as-needed/

Quote
It's no secret Scotland has a lot of wind farms, but it's now clear just how much electricity those turbines can produce. Data from WeatherEnergy shows that Scottish wind turbines generated just over 9.8 million megawatt-hours of electricity between January and June, or enough to power roughly 4.47 million homes -- nearly twice as many homes as there are in Scotland. The operators theoretically have enough excess wind energy to power a large chunk of northern England.

79
Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: July 15, 2019, 10:16:09 PM »
IEA is predicting a huge oil glut in 2020 as producers keep pumping faster than consumers use oil.

https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/IEA-Huge-Oil-Glut-Coming-In-2020.html

Quote
Global oil supply exceeded demand by about 0.9 million barrels per day (mb/d) in the first six months of this year, according to the International
Energy Agency’s latest Oil Market Report. This retrospective look upends the prevailing sentiment that occurred just a few weeks ago. For instance,
the IEA said that the oil market saw a surplus of about 0.5 mb/d in the second quarter, while the agency previously thought there was going to be a
0.5 mb/d deficit.

“This surplus adds to the huge stock builds seen in the second half of 2018 when oil production surged just as demand growth started to falter,”
the IEA said. “Clearly, market tightness is not an issue for the time being and any re-balancing seems to have moved further into the future.”

OPEC has been attempting to prop up prices by restricting supply, but US shale drillers have continued to pump no matter what the price is.  Those days may be over though.

Quote
The one bit of uncertainty in those forecasts is the unfolding slowdown in the U.S. shale industry. As Bloomberg reported, “pipeline limits, reduced flow from wells drilled too close together, low natural gas prices and high land costs” are putting a squeeze on Texas shale drillers. Financial results are bad, and have been rather grim for quite some time. Despite huge increases in production (or, because of such extraordinary growth) North American oil companies have burned through $187 billion in cash since 2012.

The big question is whether or not the blistering rate of growth begins to slow as investors sour on the industry. Right now, there is only patchy evidence of this, with the rig count down and the pace of growth seemingly on the wane. Bloomberg cited more than a half dozen shale drillers
that have dramatically scaled back their production growth forecasts as they slow the pace of drilling. It remains to be seen if, in the aggregate, U.S. output begins to flatten out.

If that occurs, it would be a massive relief to OPEC, which would find its task of rebalancing a bit easier. Otherwise, by 2020, the cartel may be forced to cut production by even more than it already has.

80
Policy and solutions / Re: Electric cars
« on: July 15, 2019, 10:09:06 PM »
I posted this story in the battery forum, here's the part relevant to EVs:

https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/EV-Giants-Vie-For-Battery-Dominance.html

Quote
Bloomberg New Energy Finance in January released a forecast that saw EV sales at 2.6
million this year. That would be a 40-percent increase over 2018, which, although a lot
smaller than the 70-percent annual jump in EV sales from 2017, is still quite a
respectable growth rate.


81
Policy and solutions / Re: Batteries: Today's Energy Solution
« on: July 15, 2019, 10:01:29 PM »
The leading EV manufacturers are expanding their battery manufacturing capacity.

https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/EV-Giants-Vie-For-Battery-Dominance.html

Quote
Tesla is the most sold battery electric vehicle globally as of end-2018. Nissan with its
Leaf EV is third. China’s BYD is also in the top ten. The common denominator that
makes them leaders in their field is batteries.

Industry commentator Nick Cox wrote recently for Seeking Alpha that BYD had
allocated some US$1.5 billion in investment for a new battery factory. By next year, the
factory should be operational with an output of an impressive 100 GWh. That would be
a tenth of what China’s EV market would need in terms of battery supply by 2030,
according to BYD’s founder and chairman.

Given that China is the world’s largest singe EV market and likely to remain so in the
observable future, having a tenth of its total battery production capacity makes for a
pretty solid position not just locally, but internationally as well: BYD is already
supplying batteries to Toyota. There is no reason for it not to expand its partnerships
as other carmakers continue struggling with the battery issue on several levels
including cost, range, and reliability.

Tesla, meanwhile, is reportedly working on its own battery cells. CNBC carried a report
in late June, citing company employees, that the carmaker was developing its own
battery cells despite its long-running battery partnership with Panasonic. Striving for
independence in the battery segment makes sense: Elon Musk has complained in the
past of battery constraints that have affected Tesla production and deliveries. There
have also been reports of a cooling off between the partners and the development of
proprietary battery cells fits in with this narrative. Even if the speculation about the
cool-off is untrue, Tesla would certainly do its best to avoid battery constraints in the
future.

Nissan, for its part, is taking another approach. The third-best selling EV in the world
has, it turns out, very durable batteries. They last longer than the productive life of the
Leaf so the company is building demand for battery storage. One of its projects, in the
UK, offers people Nissan Energy Solar: a package of solar panels, battery storage, and a
control system. In other parts of the continent the Leaf can be connected to the grid. A
third branch of Nissan’s battery demand creation is working on turning the Leaf
batteries into a power source for street lights so these can be taken off the grid.

82
Policy and solutions / Re: Batteries: Today's Energy Solution
« on: July 15, 2019, 09:54:37 PM »
The decrease in prices of batteries is leading to a huge increase in utility-scale battery storage.

https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/The-Energy-Storage-Industry-Is-Exploding.html#

Quote
China is set to become the single biggest energy storage market in the Asia Pacific region by 2024, according to new reporting by British data analysis and consultancy group Wood Mackenzie. The company’s July 9th report states in no uncertain terms that the country is poised to take over the energy storage market, as its “cumulative energy storage capacity is projected to skyrocket from 489 megawatts (MW) or 843 megawatt-hours (MWh) in 2017 to 12.5 gigawatts (GW) or 32.1GWh in 2024,” an impressive increase ”in the installed base of 25 times.”


83
Arctic sea ice / Re: When will the Arctic Go Ice Free?
« on: July 15, 2019, 06:55:53 PM »
Quote
But they are better than nothing, you have to work with the tools you have got not the ones you would like, and the models show the same thing for 2020 2040 and 2060.

Let me be very clear about this. In the model that predicts a BOE by 2080, if you instantly remove the ice in 2020, 2040, or 2060 the ice immediately comes back. Well of course it does. The model is underestimating melt and/or overestimating freeze.

A wrong model is worse than nothing, if you make decisions according to the wrong model.

However, as the arctic keeps changing and showing scientist new secrets, I'm sure that better models will emerge.

Quote
You might want a newer source and better model, but basically tough: If it doesn't exist, then you are not going to get it. If there are two papers saying the same thing, then another paper is unlikely to be published unless it is saying something markedly different.

You don't think missing the first BOE by 4 decades (possibly more) is something markedly different?

Those model results are based on actual physics and include things often missing from the simplistic arguments about a BOE.  For example, the negative feedbacks, the depth of the central Arctic Ocean, and the fact that the gradual build up of the heat in the atmosphere mostly goes into the deep ocean, not the atmosphere or the ice.

Here's a good explanation of why there isn't expected to be a "tipping point" in the event of a BOE from a 2018 paper by Julienne Stroeve and Dirk Notz.

https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/aade56/meta

Quote
Changing state of Arctic sea ice across all seasons
Julienne Stroeve and Dirk Notz 2018 Environ. Res. Lett. 13 103001

Abstract
 

The decline in the floating sea ice cover in the Arctic is one of the most striking manifestations of climate change. In this review, we examine this ongoing loss of Arctic sea ice across all seasons. Our analysis is based on satellite retrievals, atmospheric reanalysis, climate-model simulations and a literature review. We find that relative to the 1981–2010 reference period, recent anomalies in spring and winter sea ice coverage have been more significant than any observed drop in summer sea ice extent (SIE) throughout the satellite period. For example, the SIE in May and November 2016 was almost four standard deviations below the reference SIE in these months. Decadal ice loss during winter months has accelerated from −2.4 %/decade from 1979 to 1999 to −3.4%/decade from 2000 onwards. We also examine regional ice loss and find that for any given region, the seasonal ice loss is larger the closer that region is to the seasonal outer edge of the ice cover. Finally, across all months, we identify a robust linear relationship between pan-Arctic SIE and total anthropogenic CO2 emissions. The annual cycle of Arctic sea ice loss per ton of CO2 emissions ranges from slightly above 1 m2 throughout winter to more than 3 m2 throughout summer. Based on a linear extrapolation of these trends, we find the Arctic Ocean will become sea-ice free throughout August and September for an additional 800 ± 300 Gt of CO2 emissions, while it becomes ice free from July to October for an additional 1400 ± 300 Gt of CO2 emissions.

Quote
4.2. Stability of the ice cover


In addition to changes in the external forcing and internal variability, a self-amplification of the ongoing ice-loss could in principle have contributed to the rapid ice loss in recent years. Such self-amplification is usually discussed in the context of so-called tipping points or nonlinear threshold, which are often defined as processes in the climate system that show substantial hysteresis in response to changed forcing.

The best known example for such possible hysteresis behavior is related to the ice-albedo feedback mechanism: a reduced ice cover in a given summer will cause increased absorption of solar radiation by the ocean, contributing to further reductions in the ice cover. Such positive feedback loop can cause the irreversible loss of Arctic sea ice in idealized studies based for example on energy-balance models (see review by North 1984), and have hence been suggested to possibly be relevant also for the real world.

However, an analysis of the existing observational record and a substantial number of respective modeling studies with complex ESMs all agree that such a 'tipping point' does not exist for the loss of Arctic summer sea ice. For example, Notz and Marotzke (2012) found a negative auto-correlation of the year-to-year changes in observed September SIE. Hence, whenever SIE was substantially reduced in a given summer, the next summer usually showed some recovery of the ice cover. This was further supported by Serreze and Stroeve (2015). Such behavior suggests that the sea-ice cover is at least currently in a stable region of the phase space, as otherwise one would then expect that any year with a really low ice coverage should be followed by a year with an even lower ice coverage, driven by the ice-albedo feedback mechanism. As shown by Tietsche et al (2011), the contrasting behavior of the real ice cover can be explained by compensating negative feedbacks that stabilize the ice cover despite the amplifying ice-albedo feedback. The most important of these stabilizing feedbacks relates to the fact that during winter the ocean very effectively releases heat from those areas that became ice free during summer, thus over-compensating for any extreme ice loss in a preceding summer. Ice that is formed later in the season also carries a thinner snow cover and can hence grow more effectively during winter (e.g., Notz 2009). Stroeve et al (2018) suggest, however, that this stabilizing feedback mechanism is becoming weaker and weaker as Arctic winters become warmer and warmer. Increased winter cloud cover after summer sea ice loss as found by Liu et al 2012 also weakens the stabilizing feedback, as it reduces the loss of heat from the ocean surface.

The apparent mismatch of observations and complex model studies on the one hand, which both show no emergent tipping-point behavior of the ice loss, and studies with idealized models, which show tipping-point behavior, was resolved in a dedicated study by Wagner and Eisenman (2015). They were able to extend simplified models until their behavior agreed with more complex models. In doing so, they found that both spatial communication through meridional heat transport and the annual cycle in solar radiation are important for stabilizing the ice cover's response to changes in the external forcing.

84
Note that no Government policy was used in the following article, published in the conservative Forbes news website, about a conservative state in the US, currently lead by a climate denier:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffmcmahon/2019/07/02/mike-pences-indiana-chooses-renewables-over-gas-as-it-retires-coal-early/#3a2961a443b4

Quote
Jul 2, 2019, 12:01am

In Conservative Indiana, Utility Chooses Renewables Over Gas As It Retires Coal Early
Jeff McMahon 

Los Angeles just announced the largest and cheapest solar+storage project in the world, but that's the golden land of dreamers and subsidies. About 1,800 miles to the right, conservative Indiana—with no renewable-portfolio standard—is making similar choices.

Renewables are so cheap, said Mike Hooper, the senior vice president of the Northern Indiana Service Company (NIPSCO), that the utility can close its coal plants early and return $4 billion to its customers over the next 30 years.

"It ends up being a really big number, somewhere in the neighborhood of $4 billion for our customers, and clearly a lot of that comes from the fact that there’s hundreds of millions of dollars in fuel every year from a marginal standpoint that you're not spending, that the customer gets the advantage of through the check they write us every month."

NIPSCO, which delivers power to the northern third of Indiana, issued a request for proposals in 2018 to transform its energy system away from coal. The company had issued a similar RFP in 2016, but the results it got this time were markedly different.

"We kind of made an assumption that as the results came back it would be very much similar to 2016, particularly where we sit in the world, that natural-gas generation would be the most cost-effective option," Hooper said. "And as we ran this RFP and got our results back, we were surprised to see that wind—especially early wind in service in 2020 and 2021—and then solar, on a levelized-cost-of-energy-basis, were significantly less expensive than new gas-fired generation."

In the USA, money talks.  And money is now firmly behind renewables.  Coal is dead and natural gas isn't far behind.

So you can run all the model runs at RCP8.5 that you want to and talk about BAU scenarios, but those days are over.

85
Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: July 12, 2019, 11:40:51 PM »
Ken,

What is needed is a rapidly accelerating level of annual capacity installations for renewables to be able to make a meaningful dent in fossil fuel usage, and thus GHG emissions. Instead, we have a relatively stable level of annual additions (with industry groups forecasting the same for a good few years out). This is failure, as it will not reduce GHG emissions. Increases in renewable energy are not offsetting increases in overall energy usage at the global level, the first hurdle that must be crossed.We have the odd country spurt from a low level (China being the last) and then as Bloomberg points out, growth rates rapidly flatten and stabilize.

Short of a major global recession, GHG emissions will not fall for many years without some fundamental policy changes to trigger a much faster shift. We can celebrate that solar and wind are getting cheaper every year, but the inertia in the energy system seems to be more of a match for that for the time being.Getting the same renewable bang for less bucks is failure when we need a lot more bang.

r, if I may call you r,

Yes.  And given that it takes years to plan, finance and permit new power plants, the infrastructure we're seeing installed today was planned and built before the costs of renewables became cheaper than fossil fuels.

Now that renewables are cheaper than fossil fuel plants, the tremendous increases in the installation of renewable power plants are possible.  China is even switching from feed-in-tariffs, which are an inadequate Government solution, to competitive auctions, where renewables compete quite well on prices.  Expect to see the actual installation of renewables exceed the Paris commitments within a few years.

In fact, in the US, we're already seeing utility companies plan to shut down coal fired power plants before the end of their useful lives.  And they're being replaced by renewable power plants, not natural gas.  Because it saves them billions of dollars, not because of an international treaty.

https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php?action=post;quote=212948;topic=256.3700

Quote
Renewables are so cheap, said Mike Hooper, the senior vice president of the Northern Indiana Service Company (NIPSCO), that the utility can close its coal plants early and return $4 billion to its customers over the next 30 years.

"It ends up being a really big number, somewhere in the neighborhood of $4 billion for our customers, and clearly a lot of that comes from the fact that there’s hundreds of millions of dollars in fuel every year from a marginal standpoint that you're not spending, that the customer gets the advantage of through the check they write us every month."

86
Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: July 12, 2019, 11:33:26 PM »
Indiana shutting down coal plants early because they'll save billions.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffmcmahon/2019/07/02/mike-pences-indiana-chooses-renewables-over-gas-as-it-retires-coal-early/#3a2961a443b4

Quote
Renewables are so cheap, said Mike Hooper, the senior vice president of the Northern Indiana Service Company (NIPSCO), that the utility can close its coal plants early and return $4 billion to its customers over the next 30 years.

"It ends up being a really big number, somewhere in the neighborhood of $4 billion for our customers, and clearly a lot of that comes from the fact that there’s hundreds of millions of dollars in fuel every year from a marginal standpoint that you're not spending, that the customer gets the advantage of through the check they write us every month."

87
With the current governments in the US and Russia, Brazil. India isn't stopping production of coal plant infrastructure, 1.5°C is simply a pipe dream. We have to be cutting emissions, not increasing them, and renewable has simply no chance of keeping up the need for energy over the next decade, let alone starting to replace it.

Renewables have only recently become less expensive than fossil fuel power plants, so much of the infrastructure that is coming online now was being planned five to ten years ago.  New infrastructure being planned today wont be insured or financed as is currently the case with coal power.  In the US, utilities are building new renewable power plants with the intent of shuttering coal or gas power plants years before the end of their operating lives, and they'll save money by doing it.

https://insideclimatenews.org/news/26042019/coal-power-plant-shut-down-cost-saving-renewable-energy-indiana-nipsco-vectren-pruitt

Quote
When Indiana's third-largest utility analyzed the economics of its power plants last year, it decided it was time for a big shift—away from the coal power that had long sustained the business and toward renewable energy.

The coal plants simply weren't paying off anymore. In fact, shutting them down would save about $4 billion over 30 years.

Quote
Our conclusions were solely driven by economics and driving for more affordable rates for the state and ultimately for lower-cost energy for customers," Sistovaris said.

Utilities across the country have been coming to the same conclusion. This time it's in a Republican-leaning state with no renewable energy mandates.

And the science is clear that even with a small growth in emissions over the next few years, we can still limit warming with a transition to a low carbon economy.

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/323564003_Scenarios_towards_limiting_global_mean_temperature_increase_below_15_C

Quote
Scenarios towards limiting global mean temperature increase below 1.5 °C


The 2015 Paris Agreement calls for countries to pursue efforts to limit global-mean temperature rise to 1.5 °C. The transition pathways that can meet such a target have not, however, been extensively explored. Here we describe scenarios that limit end-of-century radiative forcing to 1.9 W/ m2, and consequently restrict median warming in the year 2100 to below 1.5 °C. We use six integrated assessment models and a simple climate model, under different socio-economic, technological and resource assumptions from five Shared Socio-economic Pathways (SSPs). Some, but not all, SSPs are amenable to pathways to 1.5 °C. Successful 1.9 W /m2 scenarios are characterized by a rapid shift away from traditional fossil-fuel use towards large-scale low-carbon energy supplies, reduced energy use, and carbon-dioxide removal. However, 1.9 W /m2 scenarios could not be achieved in several models under SSPs with strong inequalities, high baseline fossil-fuel use, or scattered short-term climate policy. Further research can help policy-makers to understand the real-world implications of these scenarios.

So I still argue that we're much more likely to limit the growth in temperatures to 2C or less than to see the 5 to 8C increase AbruptSLR is forecasting.

88
Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: July 12, 2019, 01:03:16 AM »
India's coal plants in the pre-construction pipeline have declined by 83% from 2018.

https://endcoal.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/BoomAndBust_2019_r6.pdf

Quote
Planned new coal capacity has fallen particularly rapidly
in China and India. At the end of 2015, China had
plans to construct 515 GW of new coal power capacity.
That figure now stands at 70 GW, an 86% decline. In
India, the pre-construction pipeline has shrunk 83%,
from 218 GW in 2015 to 36 GW today

Quote
In 2018, 50.2 GW of new coal capacity was commissioned:
34.5 GW in China, 7.7 GW in India, and 8 GW
in the rest of the world (primarily Indonesia, Japan,
Pakistan, Philippines, South Africa, Taiwan, Turkey,
and Vietnam).
Retirements totaled nearly 31 GW in 2018, making
it the third highest year for global coal plant retirements.
Retired capacity was led by the US with
17.6 GW—the second-highest year for US coal retirements
after 2015, which had 21 GW of retirements.

Quote
Retired capacity in China and India totaled 9 GW,
and is set to increase in the future. India has proposed
48 GW of coal plant retirements through 2027,

mainly subcritical coal plants ill-equipped to meet
new pollution standards. China plans to close small
coal plants under 300 MW that cannot meet new
standards for environmental protection, efficiency,
and safety, as well as plants concentrated within 15
kilometers of a power plant size 300 MW or above.

Unless my math is wrong, it looks like India is planning to retire more coal power (48GW) than it added in 2018 (7.7GW) and is currently projected to build (36GW).  And given that renewables with battery storage are now cheaper than operating coal power plants, the number of new coal power plants should decrease and the number of retirements could increase.

89
Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: July 12, 2019, 12:44:50 AM »
[Third of three posts addressing a decrease of investment in renewable energy in 2019]

The above articles, showing differences in investment from 2017 to 2018, explain how the fact that renewables keep getting cheaper means you have to look behind the amount of money invested and see how much capacity was actually funded. 

rboyd's linked article was about a drop in investment in China in the first half of 2019 compared to other recent six-month periods in Chinese investment in renewables.  It's very interesting in another fact it left out, as the following article explains.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/dominicdudley/2019/07/10/renewable-energy-investment-falls/#626ec8384fb7

Quote
According to BloombergNEF (BNEF), which compiled the figures, the fall in investment is largely due to a change in approach by the Chinese government, which is in the middle of a move away from government-set tariffs to holding competitive auctions for new wind and solar capacity – an approach increasingly favoured by governments around the world as it leads to lower costs.

Given that solar and wind, even with battery storage costs, are now cheaper than coal, natural gas and nuclear, the move from feed-in-tariffs to competitive auctions is probably the end of new coal plants in China.

The article continues:

Quote
“The slowdown in investment in China is real, but the figures for first-half 2019 probably overstate its severity,” said Justin Wu, head of Asia-Pacific for BNEF. “We expect a nationwide solar auction happening now to lead to a rush of new [solar photovoltaic] PV project financings. We could also see several big deals in offshore wind in the second half.”

90
Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: July 12, 2019, 12:26:04 AM »
[Second of three posts responding to a decrease of investment in renewable energy in early 2019]

The BNEF report on renewable energy released in June 2019, has a great summary of why renewables are going to be replacing fossil fuels, and probably sooner than the remaining useful life of the fossil fuel plants.

https://www.ren21.net/gsr-2019/chapters/chapter_01/chapter_01/

Quote
Renewable energy has been established globally as a mainstream source of electricity generation for several years.2 The estimated share of renewables in global electricity generation was more than 26% by the end of 2018.3 Net capacity additions for renewable power were higher than for fossil fuels and nuclear combined for a fourth consecutive year, and renewables now make up more than one-third of global installed power capacity.4 This is due in part to stable policy initiatives and targets that send positive signals to the industry, along with decreasing costs and technological advancements.

Renewable power is increasingly cost-competitive compared to conventional fossil fuel-fired power plants. By the end of 2018, electricity generated from new wind and solar photovoltaics (PV) plants had become more economical than power from fossil fuel-fired plants in many places. (→ See Sidebar 4.) In addition, in some locations it was more cost-effective to build new wind and solar PV power plants than to continue to run existing fossil fuel power plants.5 Record-low bids in tenders for renewable power were held in many countries around the world, especially for solar PV and wind power, although this development was not necessarily positive for the industry. (→ See Market and Industry chapter.)

Quote
Renewable energy targets are in place in nearly all countries, and several jurisdictions made their existing targets more ambitious in 2018. The number of renewable energy support policies increased again during the year, mostly for renewable electricity.

Quote
The private sector is playing a key role in driving renewable energy deployment through its procurement and investment decisions. By early 2019, 175 companies had joined RE100 – committing to 100% renewable electricity targets – up from 130 companies the year before.16 These and other private sector targets have supported the expansion of corporate power purchase agreements (PPAs), which are spreading to new countries and regions but remain concentrated in the United States and Europe.

Quote
Shareholder pressure and the rising competitiveness of the renewables sector have resulted in increased investment by the fossil fuel industry – including some large oil corporations – in both renewable energy projects and companies.18 An increasing number of companies that own, develop or operate fossil fuel power plants shifted away from the coal business during 2018.19 Some firms are investing more in renewable energy – although still in relatively small amounts – in order to economically and reliably meet their own energy needs, to spread their risk or to become players in the rapidly growing renewables sector.


Quote
Global investment in renewable power and fuels in 2018 totalled USD 288.9 billion (USD 304.9 billion including hydropower plants larger than 50 megawatts, MW); this was an 11% decrease from the previous year (largely as a result of a significant fall in China) but the fifth year in a row that investment exceeded the USD 230 billion mark.21 With more or less stable growth in renewable power capacity, the decline in investment reflects to some extent the falling costs of renewables – essentially, more capacity can be installed for less money.

91
Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: July 12, 2019, 12:17:38 AM »
[This is the first of three consecutive posts that address the hugely misleading article linked to by rboyd above.  I'm not going to quote rboyd or repost his link, as that would perpetuate the spread of misinformation.]

rboyd's linked article about the decrease in global investment in renewables failed to take into consideration two huge positive causes for the decrease in investment.

https://www.unenvironment.org/news-and-stories/press-release/renewable-energy-investment-2018-hit-usd-2889-billion-far-exceeding

Quote
The dip in investment in 2018 can be partly attributed to falling technology costs in solar photovoltaics, which meant that the required capacity could be secured at a lower cost, and a slowdown in solar power deployment in China.

Yes, solar cost less (and so did wind) in 2018 versus previous years, which means that you can also build more of it for lower investment.

Quote
If China is excluded, renewable energy investment in the developing world actually increased 6 per cent to USD 61.6 billion, a record high.

“When overall investment falls, it is easy to think we are moving backwards, but that is not the case,” Angus McCrone, Chief Editor at BloombergNEF, commented: “Renewable energy is getting less expensive and we are seeing a broadening of investment activity in wind and solar to more countries in Asia, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East and Africa.”

Investment in Europe jumped 39 per cent to USD 61.2 billion, the highest level in two years, driven largely by large on- and off-shore wind investments.

In the United States, investment edged up 1 per cent to USD 48.5 billion, the highest level since 2011, also driven by an increase in wind power financing.

And why did China decrease solar investment?  Probably for the same reason they seriously decreased coal investment, less demand for energy due to slower growth.  Here is a report about coal's decline worldwide:

https://endcoal.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/BoomAndBust_2019_r6.pdf

Here is an excerpt about China's planned investment in coal in 2018.

Quote
Planned new coal capacity has fallen particularly rapidly
in China and India. At the end of 2015, China had
plans to construct 515 GW of new coal power capacity.
That figure now stands at 70 GW, an 86% decline.

Here's a link to the BNEF report on renewables:

http://www.ren21.net/gsr-2019/




92
Keep in mind that there is near universal agreement among countries to strive the keep the future warming to 2 degrees C or less.  There has been great progress in the deployment of carbon free power generation and transportation technologies and the transition is well underway.  It would seem that we are far more likely to see future temperature increases of 1.5C to 2C than we are of seeing 5 to 8 C temperature increases.

No offence but this sentiment seems to be coming from some alternate reality, one in which I would also much prefer to exist.

I would have to agree, as the probability of staying under 2C is approaching zero given the lack of substantive action (i.e. significant cuts in GHG emissions) while research on positive feedbacks is increasing the probability of between 5 and 8C. Investment in renewables has fallen this year, with annual increases in renewable output not enough to reduce fossil fuel usage (oil, coal and gas),

Coal is on the way out, as this report from three NGOs explains:

https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php?action=post;quote=212770;topic=2205.1300

Quote
For the third year in a row, most leading indicators of coal power
capacity growth declined in 2018, including construction starts,
pre-construction activity, and plant completions, according to the
Global Coal Plant Tracker.1 In China and India, which have accounted
for 85% of new coal power capacity since 2005, the number of permits
for new coal plants dropped to record lows. The level of coal
plant retirements continued at a record pace, led primarily by the US,
despite efforts by the Trump Administration to keep aging coal plants
online.

And as the following scientific paper published in Nature this January indicates, the current fossil fuel infrastructure does not yet commit us to more than 1.5 C warming.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-018-07999-w

Quote
Committed warming describes how much future warming can be expected from historical emissions due to inertia in the climate system. It is usually defined in terms of the level of warming above the present for an abrupt halt of emissions. Owing to socioeconomic constraints, this situation is unlikely, so we focus on the committed warming from present-day fossil fuel assets. Here we show that if carbon-intensive infrastructure is phased out at the end of its design lifetime from the end of 2018, there is a 64% chance that peak global mean temperature rise remains below 1.5 °C. Delaying mitigation until 2030 considerably reduces the likelihood that 1.5 °C would be attainable even if the rate of fossil fuel retirement was accelerated. Although the challenges laid out by the Paris Agreement are daunting, we indicate 1.5 °C remains possible and is attainable with ambitious and immediate emission reduction across all sectors.

Renewables plus battery storage are now cheaper than operating coal and natural gas plants in the US, meaning many of those fossil fuel plants will be closed before the end of their useful lives.  New fossil fuel plants wont be funded because renewables are cheaper.  The following article just published in Science clearly illustrates this:

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/07/giant-batteries-and-cheap-solar-power-are-shoving-fossil-fuels-grid

Quote
Giant batteries and cheap solar power are shoving fossil fuels off the grid

By Robert F. ServiceJul. 11, 2019 , 1:40 PM

This month, officials in Los Angeles, California, are expected to approve a deal that would make solar power cheaper than ever while also addressing its chief flaw: It works only when the sun shines. The deal calls for a huge solar farm backed up by one of the world's largest batteries. It would provide 7% of the city's electricity beginning in 2023 at a cost of 1.997 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) for the solar power and 1.3 cents per kWh for the battery. That's cheaper than any power generated with fossil fuel.

"Goodnight #naturalgas, goodnight #coal, goodnight #nuclear," Mark Jacobson, an atmospheric scientist at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, tweeted after news of the deal surfaced late last month. "Because of growing economies of scale, prices for renewables and batteries keep coming down," adds Jacobson, who has advised countries around the world on how to shift to 100% renewable electricity. As if on cue, last week a major U.S. coal company—West Virginia–based Revelation Energy LLC—filed for bankruptcy, the second in as many weeks.

Quote
Precipitous price declines have already driven a shift toward renewables backed by battery storage. In March, an analysis of more than 7000 global storage projects by Bloomberg New Energy Finance reported that the cost of utility-scale lithium-ion batteries had fallen by 76% since 2012, and by 35% in just the past 18 months, to $187 per MWh. Another market watch firm, Navigant, predicts a further halving by 2030, to a price well below what 8minute has committed to.

Quote
Local commitments to switch to 100% renewables are also propelling the rush toward grid-scale batteries. By Jacobson's count, 54 countries and eight U.S. states have required a transition to 100% renewable electricity. In 2010, California passed a mandate that the state's utilities install electricity storage equivalent to 2% of their peak electricity demand by 2024.




93
Permafrost / Re: Arctic Methane Release
« on: July 11, 2019, 10:57:56 PM »
Copied from the 2019 Melting season thread, where it risked clogging up that topic:
Could any of this anomalous warming in the ESS and Alaska be from localized methane emissions? How soon does methane contribute warming once released?

<Edit Neven: Ask questions like this one in the 'stupid' questions thread, or the methane thread.>
...

<Edit Neven: ... No, it shouldn't be discussed here, because this thread is for near-real time monitoring of conditions in the Arctic. If you can point to reliable near-real time data graphs or maps that have a direct influence on the outcome of this melting season, and that can be compared to previous years, please do so. If not, take it up in other threads.>
Understood, appreciated!

I can "point" to it indeed - the guys who did this neat animation (press "play" button in the bottom right corner; it takes a bit to load) seem to have plenty good data on the subject. And those fellows are quite reliable bunch. But for now i am unable to "compare to previous years" due to particularities of data retrieval they offer. But perhaps someone else can do it for us here?

And please allow me to just briefly answer Oscilidous' questions, as these answers can help more than just him, i'm sure. I promise i won't go any further on this topic, too.

1. yes, quite some of that high heat could well be caused by local (regional) methane emissions, since methane's local warming potential is ~1000 times higher than CO2 and as you can see from the 1st link i gave just above in this post, both Alaska and ESAS have significantly elevated methane levels presently.

2. once methane reaches athmosphere - it starts to contribute extra warming instantly, as surface always emits IR (sunny days more, cloudy days / nights less) and methane is rather dilute presently, means every molecule is pretty effective at adding extra greenhouse effect; some technical info about how it all works can be found here.

Thank you very much for that link.  This is the first methane mapping link I've seen since 2013.  I wish they offered a reanalysis map instead of a forecast map.  But at least the forecast likely shows current methane levels across the arctic on the first frame.  That link,again is:

Methane forecasts
https://atmosphere.copernicus.eu/charts/cams/methane-forecasts?facets=undefined&time=2019070600,69,2019070821&projection=classical_arctic&layer_name=composition_ch4_surface

For those of us concerned about the potential of the arctic seafloor to release large amounts of methane, my interpretation would be "no, the arctic seafloor is not a major emitter of methane as of today."  I suspect we might see substantial release as the ESAS area becomes denuded of ice and the shallow waters warm later in the season.  I plan to keep an eye on that.

The global methane forecast for July 10 2019:

https://atmosphere.copernicus.eu/charts/cams/methane-forecasts?facets=undefined&time=2019071000,3,2019071003&projection=classical_global&layer_name=composition_ch4_surface





Compared to the global one day temperatures for July 11 2019:



Focusing just on China, it appears that a very high level of methane (China appears to have a large area of more than 10,000 ppb methane) doesn't necessarily lead to an immediate spike in temperatures (with normal to below normal temperatures in the areas with high methane).

94
Policy and solutions / Re: Low GHG Meat
« on: July 11, 2019, 10:25:38 PM »
Here's an interesting article on selectively breeding cows with lower levels of methane-producing bacteria in their digestive tracts.

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2208449-we-could-breed-climate-friendly-cows-that-belch-less-methane/

Quote
Livestock are responsible for 14.5 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, with the majority stemming from beef and milk production, largely because flatulent, belching cattle emit so much methane. Researchers have previously looked at tweaking their diet to reduce these emissions, such as by adding seaweed.

But now there might be a long-term solution, as it appears that a core group of gut microbes play a key role in how much methane a cow produces. The bacteria are closely correlated to the cows’ genetic makeup, suggesting the drivers for emissions are passed down through generations.

“Because of the heritability, it should be possible using that information to breed animals for low emissions and increased productivity,” says John Wallace of the University of Aberdeen, UK, who led the research. The microbiome of herds could be sequenced and individual animals with high emissions selectively bred out. Eliminating the worst offenders in the microbiome could cut methane by 50 per cent, Wallace says.



95
Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: July 11, 2019, 01:18:15 AM »
I posted a link to this story in the renewables forum and reposting it here with additional information about the impacts to the natural gas industry.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/energyinnovation/2019/07/10/utility-regulators-should-avoid-risky-bets-on-new-natural-gas/#6bea45e574fa

Quote
Solar-plus-storage is now competitive with new natural gas-fired power plants on energy, capacity, and other grid services. Investment firm Lazard pegs the cost of new combined cycle natural gas generation at $41-74 per megawatt-hour (MWh). The same report finds unsubsidized solar costs at $36-46/MWh and wind costs at $29-56 (significantly lower with federal tax credits).

Quote
NV Energy’s recent procurement of 1,200 megawatts (MW) solar and 580 MW of four-hour battery storage trounces new natural gas on price. The public tranche of contracts paid $20/MWh for solar and $13/MWh for enough battery storage to shift 25% of daily energy, resulting in a total cost of $33/MWh per MWh delivered (including federal tax credits).

That $13/MWh is now a ceiling on the incremental cost of “reliability” services provided by new natural gas. We can now shift renewable energy to the highest-demand hours for less than the difference between the levelized cost of new natural gas and renewable generation.


Quote
According to the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Annual Energy Outlook 2019, 23.5 gigawatts (GW) of natural gas additions are planned across the U.S., and the U.S. could add 300 GW by 2050 while corresponding infrastructure is projected to grow 4% annually through 2025, worth $1.5 trillion.

With trillions in natural gas investments at risk if renewable costs fall as anticipated, who will hold the bag for new infrastructure investments? Duke Energy plans to build 9,534 MW of gas capacity in the Carolinas alone, but will add only 3,671 MW of solar capacity to the region in the same timeline. With solar and wind plus storage contracts so far below the cost of new gas today, utilities like Duke can’t rightly say they didn’t see it coming.

Regulators must protect customers against the cost and impacts of new gas

If in 2019, regulators see renewable and storage costs as slightly higher than current natural gas costs, they must recall we live in an era of rapid disruption with significant risk natural gas will become uneconomic compared to rapidly falling clean energy costs.

Natural gas assets have a projected asset life of about 30 years, but falling renewables and storage costs may render them uneconomic within a few years. Meanwhile, natural gas price risk still looms large – exacerbated by climate extremes. Utility claims to the contrary, or which use outdated cost information, risk undercutting their own businesses in the long-run.

96
Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: July 11, 2019, 01:08:23 AM »
New wind and solar are now cheaper than new natural gas plants in the US, even without subsidies.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/energyinnovation/2019/07/10/utility-regulators-should-avoid-risky-bets-on-new-natural-gas/#506e287f74fa

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Cheap Clean Energy Makes New Natural Gas A Risky Bet Utility Regulators Should Avoid

Mike O'Boyle

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Solar-plus-storage is now competitive with new natural gas-fired power plants on energy, capacity, and other grid services. Investment firm Lazard pegs the cost of new combined cycle natural gas generation at $41-74 per megawatt-hour (MWh). The same report finds unsubsidized solar costs at $36-46/MWh and wind costs at $29-56 (significantly lower with federal tax credits).

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NV Energy’s recent procurement of 1,200 megawatts (MW) solar and 580 MW of four-hour battery storage trounces new natural gas on price. The public tranche of contracts paid $20/MWh for solar and $13/MWh for enough battery storage to shift 25% of daily energy, resulting in a total cost of $33/MWh per MWh delivered (including federal tax credits).

That $13/MWh is now a ceiling on the incremental cost of “reliability” services provided by new natural gas. We can now shift renewable energy to the highest-demand hours for less than the difference between the levelized cost of new natural gas and renewable generation.

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Recent Vibrant Clean Energy modeling conducted with Energy Innovation showed existing coal can’t compete with new renewables, and those same economic forces are now an existential threat to the natural gas generation business. States and utilities doubling down on natural gas should quickly reassess their strategies because the climate and consumers both have a lot to lose.

Renewable and storage cost trends will keep strengthening

Renewable and storage costs are projected to continue falling in the coming years, more than offsetting the subsidies they now enjoy. Consider NextEra Energy, which owns more natural gas generation than renewables, but forecasts storage and solar costs will fall fast with a combined cost in the $29-39/MWh range by 2023. As a result, the utility predicts wind and solar will provide 39% of its power generation in 2030, while natural gas’ share will fall from 35% to 31%.

97
Seeing as Earth may be headed towards PETM conditions,

For those who don't know what the PETM is, here's the Wikipedia entry:

This climate event began at the time boundary of the Paleogene, between the Paleocene and Eocene geological epochs.[2] The exact age and duration of the event is uncertain but it is estimated to have occurred around 55.5 million years ago.[3]]The Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), alternatively "Eocene thermal maximum 1" (ETM1), and formerly known as the "Initial Eocene" or "Late Paleocene Thermal Maximum", was a time period with more than 5–8 °C warmer global average temperature rise across the event.[1] This climate event began at the time boundary of the Paleogene, between the Paleocene and Eocene geological epochs.[2] The exact age and duration of the event is uncertain but it is estimated to have occurred around 55.5 million years ago.[3]

Keep in mind that there is near universal agreement among countries to strive the keep the future warming to 2 degrees C or less.  There has been great progress in the deployment of carbon free power generation and transportation technologies and the transition is well underway.  It would seem that we are far more likely to see future temperature increases of 1.5C to 2C than we are of seeing 5 to 8 C temperature increases.

98
Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: July 10, 2019, 06:02:36 PM »
An article about the recent BP report on worldwide electricity generation compares the growth rates of renewables to the fossil fuel and nuclear power growth rates.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/rrapier/2019/07/07/wind-and-solar-power-nearly-matched-nuclear-power-in-2018/#2b873e2b39ee

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Renewables Catching Nuclear Power In Global Energy Race
Robert Rapier  July 7, 2019



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Coal is still the dominant source of electricity around the world, although natural gas has taken over the top spot in the U.S. But, renewables have grown rapidly over the past decade, and are on the cusp of overtaking nuclear globally.

In 2018, nuclear power was responsible for 2,701 Terawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity generation, compared to 4,193 TWh for hydropower and 2,480 for renewables. In comparison, coal produced more power than all three categories combined.

However, the growth rates of the different categories of electricity generation tell a different story. Over the past decade, from 2007 to 2017, global electricity generated by coal grew at an annual average of 1.7%. Nuclear generation over that time actually declined annually by 0.4%, a consequence of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011. Hydropower generation grew at an average annual rate of 2.8%. These growth rates are indicative of mature power sources.

But contrast those growth rates with those of modern renewables.

From 2007 to 2017, the Renewables category grew at an average annual rate of 16.4%. But within that category, power from geothermal and biomass grew at an annual average of 7.1%. Wind and solar power, by contrast, grew at an annual average of 20.8% and 50.2%, respectively, over the past decade.

99
Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: July 10, 2019, 01:04:23 AM »
Oil demand growth is primarily driven by China.  And China's economy is slowing down, which is putting a damper on oil demand.

https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/A-Red-Flag-For-Oil-Chinas-Crude-Consumption-Is-Faltering.html

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A Red Flag For Oil? China’s Crude Consumption Is Faltering

By Tsvetana Paraskova - Jul 09, 2019, 5:00 PM CDT

China set a fresh monthly crude oil import record in April and continues to import growing volumes of crude oil this year, accounting for an estimated two-thirds of global oil demand growth in 2019. 

Yet, a rough estimate of actual Chinese oil consumption patterns lately suggest that the U.S.-China trade war has hit China’s industries and that nearly half of the rise in crude imports have gone into storage so far this year, according to Reuters columnist Clyde Russell, who offers an interesting perspective on whether China’s soaring crude oil imports adequately reflect what’s going on with the Chinese economy.

Signs are pointing to a slowdown in China’s economic growth, while stockpiling—at high levels so far this year—could decelerate later in 2019 if oil prices rise to a level Beijing considers too high to build inventories at the current pace.

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Crude oil supply in China—including imports and domestic production—minus refinery runs, suggests that between January and May, China put 1.21 million bpd into either commercial or strategic storage, compared to 850,000 bpd put into storage in the same period last year, according to Russell’s calculations.

China doesn’t provide figures about storage, so this is only an estimate, but this estimate suggests that China accelerated stockpiling this year, with 45 percent of the crude import growth heading to storage.

Add to this increased exports of fuels, and China’s actual crude oil consumption growth may have been just 340,000 bpd in H1 2019, Russell argues.

Earlier this year, data compiled by Wells Fargo Securities showed that China’s diesel demand slumped by 14 percent in March and 19 percent in April, to the lowest levels in a decade.

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Apart from wobbling economy, China’s crude oil demand, and possibly imports, could be dragged down in the short term by refiners curtailing refinery runs in the third quarter as massive refinery start-ups and slowing domestic fuel demand have created a fuel glut in the country, hurting refining margins.

According to JLC International, Sinopec ZRC will cut daily crude consumption by 2.17 percent, while Tianjin Petrochemical is set to reduce its daily crude runs by 5.12 percent in July.

So far this year China has shown resilient crude oil import growth. But actual industrial and manufacturing crude consumption may have been much lower than the headline number suggests. Going forward, if China reduces the rate of crude stockpiling if oil prices rise, its crude oil imports could flash a warning sign to the oil market that the world’s top oil importer is seeing significant slowdown in crude demand growth.

100
Permafrost / Re: Arctic Methane Release
« on: July 09, 2019, 10:13:02 PM »
This study was novel because we used new methods to directly track the soil carbon losses, and they were much higher than we previously thought,”

Guess no one double counted the new carbon?

From the news release that was posted upthread:

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Our results point to lateral hydrological export as a potential pathway for these surprisingly large losses. This research highlights the potential to make repeat soil carbon pool measurements at sentinel sites across the permafrost region, as this feedback to climate change may be occurring faster than previously thought.

The new methods to detect the carbon losses related to tracking how it flows out of the soil through the water.  That water ultimately winds up in rivers, lakes, wetlands or the Ocean, where it is currently counted (and as the study showed, potentially double-counted).



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