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Messages - Ken Feldman

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551
Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: October 01, 2019, 09:45:19 PM »
It's amusing to see people still posting glowing projections for the growth of coal when it has become more expensive than wind and solar.  By that I mean that the operating costs for coal power plants are more expensive than simply shutting them down and building new wind and solar.

Not amusing, more a demonstration of inertia (e.g. Hinkley) and covert control by industrialists (e.g. of Block A in India).

So it is very unlikely (barring a new Global Financial crisis) that emissions from coal will peak in 2020.

As more renewables are deployed (since they are cheaper than coal), the coal facilities will be idled.  They'll eventually be shut down as keeping idle facilities maintained with no income is a losing proposition.  It's already happening in the US and Europe.  Take Spain for example:

https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/enel-subsidiary-to-close-all-its-coal-capacity#gs.6v3yzq

Quote
Enel Subsidiary to Close Coal Capacity in Spain
Coal power can no longer keep up in mainland Spain, Enel’s Endesa unit tells investors.
John Parnell September 30, 2019

Coal power is no longer competitive in mainland Spain, according to Enel subsidiary Endesa, as the company plans to shut down all of its coal-fired generation capacity on the Iberian peninsula.
Endesa operates 23 gigawatts of capacity in total in Spain and Portugal, including 7.5 gigawatts of “traditional thermal power."

In a statement to the Spanish stock exchange, Endesa was unequivocal on its view of coal’s near-term future, blaming market conditions and carbon pricing.

“This structural situation has determined that mainland coal-fired thermal power plants are not competitive, and therefore their operation in the electricity generation market is not foreseeable in the future.”

Endesa flagged a likely write-down of €1.3 billion ($1.4 billion) as a result of the shutdown, including decommissioning costs. It did not provide a timeline.

In the first half of 2019, the company generated half as much power from its coal fleet as it did in the same period last year, without closing any capacity. That alone suggests the writing was very much on the wall.


552
Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: October 01, 2019, 07:53:52 PM »
It's amusing to see people still posting glowing projections for the growth of coal when it has become more expensive than wind and solar.  By that I mean that the operating costs for coal power plants are more expensive than simply shutting them down and building new wind and solar.

This article is from February 2019, well before the articles Rboyd linked to on the previous page.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-column-russell-coal-india/coal-going-from-winner-to-loser-in-indias-energy-future-russell-idUSKCN1Q90OP

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NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India’s demand for electricity is expected to double in the next two decades, and coal has been long forecast to be the fuel of choice for power generation. But this may no longer be the case.

It’s not that India doesn’t have plentiful reserves of coal. It does, and it is the world’s second-largest producer and importer, following China.

It’s not even that India’s reserves are expensive to mine. They aren’t.

It’s not even that transporting coal from where it’s mined to where it’s needed is too difficult. Yes, it is an issue, but this challenge could be overcome with sufficient investment in rail and other infrastructure.

No, the main reason coal may battle to fuel India’s future energy needs is that it’s simply becoming too expensive relative to renewable energy alternatives such as wind and solar.

In recent months, power supply auctions have shown that renewables can be offered at less than 3 rupees (4 U.S. cents) per kilowatt hour, a tariff that coal-fired generators have difficulty matching.

There is also zero chance that new coal generators can produce electricity at rates competitive to renewables, given higher capital and operating costs.

553
Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: October 01, 2019, 07:44:44 PM »
China to open $30bn coal railway by end of month

Quote
Deemed the world’s longest heavy freight line, a $30bn railway built to haul coal from China’s northern mines to its eastern and central provinces is set to open by the end of this month.
The Haoji line will carry up to 200 million tonnes of coal a year from Haole Baoji in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region to the city of Ji'an in Jiangxi province, a distance of around 1,800km.

China Railways has been working on the line for the past seven years, and is now completing work on the last section, which intersects with the Shanghai–Kunming Railway in Jiangxi’s Xinyu City.

The line will fuel China’s network of coal-fired plants – officially capped at 1,100GW – as well as what one recent report described as a “tsunami” of plants under construction, which may add another 259GW of installed capacity.

Although China has suffered severe air pollution, and is working to develop renewable energy, some 60% of its power is still generated from coal.

Bloomberg reports that the aim of the line is to reorientate the country’s coal distribution infrastructure, which is predominantly moves coal from western mines to eastern ports, where it is moved by ship to plants in the south.

The new line is set to cut the 20 days required by the seaborne route to three.

http://www.globalconstructionreview.com/news/china-open-30bn-coal-railway-end-month/

Good planning in China as they're closing coal plants!  They might be able to get five to ten years out of it.  I hope it's useful for something other than coal.

https://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/China-Looks-To-Shut-Several-Obsolete-Coal-Plants-By-End-2019.html

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China targets to have 8.7 GW of coal-fired capacity shut by the end of 2019 as the country continues its coal-to-natural gas switch to fight air pollution.
According to China’s energy regulator, National Energy Administration (NEA), all regions and provinces in the country are told to have their coal-fired power units of less than 50,000 kilowatts (kW) shut down, Reuters quoted the regulator as saying on Sunday.
China will also close obsolete coal-fired power capacity that has reached the end of its design life, as well as larger coal plants of up to 100,000 kW in areas covered by large power grids, according to the regulator.

The total 8.7 GW of coal-fired capacity targeted for elimination accounts for just below 1 percent of China’s overall capacity, according to Reuters.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-carbon/china-co2-emissions-to-peak-in-2022-ahead-of-schedule-government-researcher-idUSKCN1VQ1K0

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But Jiang Kejun, research professor with the Energy Research Institute, a unit of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China’s top planning body, said he had “extreme confidence” in Beijing’s ability to bring emissions to a peak by 2022 on just a “business as usual” trajectory.
“China already has very strong policies and for me, just continuing to do that could be enough,” he told Reuters on the sidelines of the Fortune Sustainability Forum at the Fuxian Lake in the southwestern province of Yunnan.

Quote
One major concern has been the rebound in coal consumption and the possible approval of new coal-fired power projects, with officials now debating whether more capacity is required to meet future electricity shortages, said Yang Fuqiang, senior adviser with the Natural Resources Defense Council, a U.S.-based environmental group.

An industry group has forecast China’s coal-fired capacity to peak at 1,300 gigawatts (GW), an increase of nearly 300 GW compared to the end of last year.
Eric Luo, chief executive of Chinese renewable energy manufacturer GCL, said it was unlikely another 300 GW would be necessary, adding that a 2022 peak in carbon emissions was plausible.
“After 2022, coal emissions should slow down, with the number of new coal plants falling,” he told Reuters. “Even if they have approved another 200GW... it doesn’t make sense to build so much.”

554
The politics / Re: Elections 2020 USA
« on: October 01, 2019, 02:11:24 AM »
From reading some of the comments, and watching some of the videos in them, it seems that a lot of people have misconceptions about the impeachment inquiry and even the process of impeachment.  The story linked below is a good summary:

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/09/impeachment-ukraine-and-its-costs-three-key-questions.amp

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Given these complexities, responsible discussions of impeachment must consider three questions. First, has the president engaged in conduct that warrants his removal under the Constitution? Second, is the effort to remove him likely to make a positive impact—or will impeachment be a mere quixotic quest? And third, would impeachment be worth the resulting rupturing of our national fabric?

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Americans have never reduced to a simple formula what it means to commit “high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” A working definition captures two general elements. First, impeachable offenses represent betrayal of office. And second, those offenses pose such a serious risk of harm that they require preventive action—in other words, they suggest that the president endangers the nation. Such offenses may involve a pattern of closely related abuses, rather than a single deed. But the ultimate inquiry is whether the president has so betrayed his office and poses such a continuing threat that leaving him in power could imperil our constitutional democracy.

This president has done just that.

Begin with the White House readout of Trump’s phone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. That readout, even in its presumably sanitized form, reveals a multitude of impeachable offenses. On that call, Trump abused the foreign policy and military powers entrusted to the president by Article II to serve his own political interests—and perhaps those of his sometime-benefactor, Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose tanks have penetrated Ukrainian territory and would be opposed by the military aid Trump was unilaterally withholding—rather than the interests of the American people.
 
The resultant cover-up, too, is staggering. We have learned that the effort to protect the president ensnared numerous senior White House officials, including the lawyers representing not the president personally but the presidential office. Indeed, the whistleblower complaint alleges that the cover-up was part of a pattern of systematically overclassifying politically embarrassing information to protect the president. Such conduct betrays the institution of the presidency and poses a clear and present danger to our national security. It does so by compromising the integrity of our system for classifying intelligence, thereby undermining the confidence of our key allies in how the secrets they share with us will be handled. And it conceals the ongoing danger posed to our most sensitive secrets by the seemingly reckless way our commander in chief deploys those secrets for personal advantage or political leverage.

Quote
The primary arguments against impeachment—articulated by liberals like Bruce Ackerman, moderates like Frank Bruni, and reactionaries like John Yoo—do not deny the gravity of the president’s violations. Rather, they argue that impeachment is not worth the national costs of enraging the incumbent president’s supporters, fanning the flames of the white-hot anger that drove many of them into his camp in the first place, and leaving even some who might be prepared to vote against Trump in 2020 with the sense that a group composed almost entirely of Democrats is illegitimately undoing the results of an election with which they never came to terms. We should weigh those costs carefully as we consider how to proceed.

But those concerns cannot outweigh the imminent concern of a lawless presidency. Yes, impeachment would be traumatic. But what is the alternative? Acquiescing to lawlessness out of fear? And declining to impeach would be traumatic as well.

555
The politics / Re: Elections 2020 USA
« on: September 30, 2019, 09:48:01 PM »
President Pelosi?

https://www.politico.com/news/2019/09/30/trump-mike-pence-impeachment-007838

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Trump thrust his relationship with the vice president back into the spotlight last week, when the embattled president nudged reporters during a United Nations news conference to “ask for VP Pence’s conversation, because he had a couple conversations also” with Ukrainian officials.

The out-of-the-blue reference triggered questions about the vice president’s role in the latest mess and the unusual relationship between the pair of leaders. If Trump falls alone, Pence becomes the 46th president of the United States — a development many mainstream Republicans would prefer. If Trump and Pence go down together or in quick succession, it’s President Nancy Pelosi — a prospect that would not be lost on Senate Republicans voting on whether to oust their party’s leaders.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2019/09/30/president-pelosi-it-could-happen/

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What happens when a Democratic speaker of the House — third in line to the presidency, according to the Presidential Succession Act of 1947 — is suddenly thrust into the Oval Office, succeeding a Republican president and vice president who resign, embroiled in scandal?
Such a scenario is attracting attention — #PresidentPelosi was trending on social media after last week’s announcement of an impeachment inquiry — even though it may seem far-fetched that President Trump and Vice President Pence would be forced from office over abuse of power related to the administration’s dealings with Ukraine or other misdeeds.

556
Policy and solutions / Re: Batteries: Today's Energy Solution
« on: September 27, 2019, 07:19:36 PM »
GE is shifting from producing turbines for steam plants (i.e. coal and natural gas) into batteries for renewable plants.

https://cleantechnica.com/2019/09/27/ge-renewable-energy-wins-battery-storage-contracts-in-california-south-australia/

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General Electric profits have been hammered recently because a large part of its business involved supplying generating systems powered by steam. As the world transitions to renewable energy, steam turbines are less and less in demand and GE’s business has suffered as a result.

But the company is reinventing itself as a provider of grid scale energy storage systems and has recently received two important contracts — one to provide a total of 100 MWh of battery storage at three locations in California and another for 300 MWh of storage in South Australia.

557
Consequences / Re: Sea Level Rise and Social Cost of Carbon
« on: September 26, 2019, 09:39:40 PM »
SLR is one of those effects singled out as "deeply uncertain."

After some naive and touching optimism in the first chapter

"Under RCP2.6, the rate is projected to reach 4 mm yr -1 (2–6 mm yr –1 , likely range) in 2100. "

(the rate is 3.6 mm/yr right now over the last 4 yr) they get down to the nub of the matter:

"Processes controlling the timing of future ice-shelf loss and the extent of ice sheet instabilities could increase Antarctica’s contribution to sea level rise to values substantially higher than the likely range on century and longer time-scales (low confidence). Considering the consequences of sea level rise that a collapse of parts of the Antarctic Ice Sheet entails, this high impact risk merits attention."

You dont say ! Chapter 3 reveals the sausage making:

"However, the magnitude of additional rise beyond 2100, and the probability of greater sea level rise than that included in the likely range before 2100, are characterised by deep uncertainty"

"there is growing observational and modelling evidence that accelerated retreat may be underway in several major Amundsen Sea outlets, including Thwaites, Pine Island, Smith, and Kohler glaciers (e.g., Rignot et al., 2014) supporting the MISI hypothesis, although observed grounding-line retreat on retrograde slope is not definitive proof that MISI is underway."

"This ice cliff failure can lead to ice sheet retreat via a process called marine ice cliff instability (MICI; Figure CB8.1b), that has been hypothesized to cause partial collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet within a few centuries (Pollard et al., 2015; DeConto and Pollard, 2016)."

"Limited evidence is available to confirm the importance of MICI. In Antarctica, marine-terminating ice margins with the grounding lines thick enough to produce unstable ice cliffs are currently buttressed by ice shelves, with a possible exception of Crane glacier on the Antarctic Peninsula (Section 4.2.3.1.2). Overall, there is low agreement on the exact MICI mechanism and limited evidence of its occurrence in the present or the past. Thus the potential of MICI to impact the future sea level remains very uncertain (Edwards et al., 2019)."

"Limited evidence from geological records and ice sheet modelling suggests that parts of AIS experienced
rapid (i.e., on centennial time-scale) retreat likely due to ice sheet instability processes between 20,000 and
9,000 years ago (Golledge et al., 2014; Weber et al., 2014; Small et al., 2019)."

"Overall, this assessment finds that unstable retreat and thinning of some Antarctic glaciers, and to a lesser extent Greenland outlet glaciers, may be underway. However, the timescale and future rate of these processes is not well known, casting deep uncertainty on projections of the sea level contributions from the Antarctic ice sheet"

O dear. Looking at those curves for projected SLR over the years remind me of the projections for solar and wind power growth over the years. Consistently underestimated by huge margins.

They admit that GIS mass waste  doubles and AIS mass waste triples every decade, not counting other glaciers.  At this rate we will have close to half a meter cumulative SLR by 2050 when the ocean will be rising at several cm/yr. A meter cumulative will be 2060.

sidd

You're off by about a century in your projections, even if Marine Ice Cliff Instability (MICI), which is unproven, does occur.

Here is the paper by DeConto and Pollard on MICI:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0012821X14007961

To get MICI, they first have to instantaneoly increase the ocean temperatures by 2 degrees from the current temperatures:

Quote
3. Results: warm climate forcing
To investigate the impact of the cliff-failure and melt-driven hydrofracture mechanisms, the ice-sheet model is run forward in time, forced by climate representative of past warm periods. Simulations are started from a previous spin-up of modern Antarctica using observed climatology. An instantaneous change to a warmer climate is applied, broadly representative of a warm Pliocene period.  The past warm atmospheric climate is obtained from the RegCM3 Regional Climate Model (Pal et al., 2007) applied over Antarctica with some physical adaptations for polar regions, and with 400 ppmv CO2 and an orbit yielding particularly strong austral summers (DeConto et al., 2012). Detailed simulation of ocean warming beneath Antarctic ice shelves is currently not feasible on these time scales, so a simple uniform increment of +2°C
is added to modern observed ocean temperatures
, broadly consistent with circum-Antarctic warming in Pliocene paleo-oceanic reconstructions (Dowsett et al., 2009). The climate forcings are described in more detail in Supplementary Material Section S.3.

The result of that are:

Quote
...the new mechanisms cause retreat deep into the major East Antarctic basins within a few thousand years. As expected from previous modeling (Pollard and DeConto, 2009), the West Antarctic marine ice collapses first. It would collapse without the new mechanisms due to MISI, but here the WAIS retreat is greatly accelerated by the new mechanisms, occurring on decadal rather than century-to-millennial time scales.

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The equivalent eustatic sea level rise reaches 5 m after ∼200 yr and 17 m after ∼3000 yr (Fig. 4, red curve), similar in magnitude to albeit uncertain proxy estimates of past sea-level variations mentioned above. About 3 mesl comes from West Antarctica, and the remaining
∼14mesl comes from East Antarctic basins. The bigger contribution of EAIS, despite its similar area of collapse to WAIS, is explained by the much greater volumes of ice above flotation in the East Antarctic basins, particularly in the Aurora

DeConto and Pollard go into more detail in their 2016 paper:

https://www.geo.umass.edu/climate/papers2/DeConto2016.pdf

Quote
Future simulations Using the same model physics and parameter values as used in the Pliocene and LIG simulations, we apply the ice-sheet model to longterm future simulations (Methods). Here, atmospheric forcing is  provided by high-resolution RCM simulations (Extended Data Fig. 4)  following ollowing three extended Representative Carbon Pathway (RCP) scenarios (RCP2.6, RCP4.5 and RCP8.5)36. Future circum-Antarctic  ocean temperatures used in our time-evolving sub-ice melt-rate  calculations come from matching, high-resolution (1°) National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) CCSM4 simulations  (ref. 37, Extended Data Fig. 5). The simulations begin in 1950 to provide  some hindcast spinup, and are run for 550 years to 2500.

The RCP scenarios (Fig. 4) produce a wide range of future Antarctic contributions to sea level, with RCP2.6 producing almost no net change by 2100, and only 20 cm by 2500. Conversely, RCP4.5 causes almost complete WAIS collapse within the next five hundred years, primarily owing to the retreat of Thwaites Glacier into the deep WAIS interior. The Siple Coast grounding zone remains stable until late in the simulation, thanks to the persistence of the buttressing Ross Ice Shelf (see Supplementary Video 2).  InRCP4.5, GMSL rise is 32 cm by 2100, but subsequent retreat of the WAIS interior, followed by the fringes of the Wilkes Basin and the Totten Glacier/Law Dome sector of the Aurora Basin produces 5 m of GMSL rise by 2500. In RCP8.5, increased precipitation causes an initial, minor gain in total ice mass (Fig. 4d), but rapidly warming summer air temperatures trigger extensive surface meltwater production38 and hydrofracturing of ice shelves by the middle of this century (Extended Data Fig. 4). The Larsen C is one of the first shelves to be lost, about 2055. Around the same time, major thinning and retreat of outlet glaciers commences in the Amundsen Sea Embayment, beginning with Pine Island Glacier (Fig. 4h), and along the Bellingshausen margin. Massive meltwater production on shelf surfaces, and eventually on the flanks of the ice sheet, would quickly overcome the buffering capacity of firn39. In the model, the meltwater accelerates WAIS retreat via its thermomechanical  influence on ice rheology (Methods) and the influence of hydrofacturing on crevassing and structural failure of the retreating margin. Antarctica contributes 77 cm of GMSL rise by 2100, and continued loss of the Ross and Weddell Sea ice shelves drives WAIS retreat from three sides simultaneously (the Amundsen, Ross, and Weddell seas), all with reverse-sloping beds into the deep ice-sheet interior. As a result, WAIS collapses within 250 years. At the same time, steady retreat into the Wilkes and Aurora basins, where the ice above floatation is >2,000 m thick, adds substantially to the rate of sea-level rise, exceeding 4 cm yr−1 (Fig. 4c) in the next century, which is comparable to maximum rates of sea-level rise during the last deglaciation40. At 2500, GMSL rise for the RCP8.5 scenario is 12.3 m. As in our LIG simulations, atmosphere–ice sheet coupling accounting for the warming feedback associated with the retreating ice sheet adds an additional 1.3 m of GMSL to the RCP8.5 scenario (Fig. 4b).

558
The linked research discusses the matter that consensus climate science (like AR5 & CMIP5) underestimated of the impacts of Black Carbon on global warming:

Øivind Hodnebrog, Gunnar Myhre, & Bjørn H. Samset, (2014), "How shorter black carbon lifetime alters its climate effect", Nature Communications, Volume: 5, Article number: 5065, doi:10.1038/ncomms6065

http://www.nature.com/ncomms/2014/140925/ncomms6065/abs/ncomms6065.html

Abstract: "Black carbon (BC), unlike most aerosol types, absorbs solar radiation. However, the quantification of its climate impact is uncertain and presently under debate. Recently, attention has been drawn both to a likely underestimation of global BC emissions in climate models, and an overestimation of BC at high altitudes. Here we show that doubling present day BC emissions in a model simulation, while reducing BC lifetime based on observational evidence, leaves the direct aerosol effect of BC virtually unchanged. Increased emissions, together with increased wet removal that reduces the lifetime, yields modelled BC vertical profiles that are in strongly improved agreement with recent aircraft observations. Furthermore, we explore the consequences of an altered BC profile in a global circulation model, and show that both the vertical profile of BC and rapid climate adjustments need to be taken into account in order to assess the total climate impact of BC."

Edit, see also (& note that if Black Carbon (BC) emission were higher than assumed by consensus climate scientists from 1960 to 2000, then ECS must have been higher than consensus climate scientists have previously assumed because BC acts as negative radiative forcing, so more BC emissions mean less radiative forcing in the observed record, which means that ECS must be higher than previously assumed to match the recorded GMSTA):
...

Actually, black carbon is a strong positive forcing, as it absorbs solar radiation.  See the linked webpage for more information about black carbon.

https://www.ccacoalition.org/en/slcps/black-carbon

Here's the forcings chart from the IPCC AR5, which shows it a a positive forcing, unlike other aerosols, which reflect sunlight and are therefore negative forcings.



So if black carbon emissions have been underestimated, does that mean ECS would be lower?

559
Policy and solutions / Re: But, but, but, China....
« on: September 26, 2019, 06:46:42 PM »
The linked article states that China has phased out subsidies for renewable energy products and increased investment in fossil fuel projects.

https://e360.yale.edu/features/why-chinas-renewable-energy-transition-is-losing-momentum

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In addition, as renewable energy prices have fallen and the central government has grown increasingly concerned about the impact of the U.S.-China trade war on China’s economy, renewable subsidies are being phased out. Wind and solar facilities must now compete directly at auction with other forms of power generation. China’s green energy sector seems increasingly capable of winning that competition, but solar energy installations are nevertheless expected to drop by about half this year, from a peak of 53 gigawatts in 2017.

And while curtailing subsidies for wind and solar power, the central government has sharply increased financial support for what it calls “new energy” extraction, which includes fracking of shale gas and separating methane from coal. Those subsidies are an important reason behind China’s rising CO2 emissions.

Quote
To reduce the country’s CO2 emissions, experts say it is crucial that power produced in provinces like Qinghai be transmitted seamlessly to the industrial and population centers along China’s coast. Many larger renewable projects are located in remote landlocked provinces like Qinghai, Gansu, and Inner Mongolia. Until more transmission lines are built and government reforms are enacted that better enable power to be transferred to other provinces, far-western “battery provinces” like Qinghai will mainly end up generating power for themselves.

What’s needed, Tu says, is for the central government to eliminate barriers of inter-provincial power trading and to simultaneously give renewables priority in the transfer and dispatching of electricity.

Alvin Lin, an energy and climate expert with the Natural Resources Defense Council who has worked in China for more than a decade, says that an important near-term element in the climate battle is to sustain the momentum of China’s renewable energy drive so that the country’s CO2 emissions peak before 2030. Many experts increasingly argue that the 2030 target date is insufficient.

“We and others would like to push for an earlier carbon peaking around 2025,” Lin says. “China would need to stop building new coal plants now and bring coal power capacity and generation down rapidly.”


560
Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: September 26, 2019, 05:48:31 PM »
Unlit gas flares are the largest source of emissions from energy sector.

https://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/Unlit-Gas-Flares-Cause-Worst-Methane-Leaks.html

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Unlit gas flares are the cause of the worst methane leaks produced by the energy industry, data from a Canadian methane monitoring company GHGSat Inc has suggested.
Bloomberg cites the data and explains that unlit flares are gas flares extinguished by either high winds or equipment malfunctions, allowing the methane to escape unchecked. Under normal circumstances, the flame would burn off the unused natural gas, turning methane into carbon dioxide, a much less potent greenhouse gas than methane.
“Unlit flares are larger than any other source we’ve found, in any market segment,” the president of GHGSat Inc. told Bloomberg in an interview. “It’s certainly true in energy assets, but it’s also true overall.”

561
Policy and solutions / Re: Global economics and finances - impacts
« on: September 24, 2019, 06:42:38 PM »
Cross posted from the Oil and Gas forum:

https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/The-47-Trillion-Death-Sentence-For-Oil-Gas.html

Quote
The $47 Trillion Death Sentence For Oil & Gas
By Cyril Widdershoven - Sep 23, 2019, 5:00 PM CDT
Join Our Community
 
The future of hydrocarbons is becoming bleak if plans presented by international banks, representing around $47 trillion in value, will be fully implemented.
Around 130 international banks, all present at the UN climate change summit in New York, have committed themselves to decrease their support and investments in the oil and gas sector the coming years. The banking groups have signed the so-called Principles for Responsible Banking, which entails a promise by financial institutions to fully support the implementation of the Paris Agreement, by decreasing hydrocarbon investments while promoting renewables. This statement is going to be a major earthquake for oil and gas companies, threatening upstream and downstream operations worldwide, forcing oil & gas producers to either reduce their impact on the environment or to seek new sources of investment. It is already becoming more difficult for oil and gas companies to find new financing, and on top of this, a large group of institutional investors, representing a value of $11 trillion, are already actively divesting their oil and gas assets.

International banks, such as Deutsche Bank, ABNAmro, Citigroup, Barclays, and ING, are joining the framework. Under the title of action against global warming, the largest financial institutions now seem to be headbutting oil and gas operators. The impact of activist shareholders and NGOs is sending shockwaves through the sector. If the framework is successfully implemented, the hydrocarbon sector shouldn’t fear unrest in the Middle East, but rather their current financiers.

562
Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: September 24, 2019, 06:39:38 PM »
The 2019 World Nuclear Industry Status Report has some interesting facts about renewables.

https://www.worldnuclearreport.org/IMG/pdf/wnisr2019-lr.pdf

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Renewables Continue to Thrive

A record 165 GW of renewables were added to the world’s power grids in 2018, up from 157 GW added the previous year. The nuclear operating capacity increased by 9 GW6 to reach 370 GW (excluding 25 GW in LTO), a new historic maximum, slightly exceeding the previous peak of 368 GW in 2006.

Globally, wind power output grew by 29% in 2018, solar by 13%, nuclear by 2.4%. Compared to a decade ago, non-hydro renewables generate over 1,900 TWh more power, exceeding coal and natural gas, while nuclear produces less.

Over the past decade, levelized cost estimates for utility-scale solar dropped by 88%, wind by 69%, while nuclear increased by 23%. Renewables now come in below the cost of coal and natural gas.

Quote
Non-Nuclear Options Save More Carbon Per Dollar. In many nuclear countries, new renewables can now compete economically with existing nuclear power plants. The closure of uneconomic reactors will not directly save CO2 emissions but can indirectly save more CO2 than closing a coal-fired plant, if the nuclear plant’s larger saved operating costs are reinvested in efficiency or cheap modern renewables that in turn displace more fossil-fueled generation.

Non-Nuclear Options Save More Carbon Per Year. While current nuclear programs are particularly slow, current renewables programs are particularly fast. New nuclear plants take 5–17 years longer to build than utility-scale solar or onshore wind power, so existing fossil-fueled plants emit far more CO2 while awaiting substitution by the nuclear option. Stabilizing the climate is urgent, nuclear power is slow.

563
Policy and solutions / Re: Nuclear Power
« on: September 24, 2019, 06:35:47 PM »
The 2019 World Nuclear Industry Status Report is available.

https://www.worldnuclearreport.org/IMG/pdf/wnisr2019-lr.pdf

Here are a few excerpts from the key facts:

Quote
In 2018, nuclear power generation in the world increased by 2.4% of which 1.8% due to a 19% increase in China. Global nuclear power generation excluding China increased by 0.6% for the first time after decreasing three years in a row, but without making up for the decline since 2014.

Nine reactors started up in 2018 of which seven were in China and two in Russia.

Four units started up in the first half of 2019, of which two were in China.

The number of units under construction globally declined for the sixth year in a row, from 68 reactors at the end of 2013 to 46 by mid-2019, of which 10 are in China.

But…

Still no construction start of any commercial reactor in China since December 2016.

China will by far miss its Five-Year-Plan 2020 nuclear targets of 58 GW installed and 30 GW under construction.

China spent a record US$146 billion on renewables in 2017—more than half of the world’s total—and saw a decline to US$91 billion in 2018, but still close to twice the U.S., the second largest investor with US$48.5 billion.

Quote
Over the past decade, levelized cost estimates for utility-scale solar dropped by 88%, wind by 69%, while nuclear increased by 23%. Renewables now come in below the cost of coal and natural gas.

Quote
To protect the climate, we must abate the most carbon at the least cost and in the least time, so we must pay attention to carbon, cost, and time, not to carbon alone.

Non-Nuclear Options Save More Carbon Per Dollar. In many nuclear countries, new renewables can now compete economically with existing nuclear power plants. The closure of uneconomic reactors will not directly save CO2 emissions but can indirectly save more CO2 than closing a coal-fired plant, if the nuclear plant’s larger saved operating costs are reinvested in efficiency or cheap modern renewables that in turn displace more fossil-fueled generation.

Non-Nuclear Options Save More Carbon Per Year. While current nuclear programs are particularly slow, current renewables programs are particularly fast. New nuclear plants take 5–17 years longer to build than utility-scale solar or onshore wind power, so existing fossil-fueled plants emit far more CO2 while awaiting substitution by the nuclear option. Stabilizing the climate is urgent, nuclear power is slow.

564
Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: September 24, 2019, 05:57:29 PM »
The beginning of the end of the fossil fuel companies?

https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/The-47-Trillion-Death-Sentence-For-Oil-Gas.html

Quote
The $47 Trillion Death Sentence For Oil & Gas
By Cyril Widdershoven - Sep 23, 2019, 5:00 PM CDT

The future of hydrocarbons is becoming bleak if plans presented by international banks, representing around $47 trillion in value, will be fully implemented.

Around 130 international banks, all present at the UN climate change summit in New York, have committed themselves to decrease their support and investments in the oil and gas sector the coming years. The banking groups have signed the so-called Principles for Responsible Banking, which entails a promise by financial institutions to fully support the implementation of the Paris Agreement, by decreasing hydrocarbon investments while promoting renewables. This statement is going to be a major earthquake for oil and gas companies, threatening upstream and downstream operations worldwide, forcing oil & gas producers to either reduce their impact on the environment or to seek new sources of investment. It is already becoming more difficult for oil and gas companies to find new financing, and on top of this, a large group of institutional investors, representing a value of $11 trillion, are already actively divesting their oil and gas assets.

International banks, such as Deutsche Bank, ABNAmro, Citigroup, Barclays, and ING, are joining the framework. Under the title of action against global warming, the largest financial institutions now seem to be headbutting oil and gas operators. The impact of activist shareholders and NGOs is sending shockwaves through the sector. If the framework is successfully implemented, the hydrocarbon sector shouldn’t fear unrest in the Middle East, but rather their current financiers.

565
Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: September 24, 2019, 12:02:42 AM »
The IEA is forecasting that 190 GW of renewables will be installed in 2019.

https://www.pv-magazine.com/2019/09/23/international-energy-agency-forecasts-115-gw-of-new-solar-this-year/

Quote
After stagnating last year, renewable energy has hit back with a vengeance in 2019 with the International Energy Agency (IEA) expecting almost 200 GW of new clean energy generation capacity will have been added by year-end.
The lion’s share of the new capacity will come from solar – 115 GW of it despite a small decline in China – as PV and wind offer very much the mainstream options.

566
Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: September 23, 2019, 11:58:23 PM »
Please take the political chatter to the appropriate forum sections.  I think they're located in the section entitled, "The Rest".

Thanks.
Any discussion about renewable energy that omitted the political considerations would make a thin broth indeed.
 
Thanks, but no thanks.
Terry

I was referring to the discussion of the current US President's nicknames for his potential opponent in the 2020 elections.  Discussions related to energy policy would be appropriate for this folder.

567
Policy and solutions / Re: Direct Air Capture (of Carbon Dioxide)
« on: September 20, 2019, 09:11:35 PM »
Here's another study of Negative Emissions Technologies (NETs) that indicates more rapid deployment of renewable energy as well as reductions in methane emissions can reduce, but not eliminate, the amount of NETs that need to be deployed.

http://atoc.colorado.edu/~whan/ATOC4800_5000/Materials/CC_policy_renewable.pdf

Quote
Alternative pathways to the 1.5 °C target reduce the need for negative emission technologies

Detlef P. van Vuuren   1,2*, Elke Stehfest1, David E. H. J. Gernaat1,2, Maarten van den Berg1, David L. Bijl2, Harmen Sytze de Boer1,2, Vassilis Daioglou   1,2, Jonathan C. Doelman1, Oreane Y. Edelenbosch1,2, Mathijs Harmsen1,2, Andries F. Hof   1,2 and Mariësse A. E. van Sluisveld1,2

Mitigation scenarios that achieve the ambitious targets included in the Paris Agreement typically rely on greenhouse gas emission reductions combined with net carbon dioxide removal (CDR) from the atmosphere, mostly accomplished through large-scale application of bioenergy with carbon capture and storage, and afforestation. However, CDR strategies face several difficulties such as reliance on underground CO2 storage and competition for land with food production and biodiversity protection. The question arises whether alternative deep mitigation pathways exist. Here, using an integrated assessment model, we explore the impact of alternative pathways that include lifestyle change, additional reduction of non-CO2 greenhouse gases and more rapid electrification of energy demand based on renewable energy. Although these alternatives also face specific difficulties, they are found to significantly reduce the need for CDR, but not fully eliminate it. The alternatives offer a means to diversify transition pathways to meet the Paris Agreement targets, while simultaneously benefiting other sustainability goals.

568
Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: September 20, 2019, 09:05:37 PM »
Unless the rich west comes up with the money for these countries to implement renewable energy they will use what they can (and what they can get funded) to lift their people out of poverty. The UN cannot ask for something without providing the funds to make it happen. The poorer nations have been asking for this help in the UN climate conferences for a couple of decades now.

China is well past the point of being a "poorer nation".  They like to claim they're doing something about carbon emissions and pollution in China and then export their coal production and technology to other countries.  They're the most hypocritical nation on the planet by far, and it's about time the UN is calling them on it.

569
Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: September 20, 2019, 09:02:41 PM »
Please take the political chatter to the appropriate forum sections.  I think they're located in the section entitled, "The Rest".

Thanks.

570
Policy and solutions / Re: Direct Air Capture (of Carbon Dioxide)
« on: September 20, 2019, 09:00:32 PM »
I Apologize  sidd .
I had the term wrong.
I meant the draw down of atmospheric CO2 being impossible with present technology at a palatable  economic cost.

I think the term that is being used is "Negative Emissions Technology" abbrievated NET. The linked paper provides an overview of the current status of NET.

https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/pdf/10.1098/rsta.2016.0447

Quote
Negativeemissions technologiesandcarbon captureandstoragetoachieve theParisAgreement commitments
R.StuartHaszeldine,StephanieFlude,Gareth JohnsonandVivianScott
SchoolofGeoSciences,UniversityofEdinburgh,Edinburgh,EH93FE, UK RSH,0000-0002-7015-8394

How will the global atmosphere and climate be protected? Achieving net-zero CO2 emissions will require carbon capture and storage (CCS) to reduce current GHG emission rates, and negative emissions technology (NET) to recapture previously emitted greenhouse gases. Delivering NET requires radical cost and regulatory innovation to impact on climate mitigation. Present NET exemplars are few, are at small-scale and not deployable within a decade, with the exception of rock weathering, or direct injection of CO2 into selected ocean water masses. To keep warming less than 2°C, bioenergy with CCS (BECCS) has been modelled but does not yet exist at industrial scale. CCS already exists in many forms and at low cost. However, CCS has no political drivers to enforce its deployment. We make a new analysis of all global CCS projects and model the build rate out to 2050, deducing this is 100 times too slow. Our projection to 2050 captures just 700 Mt CO2 yr−1, not the minimum 6000 Mt CO2 yr−1 required to meet the 2°C target. Hence new policies are needed to incentivize commercial CCS. A first urgent action for all countries is to commercially assess their CO2 storage. A second simple action is to assign a Certificate of CO2 Storage onto producers of fossil carbon, mandating a progressively increasing proportionofCO2 tobestored.NoCCSmeansno2°C.

I think that the conclusions are pessimistic given that renewables are rapidly replacing fossil fuels, so CCS won't be needed for existing fossil fuel infrastructure.  However, the best IPCC scenario, RCP 2.6, requires the deployment of NET to reduce carbon concentrations in the atmosphere.

One of the promising NETs available today is biomass burning with CCS.  Production of biochar with CCS is also a promising NET that could provide for soil restoration (helping improve that carbon sink) as well as biofuels for industrial feedstocks and aviation.  While those last two aren't negative emissions, they're at least carbon neutral and will allow us to completely transition off of fossil fuels.

571
Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: September 19, 2019, 09:07:03 PM »
The UN will call on China to avoid building coal power plants as part of it's Belt and Road initiative and for no coal plants to be built after 2020:

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-climate-change-un/u-n-climate-summit-to-test-worlds-resolve-to-halt-warming-idUSKBN1W41CY

Quote
COAL IN THE CROSSHAIRS

Guterres has called for an end to the construction of coal plants from 2020 worldwide, as well as transitions away from subsidies for fossil fuels and a rapid shift toward renewable energy sources like solar, wind and geothermal.

He and other U.N. officials also wants China to avoid ramping up coal production in Asia and Africa through its “Belt and Road” infrastructure vision.


572
Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: September 19, 2019, 06:41:32 PM »
Investment in gas projects will soon be following the path of coal.

https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Natural-Gas-Could-Be-Replaced-Within-15-Years-From-Now.html

Quote
Natural Gas Could Be Replaced Within 15 Years
By Vanand Meliksetian - Sep 18, 2019

Quote
The share of renewables in the U.S. in the overall power production differs from state to state. While gas has become the primary source of electricity production, technological advancements are about to make fossil fuels more expensive and therefore uneconomic compared to renewables. The tipping point could come much sooner than certain utilities and investors are expecting, which could hit current investment plans for gas-fired power plants. 

Quote
Technical improvements and costs reductions are having a similar effect on the substitution of natural gas by renewables as the primary source of power production. Cheaper batteries and innovative new ideas regarding the flexibility of the grid are accelerating the transformation towards an environmentally friendly energy industry. Therefore, according to a report from the Rocky Mountain Institute investments in gas-fired power plants could devalue significantly by the year 2035 as power production by alternative means becomes more relevant.

Sound investments based on long-term predictions

The transformation of the U.S.’ power sector is coming much sooner than incumbent producers were expecting. Currently, the combination of solar, wind, storage, and demand response are already more efficient, and therefore cheaper, than the use of fossil fuels.



Quote
The changing economics of power production will also affect subsidiary businesses such as the pipeline sector where $30 billion in pipelines are planned. It would impact 95 percent of gas pipelines in use by 2035 due to reduced utilization by 20 to 60 percent. This would effectively create a “financial death spiral” meaning a vicious circle where fewer customers will lead to less income, leading to higher prices, and so forth. 

According to Mark Dyson, an analyst at the Rocky Mountain Institute, “our story for gas plants is, if you build it, they won’t run. They won’t run at their expected capacity factors. And that filters down to pipelines, too.” 

573
Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: September 19, 2019, 06:30:19 PM »
The EIA has had to lower it's forecasts of coal production once again.  It seems they always underestimate the growth of renewable power because they think we're going to be using more expensive fossil fuels forever.

https://trib.com/business/energy/coal-declining-at-quicker-clip-than-previously-forecast-new-report/article_998f5f6c-bbbb-5aa1-9c6e-970202fc7315.html

Quote
The country’s energy data center tempered forecasts for Western coal production as demand for the mineral declines nationwide and market uncertainty persists, according to a new report released Tuesday by the Energy Information Administration.

Just one month ago, the agency expected the Western coal supply to total 369 million tons this year and drop to 356 million in tons in 2020. But the most recent report cut supplies projections for next year by 5 percent, or nearly 18 million tons, a sign that coal market instability could be sticking around for the foreseeable future. This year’s coal supply projections were trimmed compared to last month’s too.

Quote
“EIA has been bullish on coal for a long time,” said Clark Wiliams-Derry, director of energy finance at the Sightline Institute, an environmental think tank.

“But what is clear and undeniable when looking at trends in overall coal consumption is that … the Wyoming coal market is really hurting,” he added.

Coal production in Wyoming is down 9 percent from this time last year, according to data publicized by the Energy Information Administration last week.

“When you get down 9 percent ... that’s a big decline in a single year,” Williams-Derry said.

574
Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: September 18, 2019, 11:43:54 PM »
There the pipeline of pending solar projects in the US has a total capacity of 37.9 GW, which is the most ever.



That graph shows an end to the exponential growth in the amount of new PV capacity installed in 2016, followed by much lower levels for three years, then a move above the 2016 level in 2020 followed by a plateau for four years.

The amount of new capacity added in 2024 will only be a bit higher than in 2016. That may be realistic but extremely troubling from the point of view of significantly reducing fossil fuel usage in the US electricitiy sector.

The report is co-authored by a solar energy advocacy group and notes that the Federal Investment Tax credit is due to expire in 2021.  The forecast reflects that.  It's a subtle way of "educating" Congress about the importance of the tax credit.

Since Congress has never seen a tax credit that they didn't like, expect it to be renewed.  When you see spikes of growth followed by dips in the growth rate for solar and wind capacity in the US, they're almost always related to when a tax credit is due to expire as projects are rushed to completion before the expiration date.  The last time the tax credit was set to expire was in 2016.

(2018 was an exception to that rule.  The dip was due to Trump's tariffs).

575
Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: September 18, 2019, 11:25:17 PM »
Carbon Brief Global Coal Power

The page (linked to below) has a slider that goes from year to year. If you slide to 2018 you can see all the closures in Europe, North America and Australia(white circles). All the new ones are in China, India and South East Asia.

Then slide to "future" and all the growth is in China, India, Indonesia, South East Asia, Africa, and Turkey (with a few in Germany and Poland).

The "western" countries simply cant close plants fast enough to offset the growth in other nations. Looking at China, India, Russia, Indonesia etc. this year, it looks like coal production and consumption will increase again in 2019. India is one of the biggest markest for US coal.

https://www.carbonbrief.org/mapped-worlds-coal-power-plants

Since coal fired electricity costs more than other options (except nuclear), this will be a great opportunity for western countries to regain manufacturing share.  It will cost less to manufacture products in the US or Europe, even with higher labor costs, than it will to produce them in Asia and ship them to the western countries.
I have to give credit for making a virtue out of planned substantial net increases in coal production and consumption, together with the inevitable increase in CO2 ppm..

It is nice to know that western manufacturers will be able to increase their production of stuff while the world continues to fry even faster.

I am not sure that was the plan.

Actually, it's to highlight that the talk of opening new coal plants and oil facilities in the 2020s is just talk.  When the governments in Russia, China and India see their people starving (and rebellions starting to forment) they'll quickly back off the more expensive coal and oil facilities and put the people to work on wind and solar projects.

Coal is basically a dead man walking now.  Many of the plants being planned wont be built, and the ones that are under construction or were recently built will be retired long before the end of their useful lives.

We're seeing that now in the market-based economies of the west.  Eventually it will happen in the command economies like China.   It will remain to be seen how long the fossil fuel companies will be able to pay off government officials in Russia and India to keep their projects going.

The bottom line is the same in all economies though.  If it's cheaper to shut down a coal power plant and replace it with renewables, the coal plant will be shut down.

576
Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: September 18, 2019, 08:49:31 PM »
Carbon Brief Global Coal Power

The page (linked to below) has a slider that goes from year to year. If you slide to 2018 you can see all the closures in Europe, North America and Australia(white circles). All the new ones are in China, India and South East Asia.

Then slide to "future" and all the growth is in China, India, Indonesia, South East Asia, Africa, and Turkey (with a few in Germany and Poland).

The "western" countries simply cant close plants fast enough to offset the growth in other nations. Looking at China, India, Russia, Indonesia etc. this year, it looks like coal production and consumption will increase again in 2019. India is one of the biggest markest for US coal.

https://www.carbonbrief.org/mapped-worlds-coal-power-plants

Since coal fired electricity costs more than other options (except nuclear), this will be a great opportunity for western countries to regain manufacturing share.  It will cost less to manufacture products in the US or Europe, even with higher labor costs, than it will to produce them in Asia and ship them to the western countries.

577
Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: September 18, 2019, 08:32:41 PM »
US coal fired electricity is projected to decrease from 28% of electrical generation currently to 22% in 2020.

https://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/Wind-And-Natural-Gas-Are-Big-Winners-In-US-Power-Generation.html

Quote
Back in January this year, the EIA said that wind, natural gas, and solar capacity will lead the new electricity capacity in the United States in 2019, while coal-fired generation will account for more than half of the scheduled capacity retirements. 

In the September STEO, EIA expects that the share of U.S. utility-scale electricity generation from natural gas-fired plants to increase from 34 percent last year to 37 percent this year and to 38 percent next year.

The share of wind, solar, and other non-hydropower renewables combined accounted for 10 percent of U.S. utility-scale generation in 2018. This share is expected to remain the same in 2019 and to rise to 12 percent in 2020. This year, annual generation from wind is set to exceed hydropower generation for the first time and to become the leading source of renewable electricity generation—and it will stay so in 2020, EIA says.

Meanwhile, the share of coal in U.S. generation is set to drop from 28 percent in 2018 to 25 percent in 2019 and to 22 percent in 2020.

578
Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: September 18, 2019, 08:19:29 PM »
There the pipeline of pending solar projects in the US has a total capacity of 37.9 GW, which is the most ever.

https://cleantechnica.com/2019/09/18/us-utility-scale-solar-pipeline-tops-37-9-gigawatts/

Quote
The United States solar industry now boasts the largest pipeline of utility-scale solar projects in history with a record 37.9 gigawatts (GW) of contracted solar, according to the latest figures from Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables and the Solar Energy Industries Association.

Wood Mackenzie and the SEIA published the latest US Solar Market Insight Report on Tuesday, which revealed the record-breaking figures. The contracted pipeline of utility-scale solar follows a record-high procurement of 15 GW in 2018 with more than 6 GW of solar capacity added to the five-year forecast since last quarter.

Utility-scale solar project announcements hit 11.2 GW in the first half of 2019 with 6.2 GW being announced in the second quarter alone, and the utility solar pipeline growth was paired with a rebounding residential solar industry.

Quote
Looking forward, Wood Mackenzie is now forecasting a 17% year-over-year growth in 2019 in the United States with 12.6 GW of installations expected to be completed by year’s end.



579
Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: September 17, 2019, 09:36:56 PM »
Egypt's first utility-scale solar farm is nearing completion.

https://spectrum.ieee.org/energywise/energy/renewables/egypts-massive-18gw-benban-solar-park-nears-completion

Quote
Amid the sand dunes of the western Sahara, workers are putting the finishing touches on one of the world’s largest solar installations. There, as many as 7.2 million photovoltaic panels will make up Benban Solar Park—a renewable energy project so massive, it will be visible from space. 
The 1.8-gigawatt installation is the first utility-scale PV plant in Egypt, a nation blessed with some of the best solar resources on the planet. The ambitious project is part of Egypt’s efforts to increase its generation capacity and incorporate more renewable sources into the mix. 

Quote
Egypt’s government has set a goal for 20 percent of the nation’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2022, and 42 percent by 2035. The country’s potential may be even greater: A 2018 report by the International Renewable Energy Agency concluded that Egypt could “realistically draw 53 percent of its electricity from renewables by 2030.” In 2016, about 9 percent of Egypt’s electricity [PDF] came from renewable sources, and mostly from dams along the Nile River. 

Orabi says the Benban project has already played three important roles in helping solar to claim a greater share of Egypt’s electricity supply. First, the project drove down the cost of PV systems in Egypt. Second, it proved that solar could be a viable source of energy there, after several high-profile flops of concentrated solar projects. And lastly, Orabi says, it granted valuable experience in installing PV systems to more than 3,000 Egyptians who worked at the site.

580
Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: September 13, 2019, 11:39:03 PM »
Geothermal energy in the UK!

https://cleantechnica.com/2019/09/13/geothermal-energy-ltd-completes-3-2-mile-deep-well-in-uk/

Quote
The deepest and hottest geothermal wells in the world have been completed after 10 months of drilling at United Downs in the southwest of England near Falmouth. The $22 million wells are 3.1 miles deep and 383º F /195º C at the bottom.

Quote
"What we are doing…..is vitally important for the whole geothermal energy sector. All eyes were on us. There has been an enormous amount of interest in this site from all over Europe so it was very important that we drilled these two wells successfully. The potential is enormous. We have identified at least another 20 sites in Cornwall so, planning permission permitting, our rig will be seen around Cornwall again in the near future.”

Quote
The J shape of the well is designed to intercept a geological structure known as the Porthtowan Fault, which makes it possible for water to continuously circulate through the hot rock from the injection well and back into the production well. As the water moves through the rock, it picks up heat which can be extracted and converted into electricity at the surface.

Geothermal technology has one important characteristic that many sources of renewable energy lack. It operates 24 hours a day and is not dependent on sunshine or wind speeds to make electricity. The United Downs project is intended to demonstrate the feasibility of geothermal technology in the UK and prove it can play an important role in the future of renewable energy. 

581
Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: September 11, 2019, 12:34:18 AM »
There was a huge increase in global wind turbines ordered in the 2nd quarter of 2019.

https://cleantechnica.com/2019/09/09/global-wind-turbine-order-capacity-increased-111-in-q219/

Quote
Global Wind Turbine Order Capacity Increased 111% In Q2’19
September 9th, 2019 by Joshua S Hill

Global wind turbine order intake increased by an impressive 111% in the second quarter of 2019, according to new figures published by renewable energy research firm Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables, overtaking the previous record set in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Wood Mackenzie published its Global Wind Turbine Order Analysis: Q3 2019 report last week, showing that wind energy developers around the world ordered a record 31 gigawatts (GW) of wind turbine capacity in the second quarter of 2019 — a 111% year-over-year increase and a new record.

Year-to-date demand amounted to 79 GW thanks in large part to increased demand in China and the United States and despite a decrease of 41% YoY in Europe during this year’s second quarter. China and the US enjoyed impressive quarters for capacity ordered as developers made a beeline to procure turbines with sufficient time to commission projects before 2020 subsidy deadlines in both countries ran out.


582
Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: September 10, 2019, 12:11:38 AM »
Thermal coal (burned to make electricity) is all but dead everywhere except Asia.  And it's on the way out there too.

So steelmaking is the only market left for coal.  But that's changing too.

https://cleantechnica.com/2019/09/06/hydrogen-could-replace-coke-in-steelmaking-lower-carbon-emissions-dramatically/

Quote
The way steel is made has not changed significantly in the past 150 years. Iron ore is
smelted in huge blast furnaces that use carbon-rich coke — a form of coal — as a
reducing agent to turn the iron into steel. Those furnaces belch out huge amounts of
carbon dioxide, and it’s not like the iron ore just shows up at the furnaces unaided.
Mining it and transporting it creates lots more carbon emissions.

Climate activists have been hammering the steel industry for years to clean up its
emissions. Now a new report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance claims hydrogen could
replace coke in 10 to 50% of all steelmaking my the year 2050, given the right carbon
pricing. Using hydrogen instead of coke — a process known as direct reduction —
could lower the carbon emissions from steel mills significantly.

Quote
Bloomberg NEF says hydrogen technology will be competitive with high-cost, coal-based
plants when the cost of renewable hydrogen falls below $2.20 a kilogram, assuming
coking coal prices remain where they are now at about $310 a ton. That could happen
by 2030, Bloomberg says. Currently, most commercial hydrogen in North America is
derived from natural gas, which has its own carbon and methane emissions problems.
But new technologies that rely on renewable energy are coming to market soon.

Any shift to hydrogen would pose a danger to coking coal producers and their investors.
The material has few uses other than in blast furnaces. “It has long been thought that
met-coal is untouchable and would be unaffected by the changes sweeping the energy
sector,” Bhavnagri says. “Hydrogen extends the reach of renewables right into the front
yard of met-coal miners.”

583
Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: September 09, 2019, 07:50:18 PM »
The economics of power generation are rapidly changing in favor of renewables and battery storage.  That means that many of the gas plants and pipelines being designed and built today will run at lower capacity factors and be retired before the end of their useful lives.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-09-09/gas-plants-will-get-crushed-by-wind-solar-by-2035-study-says

Quote
Gas Plants Will Get Crushed by Wind, Solar by 2035, Study Says
By David R Baker
‎September‎ ‎9‎, ‎2019‎ ‎3‎:‎00‎ ‎AM‎ ‎PDT

Natural gas-fired power plants, which have crushed the economics of coal, are on the path to being undercut themselves by renewable power and big batteries, a study found.

By 2035, it will be more expensive to run 90% of gas plants being proposed in the U.S. than it will be to build new wind and solar farms equipped with storage systems, according to the report Monday from the Rocky Mountain Institute. It will happen so quickly that gas plants now on the drawing boards will become uneconomical before their owners finish paying for them, the study said.

Quote
As gas plants lose their edge in power markets, the economics of pipelines will suffer, too, RMI said in a separate study Monday. Even lines now in the planning stages could soon be out of the money, the report found.

“Our story for gas plants is, if you build it, they won’t run -- they won’t run at their expected capacity factors,” said Mark Dyson, who co-wrote both reports. “And that filters down to pipelines, too.”

584
Policy and solutions / Re: Australian politics and climate
« on: September 05, 2019, 09:10:23 PM »
Australia on pace to meet 2020 goals for renewable energy:

https://www.inverse.com/article/58989-clean-energy-why-australia-is-about-to-beat-its-renewable-energy-target

Quote
The Clean Energy Regulator, the government body responsible for overseeing the targets, announced Wednesday that it has given the thumbs-up to enough energy capacity to meet its target for large-scale grid projects. The goal was to produce 33,000 gigawatt-hours of clean energy by 2020.

Quote
These initiatives are paying off. Wind and solar moved from the most expensive forms of energy in 2001 to the cheapest today. These declining prices are expected to have a knock-on effect, with analysis from RepuTex claiming the country could reach 50 percent renewables by 2030 without any new policies, thanks to declining prices.

Imperial College London data shows that Australia ranked 10th in terms of renewable capacity additions from 2008 to 2017, adding 0.4 kilowatts per person, edging out the 12th-placed United States but adding less than half the capacity of first-placed Germany.

Quote
The Clean Energy Regulator is just one of the many steps taken by the government to meet these goals. It’s an independent statutory authority, established by the government in the Clean Energy Regulator Act 2011, which states its goal as “accelerating carbon abatement for Australia.” It does this by administering the legislation that will help reach this goal, which includes the large-scale target.

The regulator stated in 2016 that 6,400 megawatts of capacity would need to be built between 2017 and 2019 to meet the renewable energy target. This target was met on August 30, 2019, when the regulator approved four large wind and solar power stations totaling 406 megawatts. The body is tracking a further 6,410 megawatts of renewable energy sources to be built over the coming years.

585
...

Will be interesting to see what happens during the next ten years, could we see battery driven or hybrid light tanks as battery ranges increase? The advantage of the latter would be no complex ICE to break down in the middle of a battle, no hot exhaust fumes and noise to give away a position, and if the batteries are at the bottom of the tank maybe fewer fires (although mines could be really dangerous).

One of my colleagues is studying the carbon emissions of the military, which are colossal. Governments try really hard not to disclose the scale of the military's GHG emissions.

I read somewhere that the US military GHG emissions would rank in the top 50 nations if they were a separate Country.  I think it's among the low lying fruit that a new President could tap if they want to immediately cut US GHG emissions.

They could by executive order:
- Require all military bases to be powered by green energy through PPAs.
- Require all new non-combat vehicles to be battery powered (there are a lot of sedans, pickups, vans and buses used to get around the huge military bases)
- Increase the amount of solar panels on military housing and buildings (there are already a lot, started under the Obama administration)
- Fund grid interconnection projects to strengthen the electrical grid against potential terrorist attack (and in the meantime alleviate intermittency problems that could occur with large amounts of solar and wind powering the grid)
- Fund research in solid-state batteries for ships and combat vehicles through DARPA and the other military research funds (it's a large budget)



586
Science / Re: The Science of Aerosols
« on: September 05, 2019, 08:02:49 PM »
Thanks.  Here's a paper that discusses variability of natural aerosols.

https://www.nature.com/articles/nature12674

Quote
Large contribution of natural aerosols to uncertainty in indirect forcing
K. S. Carslaw, L. A. Lee, C. L. Reddington, K. J. Pringle, A. Rap, P. M. Forster, G. W. Mann, D. V. Spracklen, M. T. Woodhouse, L. A. Regayre & J. R. Pierce

Nature volume 503, pages 67–71 (07 November 2013)

Abstract

The effect of anthropogenic aerosols on cloud droplet concentrations and radiative properties is the source of one of the largest uncertainties in the radiative forcing of climate over the industrial period. This uncertainty affects our ability to estimate how sensitive the climate is to greenhouse gas emissions. Here we perform a sensitivity analysis on a global model to quantify the uncertainty in cloud radiative forcing over the industrial period caused by uncertainties in aerosol emissions and processes. Our results show that 45 per cent of the variance of aerosol forcing since about 1750 arises from uncertainties in natural emissions of volcanic sulphur dioxide, marine dimethylsulphide, biogenic volatile organic carbon, biomass burning and sea spray. Only 34 per cent of the variance is associated with anthropogenic emissions. The results point to the importance of understanding pristine pre-industrial-like environments, with natural aerosols only, and suggest that improved measurements and evaluation of simulated aerosols in polluted present-day conditions will not necessarily result in commensurate reductions in the uncertainty of forcing estimates.

587
Science / Re: The Science of Aerosols
« on: September 04, 2019, 11:15:55 PM »
Having a million difficulties trying to upload the presentation as a PDF.

I tried to take detailed notes, and stuck around for the Q&A. I may be able to answer some basic questions if anybody has any.

Did the question about a possible spike in warming from reduced aerosols with the reduction in fossil fuel burning come up?  If so, what was the answer?

588
Speaking of Canada, while the Western supermajors have sold off a lot of their interests in the tar sands, the big three Chinese oil firms remain invested.

https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Why-Chinas-Oil-Majors-Arent-Leaving-Canadas-Oil-Patch.html

Quote
China’s state-held oil majors are staying in Canada’s oil sands despite challenges in production growth, unlike major European and U.S. firms that have bailed out of the higher-cost Canadian oil patch.

The three giant Chinese oil companies—PetroChina, CNOOC, and Sinopec—tell Dan Healing of The Canadian Press that they are committed to their Canadian operations, while analysts say that the Chinese energy behemoths can afford to not make too much profit from their Canadian operations. The Chinese majors can afford to operate in the capital intensive and not spectacularly profitable Canadian oil patch, Jia Wang, deputy director of the China Institute at the University of Alberta, told The Canadian Press.  

The Chinese oil majors want to stay and develop their operations in Canada despite some operational difficulties. This approach is in contrast to the exodus of oil supermajors from Canada’s oil sands in 2017, when large oil companies sold their oil sands operations or parts of them to Canadian operators.

589
Permafrost / Re: Toward Improved Discussions of Methane & Climate
« on: September 04, 2019, 09:32:41 PM »
Methane emissions from the Permian oil field (in Texas, USA) have tripled in the past few years.

https://www.chron.com/business/energy/article/Permian-methane-emissions-back-on-the-rise-after-14412700.php

Quote
Methane emissions and pollution in the booming Permian Basin likely hit a new record high in the second quarter after taking a small, but surprising, dip early this year, according to a new study.

The report estimates that the volumes of methane from natural gas burned off or vented into the atmosphere averaged of 663 million cubic feet per day in the second quarter, which is more than triple the amount of pollution and waste from just two years ago, according to the Norwegian research firm Rystad Energy.

The Permian has undergone a massive increase in natural gas flaring and venting in recent years, driven by higher activity and a lack of gas pipelines near the oil wells. Companies mostly only drill for the more valuable crude oil in the Permian, but associated gas comes out of the wells. Many companies opt to simply burn much of the gas away at the wellhead rather than possibly lose money transporting and selling the cheap gas.

590
Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: September 04, 2019, 09:10:30 PM »
India's coal plants face a triple-threat: too much capacity in the current electrical system; lack of water due to climate change; and the cheap cost of wind and solar.

https://weather.com/en-IN/india/news/news/2019-09-04-coal-energy-bleak-future-study

Quote
What once drove India to economic development and continues to power millions of homes and industries is now dying a slow death, a new study reveals.

India went through a boom in coal-fired power plants in the early 2010s, years before it embraced the solar revolution. The plant construction during this time has lead to a significant over-capacity - 20% higher than the country’s peak demand level and more than 50GW above-average demand levels, said a study by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) and Applied Economics Clinic (AEC).

...

The other two main challenges apart from over-capacity are dropping water availability and lower cost of electricity coming from renewable sources like solar and wind.

Quote
“Ongoing water shortage problems in India forced 61 plant shutdowns from 2013-2017, resulting in roughly 17,000 gigawatt-hours of lost generation (and revenue),” read the report. “Water-related problems are projected to worsen as the impacts of climate change continue to exacerbate the duration and severity of both flooding and drought,” added the report.
 
A 2018 research from World Resources Institute (WRI) found out that thermal power plants cooled with freshwater in high water-stress areas have 21% lower average capacity factor, compared to plants in low and medium water-stress areas. Another 2018 paper from WRI also found out that the top 20 thermal power utility companies experienced water shortage-related disruptions at least once between 2013 and 2018, which caused a loss of USD$1.4 billion in potential revenue.

591
Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: September 04, 2019, 07:29:47 PM »
The oil majors investing more money in renewable projects.

https://oilprice.com/Alternative-Energy/Renewable-Energy/Big-Oil-To-Seal-Record-Number-Of-Green-Energy-Deals-In-2019.html

Quote
The world’s biggest oil companies are on track to do a record number of deals to invest in alternative energy and green technologies this year, BloombergNEF said in a report on Wednesday.
Seven months into 2019, Big Oil has already made nearly 70 deals involving renewables and biofuels, compared to 80 such agreements for the entire 2018, according to the report.

Quote
Shell announced its first-ever short-term goals to cut the carbon footprint of its operations and product sales. In July, Shell’s chief executive Ben van Beurden said that the world reducing emissions to net zero “is the only way to go,” and called on businesses to work together to move faster in addressing climate change. 
“Shell’s shift to a lower carbon footprint will transform it from one of the biggest oil companies in the world to the world’s largest electricity company by the 2030s,” energy consultancy Wood Mackenzie said last month.
The Anglo-Dutch major has pledged to invest US$2 billion annually in renewables and clean technologies.


592
Policy and solutions / Re: Electric cars
« on: September 04, 2019, 01:21:42 AM »
Volkswagen?  Fiat-Chrysler? GM?  Ford?  Toyota?  Honda?  Porsche?  Jaguar?
Quote
Because the Automotive industry is such a slow moving one, we generally know who the players will be in the next five years.
I am not aware of a serious EV offering from the incumbents that will come to market in the next five years and sell more than 100,000 units per year.
https://twitter.com/valueanalyst1/status/1167814273265033217

Ford has announced plans for several electric vehicles, including a Mustang crossover and an electric version of the F-150 pickup.

https://www.autonews.com/future-product/fords-ev-strategy-takes-shape-search-popularity-and-profit

Quote
DETROIT — After years of heavy investment and one forgettable attempt, Ford Motor Co. has yet to deliver a serious battery-electric vehicle.
That will change in 2020 with the introduction of Ford's first long-range EV, a Mustang-inspired crossover expected to be called Mach E. That will be followed as soon as a year later by a full-electric F-150, with two midsize EV crossovers on tap for late 2022.
And still two more are expected in the same period.

593
Policy and solutions / Re: Electric cars
« on: September 03, 2019, 08:23:05 PM »
Futures prices for lithium are crashing.  Batteries will become cheaper.  This article seems to think that demand for EVs will drop as a result.  Perhaps the author failed Econ 101?

https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/The-Electric-Car-Boom-Could-Be-Over-For-Now.html

Quote
A new report from Bloomberg shows how the glut in lithium supply could suggest the electric car boom is over for now.
There was once a time when lithium carbonate spot prices soared higher, all with increasing demand from electric car companies. This all ended in the late 4Q17 when the global economy entered into a cyclical downturn. In the last 15 months, lithium spot prices have been halved.

Quote
The result of the glut is a combination of factors, including decreasing electric car demand from China, and Australia opening up six new lithium mines.

Quote
The result of the glut is a combination of factors, including decreasing electric car demand from China, and Australia opening up six new lithium mines.

The author linked to a Bloomberg article that has more details.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-07-28/the-lithium-mine-buildup-is-outpacing-the-electric-car-boom

Quote
Lithium miners are bulking up for a booming future when
electric cars go mainstream. But speed bumps loom, with
prices tumbling on a burst of new production and demand
growth slowing in China.

Quote
Producers “see that electric vehicles will take off years from
now, and they want to be the dominant players in 2023,
2025, 2030,” Jackson said by telephone. “So they’ll try to
build out what they believe will be the supply needed to
service lithium demand years from now, and they want to
get their products out there first.”
By 2025, the market for mined lithium raw material may be
worth $20 billion, compared with $43 billion for refined
products and $424 billion for battery cells, according to a
base case scenario outlined in a 2018 study published by the
Australia-based Association of Mining and Exploration
Companies.
By 2030, the supply of lithium-ion batteries will need to
increase by more than 10-fold, BloombergNEF forecasts,
with electric vehicles to accounting for more than 70% of
that demand.

594
Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: September 03, 2019, 08:02:16 PM »
When they frac they first drill vertical, until they get close to the layer where they want to be. And than they start to drill horizontal. On average 3 km. Does somebody knows how far they frac the area left and right from the borehole ? How far is the pressure cruching that layer ?

10 km (6.2 miles)

https://drillers.com/directional-drilling-everything-you-ever-wanted-to-know/

Quote
Techniques such as multilateral, horizontal and extended reach drilling (ERD) are enhanced oil recovery (EOR) methods that can increase the yield of a downhole dramatically. It’s possible for ERD specialists to drill for more than 10 kilometers/6.2 miles.

595
Thanks for your insights on China.  Very interesting comparison to feudal England!

As to US "energy dominance", we aren't even close.  The US has reached a new peak of oil production at around 12 million barrels per day, but that seems to be it as the shale plays decline and the sweet spots have been tapped first.  And while there have been some gains in average fuel efficiency and energy efficiency, we still import about 10 million barrels per day.  (For some reason, we also export crude oil, I suspect it's the majors' speculating in futures markets).  Almost half of our imports come from Canada.

596
Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: September 03, 2019, 07:44:29 PM »
Interesting article on the failure of US oil production to meet forecasts and the coming debt storm that will roll through the industry in the coming years.

https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Oil-Production-Growth-In-US-Grinds-To-A-Halt.html

Quote
Oil Production Growth In U.S. Grinds To A Halt
By Nick Cunningham - Sep 02, 2019, 6:00 PM CDT
Join Our Community
 
Lower oil prices and ongoing financial stress in the U.S. shale industry are creating headwinds for drillers, and it appears increasingly likely that supply growth could undershoot forecasts.
U.S. oil production fell in June to 12.082 million barrels per day (mb/d), according to new data released by the EIA on Friday. That is a decline of 33,000 bpd from May – not a huge drop off, but a decline nonetheless.

In previous months, maintenance at offshore oil fields made up a big chunk of the declines. While the overall figures for the entire U.S. appeared to disappoint, temporary declines offshore masked ongoing growth in the Permian. But this time around, blame cannot simply be pinned on offshore maintenance.
Remarkably, production in Oklahoma fell by a rather substantial 58,000 bpd, a sign of problems in Oklahoma’s SCOOP and STACK plays, which have proved to be somewhat of a disappointment. Anecdotally, companies have said that they were pivoting away from Oklahoma’s shale because of higher-than-expected costs and lower-than-expected production volumes. The latest EIA data suggests that lower investment in Oklahoma could be taking a toll.

Quote
What should we make of all of this? It’s only one month’s worth of data, but it represents another disappointment. The EIA maintains that the U.S. will average 12.3 mb/d in 2019, which is looking increasingly optimistic. The U.S. only averaged 11.95 mb/d in the first six months of the year, so output would need to dramatically accelerate in order to bring the overall average up. It would seem that the agency may soon be forced to revise down annual growth estimates.
To be sure, the weekly EIA estimates have output currently at 12.5 mb/d, which indeed is significantly higher than June figures. But these numbers are rougher estimates, and are subject to revision. For instance, at the time weekly EIA data in June estimated output was averaging 12.2 mb/d. But the monthly data that was just published, which is seen as more accurate, show that production was actually 12.08 mb/d.
This may seem like nitpicking, but the point is that unless production surged in July and August, the current estimates of 12.5 mb/d for late August may need to be revised down. The EIA itself said that production probably fell in July to 11.7 mb/d (in its most recent Short-Term Energy Outlook), due to temporary outages offshore from Hurricane Barry.

Quote
Most oil forecasters expected explosive production growth to continue through this year and into 2020. But with June U.S. production at 12.082 mb/d, output is only about 80,000 bpd above levels seen at the end of 2018. In other words, growth has been pretty slow this year.
Financial stress is really setting in, forcing drillers to cut back. The rig count fell by 12 in the last week of August, part of an ongoing slide since reaching a peak late last year. Bankruptcies are on the rise. As the Wall Street Journal notes, an estimated 26 U.S. oil and gas companies have declared bankruptcy this year, which is close to the full-year 2018 total. More are expected.
Worse, there is a tsunami of debt that comes due in the years ahead. According to the WSJ, roughly $9 billion worth of debt was set to mature over the second half of 2019. But a whopping $137 billion in debt matures between 2020 and 2022, a massive total that stems from the huge debt issuance following the oil market meltdown a few years ago.
A serious reckoning is just around the corner.

597
Russia relies heavily on natural gas exports as a source of revenue.  Exports to Western Europe are decreasing, but exports to China will start next year.

https://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/Gazprom-Finally-Concedes-Tough-Times-Ahead-For-Gas-Exports-Prices.html

Quote
Gazprom admitted today that its gas exports to Europe will fall in 2019, Reuters reported on Thursday, meaning that its 200.8 billion cubic meters of gas it shipped in 2018 to Europe and Turkey is now a thing of the past.
Gazprom had previously said it would maintain this high level of exports. It will also ship gas at lower prices, Gazprom indicated, adding insult to the injury.
Gazprom revenues are responsible for 5 percent of Russia’s economy.

In 2018, Gazprom Export LLC’s website shows, Western European countries made up 81 percent of its exports, led by Germany, while Central European states accounted for 19 percent. Russia controls about 35 percent of Europe’s total gas market.
Prior to its bang-up year in 2018, Gazprom had exported 192.2 bcm in 2017. This is the level that Gazprom is expecting for 2019 as well. For prices, Gazprom is expecting a decrease of 13 percent this year, to $215 per thousand cubic meters.

Quote
Gazprom announced today that it had begun filling its pipeline to China, the Power of Siberia, with gas. Shipments are expected to start next year.

598
Here's the fact check that the video is complaining about.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/08/28/sanderss-flawed-statistic-medical-bankruptcies-year/

Here are some excerpts.  The article is much longer and well worth reading.

Quote
“500,000 people go bankrupt every year because they cannot pay their outrageous medical bills.”
— Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Aug. 25, 2019
“500,000 Americans will go bankrupt this year from medical bills.”
— Sanders, in a tweet, Aug. 20, 2019
This claim from Sanders — that medical bills drive half a million people into bankruptcy every year — relies partly on research from former Harvard professor and now senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).
Sanders and Warren are seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, both running on a platform that includes universal health care and lower costs for patients. Interestingly, though, Warren doesn’t appear to make the same claim about 500,000 medical bankruptcies per year.
The Sanders campaign told us he was citing a statistic from a public health journal. Critics say the study he’s citing casts too wide a net because it counts anyone who mentioned medical bills or illness among their reasons for declaring bankruptcy, not just those who said it was the main reason or a big piece.

Quote
The federal courts recorded 750,489 nonbusiness bankruptcy filings in the year that ended March 31, down 0.8 percent from the previous 12-month period, according to data from the federal judiciary.
Sanders said 500,000 people were driven to bankruptcy by medical bills. A Sanders campaign aide said he was relying on an editorial published by the American Journal of Public Health (AJPH) in March.
That study, led by David U. Himmelstein, took a sample of bankruptcy court filings from 2013 to 2016, identified 3,200 bankrupt debtors and mailed them a survey. The response rate was 29.4 percent, with 910 responses and 108 surveys returned as undeliverable.

Debtors were asked whether medical expenses, or loss of work related to illness, contributed to their bankruptcies. Of those who responded, 66.5 percent said at least one of those factors contributed “somewhat” or “very much.”
Sixty-six percent of 750,000 is 500,000, so Sanders’s math adds up at first glance
.
“The majority (58.5%) ‘very much’ or ‘somewhat’ agreed that medical expenses contributed, and 44.3% cited illness-related work loss; 66.5% cited at least one of these two medical contributors—equivalent to about 530,000 medical bankruptcies annually,” the AJPH editorial says.

Quote
Craig Garthwaite, a health-care policy expert in the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, said the study was flawed. “It’s basically saying that if you go bankrupt and you have medical debt, that’s the cause of your bankruptcy,” he said. “That’s not the way you can do this kind of analysis.”
He added: “Rather than looking at a sample of people who go bankrupt and see how many have medical debt, look at a sample of a bunch of people who have medical debt, and how many of them go bankrupt. And that gives you an idea of causality.”
A group of researchers tried that approach in a peer-reviewed study published by the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) in 2018. Looking at a random sample of California hospital patients between 2003 and 2007, they found that medical bankruptcies represented 4 percent of all bankruptcies. The patients were between ages 25 and 64 and included only those admitted to a hospital for non-birth-related reasons.

“Based on our estimate of 4 percent of bankruptcy filings per year and the approximately 800,000 bankruptcy filings per year, our number would be much closer to something on the order of 30,000-50,000 bankruptcies caused by a hospitalization,” one of the co-authors of the NEJM study, economist Raymond Kluender of Harvard Business School, wrote in an email.

Quote
The Pinocchio Test
This is a classic case of cherry-picking a number from a scientific study and twisting it to make a political point.
Sanders’s statements — “500,000 people go bankrupt every year because they cannot pay their outrageous medical bills” and “500,000 Americans will go bankrupt this year from medical bills” — are unambiguous. He’s saying medical debts caused those 500,000 bankruptcies. However, correlation is not causation, and the study he’s citing doesn’t establish causation for all 500,000 bankruptcy cases.
One of the authors sent us rough estimates showing that Sanders might be on target, but those numbers deserve scientific scrutiny before they can be taken as fact.
In the meantime, the statistic Sanders’s campaign cited includes bankrupt debtors for whom medical expenses may have been a minor or relatively small contributing factor. A different, peer-reviewed study arrived at a much different conclusion, suggesting the medical bankruptcy rate is far lower, although it measured only hospital patients and not all types of medical debt.
The omissions and twists are significant enough to merit Three Pinocchios for Sanders.


599
I'd be interested to read what you find about the Chinese government's control over their "state run" corporations.  It seems that the Government is very good about saying one thing while doing another and using the excuse that it can't control the provincial governments or corporations.

On one hand, the Chinese Government claims it's interested in cutting greenhouse gas emissions, yet on the other hand, they allow provincial governments to expand coal mining and resume construction of coal power plants.  They even use so-called "Green funds" to pay for the coal projects.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-greenbonds-coal/china-provides-1-billion-in-green-finance-to-coal-projects-in-first-half-of-the-year-idUSKCN1V90FY

Quote
ENVIRONMENT AUGUST 18, 2019 / 11:42 PM / 12 DAYS AGO
China provides $1 billion in 'green'
finance to coal projects in first half
of the year

David Stanway

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Chinese financial institutions provided at least $1 billion in “green” financing to coal-related projects in the first half of this year, a review of financial data showed, with fossil fuels still playing a major role in Beijing’s energy strategy.
According to Shanghai-based financial data provider Wind, 7.4 billion yuan ($1.1 billion) in green corporate and financial bonds were issued by 13 coal projects in the first half of the year. They involved power plants fueled by coal or coalbed methane as well as coal-to-chemical projects.

With the "Belt and Road" foreign policy, China is the number one financer of coal projects in less developed countries.

https://www.npr.org/2019/04/29/716347646/why-is-china-placing-a-global-bet-on-coal

Quote
China, known as the world's biggest polluter, has been taking dramatic steps to clean up and fight climate change.
So why is it also building hundreds of coal-fired power plants in other countries?
President Xi Jinping hosted the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing over the weekend, promoting his signature foreign policy of building massive infrastructure and trade links across several continents.
The forum, attended by leaders and delegates of nearly 40 countries, came amid growing criticism of China's projects, including their effect on the environment.

Quote
Yet China's overseas ventures include hundreds of electric power plants that burn coal, which is a significant emitter of the carbon scientifically linked to climate change. Edward Cunningham, a specialist on China and its energy markets at Harvard University, tells NPR that China is building or planning more than 300 coal plants in places as widely spread as Turkey, Vietnam, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Egypt and the Philippines.

600
Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: August 29, 2019, 11:21:16 PM »
The pace of coal power plant retirements is accelerating.  In January, 6 GW of coal power were forecast to be retired in in the US.  That has increased to 10 GW in August.

January 2019 Forecast:

https://cleantechnica.com/2019/01/23/us-coal-retirements-in-2019-to-hit-at-least-6-gigawatts/

Quote
US Coal Retirements In 2019 To Hit At Least 6 Gigawatts

January 23rd, 2019 by Joshua S Hill 

The latest S&P Global Market Intelligence data shows that a total of 49 gigawatts (GW) of new power generation capacity will be added in the United States in 2019, but will also see the retirement of nearly 6 GW of coal.

August 2019 forecast:

http://ieefa.org/u-s-coal-plant-retirements-to-top-10gw-in-2019-eia/

Quote
U.S. coal plant retirements to top 10GW in 2019—EIA
Reuters: (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-coal-retirement-factbox/factbox-u-s-coal-fired-power-plants-scheduled-to-shut-idUSKCN1V31IS)
U.S. power companies expect to retire or convert from coal to gas over 10,600 megawatts (MW) of coal-fired plants in 2019 after shutting over 13,000 MW in 2018, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) and Thomson Reuters data.

The number of megawatts retired in 2018 was the second highest in a year behind 2015 when generators shut over 19,000 MW. One megawatt can power about 1,000 U.S. homes.

U.S. coal power capacity peaked around 317,400 MW in 2011, according to EIA data. It has declined every year since and was down to around 244,000 MW by the end of 2018. The total generating capacity in the United States – including coal, natural gas, renewables and nuclear – was almost 1.1 million MW in 2018.

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