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Messages - rboyd

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1
Yukos (Khodokovsky's company) was also in talks to sell 40% of itself to Exxon, handed strategic asset to US corporations.
(My emph.) Meanhile it is stranded assets. That's what the whole world-wide conundrum is about. And meanwhile Exxon almost got a different big deal in Russian assets. My impression is, Putin's whole strategy (economical and geopolitical, e.g. Ukraine) is based on such assets.

During the 1988 to 2000 depression that hit the USSR, and then Russia, the economy lost most of its heavy industry and did not develop the light industry that was so lacking under Soviet rule. Putin took back some state control of the major resource assets upon which the Russian economy is now based (oil, gas, coal, iron ore, nickel) and form the overwhelming majority of the country's exports.

This is the hand that was provided at the turn of this century, and the nation has been unable to move away from it. Add some positives in arms production and nuclear power and thats about it. Russia is trapped in a fossil fuel orientation, and that is why it allies with states such as Saudi Arabia at the UN climate change meetings. Cutting emissions = economic contraction for Russia, which will delegitimize the state, so its not an option. It would also mean reducing the wealth of a lot of powerful people in Russia.

Assets aren't stranded until the world gets real about cutting emissions, in the meantime the fossil fuel elites will try to keep the fossil fuel game that enriches them going for as long as possible, thinking that they can get off before the others do.

2
Policy and solutions / Re: Extinction Rebellion
« on: December 02, 2019, 09:05:38 PM »
I remember this tactic being used during the G20 meeting in Toronto, mass arrests with 2-3 days in really shitty cells and holding pens (plus strip searches), and the threat of a criminal record,  followed by dropped charges later. Designed to mess with protester's lives as much as possible. Works very well with the more middle and upper middle class protestors.

3
Yukos (Khodokovsky's company) was also in talks to sell 40% of itself to Exxon, handed strategic asset to US corporations.
I'd like to think of Exxon as a corporation in itself, not a specifically U.S. corporation. We have to stop thinking of THE U.S. as a heterogeneous predictable entity - as the Kurds had to learn again these days... Just like Putin's Russia isn't Russia herself.

The large transnational US corporations are connected at the hip with the US state. There is an excellent book that looks at the social networks of the US state foreign policy community and finds an incredibly tight overlap between US TNCs, think-tanks funded by those TNCs and the US mega-rich, and the policy community. In addition, the major fossil fuel TNCs have coordinated with the US state again and again in foreign policy decsions that affect their profitability.

American Grand Strategy and Corporate Elite Networks: The Open Door since the End of the Cold War

https://www.amazon.com/American-Grand-Strategy-Corporate-Networks-ebook/dp/B0171ZQSTS/ref=sr_1_3?keywords=apeldoorn&qid=1575316191&s=books&sr=1-3

Also, a good paper by the same authors on the Chinese corporate elite and state networks, its in an academic journal so you may not have access:

US--China relations and the liberal world order: contending elites, colliding visions?

And a book they wrote on the EU elite/business linkages

Transnational Capitalism and the Struggle over European Integration

https://www.amazon.com/Transnational-Capitalism-Struggle-Integration-Political-ebook-dp-B000PLXBUA/dp/B000PLXBUA/ref=mt_kindle?_encoding=UTF8&me=&qid=1575316523

The books are expensive, but you can get second hand copies quite cheap (like $9 for the last one). I am an academic, so I can get them from the library (or another university's library). Having no limit on the amount of books I can take out, and access to all the publications for free, is a wonderful gift!




4
Policy and solutions / Re: Electric cars
« on: December 02, 2019, 08:36:08 PM »
There Is An Automotive Bubble Forming In The U.S.

This looks so much like the run up to the 2007/8 crisis when the US car manufacturers had to be bailed out, any kind of recession will kill Ford and GMs new business model of focusing on expensive trucks and SUVs with demand supported by greater and greater levels of consumer debt. Longer-term it puts them way behind the curve on EV's. Any significant increase in gas prices (Middle East war, fracking production starts to fall due to depletion of the sweet spots, Green New Deal carbon taxes) would also put both of them into serious crises.

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Summary

US consumer preferences are shifting away from US sedans and into US trucks and SUVs. Ford and General Motors are doubling down by cutting production of sedan models.

These larger vehicles are getting increasingly expensive, and consumers are borrowing more money for longer periods of time in order to pay for them.

These trends are forming in a strong economic environment. Not only is this unsustainable, but it will also only magnify the fallout (and damage to manufacturers) when the economy reverses course.

Toyota and Honda US sedan sales are not falling, while Ford and GMs are.

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Various sedan models are being retired, and the remaining trucks and SUVs are shooting higher in cost. Because of how expensive living costs have become (rent and healthcare costs continue to rise), the only way that many consumers can afford these vehicles is to utilize poor financial tools to finance them. We dive into this trend and what the downside could be for automotive companies if this continues to escalate.

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The gravitation of US consumers towards larger vehicles is a very real phenomenon, but it does come with an important caveat. That being that the decline of sedan sales is not an industry-wide problem, rather a US company problem. In other words, while Ford and GM are witnessing failure in the sedan segment, foreign competitors Toyota and Honda are still seeing sales remain stable.

So GM and Ford are getting out of sedans (they already pretty much got out of the small car market) and focusing on higher priced trucks and SUVs, "that are shooting higher in cost", with demand only being kept up through declining lending standards and longer and longer car loan terms (like 7 years!).

Short term financial gain at the expense of long term viability?

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The trend of lowering car sales and increasing (higher margin) SUV/truck sales has created an influx of cash for Ford and General Motors. While revenues have increased, the higher margin sales have given an outsized boost to operating cash flow.

https://seekingalpha.com/article/4274782-automotive-bubble-forming-u-s

5
Policy and solutions / Re: Electric cars
« on: December 02, 2019, 08:21:14 PM »
Electric Car Gold Rush: The Auto Industry Charges Into Chin

Quite a well balanced article on the different EV makers and how the China market impacts them. Tesla and BYD are the leaders in the race with respect to EV sales, then BAIC and Geely of China, then BMW. BYD also produces electric buses, and 99% of them globally are in China.

VW is massively in danger, in 2018 only 0.7% of its sales were EVs. It sells 40% of its cars in China, so has very much to lose if it doesn't get competitive in the EV space. Same for BMW, who sell nearly half of their cars in China. Same for GM, Ford and Fiat/Chrysler in China.

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In Europe, its home market, the company faces two stark realities. The first is its own fault: In 2015, VW’s reputation was shattered by the revelation that its brass had, for years, knowingly built diesel cars that spewed excessive pollution, and then repeatedly lied about it to regulators. The second, which some at VW see as following from the first, comes in the form of a regulatory headlock from Brussels: a 2018 European Union requirement that automakers slash the carbon emissions of their car fleets 37.5% by 2030. VW, in the carbon wars, has an outsize target on its back: It coughs out fully 1% of global carbon emissions owing to the sheer number of cars it puts on the road.

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In short, the Chinese government is switching from a carrot to a stick. Wöllenstein, VW’s China head, predicts that, by decreeing more electric-car sales, Beijing will force economies of scale that, within a few years, will make electric cars less expensive than combustion cars to produce. “The lines will probably cross in 2022 or 2023,” he says.

The Chinese manufacturers are targeting the Chinese mass market, which makes them incredibly cost competitive. It could be a real shock, just like the ones provided by the Japanese and then the Korean manufacturers, to Europe and North America if/when they enter those markets. There is a huge pent up demand for truly affordable cars, one the US manufacturers especially have pretty much exited. Then again, Trump may just add lots of import tariffs...

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Anyone who assumes a Chinese electric car is a rattling econobox might want to take one of BYD’s new models for a spin. It lacks the it’s-good-to-be-king ride and feel of that crown jewel of the EV realm, the Tesla Model S. But it also lags the Model S’s China sticker price, which is upwards of $100,000. Loaded, the E-platform’s top model, the Tang, has a sticker price of about $51,000, after subsidies. A basic BYD model at the E-platform’s lower end can be had, after subsidies, for about $8,500.

There is a big shake out happening with the Chinese government moving from consumer subsidies to mandated production shares, could go on for a while. The result will be that the stronger car makers survive and will have been through a huge efficiency drive to do so.

With the new European car emissions legislation, plus the China policies, the US will be set way back by the ability of the US car manufacturers to get Trump to gut the car efficiency regulations. Tesla is the US's version of a one-trick pony - if that trick fails they having nothing in the EV space, far too much risk placed upon a single producer.

https://fortune.com/longform/electric-car-auto-industry-china/

6
Policy and solutions / Re: Electric cars
« on: December 02, 2019, 04:58:49 AM »
Some of the Chinese EV manufacturers make an actual real net profit, not just of the operating kind reported by Tesla. In the long run its the real net profit that matters as that represents the long term sustainability of the organization (able to fund long term development while still making a profit).

Operating profits can be very misleading and is also open to quite a lot of gaming with such things as Cost of Goods Sold due to the widespread lack of compliance to General Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) in many company's reporting these days.

7
Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: December 02, 2019, 04:51:32 AM »
Kurzweil may be an optimist, but here's a pessimist:
It Bears Repeating: Renewables Alone Won’t End the Climate Crisis
https://thetyee.ca/Analysis/2019/11/19/Renewables-Alone-Will-Not-End-Climate-Crisis/
Quote
Pielke, he said, ignored some data on existing renewables such as hydro dams but basically his math “is close to correct.” Hughes added that it’s physically impossible to replace all primary fossil fuel energy on a business-as-usual scale with renewables.
To Hughes, the implications are clear: “What this means is that we have to look at downsizing, degrowth, using less. The math doesn’t work to keep the party going with renewables.” Ecologist Rees delivered the same message a week ago in The Tyee.

A great article, some more enlightening quotes:

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Since 1859, global energy consumption has increased by an average of 2.4 per cent a year. It shows no sign of slowing down.

Global energy use grew 2.9% in 2018 (UNEP Emissions Gap Report 2019), so we may actually be above this trend.

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or the record, Smil thinks society is doing everything wrong with energy at the moment. Our cars and homes have gotten bigger. We fly everywhere like feckless Greek gods, and we grow our food more energy intensively than ever before. We throw away 40 per cent of groceries. We can’t even tax the rich, the world’s biggest energy spenders, properly.

Says it all really ...

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But Cook knew where we must go: “We must abandon efficiency of production as a social goal and replace it with efficiency of consumption. We need to favour measures of quality of achievement over measure of quantity. And we must stop confusing momentum with progress and growth with goodness.”

i.e. no "fast fashion" or throwaway culture, quality over quantity, vacations by train, and tax/ban excess consumption (including the military boondoggles) etc. to squeeze out what we don't need while keeping what we do (hospitals, schools, good food, shelter etc.). This will only happen over the "dead bodies" of a whole bunch of the rich and powerful who unfortunately will keep believing in eco-modernism (because it allows them to continue as is) until rich people's stuff gets destroyed/threatened on a significant scale.

https://wedocs.unep.org/bitstream/handle/20.500.11822/30797/EGR2019.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

8
Policy and solutions / Re: But, but, but, China....
« on: December 01, 2019, 11:15:50 PM »
Upgrading of Chinese coal fired electricity plants

35% of Chinese coal plants are the less efficient sub-critical plants that do not meet the efficiency levels required by Chinese regulations by 2020. They can either be closed or upgraded to get about 43% efficiency - that means at least 10% less coal usage and CO2 emissions form these plants.

So thats 10% times .35 = 3.5% saving from the overall coal fleet (it will be more as some of the old plants will be closed and replaced with much higher efficiency ones). All new coal plants have to be of the ultra-critical type at least, ultra super critical ones are reaching efficiency levels of 50%.

So, it may be possible for China to increase electricity production from coal plants to support growth while not increasing emissions for the next few years, before they utilize all the benefits of upgrading the coal plant fleet.

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The introduction of higher steam temperatures and pressures led first to operation at supercritical and then subsequently with ultrasupercritical conditions. To put this in context, the supercritical units could boost efficiencies from 39% to about 42% while ultrasupercritical units have achieved efficiencies that have steadily increased from just above 42% to about 49% (net, LHV basis), with developments and demonstrations underway to push these past the 50% mark

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A 300 MWe subcritical unit can at very best achieve 39% efficiency while a state of the art 1000 MWe USC unit can have an efficiency close to 49% (net, LHV basis) ... the Chinese Government requires that by 2020 all the coal-fired power units should achieve an annual average UNE greater than 39.6% (LHV)

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Such subcritical units represent a significant part of the overall coal power fleet since their operational capacity is about 350 GWe, accounting for close to 35% of the total installed coal-fired power capacity

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Professor Feng has now turned his attention to providing the cost-effective high temperature retrofit for those existing 300/600MWe subcritical coal power units, which will result in a significant efficiency improvement that can be achieved at an acceptable investment level. His intention is to increase maximum temperature of the main and hot reheat steam from 538/538°C to 600/600°C, while keeping the steam pressure unchanged. It is estimated that the upgrade will enhance the unit’s power output efficiency to 42.9% for the 300 MWe units, and even higher for the 600 MWe ones, reduce its emissions by more than 10% and extend its overhaul interval from six to 12 years.

https://www.iea-coal.org/another-innovative-idea-from-the-waigaoqiao-no-3-coal-power-plant-engineers/

9
Policy and solutions / Re: But, but, but, China....
« on: November 26, 2019, 07:08:58 AM »
https://www.ft.com/content/be1250c6-0c4d-11ea-b2d6-9bf4d1957a67

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   The general momentum on climate and environment issues has been declining [in China],” says Li Shuo, senior global policy adviser at Greenpeace. Climate change has become a lower priority for Beijing. “There is less space for the green agenda,” he says.

China’s investment in renewable energy fell 39 per cent in the first half of this year, compared with the same period in 2018, according to data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Beijing yanked subsidies for solar panel projects in the middle of last year, and is shrinking those for wind, causing an abrupt shift.

“This is probably a low point,” says Li Junfeng, a senior renewable energy
policymaker and head of the National Centre for Climate Change Strategy Research, part of the government planning ministry. “The new policy is not in place yet, and the old policy [of subsidies] has been stopped.”

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The highest political priority in China is trying to stabilise the economy,” says Kevin Tu, an energy economist who previously led the China desk at the IEA. “Anything else, including environmental protection, especially climate change, will have to make some room for these political priorities.

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At the same time, coal appears to be again in the ascendant with Li Keqiang, China’s premier, last month identifying it as a priority area. China remains the world’s biggest producer. Many see this as part of a growing focus on energy security in Beijing, a result of Chinese leaders being spooked by deteriorating relations with the west. “Energy security anxiety is a blessing for the coal [sector] in China,” says Mr Tu.

https://www.ft.com/content/be1250c6-0c4d-11ea-b2d6-9bf4d1957a67

10
Policy and solutions / Re: But, but, but, China....
« on: November 24, 2019, 08:44:07 AM »
China's working age population has peaked, so the required rate of growth is less than it was before. The country also needs to rebalance between exports and domestic consumption. So 5% is fine, the Western MSM always want to call the next China crisis it seems.

11
Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: November 24, 2019, 08:39:08 AM »
Reminds me of the slag heap disaster at Aberfan in Wales in the 1960's, wiped out a junior school. Handled very well in an episode of Netfix's The Crown.

12
I am no expert on coal plant efficiency. The average US plant is 39 years old, while the 15 years old which may speak to the relative efficiency. Understood that US and Chinese measures may be using different metrics, it would be good to find some clean, direct comparisons.

13
Policy and solutions / Re: But, but, but, China....
« on: November 23, 2019, 01:18:54 AM »
They did very well in the Great Recession, their monetary expansion helped drag the rest of the world out of recession.

14
Policy and solutions / Re: But, but, but, China....
« on: November 23, 2019, 12:17:27 AM »
Good point, especially when their banking system is still mostly state-owned. People have been writing about the collapse of China for the past 15 years at least.

15
Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: November 23, 2019, 12:15:00 AM »
Ken, we will agree to disagree.

16
rboyd, have you read Rachel Maddow's latest book already? Seems very relevant to your research.

Rachel used to be quite a good progressive journalist, but in the past few years she has fully swallowed the "Putin Derangement" and "Trump Derangement" syndromes, like much of the, if not all of the, MSM (it seems the gig pays $very$ well). I am no fan of either Putin or Trump, but the level of "making shit up" and outright innuendo driven propaganda is just off the charts. Not even at the height of the Cold War with the USSR did we vilify major foreign leaders like this and label major heads of state meeting together as collusion.

I find Stephen Cohen, a man who has studied Russia for decades to be a reasonable voice that has had the courage to stick to his position in the face of much vilification. We need less hotheads and chicken hawk warrior neocons, and more pragmatist realists (Mearsheimer is good in this respect). A bit of history also comes in very useful.

For light relief I use Jimmy Dore, you have to laugh otherwise your should be crying with the ridiculous level of what passes for intelligent comments on the MSM.

I will read the book, I just hope that it is not full of the kind of made up crap and unsupported innuendo that she fills her show with.

Got to page 43 and couldn't stomach it any more "Khordokovsky (biggest Oligarch) Wonderfully Good" / "Putin Bad", the usual black/white BS. You have a head of state reigning in the robber barons (who stole/embezzled/cheated for much of what they had, including Khordokovsky) who Yeltsin basically worked for, to reassert the state's authority. That's why Khordokovsky was taken down, to rebalance power between the state and these oligarchs who were using the state for their own benefit right through the 1990s. Putin also reasserted the authority of the central state against many regional politicians who were creaming off money for themselves. A modern nation cannot run effectively without a strong state apparatus. Yukos (Khodokovsky's company) was also in talks to sell 40% of itself to Exxon, handed strategic asset to US corporations. This is something that no nation (including the US) would willingly accept.

The writing style is just like her shows unfortunately....constant pissy insults, innuendo and blatantly factually incorrect and slanted. Reminds me of a child rather than someone supposed to be an accomplished journalist.

Putin is not a "good guy" but her characterization of him is a simplistic caricature.



17
1. Renewables are cheaper than 75% of US coal plants which are pretty much all subcritical highly inefficient ones and it wont be until 2025 until renewables are cheaper than all US coal plants (from the reference below):


Subcritical does not equate to highly inefficient.  The gains from much higher pressures are small and the efficiencies overlap. e.g. the most efficient subcritical plant in the US is more efficient than the most efficient ultrasupercritical in the US despite being over 40 years older.

The extent to which pollution is controlled and whether that control is counted as a loss of output (and hence lower efficiency) or not is rather more important to reported efficiencies than the operating pressure is.

I am comparing Chinese plants to US ones. The latest Chinese regulations for coal-fired electricity generation efficiency (i.e. the minimum efficiency level), in full force by 2020, could not be met by the top US plants. So renewables may be cost effective with the bottom 75% of plants in the US, but not with the average plant in China. I accept that not all super critical plants may be more efficient than subcritical ones, there are other variables, but the relative position of US and Chinese fleets is real. China has also been consolidating and automating its coal fields, reducing the marginal cost of coal.

They are fully committed to coal for at least the medium term, and building new coal-fired plants with assumed 40 year economic lives. They may be wrong, but thats the way they are going.

18
Policy and solutions / Re: Greta Thunberg's Atlantic crossing
« on: November 22, 2019, 09:40:47 AM »
I think quite a bit of crony capitalism and monopoly over-pricing for Mexican telecom services helped Mr. Slim amass his fortune.

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And the picture is far from flattering. Omnipresent in the lives of Mexicans, Slim dominates a range of sectors and his fortune is estimated to be 7 percent of the GDP. A fortune that is the product of bold and intelligent decisions, but also of governments and regulators that created him. They propelled him. They protected him. More than an innovative businessman, he emerges as a Mexican prototype of the Russian oligarchs, who have multiplied their fortunes under the shadow of power. He is the main protagonist of the oligarchic capitalism in which influence peddling occupies the void left by the lack of laws and strong governments.

https://mexicovoices.blogspot.com/2015/11/mexicos-crony-capitalism-carlos-slim.html?view=magazine

19
Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: November 22, 2019, 09:28:56 AM »
Nice source of up to date stats.

We have to be very careful with year on year comparisons for especially hydro, as rainfall levels can be very different year over year. Chinese hydro capacity only went up 1.2%, so must be due to heavier rainfall - as with India this year as well. That big jump in hydro kept the thermal (coal, nat gas and biomass) increase down.

Nuclear and wind increases look more in line with capacity growth. Solar is lower than capacity growth, maybe less sun with all the rain? Coal production (its near the bottom of the page) went up quite a bit, not good news for Australian coal exports. The biggest addition of new capacity was also thermal.




20
Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: November 22, 2019, 09:04:34 AM »
It is perhaps an oddity and ironic that a private sector dominated USA is quuckly killing off its coal industry against the will of the Government, while a country such as Germany with Government fully supporting Paris 2015 is  a laggard.

The US has a very old, very inefficient coal fleet so it makes financial sense - at least as much with natural gas as with renewables due to the fracking revolution. Overall, US carbon emissions jumped last year.

Germany is shutting down all its nuclear plants by 2022, which leaves a big hole in their energy supply. They also plan to close all their coal plants within the next 19 years (yep thats until 2038), another big hole - they have a very politically strong coal mining sector. Renewables plus natural gas is their answer. They also need the natural gas for space heating. Then there is also the "I don't want a high voltage line near me" folk, plus the big energy conglomerates trying to stretch out the life of their assets.

The government does not seem to be "fully supporting Paris 2015", maybe in words but not in deeds - it will miss its "40% below 1990" target and will be closer to 32% below - there has been no progress in the transportation (emissions up), space heating and industrial sectors outside electricity generation.

Then again thats the same for most of the countries "fully supporting Paris" in words, Climate Action Tracker does not show a pretty picture.



21
Policy and solutions / Re: But, but, but, China....
« on: November 22, 2019, 08:41:43 AM »
The 2008 Great Recession had quite a big impact on emissions, sadly the drop was recovered pretty rapidly with the recovery. Maybe the recovery wont be so fast this time.

In a meeting that serves as input to the next Chinese 5 year plan, the Chinese Premier emphasized coal (and expanding domestic oil and gas production) and put much less emphasis on renewables. Not good news... They seem to be doubling down on the "clean coal" bullshit that the US industry was pushing for a while - increased efficiency and carbon capture and storage (CCS).

22
Policy and solutions / Re: Extinction Rebellion
« on: November 22, 2019, 08:36:31 AM »
I remember the Occupy Wall Street process:

1. The state and media play nice and try to placate them, including politicians, media stars etc. engaging with them
- Doesn't make them go away or accept the "normal behaviour" of asking politely for mild changes

2. The state and media make fun of them and belittle them, "naive young people" blah, blah, blah.
- They still don't go away

3. The state and media try to make it harder for them, insult them, assume winter will empty the encampments
- They still don't go away

4. The state forcibly shuts them down and the media mostly look the other way and blame OWS for any violence
- They are forced underground and dispersed

For XR moving past stage 1 onto stage 2?

23
1. Renewables are cheaper than 75% of US coal plants which are pretty much all subcritical highly inefficient ones and it wont be until 2025 until renewables are cheaper than all US coal plants (from the reference below):

- That calculation does not take into account the costs of building new electricity infrastructure etc.
- The average US coal plant is very old, so little asset depreciation left to write off

- The average Asia-Pacific plant was built much more recently (large asset values still not depreciated), and is much more efficient than the US fleet. That efficiency increases every year with the newer plants (especially with China's regulatory drive for more efficiency), and there is a lot of in place spare capacity (e.g. in India due to their massive over-building in previous years).
- The natural gas plants are even newer.

2. The sheer scale of replacing the current coal-fired and gas-fired energy systems  is way beyond the capacity of the current renewables industry, and that of their supply chains - including mineral deposits. The redirection of financial and other resources and the possible disruptions will not be acceptable to policy makers (wartime mobilization scale with the need to reduce people's consumption). Vaclav Smil very well captures the sheer scale and complexity of such a change.

3. Energy demand in China, and Asia-Pac, is rapidly increasing so new installations are always chasing a moving target of increasing energy demand.

4. Pretty much all of the current grid infrastructure would have to be changed to incorporate high levels of renewables, and the amount of storage required would need that industry to expand many, many times over,

There are many, many points to add to this list, but hopefully you start to get the picture that (1) academic studies in this field get misinterpreted/misused/misrepresented all the time and (2) ripping out and replacing the energy system of a modern society is something that cannot be done quickly.

Again, Vaclav Smil is good at bringing out all the boring and annoying details that get in the way os easy transitions.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/mar/25/coal-more-expensive-wind-solar-us-energy-study

24
Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: November 22, 2019, 07:43:44 AM »
Ken,

Maybe you should have a chat with the Chinese leadership, as Premier Li Keqiang very recently stated "Coal remains China's primary energy resource, and it is important to come up with sound plans for its exploitation and accelerate the development of coal transportation and power transmission channels". Their latest ultra super critical plants are getting CO2 emissions close to that of natural gas, after much state investment. The Chinese government has also removed all subsidies from renewables, and is growing its use of natural gas extremely rapidly (18% in 2018). Their plan is for renewables to provide 20% of primary energy consumption in 2040.Wind capacity growth is at about 12% per annum and solar capacity growth will fall to 23% per annum this year.

Coal still supplies nearly 50% of primary energy consumption in the Asia Pacific, and its production and use there is growing because its cheap and plentiful..Over 75% of coal use is in the Asia Pacific region (less than 10% in North America, and less than 10% in Europe). Coal use in Asia Pac. will probably not peak until the mid 2020's and still be around 30%-40% of primary energy during the 2030's.

Or perhaps you should have a chat with the German leadership who are standing up to the US so that they can get the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to feed their growing natural gas needs?

Or maybe they are all completely wrong. Sadly, the deeper my research gets the darker the picture gets. We will have solar radiation management (SRM) geo-engineering well before we get rid of coal and gas.

https://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/201910/12/WS5da1134da310cf3e3557004c.html

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

https://atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/ukrainealert/three-months-left-to-kill-nord-stream-2/

https://www.bp.com/content/dam/bp/business-sites/en/global/corporate/pdfs/energy-economics/statistical-review/bp-stats-review-2019-full-report.pdf

25
Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: November 18, 2019, 06:52:08 AM »
China’s Energy Game Plan Features a Giant Coal-Hauling Rail Line

200 million tons is equal to all of China's coal imports.

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Almost a decade in the making, the nearly $30 billion Haoji Railway will start around the end of this month and eventually haul as much as 200 million tons from key producing regions in the north to consumers in the south. That’s more than Japan uses in a year and could cut China’s domestic seaborne coal trade by 10% in the long run, Fenwei Energy Information Services Co. forecasts.

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It currently takes about 20 days to deliver coal from Shaanxi to Hunan, Hubei and Jiangxi via the main seaborne route. The new line could cut shipment time to just three days, Ding estimates. Power plants will have more flexibility in managing inventories and responding to abrupt shifts in weather conditions, which can affect electricity use.

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/china-s-energy-game-plan-features-a-giant-coal-hauling-rail-line-1.1319050

26
Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: November 18, 2019, 12:51:14 AM »
Is the IEA continuing to downplay global solar growth?

From this article looks like they have made a lot of effort to improve and are now pretty close to other independent forecasts. Problem is that they see global pv installs flat lining from 2020, in agreement with BloombergNEF etc., which means the growth rate of installed capacity will collapse to 11% in 2024. Thats a pretty terrifying future from a climate change point of view.

Quote
It would seem, that the IEA has made efforts to stop low-balling the PV industry and has come closer to the independent forecasters projections. However, its should also be noted that Wood Mackenzie’s ‘flatlining’ forecast needs questioning, not least because the PV industry has no experience of multiple years of flatlining installations.

Lets hope that the flatlining forecasts are wrong - in a big way.

https://www.pv-tech.org/editors-blog/is-the-iea-continuing-to-downplay-global-solar-growth

27
Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: November 18, 2019, 12:21:54 AM »
Thankyou for the very kind comments Terry. Hopefully yes, writing and academia.

The sad thing is that I am finding very little fundamental impact from climate change on government policies, apart from the political need to be seen to be doing something. With China its mostly localized air pollution, industrial policy (develop a dominant green tech sector), and energy security. In Germany it was really all about getting rid of nuclear and support is falling away and getting twisted (in favour of big business) as politically important groups push back. In the US even Obama only provided lukewarm support while supporting the fracking revolution, same in Canada with our Canadian Obama. etc. etc.

The result is shown in the table below, total renewables capacity growth is decelerating at a level below that needed to offset the growth in energy usage - resulting in still increasing levels of fossil fuel usage. Its even worse from an actual output perspective, as the fastest growing area is solar pv, which has the lowest capacity utilization of the renewables (and even its rate of increase will decelerate below 20% in the next 3 years)..

Global All Renewables Capacity - from IRENA

YEAR   MW     % Growth
2007   989213   
2008   1057967   6.95%
2009   1138759   7.64%
2010   1225714   7.64%
2011   1329364   8.46%
2012   1443834   8.61%
2013   1564607   8.36%
2014   1691997   8.14%
2015   1848739   9.26%
2016   2007996   8.61%
2017   2179448   8.54%
2018   2350755   7.86%


28
Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: November 17, 2019, 10:38:20 PM »
NordStream2 is a shame. Europe theoretically embargoes the Russian for taking Crimea and all the while not only buying their oil and gas (thereby keeping the Putin regime alive), but throwing Ukraine (theoretically their ally) to the wolves by making their gas route useless.
What a bunch of ........!

The Ukraine defaulted on their gas debts to Russia (backed by the IMF against its own rules), so they have displayed their untrustworthiness. So Russia has built alternative pipelines through Turkey and now Nordstream. Even in the middle of the first Cold War the USSR remained a reliable supplier to Europe; they have displayed their trustworthiness. The big gas field in the Netherlands is being shut down, so Europe desperately needs more gas imports, and Russia is the most trustworthy and cost competitive supplier. This is intelligent German independent policy making for the benefit of the German people, which is nice to see given the pressure from the US, Poland etc.

We are moving to a multi-polar world and the Germans seem to understand the need for some independence from the declining power. The US cant throw its weight around the way it could in the couple of decades after the collapse of the USSR.

If Europe etc. wants to get rid of despicable regimes they should start with Saudi Arabia, the country with horrendous human rights violations (like murdering a journalist in their embassy and beheading people in the street) and that spends billions supporting Wahhabi terrorists. Then quite a few Central American countries (like the coup regime in Honduras) etc., well before Russia. They should also be sanctions on the Ukraine until they remove the explicitly fascist and anti-semitic elements within the power structure. Seems the new Ukrainian President is trying to come to a settlement with Russia, in the best interests of the average Ukrainian, but with extreme difficulty given some of the powerful elements in the country.

Welcome to the new non uni-polar world.

29
Policy and solutions / Re: But, but, but, China....
« on: November 16, 2019, 11:20:33 PM »
This is strategic energy security planning

I want to emphasise this point with an anecdote.

Since i'm also interested in bitcoin i know a little about the utilisation of unused renewable power in China.

There are some huge dams build for power production that are not yet utilized. So what do you do if you are responsible for an idling dam in China?
You buy bitcoin mining machines and use the power you have plenty of to mine bitcoins.

For what i can say, the vast majority of bitcoin mining is done this way.

A lot of bitcoin miners in Iceland with their cheap energy and cool temperatures to reduce the power needed to keep all the servers from overheating.

30
Policy and solutions / Re: But, but, but, China....
« on: November 16, 2019, 11:18:55 PM »
Your analysis makes a lot of sense.
I am susprised Japan is not making a larger move into renewables for the same strategic consideration of reducing reliance on imports.

Japan is a subservient ally of the US (with a lot of US bases on its territory, such as Okinawa), so it  will not be affected by a US blockade. They can get their coal and NG from Australia, not affected by the blockade or any hostilities in the South China Sea. Ships from the Middle East may have to take a more circuitous route, but would still be able to get safely to Japan. In an emergency they could switch back on many of those idled nuclear plants. They also have an excellent, fully electrified, public transport system - from subways to high speed trains.

There is a large amount of trade between Japan and China, so there could be a lot of problems with supply chains etc.

31
Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: November 16, 2019, 11:03:24 PM »
Blow-out: Germany’s new climate package might kill off onshore wind

Looks like the big corporations have been lobbying hard, as onshore wind is dominated by small players while offshore wind (targeted for expansion) is dominated by big corporations. Plus a hit from new environmental regulations that have a minimum spacing between wind farms.

Quote
With only 500 megawatts of new onshore wind energy coming on-line through September, Germany’s pioneering onshore sector is suffering through its worst year since the beginning of the Energiewende. But instead of helping, the new Climate Package actually sharply reduces onshore wind targets, endangering the whole industry

Quote
Throughout the year, Germany’s onshore wind industry has suffered through an intensifying crisis. Compared to 2018, as of the end of September, the rate of expansion had fallen some 80% as only 504 new megawatts of energy came on line. Moreover, the disastrous change from feed-in tariffs to competitive auctions has left some 11 GW of projects stuck in various approval processes due to tighter planning restrictions.

According to DER SPIEGEL magazine, the devastating slump is set to continue as permits for new plants have fallen even further. In total, only 304 new turbines with a total output of 1162 megawatts were approved for future installation. However, how and when they might actually come online remains a mystery. Combining the newly adopted national 1000 meter distance rule and other tightened regulations included within the Climate Package along with the existing byzantine approval processes threatens to suck any remaining wind out of the sector’s sails.

Quote
The government’s decision is even more stunning considering given that wind energy is about to overtake brown coal (lignite) as Germany’s single largest source of electricity for the first time. It also seems clear that the new renewables targets are aimed at prioritizing sectors where larger companies and concerns prevail. Unlike onshore wind, offshore development is dominated by large, multinational firms and is also the favored green energy pathway for the newly enlarged RWE. This is in direct contrast to onshore wind, the success of which was largely propelled by smaller firms, private investors and community groups whose early investments helped propel the young Energiewende. For them the new rules are nothing short of disastrous.

Quote
However, the German wind group BWE expects onshore installations this year to come in at less than 1.5 GW. The pace suggests that going forward the country likely will not meet the upper 2030 limits. All in all, the growth rate is a far cry from the 4.5 GW average annual installation increases enjoyed from 2014 to 2017 when Germany constituted Europe’s largest onshore wind market.

Quote
But the sharpest blow to onshore’s future is the country-wide introduction of a 1 km minimum distance between new wind farms and existing settlements. This new provision according to calculations published earlier this year by Germany’s environmental agency UBA, could reduce available areas for new installs by 20-50%.

Quote
Given that the new laws were partially aimed to get Germany back on track after missing its 2020 climate-protection gap, Greenpeace Germany fears that the new package’s lack of ambitions actually ensures the 2030 target also won’t be reached. Instead, said the organization’s Andree Böhlin, “the implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement and the 1.5° C target are now completely out of sight.”

https://energytransition.org/2019/11/blow-out-germanys-new-climate-package-might-kill-off-onshore-wind/

32
Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: November 16, 2019, 10:52:59 PM »
Xi Xinping did clear out quite a few of his opponents through the anti-corruption campaigns (many of them forced into retirement), but the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is still much more complicated than a top down hierarchy.

Xi has to find agreement across differing and cross-cutting constituencies - regional heads have the same rank as national cabinet ministers, state-owned enterprises (SOEs) can be their own fiefdoms and there are cross-cutting social coalitions. That does complicate things like closing down old plants quite a lot - hence the relative slowness.

SOEs are predominantly funded by the state banking system, which is backed up by the central bank. In effect, the state owns the SOE that owes money to the state bank. Just as in 2008/9 with the Federal Reserve money printing bailout to the big banks, the Chinese central bank can facilitate the writing off of bad debts (this is Modern Monetary Theory: MMT) through money printing if necessary. The same thing that was done by the European Central Bank when it bought all of the bad Greek debt from the private banks as part of the Greek bailout (really a bankers bailout, no new money went to the Greeks).

The air pollution has already been substantially remedied, you can check out individual city pollution at this site:

https://aqicn.org/city/shanghai/

33
Policy and solutions / Re: Greta Thunberg's Atlantic crossing
« on: November 16, 2019, 10:15:45 PM »
No. It's time for parents to wake up and take the smartphones away from their kids.
Kids don't need smartphones. They need a dumb phone so they can communicate with parents as needed. Yes, they may send sms's also. Plus a strict limit on screentime. 40 minutes per day. After schoolwork is done. That will give your kids back to you, among other positive effects. Kids will scream at first and protest at your new regime, but they will accept it. And eventually they will enjoy being different.
OK, Boomer.
😁

There is a ton of psychological research showing that, especially for girls, getting a smart phone and social media as a young child has a significant negative impact upon their mental health. Better that they get them later in their teens, so that they can have a sense of perspective. Also, a much longer attention span which is highly prized in higher academia and business.

All the tech executives tend to be raising their kids tech free.

Silicon Valley parents are raising their kids tech-free — and it should be a red flag

Quote
The Koduris' life is that of the quintessential Silicon Valley family, except for one thing. The technology developed by Koduri and Shahi's employers is all but banned at the family's home.

There are no video game systems inside the Koduri household, and neither child has their own cell phone yet. Saurav and Roshni can play games on their parents' phones, but only for 10 minutes per week. (There are no limits to using the family's vast library of board games.) Awhile back the family bought an iPad 2, but for the last five years it's lived on the highest shelf in a linen closet.

https://www.businessinsider.com/silicon-valley-parents-raising-their-kids-tech-free-red-flag-2018-2

A Dark Consensus About Screens and Kids Begins to Emerge in Silicon Valley

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/26/style/phones-children-silicon-valley.html

How Do Smartphones Affect Childhood Psychology?

https://psychcentral.com/lib/how-do-smartphones-affect-childhood-psychology/

Social Media Hurts Girls More Than Boys

https://time.com/5650266/social-media-girls-mental-health/



So, maybe you should listen to that boomer instead of being a smartass.


34
Policy and solutions / Re: Greta Thunberg's Atlantic crossing
« on: November 16, 2019, 09:49:46 PM »
So nice that he could fund his youtube yachting escapades through such hard work in the oil industry
I also worked in the petroleum industry. And the truth is that I miss the pay!  :'(
I don't know about him, but in some cases, you need guts to leave that job.

I have no issue with Riley, power to him doing what many would dream of. Its the bullshit optics of the Greta phenomena I have a problem with. A billionaires yacht, happy pictures with DiCaprio and his town sized carbon footprint, and now an ex oil worker who took the good money to achieve a dream. We have to cut consumption in the rich countries by quite a lot (with much bigger cuts for the DiCaprios of this world) to have any chance of staying under 2 degrees.

Going across the Atlantic during the winter storm season in a relatively small boat is also not that clever a thing to do.

35
Policy and solutions / Re: Electric cars
« on: November 15, 2019, 11:54:16 PM »
The Sky Is Falling On Electric Car Sales In China. Should We Run & Tell The King?

Quote
On November 11, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers announced sales of electric, hybrid, and fuel cell cars plunged by over 45% in October, marking four straight months of declines in the sector.

Quote
China is determined to separate the wheat from the chaff, as it were, and promoting the survival of the fittest while eliminating the charlatans who are only in it to collect the lucrative government incentives on offer. And that, says CNN, may be leaving the door wide open for foreign manufacturers like Tesla and Volkswagen, both of which have begun producing electric cars in new Chinese factories in the past few weeks.

https://cleantechnica.com/2019/11/13/the-sky-is-falling-on-electric-car-sales-in-china-should-we-run-tell-the-king/


36
Policy and solutions / Re: But, but, but, China....
« on: November 15, 2019, 11:44:53 PM »
As per my post in the coal thread, China has a strategic reason to keep its coal-fired generating fleet at relatively low levels of utilization of about 50% - to act as a reserve to replace seaborne natural gas imports and to power greater use of electrical transport (trams, trains, buses, taxis and the couple of a million and increasing number of personal EV's) to replace seaborne oil imports.

This is strategic energy security planning so that they can withstand an energy blockade (as was done with Japan in the months before Pearl Harbour) during any hostilities with the US. By showing that they can, they greatly reduce the possibility of such hostilities. They have also been building up their strategic oil reserve in the past few years and oil and gas imports from Russia and Central Asia through pipelines.

Renewables and nuclear are still at a pretty small amount of Chinese energy use (and capacity), even after the rapid growth of the past few years. So coal will be the bedrock of Chinese energy security. Geopolitics is getting in the way of climate change actions.

If things with the US escalate further, probably after the next Presidential election, I would not be surprised to see China announce a quite radical date for the end of ICE sales in China. EVs move energy supply from oil to electricity (and even with the current Chinese electricity mix reduce lifetime vehicle CO2 emissions). This would also reduce local air pollution a lot (the coal pollution issue having been fixed through very tough particulate matter regulations), especially in the cities, adding to the political legitimacy of the CCP.

So, could be coal use up and CO2 emissions down before 2030 (the Chinese Paris commitment).

37
Policy and solutions / Re: Greta Thunberg's Atlantic crossing
« on: November 15, 2019, 11:24:20 PM »
So, how did Riley Whitelum get the money to buy that catamaran that Greta is crossing the Atlantic on?

Quote
For 8 years, he worked on an offshore drill rig and on a barge offshore.

Quote
Spending a large section of my adult life working offshore on oil rigs and pipe-lay vessels taught me so many things that I don’t often think about.

So nice that he could fund his youtube yachting escapades through such hard work in the oil industry (and now advertising on his youtube channel which I am sure will now experience a massive increase in viewership). I am sure that there will be lots of time for him to share fun stories about his time in the oil industry with Greta.

https://www.famousbirthdays.com/people/riley-whitelum.html

https://twitter.com/Sailing_LaVaga/status/937866905582555137

38
Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: November 15, 2019, 11:12:35 PM »
I have been waiting for this tipping point for a while, being astounded at how long this money losing pony can be kept moving forward.

If we have a recession the US may have to print a few more trillion to bail out the frackers as well as the bankers and automobile industry, whilst the refrain will still be "how do we pay for medicare for all?". I can very much see the US state, especially with Trump, finding sneaky ways to bail the frackers out. Have to keep those "freedom molecules" flowing.

39
Is coal power winning the US-China trade war?

Actually writing my PhD chapter on China right now, so researching a lot of this stuff. China's greatest worry is a seaborne energy blockade during a conflict with the US, so they are very focused on being able to withstand that.

They keep coal imports at only 6% of consumption, keep a large spare capacity in the coal-fired electricity generating fleet, and are increasing their coal mining capacity (and the efficiency of the coal-fired units). This all gives them the ability to replace all coal imports (increase domestic production) and seaborne natural gas imports (increase the utilization of coal-fired generating plants) if required.

Then their only issue is oil, and they are pushing to increase domestic oil production as well as 20% EV sales share by 2025 (plus most probably all the bus and taxi fleets as well as public transport).Together with removing "frivolous" oil usage, such as vacation air travel and a chunk of petrochemical products, this gives the ability to rapidly reduce oil consumption if required. Russia and Central Asia then become very important as overland friendly suppliers of oil and gas.

The local air pollution issue has been removed through very strict particulate matter regulations (that even the top 100 coal-fired generating units in the US could not meet), so the CCP can focus on the energy security issue given the increasing probability of conflict with the US.

Quote
China has signalled that coal power will be a top priority within national energy policy as the government prepares its next Five Year Plan (2021-25).

On 11 October, Premier Li Keqiang chaired a meeting of the National Energy Commission in Beijing that emphasised China’s energy security and coal utilisation and downplayed the importance of a rapid transition away from fossil fuels.

Each meeting of the commission, which was established in 2010 and has met only four times, has had a significant impact on policymaking. Chaired by Premier Li and attended by more than 20 chiefs of China’s ministries and bureaus, the commission is the top body for coordinating energy policy.

Quote
The government’s concern over energy security is positive for coal given that China has lots of it. At the meeting, Li Keqiang spoke of speeding up the construction of large-scale coal transportation and electricity transmission infrastructure. He wants to promote “safe and green coal mining”, the “clean and efficient development of coal-fired power”, and to “develop and utilise coalbed methane”. 

Li also downplayed China’s low-carbon energy transition. At the same meeting in 2016, Li called on China to: “increase the proportion of renewables in the energy mix” and “accelerate” such a transition. This year, there was no mention of renewable energy’s share of the energy mix and “acceleration” was replaced by the blander term “development”. The change of tone was hard to miss.

https://www.chinadialogue.net/article/show/single/en/11642-Is-coal-power-winning-the-US-China-trade-war-

40
Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: November 15, 2019, 11:00:32 PM »
Is coal power winning the US-China trade war?

Actually writing my PhD chapter on China right now, so researching a lot of this stuff. China's greatest worry is a seaborne energy blockade during a conflict with the US, so they are very focused on being able to withstand that.

They keep coal imports at only 6% of consumption, keep a large spare capacity in the coal-fired electricity generating fleet, and are increasing their coal mining capacity (and the efficiency of the coal-fired units). This all gives them the ability to replace all coal imports (increase domestic production) and seaborne natural gas imports (increase the utilization of coal-fired generating plants) if required.

Then their only issue is oil, and they are pushing to increase domestic oil production as well as 20% EV sales share by 2025 (plus most probably all the bus and taxi fleets as well as public transport).Together with removing "frivolous" oil usage, such as vacation air travel and a chunk of petrochemical products, this gives the ability to rapidly reduce oil consumption if required. Russia and Central Asia then become very important as overland friendly suppliers of oil and gas.

The local air pollution issue has been removed through very strict particulate matter regulations (that even the top 100 coal-fired generating units in the US could not meet), so the CCP can focus on the energy security issue given the increasing probability of conflict with the US.

Quote
China has signalled that coal power will be a top priority within national energy policy as the government prepares its next Five Year Plan (2021-25).

On 11 October, Premier Li Keqiang chaired a meeting of the National Energy Commission in Beijing that emphasised China’s energy security and coal utilisation and downplayed the importance of a rapid transition away from fossil fuels.

Each meeting of the commission, which was established in 2010 and has met only four times, has had a significant impact on policymaking. Chaired by Premier Li and attended by more than 20 chiefs of China’s ministries and bureaus, the commission is the top body for coordinating energy policy.

Quote
The government’s concern over energy security is positive for coal given that China has lots of it. At the meeting, Li Keqiang spoke of speeding up the construction of large-scale coal transportation and electricity transmission infrastructure. He wants to promote “safe and green coal mining”, the “clean and efficient development of coal-fired power”, and to “develop and utilise coalbed methane”. 

Li also downplayed China’s low-carbon energy transition. At the same meeting in 2016, Li called on China to: “increase the proportion of renewables in the energy mix” and “accelerate” such a transition. This year, there was no mention of renewable energy’s share of the energy mix and “acceleration” was replaced by the blander term “development”. The change of tone was hard to miss.

https://www.chinadialogue.net/article/show/single/en/11642-Is-coal-power-winning-the-US-China-trade-war-

41
Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: November 12, 2019, 11:34:20 PM »
Coal use in India has dropped as renewables increase market share.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


42
Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: November 12, 2019, 11:11:22 PM »
Coal use in India has dropped as renewables increase market share.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


43
Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: November 12, 2019, 10:49:31 PM »
China hasn't cut coal bed methane emissions as they stated they would.

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

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

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

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

44
Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: November 09, 2019, 11:40:34 PM »
Cross-posted from the China thread:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

45
Policy and solutions / Re: But, but, but, China....
« on: November 09, 2019, 11:36:13 PM »
China's coal based electricity fleet way more efficient that the US

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

46
Geopolitical Strategic Sourcing of Oil During The Energy Transition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We live in interesting times ....

47
Currently China is producing about 75% of new clean energy patents per year, plus as Ken points out they are implementing that knowledge in many other nations (and yes also a whole lot of coal fired power stations!).

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

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

48
Consequences / Re: Global Surface Air Temperatures
« on: November 06, 2019, 02:47:02 AM »
We seem to be blowing away that post-Nino global temperature drop in a hurry, while at the same time year over year global CO2 atmospheric concentration growth is staying above 2.5ppm (and over 9.5ppb for methane).

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

49
Policy and solutions / Re: Greta Thunberg's Atlantic crossing
« on: November 06, 2019, 02:32:29 AM »
I was working on a paper on climate change with the senior climate lawyer for a given country and they saw no issue with flying themselves and up to 20 others to climate meetings in places like Fiji etc. Stunning intentional ignorance. I bet they fly business class given the distance to be travelled.

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

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

50
Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: November 06, 2019, 02:18:53 AM »
I know of a few banks that will be willing to invest in natural gas projects, we can start with the state-owned banks of Russia (and probably the state banks/treasuries of Saudi Arabia, Iran etc.) which desperately needs the export revenue, and China that desperately needs the NG to replace/stop the need for imports from "not so friendly" countries such as Australia, Canada and the US and to produce more electricity to help replace ICEs and feed their economic growth.

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

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

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

This is just reality.

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