Monthly Archives: August 2014

Blowout Week 35

A Kurdish tanker loaded with $100 million worth of oil vanished off Texas’ coast Thursday. Radar systems showed no signs of the United Kalavrvta cargo ship, which has been at the center of a long legal battle between Iraq’s government and the country’s Kurdish region. Continue reading

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German Power 2013

The reality remains that, according to these statistics, the capacity factor of wind and PV in Germany is ummmm…pretty awful (Hugh Sharman) Continue reading

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CO2 in, CO2 out

by Roger Andrews Some time ago I posted a graph showing how the IPCC’s 21st century temperature projections for the “worst case” RCP85 emissions scenario could be replicated almost exactly using the IPCC’s CO2 radiative forcing estimates for the scenario, … Continue reading

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North Sea Oil and Scottish Independence: where does the truth lie?

How wealthy will oil make Scotland? In 2013, the direct tax take from oil and gas production for the whole of the UK was £4.67 billion and falling. This compares with annual spending of the Scottish government (plus UK spending on Scotland) running at £65.2 billion. Hence, direct taxation of oil and gas production may account for less than 7% of the Scottish budget. What we should be asking is where the other 93% is going to come from? Continue reading

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Blowout week 34

I had only 5 stories this week, but luckily Roger dug up another 26 cracking stories in this bumper issue of Blowout with 31 stories below the fold. I lead off with a story of multi-year snow accumulation in the Scottish Mountains. Continue reading

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Hydro Balancing Wind in the UK

So why is the UK not using indigenous hydro to balance wind choosing instead to make curtailment payments to wind producers when the wind blows too much? I don’t know the answer. I suspect that turning hydro off would cause our rivers to run dry and producing flat out would produce floods. Continue reading

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How cheap is “cheap” oil?

But since 1986 the picture has been quite different. The trend line is close to flat and doesn’t cross zero until the world spends ~8% of its GDP on oil, which with the world now spending 4% of its GDP on oil equates to an oil price of about $200/bbl. So according to our definitional scheme and based on the most recent 28 years of data the cheap oil threshold is now $200/bbl. Continue reading

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The Clair Oilfield – distilling facts from fiction

In an email last week: “Recently a number of friends of mine have been telling me that the largest oil field in the world has been discovered encompassing BP Clair Ridge.” I agreed to write a short post setting out the facts as I understand them. Continue reading

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Blowout week 33

The UK had some weather this week as the remnants of hurricane Bertha passed over. This caused flooding, and perhaps coincidentally, another major power cut took place during strong gusting winds. Continue reading

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The Laschamp Event and Earth’s Wandering Magnetic Field

“It seems quite likely that we will lose the protection of the geomagnetic field within decades to perhaps a century, exposing satellites, communication systems and terrestrial power grids to serious damage, and requiring much heavier shielding for astronauts in Earth orbit” – Phil Chapman

It is not every day that a retired NASA astronaut calls by to share his knowledge and I decided to dig a little deeper into what he had to say. Continue reading

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Germany – the rural power station

We drove about 1000 kms through southern Bavaria and the Bavarian Alps and in that time we saw only 1 wind turbine, and that was just outside off Munich airport. The Bavarians have by and large protected their beautiful rural landscape from the ravages of the Energiewende. There is a lesson for Alex Salmond to learn here. Continue reading

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Large scale grid integration of solar power – many problems, few solutions

It would be roughly three times cheaper for Germany to add low-carbon generation capacity by building nuclear rather than CSP plants, and nuclear delivers power at a steady rate without the need for storage and whether the sun is shining or not. Continue reading

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Blowout week 32

by Roger Andrews Business Week: Ukraine threatens oil and gas cutoff Ukraine threatened to block Russian oil and gas supplies to Europe in new sanctions against Vladimir Putin’s government. Ukraine, which no longer receives any gas from Russia but acts … Continue reading

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Three Nails in the Coffin of Peak Oil

Drill baby drill. This final slide depicts the very different attitudes to energy policy on either side of the Atlantic pond. The USA, still dominated by free market policies, private ownership of mineral rights and the fossil fuel industries, has pursued a very different course to Europe that is pre-occupied with unilateral emissions reduction policies. So far, this unilateral EU action has achieved essentially zero on the emissions front, any savings made in Europe being wiped out by increased emissions else where. Continue reading

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Are we running out of oil, gas and coal?

by Roger Andrews In March 1956 M. King Hubbert delivered the landmark paper in which he predicted that US oil production would peak around 1970 and then begin to decline. No one took much notice. It was, after all, difficult … Continue reading

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Blowout week 31

By Roger Andrews: A non-bumper Blowout Week during Euan’s absence. Twenty or so more stories below the fold: Energy Live News:  Ferrybridge fire cuts UK backup capacity In a sign of how serious the damage may be, the energy company … Continue reading

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Is “ocean acidification” a threat?

One of the many potential threats posed by rising CO2 and climate change is “ocean acidification”, a term I put in quotes because with a pH around 8.1 the ocean is still a very long way from becoming acidic.

If acidification continues at the recent rate, ocean pH will still be close to 8 in 2100 and the oceans won’t become truly acidic (pH=6.9) until about the year 2800.

Continue reading

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