Monthly Archives: November 2014

Blowout week 48 – OPEC special

The big news this week is OPEC’s decision not to support oil prices by cutting production, so that’s what we lead off with… Continue reading

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The Cost of Energy Storage

I taught my students that intermittent renewable electricity (wind and solar) was third class compared with dispatchable fossil fuels (first class) and baseload nuclear power (second class). But that renewables may be turned into a first class electricity source with the development of affordable grid-scale storage. Continue reading

Posted in Energy | Tagged , , , , | 29 Comments

Google rejects renewables

But REContinue reading

Posted in Energy, Political commentary | Tagged , , | 79 Comments

The 2014 Oil Price Crash Explained

In February 2009 Phil Hart published on The Oil Drum a simple supply demand model that explained then the action in the oil price. In this post I update Phil’s model to July 2014 using monthly oil supply (crude+condensate) and price data from the Energy Information Agency (EIA).

This model explains how a drop in demand for oil of only 1 million barrels per day can account for the fall in price from $110 to below $80 per barrel. Continue reading

Posted in Energy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 52 Comments

Blowout week 47

China will boost oil exploration, use less coal and more natural gas, build more nuclear plants and develop renewable energy under a new seven-year development plan. Continue reading

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The two degrees C “dangerous interference” threshold – a meaningless metric

Obviously a lot depends on whether the world can keep global mean temperatures below the 2˚C limit, assuming of course that 2˚C really is the danger threshold. Which raises the question, how robust is the 2˚C number? Continue reading

Posted in Climate change | Tagged , , | 28 Comments

European and UK Gas Security

Will the Lights be on at Christmas? Almost certainly yes. The biggest blackout risk will come later in the New Year at around tea time on a weekday in February or early March. The weather poses one of the most significant risks where a prolonged cold calm spell could see European gas stocks run down. The Ukrainian Civil war may see supplies cut and this may have a bad impact upon East Europe and perhaps Italy. But for so long as Nord Stream remains supplied I don’t see Russian risks to West European supplies. Continue reading

Posted in Energy | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

The Appalling Truth About Energy Subsidies

The renewables subsidies are paid to producers by the consumers and are the exact opposite of the fossil fuel subsidies paid by producers to consumers.

We are comparing apples with oranges but normalising for energy production, the renewables subsidies are 8.4 times larger and amount to 94% of the value of the energy produced. This latter statistic is hard to believe, but if it is close to true, it suggests that new renewables are contributing virtually nothing to society. Continue reading

Posted in Energy, Political commentary | Tagged , , | 50 Comments

Blowout week 46

The main stream media is full of low oil price stories this week and is suitably alert to the risks this poses to the oil industry and global economy. Normally low oil price would be viewed as a positive thing, but on the back side of Hubbert’s peak things work differently. Continue reading

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El Hierro – another model for a sustainable energy future

El Hierro, which was designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 2000, has become a global model of sustainable development in which technology, renewable energy and protection of the environment come together in a single project, one that is set to become a benchmark for the global energy market. But will it? Continue reading

Posted in Energy | Tagged , , , , | 43 Comments

Ed Davey in Wonderland

Record investments of £45 billion in electricity generation and networks since 2010 has seen UK electricity consumption fall from 361 to 337 TWh (6.7%) while electricity imports have risen from 2.7 to 14.4 TWh (5.3 fold). Continue reading

Posted in Energy, Political commentary | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 59 Comments

Zeroing in on the true value of climate sensitivity

Climate sensitivity, defined as the increase in the Earth’s surface air temperature caused by a doubling of atmospheric CO2, is a curious metric. It isn’t used as direct input for anything – it’s derived from the output of climate models or from observational analyses – but no other variable in all of climate science is so controversial. This is because it tells us, in one single number, how serious a problem CO2-induced warming might be. Continue reading

Posted in Climate change | Tagged , , , | 52 Comments

Blowout week 45

By Roger Andrews The US is the world’s largest economy, and what happens in the US has a significant impact on what happens in the rest of the world. So this week we lead off with the US mid-term elections … Continue reading

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A Beginners Guide to Blackouts

Blackouts were a time of excitement where whole towns went black, citizens reached for their candles and crooks reached for their crow bars. Continue reading

Posted in Energy for beginners, Political commentary | Tagged , , , , , , | 10 Comments

California public utilities vote no on energy storage

So here we have a near-unanimous vote of no confidence in energy storage from utility professionals whose job it is to supply reliable power to consumers and who understand the realities of the electricity market. The conclusions are:

1. California is not going to get any meaningful amount of energy storage capacity before 2020.
2. In all likelihood no one else is going to get any either. The economics just aren’t there (pumped hydro excluded).
3. Lack of energy storage capacity will continue to limit the grid penetration of non-dispatchable renewable generation for the foreseeable future. Continue reading

Posted in Energy, Political commentary | Tagged , , | 56 Comments

Global Oil and Other Liquid Fuels Production Update

Global conventional crude oil + condensate production (C+C) attained a value of 73 million barrels per day (Mbpd) in May 2005. Since then conventional C+C has been bumping along a jagged plateau with the all time high of 73.3 reached … Continue reading

Posted in Energy | Tagged , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Blowout week 44

24 more stories below the fold, including drones overflying French nuclear plants, Ukrainian separatists to hold elections, Australia’s new climate policy, Russia claiming rights to Arctic oil & gas, inadequate subsidies killing UK offshore wind, solar in the Sahara, shale in the US, rocket fuel from asteroids, how global warming causes harsh winters and endangers US postal workers and how daylight saving causes cyberloafing. Continue reading

Posted in Blowout | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 35 Comments