Monthly Archives: October 2016

UK Electricity 2050 Part 2: A High Nuclear Model

Guest post by Energy Matters’ commentators Alex Terrell and Andy Dawson. In part 2 of their trilogy, Alex and Andy examine how the UK 2050 electricity demand may be met by a nuclear dominated supply model. It requires 85 GW of nuclear capacity in the UK. The model is founded on existing technology and existing UK nuclear sites. But as the decades pass goes on to include new UK nuclear sites previously occupied by coal fired power stations and clusters of small modular reactors (SMRS) that have yet to be built, licensed and tested. It concludes by introducing the concept of nuclear islands built in very shallow water off the English coast. Continue reading

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Blowout Week 148

In this week’s blowout: falling renewable investments, the SA blackout, falling oil output in Libya, Nigeria and Venezuela, EU gives pipeline go-ahead, Warren Buffett on wind subsidies, French nuclear woes and UK energy prices, Fukushima reclamation costs up, the end of nuclear in the US and of coal in UK, Australian coal mines reopening, Sweden and Spain to go 100% renewable, DONG considers selling oil & gas assets, renewables and “Big Data”, the Heathrow third runway, Brexit lowers the UK’s renewables-favorable ranking, few in UK support fracking, new life for the incandescent light bulb and how climate change causes cold winters, an increase in child marriage and more politicians being voted out of office. Continue reading

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LCOE and the Cost of Synthetic Jet Fuel

The technology to make liquid fuel from CO2 and H2 has existed for nigh on 100 years. The main barrier to wide-spread deployment is the uncompetitive cost of fuel that is produced. The main cost centre is the electricity consumed where, for example using onshore wind as the source would lead to Jet A1 costing over $200 / bbl compared with $62 / bbl today. This is a show stopper.

The cost of synfuel can be attacked from two directions. The first is to make the process more efficient to reduce the amount of energy consumed. But this will inevitably at some point meet a thermodynamic barrier that cannot be crossed. The other approach is to tackle the cost of the electricity consumed. < $20 / MWh is the magic number that would make Audi's e diesel and Extra Virgin Jet Fuel competitive with fossil fuels. High altitude wind power is the only show in town that holds out this promise. Continue reading

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UK Electricity 2050 Part 1: a demand model

Guest post by Energy Matters’ commentators Alex Terrel and Andy Dawson. Alex Terrell is a business consultant in the area of Vehicle Telematics. He has also consulted in Energy and Manufacturing, and has a degree in Engineering. Andy Dawson is an energy sector systems consultant and former nuclear engineer.

This lengthy post is in three parts and aims to provide greater sophistication to a UK 2050 electricity model than can be achieved using the DECC 2050 calculator. Part 1 (below) presents the demand model. Parts 2 and 3 (to follow) will look at how demand may be met by a high nuclear option and from a renewables option. Continue reading

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Blowout Week 147

This week we return to the South Australian blackout followed by plus Saudi Arabia’s $17.5 billion bond sale, Iran puts up 50 oil & gas projects for lease, the USA’s first nuclear plant in 20 years goes on line, nuclear woes in France, the EU/Canada trade deal falls apart, the world’s largest solar PV farm to be built in Turkey, Vattenfall sues Germany, environmentalists sue Norway, the EPA comes under fire in US courts, UK MPs want more battery storage, UK energy bills to increase, emissions from biofuels, scientists accidentally turn CO2 into ethanol and an apartment block which is a model of sustainable luxury. Continue reading

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How much more electricity do we need to go to 100% electric vehicles?

As reported in Blowout week 146 the EU is drafting legislation to mandate the installation of electric vehicle charging stations in new homes while Germany and the Netherlands are considering legislation requiring that all cars and light vehicles sold after 2025 or 2030 must be 100% electric. None of this legislation has as yet been approved, but if it is how much extra electricity will be needed to power the millions of EVs involved, and how much will it cost? I’ve seen no numbers on this, so in this post I come up with some, starting with Germany, the Netherlands and the EU and adding a few more countries – and the world – as we go. Continue reading

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Primary Energy in The European Union and USA Compared

The EU has a larger population and smaller land area than the USA resulting in a population density 3.6 times that of the USA. European citizens therefore have less land available to service the energy needs of its citizens. This combined with different approaches to energy policy has led to the EU now importing 55% of it energy needs while the USA imports only 10%. The USA is well on its way to energy independence. This could have foreign policy and defence implications where the UK and USA has divergent priorities to Europe. Continue reading

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Blowout Week 146

Blowout this week begins with the EU embracing electric vehicles (EVs) and directing citizens to install charging points at home; EU and California target zero emissions; in Germany and China renewables outgrow the grid; Ontario’s broken grid; subsidies boost USA wind; global clean energy investment slumps; The Sun set to produce energy 24/7; home battery storage costs plummet 50% to $10,000; America sacrifices southern forests to save the planet; UK blackout risk averted by consumers paying £122 million; Tesla benefits from South Australia blackout; UK government plans to break the laws of thermodynamics; Baroness Worthington concedes that EU 2020 contributed to Brexit; are Putin and Erdogan the only sane leaders left?; Israeli gas heading for Europe over Turkey; hydrogen rots the minds of policy makers. Continue reading

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A more detailed look at the California grid data

In the June “Renewable California” post I presented a brief analysis of California’s progress towards its goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions at least 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 based on annual generation data. Hourly grid data for the period between April 20, 2010 and March 9, 2016 are now available, and this post reviews them to see what they add. The conclusion is basically the same as before – that despite all the legislation that California has passed in an attempt to stimulate the growth of renewables the state has not progressed at all. The percentage of renewables in California’s energy mix is still about the same as it was in 2010 and the percentage of low-carbon generation in the mix has decreased slightly. The California “Duck Curve” also remains a matter of concern. Continue reading

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Aerodynamic Lift – something for nothing?

Readers may have noticed that I have been largely absent from these pages for a few weeks. That is because I’ve been doing a consulting job for KiteGen assisting with a presentation to be made to the CleanTech investor summit in Rotterdam in November (see disclaimer at end). In the course of doing this work certain things came to light that explains the power generated by kites, flight reliability and the move away from fabric to composite materials. I kick off with an amazing movie of a kite powered trimaran / hydrofoil (below the fold). Continue reading

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Blowout Week 145

In this weeks bumper blowout: OPEC deal and oil prices; major oil find in Alaska; North Sea drilling plunges; floating nuclear in Russia; Russia suspends plutonium agreement; coal mining in India, China, USA and Poland; too much renewables; the Australian outblack; global super grid; Gibralter rules the waves; megadrought in America; fracking in the UK; coal gasification in Scotland; kite power in Scotland; UAH global warming at +0.44˚C. Continue reading

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USA Energy Independence Day

It has been 3 years since I last looked at US energy statistics and a recent conversation has prompted me to revisit the topic. Is the USA close to energy independence? The answer is surprisingly yes! In 2007 the USA imported 708 Mtoe (million tonnes oil equivalent) of energy, mainly crude oil. In 2015, that had fallen to 234 Mtoe. The rate of decline is 59.25 Mtoe per annum and if the trend continues the USA will be energy independent in 4 years. It is to be anticipated that the oil price crash will impact oil production in 2016 and 2017 but I wouldn’t bet against the US becoming energy independent in the early years of the next decade. Continue reading

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El Hierro September 2016 performance update

During September the hybrid wind-hydro Gorona del Viento (GdV) plant achieved 58.2% renewables generation, comparable to the 55.6% achieved in August and far higher than the 19.9% achieved in September 2015. This was largely a result of the fact that the wind didn’t die early in the month as it did in September 2015. Total renewables generation since full operations began at GdV on June 27, 2015 is now 40.1%, up from 38.7% at the end of August. Continue reading

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Blowout Week 144

This week’s Blowout features a blackout, specifically the long-anticipated outage that plunged South Australia into darkness last week. But it was caused by strong winds that took down transmission lines, not by too much wind power on the grid. Or was it? Continue reading

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