Blowout Week 119

The Obama Administration is becoming progressively more strident in its attempts to bring home the perils of climate change to a largely disinterested public. Last week it published the results of a 300-page multi-year study involving “scores of researchers and the work of eight federal agencies”. The study’s conclusion was that climate change could kill tens of thousands of Americans each year by the end of the century. One wonders how many lives could have been saved if the cost of preparing the report had been spent on mosquito nets instead.

Washington Post:  As the climate changes, risks to human health will accelerate, White House warns

More deaths from extreme heat. Longer allergy seasons. Increasingly polluted air and water. Diseases transmitted by mosquitoes and ticks spreading farther and faster. Those are among the health risks that could be exacerbated by global warming in coming decades, the Obama administration warned in a new report Monday.

The study, more than 300 pages long and several years in the making, focuses on what the White House has described as one of the gravest threats to the nation: major health problems associated with climate change. “This isn’t just about glaciers and polar bears. It’s about the health of our family and our kids,” Gina McCarthy, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, said Monday. “To protect ourselves and future generations, we need to understand the health impacts of climate change that are already happening, and those that we expect to see down the road.” The Obama administration study found that as the world warms, exploding populations and greater urbanization could increase the number of people exposed to extreme heat, which already kills thousands of Americans each year. For instance, researchers projected that a warmer future could result in “thousands to tens of thousands of additional premature deaths per year across the United States by the end of this century” from heat-related illnesses, more than off-setting any reduction of cold-related deaths.

We continue with a jumble of stories from around the world, including nuclear plants in Iran, the coming boom in coal, Germany to abandon its $1 trillion wind power program, Texas, California and UK to generate more renewable energy than they can use this summer, nuclear decommissioning to cost Europe €253 billion, solar growth in India hit by SunEdison collapse, Obama and Xi vow to sign Paris Climate Accord, China to burn coal in space, yet another miracle storage battery, Mexico’s renewables auction, Venezuela blames blackouts on global warming and La Niña is coming. Normal coverage of OPEC will be resumed when something newsworthy happens.

Engineering and Technology Magazine:  India’s renewables sector hit by collapse of mega-solar project

A 500-megawatt solar power plant that would have kick-started India’s renewable energy revolution is now unlikely to go ahead, as the operator is struggling to stave off bankruptcy. The contract to build the Andra Pradesh solar plant – the first of 32 planned solar mega projects envisioned to clean up India’s power supply – was awarded last year to American solar energy company SunEdison. The firm beat its competitors by offering a record-low tariff of 4.63 rupees (7 US cents) per kilowatt-hour. However, it has not even broken ground and is, according to some sources, looking to sell about 1GW of its existing assets in the country. Many industry insiders called SunEdison’s bid unrealistic from the start and describe the situation as a major lesson to be learned for future renewable energy auctions. India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi aims for a fivefold increase in India’s renewable energy generation capacity in the next few years. The country is yet to auction the further 31 mega projects of 500MW or more but the SunEdison experience suggests the venture will most likely cost India much more. The whole process is also likely to take longer.

UK Government:  UK launches new consultation on energy cost relief for industry

The government has today (1 April 2016) published a consultation on introducing an exemption for Energy Intensive Industries (EIIs), such as the steel industry, from renewable electricity costs – in a move that could save the steel industry over £400 million over this Parliament. The move, first announced at Autumn Statement, will exempt all EIIs from paying £390 million a year in policy costs of the Renewables Obligation and Feed-in Tariff. It is specifically worth more than £400 million to the steel sector by the end of this Parliament, and will provide greater investment certainty for the future. Business Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Help with energy costs has been one of the steel industry’s key asks and, having extended last year the compensation we are paying out, I want to see progress on exempting them altogether. While we can’t control the global price of steel, we are doing everything we can to help our steel industry, not just on energy costs but also securing flexibility on EU emissions rules and on tariffs.”

Guardian:  Hinkley Point: China incorporates seven London-based firms

Beijing’s growing confidence in its plans to help build new reactors at Hinkley in Somerset and Bradwell in Essex has been underlined by the recent incorporation of seven new Chinese nuclear-related firms in London. Beijing’s creation of so many new businesses could further alarm those concerned at the degree of complexity surrounding the £18bn Hinkley scheme. All seven companies use the same Stratton Street address in Mayfair, west London used by the state-owned China General Nuclear Power Corporation. They also have the same director, Zhu Minhong, the public face of China’s nuclear power business in Britain. A spokesman for China General Nuclear Power Corporation, where Zhu is a general director for the UK, said he could not immediately explain why so many new UK-based businesses had been established or their exact purpose.

Telegraph:  We’re following Germany to an energy disaster

A far darker shadow is hanging over Britain than that of the collapse of our steel industry. As she is the sister of a leading figure in the campaign to keep Britain in the EU, we may not be surprised by the warning from Amber Rudd, our Energy and Climate Change Secretary, that “Brexit” would raise our energy bills by £500 million a year. But in making that “half a billion a year” claim, Ms Rudd must hope that we don’t recall those recent figures from the Office for Budget Responsibility projecting that within four years – due entirely to her own Government’s policies – we will be paying £13.6 billion a year in climate change levies alone, up a further £7.6 billion from the year just ending. Even this is only a small part of the disaster Ms Rudd is heading us towards, as she sets about “decarbonising” our economy by closing down all the fossil-fuel power stations which, until recently, were supplying two thirds of all our electricity, in order to rely instead on ever more “renewables” and those new nuclear power stations which simply aren’t getting built.

Handelsblatt:  How to kill an industry

The fact that Germany is a world leader in green power is by now familiar. Much less familiar is the price the country is paying for it, not just in cold hard cash, but in growing losses and dislocations across the entire economy. The losers include once-stalwart utility giants like E.ON and RWE that are struggling with rising debt and falling shares. Manufacturing companies, from chemicals maker BASF to carbon fiber producer SGL Carbon, have shifted investments abroad, where energy costs are often a fraction of Germany’s. Losers include laid-off workers in these industries, but also millions of ordinary consumers. Their utility bills have skyrocketed, largely driven by subsidies for eco-friendly fuels. As much as the transition creates new jobs building wind turbines, farming biofuels or installing solar panels on rooftops, the changes are cutting a deep swathe through other parts of the economy. Germany’s “green” revolution has a dark shadow.

New York Times: Obama and President Xi of China Vow to Sign Paris Climate Accord Promptly

President Obama and President Xi Jinping of China said Thursday that they would sign the Paris Agreement on climate change on April 22, the first day the United Nations accord will be open for government signatures. Officials cast the announcement as a statement of joint resolve by the world’s two largest greenhouse gas polluters, even though there are doubts about whether the United States can meet its obligations under the agreement. In February, the Supreme Court temporarily blocked an Obama administration regulation to curb greenhouse gas pollution from power plants, the centerpiece of Mr. Obama’s climate change policy and the major way for the administration to meet its targets under the Paris accord. “Our cooperation and our joint statements were critical in arriving at the Paris agreement, and our two countries have agreed that we will not only sign the agreement on the first day possible, but we’re committing to formally join it as soon as possible this year,” Mr. Obama told reporters at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, where he was meeting with Mr. Xi at the nuclear gathering. Mr. Obama, who spoke across a table from Mr. Xi, added, “And we urge other countries to do the same.”

Fuel Fix:  USGS head warns Senate on earthquake risk from oil and gas activity

The head of the U.S. Geological Survey told senators Thursday that her agency would work with federal regulators on developing new rules around oil and gas activity tied to a surge in earthquakes in Oklahoma, Texas and other states. Director Suzette Kimball appeared before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources a week after her agency released a report showing the risk of damage from seismic activity in areas including Oklahoma City and Dallas is now as high as that in California. The sudden jump in earthquakes has been tied not to oil and gas drilling itself but rather the underground injection wells used to store the vast volumes of waste water associated with drilling. “Our work on induced seismicity leads us to believe it is most often associated with deep wastewater injection wells and depending on how those wells are constructed and how the operations take place can affect that,” Kimball said. The threat of greater federal regulation around injection wells, an activity largely governed by states, has worried many around the country’s oil and gas regions. U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., expressed concern the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency might come in and shut down injection well activity all together.

National Public Radio:   Unable To Compete On Price, Nuclear Power On The Decline In The U.S.

Renewable energy and new technologies that are making low-carbon power more reliable are growing rapidly in the U.S. Renewables are so cheap in some parts of the country that they’re undercutting the price of older sources of electricity such as nuclear power. The impact has been significant on the nuclear industry, and a growing number of unprofitable reactors are shutting down. In all, 19 nuclear reactors are undergoing decommissioning, of which five have been shut down in the past decade, according to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The main reason behind the wave of closures is a new generation of cheap, gas-fired power plants that has pushed the wholesale price of electricity into the basement. But Mycle Schneider, a nuclear industry analyst, says nuclear also faces growing price pressure from wind and solar. Renewable energy is so cheap in some parts of the U.S. that it’s even undercutting coal and natural gas. “We are seeing really a radical shift in the competitive markets which leave nuclear power pretty much out in the rain,” Schneider says.

Tehran Times:  Iran plans to build 9 nuclear power plants by 2025

Iran will build 9 nuclear power plants by 2025 which marks the end of the 20-year vision plan, the spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) announced on Saturday. “At the end of the country’s 20-year vision plan, 10 percent of the country’s electricity should be produced through atomic energy and 9 nuclear power plants is required for this purpose,” Behrouz Kamalvandi, stated. He said the technology is “effective” in helping the country make progress. Kamalvandi added that the nuclear energy is an efficient source which does not harm the environment. The AEOI spokesman also said a “long term view” on nuclear energy is needed, adding long time is required to achieve the necessary progress in the nuclear industry. He also said that Iran’s power plants are among the “safest” in the world.

Guardian:  Europe faces €253bn nuclear waste bill

Europe is facing a €253bn bill for nuclear waste management and plant decommissioning which outstrips available funds by €120bn, according to a major stock-take of the industry by the European commission. The sum breaks down into €123bn for the decommissioning of old reactors and €130bn for the management of spent fuel, radioactive waste and deep geological disposal processes. Of the EU’s 16 nuclear nations, only the UK had enough money ring-fenced to cover the coming financial crunch, according to the Nuclear Illustrative Programme of the Commission (Pinc), which covers trends to 2050. Some 90% of the continent’s nuclear plants are set to shut by 2050 – almost half within the next decade – and the paper sets out a daunting picture of the scale of the challenge facing nuclear power: up to €500bn will be needed to meet the cost of new plant builds and lifetime extensions, it says. By 2050, a 47% increase in the cost of additional capacity is foreseen, combined with a 20% reduction in nuclear’s contribution to Europe’s electricity mix.

World Nuclear News:  Organizations call for positive EU leadership on nuclear

European electricity association Eurelectric has welcomed the European Commission’s recently published Nuclear Illustrative Program (PINC), but expressed regrets at its failure to address the issue of premature reactor closures due to market conditions. Eurelectric described the PINC document, published on 4 April, as a “good basis” for discussions on the role of nuclear energy in achieving European Union (EU) energy objectives and praised it for recognising the significant investment required in the sector. “A continuing contribution of nuclear power will be needed as Europe undertakes the low-carbon energy transition, but a more positive EU policy framework is needed if this is to be achieved,” the organization’s secretary general, Hans ten Berge, said yesterday. “We however regret that the PINC document does not address the competitiveness of existing and technically well-functioning nuclear reactors, which, in some countries, are being forced to shut down due to the difficult market situation and distortive national policy measures,” he added.

South China Morning Post:  China to burn coal – in space

China is to carry out an experiment on burning coal in space for the first time, which scientists say may help led to cleaner power stations and reduce air pollution.The experiment will be carried out aboard an unmanned research probe – the Shijian 10 – that was launched from the Gobi Desert earlier this week. Researchers hope the experiment will provide further insight into the physics of coal combustion and clues on how to burn the fuel more cleanly. The experiment involves igniting fine grains of coal dust in a small chamber, similar to the conditions in a power station furnace, but under near zero-gravity conditions. Professor Liu Qiusheng, a space physicist at the Institute of Mechanics at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said the experiment might re-veal an unknown mechanism at play that had previously evaded detection. “I’m curious how pollutants such as PM2.5 will behave up there,” said Liu, who attended mission briefings.

The Shijian-10 coal-burning space ship

Hellenic Shipping News:  Doom and gloom persist, but signs of recovery for coal industry

The steam-coal market is expected to remain challenging for the next few years, due to prices close to all-time lows, a massively oversupplied Chinese market, uncertain Indian market growth, and diminishing consumption across Europe, the United States and China, according to IHS Inc., the leading global source of critical information and insight. Nevertheless, signs are starting to emerge of a recovery in the market, and that supply and demand will rebalance later this decade, according to IHS Energy experts. Like any other commodity, coal follows the trend of boom and bust, with the boom cycles normally a lot briefer in duration than the latter. Currently mired at the bottom of the bust-cycle, the coal industry finds itself in a challenging position for the same reasons weighing on other commodities, an oversupplied market, which continues to suppress global prices. “The ground has already been laid for the next boom in coal prices, and the longer the wait for price recovery goes on, the greater the likelihood that values will spike,” said David Price, senior director of the Global Steam Coal Service at IHS Energy.

Technology Review:  Texas and California Have Too Much Renewable Energy

Solar and wind power are coming online at rates unforeseen only a few years ago. That’s a good thing if your goal is to decarbonize the energy sector. But if you’re a utility or independent power producer and you make your money selling electricity, it can be not such a good thing. In places with abundant wind and solar resources, like Texas and California, the price of electricity is dipping more and more frequently into negative territory. In other words, utilities that operate big fossil-fuel or nuclear plants, which are very costly to switch off and ramp up again, are running into problems when wind and solar farms are generating at their peaks. With too much energy supply to the grid, spot prices for power turn negative and utilities are forced to pay grid operators to take power off their hands. That’s happened on about a dozen days over the past year in sunny Southern California, according to data from Bloomberg, and it’s liable to happen more often in the future. “In Texas, power at one major hub traded below zero for almost 50 hours in November and again in March,” according to the state’s grid operator.

Cleantechnica:  Mexico’s first power auction

Mexico has conducted its first power auction, awarding 1,720 megawatts of wind and solar energy. This auction took place following the government’s end of the state electricity monopoly in 2013. The Mexican government’s auction saw a total of seven wind and solar organizations winning electricity contracts and clean energy certificates. The outcome of the auction is expected to assist the government in meeting its long-range goal of producing 35% of its energy from clean sources by 2024. The list of successful bidders was made up of leading international companies, including Enel Green Power, SunPower, Recurrent Energy, Alten Renewable Energy, and Gestamp Wind, PV-Tech has reported: in total, 227 bids were made by 69 participants. The highest bid was made by UK-funded energy generation development platform Zuma Energía at 1.2 billion pesos (US$69/MWh). The 11 successful bundles of wind and solar projects and certificates were sold at an average price of US$41.80/MWh, with prices for solar specifically averaging at US$40.50/MWh.

London Free Press:  Ontario launching new competition for renewable energy projects despite surplus

Just weeks after awarding controversial contracts for five wind farms, Ontario said Tuesday it’s opening bidding for double that amount of wind energy. The government is also inviting bids from companies for solar, hydro and bio-energy projects. Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli said the move will save consumers money by putting more downward pressure on electricity prices.The last round of wind farm development was for 300 megawatts of wind power. This time, Ontario has opened the bids for 600 megawatts of wind energy, along with 250 megawatts of solar, up to 50 megawatts of hydroelectricity and up to 30 megawatts of bioenergy. The size of the procurement stunned wind farm opponents. A report released last week by Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator concluded Ontario has enough electrical generation in place to cover the province’s needs for at least a decade.

Daily Caller:  Germany To Abandon $1.1 Trillion Wind Power Program By 2019

Germany plans to stop building new wind farms by 2019, gradually turning away from its $1.1 trillion wind power program, according to a Thursday report in Berliner Zeitung. The government plans to cap the total amount of wind energy at 40 to 45 percent of national capacity, according to the report. By 2019, this policy would cause a massive reduction of 6,000 megawatts of wind power capacity compared to the end of 2015’s capacity. The domestic market for many [wind turbine] manufacturers collapses completely,” Julia Verlinden, a spokesperson for the German Green Party, told Berliner Zeitung. “With their plan, the federal government is killing the wind companies.” Verlinden goes on to blame the political influence of “old, fossil fuel power plants.”

Newsweek:  Britain Will Have Too Much Electricity This Summer

For the first time, the U.K. has too much electricity and may need to limit the amount of renewable energy it produces this summer. National Grid has warned generators that they may have to “reduce their output during some weeks,” in a report released this week. Historically, the national electricity grid was largely balanced because power plants would not generate more electricity than companies were buying. But renewables have been so efficient, that they are now generating more energy than the market demands, every time the wind blows or the sun shines. Storing energy is not a new idea, and it is an option, but building massive banks of batteries is expensive. So National Grid said there is a possibility that it will have to “issue emergency instructions to inflexible generators,” telling them to “power off” their plants. For clarification, by “inflexible generator,” we mean nuclear, combined heat and power, hydro and wind generators. And an “emergency instruction” is essentially a tool National Grid has to force these inflexible generators to reduce their output in order to balance supply and demand—if they do not respond commercially. This is known as a Negative Reserve Active Power Management (NRAPM) and it is designed to encourage wind farms or solar plants to reduce their output and create downward flexibility on the system.

Guardian:  UK solar power installations plummet after government cuts.

The amount of household solar power capacity installed in the past two months has plummeted by three quarters following the government’s cuts to subsidies, according to new figures. A fall in solar power was expected following a 65% reduction in government incentives paid to householders, but the size of the drop-off will dismay green campaigners. Data published by the energy regulator this week shows there was 21 megawatts (MW) of small solar installed in February and March this year, after a new, lower incentive rate came into effect. By contrast, energy department figures show that for the same period in 2015, 81MW was installed. The cuts were announced just days after energy secretary Amber Rudd helped agree the historic Paris climate deal, and have bankrupted several solar companies. The government says the changes were necessary to protect bill payers, as the solar incentives are levied on household energy bills.

The Week:  World Bank signals ‘fundamental’ climate change shift

The World Bank has signalled a “fundamental shift” in its funding policy which will see tens of billions of dollars channelled into projects to fight climate change.Officials announced that in future, 28 per cent of all World Bank’s investment would go into projects that, for example, aim to rapidly increase renewable energy capacity across the developing world. This will amount to at least $16bn (£11bn) a year by the end of the decade, notes The Guardian, with up to a further $13bn (£9bn) being “leveraged” from the private sector. In addition, the organisation said that all of its future spending decisions would take account of the impact on the environment, a response in part to criticism that it has funded fossil fuel-based energy projects. “This is a fundamental shift for the World Bank. We are putting climate change into our DNA,” said John Roome, a senior director for climate change.

Biosolar:  Developing a breakthrough super battery technology

BioSolar is developing a breakthrough technology to double the storage capacity, lower the cost and extend the life of lithium-ion batteries. A battery contains two major parts, a cathode and an anode, that function together as the positive and negative sides. Today’s state-of-the-art lithium-ion battery is limited by the storage capacity of its cathode, while the anode can store much more. Inspired by nature, we are developing a novel cathode based on inexpensive conductive polymers and organic materials that can fully utilize the storage capacity of conventional anodes. By integrating our high capacity, high power and low-cost cathode with conventional anodes, battery manufacturers can create a super lithium-ion battery that can double the range of a Tesla, power an iPhone for 2 days straight, or store daytime solar energy for nighttime use. Founded with the vision of developing breakthrough energy technologies, BioSolar’s previous successes include the world’s first UL approved bio-based backsheet for use in solar panels.

Guardian:  Global warming may be far worse than thought, cloud analysis suggests

Climate change projections have vastly underestimated the role that clouds play, meaning future warming could be far worse than is currently projected, according to new research. Researchers said that a doubling of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere compared with pre-industrial times could result in a global temperature increase of up to 5.3C – far warmer than the 4.6C older models predict. The analysis of satellite data, led by Yale University, found that clouds have much more liquid in them, rather than ice, than has been assumed until now. Clouds with ice crystals reflect more solar light than those with liquid in them, stopping it reaching and heating the Earth’s surface. A lack of data and continuing uncertainty over the role of clouds is to blame for the confusion about warming estimates, said Ivy Tan, a graduate student at Yale who worked on the research with academics from Yale and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. “Models have been systematically underestimating the amount of liquid in clouds, meaning that we aren’t fully appreciating the feedback,” she said. “It could mean our higher limit of warming is now even higher, depending on the model, which means serious consequences for us in terms of climate change.

Examiner:  Study: No increase in extreme droughts, rainfall during 20th century

A new study published yesterday shows there hasn’t been an increase in extreme rainfall and droughts during the 20th century, even as humans ramped up burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil) in the late 1800s. It also shows that previous centuries show much more extreme weather, even though carbon dioxide levels were far lower than today’s. Dr Fredrik Charpentier Ljungqvist, the lead author and a palaeoclimatologist at Stockholm University, explains that climate reconstruction showed a “prominent seesaw pattern of alternating moisture regimes” that has been remained “consistent over the past twelve centuries.” Ljungqvist writes in the journal Nature: “This strongly suggests that the instrumental period is too short to capture the full range of natural hydroclimate variability.” The climate records, which date back to Viking times, indicate the 20th century was “unexceptional for rainfall and droughts despite assumptions that global warming would trigger more wet and dry extremes.” In fact, “several other centuries show stronger and more widespread extremes,” lead author Fredrik Ljungqvist of Stockholm University told Reuters. “We can’t say it’s more extreme now.”

Telegraph: Hinkley postponement ‘still up for discussion’, says Ségolène Royal

Hinkley Point C could still be postponed, French energy minister Ségolène Royal has said, in an apparent sign of division within the French government over the controversial nuclear project. The £18bn power plant is yet to prove its worth, and developer EDF must provide assurances that it will not build the reactors at the expense of investing in renewable energy, Ms Royal said.

International Business Times: Venezuelan Leader Blames El Niño And Global Warming For Nation’s Energy Crisis

The fierce El Niño event under way in the Pacific Ocean and warming global temperatures have helped create the brutal drought now racking Venezuela, President Nicolás Maduro said Wednesday night. The Venezuelan leader blamed the climatological phenomena as he presented a 60-day plan to conserve energy in the blackout-prone nation. Maduro declared all Fridays during the next two months will be holidays in a highly criticized bid to cut electricity use. Venezuela is facing its worst drought in almost half a century, an event that’s severely straining the country’s aging and poorly managed energy grid. The nation depends on hydropower for nearly two-thirds of its electricity, but the reservoirs that fuel its facilities are evaporating. Power outages in recent weeks have forced factories to send workers home early, slowing production, and many residents are now scrambling to secure enough drinking water supplies. In his address, Maduro said global warming was exacerbating the effects of drought spurred by El Niño. “With the warming of temperatures, it’s causing drought to an extreme degree,” Maduro said in his hourslong appearance on the state-run television network Venezolana de Televisión.

WUWT: La Niña and a Cooler Earth May Be Coming Faster Than Predicted

The decay of El Niño and the onset of La Niña, the cold phase of tropical Pacific Ocean surface temperatures, are occurring more rapidly than it would appear. The timing of La Niña’s arrival is important to commodities markets as La Niña has vastly different effects on global climate than its warm counterpart, El Niño. For example, in agriculture markets, if La Niña moves in on the early end of the range by June or July, U.S. summer crops could face complications with dry and hot weather. But dry regions of Australia, Southeast Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa could receive ample rainfall prior to the peak of their next crop season. The lingering of extremely warm waters in the equatorial Pacific Ocean has led to some flawed assumptions that El Niño is decaying at a slower pace than in previous years, and that the transition to La Niña will happen later than initially expected. But the platform for La Niña’s entrance has been in the assembly phase since late last year, and new data suggests that construction is nearly complete.

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39 Responses to Blowout Week 119

  1. Peter Lang says:

    Wow, Roger, you certainly get through a lot of reading material between posts.

    Regarding your comment: “to a largely disinterested public”, this shows how interest has waned in the media including blogs and twitter, in the English speaking media since Copenhagen: . The chart is updated daily. (however, caution is needed because sometimes some data sources change or are truncated.

  2. saveenergy says:

    “The study’s conclusion was that climate change could kill tens of thousands of Americans each year by the end of the century.”

    Is that a good or bad outcome ??

    They already kill ~ 30,000/yr with guns. ( 301,797 killed by gun violence in the US 2005 – 2015)

    • Willem post says:

      Save energy,

      Plus about 40,000/y dead in US traffic, plus about 1,000,000/y injured

    • Thinkstoomuch says:

      I like that gun violence includes suicides. As a justification or to make a point it leaves much to be desired.

      For example from:

      “Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control, in the United States as of 2010, more people died of suicide than in car accidents. In 2010, the total number of suicide deaths in the United States was 38,364. Historically, suicide rates rise during times of financial stress and economic setbacks.”

      Still leaves much to be desired. If protecting from climate change causes economic hardship then suicides will go up. So tens of thousands die now to protect tens of thousands in the future. Seems kind of circular. But whatever.

      My apologies if inappropriate.


    • And how many more gun deaths will climate change cause. /sark

  3. ducdorleans says:

    if the Market has any forecasting value for the future killer battery, it is asleep at the wheel atm …

    BioSolar was once over 45$, and now trades for 18 cent …

    breakthrough battery concept … Nobel price winner involved …

    what am I (are we …) missing ? …

  4. Stuart Brown says:

    Re too much electricity, is the answer dispatchable loads rather than impossibly expensive storage? Obviously there still needs to be a lot of it.

    and creating a market to drive it as here?

    Does anyone know if that worked?

    • Roger Andrews says:

      It’s not fair to give an opinion without a full reading of the document, but I get the distinct impression here that the authors think dispatchable means “cheap”, i.e. the cheapest power gets dispatched to the grid first regardless of other considerations. This of course is why the major European utilities are going bankrupt.

      • Stuart Brown says:

        Indeed, though there are considerations in the ZCloud paper about the load following the generation improving frequency stability etc, clearly they hope for a cost advantage too. There’s a bit of idealistic re-use of old servers in there – it would probably make more sense to use more energy efficient newer server technology to deliver the same service.

        But I can’t quite get my head round this. If the demand curve was flatter for traditional generators presumably that’s better – and if a variable load can eat any variable generation from wind and solar presumably that’s better too, and would help to keep the overall load flatter. Having large consumers participate in BM auctions might be a good thing, however that works.

        I can’t see that turning people’s freezers off achieves much but I can’t find much in the way of big industrial processes that could do the same to follow unexpected generation. Most studies seem to focus on domestic markets, but maybe there is something to smart meters – 13GW of flexible demand in a mid-winter peak is nothing to be sneezed at.

    • It doesn't add up... says:

      The volume of demand response is typically very low at present. National Grid estimated the realistic potential is to shed no more than 3.5% of peak load by 2020 according to this article:

      • Stuart Brown says:

        Thanks for that. 3.5% of peak demand is nearly 2MW. The ‘duck curve’ peak in the UK is about 5MW above the daytime average, so it’s not as trivial as it sounds.

        On the other hand, I hadn’t cottoned on that consumers are already allowed to participate in the UK STOR market, although it looks like there’s not much interest – 0.4% in 2014. Presumably the lost opportunity cost of denying oneself 50MW of power is greater than the cost of sticking 50MW of diesel generators in a shed. Says it all really for this idea.

  5. It doesn't add up... says:

    For clarification, by “inflexible generator,” we mean nuclear, combined heat and power, hydro and wind generators.

    Presumably solar is excluded – and is the main source of the summer problem at 9.2GW nominal peak capacity because they have no means to curtail output (other than drawing curtains over their panels?). No wonder the subsidies have been cut.

    • gweberbv says:

      In Northern Europe, PV installation are operating only for a very small time at nameplate capacity (or peak capacity). For their owners, it is not a big loss to limit the output to something like 70% of nameplate capacity (as it is done in Germany since a few years). On a perfect sunny day in the middle of the summer, this measure significantly reduces the stress to the grid. But summed up over the year, the operators are losing only a few percent of production.

  6. Roger Andrews says:

    I’m surprised no one has picked up on the astounding comment from French energy minister Ségolène Royal that “developer EDF must provide assurances that it will not build (Hinkley Point) at the expense of investing in renewable energy.”

    How is EDF, already strapped for cash, going to provide these assurances? And why should EDF even provide them, given that the whole point of Hinkley is to fill a generation gap that renewables can’t possibly fill?

    If the French government insists on this as a condition of going forward then Hinkley is probably dead in Its tracks.

    • It doesn't add up... says:

      I imagine there are coteries both sides of the Channel trying to invent face-saving ways to cancel the project – neither side seems too willing to take the blame on the project itself. Of course, politicians may yet sign up to it on the basis they won’t be around when it fails with massive cost overruns and delays.

    • Stuart Brown says:

      Why are you surprised? She and Hollande want to kill the French nuclear industry too.

      “A poll had shown that 67% of people thought that environmental protection was the single most important energy policy goal. (However, 58% thought that nuclear power caused climate change while only 46% thought that coal burning did so.)”

      She’s an economist, so you’d think she’d know better, but maybe she’s in the 58%. People believe Storm van Leeuwen.

  7. There’s an expanded account of the German wind rollback story (which I didn’t think could possibly be true when I first read it) over at

    Plus a frightening video of a wind turbine disintegrating.

    • Willem Post says:


      Gabriel: ” It was at 33% at the end of 2015 but was still climbing rapidly. ”

      This is so much crap it is laughable.

      When Germany generates too much wind and solar energy, which is happening more and more hours of the year, that energy gets EXPORTED OFF THE GERMAN GRID at near-zero wholesale prices.

      It is balanced by OTHER grids connected to the German grid, that still have spare balancing capacity AND spare synchronous rotational inertia.

      It no such connections, that energy would have to be curtailed.

      • Willem post says:


        Gabriel also said RE will be capped at 40 – 45 percent by 2025.

        Does that mean the old targets of 90% electrical RE are out?

        • gweberbv says:


          this is the target timeline (has not changed):
          40% to 45% by 2025
          55% to 60% by 2035
          at least 80% by 2050

          But do not take it too serious. 🙂

    • gweberbv says:


      here is a link to the study:

      Unfortunately, it is in German. But I guess this is not much of a problem. Some assumptions were clearly made, to maximize the negative impact on (onshore) wind. In the end, it is a study for the green party which is of course opposing any kind of cap for renewables. To be more specific, the study assumes that PV installations will bounce back while there is no sign that such thing will happen. It also assumes an increase of the installation of biomass plants and it sets ambitious goals for offshore wind (11 GW by 2025, while we have about 3 GW right now). These assumptions reduce the share of (new) onshore wind to virtually nothing after 2020.

      What is really new in the envisaged recasting of the renewable energy law in Germany is that basicly all new installations have to go through an auction process. And the capacity that is allocated to the auctions will be adjusted to match the goal set for 2025, ending the overachieving that was happening constantly in the past.
      But we have had a recasting of the EEG about every two to three years so far. Thus, assuming that the rules from the 2016 EEG will last until 2025 seems unrealistic.

  8. Javier says:

    From reading all these news I get the impression that the world has collectively gone out of their senses while I wasn’t paying too much attention.

    As far as I know climate change has been very beneficial to humanity for the past 200 years when it has accompanied the tremendous improvement in our living conditions, together with the increase in energy per capita from fossil fuels. If anything, the problem is that we have expanded our numbers too much. But all dangers from global warming remain hypothetical, even if widely discussed on a daily basis. Anybody living higher of 50° latitude is totally dependent on global warming as any cooling would be very negative.

    Yet a lot of governments have abandoned any connection with available evidence and embarked on a problematic, ill conceived energy transition from more dependable sources to less dependable sources with the justification of fighting CO2 emissions. There is no evidence that such a reduction would have much impact on global warming and there is no evidence that global warming is going to turn from net positive to net negative any time soon, yet we are going to suffer the negative consequences of this energy transition soon if we are not suffering them already (like in Germany or Spain).

    With such disconnection between evidence and policy, and since the governments are not acting at the request of their electorates, that appear quite uninterested in the question, I am left to think that the governments are acting based on some evidence that they are not sharing. That evidence has to be that we are reaching the end of oil expansion, soon to be followed by the end of fossil fuels expansion. The fracking experiment has been a failure as it was built on ever expanding debt by companies that never turned a profit even when oil was above 100 $/b. Fracking is unlikely to continue sustaining the increase in oil production in the near future.

    I guess soon we will have to adapt to a world of decreasing oil production, and hence the rush to transition away from fossil fuels. Global warming is just the excuse to go that path without telling us why.

    • Syndroma says:

      I guess soon we will have to adapt to a world of decreasing oil production, and hence the rush to transition away from fossil fuels. Global warming is just the excuse to go that path without telling us why.

      If so, then why don’t they build nuclear power stations en masse?

      • Javier says:

        Well, they are. It’s been many decades since so many new reactors were being built. 63 right now with another 70 planned by 2024. Even with the planned shut downs that’s a 18% increase in 10 years.

        Some countries however are not going down that route, mainly because it cannot be sold to their electorates, or maybe because Uranium is also quite limited. It is a question of changing one peak for another.

        I suppose the picture would change radically if Thorium reactors become available.

        • Willem post says:

          Iran announced it will build 9 nuclear power plants, about 9000 MW.

          They likely would be Russia’s standard 1000 or 1100 MW units.

          • Beamspot says:

            Mmmm, I beg your pardon to enter this discussion, but once some one called Steve Chu stated that we will need about 1 of those 1GW unites new, every day, for the next 50 years or so.

            If the mean power consumption is 15TW, that pretty much fits the bill: 15.000 new nuclear reactions.

            I guess 9, plus or minus 100, when we have less than 500, many of them going to be obsolete within a decade, doesn’t leave too much room for optimism regarding switching to nuclear.

            Even less to switch to green fairy tales, though.

            We had to act many years before, but we did nothing.

          • gweberbv says:


            once it is really necessary most industrial nations would be able to build nuclear reactors like the US built Liberty-class ships during WW2 (probably not with EPR-like safety features) within a decade or so. Equally fast ramping up the capacities to produce fuel for them might be the more severe issue.

            But obviously nobody feels the necessity to do so. At the moment, only China seems to build NPPs at a rate that justifies the costs to keep this technology available.

          • robertok06 says:

            “If the mean power consumption is 15TW, that pretty much fits the bill: 15.000 new nuclear reactions.”

            Less unlikely to be built than the equivalent 150 000 GWp of PV, plus 5000 GW of additional pumped hydro to balance it.

          • Beamspot says:


            Of course, you are absolutely right. That is why I say that green fairy tales are an impossible. If the ‘how much’ energy is a problem for nukes, for green pipe dreams it is much worse. Then you have to add ‘when’, that is pretty simple with dispatchable power, but much more troublesome for green solutions (almost negligible besides the pumped hidro), and thwe ‘where’, also easy for nukes or biogas, but a cumbersome problem with renewables.

          • Beamspot says:


            Also in theory you are right, after few years on this world, I’ve learned not to mix technical feasibility with economical feasibility.

            Economy is being screwed, meanwhile very little effort had been done to solve this problem.

            When the society begins to realize, if it ever happens (when economy shuts down, nobody pays attention to this issues), we would not have time, neither funds, neither resources.

            That will be the limiting factor.

            And this is the reason why I say that we had to begin to work on this problem when we were aware, by the time I was born, during the 1970’s.

            Now it is too late.

            And I wonder if ever Main Street will realize that our problem is the end of cheap and good energy.

            PS: I don’t know how to reply to your posts, so I hit the reply button in early one.

    • Euan Mearns says:

      The journey I’ve been on:

      1) Oil is running out, lets invest in oil stocks
      2) Oil is running out, we’re all gonna die
      3) Money is energy, energy (or is it money) is running out
      4) Finance crash
      5) Shale drilled on borrowed money (or was that borrowed energy?)
      6) Loads of energy that we cannot burn because of climate change, since energy not running out, need to shut down FF industries
      7) Abandonment of science and any semblance of common sense
      8) Today

      I’m trying to work this into a coherent narrative but it sure ain’t easy 🙁

      Energy underpins everything we do. ERoEI is critical but IS NOT the only critical variable. Global ERoEI is probably more important to humanity than Global mean temperature.

      • Beamspot says:

        I guess you are pretty aware of Gail Tverberg trying to explain, with great success, how this relates to economy. She is really good at this.

        Tullet Prebon also has some documents explaining how ERoEI reduces economy, and how this is playing out.

        But all of this doesn’t mean that Mad Max scenario is just around the corner. In this sense, I prefer John Michael Greer explanations, since he at least tries to explain from a social (and historical) point of view how all this plays together.

        Jared Diamond has some books on this that also fill the bill.

  9. Gaznotprom says:

    Energy is what Western Civilisation and humanity in general harness to better society.

    Energy is the first thing you take down when you want to destroy a society.

    Energy (or at least it’s generation) management had been inverted to the point where we’re stopping generating it and subsidising with borrowed money it’s gross mis-management.

    How is all that gonna work out in the end?

  10. Gaznotprom says:

    On the subject of energy storage:-

    Looking at Gridwatch, even if we multiply our renewables capacity by ten-fold, we simply won’t have enough power to power now, let alone ‘store it’!

  11. gweberbv says:

    The Handelsblatt article is clearly adressing the ill-informed. SGL Carbon and BASF opening facilities in the US is a nonesense example for illustrating negative effects of the Energiewende. This is like arguing that in UK the prices for letter-boxes are too high, thus forcing the likes of Mr. Cameron senior to use letter-boxes in Panama. SGL and BASF do not care too much about the electricity price in Germany (record low for big industrial users), but they do care a lot about the price of natural gas (more precise: they are looking for cheap heat to drive chemical processes).
    Next example is Siemens, which is not selling much gas turbines in Europe recently (maybe this is more because of dirt cheap coal than because of renewables), but – somehow got forgotton in the article – has a lot of fun with wind turbines and grid infrastructe these days.

    And this is the newspaper for the economic ‘elite’ of our poor country…

    • nukie says:

      Well BASF has sowhere just below 2GW own generation capacity in Ludwigshaen, which show up in no statistic. The produce their own power from coal and gas when electricity price is hgh, and sometimes sell when price is high enough, and when electricity price is low they draw their power from grid. Like other large chemical plants in germany too.
      Since a consumer in the GW-area pays just 0,05ct EEG and nearly no grid costs, and no or low poer tax, the price the pay is not so much above wholesale price in germany. The wholesale price in germany gives little incentive to moove to other countries in the last years.

  12. saveenergy says:

    Slightly off topic
    here’s an live interactive map of RWE’s renewables in Europe

    Expand map,
    Click on symbol of interest,
    you get location, installed capacity & live output (MW):
    [ minus figs = drawing power from grid ]

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