Blowout Week 122

Rejoice! The world is going green after all, courtesy of man-made CO2 emissions:

Science Daily:  CO2 fertilization greening Earth, study finds

From a quarter to half of Earth’s vegetated lands has shown significant greening over the last 35 years largely due to rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, according to a new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

An international team of 32 authors from 24 institutions in eight countries led the effort, which involved using satellite data from NASA’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectrometer and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer instruments to help determine the leaf area index, or amount of leaf cover, over the planet’s vegetated regions. The greening represents an increase in leaves on plants and trees equivalent in area to two times the continental United States. Results showed that carbon dioxide fertilization explains 70 percent of the greening effect, said co-author Ranga Myneni, a professor in the Department of Earth and Environment at Boston University. “The second most important driver is nitrogen, at 9 percent. So we see what an outsized role CO2 plays in this process.”

Stories below include oil companies getting back in the black, China to fund Yamal, France to issue “green bonds”, Colombian imports cut Australian coal prices, Venezuela’s energy crisis gets worse, biodiesel increases EU emissions, storage batteries in Germany, solar in Ireland, the US solar scandal, UK solar firms face insolvency, Sturgeon says “yes” to fossil fuels, tide power off the Isle of Wight, red meat in Denmark, insects in Sweden, a weasel shuts down the Hadron Collider and a green energy expert who consorts with extraterrestrials.

WSJ:  Oil companies begin to benefit from cost cuts

Exxon Mobil Corp. reported its worst quarterly results since 1999 on Friday. Yet despite a 63% drop in profits to $1.8 billion, investors shrugged off Exxon’s performance and its shares rose less than 1% to $88.56 in midday trading—mirroring a trend that has generally pushed oil and gas stocks up after first-quarter earnings as crude prices this week rose to their highest levels of the year, spurring optimism in the oil patch. Many companies including major oil companies BP PLC and Total SA, and independent producers such as Pioneer Natural Resources Co. , saw their shares rise after reporting first-quarter earnings because they either swung to a profit or reported smaller losses than anticipated. BP said earlier this week its net loss shrunk nearly 80% from the prior quarter. On Wednesday France’s Total and Norway’s Statoil ASA said they were back in the black last quarter after suffering losses in the last three months of 2015. The results reflect aggressive cost cuts, including slashing spending plans for drilling and laying off large numbers of workers, that companies have made to cope with a nearly two-year slump in crude prices. Along with a surge in oil prices, which have risen more than 70% from a February low past $45 a barrel this week, the results have helped fuel a 9% rally in energy stocks in the S&P 500 index in the past month.

Christian Science Monitor:  Saudi Arabia vows to end its ‘addiction to oil’

Saudi Arabia is now starting to contemplate a future in which gasoline and diesel no longer power the majority of the world’s cars. Over the next decade and a half, it hopes to transition its economy away from oil, largely by investing today’s oil revenues in other industries. It’s part of a plan known as “Vision 2030” that Saudi Arabia claims will end its “addiction to oil.” The government’s first major step to address that trend will be an initial public offering (IPO) in Aramco, the Saudi national oil company. While the government plans to sell less than 5 percent of Aramco, the company’s sheer size—Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed believes it will be valued at $2.5 trillion—has some analysts already describing this as the largest IPO in history. Some funds from the sale will be used to establish a $2 trillion “Public Investment Fund,” which will then invest in other industries.

UPI:  Oil running quickly toward $50 per barrel

Oil prices are running toward $50 per barrel, up nearly 60 percent from 2016 lows, as more data surfaces to support a push away from supply side pressures. Oil prices have rallied as a series of reports find balance between supply and demand is starting to return. BP CEO Bob Dudley said “market fundamentals” are pointing to a market that could return to balance “by the end of the year.” Data from the American Petroleum Institute, a group that also represents the business interests of those in the U.S. energy sector, reported crude oil inventories fell by 1.1 million barrels last week. Formal data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration is due out late Wednesday and any major contrast with API’s data could drag on the rally’s momentum. Long-term, however, a recent report from analysis group Wood Mackenzie finds the lower levels of spending on exploration and production that came as a result of lower crude oil prices could reverse the pressure from supplies long term. Even though more than 7,000 new discoveries have been made in the last 15 years, researchers there said poor exploration results suggest the global market could see a shortfall of as much as 4.5 million barrels per day by 2035.

UPI:  U.S. shale oil down, but not out

A short-term market report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration finds total U.S. crude oil production declines from the 9.1 million barrels per day expected during the first quarter of the year to an average 7.9 million bpd by third quarter 2017. Crude oil prices this year have rebounded 58 percent since dropping below $30 per barrel earlier this year. Despite the recovery, crude oil prices are still 25 percent lower than they were at this point last year. Jason Bordoff, the director of the Center for Global Energy Policy at Columbia University, told lawmakers there may be opportunities for the energy companies that survive the downturn. Crude oil prices won’t be low forever and, in response, U.S. output will rebound. “And this will likely happen at lower prices than many previously believed because the intense economic pressure of this current downturn has forced oil companies to find new and innovative ways to improve their efficiency, productivity and cost-effectiveness,” he said.

WSJ:  Yamal Natural Gas Project Gets Funding from China

A $27 billion natural-gas project in the Russian Arctic has secured the billions in financing it needed from Chinese banks, a hard-fought victory over Western sanctions that tightens Russia’s energy relations with China. China has proved more reluctant than Russian officials hoped to provide large-scale investment to soften the economic blow of Russia’s standoff with the West. But Friday, the Yamal LNG project said it had signed two loan deals with Chinese state banks in euros and yuan worth some $12 billion, enough to complete the project that is scheduled to ship its first liquefied natural gas next year. “For the Russian leadership, it’s a political deal to demonstrate that it can work despite the sanctions regime,” said Mikhail Krutikhin, an analyst at RusEnergy consultancy in Moscow. The Yamal LNG project had emerged as a test for the Kremlin’s ability to endure Western sanctions over its interventions in Ukraine. The U.S. and the European Union have targeted Russian government officials, tycoons and companies, cutting them off from access to dollars and in many cases Western finance altogether.

Platts:  Vattenfall CEO says Germany’s proposed nuclear risk premium ‘too high’

The CEO of Swedish utility Vattenfall, which has large stakes in Germany’s Brunsbuttel and Krummel nuclear plants, said the additional amount German nuclear power producers would have to pay for decommissioning and spent fuel storage under a proposed plan is “disproportionate to the economic strength of the utilities.” The German Commission on the Review of the Financing of the Nuclear Phaseout, or KFK, recommended to the German government that nuclear utilities pay a so-called risk premium of Eur23.3 billion ($26.4 billion) into a fund for decommissioning reactors and final storage of spent fuel, which would be administered by the state. That payment would be on top of the almost Eur40 billion in provisions that utilities have set aside to finance decommissioning and storage. Speaking at a press conference Thursday on Swedish state-owned Vattenfall’s first-quarter results, CEO Magnus Hall said the commission’s plan “in principle is a feasible way to organize and finance the nuclear power phaseout but the risk premium is too high.” However, Hall said Vattenfall, which said last week it would sell its German lignite business, had no plans to divest its other operations in the country, which also include hydropower production.

RT:  Hollande vows to shut down France’s oldest nuclear power plant

The French President has promised to formally initiate the shutdown of the country’s oldest nu-clear reactors on the grounds of environmental and safety concerns surrounding the Fessenheim power plant near the German and Swiss borders. Fessenheim houses two 920 megawatt reactors and has been running since 1978, making it France’s oldest operating plant. Due to its age, the German government and activists alike have long been calling for it to be permanently closed. While no specific date for the closure has been offered, Hollande said that “discussions are ongoing between the state and (operator) EDF on the conditions of this move.” The president also added that the plant located in the Upper Rhine would be the first in a series of nuclear facilities that will be shut down in the coming years. Hollande stressed that the closure of the oldest nuclear plant along others “must be done according to a specific timetable, respecting personal and our climate commitments.

Seeking Alpha:  Coal – an indissoluble cog in global energy production

For much of the recent history, global coal export demand was driven by European and Japanese post-war reconstruction and the emergence of the Tiger economies of South Korea and Taiwan. China and, until recently, India, have been late but significant players in the global coal market. What distinguishes both China and India from traditional coal markets in Europe and Asia, how-ever, are their relatively high degree of historical and continued coal self-sufficiency. Unlike South Korea at 98% or Japan at 100% dependent on imported coal, China and India rely on imports for a total of 7% and 11% respectively. Often the debate on coal’s future centers on pollution, climate change, and the increasingly low-cost attractiveness of renewable energy production. Though these arguments are valid, over 473GW of coal power capacity was brought online in the period 2010-15, led by China and India. A further 338GW is currently under construction, rendering coal an indissoluble cog in global energy production in the medium-to-long term.

Reuters:  Australian coal prices plummet as Colombian cargoes head to Asia

Australian thermal coal prices for delivery in June have dropped to 10-year lows as Colombian miners start sending large volumes into Asia for the first time, adding cargoes to an already over-supplied market. Prices for coal cargoes delivered from Australia’s Newcastle port by May 31 last closed at $46.60 per tonne, their lowest since 2006. The slump comes just as other commodities such as steel and oil enjoy rallies on the back of new investor appetite. In thermal coal markets, by contrast, an unusual new trade route has opened as low dry-bulk rates allow Colombian miners, who usually supply North America and Europe, to target Asia. South Korea’s East-West Power utility (EWP) this month bought 260,000 tonnes of Colombian coal on free-on-board (FOB) terms for loading between June and August, adding to another 410,000 tonnes already on order. “We have currently got ordered 670,000 tonnes of coal from Colombia,” said a utility source familiar with the matter.”Currently Colombian coal is about $7-8 (per tonne) cheaper than the Australian coal and if this price trend continues, we are definitely willing to import more from Colombia,” said the source, who declined to be identified.

Deutsche Welle:  Venezuela orders two-day work week for public workers amidst power crisis

Hours for public employees in Venezuela have been slashed in an effort to conserve power, President Nicolas Maduro announced on Tuesday “From tomorrow, for at least two weeks, we are going to have Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays as non-working days for the public sector,” Maduro said during a television broadcast. The country’s socialist government already gave Fridays off earlier this month to around three million public workers. On Monday, the government issued mandatory four-hour blackouts in eight regions around the country. Venezuela’s vice president, Aristobulo Isturiz, added that primary and high schools will also now be closed to pupils on Fridays. However, workers at state-run hospitals and grocery stores are excluded from the work restrictions and all workers will be paid for the days they are supposed to stay home. The government blames the power shortages on a drought caused by the El Nino weather phenomenon, and hopes that rain will replenish water levels during the work restrictions. Critics, however, say the energy shortage resulted from economic mismanagement, failure to diversify energy sources, and corruption.

Oil Price:  Venezuela’s Electricity Blackout Could Cut Off Oil Production

The water levels at a major hydroelectric dam are dropping close to a threshold that could require it to completely shut down in order to avoid damage. The Guri dam produces about three-quarters of the country’s electricity. Without electricity, Venezuela’s oil and gas sector, already on hard times, will deteriorate even further. Oil production has been in steady decline for years – Venezuela produced 2.53 million barrels per day in the first quarter of 2016, down almost 12 percent from the same quarter two years ago. International companies, including Schlumberger are abandoning the country because they have not been paid. That could cut into production even more. But the blackouts could spark a serious short-term supply disruption. The Amuay oil refinery has a capacity to produce 645,000 barrels per day, but is only producing about half of that amount today. The shortage of refined products is forcing the state-owned oil company PDVSA to reduce exports and import more. If the dam is forced to curtail power even more, or even shut down, more production will be affected. “What will happen to production of refined products and crude oil in Venezuela starting at the end of next week is a big question mark,” Olivier Jakob, from consultancy Petromatrix, told the FT. “The country should continue to be considered as a real and immediate supply disruption risk.”

IOL:  France to issue “green bonds”.

France announced Monday it was raising its renewable energy goals and would become the first country to issue “green bonds” to fund projects which benefit the environment. Hollande was speaking at a national environment conference in Paris, where he sought to further carve out his country’s role as a leader in energy transition after the signing of a global climate pact in Paris in December. Also at the conference, Environment Minister Segolene Royal said a roadmap for France’s energy transition up to 2023 would be published on Wednesday, with higher objectives than initially planned. She said the number of wind farms would double in France, while electricity obtained from solar energy would triple. The amount of renewable energy sources used for heat production would increase by over 50 percent. Hollande said that to achieve the goal of decreasing the share of nuclear energy in electricity production from 75 percent to 50 percent by 2025 “renewables must be increased even faster.”

GWPF:  EU Drive For ‘Green’ Biodiesel Has Increased Emissions, Study Finds

By 2020, continued use of biodiesel derived from vegetable oil will increase total EU transport emissions by almost four per cent compared with using its fossil fuel alternative, according to analysis by Transport & Environment, a green group. That is roughly equivalent to putting an extra 12 million cars to the road, it says. Countries across Europe have blended small percentages of biofuels into petrol and diesel in recent years in an attempt to cut emissions and to hit the EU’s renewable energy directive (RED), which requires 10 per cent of transport energy to come from renewable sources by 2020. But Transport & Environment says the EU’s own studies show that producing biodiesel from food crops – in particular soy and palm oil – is significantly worse for the environment than producing regular diesel. This is largely due to the knock-on effects on land usage of using food crops for fuel, which can result in rainforests or other habitats being cleared to make way for more food crops, so actually increasing emissions. Producing crop-based biodiesel has an emissions footprint on average 1.8 times the size of fossil fuel based diesel, it says.

Greentechmedia:  Batteries Will Not Be the Future of Grid Balancing in Germany

A three-year study of Germany’s energy storage market funded by the government is not likely to favor batteries. Although the full conclusions won’t be published for a while, a study supported by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy has found that grid-scale and behind-the-meter batteries are insufficient to meet Germany’s energy needs. That’s according to Christoph Pellinger, the coordinator for the study, called Merit Order for Energy Storage Systems 2030. Instead, residential and industrial power-to-heat systems, along with demand-side management of industrial and residential energy consumption, are the country’s best options to manage large amounts of renewable energy on the German grid, said Pellinger. The report will also favor vehicle-to-grid technologies as an economic grid-balancing option by 2030. The analysts assume that adoption of renewable energy will continue as part of Germany’s commitment to its energy transition policy, called Energiewende. In fact, they think that projections for renewables in Germany’s generation mix are on the conservative side — predicting that renewables will account for 60 percent of energy in 2025 and 85 percent in 2035.

Solar Power Portal:  Finance and grid costs are biggest barrier to Irish solar

Concerns about the availability of finance and the cost of grid connections will be the biggest barriers to Irish solar deployment, a breakout session at the Solar Summit in London has said. With the impact of the recession still keenly felt, banks in the country continue to be extremely cautious. John Mullins, CEO of renewable power developer and investor Amarenco had some frank advice for those thinking about exploring the Irish market. “Bring your own bank if you’re going to develop in Ireland,” he said, adding that grid costs would also be a challenge with connection costs twice those of France, where Amarenco is also active. David Maguire, managing director of developer BNRG and chair of the Irish Solar Energy Association, echoed Mullins’ concerns around grid costs and warned the market may not be as lucrative as some believe. “There’s real hype at the moment around Ireland and a real gold rush, just not a lot of gold at the end of it,” he said.

IOL:  Wind and solar aren’t the answer for the world’s poor

Do wind and PV power represent an advance for the billions of people living on less than $1 a day? Can PV panels and wind generators compete with paraffin and gas among the poor, or are they a sideshow? Imagine removing petroleum products as a source of energy for the world’s poor. Replace wood, coal and dried cow dung with PV panels and wind generators. Then ask yourself if they can do the same job for cooking and heating as paraffin or liquefied petroleum gas. Then think of the maintenance. Consider rust, dust, wind and lightning storms. Think of the effect of harsh sunlight on most plastics. Then think of the insulation of electricity conducting wires. In African conditions, think of white ants. Game, set and match to petroleum products, one would have thought. So, for the poor millions in the world, the promise of PV panels and wind generators is a faint one. At first, the wonder of a single light bulb that could be switched on and off was dramatic, but ….. later, the panels were dislodged by high winds or rust, or the batteries died, or the light bulbs fizzled. At this point the recipients of this “free electricity” stood back and waited for the system to be fixed by the NGO that put it there in the first place. Not exactly a sustainable situation.

PJmedia:  A US solar scandal “more than twice as big as Solyndra”

The Treasury Department is dragging its feet on releasing its findings from an investigation into fraud allegations by solar companies that received cash grants from the government to invest in solar power as part of the president’s stimulus bill. The probe centers on companies and individuals that inflated the value of their investments in order to receive larger grants from the government. Investigators believe the amount of fraud exceeds $1.3 billion — approximately 2 1/2 times the amount of taxpayer money lost in the Solyndra scandal. The Treasury Department was supposed to turn over a report on its findings in June of 2015 but has so far failed to inform Congress of the extent of the fraud. Republicans specifically called out SolarCity, a company chaired by billionaire Elon Musk, for being investigated by Treasury and Justice Department officials over allegedly abusing solar subsidies. SolarCity is being investigated for “possible misrepresentations concerned the fair market value of the solar energy systems,” according to an October Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

Yorkshire Post:  UK Renewable energy firms face increased risk of insolvency

According to the insolvency trade body R3, its membership has seen a wave of insolvency activity across the UK from small and medium sized businesses in or supplying the renewable energy sector. This followed the 65 per cent cut in subsidies to solar support from last December, which coincided with increases in VAT on the installation of solar systems. Adrian Berry, chairman of R3 in Yorkshire and restructuring partner at Deloitte, said: “It was clear when the government made its latest round of subsidy cuts that there would be casualties within the renewable energy sector, and we are seeing the related insolvency procedures now.” The scale of the impact is not yet clear but there has already been some consolidation in the renewables sector said Mr Berry. “The slashes to subsidies effectively made many businesses unviable overnight, with only the best managed and most adaptable outfits proving able to swiftly restructure and reorganise to make the most of a challenging situation,” he added.

Cleantechnica:  IKEA Launches “Home Solar Offering” In UK

IKEA UK unveiled Solar Shops, its in-store offering to sell residential solar installations, “as part of the company’s mission to help people live more sustainably and affordably in their homes.” IKEA also released the results of its own survey which showed 33% of all UK homeowners would like to invest in solar panels, with most wanting to cut their electricity bills. Solar Shops will launch in stores in Glasgow, Birmingham, and Lakeside (Thurrock), and aims to be selling solar panels in all of its UK stores by the end of the summer. “At IKEA we believe that renewable energy is undoubtedly the power of the future,” said Joanna Yarrow, Head of Sustainability at IKEA UK and Ireland. “We’re already using solar power across our operations, and it’s exciting to be able to help households tap into this wonderful source of clean energy.”

Holyrood:  Sturgeon rejects calls to divest fossil fuels

Nicola Sturgeon has rejected calls to divest from fossil fuels, telling the Scottish Parliament any-thing that undermines the oil and gas industry would be “unhelpful” while it is recovering from a low oil price. Environmental campaigners have pressured institutions to shift investment strategies away from fossil fuels due to the risk posed by climate change, but a report this week from the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee recommended the oil and gas sector needs the support of investment. In today’s FMQs committee convener Murdo Fraser asked: “Does the First Minister agree that vocal campaigns for the divestment of pension funds and others from the oil and gas industry are unhelpful, potentially damaging and might, if they are followed, lead to more job losses?” Sturgeon replied: “I agree that anything that undermines the industry at this time is unhelpful. I am also aware of the report that Murdo Fraser refers to; it is helpful and is one of the many things that the Cabinet will discuss as we consider how we will continue to give the industry the support that it needs at this time.”

Bloomberg:  Spring Cold Jolts U.K. Natural Gas Trading to Busiest Week Ever

A blast of chilly weather this week revitalized the U.K.’s natural gas market, where prices have been moving steadily downward since the end of 2014. Unseasonal cold sent day-ahead gas prices on the U.K.’s National Balancing Point hub up the most since November 2013 on Tuesday and then down the most in three years the following two days to end the month almost where they started. The volume of front-month gas contracts traded on the ICE Futures Europe ex-change in London rose to a record this week. Traders, who have been bearish front-month gas all but two weeks since at least April 2015, said the rally was likely a one-off, according to a Bloomberg survey. Western Europe is forecast to see average temperatures this summer, with the U.K. expected to be cooler than normal, hurting prospects for air-conditioning demand that would help draw down the oversupply.

Planning Resource:  Tidal energy project approved off the coast of the Isle of Wight

The Perpetuus Tidal Energy Centre (PTEC), a proposed offshore tidal energy farm consisting of groups of seabed turbines off the southernmost point of the Isle of Wight coast, was granted consent by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) last week. The proposal, which would be located approximately 2.5km offshore from St Catherine’s Point, is intended to provide up to 30MW of energy. PTEC is a joint venture between energy firm Perpetuus Energy and the Isle of Wight Council. It says that the consent means the project is now “the largest consented tidal stream energy project in England and Wales”. The turbines would be constructed in a five square kilometre area of the sea, and specially-constructed cables would bring the energy generated by the turbines to land at Castle Cove, which will then be fed into the electricity grid.

Perpetuus tidal turbines

Renewable Energy Magazine:  House of Lords blocks UK Government attempt to scrap Zero Carbon Homes

Peers urged British policymakers to support the commitment made by the UK at the COP 21 climate change conference in Paris in December 2015 by ensuring higher carbon standards are made mandatory as soon as possible. The Amendment was approved by 48 votes during the Lords Report Stage, calling on the Energy Secretary, the Rt Hon Amber Rudd MP, to ensure ensure “that all new homes in England built from 1 April 2018 achieve the carbon compliance standard”. This effectively reinstates the Zero Carbon Homes standard. The proposal to scrap the standard, when it was announced last year, was greeted with condemnation by housebuilding businesses on the basis that it would add to long-term housing costs through a reduction in energy efficiency. It was also subsequently attacked by green building experts and sustainability professionals, with the Solar Trade Association (STA) commenting that the government needed to replace the policy in order to avoid an increase in carbon emissions and higher energy bills for consumers. The National Policy for the Built Environment Committee argued that the scrapping of the standard would inflict ‘future misery’ on homeowners if it isn’t reversed.

Cleantechnica:  “Infinite” Energy Storage Finally Discovered, But There’s A Catch

A research team based at UC-Irvine has created a new type of energy storage device that can last for more than 100,000 charges. For all practical purposes, that counts as an infinite battery. Under real life conditions, such a battery would most likely outlive the device it powers, and it might even outlive the owner of the device as well. The new battery is still in the early research stage, but if it pans out, it would have a significant impact on lifecycle and supply chain issues for the ballooning number of smart phones, electric vehicles, energy storage products, and countless other battery powered devices. The problem is battery lifespan. All-nanowire batteries require extraordinarily long wires. As the study describes, they don’t stand up under working conditions: That’s where the catch comes in. The battery being worked on by the team is not quite ready for its Tesla moment. It is a capacitor. Capacitors have many uses, but the team is some degree of labwork away from developing the kind of rechargeable battery that can power an EV or store renewable energy.

ABC:  Large Hadron Collider Reportedly Shut Down by Rodent

A weasel-like rodent shut down the world’s most powerful atom smasher after it apparently gnawed through a power cable, facility officials said today. The Large Hadron Collider went offline Thursday night, according to documents posted online by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (better known by its French acronym CERN). Engineers investigating the shutdown reportedly found the charred remains of a furry animal near the chewed-up power cable. “The Large Hadron Collider is safely stopped, following technical issues, including a power cut due to the passage of a weasel on a high voltage electrical transformer,” Marsollier told ABC News in a statement. “Such events happened a few times in the past and are part of the life of such a large installation,” Marsollier added. “Some connections were slightly damaged and we are at work to repair, what would not take long. We will be back online soon with a very exciting scientific programme as the LHC will explore further the world of particles at high energy.”

The Local Denmark:  Danes propose a ‘red meat tax’ to help climate

Saying that “climate change is an ethical problem”, the Danish Council on Ethics has called for a climate tax on red meat. The council said that Danes have an ethical obligation to minimize their climate impact and that a natural place to start would be lowering their red meat consumption. The Council on Ethics said that in order to live up to global environmental standards, Denmark should use a ‘climate tax’ to bring down the nation’s meat consumption. The Council said it debated the issue for six months, focusing on whether it should be left up to consumers to make more climate-friendly choices or if government should push them in the right direction by taxing the food products that have the greatest negative impact. It ultimately decided that simply leaving it up to consumers to lower their meat consumption “will not be effective”. “An effective response to climate-damaging foods that will also contribute to raising awareness of climate change must be united, which requires that society sends a clear signal through regulation,” council spokesman Mickey Gjerris said in a press release.

Breitbart:  While Sweden develops a climate-friendly insect diet

Vinnova, the Swedish government agency that distributes money for research and development, has announced its latest tranche of funding for creating a greener, more sustainable future — by weaning Europe off meat. It is hoped people will want to eat a so-called “climate smart” diet instead. Green activists and the United Nations are behind such political initiatives as ‘Meat Free Mondays’ which are based on the premise that meat consumption is driving man-made climate change. Another method to reduce that so-called burden on the earth is replacing meat protein with that harvested from insects instead. To that end, Vinnova is awarding half a million kronor each to fifteen different projects across the country, each of which tasked with creating an “edible prototype” of a new food. Among the mouth-watering projects being funded are an attempt to produce a “good and healthy product from mealworms and mincemeat made out of “climate smart insects” such as crickets. Other enticing offerings not involving insects include “climate-fungal protein”, a “healthy vegetarian barbecue” made from by-products” and “fibrous raw materials”, and a “blue cheese-like product” made from beans. A competition in November will select the best product, with a potential of an extra two million kronor investment from the government to get the “food” off the ground.

Express:  Green energy expert discovers alien-hybrid community here on Earth

A green energy expert who helped shape UK renewable power policies says he is convinced aliens have been secretly implanting extraterrestrial DNA into pregnant humans. Author Miguel Mendonça, 42, now claims the so-called alien-hybrid community is expanding on Earth and vital to the future of the human race because of how they are helping us “evolve into higher beings”. Mr Mendonça was formerly research manager for the World Future Council, which promotes best policy renewable power sources, and has written extensively on green energy policy. He said: “I try to keep my feet on the ground as much as possible. My background is in renewable energy policy gained as an academic, so I have to be sure of my facts.”

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74 Responses to Blowout Week 122

  1. Andy Dawson says:

    I guess I’m not the only one noticing a pattern in storage announcements….it’s always the best technology that’s yet to be developed that’s the one that will solve the problem….

    • Greg Kaan says:

      It is a terrible article in many ways – the author appears to think a capacitor is a type of battery so she uses the terms interchangeably. She even states that the dielectric used is “the part of a battery that holds a charge”

      The underlying study is quite clear on the storage being capacitance.

      I doubt the authors of the study would appreciate the manner in which their findings were distorted by this article to present it as the best technology that’s yet to be developed that’s the one that will solve the problem as you so aptly put it

      • Beamspot says:

        Huh, Capacitors!!!

        Being an EE, I use them often.

        1Billion cycle life and beyond.

        Any cell phone charger has one that charges and discharges a million times per second without any issue.

        Not a problem with cycles. for sure.

        Now, the questions:

        Cost per KWh? (I wonder if they are and will be – this is a mature technology – <1000$/KWh)
        Specific energy? (Ultracaps and Bacitors <80Wh/Kg, really low)
        Specific power? (I guess really really high)
        Life? (Not in cycles, but in years. At 80ºC, usually in the 1000h range. Often, the main reason any electronic device dies is because the electrolitic capacitor is dry).

        The general public now believes that ALL BATTERIES will last this amount of cycles and that's all. But rough figures for the main questions are never answered.

        Pure propaganda.

        Blah, blah, blah. Nothing new under the Sun, except all times high level in ignorance.

        That remembers me an old saying by A. Einstein about infinites…

  2. jim brough says:

    Planning Resource: Tidal energy project approved off the coast of the Isle of Wight

    The Perpetuus Tidal Energy Centre (PTEC), a proposed offshore tidal energy farm consisting of groups of seabed turbines off the southernmost point of the Isle of Wight coast, was granted consent by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) last week. The proposal, which would be located approximately 2.5km offshore from St Catherine’s Point, is intended to provide up to 30MW of energy. PTEC is a joint venture between energy firm Perpetuus Energy and the Isle of Wight Council. It says that the consent means the project is now “the largest consented tidal stream energy project in England and Wales”. The turbines would be constructed in a five square kilometre area of the sea, and specially-constructed cables would bring the energy generated by the turbines to land at Castle Cove, which will then be fed into the electricity grid.

    At the age of 82 I know there have been many attempts to harvest the energy of the tides and the waves.
    The output of this project is “up to 30 MW”, I’d be interested to know the effective output in MWh per year and its variability.
    It is another form of intermittent electricity supply which will have to be backed up by fossil fuels or nuclear base-load.

    • David Steele says:

      I was at an exhibition in Thurso a few years ago, describing a similar scheme off the north coast of Scotland. I asked about the average output, compared to the nameplate ‘up to’ output and was told ‘About 25%’. Note that this is in an area of sea with 12-16 knot tides in places, some of the fastest in the world.

    • I looked into tide power variability in http://euanmearns.com/a-trip-round-swansea-bay/ . With the semidiurnal tides characteristic of the UK you get four periods of generation each day separated by four periods of no generation at all and a difference in peak output of maybe a factor of ten between spring and neap tides. Tide power is the least dispatchable of all renewable energy sources. It even makes wind look good.

  3. Joe Public says:

    If the Danes propose a ‘red meat tax’ to help climate, presumably it should also consider a ‘rice’ tax too?

    Rice paddies are possibly the biggest man-made atmospheric methane sources, creating between 50m – 100m tonnes of CH4 a year.

    http://www.ghgonline.org/

    If the Swedes propose a climate friendly insect diet, then they could kill two birds with the same stone by encouraging the harvesting wild termites.

    A termite produces ~0.5 microgram of CH4 per day, but multiplied up by the world population of termites, global CH4 emission from this source is estimated at ~20m tonnes pa.

    http://www.ghgonline.org/methanetermite.htm

  4. Syndroma says:

    Russian proposal for nuclear fuel leasing and recycling
    http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/V-Russian-proposal-for-nuclear-fuel-leasing-and-recycling-2604166.html

    Nuclear-powered container ship Sevmorput is being loaded with a cargo for the first time after a decade-long period.
    http://en.portnews.ru/news/218669/
    http://rosatomflot.ru/img/all/15_sevmorpyt1big.jpg

  5. David Steele says:

    Tidal power average output is ca 25% of ‘up to’ nameplate capacity, according to the promoters (Meygen) of a tidal scheme off the north of Scotland. (Apologies if this response appears twice – nothing seemed to happen the first time I tried to post)

  6. mark4asp says:

    Bad news for solar PV in Europe. In regions of moderate sunlight, such as Britain, Germany, Canada, …, solar PV does not stop greenhouse gas emissions because, over its lifecycle, solar PV uses more energy than it makes.

    Blogged it here: http://greenfallacies.blogspot.co.uk/2016/05/solar-photovoltaic-cells-emit-more.html

    NoTricksZone blog: http://notrickszone.com/2016/04/30/devastating-conclusion-new-study-deems-solar-pv-systems-in-europe-a-non-sustainable-energy-sink/

    Actual research paper: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301421516301379

    Germany installed 40,000 MWe of solar PV. If only they’d known! Perhaps a little research and analysis would be prudent in future. Oh well, we live and learn. Perhaps next time …

    • A C Osborn says:

      The real scandal is that they did know. Engineers have been telling them about Solar and Wind problems since day 1.
      But they listened to the Greens instead, how much would you like to bet that they also have “interests” in the Wind & Solar companies?

  7. gweberbv says:

    Mark,

    you can find the study (without paywall) here: https://collapseofindustrialcivilization.files.wordpress.com/2016/05/ferroni-y-hopkirk-2016-energy-return-on-energy-invested-eroei-for-photo.pdf

    Have a closer look to it and you will find a few very weak points. A few examples:
    1) The authors are discussing the lifetime of PV installations. They find that by the end of 2015 about 7600 tons of PV modules were put to waste in Germany. This is roughly the amount of existing PV installations in 1998. From this the authors conclude that the empirical lifetime is something like 17 years. So far, so good. But there is absolutely no logic link between the weight of scraped PV modules in 2015 and the other number. (Later the authors use 25 years anyway).
    2) All PV installations have to be backed up by hyro storage plants. Because … hm … because the authors say so. But in reality not a single hydro storage plants was built in Germany because of PV installations. A more realistic model would account for the loss in efficiency of the FF plants due to increased ramping as a result of PV peak. But I do not think that contact with reality is a major concern of the authors.
    3) According to a study from 2005 (stone age of PV) the typical PV installation is not working for 5% of the time due to various malfunctons. With such an outage number ALL PV projects of the last years would be loosing money. Totally unrealistic.
    4) Cost of PV installation is 6000 CHF/kWp – or 5500 Euros/kWp (result of personal experience of the authors). Sure. For my new house I have a quote for a 5 kWp system at 1350 Euros/kWp. Maybe, I can resell it to those well-informed authors with a moderate price tag of 5000 CHF/kWp.

    Always read studies carefully and compare the input parameters to reality!

    • Graeme No.3 says:

      There are a few suppliers of PV solar cells. My neighbour’s cells stopped functioning after 9 years (1.8kW). The supplier gave them a 25 year guarantee, which would be useful if they were still in business (I’ve struck that one before, nothing to do with solar, which takes in public servants who can’t conceive of a company not being eternal). They’ve replaced them with a 6kW system for the same price.
      This is a little worry as I based my decision to purchase PV solar on figures they provided. I did seek quality cells. My figures were that as a straight forward generator it would return 1.2% p.a. If electricity prices kept rising and I got a feed-in tariff equal to the top rate charged then I would get about 6-7% p.a. Fortunately I was able to get a very high feed-in rate and get 18-19% p.a. Every time I get a statement with “nothing to pay” I toast the poor widows, orphans and pensioners who are subsidising me.

      Adding a lithium battery, even with a 50% subsidy (battery only, not inverter or other costs), would be lunacy. I would be diverting high return kWh during the day to low charge rate use at night, for a loss of $290 p.a. In other words (for the benefit of the believers) it would never pay. And it wouldn’t guarantee supply during a blackout.

    • robertok06 says:

      “2) All PV installations have to be backed up by hyro storage plants. Because … hm … because the authors say so.”

      They assume that pumped hydro is storage solution because for large scale storage that’s the ONLY viable solution… and the least energy intensive.

      Jest read this:

      http://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlehtml/2014/ee/c3ee42125b

      … which, by the way, I have already cited and linked here back then to a user who has exactly the same name as yours, Guenter!… what a coincidence, uh! 🙂
      Nice try, though.

      All the other technologies are either too expensive (energetically) or not applicable to large scale storage, or other reason.
      This FACT too has been put forward since several years… i.e. that PV on a large scale would need storage of times of the order of months… store in spring/summer and use it in winter, Nov through Feb… just look at the German data!…

      This one was not good, Guenter, try again.

      • gweberbv says:

        Roberto,

        it is nice to have the possibility to store PV production. But it is by no means necessary. You can just stop burning this stuff for a a few hours: https://www.colourbox.de/preview/1089967-coal-or-coke-to-fuel.jpg

        The idea that one HAS TO store PV production to artificially flatten the production pattern to a 24/7/365 line misses any logic. Europe alone could deploy hundreds of GWp of PV installations without the need to store a single kWh.

        In a few years we will have 0.5 TWp installed worldwide. Please show me the associated hydro storage plants ….
        Was any run-of-river plant ever projected under the assumption that one has to build it together with a hydro storage scheme to flatten out the unstable flow of water?

        • robertok06 says:

          Double nonsense!

          Nonsense 1:

          “The idea that one HAS TO store PV production to artificially flatten the production pattern to a 24/7/365 line misses any logic. Europe alone could deploy hundreds of GWp of PV installations without the need to store a single kWh.

          … only if you dump large amounts of PVelectricity generated during days of low-consumption and high-production… and if you do that the already sky-high cost of the kWh goes even higher… your country already has millions of energy-poor people, guenter, do you want more of them?

          Nonsense 2:

          “In a few years we will have 0.5 TWp installed worldwide. Please show me the associated hydro storage plants ….”

          Nice try…. 0.5 TWp WORLDWIDE is less than 0.1 TWe… of course under such ridiculous average penetration there’s no need to store!… but, remember, the “experts” of GreenPiss, or the geniuses like Jacobson, or Sovacool, have predicted that by 2030 a large amount of world’s electricity consumption could be generated by PV… we talk about several TWe (not TWp!)… i.e. tens of TWp.
          If you want to play the green mantra try to adopt it in full, please.

          R.

          • robertok06 says:

            Reply to myself…

            sorry, I’ve written worldwide, but mean in Europe.
            Electricty consumption of Europe is 3200 TWh (to be checked)… 500 GWp of PV in Europe, at 12% average capacity factor (DE, UK, CH, DK… etc… would kill the average CF) makes only 525 TWh… i.e. 16.4% of the consumption… assuming there are no losses (which is, of course, not possible).

    • robertok06 says:

      “4) Cost of PV installation is 6000 CHF/kWp – or 5500 Euros/kWp (result of personal experience of the authors). Sure. For my new house I have a quote for a 5 kWp system at 1350 Euros/kWp. Maybe, I can resell it to those well-informed authors with a moderate price tag of 5000 CHF/kWp.”

      You miss one important point, Guenter:

      this is what an official Swiss web site dedicated to renewable energy sources says:

      “Objet – Installation 5 kWp Fourchette de coûts
      Coût de l’installation clé en main HT (CHF) 15,600
      Matériel (CHF) 12,500
      Travail (CHF) 3,100”

      http://www.suisseenergie.ch/fr-ch/energies-renouvelables/mon-installation-solaire/coût-dune-installation.aspx

      … for a 5 kWp rooftop system, i.e. 3,150 CHF/kWp, or 2,800 Euro/kWp.

      Point you miss: –> Germany is not Switzerland, Guenter <—

      • gweberbv says:

        Roberto,

        your 3000 CHF/kWp is already a factor 2 less than what the paper states. And these guys are not only stating phantasy numbers, they are also using them for their ‘extended ERoEI’ calculations.
        And with such small residential rooftop installations one will never achieve a high PV penetration. Thus, using prices for utility scale PV would be more appropiate.

        • robertok06 says:

          “And with such small residential rooftop installations one will never achieve a high PV penetration. Thus, using prices for utility scale PV would be more appropiate.”

          Guenter:
          you are right about the fact that the authors have used a value for the Wp which is too high, they should, in fact, have done at least two calculations, one for a Euro/Wp for Germany and one for Switzerland (since they mention these two countries)… Energy Policy is a respected peer-reviewed journal and I am surprised that the referees didn’t spot this, I would have immediately asked them to do it… anyway, this doesn’t mean that the paper’s conclusions are completely wrong, in fact (in my opinion)they are mostly right.
          Coming to your sentence here above, I must tell you that PV will certainly never achieve a large penetration in Switzerland, but that some people in CH really think they could and they should!… last week I’ve been at an anti-nuclear meeting at the university of Geneva, co-organized by the Swiss section of Sortir du Nucleaire (which is a French based sect… pardon, group… 🙂 )… there was an elected representative of the greens in parliament (a woman, with a degree in literature, of course), flanked by another green guy (he also has a background in literature)… and they have made statements like “Switzerland could easily replace all reactors’ production via PV”… so I am glad that this peer-reviewed paper has come to life, and could be used against this oximoronic statements…

          Cheers.

          • gweberbv says:

            Roberto,

            you really think that a scientific study adressing the ERoEI of PV should be based on assumptions put up by ‘green sects’ (PV production serving half of the electricity demand in central Europe)?
            At wihch point would you seriously need to start thinking about storage beyond what is alreay in place right now? -> PV penetrations significantly above 15% (maybe 10% if you take only the northern part of Europe).
            Even Germany is still a factor of 2 below this ceiling. And on the global level even with current deployment rates we are decades away from such a penetration.

            Again: Switzerland has 4.5 GW of run-of-river plants installed. These nasty plants produce two times more electricity during the summer than during winter. Where are the seasonal storage devices to flatten this production curve? And if they are not necessary for run-of-river plants why the heck should a scientific paper regard them as a condition sine qua non for PV?

          • robertok06 says:

            “And if they are not necessary for run-of-river plants why the heck should a scientific paper regard them as a condition sine qua non for PV?”

            Simple: because the energy strategy being proposed by some influential swiss political parties (the same which have called a national referendum to close nuclear power plants earlier than foreseen/possible) clearly think and plan to use PV as the second source of electricity, after hydro.

            CLearer now?

  8. mark4asp says:

    Solar is supposed to cut CO2 emissions but it does very badly; whether as CSP in the west USA, or solar PV in Germany. Germany now has 40,000 MWe of solar PV but has not cut CO2 emissions since 2009. Some people blame the nuclear phase out for this, yet it looks like this nuclear phase-out happened in 2011, 2012, and 2015. No nuclear plants were shut from 2013 through to 2014. Nor were there any CO2 emission reductions of any note from 2013 to 2014. This at a time when vast amounts of solar PV and wind were installed in Germany. You’re right: coal continues to be burnt, but more inefficiently.

    WNA has a table here showing dates of German nuclear plant shutdowns: http://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/country-profiles/countries-g-n/germany.aspx

    I think their comment about solar + pumped storage relates to Switzerland. That’s where they are. The Swiss have vast hydro capacity and a fair bit of pumped hydro. In summer, Germany dumps vast amounts of solar on her neighbours at very low prices – only 10% of cost. If they had some pumped hydro they could store it. More German pumped hydro would certainly reduce their emissions. All this commentary on German CO2 emissions is independent of the report findings. Even were they able to buffer all excess solar, it would not necessarily mean solar has an ERoIE greater than 1. In order to make sense solar PV needs an ERoIE of 5 or more. Finally : storage/pumped hydro is not an economic solution because the plant must be cycled very regularly to pay back it’s capital cost. We find winter (December/January) solar output is only 10% of summer (June/July), so available pumped storage would only store excess solar in summer; there would not be enough of it in winter. Therefore it would not be worth building the storage. So many of these green ideas are build on a wing and a prayer.

    Thanks for the link. I already had the paper but I’m sure lots of my correspondents will be downloading that paper soon. Apologies for the ridiculously long ramble.

    • mark4asp says:

      ERoEI, not ERoIE.

      • Graeme No.3 says:

        mark4asp:
        I believe that the pumped storage units in Germany have shut down. They depended on regular output at peak demand (prices) which occurs during daytime. With wind and solar electricity being dumped at some of those times their turnover dropped and profits vanished.
        http://www.icis.com › Resources (from 2014)

        • robertok06 says:

          This is the same that is happening and is expected to happen more often in Norway, “the battery of EU”, no way to make pumped hydro profitable as intermittent renewables’ penetration increases.
          It’s a no-win situation, intermittency kills the process of allowing modern industrialized countries extend their lifestyles in the future. It is physically impossible, plain and simple.

          • Greg Kaan says:

            Right now, they can’t make a profit because the remaining thermal plants are still (just) coping with cost increases of negative pricing and lowered capacity due to renewables bypassing the market merit order. This is not sustainable.

            Once the majority of thermal plants have been driven out of business, pumped storage will become immensely profitable as they will hold the markets over a barrel during calm, cloudy (or nightime) periods. The ICIS article states this at the end and in Trianel’s mid-term outlook statement
            http://www.icis.com/resources/news/2014/09/03/9817356/german-pumped-storage-in-crisis-as-solar-crushes-economics/

          • Everyone seems to be considering pumped hydro as a means of balancing short-term or diurnal solar variations, which can indeed be handled with comparatively small amounts of PH capacity. Nobody, however, seems to be considering the big problem with solar, which is seasonal storage.

            From: http://euanmearns.com/large-scale-grid-integration-of-solar-power-many-problems-few-solutions/ :

            Even with solar providing only 5.7% of Germany’s electricity, as it did in 2013, Germany would have to install about 8 TWh of storage to convert the seasonal fluctuations in solar output into continuous baseload generation, and at the 25% level it would need over 30 TWh. Installing this much storage capacity in Germany or anywhere else for that matter is far beyond the bounds of feasibility (current worldwide pumped storage capacity amounts to only 1 TWh).

            We don’t of course necessarily have to convert solar into year-round baseload generation to make some use of it, but seasonal storage will certainly be needed if we are to re-use surplus summer generation to keep the lights on during cold winter evenings, and the numbers above give at least an idea of the magnitude of the problem.

          • gweberbv says:

            Roger,

            at least in Europe the decrease of PV production in winter is compensate by increased wind production. One just has to build PV and wind with roughly the right fraction and the summer/winter issue is solved.
            Just have a look at German production of 2015: https://www.energy-charts.de/energy_de.htm
            In January PV produces only 10% of the July production. But if you add wind production the difference between the best and the worst month is ‘only’ a factor of 2. (Note: It is just by accident that Germany now has PV and wind fleets that roughly compensate each other over the year.)

            Of course, one still faces the challenge that with wind power one can have ‘bad’ and ‘good’ weeks/months. To compensate this with storage devices is not realistic on a European level. Thus, one will have to rely on FF fired backup plants.

          • Andy Dawson says:

            “at least in Europe the decrease of PV production in winter is compensate by increased wind production. One just has to build PV and wind with roughly the right fraction and the summer/winter issue is solved.”

            OK, so let’s think about that. Winter production from wind is about 30% higher than the average for the year (it’s still hellish peaky and intermittent, but we’ll ignore that for the moment).

            So, if I have 10,000MW of wind, with an average capacity factor of 27% (UK onshore average), that suggests wintertime production at about 850MW higher than winter.

            Which means that if your argument is to work, I should be looking to no more solar capacity that sufficient to produce that in summer. Given a through year average for solar of about 8%, rising to about 25% at the summer peak, then you allow no more than 3,400MW on the system.

          • gweberbv says:

            Andy,

            where do you have the 30% winter/summer variation for wind from? According to German data it is more a factor 1:2 to 1:3. Maybe the situation is different (less variation) when you take into account only locations near the coast (e. g. wind power in UK), but Europe as a whole has not only windy coasts. And with a picture much smaller than Europe one should not start, when thinking seriously about wind power.
            In fact, UK seems to accept this reality. After granting cap and floor financial support schemes for six new interconnectors, OFGEM started a second round for new applications. With that UK has by far the most ambitious interconnector programm.

            What will be interesting so watch in the upcoming years is the seasonal variability of (real) offshore wind. Because we will build much more of it and with capacitiy factors around 50% even with much less installed capacity than onshore wind it will have a significant impact.

          • Greg Kaan says:

            What will be interesting so watch in the upcoming years is the seasonal variability of (real) offshore wind. Because we will build much more of it

            Gunter (Guenter?)
            Will Germany be continuing with its mass deployment of offshore wind in the light of the recent Danish discussions to reduce further wind generation deployment?

            https://stopthesethings.com/2016/05/01/denmark-slashes-wind-power-subsidies-to-curb-runaway-power-costs/

            Given that the wind conditions should be more favorable for the Danish farms than the German ones, how can it make economic sense for Germany when it doesn’t for Denmark?

          • Greg Kaan says:

            Everyone seems to be considering pumped hydro as a means of balancing short-term or diurnal solar variations, which can indeed be handled with comparatively small amounts of PH capacity. Nobody, however, seems to be considering the big problem with solar, which is seasonal storage.

            Roger, in my case, I don’t think it will get to the point where seasonal storage will be needed. I forsee the grid of one nation failing while the interconnector and thermal generation capacities are still theoretically capable of supplying the grid demand. You and Euan have written in enough detail that it is obvious to anyone with any understanding of why redundancy is necessary why this is the case.

            From my readings, South Australia and Scotland are the lead candidates for this collapse around the next Christmas period due to their renewables penetration rates and the seasonal peak that each experiences in this period. After this governments MUST come to their senses and begin the reversal of their policies that have put our electricity supplies at such risk. At most it will take 2 grid failures before it becomes so obvious to the general populations that governments are forced to take serious remedial actions.

            As an Australian, I am not saying this lightly as a grid collapse of this type will produce much suffering, economic loss and probably some loss of life but I hope the collapse occurs in South Australia rather than Scotland. Heat is much easier to live around than cold so the suffering will be less.

          • Gw

            “at least in Europe the decrease of PV production in winter is compensate by increased wind production”

            This is a myth that is easily dis-proven. Taking the data from Electricity production from solar and wind in Germany in 2014 by Fraunhofer, page 45 shows a huge amount of data points around the zero point indicating nothing from both sources. Interestingly there is not a large cloud along the x axis indicating high wind generation with no solar.

            Going into more detain from page 104, week one is average with with little solar. Week 2 is higher wind. Week 3 has nothing from both for a long period (Sunday week 2 to Friday week 3).

            Week 4, erm…
            Week 5, worse than average erm…

            The point is you can continue this analysis and quite easily show that there are many many periods when one is lacking and the other does not compensate.

          • gweberbv says:

            Greg,

            the article that you linked is of poor quality.

            This starts with the graphic at the top. Nobody, who has a slight idea of electricity prices for industry, would agree with those numbers (which most probably display electricity prices for small businesses, not ‘industry’). For better information see here: http://energytransition.de/files/2015/08/electricitypricesbyconsumergroups.png

            And when it gets into details, is does not get better. The decision for the Sejerø Bugt (nearshore) offshore site was not postponed to September, but this site was simply canceled (because of possible danger to a wild duck population). The decision for 5 other locations was postponed to September, see here: http://www.offshorewind.biz/2016/04/13/ducks-keep-offshore-wind-away-from-sejero-bugt/

            So, what is the article all about? A possible wind farm location being cancelled?

            To answer your question: The German offshore locations are far out in the sea. Have a look at the first German offshore wind farm: http://www.4coffshore.com/windfarms/alpha-ventus-germany-de01.html
            There will not be a difference to comparable Danish or UK offshore locations. And yes, these wind farms are expensive, in particular as the transformers and power lines to feed the electricity into the grid also have to be built in the middle of the sea. But this is still cheaper to build nuclear power plants that will be never start operating as they face guerilla-type resistance in Germany. And there is no other alternative to get (to some extend) rid of fossil fuels.

          • gweberbv says:

            donoughshanahan,

            my reply was to Roger who adressed the need of seasonal storage. Which vanishes when adding up PV and wind production.
            It was NOT about monthly, weekly or daily storage. On that scale PV and wind only by accident compensate each other. There is no and never will be any storage device that is capable to bridge over a lull week in Europe.
            Luckily, Europe is crowded by devices that allow to generate electricity when the sun is not shining and the wind is not blowing. The only reasonable objective is to restrict the operation of these devices to exactly these time spans.

          • Gw

            I suggest you read your own post which I quoted from. I quote again

            “at least in Europe the decrease of PV production in winter is compensate by increased wind production.”

            Clearly if you do not have compensation over weekly or daily, you will not have compensation over monthly or seasonal.

            I showed you* weekly and monthly data in winter for the first 5 weeks and you can expand on this easily by continuing the meme. In other words I showed data that can be used for weekly, monthly and seasonal concerns. On that basis, we see your claim to be balderdash.

            “There is no and never will be any storage device that is capable to bridge over a lull week in Europe.”

            I am not taking about storage. Please read my post.

            “On that scale PV and wind only by accident compensate each other. ”

            So seasonally (which is a sum of weekly or monthly or daily; whatever) will not compensate either. The argument is irrelevant as the data proves it. If wind significantly compensated for solar, then the chart on page 45 (or 48 as the document page numbers go) would have a major cloud all along the x axis. You do not. So seasonally or otherwise, no signs of your claimed compensation.

            “The only reasonable objective is to restrict the operation of these devices to exactly these time spans.”

            Meaningless.

            * https://www.ise.fraunhofer.de/en/downloads-englisch/pdf-files-englisch/data-nivc-/electricity-production-from-solar-and-wind-in-germany-2014.pdf/view

          • gweberbv says:

            donoughshanahan,

            we talk past each other.

            The topic of discussion is seasonal storage. This means that at a certain time of the year you need to harvest and store the energy that you wish to use roughly 180 days later.
            There is no need for such thing if you can harvest roughly the same amount of energy – for example by using different sources with complementary production characteristics – during both seasons.

            This is independent from the issue to store energy for using it the next day, week or month.

          • Gw

            We do not talk past each other. You ignore what I write and then say that I am talking about storage. Perhaps you could bring some honesty into the discussion.

            You made the claim that wind compensated for solar in winter months. I showed this to be false using data from the German grid. I can also use the ERCOT data for Texas to show the same. I have yet to see any data backing your claim.

          • gweberbv says:

            donoughshanahan,

            here is waht Roger wrote:

            “Everyone seems to be considering pumped hydro as a means of balancing short-term or diurnal solar variations, which can indeed be handled with comparatively small amounts of PH capacity. Nobody, however, seems to be considering the big problem with solar, which is seasonal storage.

            …”

            And here is what I replied:

            “Roger,

            at least in Europe the decrease of PV production in winter is compensate by increased wind production. One just has to build PV and wind with roughly the right fraction and the summer/winter issue is solved.

            …”

            I never claimed that PV and wind are compensating each other on a time scale smaller than the seasons. Instead I wrote already in my first comment:

            “Of course, one still faces the challenge that with wind power one can have ‘bad’ and ‘good’ weeks/months.”

          • @ Gw

            Oh Lord. Please look at what you claimed.

          • robertok06 says:

            @greg Kaan

            “The ICIS article states this at the end and in Trianel’s mid-term outlook statement”

            German pumped-hydro is irrelevant energy-wise, as it is highly insufficient once most of nuclear and/or fossil fuelled power stations will be stopped… they will necessarily need to look for a lot more pumped-hydro, and if PV is anywhere to be increased in DE then they will need long-term storage, pump in spring/summer to use it back in winter time… and that’s nowhere to be found unless Turkey gets in the game… but that’s another story, I guess.

          • robertok06 says:

            @guenter

            “Luckily, Europe is crowded by devices that allow to generate electricity when the sun is not shining and the wind is not blowing. ”

            Yes, the devices you mention are called “nuclear power plants”, and those like you think they are not needed and want to shut them down.

            Nice try though.

          • Greg Kaan says:

            Roberto, did you see my later comment about grid failures? Of course, German pumped hydro capacity will be inadequate once all thermal generation plants have been closed. But I foresee the renewables edifice will collapse well before that.

            My comment about the ICIS article was a theoretical one, slightly tongue in cheek – I should have made that clearer.

        • Gw

          I will not be replying to you any further with you as you have no interest in entering into a discussion based on what I wrote.

          But let me just point out that you said in your claim
          “The topic of discussion is seasonal storage. This means that at a certain time of the year you need to harvest and store the energy that you wish to use roughly 180 days later.
          There is no need for such thing if you can harvest roughly the same amount of energy – for example by using different sources with complementary production characteristics – during both seasons.”

          Your basis for this is
          “at least in Europe the decrease of PV production in winter is compensate by increased wind production. One just has to build PV and wind with roughly the right fraction and the summer/winter issue is solved”

          I have given you the data to disprove your basis. Thus you claim is not valid.

          • gweberbv says:

            Just have a look at the data (!) that is relevant for seasonal compensation (!): http://postimg.org/image/e7d3gmdy9/
            The three months with the worst insolation have the highest wind production.

          • A C Osborn says:

            Try putting them on the same vertical scale and see how they match up, very large holes in February and October and smaller one in June & August.
            Or on the same graph, especially with the “requirement” shown as well.

            And to think this has already cost around a $trillion, what a waste for a small INCREASE in CO2.

  9. John F. Hultquist says:

    Sweden/insects/tranche of funding
    tranche = trough

    The idea of eating insects, including termites, is not new and is not a solution to global warming.
    This has all the issues and maybe more than the idea of free wind and solar. One can’t go around (for long) sucking existing insects out of the air, ground, or off you dog. They will have to be grown: meaning, housed, fed, watered, kept healthy, harvested, processed, and transported.
    Run the numbers. What will it take to replace the animal protein on a daily basis for a city of 500,000?
    Color me skeptical.

  10. Stuart Brown says:

    It’s all been said before but what are Hollande and Royal smoking? I assume nuclear energy doesn’t get funding from ‘green bonds’

    I guess this was a waste of money:
    http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/RS-Fessenheim_1_reinforcements_complete-0907137.html

    Unless ‘While no specific date for the closure has been offered, Hollande said that “discussions are ongoing between the state and (operator) EDF on the conditions of this move.” ‘ means ‘we agree that it should remain operational for another 7 years’ 🙂

    • Andy Dawson says:

      Just remember, unless the plant is actually closed (and in all probability, defuelled) by March of next year when things go into closedown for the presidential elections, then all bets are off.

      And given just how unlikely a win for the Socialists, and especially Hollande is looking, I’d be very surprised indeed if the plant actually gets closed. Holland’s so deep in the sh*t that his own economy minister is setting up his own party in order to run against him!

      EDF will simply spin out the discussions until it’s too late for Hollande to act.

  11. Greg Kaan. In reply to your earlier comment of 12.58pm (getting cramped for space up there.)

    The entire renewables edifice is built on pricing. Renewables are now the cheapest source of energy! Wind is cheaper than coal! Solar is cheaper than gas! Which indeed they are on a spot basis because they have no fuel cost. So they float to the top of the merit order and displace more costly FF generation, thereby in theory reducing everyone’s electricity bills and proving to them what a wonderful thing renewable energy is, although it hasn’t quite worked out that way in practice.

    The renewables edifice, however, pays no heed to supply. The fact that there may not be any renewable energy to be had is consistently glossed over. All we need to do is add a few interconnectors, a cupful of smart grids and a couple of spoonfuls of demand response and she’ll be right. This of course is green pipe-dreaming carried to the ultimate extreme, a sure-fire recipe for disaster.

    So I’m inclined to agree with you when you say that some nations are due for power outages, although I don’t have enough data to hazard a guess as to which and when. But I remain skeptical as to whether this will induce governments to come to their senses. The outage will probably be attributed to climate change (drought, floods, unusually cold weather, whatever), just like the ongoing blackouts in Venezuela.

    • Greg Kaan says:

      One other thing you have left out Roger is how the intermittent renewables push their way into the top of the merit order without having to provide upfront bids (day ahead in most markets) on the amount of power (and period) that they will deliver. Aside from that, I am in total agreement.

      As for the grid collapses, Euan’s analyses on Scotland’s electricity generation clearly shows the Scottish grid will be on the brink this Christmas with the closure of Longannet.

      The link below shows how South Australia will be placed in a similarly precarious position with the impending closure of the Northern Coal Plants this coming weekend
      https://climanrecon.wordpress.com/2016/05/04/heatwaves-and-electricity-capacity-in-south-australia/

      Then again, the duck curve may finally break the back of California’s grid come July unless Elon Musk can convince the government to mass deploy his PowerWalls.

      While the governments may want to bury their heads in the sand, at some point, the general population will realise the furphy they have been sold and force remedial action. But you may be correct in that there will be more than the one or two grid failures that I foresee before the situations are properly addressed

      • climanrecon says:

        Greg, thanks for the link to my blog, very much inspired by this one. For SA heatwaves it may come down to a choice between bush fires (when its windy) or power outages (when its not). Its a bit scary reading newspaper articles about past heatwaves, they always seem to hope for light winds to reduce the fires, little do they (yet) know.

        People talk about the “missing money” problem for thermal plant, but nobody seems to talk about the “missing systems engineering”.

  12. RDG says:

    http://www.power-technology.com/features/featurethe-worlds-biggest-solar-photovoltaic-cell-manufacturers-4863800/

    Almost all in China. Operating at a loss.

    “Induce governments to come to their senses”

    Ha. The Banks are pro-renewables, so its not just history major politicians being incompetent.

    Ask yourself why.

  13. Guenther Weber. In your earlier comment of 12.22pm you said “at least in Europe the decrease of PV production in winter is compensate by increased wind production. One just has to build PV and wind with roughly the right fraction and the summer/winter issue is solved.”

    About time to look at some real grid data, wouldn’t you agree? So here are some. They’re based on P.F. Bach’s grid data for February 2013 in France, which I’ve assumed to be a typical European winter month. I’ve further assumed that 80% of France’s electricity demand in this month was supplied by wind and 20% by solar, which I’m assuming is broadly in line with your “roughly the right fraction”. These two graphics show the megawatt output you get from this combination (the second gives more detail at the low end):

    The problem here is to find a way of matching this wildly erratic power output to the demand curve (wiggly black lines), but you claim it’s solvable. So how would you solve it? I and a number of others would be interested to know.

    And please, no more links to green pipe-dream studies. We need hard information, numbers where possible.

    • gweberbv says:

      Roger,

      I would turn the question to you: If the daily variations of PV production and the (slightly slower) variations of wind are not manageable, why would anyone bother with the seasonal variation of insolation (as you did in your comment above – May 3, 2016 at 2:29 am)? In fact my only claim so far was that there is no seasonal problem with PV than cannot be solved with adding some wind power to the grid (in Europe).

      But to answer your question, I would suggest to reinforce the grid to a level where each European country has interconnector (and inland transmission) capacitiy of 50% to 100% of average winter demand to have at least some spatial averaging of wind production between Finland and Spain and to build only so much (excess) PV that the various hydro schemes can store on an average day in the summer. Stop with PV and wind when curtailment reaches 5% to 10% of annual production. I guess with such a programme one could reduce the usage of FF to maybe 30% of electricity production. Probably this could be reduced further when space heating is fully electrified, enabling to use many millions of houses as storage devices in the winter (assuming they have state-of-the-art insulation).

      I think this is enough of a challenge. No need to waste time for phantasizing about 100% renewables, terafactories for batteries, etc.

    • In his comment of 12.22 pm Guenther Weber claimed that the European seasonal renewable energy storage problem could be solved simply by combining wind and solar with “roughly the right fraction”

      In my response (above) I presented graphs that used actual grid data to illustrate the type of generation curve this proposal would produce in real life and invited Guenther to tell us how he would match it to demand – admittedly a difficult task because matching a curve like that to demand is about as impossible as it’s possible to get.

      Guenther nevertheless responded with these proposals:

      reinforce the grid to a level where each European country has interconnector (and inland transmission) capacitiy of 50% to 100% of average winter demand to have at least some spatial averaging of wind production between Finland and Spain.

      build only so much (excess) PV that the various hydro schemes can store on an average day in the summer.

      Stop with PV and wind when curtailment reaches 5% to 10% of annual production.

      I’ll leave it up to the readership to form their own opinions as to whether these proposals will work. .

      • Greg Kaan says:

        I’ll continue from here then.

        I challenged Guenter that his reinforce the grid to a level where each European country has interconnector (and inland transmission) capacitiy of 50% to 100% of average winter demand statement was as unviable as the 100% renewables, terafactories for batteries, etc that he stated as fantasy.

        His response was to present the following link and basically say all major works projects take time
        http://www.netzausbau.de/leitungsvorhaben/de.html

        The thing that stands out in the map on his link, however, are the direction, number and length of planned interconnectors that are represented by blue dashes. The legend explains these are “Vorhaben nicht im Genehmigungsverfahren (luftlinie)” which google and then I translate to “Unapproved Overhead Lines”

        So the vast majority of the planned North/South interconnectors have not even been approved, let alone started.

        Please correct my translation if I am in error.

        • gweberbv says:

          (Side remark: On this map the dashed blue lines will always dominate as it mainly shows the transmission lines that still need to be built.)

          The decision to build the displayed connection lines is enshrined in law. In that sence, they are already approved. What is missing – and that takes years and years – is to apply and to approve the path of the transmission lines on a local level. In principal, everyone who feels negatively affected by these lines can go to court to stop them. And if the planners overlooked a single fact that turns out to be relevant, the process (for parts of at least a few kilometers length) needs to be restarted. To reduce these risks, about a year ago it was decided that major parts of these long north-south transmission lines will be built underground. Unfortunately, this also lead to a restart of the planning.

        • So the irresistible force of green energy has run up against the immovable objects of NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) and BANANA (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything). Looks like it could take a while to get that European supergrid up and running.

      • gweberbv says:

        Roger,

        in your graph the most striking feature that needs to be adressed is the diurnal production of PV. What has this to do with seasonal variations and the discussed need of seasonal storage? Nothing!

        In your comment that motivated my first reply, you explicitly stated that you are NOT talking about diurnal storage, but about seasonal storage.

        “Everyone seems to be considering pumped hydro as a means of balancing short-term or diurnal solar variations, which can indeed be handled with comparatively small amounts of PH capacity. Nobody, however, seems to be considering the big problem with solar, which is seasonal storage …”

        My claim: The seasonal variation of PV is not a/the big problem. Nothing more, nothing else.

        • robertok06 says:

          “My claim: The seasonal variation of PV is not a/the big problem. Nothing more, nothing else.”
          Actually it IS a big problem, because without a lot of PV there’s no way that wind alone can make it… where “to make it” means replacing the almost 350 TWh/y generated now by fossil and nuclear.
          PV without long-term storage can’t be built up much, wind without PV_wit_long_term_storage can’t make it either… what’s left are two possibilities:

          1) keep on burning that wonderful lignite that you have in such huge quantities

          2) keep on dreaming that the (not so)smart grid will do miracles, or that “demand-side management” will do miracles… or that “new battery technologies will do miracles”… or “”…

          What’s sure is that human history teaches us that

          1) miracles don’t exist

          2) waiting for miracles to happen normally leads countries to big troubles

          Your choice, guenter… 1) or 2)?

          Have a nice continuation of dreaming.

      • Roger

        I am having the same argument where I use the Fraunhofer data set and run him through the 2014 report to show that his claim is not valid. His claims
        ” This means that at a certain time of the year you need to harvest and store the energy that you wish to use roughly 180 days later. There is no need for such thing if you can harvest roughly the same amount of energy – for example by using different sources with complementary production characteristics – during both seasons.”

        His basis
        “at least in Europe the decrease of PV production in winter is compensate by increased wind production. One just has to build PV and wind with roughly the right fraction and the summer/winter issue is solved”

        But the Fraunhofer data shows that this is not possible whether you use daily, weekly or monthly. But apparently this data is not valid for ‘seasonal’.

        • gweberbv says:

          I can’t believe that we have a dispute over this issue. How many ‘seasons’ do you know? I give you a hint: http://www.fourseasons.com/

          Let’s have a look at German data for 2015 PV+Wind (offshore wind excluded as installed capacity was changing a lot over the year) production:
          season 1 (months 1-3): 27.3 GWh
          season 2 (months 4-6): 27 GWh
          season 3 (months 7-9): 26 GWh
          season 4 (months 10-12): 26 GWh

          And 2014:
          season 1 (months 1-3): 24.2 GWh
          season 2 (months 4-6): 23.2 GWh
          season 3 (months 7-9): 20.2 GWh
          season 4 (months 10-12): 21.2 GWh

          • robertok06 says:

            This story is getting ridiculous indeed!… Guenter!… can you stop BS us?
            Please?
            Seasons are 13 weeks long each… and citing season-wide data doesn’t make ANY sense whatsoever!… as dnoughshanahan and others (me include, many times) are telling you is that wind can and CERTAINLY will have lulls of several days and/or even more than a week, where basically it doesn’t produce much electricity on a continental scale… remember that wind even over large dispersed areas produces LESS that 10% of its nominal installed power for about 30% of the time…
            Your solution of keeping a “sufficient” amount of FF power station ready on-loin is a NON SOLUTION, since it won’t happen… nobody sane of mind will ever keep hundreds of GW (continent-wide) warm and ready to go to take up the slack when wind is not blowing… why is it so difficult for you to understand this simple fact?
            Why? Why are you BS us since months and months with the same un-physical, un-economical, un-logical argument?
            Why?

            P.S.: please don’t take it personally, I’m sure you are a fine person… but enough is enough… c’mon!

          • gweberbv says:

            Roberto,

            “… and citing season-wide data doesn’t make ANY sense whatsoever!” – in particular when discussing seasonal variations.

            YES, SIR!

        • @ robertok06

          The crux of the matter is Gw does not understand that to be a valid compensating power source, it needs to be able to fist compensate over the short terms and consistently doing that to get to the long term. Gw simply assumes that if it looks like the long terms is good, the short term will also be good.
          Unfortunately he does not realise or ignores that the long term is not independent of the short term.

    • Connect says:

      There’s some error in the graph, You’ve included 1,5 TWp of solar, which would produce about 2000TWh electric power in France alone. I guess you wanted to add something like 150 GWp.

      • robertok06 says:

        Iguesds you should change pusher, ’cause nobody in his/her sane mind would ever install one of the most expensive, intermittent sources of electricity which will always need back-up from other sources (fossil or nuclear) in a country like France, which enjoys among the lowest costs of electricity and has virtually zero emissions from its power generation.
        Get over with it, your life will be improved.

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