Blowout week 22 – abridged and late

I have just taken a long weekend unpaid leave from Energy Matters, hence this week’s blowout is late and abridged. My finger has not been on the pulse nor my eye on the ball. It will take a few days to recover. A dozen stories this week below the fold.

Monbiot discovers exponential: It’s simple. If we can’t change our economic system, our number’s up

Let us imagine that in 3030BC the total possessions of the people of Egypt filled one cubic metre. Let us propose that these possessions grew by 4.5% a year. How big would that stash have been by the Battle of Actium in 30BC? This is the calculation performed by the investment banker Jeremy Grantham.

Go on, take a guess. Ten times the size of the pyramids? All the sand in the Sahara? The Atlantic ocean? The volume of the planet? A little more? It’s 2.5 billion billion solar systems. It does not take you long, pondering this outcome, to reach the paradoxical position that salvation lies in collapse.

Defiant BP: BP signs shale deal with Rosneft

BP confirmed its commitment to Russia after signing a shale oil deal with state-owned oil company Rosneft, despite US government-led sanctions against Moscow and the company’s chief executive.

Chu, energy is like post: Steven Chu Solves Utility Companies’ Death Spiral

Utility companies have been looking for new regulations and higher connection charges to save them from a “death spiral” spurred by a surge in rooftop solar installations. Instead, says former Energy Secretary Steven Chu, they should get into the rooftop solar business.

Utilities are in danger of being FedExed, Chu said, “like the Post Office got FedExed,” as rooftop solar modules drop in price.

Frackers go for broke: Shakeout Threatens Shale Patch as Frackers Go for Broke

The U.S. shale patch is facing a shakeout as drillers struggle to keep pace with the relentless spending needed to get oil and gas out of the ground.

Shale debt has almost doubled over the last four years while revenue has gained just 5.6 percent, according to a Bloomberg News analysis of 61 shale drillers. A dozen of those wildcatters are spending at least 10 percent of their sales on interest compared with Exxon Mobil Corp.’s 0.1 percent.

Merkel comes off hallucinogens: Merkel Snubs New York “Ban Ki-Moon” Climate Conference! … “Burying The Global Climate Agreement”!

Berlin-based leftist daily TAZ here reports that German Chancellor Angela Merkel isn’t going to bother attending the Ban Ki-Moon initiated climate conference in New York this coming September. The TAZ adds this has been “confirmed by a government spokesman“.

Moon personally invited all world leaders, asking them to attend with “ambition and responsibility” in order to lay the groundwork for the Paris 2015 climate conference where world leaders are to sign onto a binding agreement requiring industrialized countries to drastically cut back CO2 emissions by 2050, and thus serving as the successor agreement to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.

Arctic Ice cracking up: Soviet Union” to be restored

Last November, Russia laid down a new multipurpose icebreaker of a brand new class LK-60. It is expected to be commissioned in 2018. Contracts for the construction of another two are planned to be signed later this year. But the economic activity in the Arctic is rapidly increasing every year, with the booming shipping traffic and projects like Yamal-LNG. The current fleet of icebreakers is not enough to service all of the requests. Restoration of “Soviet Union” is a stopgap measure until the new icebreakers will come online.

[In Russian, try Google translate]

Denmark – anything can happen in the next half century: Danish Energy Agency: 100% Renewable Denmark By 2050 Is Possible

A new report by the Danish Energy Agency has found it would be technically possible to construct a secure and reliable national energy system based on 100 per cent renewables by 2050.

The end of the banana 🙁 : Has The End Of The Banana Arrived?

Two weeks ago, at a conference in South Africa, scientists met to discuss how to contain a deadly banana disease outbreak in nearby Mozambique, Africa. At fault was a fungus that continues its march around the planet. In recent years, it has spread across Asia and Australia, devastating plants there that bear the signature yellow supermarket fruit.

Better check it’s methane first: Iberdrola signs £3.4bn deal to bring US gas to UK shores

Utility giant Iberdrola has signed a €4.1bn (£3.4bn), 20-year deal to ship liquefied natural gas from the US to supply its customers in the UK and Spain.

The company owns ‘Big Six’ energy supplier ScottishPower, which has 2.2m customers, and has gas-fired power stations in southern England with a combined capacity of 2 gigawatts (GW).
Iberdrola said the deal, with a subsidiary of Cheniere, would supply 35 billion cubic feet of gas each year from 2019 – enough to supply about 750,000 households. Smaller volumes of gas could be shipped earlier, in 2018.

Ukraine flexes muscle: Kiev hopes for EU reverse gas supplies and LNG from USA — Poroshenko

Ukraine will not buy Russian gas at its high price, said Ukrainian business tycoon Petro Poroshenko, who is winning at snap presidential elections in the country. He has added that instead of this, Kiev hopes for reverse supplies from Europe and LNG supplies from the United States.

Watts up with Centrica?: British Gas boss Chris Weston to take top job at Aggreko

British Gas boss Chris Weston is on Thursday expected to be appointed as chief executive of temporary power provider Aggreko, in a surprise move that will leave energy giant Centrica searching to replace all of its top three executives.

Safety fears: Staff flown from oil platform following safety fears

Non-essential staff are being flown off a North Sea oil platform after problems were identified with one of its wells.

An issue was discovered during integrity testing on the outer casing of the well on CNR International’s Ninian Central on Saturday.

This entry was posted in Blowout and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Blowout week 22 – abridged and late

  1. Roger Andrews says:

    At the same time as European countries are beginning to back off their ruinous renewable energy commitments Barack Obama today revealed his sweeping plan to cut US power plant emissions 30% by 2030:

    Two sayings come to mind: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results each time” and “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.” 😉

  2. Roger Andrews says:

    I enjoyed reading George Monbiot’s beautifully-written article on how continued exponential growth in the consumption of coal, oil and gas threatens us with disaster, but the example he used to illustrate the impacts of exponential growth wasn’t a good one. A much better example would have been exponential growth in renewable energy, which is a) actually happening, b) gives impressive results when projected over periods of decades rather than thousands of years and c) also threatens us with disaster.

    Solar panels would have been an excellent choice. Presently they cover only about about 5,000 sq km of the Earth’s surface – roughly the size of a major city – but if solar continues to grow at 50% a year they will cover the entire land surface of the Earth by 2040 and by 2067 they will cover the surface of all the other planets in the solar system too. As to how big an area would they cover 3,000 years from now, well, I tried to come up with a number but my spreadsheet refused to perform the calculation.

    • Euan Mearns says:

      Nice one Roger. Aberdeenshire will shortly be totally covered in wind turbines.

      Monbiot of course forgets to mention that FF consumption in the OECD is in decline and that the population seems to be following a logistic and not exponential curve. But I imagine Gruniad readers will neither understand nor care about such minor details.

  3. Bobski says:

    Wow! It’s June 2014 and George Monbiot, climate alarmist and friend of wind-farmers must have just read someone else’s article about exponential mathematics. Watch this space, any time now it will have become his idea.

    The famous “green”, who makes rather a nice living out of greenery, seems to have finally become sufficiently numerate to understand that the universe will only allow so many doublings of anything at all. You cannot keep on “growing” the economy or anything else for ever, probably not even the universe. It’s been rather obvious to a few of us for a while.

    Up until now he has resolutely promoted the idea that wind farms, solar panels, burning imported wood etc would enable us to conquer the world as well as the climate. At last and at least he is not wrong about limits. It just seems a shame that he is a few decades behind the rest of us in the realisation.

    He has spent that time promoting ludicrous so-called solutions, and bleating about a catastrophic planetary overheating for neither the existence nor prediction of which there is any evidence.

    Recently he seems to be rather scrambling for things to fill his column; wasn’t it “re-wilding” the countryside, last week? We sit with bated breath for next week’s enthusiasm. With any luck it will be for a hermit’s cave.

  4. Jonathan Madden says:

    To state what is obvious, does not failing to impose production limits on FFs make all attempts to Go Green a complete waste of breath?

    CO2 capture from FF burning is virtually non-existent. Coal, Oil and Natural Gas production are all at historical highs, with coal and gas rising at more than 3% p.a., year after year. FF production is unconstrained and more or less flat-out on all fronts, everywhere.

    The annual increase in FF production is similar to the entire installed capacity of New Renewables, i.e. wind, solar, geothermal etc. (Not biomass and Hydro.) And all these use FFs in their manufacture, installation and distribution.

    As far as I am concerned they will only be of interest if they produce less expensive electricity, which seems highly unlikely.

Comments are closed.