Blowout Week 59

Our lead-off story this week features an unusual act of solidarity on the part of UK political leaders:

Guardian:  Cameron, Clegg, Miliband sign joint climate pledge

David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband have signed a joint pledge to tackle climate change, which they say will protect the UK’s national security and economic prosperity. The prime minister, deputy prime minister and leader of the opposition have all clashed over green issues, but the joint declaration states: “Climate change is one of the most serious threats facing the world today. It is not just a threat to the environment, but also to our national and global security, to poverty eradication and economic prosperity.” “Acting on climate change is also an opportunity for the UK to grow a stronger economy, which is more efficient and more resilient to the risks ahead,” the joint statement says. “It is in our national interest to act and ensure others act with us.” The declaration was hailed as “inspiring leadership” by Al Gore.

More stories below the fold, including whither oil prices, is OPEC winning, blackouts in S. Africa, nuclear in Egypt, China discovers gas in disputed waters, UK and Austria at loggerheads over Hinkley, Groningen gas curtailment, Germany to legalize fracking and how climate change will cause megadroughts in the US.

Forbes:  Divergent oil price forecasts

Now, there is a divergence between those who think the price will recover to $100 in the near future (12-18 months) and possibly go much higher, and those who expect a period of a few years at roughly current levels. OPEC’s al Badri and ENI head Claudio Descalzi have both suggested low prices could lead to a new crunch and $200, while many more have argued that $80-90 is a likely range by year end (Harold Hamm of Continental Resources, and John Hofmeister, formerly of Shell), while perennial TV presence T. Boone Pickens says $90-100 in 12-18 months. Contrast this with those who think $100 is not likely to be reached soon, including David Fyfe of Gunvor Group, Barry Aling of Gaffney Cline, and Prince Alaweed bin Talal, BP being more specific in predicting no recovery for 3 years. Citicorp and Goldman Sachs see no major price change soon.

Reuters:  Higher oil forecasts suggest OPEC tactics are paying off

The world’s three big energy agencies are forecasting higher demand for OPEC’s crude oil this year, a sign the producing nations’ strategy to let prices fall is starting to win them back market share from rivals who are cutting output. In reports this week, The International Energy Agency and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries have raised by at least 200,000 barrels per day (bpd) their estimates of demand for OPEC crude in 2015, while the U.S. government’s Energy Information Administration forecasts OPEC will pump 140,000 bpd more. At the same time data suggesting a forthcoming economic recovery has raised hopes for improving oil demand: Euro zone economic growth accelerated unexpectedly in the final quarter of 2014 as the bloc’s largest member, Germany, expanded at more than twice the expected rate.

Reuters:  OPEC says oil’s drop hitting other producers faster than thought

OPEC forecast on Monday that demand for its oil this year would be much higher than previously thought, as its strategy of letting prices fall to hurt other producers begins to take effect. In a monthly report, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) forecast demand for its oil would average 29.21 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2015, up 430,000 bpd from its previous prediction. That would raise demand for the group’s crude to above the level seen last year, with OPEC’s forecast for production growth outside the group slashed by a third due to a slowdown in the U.S. shale boom and lower oil investments globally. It said non-OPEC supply would rise by only 850,000 bpd this year, down 420,000 bpd from last month’s forecast.

Wall Street Cheat Sheet:  Can U.S. Shale Rival OPEC as a Swing Producer?

Nevertheless, while individual shale companies will certainly burn out and fold up shop, collectively they may act as a second major spare capacity player. The International Energy Agency (IEA) released a report that suggests shale production will bounce back when oil prices rise. The IEA expects U.S. shale production to contract toward the end of this year, but could rebound in subsequent years as prices rise, particularly beginning in 2017. U.S. shale will then rise to 5.2 million barrels per day by 2020, up from just 3.6 million barrels per day in 2014.

Bloomberg:  South Africa’s energy crisis

South African President Jacob Zuma said his priority is to solve the energy crisis in the country that’s curbing output at mines and factories and stifling economic growth, including adding more nuclear power by 2023. “We will pursue gas, petroleum, nuclear, hydropower and other sources as part of the energy mix,” Zuma, 72, said in his annual state-of-the-nation speech in Parliament in Cape Town on Thursday. “The country is currently experiencing serious energy constraints which are an impediment to economic growth and is a major inconvenience to everyone in the country.” Zuma’s speech follows nine consecutive days of rolling blackouts implemented as demand for power outstripped supply. State utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd., which provides 95 percent of the nation’s electricity, has warned of almost-daily blackouts until the end of April.

RT News:  Russia and Egypt sign nuclear deal

Russia will contribute to building “a whole new nuclear power industry” in Egypt, President Vladimir Putin has announced as the two countries have signed a number of agreements after a meeting in Cairo. The leaders of Russia and Egypt have signed “a memorandum of understanding to build the first nuclear plant in [the northern city of] El-Dabaa,” Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al Sisi has told reporters at a news conference at Cairo’s Al Qubba presidential palace. Russia would contribute not only to the construction of a nuclear power plant, but also staff and scientific research, President Putin said. Moscow and Cairo have agreed a contract for a total of four units of 1200 MW each.

The Diplomat:  Decline in Chinese coal mining profits

Of all the indicators released about China’s 2014 economic performance, some of which are surprisingly positive, China’s coal mining industry stands out as one of the worst performing sectors of the year, with a decline in industrial profits of 46.2 percent. The coal mining industry faced falling prices and excess capacity in 2014, after a four-year run, from 2009 to 2012, of above-average prices. The industry’s malaise became highly visible in the media last year as several shadow banking loans to coal mining companies faced potential default in 2014. A large part of the drop-off in coal industry profits can be attributed to increased reliance on cleaner sources of energy and decreased dependence on coal around the world and even in China itself.

Bloomberg:  US Department of Energy abandons CCS project

On the banks of the Illinois River, about 60 miles west of the state capital in Springfield, an old coal-fired power plant sits waiting for its future to arrive. Last year workers came to give it a makeover. Using almost $1 billion in stimulus money, the project was supposed to become the poster child for clean-coal technology. Rather than spewing into the sky, the carbon dioxide produced as the plant burned coal would be captured into a pipeline buried below corn and soybean fields. It would run 30 miles east to Jacksonville, where the gas would be injected 4,000 feet underground. The resurrection was short-lived. On Feb. 3, the Department of Energy announced it was withdrawing support. Environmentalists who want investment in renewable power technologies rather than fossil energy cheered the decision. “We don’t need it, and we can’t afford it,” Bruce Nilles, head of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign, says of carbon-capture projects.

Telegraph:  Are wood chips really worse that burning coal?

You don’t often find the main political parties agreeing, especially this close to a general election. So it’s refreshing that – amid all the sound and fury – David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg yesterday jointly pledged, as part of a common assault on climate change, to end burning coal in power stations until technology is developed to remove carbon dioxide from its emissions. Yet, strange to say, some environmentalists are campaigning for it to continue. This week two US green groups – the Natural Resources Defence Council and the Dogwood Alliance – met the Energy Secretary Ed Davey to urge him to stop Europe’s second biggest polluter, Drax power station, cutting coal use. The reason for this apparent illogicality is that the groups believe that using apparently environmentally friendly wood can be three times worse for the climate than burning the world’s most polluting fuel, and threatens some of the world’s most wildlife-rich forest.

Mail:  UK and Austria at odds over Hinkley

The Government has backed a call to the senior European official responsible for energy policy to insist that the UK must remain able to build new nuclear plants amid a growing diplomatic row with Austria over the Hinkley Point C project. The Prime Minister refused to accept a letter the Austrian chancellor Werner Faymann tried to hand to him at this week’s meeting of European leaders in Brussels in connection with the dispute and told him no other country could dictate the UK’s energy policy. According to a leaked memo, the Austrian deputy ambassador in London reportedly told his Government in Vienna that the UK will take “every opportunity” to damage the country if Vienna does not drop a legal challenge to the construction of the £24.5 billion plant.

Reuters:  Groningen gas supplies to be curtailed?

Gas supplies to Europe from the massive Groningen field in the Netherlands could be curtailed as Dutch lawmakers debating on Thursday face public protests over earthquakes blamed on the site ahead of elections next month. The parliament debate comes as the Netherlands and the European Union seek to diversify energy needs in the wake of the worst confrontation with Russia since the Cold War. The Dutch, the EU’s largest gas exporter, can supply their households and power plants for years, but supplies will start dwindling in 2025, and they will soon become a net importer.

Fuel Fix:  China discovers gas field in South China Sea

China said its recent gas discovery in the politically volatile South China Sea could yield 100 billion cubic meters of natural gas, underlining Beijing’s determination to extract resources from waters claimed by several nations. The Lingshui 17-2 gas field was discovered 150 kilometers south of China’s southernmost island of Hainan, and the Ministry of Land and Resources has approved it as a large-scale find, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

Guardian:  Germany moves to legalise fracking

Germany has proposed a draft law that would allow commercial shale gas fracking at depths of over 3,000 metres, overturning a de facto moratorium that has been in place since the start of the decade. Shale gas industry groups welcomed the proposal for its potential to crack open the German shale gas market, but it has sparked outrage among environmentalists who view it as the thin edge of a fossil fuel wedge. Senior German officials say that the proposal, first mooted in July, is an environmental protection measure, wholly unrelated to energy security concerns which have been intensified by the conflict in Ukraine.

Cleantechnica:  Renewable Energy Demand Surges In 2014

The European market for renewable energy, documented with Guarantees of Origin, increased by 26.5 % in 2014 compared to 2013. For the first time, the demand surpassed 300 TWh, according to statistics from the Association of Issuing Bodies (AIB). This is nearly one tenth of all electricity demand in Europe (ca. 3,300 TWh) and one-third of all electricity from renewable sources in Europe (ca. 900 TWh). The figures have been announced by ECOHZ, a Norwegian company that offers renewable energy with Guarantees of Origin (GO) to electricity providers, businesses and organisations.

Energy Collective:  Europe Loses Billions in Badly Sited Renewable Power Plants

European countries could have saved approximately $100 billion if each country had invested in the most efficient capacity given their renewable energy resources, that is, by installing wind turbines in windier countries and solar power plants in sunnier places. The World Economic Forum’s (WEF) latest “Future of Electricity” Report identifies suboptimal deployment of renewable resources due to poor cross-border coordination among the top policy design challenges EU countries are facing in incentivizing investments in renewable energy development.

WWF:  Flying start to 2015 for wind power in Scotland

Analysis by WWF Scotland of data provided by WeatherEnergy found that for the month of January wind turbines alone provided an estimated 1,307,629MWh of electricity to the National Grid, enough to supply, on average, the electrical needs of 146% of Scottish households (3.5 million homes) – This represents an increase of 27% compared to January 2014, when wind energy provided 1,033,130MWh.

Recharge News:  Nordlink to go ahead

The 1.4GW Nordlink power link between Norway and Germany is set to enter construction after its three backers gave the green light to their investments. Network operators TenneT and Statnett, along with finance group KfW, signed ownership agreements for the project today. It is expected to require a total investment of about €1.5bn-€2bn ($2bn-$2.7bn). The HVDC cable link is described as a “cornerstone” for Germany’s Energiewende – its shift towards renewable energy. Norway and Germany are foreseen exchanging wind and hydropower via Nordlink, which aims to be operating by the end of 2018.

BBC:  UN agrees draft text for Paris climate summit

UN climate talks in Geneva have ended with agreement on a formal draft negotiating text for the summit in Paris in December. The document, which runs to 86 pages, builds on negotiations in Peru last year.”I am extremely encouraged by the constructive spirit and the speed at which negotiators have worked during the past week,” said Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). “We now have a formal negotiating text, which contains the views and concerns of all countries. The Lima Draft has now been transformed into the negotiating text and enjoys the full ownership of all countries,” she added.

Washington Post:  Global warming caused the record Boston snowfall

“Heavy snows mean the temperature is just below freezing, any cooler and the amount would be a lot less,” adds Kevin Trenberth, a climate expert at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. “Warmer waters off the coast help elevate winter temperatures and contribute to the greater snow amounts. This is how global warming plays a role.” When climate experts see an extremely warm ocean off the east coast and record snowfall in Boston, it fits a big picture for them. It doesn’t yet for most of us, but sooner or later we’re going to have to get past the idea that global warming and huge amounts of snow are somehow contradictory.

Washington Post:  Global warming to cause megadroughts in US

The long and severe drought in the U.S. Southwest pales in comparison with what’s coming: a “megadrought” that will grip that region and the central Plains later this century and probably stay there for decades, a new study says. Thirty-five years from now, if the current pace of climate change continues unabated, those areas of the country will experience a weather shift that will linger for as long as three decades, according to the study, released Thursday. Researchers from NASA and Cornell and Columbia universities warned of major water shortages and conditions that dry out vegetation, which can lead to monster wildfires in southern Arizona and parts of California.

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73 Responses to Blowout Week 59

  1. Syndroma says:

    Germany Buys Most Russian Coal Since 2006
    Russian coal imports rose 6.6 percent to 12.6 million metric tons last year, according to data from the Federal Statistics Office in Wiesbaden, Germany. That’s more than a quarter of all foreign purchases. Total imports into Europe’s biggest economy also rose to their highest level since 2006.
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-02-13/germany-buys-most-russian-coal-since-2006-amid-eu-diversity-push

    • concernclub says:

      interesting,
      the supposed coal richest country in the EU and the one claiming to do the
      green coloured (what is scientifically green about importing solar panels from China?)
      imports coal from Russia. Despite leaders claiming to want to get independent from imports?

      also, interesting..

      with the first article about the “british government” and the climate problem
      activity ..

      do I understand correctly that “science” is not part of politics?
      (or is this politically only correct when talking about “self claimed green political parties)

    • Euan Mearns says:

      One of the main problems Germany has is opposition to nuclear power and closure of nuclear power stations. One of the greatest ironies of Green Thinking is the opposition to reliable, low C nuclear power. Lovelock recognised the folly of this many years ago now. No doubt he will simply be dismissed as a bonkers old bloke.

      • concernclub says:

        one of the main problems of Germany is perhaps that in contrast to claims old nuclear power plants do not make profits and the
        old reactors are just old ..

        Siemens left the sector once they realised the disaster in Finland
        (Areva remains and as a state company is protected by taxpayers money
        .. )

        do you know any other non state owned company in Europe
        making money with building nuclear power plants?

        I do not.

        (also, you might know what happened with the remains of the
        uranium mining Wismut AG .. taxpayers money.. and a lot
        for repairing the disaster left .. )

        are you still surprised that Germans have enough from nuclear
        not only the green party with at most 10% votes.

        • Roberto says:

          @concernclub

          ‘one of the main problems of Germany is perhaps that in contrast to claims old nuclear power plants do not make profits and the
          old reactors are just old ..’

          C’mon!… old nuclear power plants are the most profitable form of electricity generation after run-of-river ones (some of them)… you are a respectable physicist, able to do some math… cost of U fuel, O&M costs, etc…. this boutade of yours is astonishing to say the least.

          R.

          • concernclub says:

            Dear Roberto,
            why don’t we look together at some data?
            (you should like data no?)
            lets start with some pro nuclear biased information:

            http://www.world-nuclear-news.org

            http://www.world-nuclear.org/Information-Library/

            and explain why
            old nuclear power plants in Belgium, Switzerland and France and the USA will soon be closed
            (just like with old cars .. repairs and maintenance
            gets expensive ..)

            when did you change your last car?

          • Syndroma says:

            Old nuclear power plants will be closed because they have hard limits to their operational lifetimes, usually around 60 years. It’s not a question of maintenance costs, it’s a question of physical wear of reactor pressure vessel (which can’t be replaced). Improvements in manufacturing may increase the lifetime to 100 years.

            Countries committed to nuclear energy just build a replacement nuclear power plant near an aging one. Russia builds VVER light water reactors on the sites of aging graphite RBMKs.

          • concernclub says:

            Syndroma,
            (this is a standard statement..
            “their operational lifetimes, usually around 60 years.”

            but do you have any evidence for this?

            and why did the 1 (and 4 in 2013) reactors in the USA were closed much earlier
            42 years for the one last year
            http://www.iaea.org/pris/CountryStatistics/ReactorDetails.aspx?current=626

            thanks for thinking about reasons ..

          • Syndroma says:

            Okay, I was not precise enough. 60 years is an upper limit for a lot of current technology. Of course a plant can be decommissioned long before that, especially if it exists in an environment hostile to nuclear power. But that has no relation to EROEI and efficiency.

          • concernclub says:

            Syndroma, you write:

            “But that has no relation to EROEI and efficiency.”

            what other reasons exist? One does not make enough “monetary profits” for example?
            (that was my point in the beginning!)

          • Syndroma says:

            It’s hard to make enough “monetary profits” if the energy policy of a country one operates in is specifically designed to squeeze out nuclear power and subsidize other forms of generation.

            German nuclear power plants were closed not because of the old age or monetary losses, but because of the political decision to do so.

          • concernclub says:

            Syndroma,
            the examples I gave are not from Germany but from the nuclear power friendly USA.

            So please explain this

          • Syndroma says:

            Vermont Yankee could go on if the state government showed some support. Closing the nuclear power plant because natural gas prices are low this year? That doesn’t sound like a good strategic decision.

            And pardon me for this quote from unnamed source in US nuclear industry: 🙂

            It is my fondest hope that every tree hugging liberal in Vermont dies a slow painful cold death in the dark, screaming for Nobama to save them…

          • concernclub says:

            “Closing the nuclear power plant because natural gas prices are low this year? That doesn’t sound like a good strategic decision.”

            Who said that “good strategic” decisions are made
            when short term profits are counting.

            As you seem to agree nuclear power without
            state participation and just private money making does not flourish.
            It does not matter who you want to blame.

            you do not seem be able to provide a proof that
            nuclear power from ageing nuclear power plants
            is competitive.. just the opposite.

          • Syndroma says:

            As you seem to agree nuclear power without state participation and just private money making does not flourish.

            The same can be said about renewable energy. Some countries support renewable energy, others support nuclear power. It’s a matter of priorities.

            you do not seem be able to provide a proof that nuclear power from ageing nuclear power plants is competitive.. just the opposite.

            If a man abandons his car because of flat tire and mounts a bicycle distributed by the authorities for free, it’s not a car’s fault. I know of other examples, when 40-year old reactors underwent major repairs to extend their operational lifetime.

          • Euan Mearns says:

            The UK’s ageing fleet of advanced gas cooled reactors are being given license extensions and most run 24/7. They are owned and run by EDF if anyone wanted to interrogate the accounts to see if they make money and how much.

            http://www.edfenergy.com/energy/power-stations/torness

            Michael, I count about 10 comments from you on this thread, about 20% of the total. We all know your opinion and repeating same over and over does not strengthen the credibility of what you have to say. Keep things under control or I will put you on comment moderation.

          • Roberto says:

            @concernclub

            ‘Dear Roberto,
            why don’t we look together at some data?
            (you should like data no?)
            lets start with some pro nuclear biased information:’

            1) the sites you’ve cited are not biased, simply well informed. For biased ones you can cite Sovacool, Mycle Schneider, Sortir during Nucleaire, CRIIRAD, etc.

            2) CH, BE and FR, like your homeland DE, home of the ridiculous Energiewende, have announced plans to close reactors or reduce their number only because of politics and ideology, not certainly costs.

            Why do you lie so blatantly?… you perfectly know that this is the case, don’t you?

            R.

          • Roberto says:

            @concernclub

            ‘what other reasons exist? One does not make enough “monetary profits” for example?’

            Other reasons exist, and you perfectly know them… again, why do you blatantly lie?
            In the US it is the combination of cheap shale gas combined with the ‘right of pass’ of the heavily incentivized wind which puts old nuclear plants out of business, nothing else.
            So, if for you burning shale gas or coal is better than burning uranium and plutonium then go ahead and cheer, one reason for a toast.

            Let me ask you one question: you consider yourself a friend of the environment or not?

            Try again.

            R.

          • Roberto says:

            @concernclub
            ‘As you seem to agree nuclear power without
            state participation and just private money making does not flourish.’

            100% utter nonsense!… the USA that you are taking as an example has, until last year, 104 reactors, ALL OF THEM built and run by private companies, not state-owned EDF, making lots of money, as you well know… So, again, for the third time, why are you so blatantly lying?

            R.

      • cassandraclub says:

        The uranium Germany needs would probably be imported from Russia too.
        FYI: the USA are also dependent on Russian nuclear fuel, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Megatons_to_Megawatts_Program

        • concernclub says:

          yes, i know that.
          What does it imply.. ?
          controlled termination of nuclear fission i presume
          like planned currently?

        • Roberto says:

          Megatons to megawatts is history, finished.
          Biggest I producer is Kazakhstan, then Australia and Canada… what ate you talking about?

          Let’s move on, opposition to nuclear can be based only on prejudice, misinformation our as linear combination of the two.

          R.

          • concernclub says:

            Roberto,
            while you demonstrate that you do not know
            the numbers from Australia and Canada,
            look at the WNA links (i provided) yourself.
            you might also want to read the latest WNA news
            on belgian reactor problems

            otherwise I am asked to be silent ..
            so I will be!

          • Roberto says:

            @concernclub

            Oh yeah!… the grave problem of the Belgian reactors!… that after functioning without a glitch for 30+ years are now inspected with the microscope and have been found flaking… big deal uh Mr expert?

            How do you say ‘gimme a break’ in German?

            R.

            P.s. seriously now… it’s my time to rise a question to you… How do you suggest to produce electricity, what’s your favorite technology?… the trollish answer ‘energy efficiency’ is not a valid answer, ok?

            I’m all ears…. what technology, at what cost.

            Thanks,

            R.

          • A C Osborn says:

            Roberto, I do not know where you get the patience from.
            I am also surprised it has gone on for so long.

          • concernclub says:

            Roberto,

            “P.s. seriously now… it’s my time to rise a question to you… How do you suggest to produce electricity, ”

            you know my answer..

            there is no method to compensate for the
            electric gap coming.

            either we learn to live with less and less or
            we will get blackouts ..

            you choose!

          • roberto says:

            @concernclub

            “you know my answer..

            there is no method to compensate for the
            electric gap coming.

            either we learn to live with less and less or
            we will get blackouts ..

            you choose!”

            I’ve chosen: as long as electricity is concerned there is enough U to power the existing (and many more) reactors for centuries… to me it is a no-brainer.
            Between this hope of mine and its realization stand the multitude of those like you who oppose nuclear on ideological grounds, or phobias. I am not too optimistic but in my mind I have no doubt that this is one of the possible answers… mankind has always found a way of improving its standard of living (globally, locally there can be variations in time, even big ones)… I don’t see why it won’t be able to continue on the same path… resource depletion is a fake problem, there’s a lot of everything we need on this planet… and for those elements which are really scarce (and U is NOT one of them) there’s science and technology which will find a solution.

            I certainly do not plan to go back to medieval living, as you propose.

            R.

          • concernclub says:

            Roberto,
            you wrote:

            “I certainly do not plan to go back to medieval living, as you propose. R.”

            Just to correct, I never wrote anything about
            medieval living. But, as you seem to be scared
            by the future while enjoying the benefits of
            being in the upper 5% class of the world population

            may be you should realise that:
            your (and mine!) average energy consumption is
            at least 5 times larger than the world average human
            person can enjoy.
            So, yes try to continue to ignore this reality
            and let the other 95% and future generations get down to hell.

            you know how this medieval hell looked like
            “Noblesse and there servants”

            look into the real world and you see that
            not much has changed, just currently you do not
            see the Bangla Desh servants (also imbedded in our daily consumer things and the energy use) so easily and you belong to the noblesse. Face the truth.

            Now, moving forward perhaps means
            less fossil and nuclear fuels and more and more slaves

            until the slaves say NO!
            and well you know what happened to the noblesse
            from time to time!

            This is perhaps the future, or we figure out how to live
            differently and this in an egalitarian culture.

            I would call this real progress: (re?) learning
            how to live without noblesse people.

            it is likely that society will follow again the false
            “leaders” like 100 years ago in Russia ..
            thanks to illusions transmitted by you for example

            enjoy the Titanic first class ticket

      • Ed says:

        Lovelock will not be dismissed as a bonkers old bloke by the “realists”. The only people who dismiss him are the “deniers”. He made a valuable contribution to the debate.

        The real debate is whether Nuclear power plants produce Net energy over their full lifetimes. By this I mean if you include the energy used in decommissioning, the storage of radioactive waste for decades/centuries and in dealing with accidents.

        • Roberto says:

          ‘The real debate is whether Nuclear power plants produce Net energy over their full lifetimes. By this I mean if you include the energy used in decommissioning, the storage of radioactive waste for decades/centuries and in dealing with accidents.’

          Of course it has an Eroi>>1… !… see weissbach et al., energy policy article of 2013 (or was it 2014?).

          The energy payback time of nuclear is few months, energy requirements for the fuel cycle are very low, storage energy costs are very low as well, you just need too look at Finnish Posiva web site, our Sweden’s Stk for analysis of these costs.
          Refusal of nuclear energy can be based on ideological reasons at best, and economic interests at worst, nothing else.

          Let’s get over with it, if you don’t ‘burn’ U you must burn coal/gas… intermittent renewables will never be able to take the place of thermoelectric power stations, it is physically impossible… their energy density is too low and the buffered eroi too low… see the above mentioned paper.

          R.

          • Ed says:

            I didn’t say that nuclear energy had a negative Net energy return, Roberto. I’m not your enemy!

            I was merely pointing out that this is the debate that we should be having rather than the phoney climate change or “green thinking” debates which are totally irrelevant.

            In addition, if nuclear and renewables are fossil fuel extenders, as I maintain. What exactly are we going to do with this extra energy? No one has solved the problem that nuclear and renewables are not self replicating, ie are totally dependant on FF for their build out and maintenance.

          • Sam Taylor says:

            Roberto,

            I have to admit I’m deeply skeptical of WeiBach’s result for nuclear EROEI. They get a value not far from 100, yet I’ve seen other studies that give results in the low single figures. There’s a really massive variance in the results in literature. I don’t really think the top end of the figures pass the smell test, since if the eroi were so high, I would have thought that whole lifecycle plant economics would be vastly more profitable than they currently seem to be. I think a meta-review from a few years ago came up with a value of 5, but I’d slap some huge error bars on that.

          • concernclub says:

            Roberto,

            why don’t you read the article you linked critically
            and apply some judgement about the content and
            claimed EROEI
            (or look perhaps at other estimates and compare
            their numbers .. than you do all of us a favour)

            you might think that money matters as an easy measure..

            so, did you ever try to understand why France
            with its huge know how to build new nuclear power plants is not even capable to construct one
            in time and within the original budget even in France?

            http://www.areva.com/EN/operations-2397/flamanville-3-france.html#tab=tab2

            do you want to make a bet when this reactor
            will really produce commercial electric energy?

            official date on their site is:
            In 2016: start of commercial operation planned by EDF.

            but WNA news has something totally different

            http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/NN-Flamanville-start-up-put-back-one-year-1911144.html

          • Euan Mearns says:

            Life cycle energy and greenhouse gas emissions of nuclear energy: A review
            Manfred Lenzen *
            ISA, Centre for Integrated Sustainability Analysis, The University of Sydney, Physics Building A28, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia
            Received 13 June 2007; accepted 31 January 2008 Available online 8 April 2008

            This paper places ERoEI for nuclear life cycle at about 5. Other sources about 100. Surely we can do better than this?

          • roberto says:

            @Ed

            “I didn’t say that nuclear energy had a negative Net energy return, Roberto. I’m not your enemy!
            ————

            OK, understood, thanks for clarifying…. anyway, I do not have enemies and do not consider any of you guys posting here as enemies, not even the user “concernclub”! 🙂

            “I was merely pointing out that this is the debate that we should be having rather than the phoney climate change or “green thinking” debates which are totally irrelevant.”
            Totally agree with you. Nuclear in place of coal and gas allows sparing the lives of tens of thousands of citizen every year, that’s the main thing… as well discussed and defended in the paper of Hansen and Kharecha, a year ago.

            “In addition, if nuclear and renewables are fossil fuel extenders, as I maintain. What exactly are we going to do with this extra energy? No one has solved the problem that nuclear and renewables are not self replicating, ie are totally dependant on FF for their build out and maintenance.”

            I DO NOT agree with this at all!… Nuclear “a la francaise” is NOT depending at all on FF other than the very small percentage linked to the extraction phase, all of the enrichment phase is 100% nuclear (Tricastin), all of the commissioning and waste treatments is done using nuclear electricity (LaHague)… unless you consider a big burden the truckloads with reactor containment debris taken out of the site during decommissioning… a negligible amount of energy.
            Transport of spent fuel is done via train, all of it electricity 90+ percent (in France) FF-free (75% nuclear and 15+% renewables).

            Cheers,

            R.

          • roberto says:

            @concernclub

            “Roberto,

            why don’t you read the article you linked critically
            and apply some judgement about the content and
            claimed EROEI
            (or look perhaps at other estimates and compare
            their numbers .. than you do all of us a favour)
            ————–

            Well, actually I’ve done it, I’ve been doing that since a couple of years at least (make 5). How about you?… the last (and only) time I heard you talking about french nuclear (here at CERN) you said something like “…. and look at the French, with all their nuclear, last winter they were saved by import from Germany’s photovoltaics”!…. a trollish argument to say the least. Or the other big argument of yours?… like “since there is very little uranium on the earth’s crust, let’s just stop all reactors immediately”… how about that as a favour? C’mon!

            —————
            you might think that money matters as an easy measure..
            —————
            Yes, money matters… and in fact I, a resident of nuclear France, pay all my kWh at 11 cEuro each, while you, a resident of “Energiewende” Germany pay it 30 cEuro.
            Try again.

            “so, did you ever try to understand why France
            with its huge know how to build new nuclear power plants is not even capable to construct one
            in time and within the original budget even in France?”
            Yes, I do understand it easily, and if you want I can explain it to you. The reason is that the “know how” of EDF and AREVA was not that huge FOR REACTOR CONSTRUCTION, since none of the two had built any reactors since a couple of decades!… the last French reactor came onine in the late 90s!
            The hug know how is in the OPERATION of reactors…. or are you going to dispute this fact too?
            Can you do better than this?… this discussion is getting ridiculous!

            “http://www.areva.com/EN/operations-2397/flamanville-3-france.html#tab=tab2

            do you want to make a bet when this reactor
            will really produce commercial electric energy?

            official date on their site is:
            In 2016: start of commercial operation planned by EDF.

            but WNA news has something totally different

            http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/NN-Flamanville-start-up-put-back-one-year-1911144.html

            … and so what?… OK, they will loose a couple billion Euros… big deal uh!… your country is wasting more than ELEVEN billion Euros per year, for the next 20 years (if not longer) to produce a tiny fraction of its electricity using photovoltaic panels!… what are you talking about?

            One day you may want to look at the formula for the calculation of the LCOE and discover what a “capacity factor” of 90% or more can do to the levelised cost of electricity….

            http://www.nrel.gov/analysis/tech_lcoe.html

            … try it!… play around with the numbers…. and tell me what you find, OK?

            Cheers,

            R.

        • roberto says:

          @Sam Taylor

          Roberto,

          I have to admit I’m deeply skeptical of WeiBach’s result for nuclear EROEI.
          ——————

          Well, this is the paper in pre-print form prior to publication in Energy Policy

          http://festkoerper-kernphysik.de/Weissbach_EROI_preprint.pdf

          … please tell me what formulae, statements, or other you do not agree with.

          The variance in literature is large because most of the previously available literature on nuclear’s EROI had been written by patently incompetent and a-priori anti-nuclear authorss, like the duo Storm-van Leuween, or Sovacool, or Mark Jacobson who’s come to dismiss nuclear as a large-scale carbon-free source of electricity production by assuming a very large mortality related to it… due to nuclear proliferation and some statistical probability of escalation to a limited nuclear exchange with many deaths!…. that’s the most far-fetched and ridiculous argument I’ve ever seen against modern nuclear power plants.

          THe amount of energy necessary for the construction of a nuclear site is known to a good accuracy, civil construction I mean;
          The amount of energy necessary to fabricate and build the nuclear island is known too. Same for the non-nuclear components (turbines, piping, HV transport lines, etc…);
          The amount of energy necessary to dismantle a nuclear site is calculable too,with good accuracy;
          The amount of energy necessary to re-process the fuel (in the non-once-through cycle) or dispose after use (once-through) is known or calculable with good accuracy.
          The amount of energy necessary for long-term, deep, disposal is calculable, or else nobody could make estimates of energy requirements for digging tunnels…

          All these amounts, and others that I’ve omitted for brevity, in NO WAY can be of the same order of magnitude of the electricity produced by reactors!… it’s simply impossible!… so the right order of magnitude for the EROI of modern reactors must be close to 100 rather than 10s, and it can’t be in the single digits, its simply out of question!… anybody claiming this is to be placed immediately in the Trolls Hall of Fame, in my opinion.

          Cheers,

          R.

  2. John Reid says:

    Global warming causes record Boston snowfall: “… but sooner or later we’re going to have to get past the idea that global warming and huge amounts of snow are somehow contradictory”.

    Really? Well in that case why are “retreating glaciers” such a big deal? More snow should mean bigger glaciers? Surely a classic case of Greenthink. See

    http://euanmearns.com/green-thinking-is-it-science/

    • Recent Blowouts have featured articles showing how global warming has caused/is causing/will cause plagues of pink sea slugs, volcanic eruptions, devastating La Niñas, millions of climate refugees, methane time bombs in Siberia, new vicious hybrid species, dried-out turkeys, airplanes that can’t take off, shortages of chocolate, sneezing, endangered US postal workers, shrunken goats and megadroughts. I guess we’re going to have to get used to the idea that there ain’t nothing global warming can’t do.

    • Ed says:

      Boston doesn’t have glaciers, John.

      Is this your idea of clear thinking? LOL

  3. Relevant for Roger Andrews:

    New York-based hedge fund manager Paul Singer’s charitable foundation gave $200,000 to Lomborg’s Copenhagen Consensus Center (CCC) in 2013, latest US tax disclosures reveal.

    Most recently, Lomborg wrote a column for the Wall Street Journal arguing climate change was not the urgent problem that many thought.

    He wrote that “the narrative that the world’s climate is changing from bad to worse is unhelpful alarmism”.

    Lomborg argues the poorest countries need fossil fuels to lift themselves out of poverty – a position that gained support from the world’s richest man, Bill Gates.

    Exclusive: Bjorn Lomborg Think Tank Funder Revealed As Billionaire Republican ‘Vulture Capitalist’ Paul Singer

    Alex

    • concernclub says:

      Bjorn, the champion of the “scientific thinking” ..

      not everybody within the scientific domain seems to agree to that.

      I wonder if any of the readers/writers here thinks Lomborg is even close to be a champion
      of world science?

      • Euan Mearns says:

        Does Lomborg claim that what he is doing is science? For me it is the term Climate SCIENCE that is objectionable followed by the repeated claims of those working in this area that it is science they are doing. Climate Science and climate scientists don’t exist. It is a fusion of physics, chemistry, history, glaciology, meteorology and geology. I think the appropriate collective term should be Climatology.

        To be clear I am equally irritated by the terms Earth SCIENCE and Geo SCIENCE. I am a geologist. Geology is a fusion of many subjects – palaeontology, geophysics, geochemistry, mineralogy, petrology, sedimentology, climatology and so forth. Many decades ago I studied all of these disciplines to become a geologist. Similarly, climatologists should IMO have training in each of the aforementioned climate disciplines.

        Maybe I’m old fashioned 🙁

        • concernclub says:

          I think (from his book) that he claims to be a scientist
          (statistician he wrote if I remember from his book)

          sure most domains today even in fundamental physics
          are based on many other physics from 100-200 years ago.

          so yes, climatology is the combined word used
          by colleagues working in the modelling area at ETH Zurich

          they had a broad education in physics mostly and
          specialised on applications like many other physicist colleagues
          have done. Some end up in Biophysics for example
          or medical physics, geology etc. Some even in economics
          claiming that this is still science .. smile)

          Anyway, why not accepting that not everyone working
          in academics or with academic background is doing daily
          work following hard core science rules?

          otherwise .. yes, perhaps we share the old fashioned
          value of science and scientific honesty
          which still exists but not always!
          It is not easy trying keep standards when people
          do not tell the truth and get published by newspapers
          (like so call nuclear fusion energy scientists .. they should be called plasma physics scientists as their work has absolutely
          nothing to do with energy research .. this is only required
          for further funding!)

          For “hard core” science rules ..

          for me it means using the scientific method:
          e.g. data collection analysis hypothesis with new ideas
          tests for the hypothesis and experiments to get better data
          and all this in an iterative process.

          obviously there are biased subjective ideas and funding
          supports some, while not others ..
          some ideas turn out to be wrong, other to be right
          if science is in the making as i like to say

          for well established knowledge .. well Ohms law for
          example or Newtons laws .. within their limits
          they will be great approximations for ever

          so, yes one needs the basic knowledge
          to work with the scientific method to establish new science
          (also via trial and error).

          Politicians are not scientists (it does not matter which color!)

    • JerryC says:

      Forget about your little guilt by association game for a minute. Do you think it’s remotely possible for poor countries to lift themselves out of poverty with expensive, intermittent energy from windmills and solar panels?

      Or to put it another way, how does making energy more expensive help poor people to get less poor

      • Ed says:

        What makes poor people less poor is burning cheap, dense energy in the form of fossil fuels.

        Once our 500 million year legacy of stored concentrated solar energy has been burnt, the poor people will go back to being poor and the world population will have grown in excess of 9 billion.

        • A C Osborn says:

          So you are not even prepared to give them a chance and you think that having pulled themselves out of poverty they won’t have the sense not to fall back in to it again.

          • Ed says:

            Just stating facts, A C.

            Have you heard the joke that Arab Sheiks make about themselves?
            “My granddad travelled on a camel, my dad travelled by car, I travel by private jet, My son will travel on a camel.”

            I would modify this. “If I build out renewable/nuclear energy infrastructure now, my son will travel by electric car. My grandson will travel on a camel”

          • A C Osborn says:

            You stated an opinion without a single FACT being present.

          • JerryC says:

            Back to Lomborg’s point. It’s easy for you, living in a First World country with reliable (fossil fuel-based) heat, cooling and electricity, to take a philosophical stand against FF exploitation because of things that may or may not happen in 150 or 200 years.

            But a country like India, with 300 million people without electricity, doesn’t have that luxury. Their people are suffering, now. To a degree that is unimaginable to most of us in the west. So what you think is going to happen, are the leaders of India going to go along with Ed’s plan to decarbonize – because hey, we’re eventually going to run out anyway – or are they going to burn that coal and relieve the suffering of their people?

    • Alexander. The Lomborg funding article you link to comes from DeSmogBlog. Take a look at who funds them:

      http://www.populartechnology.net/2011/04/truth-about-desmogblog.html

  4. sam Taylor says:

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-02-12/oil-layoffs-top-100-000-as-job-pilgrims-dreams-shatter

    I have to admit I’m starting to take worry about what’s going to happen to the oil supply soon. Shale will likely slow down and Russia is showing signs of peaking, and the industry is hemmorhaging jobs. Which will make bringing more supply online in the future that much more difficult.

    • Euan Mearns says:

      The fall in US oil rig count is nothing short of spectacular. The main problem the industry will have to confront is huge price volatility going forward. Shale oil drilling goes off cliff, US production falls, price goes up. If high price then regenerates the shale patch, the price will collapse again.

      • Craig Crosby says:

        Exactly right, Euan. And as more conventional oil fields peak and decline, that price volatility, it would seem, can only increase. What impact will that have on overall economic activity?

        Gail the Actuary has been posting an interesting series on her view of the connectivity of crises on ourfiniteworld.com. Do you think she is on the right track?

        • Euan Mearns says:

          Craig, I continually have to fight my Malthusian instincts and so try to avoid subjects like the connectivity of crises. Most of the time we have to live with slow change which given enough time can mean substantial change that may have positive or negative impacts. But the time element is important since this offers time for adaptation. The main connectivity I could see in USA today would be shale bust bringing down a bank. There’s speculation about that, I just don’t know enough about it.

          Low oil prices are simultaneously good and bad for the USA. Cheaper gas in exchange for reduced energy security and greater exposure to international conflict. And its possible that peak oil creeps up on us in a rather unexpected way.

        • Ed says:

          Gail the Actuary recent articles are very good analyses of our energy situation and its interaction with economic output and capital; although I find them too long and unfocused on the whole.

          May I recommend

          http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.co.uk/
          http://richardheinberg.com/
          http://www.peakprosperity.com

          if you haven’t already discovered them

      • sam Taylor says:

        Quite. It’s somewhat like a malfunctioning pid control loop, which instead of damping oscillations will instead serve to exacerbate them. I often wonder if more economists and analysts were taught some systems science whether they wouldn’t have a better eye for when things are going to get volatile. Economics is obsessed with equilibria, which is rather the wrong thing to be focused on, I feel.

  5. Craig Crosby says:

    Throughout we see the inanity of the extremists. As I read the Bloomberg piece on the abandonment of the CCS project, I am convinced that they want fantasy projects. To paraphrase, “I don’t think that project achieves what you think it achieves.” Solar panels, imported from the other side of the world; windmills requiring far more rare earths that appear to be available and using carbon busting plastics and other energy intensive production, and of course biofuels, consuming foodstuffs at carbon producing levels equal to or higher than the fossil fuels they are supposed to contain are all “good” projects. Carbon capture, and new technologies in nuclear energy are “bad.”

    The level of cognitive dissonance is staggering. If you ever, as I have, tried to discuss these topics at a political convention, you would realize that, even if the worst of their doomsday predictions would be the result, they are more committed to continuation of BAU than in reducing levels of human carbon dioxide production. The worst part is that they exacerbate the problem that they decry. Silly, silly people.

  6. Graeme No.3 says:

    When politicians collude WATCH OUT. The welfare of the voter isn’t on their mind.

    The last Triumvirate led to 400 years of despotism.

  7. Ed says:

    In answer to JerryC,s earlier comment. I don’t have a plan, for India or for anyone else. My position has always been that we will burn though all our fossil energy eventually, which is why the climate change debate is irrelevant for me. The real question is how we are going to stop our energy supply from collapsing. ie facing up to and preparing for the decline in fossil energy.

  8. A C Osborn says:

    Euan, I am not sure how closley you have been following the various “Temperature Adjustments” posts but you may have missed this. It was first posted on WUWT and then on pointed to at Real Science and followed up by Tom Nelson.
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/02/09/warming-stays-on-the-great-shelf/#comment-1856325”

    http://tomnelson.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/noaa-settled-science-earth-at-5824f-in.html

    This is not some “climate science nobody wo doesn’t know what he is doing” putting stuff together as they like to claim, this is NOAA hoist by their own published data which shows that they have changed the 1997 global Temperature (not just USA) by over 2 degrees C (4 degrees F) in 17 years of adjustments.

    How many other summarised Years of NOAA Analysis are out there on the internet that will continue the exposure of what has to be worst “Science” to have ever come out of NASA.

    With all the changes that Connelly has made to Climate related wikipedea entries and Googles bias towards AGW it may be hard to find copies of other years.

  9. A C Osborn says:

    Euan, for your next Blowout you might like to take a look at these 2 posts at WUWT.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/02/17/strange-allies-in-the-war-on-carbon-fuels/

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/02/18/the-un-climate-end-game/

    They really do make worrying reading.

    Whereas this one shows that the Fraud that all warmists deny started back in 1988 with Hansen’s presntation to Congress, lies and really shoddy science from day one

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/02/18/jim-hansens-99-surety-on-global-warming-doesnt-hold-up/

  10. Nial says:

    “Flying start to 2015 for wind power in Scotland”?

    Should be “Lying start to 2915 for WWF” perhaps?

    You’ve commented on this before Euan, but the use of the ‘home’ as a unit of energy gives the impression that 146% of Scotland’s energy requirement was provided, when it was probably something like 6% of the total countries requirmeent.

    Also “Despite it being winter, for homes fitted with solar PV panels, there was enough sunshine to generate an estimated 37% of the electricity needs of an average home in Aberdeen, 30% in Glasgow, and 24% in Edinburgh.” is a dubious claim given …

    > Production in kWh % of an average household electricity demand provided by PV
    > Aberdeen 140 kWh 37.9%
    > Edinburgh 111.8 kWh 24.1%
    > Glasgow 89.1 kWh 30.25%
    > Inverness 58.9 kWh 15.94%

    > • Average solar PV installation – 3kW

    Given the output of Edinburgh’s Solar ‘meadow’….

    http://www.variablepitch.co.uk/stations/2703/output/

    … I calculate a 3KW installation would provide at most 24kWh in Edinburgh, or ~5% of a house’s demand.

  11. John Williams says:

    Just to mention something tucked away in the company results page today.. Centrica have announced that two more conventional UK power stations will close as they are unable to sell them in the current climate. Briggs rated at 260 MW and Killingholme at 650 MW. Also the EU have announced they are investingating the proposed subsidies for converting Lynemouth to wood chips (so called biomass).

    So on the one hand we have yet more wind farms given approval that only generate when the wind blows … and on the other there is a race to force as many conventional power stations as possible to close. Anyone done the latest claculations as to when the lights go out? Or the level of subsidies required in three years time with what is proposed?

    • Euan Mearns says:

      I’ve covered the UK generating capacity thing before.

      http://euanmearns.com/blackout-britain/

      My view is that we have large excess CCGT capacity, so some more closing doesn’t really matter. The blackout risk is rooted in gas supplies. More relevant for me right now is the scheduled closure of Longannet coal (2.4 GW) that will leave Scotland dependent on England for electricity backup. A curious position of dependency brought about by the independence party.

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