Tag Archives: renewables

Blowout Week 165

This week we feature biomass, specifically wood pellets, which are coming under fire again (pun intended). A recent report confirms what to most of us has long been obvious – that wood pellets are not a carbon-neutral energy source. In some cases they emit even more CO2 than coal. One wonders when the truth will finally dawn on the politicians who are subsidizing this environmentally-unfriendly fuel – and how it got to be subsidized in the first place.

In a bumper issue, other stories include the fall of NASA GISS, OPEC examines impact of production cuts, US LNG exports, nuclear power in the UAE and Scotland, Germany destabilises neighbours, blackouts in Australia, UK government policies lead to higher electricity prices and Swansea Bay tidal lagoon is back in the news. Continue reading

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UK Electricity 2050 Part 4: Nuclear and renewables cost comparisons

Guest post by Energy Matters’ commentator Alex Terrell. Part 4 of the series on designing a renewable or nuclear electricity supply for the UK in 2050, where parts 1 to 3 were co-authored with Andy Dawson. Here costs of the renewable and nuclear options are compared. The forecast based on BEIS’ median 2030 scenarios for renewables (wind+solar) comes in at £143 / MWh and for nuclear at £84 / MWh, for wholesale costs. Both costs will be a lot lower if the respective technologies improve as their advocates hope. Continue reading

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A more detailed look at the California grid data

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

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Renewable California

California is considered by many to be a world leader in the transition to renewable energy. But how much progress is it really making? This post looks into this question and finds that California has indeed significantly increased the percentage of renewable energy in its in-state generation mix – or at least would have done were it not for the impact of the recent drought on hydro output – but that it has made no progress towards increasing zero-carbon generation, which because of the shutdown of the San Onofre nuclear plant remains lower than it was in 2002. Continue reading

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Technical and Economic Analysis of the European Electricity System with 60% RES – A Review

The EU has a strategy to increase the amount of electricity that will be generated from renewable energy sources (RES) to 55% by 2050. About 57% of the RES in Europe is currently hydro and there is little opportunity to expand hydro. Thus most of the projected increase in RES, which constitutes about 10% of electricity generation in 2014, will be from wind and solar PV, reaching 20% in 2020 and 30% in 2030. The EDF paper examined the future impacts, challenges and changes to the power system of increased wind and solar PV renewable energy sources (variable RES) on the European electricity grid….. Continue reading

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European Renewables Investment Heads Towards Zero

According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance investment in “clean energy” in Europe has been declining steadily since the second quarter of 2011 and looks set to flatten out at a value effectively indistinguishable from zero in the not-too-distant future. Continue reading

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Renewable Energy At The Crossroads – IEA

IEA has concluded that due to “persistent policy uncertainties” renewable energy is not expanding quickly enough to allow the world to meet its climate targets . This brief post concludes that renewable energy will not expand quickly enough to meet the world’s present climate targets even if these uncertainties are removed. Continue reading

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CO2 Emissions Reductions – What History Teaches Us

Historical data show that if a country wishes to cut its CO2 emissions by a meaningful amount it has two options that can be guaranteed to work – expand nuclear or reduce energy consumption. There are as yet no clear instances of a country achieving significant CO2 reductions by expanding intermittent renewable energy. Continue reading

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Renewable Energy Storage and Power-To-Methane

In recent posts here, here and here Euan Mearns and I have published estimates of the amount of storage needed to integrate intermittent renewable energy with the UK grid in meaningful quantities. All of them point to the same conclusion:

The volume of storage needed to convert intermittent renewable energy into dispatchable energy is very large, with estimates running in the 1 to 5 terawatt-hour range even at modest levels of renewables penetration. Continue reading

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The Difficulties Of Powering The Modern World With Renewables

In the May 12, 2015 “G7 Hamburg Initiative for Sustainable Energy Security”, the energy ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States, plus the European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, said this: Continue reading

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Google rejects renewables

But REContinue reading

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Blowout week 46

The main stream media is full of low oil price stories this week and is suitably alert to the risks this poses to the oil industry and global economy. Normally low oil price would be viewed as a positive thing, but on the back side of Hubbert’s peak things work differently. Continue reading

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Ed Davey in Wonderland

Record investments of £45 billion in electricity generation and networks since 2010 has seen UK electricity consumption fall from 361 to 337 TWh (6.7%) while electricity imports have risen from 2.7 to 14.4 TWh (5.3 fold). Continue reading

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The Failure of Green Energy Policies

It is important to recall that well over $1,700,000,000,000 ($1.7 trillion) has been spent on installing wind and solar devices in recent years with the sole objective of reducing global CO2 emissions. It transpires that since 1995 low carbon energy sources (nuclear, hydro and other renewables) share of global energy consumption has not changed at all (Figure 1). Continue reading

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Blowout week 40

I lead off this week with the exciting story of the world’s first large scale commercial CCS project in Canada. Published in on a Norwegian website the author observes that the project went from conception to completion in only 5 years and that there are lessons to be learned. It’s not that hard to work out. The boundary Dam project is linked to CO2 enhanced oil recovery which will make the owners money. Continue reading

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Renewable Energy Growth in Perspective

Renewable energy, particularly wind and solar, continues to set records for electicity generation and installed capacity in many parts of the world, and as shown in Figure 1 wind and solar growth in recent years has indeed been quite spectacular Continue reading

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Bill Gates on the High Cost of Being Poor

The real problem for Gates and other holier-than-thou billionaires who got lucky and got rich on the back of cheap energy is that nobody is interested in their whine. Transition away from fossil fuels, to renewables, is a century-long process and, like Gates admits, the low income countries really don’t have the time to waste. The need energy right now, like he also admits. Continue reading

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The New Global Dictator

I wish to make clear at the outset that I am not against renewable energy per se but wish to draw attention to the fact that there is no such thing as a free lunch in the energy world. Renewables are all too often and naively presented as clean, green, free energy. In many cases the exact opposite is true. Continue reading

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Blowout week 23 – bumper issue

In this bumper Blowout with 36 articles the main theme (if there is one) is Europe backtracking on failed policies and pursuing the America fracking dream while America decides to throw itself off the European energy cliff into the abyss of low carbon high cost electricity generation. Continue reading

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Blowout week 21

Gazprom’s chairman has describing Europe’s energy shortage as “scary” and ridiculed the EU’s push for wind and solar power as a shambles. Continue reading

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