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The renewables thing just isn't happening
#1
[Image: Renewables+Share+In+Total+Energy+Mix.png?format=1500w]

Whoa!  In that ten year period fossil fuels declined all the way from 80.3% to 80.2% of TFEC.  The share of what they call “modern renewables” (wind, solar, biomass (i.e., wood chips), geothermal, ocean power, hydropower) did go up marginally from 8.7% to 11.2% of TFEC, but that seems to have been mostly at the expense of the barely mentioned “non-modern renewables,” presumably mostly animal dung.  While the fossil fuel share of the total went down, it was an almost imperceptible 0.1%.  And meanwhile, since the developing world is in the process of rapidly joining the modern energy-based economy, the total amount of fossil fuels consumed went up dramatically — from about 260 Exajoules in 2009 to about 310 Exajoules in 2019.  That’s an increase of close to 20% in the decade when I thought we were supposed to be rapidly reducing usage and indeed setting the world on the path to total elimination of these things.

Reuters covered the REN21 Report on June 14, in a piece titled “Global fossil fuel use similar to decade ago in energy mix, report says.”  They quote Rana Adib, REN21’s Executive Director:

"We are waking up to the bitter reality that the climate policy promises over the past ten years have mostly been empty words," said Rana Adib, REN21's executive director.  "The share of fossil fuels in final energy consumption has not moved by an inch," she added.

I’ve got news for Rana:  Elimination of fossil fuels, and even reduction in their use, is not going to happen.  Fossil fuels are cheap and they work.  Your assertion that “electricity production from new renewables is more cost effective than from new coal-fired power plants” is just self-deception resulting from ignoring the enormous costs imposed by the intermittency of the renewables.  Nobody is going to buy these renewables other than by receiving huge government subsidies.  According to America’s Power (trade association for the coal industry) the U.S. alone spent some $82 billion in just the period 2010-18 to subsidize the renewables — and all of that barely moved the needle.

Multiple decades and hundreds of billions of dollars of government subsidies have done essentially nothing to reduce the use of fossil fuels.  The laws of physics and of economics are not resisted easily. 


World Report Card: The Inexorable March Toward Zero Carbon Emissions (Not!) — Manhattan Contrarian
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#2
(06-19-2021, 12:03 AM)andrew_o Wrote: Reuters covered the REN21 Report on June 14, in a piece titled “Global fossil fuel use similar to decade ago in energy mix, report says.”  They quote Rana Adib, REN21’s Executive Director:

Classic example of why innumerate people should not be allowed to write about anything with numbers in it.

Global fossil fuel use is up in absolute terms, and about the same in relative terms. Their phrase kinda, sorta implies relative use. But the really important point is that we are using more of it, not less.
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#3
Yes Brunt - the same as when I hear someone saying "He was travelling at a high rate of speed" which is actually acceleration.

Meanwhile:

Gas Is So Scarce in Europe That Coal Is Making a Comeback

Europe is so short of natural gas that the continent -- usually seen as the poster child for the global fight against emissions -- is turning to coal to meet electricity demand that is now back to pre-pandemic levels.

Coal usage in the continent jumped 10% to 15% this year after a colder- and longer-than-usual winter [WHAT! Surely winters should getting warmer?] left gas storage sites depleted, said Andy Sommer, team leader of fundamental analysis and modeling at Swiss trader Axpo Solutions AG. As economies reopen and people go back to the office, countries like Germany, the Netherlands and Poland turned to coal to keep the lights on.

Europe has long been at the forefront of the battle to reduce global warming. The continent has the world’s largest carbon market, charging the likes of utilities, steel producers and cement makers for polluting the environment. But even with record carbon prices this year, low gas reserves mean burning coal -- the dirties of fossil fuels -- has become more widespread again.

“Energy demand has been pretty strong in Europe and we have seen a recovery from the pandemic,” Sommer said in an interview. “Gas storage is so low now that Europe cannot afford to run extra power generation with the fuel.”

The return of coal is a setback for Europe ahead of the climate talks in Glasgow later this year. Leaders of the world’s biggest economies failed to set a firm date to end coal burning at the meeting of the Group of Seven at the weekend in Cornwall, U.K.

Europe faced freezing temperatures earlier this year, boosting demand for heating at a time liquefied natural gas cargoes were being sent to Asia instead. Russia sent less gas to the continent via Ukraine ahead of the start of the Nord Stream 2 link to Germany, expected later this year.

All of that mean that European storage is currently 25% below the five-year average and benchmark Dutch gas surged more than 50% this year. Futures are currently trading near their highest level for this time of the year since 2008.

“People thought Russia was going to book more capacity via Ukraine and that just hasn’t happened in a meaningful way,” said Trevor Sikorski, head of natural gas and energy transition at consultants Energy Aspects in London. “The market is super tight, it’s trying to get less gas into power.”

Electricity demand, which crashed as the coronavirus locked down cities from Frankfurt to London, is now back. Usage in countries including Germany, Spain and the Czech Republic are above the five-year average, while demand is flat in Italy and France, Morgan Stanley said in a report Monday.

With gas supplies already tight amid heavy maintenance cutting flows from Norway, utilities have turned to coal to keep the lights on. While the price of carbon is trading near a record, many have hedged it years in advance. That means burning coal could still be profitable.

Generators with “highly efficient” new plants can probably manage to produce power from coal until 2023, even with high carbon prices, Axpo’s Sommer said.

The G-7 recognized that coal is the single biggest cause of greenhouse gas emissions in its final communique. But the group promised only to “rapidly scale-up technologies and policies that further accelerate the transition away from unabated coal capacity.”

“It’s not a great a message to be sending,” said Ursula Tonkin, portfolio manager of the Whitehelm Capital Low Carbon Core Infrastructure Fund, the Australia-based company that has $4.4 billion of assets under management in all of its funds.

While it would be “fantastic” if politicians came to a deal, coal is likely to be phased out anyway by 2030, 2035, said Tonkin. “Politics are important, but you also have the economics of the transition really kicking in within that timeframe,” she said.

Gas Is So Scarce in Europe That Coal Is Making a Comeback - Bloomberg
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